Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kirk's Soapbox - A Collection of Random Thoughts Vol 8

Welcome to Kirk's Soapbox, which, as the title states, is simply a collection of random thoughts.  Some are on recent items, such as Black Panther's new position as the Man Without Fear or comic sales, while others are on things long past, like DC One Million.  Hit the jump to see what I have to say on these topics and more.

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear?

A while back, Marvel teased a new Man Without Fear.  Among the candidates were characters completely divorced from the Daredevil titles, such as Nova, Black Panther, Gambit and so on.  Based on Marvel's previous track record with teasers not panning out any actual candidates, many just assumed these teasers were indicating Matt Murdock would not be Daredevil post-Shadowland.  I know I didn't consider any of the teased characters as possible replacements.

Well, turns out Black Panther, as revealed on G4's Attack of the Show (found via Robot 6), is, in fact, going to be the new Man Without Fear.  Black Panther will take over the title and it will be renamed Black Panther: The Man Without Fear.  Incidentally, the title will maintain its current numbering and start at #513.  I assume this is due to Black Panther's limited sales success when it comes to keeping a title afloat, regardless of reviews or critical acclaim, and is an attempt at maintaining Daredevil's fanbase and sales levels.

I'm a bit surprised at this.  Black Panther has no connection to Daredevil or Hell's Kitchen and I just can't seem to place why they'd go in this direction with the character after DoomwarJonathan Maberry isn't going to be writing this new title either.  David Liss will be taking over the writing duties on this new Black Panther book.

I was actually expecting a Daredevil related character to take over the book.  Black Tarantula seemed particularly primed to pick up the slack with his being the only voice of reason on Daredevil's side in Shadowland and he's been a major part of the book for a relatively long time now.  This could have been a good time to put Elektra in her own book while keeping it Daredevil related as well.  Make her and Master Izo the stars of the title and let Zeb Wells handle the writing.  Iron Fist, Shang-Chi or just about anyone else besides Black Panther (or anyone listed on the teaser images for the new Man Without Fear) would have been a better choice for current readers.  At least when they did this for Incredible Hulk's change to Incredible Hercules back during World War Hulk, Hercues was a major part of the book in the months leading up to the change.  Black Panther has nothing to do with the book and it seems like a slap in the face to long time fans having the book handed off like this.

Speaking of Crazy Daredevil Replacements...

...a Mephisto mindwiped Nightcrawler from the future that became our Belasco would make about as much sense as Black Panther as a replacement at this point.

The Sky is Falling!

ICv2, in their monthly sales report, showed a steep decline in comic book sales for the month of August with no comic breaking the 100,000 sales barrier.  This is apparently the first time since March 2009 that no comic achieved that feat.  The top 10 for August looked like this:
93,459                 Brightest Day #7
91,546                 Brightest Day #8
87,333                 Avengers #4
81,354                 New Avengers #3
74,655                 Secret Avengers #4
73,656                 Amazing Spider-Man #640
73,414                 Batman #702
71,464                 X-Men #2
69,052                 Uncanny X-Men #527
68,332                 Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1

Of note, July's numbers aren't much better with only one title breaking the 100,000 mark and that was X-Men #1, which had a substantial drop in August from it's July numbers of 140,332.  Even as a second issue, it had a huge decline in sales for the month of August.  Another factor against comic sales for this summer is the lack of an event.  There is no Blackest Night or Siege or even something building up to a major event for either company.  Another interesting tidbit is the lack of a mainstream comic book movie this year.  I don't subscribe to the idea that comic movies automatically equate to increased sales, but this is the first time since 2000 that we haven't had a major Marvel or DC film released in the summer. 

The final noteworthy item is the $3.99 pricepoint on comics as a likely candidate for the slump.  ICv2 states that 16 of the top 25 comics are all $3.99 comics.  As trade sales were down just as much as the single issues, it seems the effect of these higher priced comics and trades (trades increased in price per page or feature fewer pages for old price for those non-trade waiters assuming trades were getting even better dollar to page value with $3.99 comics) is finally showing through on sales.  The big question comes down to whether the decreased sales are being countered by the higher prices (ie are they making more off fewer $3.99 comics sold than they did on more $2.99 comics being sold).

Talking Batman and Robin with Patrick Gleason

Newsarama has a great interview with Patrick Gleason, the new ongoing artist for Batman and Robin come issue #17.  I particularly liked this comparison between Guy Gardner and Damian that was made regarding personality and facial expressions,
So when I think about approaching Damian, I think it could be a lot like my approach to Guy Gardner. I have a longer leash artistically on things like attitude, and facial expressions. There are a lot of similarities that I can see in them. So there's some real fun to be had with Damian.

It's just so fitting and, seeing as Gleason is fantastic with facial expressions (just look at Damian in the above image), I can't wait to see what he does on this book.  It was a shame to see him off Green Lantern Corps, but I think he's found a perfect new home with Batman and Robin.

Batman Rogues Gallery Amalgamized

Really neat mish mashing of Batman's rogues gallery I thought I'd share with everyone.  In case you can't figure them out, we've got Scarecrow/Mad Hatter, Two-Face/Clayface, Ventrilloquist/Harley Quinn with Scareface/Joker doll, Joker/Riddler, Poison Ivy/Catwoman and Penquin/Mr Freeze.

Ms Marvel Is Seriously The Most #$%^ed Up Character Ever

Everytime I see Ms. Marvel, I can't help but recall her backstory and how incredibly #$%^ed up it is.  Seriously, there is no character in any comic ever that has as screwed up a backstory as her. 

"As You Wish", Mr Fraction

It's always interesting following particular writers and seeing common dialogue and catch phrases used.  Typically, these are kept to certain characters.  In some cases, you get the above sequence where one rather uncommon line of dialogue is used by just about everyone over the course of several issues, as seen in Matt Fraction's Uncanny X-Men run.  This isnt something restricted to Fraction either.  "Nertz" is a word you'll see used quite often by certain creators.  Everyone makes Jewish jokes and uses phrases commonly associated with them in Brian Bendis's comics, despite completely different backgrounds and origins for each character.  Any other creators you know of that fall into similar patterns like the one above?

DC One Million = All Star Superman 2

If you love All Star Superman and keep wondering what the big Superman 2 door at the end of the book means or want to know if Superman ever comes out of the Sun, you owe it to yourself to read this criminally underread event from the tail end of the 90's.  DC One Million (later reprinted as JLA: One Million) was written by Grant Morrison and he heavily references it throughout All Star Superman.  Solaris, the Unknown Superman, Kal Kent, Superman Prime, Superman living inside the Sun, Superman Secondus, the Superman Dynasty - all these and more have origins in DC One Million.

While calling it a sequel or All Star Superman 2 is a bit of hyperbole (especially since DCOM came out roughly 10 years before All Star Superman), it's hard to deny that it isn't a spiritual sequel or at the very least a continuation of the story in the far flung future after Superman's completed his trials inside the Sun.  For reference, the One Million part is not the year this book takes place or how many years int he future it is but the calculated issue number for when DC would eventually publish issue #1,000,000 for their comics and that was why it featured renumbered comics across the line with the #1,000,000 number.

In short, if you missed out on this event from the late 90's when most were either getting out of comics or had given up on events/supposed money grabs, you should give it a shot the next time you have some free cash on hand.  In addition to the All Star Superman connections, it was an enjoyable story featuring the meeting between the JLA and their future counterparts as they prepare to celebrate the return of Superman in the 853rd century.

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Space Jawa said...

Love the amalgamized Bat-Villains. Wouldn't mind seeing someone try a comic book using them.

Or alternatively, someone taking a crack at Spidey's rogues gallery.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with your thought about $3.99 pricing. It limits what I put on my pull list. Whereas I appreciate the great number of titles being put out by the various companies, too many of one family ala Avengers, X-Men, Deadpool, Green Lantern, Batman, GI Joe, all the Hulks etc., causes other worthy titles like Atlas, Magnus: Robot Fighter and others to lose momentum. I've got no answer but I'd like to see some things streamlined a bit.

- Retcon Joe

Klep said...

I don't think it would sell well, but I think it would be neat to have a run on Daredevil where the people in his life to whom Matt is important try to fill the vacuum left by his absence. Elektra in particular is someone who has tried the righteous path from time to time, but is always somewhat uncomprehending of it. It would be interesting to see her struggle with Matt's way of doing things as she tries to fill in.

I see it as not being focused on any one character though, but rather a collection of people each doing their part. There's even a good opening there for tensions related to what each character thinks Matt would want.

Anonymous said...

What is that Nightcrawler scene taken from?

Radlum said...

Is the Black Panther title getting Man WIthout Fear as a subtitle or is BP moving to New York? I'm indifferent towards the 1st one but the second one sound very dumb even if it's temporal

Also...Ventrilloquist/Harley Quinn with Scareface/Joker doll and Poison Ivy/Catwoman. I think I'll be in my bunk

Kirk Warren said...

@Retcon Joe - I'm not sure what to do about it either. I'm sure other factors played into it beyond just $3.99 comics as not every comic is $3.99, yet the entire market is significantly depressed this month. However, it's hard not to point the finger at the $3.99 pricepoint when thigns go back either as every comic bought at $3.99 is at a $1 premium over formerly standard $2.99 books and that means less comics being bought overall regardless of how you look at it.

@Klep - I'm just struggling to see how this will follow up on Shadowland and what Daredevil has building up to for the past few years. All of those characters are now gone? How is this going to work? I'll wait and see before judging the new direction with Black Panther, but I like the sound of your Daredevil with the focus on everyone in Matt's life more at this point.

@Anonymous #4 - Earth X. Not sure which series/one-shot though.

@Radlum - It's at the moment going to be called Black Panther: The Man Without Fear and starts with issue #513 (continuing Daredevil's numbering post-Shadowland).

twobitspecialist said...

I can't believe the new Man without Fear thing was revealed in Attack of the Show, of all places. Most gamers avoid them like the plague, so that's why I didn't find out until today.

Zdenko said...

I'm calling it-Black Panther is actually Matt in T'Challa's costume.

Zdenko said...

I'm calling it-Black Panther is actually Matt in T'Challa's costume.

Kirk Warren said...

That would actually be a neat fake out, but I doubt it based on what we know so far and the expected otucome of Shadowland.

Anonymous said...

What I think is funnier with the fraction picture is that psylocke gains 80% ass fabric and the knot of her fabric belt thing switches sides over the course of three issues.

Zdenko said...

@ Kirk-I still fell it's too soon to predict the end of Shadowland. For all we one, it might end with Bullseye being resurrected and then him killing Matt & Elektra seconds after his revival. There are too many chess pieces on the board to predict anything.

Btw. who is the writer, David Liss? Never heard of him...

Klep said...

@Anon10 - That's the difference between Land "drawing" it and someone who's not a hack drawing it.

Kirk Warren said...

@Zdenko - Liss is a novelist. Im not familiar with his work though. He wrote A Conspiracy Paper, which won some best new comer awards, The Coffee Trader, A Spectacle of Corruption and several others.

While it is too early to predict exactly what will happen in Shadowland, I think we can agree that Matt is likely taking a dirtnap and/or being reborn through Hand rituals or some other method before seeking redemption. This is just based on how characters are behaving/what they say and upcoming solicits for post-Shadowland titles.

Lucho said...

Superman comes out of the sun as you can see in ALL SS#6, when he gives himself a flower for Johnathan Kent´s grave.

Deicide The Everliving said...

Black Panther in Hell's Kitchen...


Gimme a Black Tarantula book over that, please. Or an Iron Fist book.

Philipe said...

I'm personally excited about the Black Panther news, even though I was never the biggest fan of the character. I think it's going to be very interesting to see him outside of his usual enviroment and this can considerably raise his profile.

Muuuuuch better than Gambit and much more unpredictable than Black Tarantula (personally I think it would be a really boring choice).

Kirk Warren said...

@Philipe - I suppose it sounds like I'm completely against the idea of Black Panther int he role, which I'm not. I was actually quite interested in seeing what Maberry was going to do with the character and Wakanda in general post-Doomwar. They've lost almost all of their refined vibranium, which was the basis for their wealth, technology, science and everything to them. T'Challa taking off to fight crime in Hell's Kitchen kind of goes against everything I was expecting to read after Doomwar concerning him. ANd it flies in the face of most things related to Daredevil that I am reading. So, while there is definitely potential for BP in the role, it just sort of throws all the stuff I've been following out the window in favour of a new status quo somewhere else.

Daryll B. said...

I think I am angry that Mayberry is forced out from Black Panther... Doomwar up until the end was quite cool and the strongest event comic Marvel put out this year (although Thanos Imperative is gaining on it fast).

My prob with the announcement is that once again an event comic is ruined for me by press releases...

I liked the One Million event. It is one of the few Morrison penned events that I have enjoyed.. but I do remember at the time a lot of DC fans hated on it. Amazing how time can change views...

About Ms. Marvel status, I have a Mr. Hawkman on line 1 and Mr. Aquaman on line 2 with a Mr. Vision in the lobby waiting for you Kirk.

The rogue gallery is cool but it actually makes me want to read my Amalgam books again.... and actually the Valiant half of the Deathmate books also...

Proof of the decline of the comic industry.... I actually have no books to pickup this week..

twobitspecialist said...

I don't know. I kinda wanted Gambit on the role of Man without Fear. To me, that makes more sense than a African king moving to New York after his kingdom goes to shambles, because at least Gambit is more "street."

Zdenko said...

Well, maybe T'Challa's exiled and forbidden to step into Wakanda, so he thought ''here's a piece of land I can defend?''

Matthew said...

It's just a shame that the TPBs of DC One Million have been collected in a hilariously terrible manner. And repackaging it as JLA One Million later on was just confusing.

Aaron K said...

@Daryll B - Maberry is not being "forced out from Black Panther". He's writing the upcoming KLAWS OF THE PANTHER miniseries with Shuri. Considering he's been developing Shuri and using T'Challa less, I'd imagine that's where his interests lie at the moment. Shuri is just as much the Black Panther now as T'Challa is.

Jack Santino said...

Black Panther is being drawn by Franco Francavilla, who does wonderful pulpy creature-of-the-night type work. (most recently Zorro, and before that an indy called The Black Coat,) I see this as something very close to Batman.

What happens to the other title, the one with the new Black Panther, Shuri?

Daryll B. said...

Cool! Thanks for the update Aaron... I glad to see Mayberry have a chance to continue his vision!

I will keep an eye out for it....

Ronn Roxx said...

After years of reading Daredevil, I just dropped it from my pull list starting with issue #513. I have not been that excited by the current Hand storyline and this just seems like a great time to jump off. Too bad though, as Daredevil was the first Marvel comic I ever subscribed to as a young kid - and have been reading pretty much ever since. But without Daredevil in the comic, there is no need to keep buying it. I'll miss ol horn head - But I will have an extra $3 in my pocket ;-)

twobitspecialist said...

You know what kinda stinks? I started buying Daredevil BECAUSE of Shadowland. Turns out, they'll be the only five issues with him on the title that I'll own.

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