Comic Book Brain

Last Update: June 4, 2020

Marvel gets Daredevil back in 6 months

Story about the Netflix/Marvel deal at Cinemablend

What's "hot" in manga, and why can't America make manga?

A puzzling aspect of Manga publishing success in America is that there is the whole audience of fans for a kind of comic book (manga) which, no matter how it is tried by the big comic book publishers of the USA to get some of that marketshare, still is substantially a Japanese product. American publishers, artists and writers have "home-field" advantage but can't make it work for them. Maybe that will change in the near future:

While the focus has obviously been on translated manga from Japan, there’s been a small but significant push for content that originates from North America and beyond.

Publishers World

At one time, American comic book publishers (1940s, 1950s) would publish comic books in many areas of interest, showing a kind of marketing and business model based on if they thought someone would fork over a dime (or 15¢) for a copy it constituted an audience to go after. In that era, though, knowing a niche audience existed was much harder as communication of fads primarily emanated out from Hollywood, radio, magazines and the (then) burgeoning world of TV. Getting a book out to take advantage of a fad meant making sure the fad would still be there by the time a lengthy production schedule could get a book onto newstands where people could see the covers, make the connection to the fad, and a sale could be made. Today fads are evident within days (or even hours) by perusing social media. Likewise, the longevity and depth of fads (which sometimes upgrade to full-bore phenomenons) can be measured by the same means.

There are significant differences today to the old world of comic book publishing, both advantages and disadvantages for today's comic book makers. The main disadvantage is that superhero fans are an armed camp protecting comic book stores, and from this one particular genre reigns over product lines (there are pros to this of course, its not entirely negative. Without superhero fans the comic book industry would today be nothing more than a division of childrens's publishing at the big NYC book companies).

To carry this further, a disadvantage that is simply unavoidable in a drive for varied genres in comics books (and thus larger sustainable audiences) is ironically due to the one area of success it has had: superheroes. The linkage that comic book equals superheroes in part of the public sphere is partially because only a subset of Americans visit actual book stores where there is the only tangible expression of diversity in comic books, that is, graphic novels. It seems that outside of that world of bookstores and its audience of the literate, the linkage that comic book equals superheroes has only gotten stronger and stronger as superhero movies have grown in popularity. A corollary to this is that newsprint, where the varied genre world of newspaper comic strips, is continuing in its death spiral (though, in some ways, the language of newspaper strips is morphed into the world of "memes" on the world wide web).

But looked at in isolation based upon the concerns of the comic book industry itself, funneled through the monopoly of Steve Geppi's Diamond Distributors, it is almost as if the only genre left standing, able to produce a large enough cash flow to pay a large group of artists and writers to make another months edition of whatever serial property they are working on, is the superhero comics.

Anyone inside a book store (or watching TV) knows that there are dozens of main genres of interest to the American entertainment audience, and there are hundreds and hundreds of sub-genres. The comic book art form is able to accommodate anything that has a visual quality to it, and is actually ideal for any genre where the physical description of objects is important (in superhero books it is depicting the human body and physical violence).

Manga in Japan has an audience that will buy all kinds of books that are immersed into non-superhero worlds (corporate romance, sports, etc), why isn't that also true in the United States? Is there a stigma on superhero comics that influences the acceptability of anything that looks like a comic book at all? There's a lot of questions bound up in the question of why Japanese manga, in translation, is able to succeed so well in the United States, and any American equivalent isn't able to get anywhere near that same success.

Original springboard for this at trade publication Publishers World

Is Superman the Hulk?

That is, the theory going around is that DC/Warners could be using Superman in the movie DCU the way Hulk is used in the MCU. But there's a catch to this thinking:

...some love the idea, though personally, I don't know why anyone would get behind this. ...The MCU's situation with Hulk as a supporting character isn't so much a creative choice by Marvel Studios so much as it is the only way to continue to use Hulk frequently within the universe. Universal owns the distribution rights to Hul... the reality is that there are many at Marvel Studios, including Mark Ruffalo, who want to make a solo Hulk movie, and would love if Universal allowed for that to happen.

Story at Cinemablend


Mable Comics Group, Popcorn Edition

Comic book top ten sell list

Venom #25 is number one. Return of the comic sales tracking at Bleeding Cool

DC comics that are cancelled showing up at Walmart

And then on ebay, according to Bleeding Cool

Scoobie Movie retail display

David Ayers on Joker scenes cut from Suicide Squad

Story at Newsarama

"Gal Gadot thinks about Wonder Woman all the time" - Story at Contact Music

Apologies to Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot WW 1983

Gladiator sequel may be coming - story at Cinema Blend
Batman Pattison Fan Batsuit rendition

Batfan makes Batart of the new Batsuit for The Batman movie - picture and story at Movieweb

Why "Henry Cavill deserves another chance" as Superman

Argument made at UK Guardian

What's happening next for comic book stores

...Across the United States, local comic book shops have begun reopening, Diamond Comic Distributors resumed deliveries and DC Comics returned last week, and now Marvel Comics are back in shops as well. The number of new titles available are fewer than they were before the pandemic and the physical act of shopping looks a bit different, too -- many shops are requiring masks, the use of hand sanitizer, and social distancing measures in store for customer and staff safety -- but things definitely feel like a turning point..."

Article asks a number of comic book retailers about what they think is going to happen, and what they'd like to get from the industry (particularly Diamond Distributors). Included is a description of the dilemma where the whole industry relies upon Diamond which exercises outsized influence on the whole field.

Story at Comic Book

The entire cinematic MCU put into chronological order according to individual scenes...

...this only covers the 23 MCU movies so far. No ABC or Netflix TV shows, no shorts, no deleted scenes.

Obsessive labour by @tonygoldmark online at Twitter

DC launches digital only Batman web comics on Instagram

Story at Newsarama

DC Comics' Instagram page

Henry Cavill: back to the supersuit

...Cavill will reprise his Man of Steel role for upcoming DC films. However, there are chances he would be the Nick Fury of the DCEU. The report suggests that a Man of Steel sequel is not the works right now. Instead, he will play a mentor of sorts for newer superheroes entering the universe. It is possible that the actor could be seen in Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's Black Adam.

So says MSN News and the site The Wrap says "negotiations are in progress."


Three Bolivian brothers mistakenly think a black widow spider bite could give them Spider-Man abilities. Later at the hospital its clear that is not the case.

Story at IB Times

May 26, 2020

Will Affleck be turning his hand back to his incomplete Batman script, and doing a Batman V Deathstroke movie?

Batman Affleck

Maybe, claims MSN News

And, Cinemablend asks "will the cinematic DCU allow for two different Batmans?"

Batman: The Smile Killer

DC Comics Prestige format Black Label

Preview pages are at Newsarama

It somewhat reminded me of Brave and the Bold #111, 1974

Brave and the Bold number 111 splash page by Jim Aparo

We hate Justice League

An article at The Wrap on the "worst aspects " of the movie.

Batman vs Wolverine

Its not a "real book" but a fan project (its by Stephen Byrne) that Comic is fascinated with.

The DC August comics

Extolled at Newsarama

"Batman works from home"

May 22, 2020

New Yorker magazine with a phantasy piece in which a Bruce Wayne laments quarantine:

Today I baked bread, organized my canned goods, and polished all of my exploding gas balls. Again.

I thought this piece would be awful, and it ultimately is, but it does have some Batman-Lego style funny writing (with some mentions to the Cloony, and Val Kilmer Batman, which is also funny). But there's something about the snarky, detached New Yorker attitude that simultaneously tries to revel in pop culture, and to also be above it, sniggering. It's like a snob hitching a ride with a hillbilly, and being delighted for the lift and glad for the inspection affirming the distance between the two classes.

I think this is because this sort of snobbery is concerned with using key words that demonstrates a special knowledge and by its usage a superiority. New Yorker is often primarily about language (at which it has always excelled, as much as I have seen it) but the downfall is that it treats their special language as a consumer object, bestowing a superiority to the one who possesses and uses it, like a rich guy owning a yacht only others at his "level" can also own. Obviously, no consumer object makes a person a better human being, no matter how it might vault them up or down through artificial class strata.

Anyway, New Yorker's superior use of language and knowledge of culture would be better served without disdain being hurled down upon its "lessors."

The Joker Doll

With Snyder's Justice League cut coming, Affleck is back in the batsuit

And this raises questions at Cheatsheet

...To be fair, Affleck’s version of Batman was not that bad. But the actor’s legacy was hurt by a series of bad movies that were not entirely his fault. This started with his first appearance as the Caped Crusader was in the 2016 film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

"Not that bad" isn't (wasn't) the issue. Batman V Superman was an intelligent film that took on a lot more than what the usual superhero film tries to reach for (why wasn't it better appreciated? Was it because of the barrage of critical reaction that wanted a DC-version of Marvel, and not getting it, yelled 'foul'?) There was little wrong with the cast, but with how the cast was moved through the story and how dialogue was distributed (what little there was of it). Affleck (like Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill) were fine, but caged inside the plot. Hopefully, Snyder's new cut will straighten out a lot of this (the Cheatsheet piece by Perry Carpenter says that "giving each character additional time on-screen, which should add more depth to the storyline. Fans might even get to see more of the film’s main villain, Steppenwolf, as well as Darkseid actually making an appearance.") Perhaps Snyder can rehabilitate Steppenwolf, who was a thin, over bombastic villain in the worst traditions of comic book boasting badness, and one of the specific negatives in the film (a quite similar problem ultimately messed up the character Apocalpse, marring the otherwise fine superhero film X-Men Apocalypse.) No amount of expensive, gorgeous CGI can overcome the sheer repetitive blandness of a mediocre villain.

The coming lead up to Snyder's Justice League cut is going to put pressure on a lot of culture critics to heap new disdain on the former releases and to paint Snyder into a corner in which he'll have to take a new approach to get anything approaching a fair shake. I have no hope critics will rethink their former positions, many of which (in my thinking) were often critics reinforcing each others biases, not actually evaluating the Snyder film merits.

I'm making this defense of Snyder's ability not out of fannish affection. I have no real use for Watchmen, which did pretty well in the hearts of film critics. 300 was a huge upgrade on what was essentially an old fashioned sword-and-sandal movie (just as its progenitor truly was, the 1962 The 300 Spartans) but I can't claim it is a great film except within the confines of its genre (where it is pretty spectacular. But thats not saying a lot considering the competition).

Batman V Superman surprised me in two ways: it was smart (smarter than the usual superhero film) and it lacked dialogue, as if someone traded off spoken words in exchange for some other advantage, but in the end, bet the wrong way on an otherwise really good hand. That doesn't change that they held a really good hand, though.

DZEASED Parody cover

DC Connect premiers: online digital coming previews catalog

Seems like DC Comics is moving further away from Diamond by moving its DC previews into digital only DC Connect ?

In fact you can see the first DC Connect online here

Story at Bleeding Cool

Rebranding of Justice League into Justice League Unlimited fueled by toy sale concerns

Not exactly a surprise

Story at CBR

It's real: the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League is coming in 2021

With so many film productions stalled (or ended) because of the pandemic, a revised version of Justice League using Snyder's footage is a bigger event than it otherwise would be considering the lack of new product being made right now, which will equal thinner competition for viewer attention later. Snyder's originally intended film (and not the finished theatre version with Joss Whedon's $25 million dollar tinkering) was supposed to be a 3 hour project. News reports say Snyder has a $20 million budget to get "the Snyder Cut" finished.

Diamond Distributors shipping arriving at stores

May 20, 2020

Shipments include letter from Geppi.

Coverage of this story at Bleeding Cool includes pictures of the contents bent up corners from being packed poorly.

Comic book day: Tuesday vs Wednesday

Story at Newsarama

Preview of The Batman’s Grave #7

In these few pages, it looks like Batman only has darkened eye sockets instead of the usual white eye slits.

Preview at Newsarama

Archie Milestones on the racks

Grocery store cashier rack

Supergirl is ending with last two issues digital

However, the two digital-only issues will be printed into collections.

Story at Newsarama

Cancelled Super Girl

Batman Begins, Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises returns to Hong Kong theaters

Story at Gamespot

Will the next Mad Max movie not have Mad Max in it, nor Charlize Theron?

Story at Polygon

S NADIR Harley head smile

Harley Quinn series cancels out on issue #75

Story about this at Newsarama

The new comic book distribution wars

May 16, 2020

Article at Bleeding Cool

Comic book stores vs Covid

Story at Comic Book

Longish affectionate tribute to Calvin and Hobbes as an antidote to quarantine

A story at Polygon


The Batrod

The Comic Book Brain proposal for the new Batmobile for the coming Batman movie.