Tag Archives: grant morrison

SDCC 2015: Grant Morrison Reveals Multiversity Too and Batman: Black & White

multiversity 1 coverDuring his panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Grant Morrison revealed Multiversity Too, a line of original graphic novels based on his groundbreaking and bestselling titles from The Multiversity series of monthly comics and his Multiversity Guidebook. Fans will experience stories from throughout the 52 (or more?) worlds that make up Morrison’s Map of the Multiverse and whether it’s the further adventures of Earth-4’s Pax Americana, the New Reichsmen of Earth-10, the female-led Justice Guild of Earth-11 or even one of the seven “unknown worlds,” everything is fair game!

The series begins in 2016 with Multiversity Too: The Flash. But from which earth is anyone’s guess!

Morrison also provided early details on another series of graphic novels featuring everyone’s favorite Dark Knight in Batman: Black & White. This continuing anthology series pairs Morrison’s original Batman stories with a rotating cast of some of the biggest art talents in comics, that will only serve to highlight Grant’s one of a kind perspective when it comes to comics in general and Batman in particular.

Around the Tubes

San Diego Comic-Con is underway! What has you excited so far?

While you think about that, here’s some news to keep you busy.

Around the Tubes

The Beat – Grant Morrison Named Editor of Heavy Metal – Now you have my interest.

The Comichron – June 2015 comics sales estimates online; seven titles over 100,000 copies – Awesome to see!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Archie #1

Talking Comics – Strange Fruit #1

The Outhousers – Witchblade #183

BOOM! Studios Announces Grant Morrison & Dan Mora Team for Klaus

Around this time last year, BOOM! Studios announced they’d be working with the great Grant Morrison on a new title. Now, as part of their ramp-up to San Diego Comic-Con, they have announced that project!

Klaus is an all-ages fantasy epic starring one of the most well-known figures in the world, re-created for an audience raised on superheroes like Batman, Thor, and Iron Man. This is the story of how Santa Claus really began, drawing on his wilder roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism: What was he like when he was young? Why does he do what he does? And what happens when he faces his greatest challenge?

Klaus will feature interior art and main covers by Dan Mora and is set to debut in November.

Klaus #1 Cover by Dan Mora

Preview: Nameless #3

Nameless #3

Story By: Grant Morrison
Art By: Chris Burnham
Art By: Nathan Fairbairn
Cover By: Chris Burnham
Cover By: Nathan Fairbairn
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: FEB150619
Published: April 8, 2015

As the exploration of vast structures on the surface of the asteroid Xibalba begins, more nightmarish secrets of a prehistoric cosmic war come crawling into the light. What soul-destroying truth lies buried in Xibalba’s immense tunnel network? What malignancies lie dreaming there? What is human? And what is NOT?

Nameless03_Cover

Preview: Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #6

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #6

Joe Casey (w)
Nick Dragotta, Michel Fiffe, Jim Mahfood, Benjamin Marra, Dan McDaid, Tradd Moore, Grant Morrison, Jim Rugg (a)
Nathan Fox (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Nathan Fox “Virgin” Art retailer incentive cover

Get ready for an all-cosmic, all-action “zap-out”! The search for Captain Victory comes to a climatic head in this star-studded sixth issue! You won’t believe just how far your mind can expand until you read this issue, utilizing an army of artists to deliver the galactic goods! Feel the adrenaline pulsing through you with high-octane artwork from Nick Dragotta, Michel Fiffe, Nathan Fox, Jim Mahfood, Benjamin Marra, Dan McDaid, Tradd Moore, and Grant Morrison! Yes, THAT Grant Morrison!

Victory06-Cov-A-Fox

Preview: Nameless #2

Nameless #2

Story By: Grant Morrison
Art By: Chris Burnham
Art By: Nathan Fairbairn
Cover By: Chris Burnham
Cover By: Nathan Fairbair
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JAN150694
Published: March 4, 2015

On a former U.S. moonbase, kept secret since the Cold War, a terrible key unlocks an ancient box and a last-ditch plan is drafted to save humanity from the doomsday asteroid Xibalba— but is it already too late? The nightmare intensifies in MORRISON & BURNHAM’s apocalyptic occult horror epic!

Nameless02_Cover

By The Numbers: January 2015

By The Numbers: January 2015

Welcome readers for the first article in a new series at Graphics Policy!  Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money!  What does your money tell them?  What does it tell us as fans?  What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out?  What are the trends?  What looks good?  What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor.  He’s worked in the industry for 5 years but grew up reading comics.  He loves the format deeply and spends way too much time concerned that his favorite books will be cancelled.  He intends to use these articles to help as therapy for his OCD.  He also releases comics now and then and has a weekly column right here at Graphics Policy where he talks about whatever takes his fancy.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the Death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for GrayHaven Comics, in addition to his day job. He started out as a DC Zombie, but has broadened his tastes to Marvel and indie books in recent years. He follows the comic sales charts obsessively, primarily to cheer on Magneto’s steady hold each month.

All sales figures retrieved from ICv2.com

What Went Well

Glenn:  Well obviously the big debut and the big story this month is Marvel new Star Wars title which sold just over an astounding 985 thousand copies.  I don’t recall a Marvel book selling that well since the Obama, Amazing issue and I don’t think it did those kind of numbers right away.

This property is obviously back at Marvel who had in initially in the 70’s after being a solid backbone of Dark Horse for 20 years or so.  I don’t think the Dark Horse versions of the Star Wars comics ever broke 6 figures.  Why do you think that is here?

Ray:  I agree, this is just incredible. I think the Obama issue sold something in the 350K range, and that was a cultural event. This is probably the highest sales for any comic since the 90s. The big question, of course, is how it holds up from here, but the early rumors is that #2 sold over 200K. That would put it in a position to regularly be the top selling comic on the stands.

I think the big x-factor here is probably the sense of a new beginning. This is no longer expanded universe stuff, catering to an audience of die-hards following the complex continuity of the books and comics. This is the start of a new era, where the story of the original characters will continue in the movies. I think it felt much more important to the larger Star Wars fandom at large. I think the comic benefitted from that a lot, as well as the huge creative team and glut of variant covers, of course. It’s pretty much a perfect storm for massive success.

Another big success story for Marvel is Thor. This seems to be a rare case of a new status quo actually delivering a lasting sales change. The combination of buzz for the new female Thor and the continued excellence of the Aaron run has turned this into the second-highest selling Marvel Universe series, only behind Amazing Spider-man.

It’s a smaller-scale success, of course, but I feel like the debut of Jonathan Hickman’s The Dying and the Dead is noteworthy as well. Launching with 32K for a creator-owned book is pretty impressive in the superhero-dominated top 100.

I feel like the news is a bit more mixed for this month’s other four big Marvel debuts, though.

Glenn:  Yeah, it seems the big media push they gave the new Thor paid off.  This is likely why they have also decided to do a whole team of female Avenger’s.

It doesn’t seem like it’s paid off as well on the new Captain America but we’ll get there.

It seems like Hickman has now become a name that sells on its own.  I mean he’s been one of Marvel’s big names the last few years now, he actually made the Fantastic Four sell better than it has for like…years.  I’m not surprised his creator owned stuff would do well, he’s on the same level as Snyder who seemingly will get a big debut with Wytches.

Batman, Amazing and Walking Dead seem to be the reliable sellers for their respective companies.  It seems that concerns that Superior sales wouldn’t carry over to a Peter Parker led book but it seems those fears at least have been quelled but I’m sure Spider-Verse has helped there.

I think it should be noted that currently, Walking Dead is the cheapest book in the top ten and two of those books in the top ten were 4.99, which to me, could be a scary sign of things to come.

A new launch this month was Ant Man which debuted at number 7 with just over 70 thousand copies sold.  I’m not expected this to last up there, to be honest.   Even with the movie coming out.

Ray:  All-New Captain America did fall pretty hard right off the bat. I don’t think Remender’s style is really clicking with what the public expects a Cap comic to be, but this did make up for some of the slipping sales of the previous run. I think the timing of this run, with Sam Wilson debuting as Cap and then promptly being inverted to be evil, took a lot of the wind out of its sales.

Ant-Man debuted impressively for what it was, for sure. I think the critical acclaim might help it to keep some of its momentum, at least a bit longer than some books. It’s interesting that it debuted roughly in the same level as Uncanny Avengers, another big launch this month. I expect both of them to drop a good deal next month, just based on the pattern for Marvel relaunches lately.

One of Marvel’s most significant debuts this month was the weekly series “Wolverines“. This is their first foray into weeklies, as well as the first weekly comic priced at $3.99 besides the unconventional “Wednesday Comics“. It debuts in the top ten – and then promptly slips hard the same month, with #2 landing at #25 and out of the top 30 by #4. By the end of its first month – all ordered at the same time – it’s selling well below Batman: Eternal, which is almost a year in. If I was Marvel, I’d be pretty worried about what this looks like once orders get adjusted for the following months.

Glenn:  Well to me, since Brubaker left and really since Bucky stopped being Captain America, the book has struggled.  When you had Death Of Cap, obviously that was a big thing but then the book sold continuously well.  It just seems to be one of those nuts that overall are hard to crack, like Fantastic Four or Superman.  By all intents and purposes, those books SHOULD sell but for some reason or another they’re (at best) middle of the road.

Yeah no doubt.  I kind of made the joke that by killing Wolverine, Marvel have only made him stronger.  Overall they’re still coming out because instead of one Wolverine book that sells like 50-70 k or whatever, you have 4 so overall they’re ahead.

Squirrel Girl seems to have had a solid launch too for a D list (being generous) character.  Maybe because of her exposure on Bendis Avenger’s run but I think that’ll be short lived too.

One of the big surprises is having the Star Trek/Planet Of The Apes mini do so well.  I can’t remember what the Doctor Who crossover sold but I think this is a pretty solid debut.

Ray:  Squirrel Girl is a big question mark. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is closer to the mark in terms of demand than some of the other debuts, and so it starts lower but might hold better. I assume Marvel is trying for the same audience that is buying Ms. Marvel, and it’s not a bad idea. Of course, next month will tell the tale.

I’m pretty sure that is a very impressive debut for a licensed comic. One factor that might have helped it is that it’s one of the seven books that were sold on New Year’s Eve. Those tend to be ordered heavily because casual readers might take a chance on them during an unusually small week.

Steady books/books in the middle

Ray:  The first thing I notice is that comedy is still doing well. Harley Quinn, of course, is probably the most surprising big hit out of DC in years, and is still hanging around just below the top ten. Not a surprise this creative team is getting a new book and a spin-off in June. And Rocket Raccoon is hanging around in the upper 30s, about 40 spots before the other Guardians spin-offs. I expect to see more of this type of book from the companies.

Wonder Woman had a brief peak when the Finches landed on the title, but now it’s selling at about the same level as the end of the Azzarello run with far weaker response. DC has to be a bit worried about that one.

I’m surprised SHIELD fell this far with its second issue, from a top ten debut. I’m less surprised by the drops for Angela and Spider-man & the X-men, as those two seemed like they were dropped with relatively little fanfare. It’s a bit surreal to see an Angela comic in the top 50 again, heh.

Glenn:  I actually thought that they might be looking at the people buying Harley Quinn, the success of that book may be the oddest thing to happen in years.

Wonder Woman will be definitely one to watch, I think.  I mean the Azzarello run wasn’t a best seller but it was extremely stable.  Putting Finch on will definitely keep those sales but like you said, the critical response has been less than generous.  If Finch can stay on schedule, it may be fine but its likely to face a creative overall after Convergence I’d say.

SHIELD is kind of something with a specific hook.  It’s a kind of fringe book that don’t tend to stay stable long at the big two.  It kind of makes you wonder that if the same premise and writer had been done at Image how it would have performed in the current market.

I think a lot of the success of ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ has to attributed to Jason Aaron, now he’s gone and they’re trying to shoe horn Spider-Man in, I think this is the kind of response the current comic market will give you.  I’m as big a Spidey fan as anyone but I’m not picking up this book, it seems to be a bit of a hail Mary to me.

A lot of indie/creator owned books seem to stabilize very quickly.  They might not do as big number as say Amazing or Batman but the audience seems more dedicated.  No one can overlook the success of Star Wars this month but as you said, its set to lose like 700 thousand sales in one issue.  It seems like most Image or Dark Horse or whoever books obviously launch a lot lower but suffer less of a drop.

Green Lantern and Green Arrow have both seen better days at DC but both are stable sellers.  Of course, we’ve found out recently that Green Arrow is set for another creative change which I believe is the 5th since the new 52 launch 3 years ago.

Ray:  I think it’s actually six creative changes. All but one of them (the acclaimed Lemire/Sorrentino run) have only lasted one arc. And that’s not counting Judd Winick’s one-off. This title has been in creative flux since moment one. With Green Lantern, I think this is sort of course correction after they lost their A-list creator in Johns. The line will be paring back to only three books come June, which seems like a smart move.

Looking at the other weeklies for DC, it’s a world between Eternal and these books. Futures End is sort of a mid-level performer, but World’s End is really sinking fast. It probably doesn’t help that the title lost its chief architect right before the weekly began, with Tom Taylor leaving the line.

I must say, I’m sad to see three of my favorite Bat-books, Gotham Academy, Gotham By Midnight, and the short-lived Arkham Manor sinking out of the top 100 so quickly. These are clever, unique books, but they don’t seem to be reaping the benefit that Bat-titles seem to get.

This is where we start to see a lot of lower-tier books from Marvel and DC that just aren’t finding their footing, unfortunately. And I think the fact that Hulk’s main title is selling scarcely 1K more than Magneto’s solo book is testament to the diminishing returns we’re seeing with Marvel’s frequent relaunches. I’m interested to see if Secret Wars and the likely relaunch that follows will turn this around, or if we’ll continue to see the huge starts and huge drops. Marvel has developed a strategy of using tons of variant covers and mainstream press to launch huge, but it doesn’t seem to be carrying over past the first month or two.

Glenn:  This to me presents two very big problems in this market at the moment.  Firstly, people say they want something a little different/off-beat but when they deliver, it doesn’t seem that the market indicates the demand.

The second problem is like you mentioned, diminishing returns.  Back in the day, a relaunch was a big, big deal but 30’s-50’s, especially in terms of Marvel are rare.  It just seems to be relaunch, boom, sink, relaunch and so on and so on.

The Danger Zone

Glenn: This may sound a bit random but I noticed Halo on the charts, near the bottom.  I remember when this property was a big deal at Marvel, it seems to have fallen in a major way.

Then again, outside of the monster hit that it was Star Wars, it seems a very bad time for properties in the industry.  A lot of them are scarping around the low end of 5 figures.  Most of them are even being outsold by creator owned.  It doesn’t seem that properties like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Tomb Raider and more have a place in today’s market.

It also looks to me that Constantine is now down to the level ‘Hellblazer’ was at during its Vertigo days.  It’s due for a rebranding following Convergence though.

I would think that Bucky would be performing better given the fact that this title is essentially a follow on from ‘Original Sin’ and he was in a movie a lot of people went to see.

Ray: I also forgot Marvel was even putting out Halo comics, to be honest. And outside of Star Wars, as you said, it seems very hard for licensed comics to get any traction. Besides that and the Star Trek/Apes crossover, the next one down is My Little Pony all the way at 119, and that’s clearly an unconventional mix of fanbases driving it. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the TMNT/Ghostbusters crossover are hanging around the mid-130s. It seems like there’s a lot of problems getting a significant portion of the original fan base to check out the comic.

Constantine fell to earth rather quickly. I’m not surprised they’re relaunching it – it was the lowest-selling un-cancelled DC book for a while, before the Earth 2 tie-in briefly boosted its sales. While the relaunch should help, I wonder if the character is just a bit too unconventional to sell to a wide superhero audience.

With Bucky’s book, I think this is just a mismatch of property and comic. Original Sin was rather poorly received, and it has an odd concept with Bucky in space fighting aliens. I think if they launched a spy comic starring the Winter Soldier that resembled the movie more, they might have done better.

Two comics that jump out at me are Klarion at 225 and Star-Spangled War Stories at 245. For main-line DC comics only a few issues in, that’s shocking. It’s interesting that DC’s experiments in unconventional, non-superhero comics like these are landing with such a thud, but they seem to be doubling down on this type of book with the June relaunch. What is their plan to make things like Prez, Doomed, Bizarro, and Omega Men succeed, when they’ve had such trouble recently?

Glenn:  I think they’re going to be looking to replicate the success they’ve had with Harley but to me, that might be lightning in a bottle.

Again, at least they’re trying new things, which is fans say they want but sales prove different.

It’ll be an interesting summer at both companies, for sure.

Coming up next month

Ray: Looking ahead to next month, it’s sort of the calm before the storm. Next month’s chart will have a few interesting points, though. We’ve got the launch of Grant Morrison’s first Image ongoing, The Nameless. Marvel is bringing us the next Star Wars launch in Darth Vader, plus the internet phenomenon of Spider-Gwen makes its ongoing debut. Those will probably be dueling for #1. There’s also the launch of Silk, a more controversial character that Marvel has a lot of faith in. It’ll be interesting to see how those books shake up the charts.

Glenn: It should be the debut of Wytches on the sales chart, I believe.  I think this one might be one of the big winners from the company.  You’re right though, the majority of books will be treading water sales wise until we get our annual huge shake up.  Most of the ones to watch next month will be the indie books.  I’m personally hoping that Nailbiter can gain a stronger following over time.  Once upon a time, Walking Dead was down that part of the charts too.

Enjoyed what you read?  Let us know and follow us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

 

 

 

 

Review: Nameless #1

Nameless01

Grant Morrison is a tricky son of a bitch.

He’s one of the most celebrated and genuinely talented writers in the comic book industry, despite proudly living on a planet all his own. At first glance, much of his work appears to be complete gibberish, and that’s certainly the case with his latest release, Nameless #1. This Image Comics debut, drawn by Chris Burnham, throws readers into the dark with little help and keeps going and going whether one is caught up or not. Even keeping in mind the comic’s heavy, difficult manner of storytelling, however, Morrison has yet another success on his hand with this wonderfully well-crafted release steeped in fantasy, science fiction and horror, held together with a strong thematic backbone.

Any Morrison aficionado knows that the man is obsessed with the concept of reality, clashed in his work against dreams, psychedelics, fourth-wall-breaking, or what have you. Despite such a common approach in his work, the stuff he puts out is rarely redundant. Nameless indeed feels unique, focusing on the dream world as a means of escape from the harsh environment of reality. One page towards the beginning is particularly compelling, with strung together narration boxes stacking worldwide human catastrophe upon catastrophe, including female genital mutilation and acid attacks. These atrocities ramp up and up and up until it overwhelms, with larger and bolder text set to increasingly dire and tense imagery to the back of the text. It’s easy to see how horror will play into this series going forward, and it looks to be immensely fascinating and unsettling.

The main character is able to take the reins on his dream-self to escape to a realm rife with abstract renditions of the actual world he lives in. When one ignores all of the heady, high-concepts at play and all of the obscure storytelling, Nameless #1 is a simple adventure comic, about a man with magic powers hired by top men to find a mcguffin believed to help save the world. This simple and fun concept seems like a great way to anchor a series that is so far swimming around in murky, abstruse waters.

Readers are given no explanation for how the protagonist gained his powers, no explanation for how he uses him, no explanation for how many others share his powers, no explanation for what the heck this mcguffin is or how it works, etc. Besides that, whenever he dives into the dream world, nothing makes any solid sense, naturally enough. Nameless is challenging but it’s worth digging into for the deep stuff it’s playing around with, especially considering how expertly it’s crafted.

Morrison and Burnham go back to the synergy that made their amazing work on Batman, Inc. together possible with Nameless, working in perfect harmony. This comic displays amazing understanding of the medium, and Burnham’s drawings are so damn good on their own. The way all of the panels are presented forgoes the standard order in exchange for often rounded boxes and layouts that almost look three-dimensional at times. A certain visual motif is sure to be burned into the minds of readers, and Nathan Fairbairn’s often highly contrasting coloring nails a dream-like feel when it needs to. The pacing is also excellent; this comic never takes a break, beaming itself into one’s noggin in a way that cleverly stinks of the creepy, unsettling, and overwhelming unreal atmosphere it creates.

Burnham knows how to draw, using his signature bombastic, sharp style to deliver some truly awesome visuals. He has the technical skill needed to keep up with his writer, from the rain that actually looks to be rapidly hitting the ground to the intricate, nuanced detail in movement necessary to transition one panel to the next. His pencils look constantly extreme, from exaggerated facial expressions to creatures practically dripping with menace.

Like a lot of Morrison’s work, Nameless will leave many frustrated after just a single read. Anyone inclined to challenge themselves with potentially poignant fiction will realize just how special this first issue is, though.

Story: Grant Morrison Art: Chris Burnham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Check out Matt’s digital portfolio here

Preview: Nameless #1

Nameless #1

Story By: Grant Morrison
Art By: Chris Burnham
Art By: Nathan Fairbairn
Cover By: Chris Burnham
Cover By: Nathan Fairbairn
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: DEC140599
Published: February 4, 2015

An astronomer kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning. A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares. An occult hustler known only as ‘Nameless’ is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission. And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth. But nothing is what it seems—a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin. Abandon all hope and experience ultimate horror in NAMELESS.

Nameless01_Cover

Preview: All-New Miracleman Annual #1 Unites Morrison, Quesada, Milligan & Allred!

New Year’s Eve is about to get even more miraculous as four of the biggest names in comic book history bring you new Miracleman stories for a new generation. Today, Marvel is pleased to present your new look at All-New Miracleman Annual #1, uniting celebrated comic creators Grant Morrison, Joe Quesada, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred for one, star-studded issue that should not be missed!

First, a story over 20 years in the making – Grant Morrison’s long-lost Miracleman tale will finally see print for the first time! Famously unpublished, this much talked about Morrison script will finally be brought to life by legendary artist & Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada! A much talked about piece of Miracleman history, experience the foreboding tale of the one Kid Miracleman on the eve of the Battle of London!

Then, comic superstars and fan-favorite X-Statix creators Peter Milligan and Mike Allred take you back to the glory days for an all-new Miracleman classic! Miracleman, Kid Miracleman and Young Miracleman do battle against the awesome and terrifying might of Dr. Gargunza! Yet something is not right. A sense of unease. Something in MIracleman’s own mind! What is Project Zarathustra?

If that wasn’t enough to make All-New Miracleman Annual #1 the can’t miss comic of the year, this issue also comes jam-packed with extras including Grant Morrison’s original script, sketches, original art and more!

Launching alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 as one of only two Marvel comics on-sale New Year’s Eve, these two must read issues will help you close out 2014 with a bang! Be there when Morrison, Quesada, Millgan and Allred unite for the most star-studded comic you’ll read all year! Don’t miss All-New Miracleman Annual #1 – hitting comic shops and digital devices on 12/31!

ALL-NEW MIRACLEMAN ANNUAL #1 (OCT140868)
Written by GRANT MORRISON & PETER MILLIGAN
Art by JOE QUESADA & MIKE ALLRED
Cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO
Variant Covers by JOE QUESADA (OCT140869) & JEFF SMITH (OCT140871)
Sketch Variant by JOE QUESADA (OCT140870)
FOC – 12/01/14, On Sale 12/31/14

All_New_Miracleman_Annual_Cover

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