Category Archives: Spotlight

Superstar Creator Rafael Albuquerque Speaks Out about Berganza and DC Comics

With the line feeling like it’s finally being drawn and more and more speaking out about harassment everywhere creators are coming forward in signs of support and also taking a stand.

Rafael Albuquerque is taking a stand with after the recent Buzzfeed article laid out in detail the failure of DC Comics and Warner Bros. leadership to adequately handle ongoing harassment by editor Eddie Berganza.

Albuquerque is an award winning artist who has worked for DC Comics, Vertigo, Marvel, Dark Horse, BOOM!, Oni Press, and Image Comics. For DC he most recently worked on All-Star Batman, but also worked on Animal Man, Batgirl, Batman, Blue Beetle, among others, as well as American Vampire for Vertigo.

Rafael Albuquerque wrote on Facebook:

I love DC Comics characters since I can remember. First watching them on TV then with Batman movies and those definitely brought me to comics, where I could find my voice, my home. Having spent almost my whole career working for this company made me feel part of a family. That’s how important DC Comics is for me, and I believe that I can speak for many creators who have similar paths.

Maybe, by writing this, I might be jeopardizing my career over there, but I can’t just stay silent about what happened with our colleagues who reported sexual harassment. They probably had the same feeling about DC Comics, and probably felt the same way I did when they became part of the family, and suddently their careers were harmed by someone who just didn’t realized, respected or cared enough to understand that a power position is a privilege that must be used wisely and fairly.

DC Comics, you mean the world to me, but it’s time for you to make the right call, not just for your image, but also to show that there is no place for this kind of behavior in this industry and neither in our society.

I spent the whole day afraid to speak out. I shouldn’t and I won’t anymore. Neither any professional should be anymore.

Naval Institute Press’ Dead Reckoning Hints at Its First Graphic Novel (Updated)

Naval Institute Press is setting its sights on the comic industry with their new imprint Dead Reckoning. Announced in October, the new line of comics and graphic novels will launch in the Fall 2018 with full-length original graphic novels and collections of classic comics with a special focus on military and naval history, military and naval biography, general history, and stories of the high seas.

The new imprint will launch with an initial list of five titles and then expand to 10-12 titles per year in 2019. Subject matter ranges from infamous settings like World War I and the Vietnam War to more recent conflicts like the war in Afghanistan as well as memoirs and biographies.

Though the new imprint was announced, not much is known as to what to expect and what we might see. In honor of Veteran’s Day the publisher might have given us our first hint in an email that honored those that have served.

The comics community has faithfully portrayed men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. Counted among its creative ranks are those who have served as well.

This and every Veterans Day, we honor our veterans, past and present, who have given so much to our country and whose stories are immortalized in comics.

The Naval Institute Press extends our gratitude for dynamically capturing the veteran experience.

Respectfully yours,

Naval Institute Press
U.S. Naval Institute

The below image and caption were included. So expect The Flying Column illustrated by Bill Reinhold some time in the future. Whether it’ll be the first released remains to be seen, but it’s the first title we know of and part of a creative team.

IIlustration by Bill Reinhold from the upcoming graphic novel The Flying Column.

Update: We’ve gotten word from writer Carl Potts that The Flying Column won’t be part of the first wave of graphic novels from Naval Institute Press but will be hopefully published “not too long after the launch of the Dead Reckoning imprint.”

The story is based on Potts’ family experiences in the Philippines during World War II. The Flying Column is the first in a two-volume story with the second volume titled Guests of the Emperor. Potts also provided an article with an overview of the events the two volumes cover.

Exclusive Preview: Trinity #15

Trinity #15

Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Mick Gray, V Ken Marion
Cover: Philip Tan
Variant Cover: Ben Oliver
U.S. Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: November 15, 2017

“DARK DESTINY” finale! Constantine’s quick thinking has bought the trinity some time, but is it enough for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to stop Circe and Ra’s al Ghul from unleashing the Pandora Pits? Uncertainties mount as Red Hood, Artemis and Bizarro rush in to…save the day?

Exclusive Preview: Secret Warriors #8

Secret Warriors #8

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Will Robson (A/CA) Javi Garron
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 15, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Mister Sinister turns his experimental talents on the Inhumans! Sinister has plagued the X-Men for years in his attempt to jump forward mutantkind’s next evolutionary step. Now, he’s looking to evolve the Inhumans – by kidnapping and torturing them! It’s up to the Secret Warriors, the greatest team of Inhumans on Earth, to stop him. But what happens when their most fearsome warrior, Karnak, leaves to pursue his own agenda?

A Comic Anthology Celebrating 100 Years of Women Gaining the Vote in the UK

Two Scottish comic publishers, 404 Ink and BHP Comics, are teaming up for an comic anthology that’ll celebrate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the UK.

We Shall Fight Until We Win celebrates the century since women gained the right to vote in the UK. That happened in 1918 and the comics within the anthology will reflect on that historic event as well as the “many pioneering women who have been, and are part of the ongoing fight”.

Women had been able to vote in the UK up until the 1832 Reform Act specified “male persons.” Throughout the 19th century women became politically active to advocate for female suffrage.

The anthology will be released in June 2018 with a Kickstarter fundraising campaign launching in January 2018.

Submissions are still open and comic creators interested should head to their site to find out more information and the process to take part. The deadline is November 17.

In the announcement the publishers said:

From suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst and Sophia Duleep Singh, through the ‘firsts’ in politics like Nancy Astor, the first female member of Parliament to take her seat, and Diane Abbott, the first black woman to hold a seat in the House of Commons, to many of the women heading up politics today, this graphic novel tells their stories – some well-known, some less so – by a mix of contributors to celebrate the landmark and achievements of many incredible women.

404 Ink added in the announcement:

We’re delighted to be partnering with BHP Comics to release We Shall Fight Until We Win. Celebrating the lives of women through our debut book Nasty Women has been an incredible experience and we’re excited to work with one of our favourite publishers to continue doing this but by looking at women throughout history in the UK.

BHP Comics also said:

Working with 404 Ink is really exciting for us at BHP Comics. We look forward to exploring the lives of the women who won the right to vote and those who have utilised their political position since in We Shall Fight Until We Win.

(via The Bookseller)

Brian Michael Bendis Joins DC in an Exclusive Deal

If you had bets as to announcements that were going to get dropped today, I doubt this is one you’d expect. DC Comics has announced they have signed an EXCLUSIVE contract with Brian Michael Bendis, a creator who is widely considered one of the chief architects for Marvel Comics over the past decade+.

The “multi-year, multi-faceted” deal was announced this morning by the comics publisher.

Bendis responded with:

This is real. I love you all. Change is good. Change is healthy. I am bursting with ideas and inspirations. Details to come! Stay tuned!

Bendis was recently a part of Marvel’s Marvel Legacy push writing Jessica Jones, The Defenders, Invincible Iron Man, and Spider-Man. It is assumed this will begin after his arcs on those series wrap up. In 2015 Bendis signed an exclusive deal with Marvel. On top of Powers, Bendis is known for his extensive run on Ultimate Spider-Man, the creation of Miles Morales, and has written every major character for the company in some way. His work with them goes back to 2000 with them.

Kevin Smith Gives a Sam & Twitch Update at DC’s “An Evening With”

Sunday night writer/director/actor/podcaster/pot enthusiast Kevin Smith hosted “An Evening With” at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC. Smith covered a range of topics including his family, career, and more in a 2 hour chat where he was his usual entertaining and open self.

When it came to the question and answer point, one audience member asked Smith about upcoming projects (Smith had already talked about the ups and downs about Mallrats 2 and Clerks 3).

Smith did cover some interesting tidbits concerning his work on a possible Sam & Twitch television series. Sam & Twitch is based on the comic character who debuted in Todd McFarlane and Image Comics’ Spawn and eventually spun out into their own series.

The series would be like Kolchak: The Night Stalker with the two characters solving mysterious crime involving monsters and demons. Smith has written the pilot and and outline for the proposed eight episodes. The series would air on BBC following the next season of Doctor Who, but that all depends on the current Dirk Gently series. Smith explained with the end of the second season of that series the actors would renegotiate their contracts and based on that result, it would then determine if there was enough of a budget for Sam & Twitch.

If It’s the X-Men in the MCU That You’re Focused On, Your Priorities are Skewed

Today, the entertainment industry was chattering away as the news broke that 21st Century Fox and Disney were in negotiations for Disney to purchase some of Fox’s business. The television properties would remain but it’s believed Fox’s movie business and tv production would head to Disney if the deal went through according to CNBC, though Bloomberg has reported the deal is dead right now.

The news spread across the geek-o-sphere with sites excited about seeing the X-Men, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four back at Marvel and part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Marvel is owned by Disney). They were excited that Star Wars: A New Hope would be with Lucasfilm which meant original cuts and more!

Beyond the fact that none of this is happening any time soon, what these sites overlooked in their naivete is that Disney gobbling up some of Fox’s entertainment business further consolidates movie and television production and increasing Disney’s power and control. And currently, Disney is being pretty evil.

In the early 1980s US media was held by just 50 corporations — and the number has dropped to only a handful since then. Reported in 2012, Business Insider just 6 corporations control 90% of the media in America. Things have shifted a bit since then, but reality is just a few corporations control the vast majority of the movies, television, newspapers, and radio you listen to and consume. Disney’s purchase of Fox’s movie and television production would allow them to flex even more weight and in a way that harms consumers.

Here’s just a few ways things can go off the rail:

  • Disney has “launched” their own movie service, “Movies Anywhere” after they pulled out of their deal with Netflix. Along with Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony Pictures, and Twentieth Century Fox have all signed on to the service. While there’s some good in how the service works, having the studio controlling a major distribution channel is rife for abuse, especially if they were to own Fox too. They could pull all that content from Netflix and other services making Movies Anywhere the only online digital app to view their films legally. Add in the power of the data gained from consumers using their own app and you have a scenario where others can be muscled out or muscled to take part decreasing consumer choice and increasing costs.

Disney and Fox, as well as Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, own stakes in Hulu. And while they have signed a deal with that service, there is no reason that couldn’t end if Disney were to control Fox or a deal pressed against Hulu which the service couldn’t accept and survive.

  • Speaking of increasing costs, Disney has been muscling theaters to pay more for their films. Disney has recently had two recent spats with theaters over Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi where they demanded greater cuts to show their films and greater demands as to what screens the films will be seen on. Movie consolidation would allow Disney to continue this trend either causing ticket prices to increase, theaters to stop showing their films, or theaters even going out of business. Again, a bad deal for consumers.
  • Disney is currently pulling access for reporters over coverage they didn’t like (this negative piece could get us blacklisted for all I know). Disney has banned The Los Angeles Times from all advance screenings of their movies as a vindictive response to an investigative piece it published on Disney’s relationship to the city of Anaheim. Other sites have joined in with the Los Angeles Times in solidarity such as the AV Club and Washington Post. Imagine that extending further to any article Disney deems as negative freezing them out and only providing access to those who will only provide positive coverage. This is a chilling effect for entertainment coverage and free press. This consolidation would give Disney somewhere between 30-40% of the movie market share.

So before you celebrate how the X-Men might fight the Avengers, stop to think how if that happens you could have less choices in how you see that film and pay more to do so.

Thor: Ragnarok is About Colonialism Come Back to Haunt

*Warning Spoilers Below*

Thor: Ragnarok is exciting the box office with an impressive $121 million domestic debut and over $431 million already. While audiences are praising the humor, visuals, and fun nature of the film, it also has an impressively thought out theme underneath exploring colonialism through it’s two main adversaries.

Director Taika Waititi‘s Te-Whanau-a-Apanui (Maori) descent and the European colonization of his native New Zealand makes you wonder if these themes are on purpose and come from his own personal history.

The film features the return of Hela, Thor and Loki’s half sister and Odin’s daughter. Hela was banished by Odin because she became too out of control and destructive but Hela reveals it might also have been to hide Odin’s crimes as he built Asgard. Also in the film is the Grandmaster, an Elder of the Universe who rules over Sakaar pitting individuals against each other in gladiatorial contests for the people’s entertainment.

The Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, is the colonial conqueror. It’s clear this character is not from Sakaar based on his appearance and while we don’t know the specifics of his rise it’s obvious that he exploits the masses to live a life of opulence. In return he entertains through battles like the gladiators of old. While in the comics the character has blue skin, here he’s white and while there were other reasons for the change (the director has said he avoided blue to have the character not be prepared to a previous Goldblum role) it’s hard to not see the white conqueror in the character. Garbage falls from the sky to liter the world and beings are captured to do battle for entertainment. The Grandmaster’s exploitation is for his own power and amusement, not benefiting the people or his “nation.”

Thor: How did you end up here?
Korg: Well, I tried to start a revolution, but didn’t print enough pamphlets so hardly anyone turned up. Except for my mum and her boyfriend, who I hate. As punishment, I was forced to be in here and become a gladiator. Bit of a promotional disaster that one, but I’ m actually organizing another revolution. I don’t know if you’d be interested in something like that? Do you reckon you’d be interested?

While the movie doesn’t go deep into the history of the Grandmaster and its people, the kicker at the end of the film makes it obvious this was not one of the people’s choosing. After an uprising breaks out over the planet, we’re returned to the aftermath at the end of the film when the Grandmaster says:

I just, I gotta say. I’m proud of you all. This revolution has been a huge success. Yay us! Pat, pat on the back. Pat on the back. Come on. No? Me, too. ‘Cause I’ve been a big part of it. Can’t have a revolution without somebody to overthrow! So, ah, you’re welcome. And, uh, it’s a tie.

By his words and the reactions of those around him, it removes any doubt that this was a benevolent rule and this quick scene speaks to the relationship between ruler and its people.

Played by Cate Blanchett, Hela is the true villain of the film attacking and then overtaking Asgard as its new ruler. While she stamps out any resistance, it’s what’s revealed that makes it clear the wise Odin (her father and previous ruler) isn’t as benevolent as we have been led to believe the last two films. Asgard is a land of beauty with gold towers and flowing robes. But, how did it gain such extravagance? Hela reveals that Odin waged war against the other realms using Hela as his weapon of choice and then stripping those conquered of their raw materials. The revelation hearkens to the relationship that has plagued our real world for so long and continues to this day in the raw materials used to produce in our consumer drive lives.

We see the past literally being covered up when Hela walks into the Asgard throne room tearing down a mural on a ceiling revealing a far more sinister historical one underneath. At this moment she literally tears down the veiled lies.

Hela: [sees a mural of Odin’s work] Gardens and goblets? Peace offerings? All his deeds of peace… none of what he did to get it!
[tears down the mural to reveal a dark mural underneath]

For hundreds of years nations have waged war against each other conquering others and forcefully taking manual labor, raw materials, and leaving destruction in its wake. Hela reveals this fantasy world featured the same through Odin’s actions. While he might have claimed that Hela was banished due to her thirst for destruction, it was also his attempt to cover up the misdeeds of how he built his kingdom.

Hela’s return is a reminder of the atrocities and crimes committed by Odin’s rule. “Peace” relatively exists but only after his conquest.

Hela’s return is the past come back to haunt the Asgardians and consequence of their past actions. Up to this point the kingdom hasn’t paid for their crimes and Hela is that executioner for the guilty people.

The Asgardians by the end become refugees after their land is destroyed and they must flee for their survival. The former apex nation descends. Their reign has ended as the past has come back for its due. The imperial nation no more they are left to float in space with little direction to go and no “homeland” to call their own. They have paid for the sins of their past leadership refusing to accept their role in its actions and their gains as a people by the blood of others.

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