Tag Archives: dwayne mcduffie

Around the Tubes

The Secret History of Comics debuted last night with the history of Marvel Comics. What’d you think? Did you watch it? While you go to seek that out, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Comichron – Metal, Legacy dominate October sales to comic shops; Here’s Negan pushes DM graphic novel category to first win in months – Beginning the dive into October’s numbers.

Kotaku – The Cancelled Justice League Mortal Could’ve Had A Video Game Tie-In Written by Dwayne McDuffie – Very intriguing and sad we never got this!

Kotaku – Black Adam Player Proves Unbreakable At Injustice 2 World Championships – There were some solid matches at this.

 

Review

Comic Attack – Irrational Numbers: Subtracion #2

Talking Comics – The Jetsons #1

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Foreword Reviews – No Shortage of Fuel for Love and Rockets: An Interview With Indie Comic’s Creators – Go get these as they come out! New one out today!

New York Times – Comic Books, in Black and White – Go check out this series!

CBC – ‘House of Cards, but with robots’: Transformers comic books explore politics, gender and romance – Yeah, that about sums it up.

CBR – Dwayne McDuffie’s Estate Sues Over Milestone Revival – Well that adds a wrinkle to it all.

Publisher’s Weekly – Manga Houses Shift Focus to Anime Expo over San Diego – With so many anime/manga specific shows, do they even need SDCC?

The Beat – Tilting at Windmills #261: Marvel Comics and The Deck Chairs of the Titanic – Thoughts?

The Beat – Meanwhile, one Image creator opens up on low sales – and here’s the book he’s talking about – A good read about the reality of comics.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

ICv2 – The Death of Stalin

Comic Attack – Victor Lavalle’s Destroyer #3

Friday Flashback Review: Static Shock: Trial by Fire

StaticTBFFor my first installment to the GP Time Portal that is “Flashback Friday,” I’m going to go back to the 90’s for a re-read of Static Shock: Trial by Fire, originally Static issues #1-4, the name change came with wanting to capitalize on the cartoon from the WB.

This collection is the first appearance of our hero Virgil Hawkins aka Static, a superhero most of us could relate to, a scifi geek making it through high school, battling the bad guys while trying to get the girl and this is only a taste of what the Milestone crew brought to this series.

Co-written by Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III, both gone too soon, you would think that something written over 20 years ago would be dated. The writing is able to balance humor and danger like phasers and photons. With the exception of one or two words, the pacing of the dialogue is a master class in writing teens, the issues our hero faces in and out of costume are sadly problems young kids still face today.

static-01-02And let’s not forget the art, the early work of then newcomer John Paul Leon is full of energy and I’m not just talking about Static’s power effect. From fighting to walking down the street, JPL infused a crazy amount of kinetic flow into the movement of the characters, but he doesn’t stop there. His character designs, based off of Denys Cowans work in the Milestone bible, Static is like a snapshot of today’s kids walking around being teenagers, minus the video chatting.

If by this point I haven’t persuaded you to run to your local store to track down this trade. I’ll put it to you this way, if you like Miles Morales and Riri Williams, you can thank Virgil for paving the way. Static is that super smart, geeky kid that shows us how anyone can be a hero and still be cool. This series was that it talked about bullying, dating, gangs and just about everything else a modern teenager faces today and not in a condescending manner, instead it did it in a way that makes you think about how these issues can be fixed.

For more of my money bring back Static, bring back Milestone.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Black (Comic) History Month: Milestone Media, a Publisher You Should Know

milestone media logoOur Black History Month coverage continues! Milestone Media is a publisher everyone should know, and you probably know their creations.

Formed in 1993, Milestone Media was created by a coalition of African-America creators, Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. The company’s focus was to create a new generation of characters stepping in to fill the void that was the lack of diversity in American comics. Through a partnership with DC Comics, the publisher created memorable series and characters like Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Static (aka Static Shock), Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, Kobalt, and Heroes.

There were some fundamental ideas the company focused on in their deal with DC Comics:

  1. that they would retain total creative control
  2. that they would retain all copyrights for characters under the Milestone banner
  3. that they would have the final say on all merchandising and licensing deals pertaining to their properties.

The deal wasn’t without controversy, as some saw the deal as a compromise of the founding of the company, to be an independent black comic publisher.

The characters were so important DC has attempted (with mixed success) to incorporate the characters into the DC Universe proper, with the most notable being Static who had his own series, and joined the Teen Titans.

With all of that triumph, Milestone suffered tragedy as well, when creator Dwayne McDuffie passed away almost four years ago at the age of 49 at the peak of his career.

Four years later, and it looks like Milestone Media will rise from that tragedy as Reggie Huddlin (the producer of Django Unchained) along with Cowan and Dingle will revive the publisher for a new generation to discover.

The plan is to bring back many of the classic character as well as introduce new ones. It’s unclear how this might work, considering DC Comics and Warner Bros. are working on a live-action Static Shock series. But sorting all of the business out, as well as building new partnerships is what’s being worked on.

The goal isn’t just to bring back their classic characters, and create new ones, but also develop new talent.

There isn’t a launch date, but there will be some more shown during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

 

The Return of Milestone Media

milestone media logoFormed in 1993, Milestone Media was created by a coalition of African-America creators, Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. The company’s focus was to create a new generation of characters stepping in to fill the void that was the lack of diversity in American comics. Through a partnership with DC Comics, the publisher created memeorable series and characters like Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Static (aka Static Shock), Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, Kobalt, and Heroes. The characters were so important DC has attempted (with mixed success) to incorporate the characters into the DC Universe proper, with the most notable being Static who had his own series, and joined the Teen Titans.

With all of that triumph, Milestone suffered tragedy as well, when creator Dwayne McDuffie passed away almost four years ago at the age of 49 at the peak of his career.

Milestone_01Four years later, and it looks like Milestone Media will rise from that tragedy as Reggie Huddlin (the producer of Django Unchained) along with Cowan and Dingle will revive the publisher for a new generation to discover. As reported by Comics Riff, the discussion began in 2011 at a gathering to remember McDuffie.

The plan is to bring back many of the classic character as well as introduce new ones. It’s unclear how this might work, considering DC Comics and Warner Bros. are working on a live-action Static Shock series. But sorting all of the business out, as well as building new partnerships is what’s being worked on.

Diversity has been on the mind of comic publishers. Marvel introduced Miles Morales, a half-black/half-Puerto Rican, as Spider-Man in their Ultimate Universe, and Sam Wilson aka the Falcon has taken over the mantle of Captain America. DC has pushed the John Stewart Green Lantern, introduced Batwing in their New 52 relaunch, and a new black Power Girl. Thor, Archie’s the Shield, and Dynamite’s Solar have all been gender switched.

Cowan points out though that putting a character in a previously white mantle isn’t the same as creating whole new heroes. Cowan said their characters aren’t just black versions of existing legacy characters, they come from a specific view.

The goal isn’t just to bring back their classic characters, and create new ones, but also develop new talent.

There isn’t a launch date, but there will be some more shown during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

History is Written by the Winners of the Marvel No-Prize

Guest commentary post from Emma Houxbois. Emma is a queer blogger for hire out of Vancouver, BC most recently attached to Girls Read Comics. You can follow her on Twitter @emmahouxbois.

no-prizeThe thing about history is that you’ve got to be really careful who you let write it. Herodotus, the guy widely acknowledged as the inventor of western history writing was known as both “The Father of History” and “The Father of Lies,” in his lifetime, and one of the reasons for that was that he never really made any kind of an effort to judge the credibility of the people he was collecting history from. It’s widely believed that he skewed towards the empowered members of society, meaning that the saying “history is written by the winners” is as old as history itself. This past week in comics, we got the rude awakening that it’s history is currently being written by the winners of the Marvel No-Prize.

For reasons unknown to anyone with a lick of sense, a panel consisting of Todd McFarlane, Len Wein, and Gerry Conway were assembled to publicize a forthcoming PBS documentary about superhero comics. While already dubious choices compared to more genuinely influential and knowledgeable prospects like Trina Robbins, Mark Waid, Karen Berger, or that mysterious Twitter account claiming to be Steranko, the trio put on an astounding display of jamming their entire legs up to the knee down their own throats. Todd McFarlane, creator of one of the best selling black superheroes in history, seems to believe that increasing diversity in comics will only lead to tokenism. Of course in 2006, when Robert Kirkman crashed McFarlane’s panel at the SDCCI, the Spawn creator had no idea who he was until he was informed by another panel member that Kirkman was “the guy who writes that zombie comic you like,” a comic published by McFarlane’s own Image Comics at the time. McFarlane also went on, during the same incident, to say in defense of having not done anything significant in comics since Spawn that “once you’ve created your Mickey Mouse or your Donald Duck, you don’t really have to do anything else.” So it isn’t as if McFarlane’s complete indifference to anything in comics that isn’t related to his personal legacy is a closely guarded secret or new information. Nor is it that he’s a noted hypocrite after having lost a lengthy legal action by Neil Gaiman to regain control of the characters he contributed to Spawn after years of McFarlane crowing about how the founding of Image was a victory for creator’s rights in the industry.

Gerry Conway was adamant that superheroes are strictly for men and boys, using a bizarre self defeating anecdote about his daughter’s disinterest in “guy stories,” mentioning Faith Erin Hicks who writes The Adventures of Superhero Girl. Of course Conway is responsible for the two most exploited fridgings in Marvel history, if not superhero comics as a whole; The Punisher’s self justification for his antics based on the death of his wife and child as well as the death of Gwen Stacy. If Conway’s own daughter is disinterested in what he calls “guy stories” and McFarlane wouldn’t use superheroes if he wanted to write a story catering to his own daughters, it has to be noted that Conway’s body of work is one of the chief culprits in disillusioning potential female readers. Of course Len Wein is the real elephant in the room, given that Alan Moore disclosed in 2006 when he approached Wein for permission to cripple Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke, Wein told him “Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.” Inviting Len Wein or Gerry Conway to talk about gender in comics is basically like asking Don Imus to talk about racism in sports.

At around the same time that this nonsense was unfolding, a beautiful and moving thing that happened in Japan was being circulated by Sailor Moon fans on Tumblr. The second live event detailing the festivities for the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon and the forthcoming series was being translated, capped, and analyzed by the fervent western fans of the pop culture juggernaut. However, instead of updates on the timeline for the new series, what dominated the fan discourse were the statements by the director of the 2013 edition of the live action stage show, whose cast is entirely female. By way of explanation, he related that his understanding of Naoko Takeuchi’s manga was that it was written by women for women and so it was only natural to put on the show using only women. Not satisfied with those bold and endearing statements, he went on to say “I feel like Takeuchi Naoko’s work flew in the face of the atmosphere at the time. It said ‘women are strong, there’s nothing wrong with being strong and we should be stronger’ and as a result in these twenty years, women have become stronger in our society. That part of her work has everlasting value and I feel like now we should remind society again of the same message.” While I’m not sure that twenty years of gains for women in Japanese society can be chalked up entirely to the influence of Sailor Moon, it is heartening to hear, especially from a man in this context, the fervent belief that comics can in fact inspire positive social change. It isn’t hard to see that same belief among the western fans, as it’s an unmistakable fact that a large segment of young women active in fighting for representation in western comics are Sailor Moon fans, and the most ardent supporters of Sailor Moon are staunch feminists. Sailor Moon also continues to deeply influence female creators to this day, most notably Adventure Time contributor and Bee and Puppycat creator Natasha Allegri, whose genderbent world of Fionna and Cake rests on Sailor Moon as it’s foundation from the rabbit ears on her hat to her feline companion and even her formal gown patterned after the future Silver Millennium version of Usagi.

That Conway feels comics follow instead of lead culture is no actual reflection on the real state of the world’s last living mythology, it’s a reflection on three men who never pushed themselves or their work to a level beyond what could be most comfortably and easily sold. None of them put their careers on the line with bold statements like Dwayne McDuffie’s infamous Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers memo or created entire critical frameworks for discussing women’s place in popular fiction like Gail Simone’s Women in the Refrigerator polemic or Alison Bechdel‘s eponymous test. It also really begs the question if any of them are aware that Captain America punched Hitler a full year before the United States entered World War II. In every decade that superhero comics have existed, they’ve lead culture. In a landscape where Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox, (directed by Jodie Foster in the episode revolving around her character), is making headlines and shattering the long history of cis actors being cast as trans* people, comics are leading culture. Matt Fraction is currently surfing the crest of the wave of positive portrayals of trans* people in a team book that is three quarters female. Gail Simone is poised alongside him selling out her Batgirl title in which Babs’ roommate is a trans woman. The critical importance of all three narratives cannot be underscored any stronger than by Chloe Sevigny’s current shameful behavior wearing a prosthetic penis to portray a trans woman and throwing around slurs that demean real trans women behind the scenes. Which is just one singular issue, one singular anecdote in a sea of progressive storytelling in comics that has taken the lead on issues as diverse as addiction, sex work, homophobia, racism, sexism, and domestic violence to name a few. The true history of comics isn’t a soulless echo chamber of privileged men writing exclusionist power fantasies for each other. The true history of comics is as queer and beautiful as it is ugly and heartbreaking, when it’s told by people who actually participated in and benefited from it’s queerness and beauty. Sadly many including Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, and Dwayne McDuffie have passed away but there do remain several other creators and commentators who, if given the chance, would gladly sing the praises of those and other trailblazers.

Preview – Hellraiser Masterpieces #8

HELLRAISER MASTERPIECES #8

Written by D.G. Chichester, Dwayne McDuffie and Ron Wolfe
Drawn by Mike McMahon and Derek Yaniger
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER: John Van Fleet
Diamond Code: DEC110917

It’s Hell on Earth! D.G. Chichester and Dwayne McDuffie come together once again with art by Mike McMahon in the next Devil’s Brigade chapter, “Commitment,” followed by Ron Wolfe and Derek Yaniger’s “Command Performance.” Explore the depths of Clive Barker’s twisted creations in these terrifying tales!

Preview – Hellraiser Masterpieces #7

HELLRAISER MASTERPIECES #7

Written by D.G. Chichester, Dwayne McDuffie and Nicholas Vince
Drawn by Denys Cowan, George Pratt and Joe Barruso
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER: Simon Bisley
Diamond Code: DEC110916

Clive Barker’s visceral visions take form in the next installment of the ongoing “Devil’s Brigade” epic. D.G. Chichester and Dwayne McDuffie team up with Denys Cowan for “Passion,” while Nicholas Vince and Joe Barruso bring you the terrifying “One True Faith.” No other brand of horror hooks you like Hellraiser!

Preview – Hellraiser Masterpieces #5

HELLRAISER MASTERPIECES #5

Written by D.G. Chichester, Dwayne McDuffie, Ron Wolfe
Drawn by Paris Cullins, Tom Palmer, John Van Fleet
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER: Tristan Schane
Diamond Code: NOV110810

Straight from Hell, it’s another dose of classic Hellraiser horror ripped from the pages of Marvel Comics’ Hellraiser series — shipping twice this month! We kick off the epic tale of Hell’s most horrific soldiers right here in “The Devil’s Brigade”! Comics great Dwayne McDuffie and Paris Cullins team up for Part 1, with Ron Wolfe and John Van Fleet bringing you Part 2 of this journey into the depths of Clive Barker’s twisted world!

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and you probably missed last nights great episode of Graphic Policy radio.  You should absolutely check out the archived episodes, and while you do that, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Hero Complex – Aquaman’s 70th birthday celebration surfaces at the Shrine –  Happy birthday!

Fan Service – Catwoman, Starfire, blah blah blahAnother take on the Catwoman and the “woman issue” DC has.

The National – Egyptian graphic novel rekindles an art formIt’ll be fascinating to see how the art form evolves in the new Egypt and what is produced.

Bleeding Cool – Dwayne McDuffie, Write-In Candidate For Writers Guild AwardsHopefully folks will get the message.

Kotaku – Sunday Comics: Elitism Isn’t Free – Each week Kotaku brings some great web comics.

Con Coverage:

Comicsgirl – Kazu Kibuishi at the National Book Festival

Detroit News – Comic book fans turn out in droves for Detroit Fanfare at Cobo

Hindustan Times – Mumbai to host its first convention on comic books

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Boing Boing – Habibi

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