Posts Tagged ‘J. Michael Straczynski’

Colleen Doran’s Sketches For A Lost “Fantasy-Oriented” Wonder Woman

July 26, 2011

When J. Michael Straczynski began his run on Wonder Woman last year, he contacted Colleen Doran to do some concept sketches for a fantasy-oriented version of Wonder Woman.  Doran has posted some of these sketches on her blog, and they are available for sale on eBay.  Here are the pencils:

And a coloured version of a couple of the designs:

Alternative designs are a good time… it’s fun to see characters in a different context, and I think a fantasy version of Wonder Woman could be interesting.  I really dig a lot of elements of these designs, and I bet the end result would have been a cool take on the character.  Doran worked in tons of elements from the classic Wonder Woman costume, and all of these sketches are obviously Wonder Woman but at the same time are new and different.

It looks like this fantasy Wonder Woman might have been JMS’ plan for Wonder Woman after the “Odyssey” storyline wrapped up, but with JMS leaving the book to focus on the next Superman: Earth One book and now the DC relaunch, it appears that this is never going to happen.  Maybe down the road, JMS will do it as a graphic novel or something.  While I’m not super enthused about “Odyssey” (or JMS’ DC work generally), he’s done some cool stuff in the past and it would be nice to have some more standalone Wonder Woman stories on the shelves.

Thanks to Robert for the tip!

August 2011 Solicits: Wonder Woman #614

May 17, 2011

While there are several Wonder Woman books solicited in August, we’ve looked at most of them already.  Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #3 and DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman – The 80s and The 90s have been posted, but the Retroactive books still don’t have real covers… I’ll post those once they are released.  But there is one new Wonder Woman book!!  It’s the real, totally not a fake-out, they 100% promise it’s the last one finale to the “Odyssey” storyline, Wonder Woman #614:

Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI and PHIL HESTER; Art by DON KRAMER and WAYNE FAUCHER; Cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON 1:10 Variant cover by ALEX GARNER

The all-new Wonder Woman reaches the end of her epic “Odyssey” and comes face-to-face with the malevolent force behind it all! But the only way to defeat her nemesis may be to become her – giving her own powers over to an all-consuming hatred for life on Earth! Is Diana strong enough to control a force that seeks vengeance on all mankind, or will the warrior within her condemn her to a life of eternal bloodshed?

First off, that Joshua Middleton cover is fantastic… he’s supposed to do the Wonder Woman #613 main cover too (I suspect this picture might actually be the #613 cover… it’s been months since an issue of Wonder Woman has hit the stands with the originally solicited cover), and I hope he sticks around for whatever comes next for the series.  Preferably on interior art… that would be crazy fun!!  But at least on covers.  This cover is the first time I’ve actually really liked the new outfit.

Storywise, an “all-consuming hatred for life on Earth” sounds ominous, but we know how these things end.  I expect Wonder Woman will be back to her normal self in September, and I am curious to see who’s going to be writing and drawing the book.  Bleeding Cool points out that pretty much every major DC book comes to a conclusion of some sort in August, which coincides with the end of Flashpoint (we know that “Odyssey” was supposed to end in June but DC extended it two more issues, perhaps to match this timing?).  They also say that every DC book is going to relaunch with a new #1 in September, so we’ll see what that brings for Wonder Woman in the weeks ahead.  Hopefully anyway… DC likes to tease things, but this sounds like a situation where they might go radio silent instead.

Other notable solicits news:

  • There are A LOT of Flashpoint books.  June, July, and August are going to be exhausting for doing the Women in Comics stats!!
  • There’re a lot of Retroactive books too!!  I am going to be worn out!!
  • I sincerely hope that the “identity crossroads” in the Batman #713 solicit means that Dick Grayson isn’t going to be Batman anymore.
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Supergirl sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
  • Darwyn Cooke’s cover for Justice Society of America #54 is awesome.
  • I want to buy the 100 Bullets hardcovers even though I already have the trades… that series deserves to be bought in every format possible
  • Of course this hypothetical renumbering won’t last… I mean, books like Detective Comics and Action Comics are institutions, plus they just redid the Wonder Woman numbering.  If this renumbering thing happens, I expect some of it to be quickly undone.

Wonder Woman Sales: #610 Down Just A Smidge

May 17, 2011

The sales figures for April 2011 have been posted at ICv2, and things aren’t looking too bad, really.  Wonder Woman #610 was in 50th place with 31,002 copies sold, a decline of 1.3%.  A drop is never fun, but it’s fairly normal for a regular series going along without any major shakeups, creatively or storywise.  I’d call this a good month.  Here are the numbers for the issue, and the five issues previous:

NOTE: The average sales total is based on all of the available sales data, which currently comprises every issue of the series since September 1996, for 168 issues in total.  The average rank is not given because rank is dependent on what other books came out that month, and that’s such a variable that an average really wouldn’t mean anything.

Wonder Woman is all over the place lately.  The five percent drops were pretty substantial, but then it calmed down nicely into a level we could easily call standard attrition for two issues before dropping over three percentage points.  Now it’s back in the standard attrition range, so either the 3.4% was just a weird issue and the sales are starting to level out some or it’s a bizarrely selling series that could easily drop 3-5 percentage points next month.  The numbers are too inconsistent to say for sure, and the next few months might not even help much.  With the “Odyssey” storyline wrapping up in its seventeen-part finale (three-part, actually… I exaggerate to suggest it may be a teensy bit bloated), regular customers might stick it out and see what comes next.  Or they might get annoyed with the stretched out conclusion and ditch it.  Or they might decide that Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies looks like way more fun than the regular series and go buy that instead.  A lot of things could happen.

Past and future aside, April was a good month for Wonder Woman.  There were a lot of new books out (#1s tend to sell a lot), plus special issues for popular Marvel series (those introductory, .1 things), and the book only dropped one place on the sales chart.  In terms of issues sold, a 1.3% drop is nothing to be concerned about.  As we’ve discussed before, stable comic book series tend to drift slowly down in sales, shedding a few readers each month until some new event or creative team bumps the sales back up.  A 1.3% drop is very much in the realm of standard attrition, which is a nice spot to be in (if it holds up) for a book that had been dropping at a fast rate.

Compared to the historical average, Wonder Woman is still far off the mark and I don’t see it getting near the average again until September, if a new creative team takes over.  DC seems to be planning something big for September, and hopefully Wonder Woman will be involved.  But yeah, the historical average will be out of reach for the next few months anyway.

Prediction for Next Month:  Last month, I predicted that Wonder Woman #610 would sell 30,750 copies and it actually sold 31,002, so I was off by 252 copies.  That’s not terrible, but it’s not that good either.  Hopefully I’m more on track with these next predictions.  It looks like Wonder Woman #611 has been bumped back to June 1st, and will double ship with Wonder Woman #612, so they’ll be no sales post for May AND I now have to double predict for June.  Seeing as we just had a double shipping month in March, I will look there for inspiration.  But I’m also going to buy into this standard attrition idea too.  For Wonder Woman #611, I predict a drop of roughly 1.5% for sales of 30,540.  I then predict a bigger drop (a la March) for Wonder Woman #612, down about 2.5% for sales of 29,780.  Check back in two months to see how I did!!

June 2011 Solicitations: Wonder Woman #612

March 16, 2011

DC Comics’ June solicits went up on Monday, and last month’s promise of penultimateness in Wonder Woman #611 has paid off in the form of an “earth-shattering conclusion” in Wonder Woman #612:

Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI and PHIL HESTER; Art and cover by DON KRAMER and WAYNE FAUCHER; 1:10 Variant cover by ALEX GARNER

This is the one you’ve waited for! The year-long “Odyssey” storyline comes to an earth-shattering conclusion! Can Diana defeat the powerful forces that destroyed her entire reality? And even if she wins, she could still lose everything!

As you can see above, for some reason the cover that was supposed to be a variant for Wonder Woman #609 is attached to this issue in the solicit.  So either they’ve changed their minds and put the cover on this later issue OR neither Don Kramer or Alex Garner have their Wonder Woman #612 cover finished yet so this is a placeholder.  Whatever is happening, it’s still a nice cover.

Anyway, “Odyssey” will be over in June!!  I’m very excited.  As much as I’m all for mixing it up comicwise, this storyline really hasn’t worked.  The solicit isn’t very detailed… really, it sounds like every single last issue of an arc solicit ever written.  Whoever first wrote “even if X wins, X could still lose everything” should have copyrighted it, because they would have made a fortune from solicits alone.  I’m assuming that Diana will successfully defeat the powerful forces that destroyed her entire reality, only because if she didn’t then it wouldn’t be the end of the storyline, would it?  That’s one bad thing about solicits… it takes out the element of surprise.  I’d love for a story to just end crazily sometime with NO advance warning.

Next month’s solicits will be the big one, obviously.  With this arc done and JMS’ looming spectre gone from the book, I’m curious to see what direction it goes in and who, if anyone, of the creative team is going to stay on board.  DC’s last few big name Wonder Woman launches haven’t gone particularly well, so maybe they’ll let Hester have a go at building an audience on his own terms.  I can see it going either way.

In other June solicitation news:

  • Kelly Sue DeConnick is writing Supergirl!!  She has a three issue arc starting with Supergirl #65, and it’s guest starring Lois Lane.  This is awesome because a) good lord does DC need more female writers, and b) Kelly Sue DeConnick is super cool.  It’s a bummer Amy Reeder isn’t doing the cover… but Mahmud Asrar looks fun!!
  • I know DC cancelled a few books to pave the way for Flashpoint minis, but there are a LOT of Flashpoint books and damn near every regular series seems to be coming out too… it looks like June is going to be a really busy month.
  • Superman’s going to make a friend named Sharif, so look forward to Nightrunner Outrage Part 2.
  • I love Jock covers SO much.

Look for Wonder Woman #612 in comic shops everywhere on June 29th!!

May 2011 Solicitations: Wonder Woman #611

February 21, 2011

DC Comics’ May solicits came out earlier this week, but I have been busy with women in comics stats and general frittering around, and haven’t posted the Wonder Woman #611 solicit… which was dumb of me, because there’s something rather exciting.  Check it out:

Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI and PHIL HESTER; Art and cover by DON KRAMER and JAY LEISTEN; 1:10 Variant cover by ALEX GARNER

The penultimate chapter of “Odyssey”! Who is behind Diana’s altered reality? Who made the world forget that she is Wonder Woman? Who wants the Amazons dead? And, most importantly, why? The answers start to come right here!

PENULTIMATE!!!!  Finally… it looks like we’ll be done with this story in June, and then hopefully back to normal in July.  So that’s very fun… I’m curious to see what’s going to come next.  The numbers for the book are dropping steadily, so I can’t imagine this new Wonder Woman is going to continue.  Frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t cut it short already. 

Anyway, it seems that we’re going to start getting answers, and it looks like Cheetah is going to be in the middle of it all.  My money’s on an Olympian god of some sort being behind it all, as that’s usually how these stories end with Wonder Woman.  The solicit doesn’t give us a ton of clues to work with… it’s literally more questions than answers.  I suppose we’ll find out what’s going on in a few months.  Wonder Woman #611 comes out on May 25th, and hey, it’s the penultimate issue of this story!!  “Penultimate” is the only word that matters here, really.

Wonder Woman Sales: #606 Down Another 5%

February 9, 2011

The sales estimates for January 2011 have been posted at Comic Book Resources, and it was not a great month for Wonder WomanWonder Woman #606 was in 32nd place and sold 33,601 copies, a drop of 5.3%.  This current storyline with the pants wearing Wonder Woman is clearly not connecting with readers.  Here are the numbers for this issue, and the five previous:

NOTE: The average is based on all of the available sales data, which currently comprises every issue of the series since September 1996, for 164 issues in total.  The average rank is not given because rank is dependent on what other books came out that month, and that’s such a variable that an average really wouldn’t mean anything. 

Now I’m not saying I’m a psychic, but last month I predicted that Wonder Woman #606 would sell 33,600 copies… that’s pretty damn close to the actual number.  I’m super amused that my somewhat informed but mostly just a stab in the dark estimate panned out so well.  That’s some half-decent prognosticating!!

So, first the good thing, and it’s only a half good thing: Wonder Woman is up from 38th place on the charts to 32nd.  That’s a solid jump.  However, as noted above, rank is a tricky thing.  Overall, January was a pretty terrible month for comics, and that was partly because far fewer books came out.  The Comic Chronicles reports that compared to January 2010, sales were down 22% BUT the number of comics available was down 23%.  Wonder Woman’s rank seems to have benefitted from this lack of competition.

Now the bad things: The series is sinking like a stone.  It shed about 1900 readers, for a substantial drop of 5.3%.  Furthermore, the series is now below the historical average.  Things are certainly better than they were a year ago, when Wonder Woman #40 sold 25,156 copies, but these numbers have to be disappointing for DC after such a well-publicized revamping of the book.  Dropping over 5% is a big decline, and back to back months of such steep falls is a bad situation

It seems to me that the problem here is the storyline.  J. Michael Straczynski leaving the series took the only big name off the book and I’m sure he was a draw for some, but his replacement, Phil Hester, has so far been stuck with the story JMS began.  There hasn’t been any real shift between JMS and Hester’s runs, and readers don’t seem to care for this approach to Wonder Woman.  JMS’s original plan was for the story to run for a year, and Hester appears to be following this plan, so there should be at least five more issues before Hester has the chance to really do his own thing with the book (if they keep him on, of course… I wouldn’t be surprised by another big name revamp).  Until then, I’m not optimistic that the series is going to get any traction.

Prediction for Next Month:  After being so close last month, I’m feeling a lot of pressure now!!  I definitely think the sales are going to be less, but the announcement of the new Wonder Woman TV show might pique the interest of a few people.  For Wonder Woman #607 I am predicting a drop of around 4%, for sales of 32,250.  Check back next month to see if I was at all close!!

April 2011 Solicitations: Wonder Woman #610

January 21, 2011

DC Comics posted their solicitations for April 2011 yesterday (which was odd, because it was a Thursday and they always post them on a Monday… I know it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, but three extra days is unlike them), and have given us a sneak peak at the upcoming Wonder Woman #610.  Here is what the solicit says:

Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI & PHIL HESTER; Art and Cover by DON KRAMER & JAY LEISTEN; 1:10 Variant Cover by ALEX GARNER

Diana’s conflict with The Morrigan takes an unexpected turn when unlikely allies help her discover her true role as Wonder Woman – but Cheetah and company stand between Diana and her final test. As the old gods die away, only Diana’s inner strength can see her through the battle to come. But will it be enough?

So let’s break down what we’ve learned:

  • According to the cover, that weird deer centaur dude we saw at the end of the latest issue, Wonder Woman #605, is going to be around for a while.
  • As are the Morrigan… are they the big bad guys for this whole thing?
  • Cheetah is sticking around for a couple issues at least… she’s scheduled to show up in Wonder Woman #608.
  • “Discover her true role as Wonder Woman” sounds promising in terms of getting the book back to normal.
  • What old gods are dying away?  Is this a reference to the Morrigan or the Greek gods?
  • Whoever wrote this solicit does not seem to know that’s Diana’s inner strength ALWAYS sees her through the battle to come… get it together, solicit guy!!
  • It’s not cool that JMS still gets top billing… Hester is writing the script AND comes first alphabetically.

I’ve been liking the hints in the past few solicits that Diana is starting to remember being Wonder Woman.  That bodes well… hopefully all of this stuff gets wrapped up sooner than later.  I’d like to have the normal Wonder Woman back.


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