Posts Tagged ‘J.H. Williams III’

Let’s All Cheer Up With A Preview of Smallville Season 11 #17

September 6, 2013

If you’re a fan of good, beautifully illustrated comics, you can’t be having the best day.  Yesterday, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman announced that they’ll soon be leaving Batwoman due to some rather epic editorial interference, ending one of the few consistently enjoyable and interesting runs of the New 52 era.  I was going to do a post about that today, maybe start with a joke about how DC put absolutely no effort into garnering publicity for Kate and Maggie’s engagement but now damn near every major entertainment outlet is covering THIS story; you know, the usual snark that comes from being perpetually disappointed by the people who own your favourite characters.

But then I saw that Comicosity has a preview of Smallville Season 11 #17, and good lord do I love that book.  So instead, let’s accentuate the positive and take a peek at one of the most enjoyable comic stories of the year, brought to us by Bryan Q. Miller and Jorge Jimenez:

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What’s more fun than young Diana kicking that annoying Artemis in the stomach and jumping off a cliff in her homemade glider?  That’s just comics gold.  I love everything Miller and Jimenez are doing with this new, Smallville version of Wonder Woman.  And now it looks like she’s running a home for wayward girls, which is just fantastic.  If you didn’t read the first issue or follow along digitally, you are seriously missing out on some great comics.  So far, this is the best Wonder Woman story I’ve read in years, by leaps and bounds.

Look for Smallville Season 11 #17 in comic shops this Wednesday, or all of the digital issues are available right now as Smallville Season 11 #60-62.

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Sandman: Overture Officially On The Way, Plus New Vertigo Titles With Some Female Creators

July 2, 2013

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Yesterday, in what was an awkwardly constructed and bizarrely uninformative article, the New York Times revealed that Neil Gaiman’s long awaited return to Sandman with artist J.H. Williams III will be called Sandman: Overture and the first issue is scheduled for the end of October.  The cover is gorgeous, and I imagine the interiors will be mind blowing.  J.H. Williams III goes absolutely bonkers with the layouts for a standard superhero comic, so I can’t even imagine how crazy he’ll get to be with Sandman.

I am ridiculously excited for more Sandman.  When I got back into comics a decade or so ago, Sandman was one of the first books that really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the medium.  I always read superhero comics as a kid, and did so when I got back into them later on, but Sandman was an entirely new thing to me.  I devoured the volumes, was blown away by the scope, and loved the fascinating assortment of characters and artists.  The entire thing is a masterpiece.  So yeah, I’m pretty jazzed for more.

Several other new Vertigo series were announced as well, and they’ll roll out through the fall.  Of particular interest to our continuing focus on women in comics is the new series Coffin Hill, written by Caitlin Kittredge.  Here’s a description:

When she was 15, Eve Coffin summoned a darkness that had been buried since the Salem Witch Trials. Now Eve’s back to harness the evil that destroyed her friends and is slowly taking over the sleepy town of Coffin Hill. This is a series full of magic, madness and murder via a twisted family of New Englanders.

It sounds spooky! And it’s great to see a female writer on an ongoing Vertigo series.  It’s been far too long.  Coffin Hill premieres this October.

There will also be a one-shot Halloween anthology special called The Witching Hour that features female creators like Kelly Sue DeConnick, Lauren Beukes, Emily Carroll, and Tula Lotay.  That’s more women on one book than DC’s entire line has in some months!  That should be a cool book.

It sounds like October is going to be a good month for fun, new titles.  I can’t wait for Sandman: Overture even though, as I said on Twitter yesterday, the title immediately made me think of this:

Wonder Woman Got Her Ass Slapped In Her Own Book, But Kicked Ass Everywhere Else This Week

February 22, 2013

If you read my review of Wonder Woman #17, you know that I didn’t particularly care for the issue. In the midst of critiquing all of the problematic writing and art decisions, I mentioned a panel that really got on my nerves only in passing.  It was this slap of encouragement from Orion:

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Not classy.

But while Wonder Woman was busy getting her ass slapped and then not doing much of anything else in her own book (except talking and walking), she also appeared in several other titles in a suitably kick ass fashion with some other great DC heroines.

In Batwoman #17, the “World’s Finest” arc wrapped up with Batwoman and Wonder Woman teaming up to take down Medusa and this huge monster that was terrorizing Gotham:

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The issue was gorgeously drawn by J.H. Williams III, and featured our heroines (along with two other gals, Hawkfire and Maggie Sawyer) taking down bad guys and saving the day.  There was no ass slapping whatsoever, just good old superheroics.

Over in Supergirl #17, Wonder Woman tried to talk some sense into Supergirl, who had teamed up with the villainous H’el to try to go back in time and save Krypton.  Initially, Supergirl wouldn’t listen to reason and so they resorted to fisticuffs:

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It was an epic fight, beautifully illustrated by the criminally underrated Mahmud Asrar, and ultimately Wonder Woman got the better of Supergirl AND showed her the error of her ways.

Finally, over in Justice League #17, Wonder Woman was part of the team that defeated the Atlantean attack on Boston.  Usually, Wonder Woman is the only gal in the league, but check out all of the ladies in the Justice League reserves:

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In this spread, we have Element Woman, Black Canary, Zatanna, and Vixen, and a female Atom shows up later on.  Plus Mera was in the thick of things too.  We went from one woman to seven!!

So while Wonder Woman might not have done much in her own book, she nonetheless had a great week elsewhere and saved Gotham City, Supergirl/the entire Earth, and Boston.  All without ass slaps.  This week, Wonder Woman was your worst Wonder Woman option, really.  Luckily, there were a lot of other fun choices!!

DC Comics’ Artists Appear on SyFy’s Face Off, Including Wonder Woman’s Cliff Chiang and Nicola Scott

January 23, 2013

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I don’t know about you all, but I’ve seen every episode of SyFy’s makeup reality show Face Off.  They give contestants these crazy challenges and the make up artists have to come up with a design, sculpt and manufacture prosthetics, and costume and paint their creations, all in two or three days.  It’s really fun to watch the process, and to see the cool things they come up with.  And the trainwrecks too.  This week was a trainwreck episode for sure.

DC’s Dan Didio and Jim Lee came by the show to give the contestants their challenge: Design a superhero, and the winner’s character will appear in a DC comic book.  To help them with their designs, Lee and Didio brought along six of DC’s artists.  They were (in order of appearance in the above photo, after McKenzie Westmore) Mark Buckingham, Cliff Chiang, Tony S. Daniel, David Finch, Nicola Scott, and J.H. Williams III.  It was a pretty awesome lineup.

They got barely any screen time, and god among men J.H. Williams III was relegated to just a very unenthusiastic “Oh, okay” after hearing a crappy pitch, but things went pretty well for the contestants that got to work with Wonder Woman artists.  Most of the designs were just awful, and totally missed the superhero mark.  It was roof stoof.  However, Nicola Scott’s contestant, Eric, made it to the Top Three with his character Dick Gritty.  Dick was a cop who got killed and brought back to life or something, all 1940s style.  I actually thought it was pretty bad, but the rest of the designs were so terrible that this one made it to the top of the list.

And then, SPOILER ALERT, Cliff Chiang’s contestant, Anthony, won the episode with his character, The Infernal Core, despite a massive chest piece malfunction.  The Infernal Core is from the Earth’s core and is all shiny black with bright yellow and red lava in spots.  It was a good paint job, and I think it was definitely the most superherolike character of the night.  I could maybe see him in a comic book, and I suppose I will soon.  Here’s a look at the character:

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So yeah, it was NOT a good night for Face Off at all, but Cliff Chiang, Nicola Scott, J.H. Williams III, and other fun artists were on my TV!!  That was pretty cool.  And good work to the former and current Wonder Woman artists for helping their contestants achieve the best (relatively speaking) looks!!

Covers And Solicits For Wonder Woman #16, Batwoman #16, And Justice League #16

October 15, 2012

Wonder Woman super busy in January.  She’s got her own book, her guest-starring arc in Batwoman, and of course our regularly scheduled inter-superhero fighting in Justice League.  Let’s take a look at Wonder Woman #16 first:

WONDER WOMAN #16
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale JANUARY 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Wonder Woman and her half brother Milan must grapple with the dangerous New God known as Orion!
• What strange alliance has the terrifying First Born made?

We saw this cover the other day, but now we’ve got a solicit to go with it.  Still no answer on that nasty fly situation, though.  And we’ve got another half-brother for Wonder Woman!!  Much like I have no idea what’s up with this First Born dude, I have no idea who Milan is either.  Zeus really gets around, so lord only knows how many new siblings Wonder Woman will meet before Azzarello’s run is over.  Anyway, we’ve got some new info, but it’s not telling us a whole bunch.  Informative AND cryptic… good work with the teaser!!

On to Batwoman #16:

BATWOMAN #16
Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III and W. HADEN BLACKMAN
Art and cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III
On sale JANUARY 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
• This issue guest-stars everybody!
• In this penultimate chapter, everything that’s been happening in BATWOMAN comes to a head!
• Plus, a new hero is introduced, and Wonder Woman fights monsters!

You had me with “Wonder Woman fights monsters!”  I’ll pay three bucks for that any day of the week.  Also, it looks like Wonder Woman will be in Batwoman in February too.  This is quite an arc.  It’s fun that we’ve got an extended team-up.  Plus, I’m excited for Williams to draw “everybody.”

Finally, friggin’ Justice League #16:

JUSTICE LEAGUE #16
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Backup story art by GARY FRANK
Variant cover by LANGDON FOSS
On sale JANUARY 23 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
• “THRONE OF ATLANTIS” continues!
• Aquaman can barely hold on against Ocean Master even with the League by his side!
• The United States loses faith in the Justice League and enters the battle against Atlantis, setting in motion the creation of the Justice League of America!
• More on the Superman/Wonder Woman alliance!
• Plus: In the backup story, the origin of SHAZAM! continues!

An “alliance”, eh?  That’s what they’re calling it these days?  Anyway, the Justice League is fighting each other again, and I don’t even care.  Even though the solicit sounds like they’re working together, but whatever.  Maybe they’ll get mind controlled and be pitted against each other.  I don’t much care for this book.

Look for all three Wonder Woman starring books on January 23rd, 2013!!

Greg Rucka And J.H. Williams III’s Scrapped Wonder Woman Earth One

September 12, 2012

I almost wish I didn’t know about this one.

As reported at DC Women Kicking Ass and first mentioned in the latest fantastic episode of “3 Chicks Review Comics”, Greg Rucka was going to write Wonder Woman Earth One for DC Comics.  The Earth One line are graphic novels that tell the early days of DC’s biggest superheroes, outside the bounds of continuity.  Superman Earth One by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis was fairly average, and Batman Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank kind of sucked, but they both sold like hotcakes and sequels are coming.

Rucka was scheduled to write Wonder Woman Earth One, with art by the amazing J.H. Williams III, when the rug was pulled out from him.  Here’s what happened, in Rucka’s own words:

I was told I was not going to do it. Dan Didio called me and told me he was giving it to someone else. And I said if you take that away from me I can no longer work for you because I have taken many a job for you, sir, on the promise of doing this and now you’re taking it away and I can no longer accept your promises any more. He had his reasons for doing it; this is not me throwing stones. This is just the way things shook out.

The book is now being written by Grant Morrison, and the rumour is that the art will be by Yannick Paquette.  I want a Grant Morrison Wonder Woman like I want to be kicked in the crotch, but I’m trying to save my impassioned feelings about that for if/when the book is announced.  It will be a dark, angry day, should it come.

So Rucka, far and away one of the best writers for female characters that DC has EVER had and one of the few people in recent memory who wrote a readable Wonder Woman, got pulled off the project.  Not only that, but we lost more Rucka stories at DC because he very justifiably doesn’t want to work for them anymore.  No more Rucka Batwoman.  No more Rucka Montoya (or Montoya generally, it seems).  Just more shitty Morrison.

In the podcast, Rucka briefly talked about his take on Diana, and it was fantastic.  His Wonder Woman was a young woman who was itching to get off Paradise Island and find out what the rest of the world was like.  He described a scene where the Amazons are doing some stargazing, looking up at the sky, while Diana aims her telescope towards the horizon, trying to see what lies beyond the confines of her home.  You should go listen to “3 Chicks Review Comics” to hear the full conversation about his plan for the book.  It was SO good.

And we could have had an ENTIRE graphic novel of J.H. Williams III doing Wonder Woman!!  That would have been amazing.  It’s fun that Wonder Woman is guest starring in Batwoman now, but imagine a whole graphic novel with Williams designing Paradise Island and the Amazons and the gods… how fantastic would that be?  And now it’s never going to happen.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just better off knowing how stupid the brass at DC can be.  This news bummed me out like crazy.  How do you not let GREG RUCKA do a Wonder Woman graphic novel with J.H. WILLIAMS III?!  Do they hate good comics?  This news just makes me sad.  The folks at DC really need to get it together.

One Year Later: My Top Five New 52 Titles

September 6, 2012

It’s been an entire year since DC’s “The New 52” premiered, and with a year of new comics under our belts I thought it might be fun to take a look at my five favourite titles, one year later.  Originally I was going to do a Top Ten list, but it turns out I’m not even buying ten DC books right now!!  I’m barely buying five.  So “Top Five” could also read “the five books I actually buy”.  Let’s get to the list:

5) Dial H

Yes, it’s part of the Second Wave, but again, I’m not buying a lot of these books.  I’m very surprised by this, honestly… I assumed I was getting more.  Anyway, Dial H has been very fun so far!!  It’s weird and random, but a good time all around.  It’s fun to have China Mieville doing comics (have you read Perdido Street Station or The Scar?  If you haven’t, stop reading this article and go check them out now!!), and Mateus Santoluoco’s art has been great as he draws a variety of bizarre heroes each month.

4) Supergirl

The story is fun, albeit a little bit slow, but the reason I like Supergirl so much is because when Mahmud Asrar is on his game and can pencil and ink the entire book it’s just absolutely gorgeous.  The dude has skills.  Plus there’s been some cool villains with that weird alien gang and the Silver Banshee and such.  I do like the story, it’s just all about the art for me.

3) Batwoman

I am pleasantly surprised by how well J.H. William III and W. Haden Blackman are doing writing this book.  The first arc was great, and while the second arc went off the rails a bit with the weird time breakup and such it was nonetheless impressively ambitious.  Greg Rucka is a hard act to follow, and they’re doing a really good job.  And the book looks amazing… whether it’s Williams or Reeder or McCarthy, Batwoman’s been consistently beautifully drawn.

2) Batman

This is just a ridiculously good comic book.  Scott Snyder knows how to write a killer Batman story, and Greg Capullo is starting to grow on me as an artist (I like his Batman but not his Bruce Wayne, if that makes any sense).  The whole “Night of the Owls” storyline was great, and that issue where Batman was trapped in the Owls’ labyrinth was just amazing, both in terms of art and story.  Plus Becky Cloonan did a fill-in issue!!  I hope she, and Harper Row, are back soon.  Batman is the best it’s been in years now.

1) Wonder Woman

This is probably not a surprise, but a) it’s been AGES since Wonder Woman was even a Top Five book at DC, much less their best one, and b) it was touch and go for me for a while there with the whole Amazons murdering and raping dudes situation.  However, after the last few issues the book is back on track and firing on all cylinders.  Brian Azzarello is building a crazy, fantastic story and Cliff Chiang is drawing the hell out of it, along with Tony Akins sporadically.  New characters like Hermes and Strife are some of my favourites now, and the reveal at the end of Wonder Woman #12 is just all sorts of fun.  I’m so happy that Wonder Woman is good, and that Cliff Chiang is drawing it.  Chiang makes everything better.

So that’s my Top Five!!  It’s so weird to be getting only five mainline books.  When the New 52 started, my best friend and I picked up at least 20 of the new titles, but we really pared it down over the months.  Part of it was the freedom from what I’d always bought, I think.  I used to buy Batman, Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and some other books because I’d ALWAYS bought those books, even when I didn’t like them, but now that completism is gone for me with the renumbering and the new universe.

Another part of it is the sheer number of awesome new books that came out this year from other publishers.  My budget is only so big, and books like Saga, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, and others have bumped a lot of DC books from my pull list.  I used to get 10-12 DC books and 2-3 books from other publishers, but now it’s around 5 DC books and 7-8 others.

I know the New 52 has been pretty decent for DC in terms of increased sales, but I’m getting a lot less than I used to.  However, what I do get I really like, which is fun.  When I used to get more DC books, I didn’t actually dig a lot of them.  So while I may be a worse customer saleswise, I’m a much happier customer with the books I do get.

Please feel free to leave your Top Five in the comments.  Are there books I’m crazy for not reading?  Let me know.


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