This week in Super Folk, PW Comics World’s weekly survey of superhero comics, we take stock of DC’s new logo, a new line of Marvel prose novels based on their characters, new digital-only releases from Dark Horse, IDW and DC, and the end of an unlikely creative team up between Robert Kirkman and Rob Liefeld.
DC Entertainment’s new logo was easily the biggest, most widespread news story as the company officially unveiled the symbol of its new “brand identity,” and all the fun they can have with it. The peel-back concept has remained, but now (with the addition of a black background, color and some spiffy effects) the versatility of the logo is on display, and it is certainly more visually appealing than what was first seen a week ago. As was said prior to its official unveiling, the addition of motion and sound will exhibit the logo’s real potential, but an animated version has yet to be seen. The press release touts the use of the logo on various media platforms and “consumer touch points” beginning in March, and offers some examples of how the logo will look on promotional images, book covers and spines, and smartphone screens. On the book covers the logo seems discordant with the rest of the cover, and looks especially dull next to the flashy, bold type treatments of the book titles. While I suppose the new logo needs to be broad enough to be utilized on multiple platforms, it’s disheartening to see its use on books the least successful. Things like this just seem to add fuel to the fire that is comic books companies focusing less on the actual comic books, and instead favoring more lucrative ventures such as movies and TV.
DC’s new logo is aimed to reflect the new direction the company has taken since the relaunch of all its titles last September, which recently caught the ire of Fox News on Thursday in a segment decrying the more adult tone the comics have taken to. While some readers have been lamenting comics’ (in particular post New-52 DC’s) more serious storytelling, exemplified by lewd sexual activity (See: the last page of Catwoman #1) and excessive violence (See: the last page of Detective Comics #1), mainstream news stories on comics always come off as misguided and/or misinformed, used to just stir up controversy and imprudent fear (See: everything related to the Comics Code Authority).
In December, Marvel announced a new line of prose books based on its characters and storylines (beginning with an adaptation of Marvel’s mega-hit, Civil War, in June). Overseer of the project (and author of the aforementioned book) Stuart Moore shed some light on upcoming release in an interview with popular comic book news site Newsarama. While superheroes have been published in book form for years, this is the first time the books will not be licensed out to another company, and are being put out by Marvel. Similar to Marvel’s decision to release its films via its own production company, publishing its own novels allows for more freedom and continuity between the prose and comics, as well as more faith in the quality of the work upon seeing a familiar author name on the cover. Towards the end of the interview, Moore intimated that if successful Marvel’s prose line could begin publishing original stories in addition to adaptations.
Now for a sharp turn from books (those old, papery things) to digital comics (the future, hooray!). Dark Horse, IDW and DC Comics all announced new titles to be released exclusively on digital devices. IDW’s got a twelve-part Transformers series titled Transformers: Autocracy. Dark Horse, working alongside Radical Entertainment, is releasing a three-part Prototype comic (based on the popular videogame) that bridges the gap between the first game (released in 2009) and the upcoming sequel, coming in June. Finally DC Comics is offering two free downloads of Lego Hero Factory, which was originally available on Lego’s website. In other digital comics news, Ron Perazzo, former Vice President of Creative Services at DC who spearheaded the creation of the late user-generated ZUDA comics line, has become the Vice-President - General Manager of Publisher and Creator Services at ComiXology, the leading digital comics retailer. Perazza certainly has the comics knowledge and digital expertise for such a position and could indicate further participation and investment in mainstream e-comics.
One of the most anticipated releases for 2012 was Prophet #21, written by comics rising star Brandon Graham, and illustrated by Simon Roy, sold out on its first printing and is seemingly a hit for publisher Image Comics. The issue is the first in a line of new comics based on the defunct Extreme Comics imprint, created by Rob Liefeld during the height of the 1990s comic book boom. Prophet’s numbering continues where Liefeld left off, but takes a decidedly indie approach to the story and character. Along with the upcoming Glory and Dark Horse’s Conan the Barbarian by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, this trend of reviving long out of print characters and titles with a drastically new creative team seems to be paying off.
Finally, The Infinite, the unlikely comic collaboration between Robert Kirkman, writer and creator of The Walking Dead, and 1990s comic superstar Rob Liefeld, and published by Kirkman’s Skybound imprint (under Image Comics), has ended due to “creative differences.”
Note: Beginning next week, Super Folk will be posted regularly every Tuesday