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Tag Archive: Geoff Johns


   

Eighty years ago Superman first hit neighborhood newsstands in Issue #1 of Action Comics–an issue that if you kept your copy could pay off your house, car, and retirement.  The cover was dated June 1938, but it was in kids’ hands first on April 18, 1938.  DC Comics is celebrating Superman’s big anniversary this week with a celebratory issue of Action Comics numbered 1000, created by some of DC’s top writers and artists, an anthology of stories just as you’d find in Action Comics’ first 500 issues.  The 1,000 issues is spot-on with the number of Action Comics issues released, but those counting the months since 1938 will come up short:  Action Comics shifted from a monthly to a bi-weekly once upon a time, and you won’t find numbered issues #905-956, which were replaced by 52 issues of the New 52 reboot numbering 1-52.  For American comic book fans, there’s something special about holding this issue in your hands.  It’s no small feat seeing such a truly undisputed iconic character get to this point.

The 80-page giant issue is one not to pass up.  For current fans, it’s a ramp-up to Brian Michael Bendis’s writing run beginning with the complete issue #1001.  For everyone else, it’s a nostalgic trip via variant covers and dozens of classic and modern creators offering up stories about the Man of Steel.  The writers?  Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, and Brian Michael Bendis.  The artists? Dan Jurgens, Pat Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee, Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams, Hi-Fi Color, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, and Alex Sinclair.  Cover artists include Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Dave Gibbons, Michael Allred, Jim Steranko, Joshua Middleton, Dan Jurgens, Kevin Nowlan, Lee Bermejo, Dave Dorman, George Perez, Neal Adams, Jim Lee (providing the main cover and two variants), Curt Swan, Felipe Massafera, Nicola Scott, Jock, Oliver Coipel, Jason Fabok, Kaare Andrews, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, Artgerm, Tyler Kirkham, Pat Gleason, Francesco Mattina, Ken Haeser, Doug Mahnke, and Tony S. Daniel.  Check out images of all the variant covers below.  Our favorite?  Danielle Dell’Otto’s take on Christopher Reeve at the Fortress of Solitude, and Pat Gleason’s cover, which includes Krypto.

   

Some comic book stores are holding events to celebrate the Man of Steel’s big day.  This Saturday if you’re in the Kansas City area head on over to Elite Comics, where you can pick up copies of Issue #1000 plus a limited exclusive Superman print (shown above) by artist Bryan Fyffe, a nationally-recognized artist whose licensed works include projects for Disney and Star Wars.  Or check out your own neighborhood store.

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He-Man print in limited edition of The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Review by C.J. Bunce

Next month Dark Horse Comics releases a must-read for fans of He-Man, She-Ra “Princess of Power,” and the Masters of the Universe world of toys, animated series, magazines, chapter books, posters, comic strips, and comic books.  The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover includes more than 300 pages full-color art, a portfolio featuring an exclusive print by Gerald Parel, a foil-embossed cover, and a die-cut two-piece Castle Greyskull slipcase.  A standard edition of the book will also be available.  Many well-known creators worked with these characters since its inception in the early 1980s, including Ralph McQuarrie, Drew Struzan, Dick Giordano, J. Michael Straczynski, George Tuska, Klaus Janson, Boris Vallejo, Tony Moore, Darwyn Cooke, Geoff Johns, and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Designers from every stage of the creation of He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, and the large cast of sword and sorcery heroes and villains, offer insight into character development, decision-making, and the impact on 1980s kids.  The best feature is the inclusion of hundred of pieces of full-color art, concept artwork, page layouts, sketches, storyboards, packaging art, prototypes, never before seen and unused imagery, advertising art, original comic art, and final comic book pages, covers, and animation cels.  It features restored art from master illustrator Earl Norem, as well as interviews with Dolph Lundgren, who played He-Man in the 1987 movie, director Gary Goddard, well-known TV producer/comic book writer Paul Dini, and voice actress Erika Scheimer, among many others.  Captions for photos were written by comic book creators Tim Seeley and Steve Seeley.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover slipcase edition

Particularly of interest to toy collectors are the original notes from the development stage of the toy line at Mattel.  Mattel, which had passed on the ground-breaking Star Wars action figure line, developed He-Man as a direct competitor to that toy line.  Mattel drove the look of the characters–this was first and foremost a toy line, inspired in part by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta.  But it grew beyond that.  Artists and writers and other creators remark with pride about the focus on the stories that went beyond the toy line.

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The Flash Season Zero regular cover issue 1   The Flash Season Zero issue 2 cover

If you’re not watching The Flash on the CW Network there’s no time like tonight to join in and get caught up.  All the DC Comics fans who grew tired of the dark and gloomy nature of the DC Comics universe as realized in television (like Constantine) and the movies (like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) have the alternative they have been looking for from this spin-off of CW’s Arrow.

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen against all prior types.  He’s more like Peter Parker than the Barry Allen of the Silver Age or more recent New 52 incarnations, and little like the older, more serious scientist in The Flash television series from the 1980s starring John Wesley Shipp.  He’s cheery, funny, friendly, and generally a happy guy despite his obsession with his mother’s death years ago, having to deal with his father in prison for her murder, and the fact that his life has been turned upside down by a bolt of electric current from a particle accelerator.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

And if the series isn’t enough for you, check out the tie-in comic book series The Flash Season Zero.  Season Zero provides a supplemental story to the TV show but also is a jumping-on point for those who may have missed the first few episodes.  Now only two issues in, you can get these back issues easily from any comic book retailer.  The best reason to check out Season Zero?  The return of artist Phil Hester to the part of the DCU he drew for many years as penciller on the monthly Green Arrow series.  With multiple crossover episodes this season between The Flash and Arrow, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Hester’s take on drawing Stephen Amell’s much younger version of Oliver Queen.

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THE-FLASH-First-look

The CW Network released this first look at the new Flash costume and announced that filming of the pilot episode will begin this week.  This time around, the supersuit developed by Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood seems to have kept with the modern design continuity of her costume for Stephen Amell’s Arrow while possibly pulling in some inspiration from Chris Evans’ Captain America costume from Captain America: The First Avenger, with that 1940s leather football helmet look, complete with chin guard.

Captain America helmet

Captain America–inspiration for the new Flash supersuit helmet?

The primary red-colored suit from the decades of comic book artist renderings has been cast aside for an edgier, dark look, also perhaps taking the lead from the darker mood of the Arrow series’ new DC universe that the new Barry Allen/Flash springs from.  The color also resembles the classic Flash series that this new series will be undoubtedly compared to, possibly the best incarnation of a costumed hero to appear on TV or film, worn in 1990-1991 by actor John Wesley Shipp, shown here:

Flash John Wesley Shipp

The original Flash–a supersuit that can’t be beat.

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Arrow Blu-ray combo

Review by C.J. Bunce

When Arrow’s pilot was previewed at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2012 we had our first indication that the series would be a big hit.  The pilot remains one of the best first episodes for any TV series, and on its new Blu-ray release viewers get to see what an incredible looking show this really is.  This Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Arrow will be released on both DVD and in an awesome Blu-ray combo pack that you won’t want to miss, and today’s your last day to pick it up at its discounted pre-order price.  Thanks to Warner Bros. borg.com got an advance preview of the Blu-ray combo pack, and if you missed any of the 23 episodes aired this year, or you haven’t seen the series at all, now is the time to catch the best live action DC Comics effort since 1990’s The Flash.  Check out the “Arrow” tag to the lower right of the borg.com home page for past coverage of our favorite new hit.

Optimum Quality.  The nine-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes two complete sets of the episodes and features:  the DVD on five discs and the Blu-ray on four discs.  (One to keep and one to loan to friends?)  It also includes a code for Ultraviolet viewing access.  The picture and sound quality are perfect, and watching the episodes straight through you realize the series was designed in a very seamless way compared with so many shows that have repeated scenes at every commercial break.  Not so here.  The navigation menus are the best we’ve seen so far–easy to navigate–and they include a full menu for all the discs on each disc so if you have the wrong disc inserted you’ll always know which one you want.

Arrow season one cast

All 23 Brilliant Episodes.  The series started off with a complex pilot, and that was a movie-quality effort to begin with.  Subsequent episodes never seemed to let up.  Our favorite was the three episode arc featuring Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress, played by Jessica De Gouw, one of the top character retellings in this new Green Arrow universe.  We were surprised how much we didn’t mind Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim taking liberties with the 70-year history of the Green Arrow canon.  The set includes great episodes featuring characters unexplored before, including the very modern and realistic tech guru Felicity Smoak, played perfectly by Emily Bett Rickards, and the entirely new character, Oliver’s confidant John Diggle, played by David Ramsey.

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Larfleeze issue 1

“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight!”

No, wait.  That’s the wrong Lantern oath.  Try this on:

What’s mine is mine and mine and mine,
And mine, and mine, and mine!
Not yours!

Much better!

Let’s face it, if you had to get rid of all the Lanterns, the greens, the reds, say in a New 52: The Next Generation, and you got to save three Lanterns, who would they be?  Hal Jordan?  Sinestro?  The third would have to be Geoff Johns’ and Ethan Van Sciver’s wielder of the orange ring, Larfleeze.

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Green Lantern 20 banner

In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.

For the past nine years Geoff Johns has been writing DC Comics’ Green Lantern monthly series, including tales interweaving the stories of Earth’s five Green Lanterns: Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and the New 52 creation Simon Baz.  In the first DC Comics prestige format comic book in a long time, Johns says farewell to writing for Green Lantern this week in Green Lantern, Issue #20.  Although it’s not a good entry point for readers not familiar with the Green Lantern Corps, it is a must read for fans both of Geoff Johns’s writing and his many Green Lantern stories now available in various trade editions.  Johns is probably the single most important contributor to Lantern lore since O’Neil and Adams’ run in the 1970s and it’s his Hal Jordan, like it or not, that ended up in the big screen adaptation back in 2011.

Green Lantern 20 page 21

As last stories go, Johns manages to do something unprecedented with his last issue–the book seems like a memorial not only to Green Lantern Hal Jordan but oddly a memorial of sorts for Johns himself.  You might ask yourself:  Is Johns seriously ill?  Did I not get the memo?  The format begs these questions because a full nine pages are offered as mini-notes from friends and admirers of Johns congratulating him for his long run on the series.  It’s strangely self-indulgent, but if you can skip over these tombstone-like epitaph pages, the ads for the continuing Green Lantern (featuring Hal Jordan), Green Lantern Corps (featuring John Stewart), Green Lantern: New Guardians (featuring Kyle Rayner), and Red Lanterns (featuring Guy Gardner) monthly series, Johns’ sign-off note to fans and four pages documenting his past works in trade editions, there is still a complete story here, including panel art, splash pages and a fold out poster contributed by the likes of Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Cully Hamner, Aaron Kuder, Jerry Ordway, Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, and Marc Deering.  I think even diehard fans of Johns would probably rather see the nine pages of commentary replaced with all of the commentary on one page in a smaller font and more story and art.

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JLA 1 cover by Finch courtesy of DC Entertainment

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was way back in August that we first previewed the very first images of the new Justice League of America here at borg.com.  DC Comics has had a big month with big changes–first we reviewed Jeff Lemire beginning a new Green Arrow story in the monthly series, then we were introduced last week to Tatsu, a new recruit in a new Justice League whose superhero name is that of her sword, Katana.  And if you’re not keeping up we chatted a few days ago about DC Comics’ two trade editions available for the plain ol’ Justice League of the New 52.  And that’s not even getting into the cancelled Justice League International monthly title and the awesome Justice League Dark we’ve raved about here earlier.

Today DC Comics put the America back in the Justice League.  Sure, the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg)–the League with all the egos–will continue as a monthly series, but the rest of the original JLA superheroes we all know and love are back in their own separate league.  They may not be the World’s Finest but writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch have launched a new story, “World’s Most Dangerous.”  And if Issue #1 is any indication I think we’re in for a better league with the new JLA.

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Justice League Volume 2 cover

With DC Comics having wrapped it first year with the New 52, it is now releasing the second hardcover volume of its flagship title, Justice League.  If you don’t read the monthly series, now is the time to catch up on the full first year with Volumes 1 and 2 now on the shelves.  Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin reprinted Issues 1-6, and now Justice League, Vol. 2: The Villain’s Journey reprints Issues 7-12, both volumes including variant covers and cover sketch art by the popular artist Jim Lee.

Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin, now available in both hardcover and trade paperback, began the entire New 52, a new DC Universe unveiled first 5 years ago, a reality which may or may not have been manipulated from the universe we’ve known all along by the red-hooded Pandora, who has managed to flit in and out of nearly every DC Comics series since the reboot in September 2011.  In Volume 1 we met the new original seven members of the League–first a comical run-in of Batman and Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who then have their own run-in with Superman (run-in meaning lots of bruises and destruction of property).  Then Barry Allen’s Flash entered the picture as probably the most interesting character in the new League.  He formed a relationship with buddy Hal Jordan which provided many of the most entertaining scenes of the series so far.  Then we met Wonder Woman, who in this incarnation of the DCU is far more Valkyrie than Amazon, and this plays nicely off of Aquaman’s entrance, whose Atlantis origins are here very much influenced by the world of Thor.  This is all tied together by a new League entrant, the young Vic Stone, transformed by happenstance into a cyborg, now known as the League member Cyborg.  And they all must come together to protect the world from being devastated by none other than classic villain Darkseid.  We reviewed the monthly series at borg.com least year here.

Justice League Volume 2

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DC Comics announced at the DC Entertainment-All Access panel at Fan Expo Toronto this weekend that DC will be adding a new Justice League to the New 52 coming in 2013.  Not merely another mini-series, DC will be publishing a new ongoing comic book series titled Justice League of America. 

“Wait a second!” you say.  “But we already have a Justice League–it’s DC’s main title that ties the New 52 together, as well as a Justice League Dark, and a Justice League International already being phased out.”

But the Justice League is just the Justice League, and apparently the DC Powers That be figured out we all needed to see a Justice League with its original JLA moniker, stress on the “America”.

New 52 writer Geoff Johns (who has writing credits on the current Justice League, Aquaman and Green Lantern series) will be writing the new series, with David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight) serving as series artist.

“This is a very different kind of team book,” said Johns in a DC news release. “On first glance, people might think the heroes of the Justice League of America stand in the shadows of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League, but Green Arrow, Katana, Martian Manhunter, the new Green Lantern, Stargirl, Vibe, Hawkman and Catwoman thrive in the shadows.  They’re underdogs who have everything to prove and something to lose.  They’re a team of unlikely heroes who will help one another discover they’re as A-List as anybody — yes, even Vibe.  Though getting there won’t be easy.  Why they’re formed, why each member joins, what they’re after and who the society of villains is they’re trying to take apart will all be clear in the first issue when it hits early 2013.  David and I are really focused on delving deep into what it’s like to not be a member of the big seven and why, sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

“Wait a second, again,” you say.  “Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman… unlikely heroes?  Underdogs?”  Umm… right.

If Johns is talking about the third-string positioning of these former, long-time–as in decades long–early JLA members as now seen in the New 52, well, then we agree with what Johns is saying.  But these guys were only B-List because the current DC editors relegated these superheroes to that status.  Ultimately it is not a big deal–superhero titles needs shaken up from time to time in the DCU and the new line is no different from shake-ups in the past.  What would be nice is a Justice League of America book that out-performs the Justice League series.

Other interesting bits–Catwoman? In the JLA?  Another Green Lantern?

We can also look forward to Johns revisiting his creation Star Girl, Courtney Whitmore, a character named for Johns’ sister who died in an airplane crash in 1996, whose costume is based on Yankee Poodle, a member of Captain Carrot’s Amazing Zoo Crew.

We will check out the new series when it launches next year, particularly because stories pairing Hawkman with Green Arrow are always fun, and it’s not really the League without the Martian Manhunter.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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