Boxers & Saints author Gene Luen Yang to take the helm of DC’s Superman

Gene Luen Yang will be writing DC's Superman. Where do I sign up?
Gene Luen Yang will be writing DC’s Superman

 

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Last year, Marvel announced efforts to broaden the diversity of their superhero lineup; only to run their main Marvel universe through the shredder this year and possibly erase all those gains. Meanwhile, both DC and Marvel have been criticized that even when they elevate the profiles of non-White and non-male superheroes, previous efforts have stumbled due at least in part to failures to implement behind-the-scenes diversity initiatives; thus, earlier announcements have come across as transient pandering that lacks connection to the actual experiences of women and minorities while failing to produce opportunities for minority creators.

Last week, DC announced its own radical shift that would be taking hold of the DC superhero universe in the coming months. No, not another Crisis: DC announced a major roster change in the creative teams behind several ongoing titles as well as the launch of several new books, all with the general goal of “broadening” the focus of the DC universe. In layman’s terms? DC is diversifying their superheros, and it turns out that they’re going to do it the right way: behind-the-scenes as well as in front.

MarySue is all over the news, highlighting the launch of two new titles that feature strong female superhero protagonists –– Black Canary and Starfire. This will be Starfire’s first solo title, and notably, she’s received a costume redesign that (finally) covers her top half (although, of course, she’s still wearing booty shorts).  In addition to a limited run Harley Quinn/ Power Girl (which may feature the new Power Girl, Tanya Spears who is Black and also apparently awesome) miniseries, these newly launched female-led titles will join ongoing series featuring Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, making DC’s newly announced efforts one of the most inclusive comic lineups with regard to women.

new-starfire
Starfire’s new look.

With regard to racial diversity, a few (but not that many) characters of color will also be promoted to solo title status; most notably, Cyborg will get his own series, written by current author of Shaft, David Walker. The cover of We Are Robin also features several Robins, including both women and people of colour. The new title, Midnighter, will focus on a gay male lead character.

But the real news here is what’s going on behind-the-scenes: DC’s newest slate of creative teams features an almost unprecedented number of women and minority creators. For the New 52 relaunch, less than 1% of DC’s writers were women. In this new announcement, six women (or 17% of all writers, a big deal in the traditionally male-dominated comics industry) will be women. Even more importantly, several of the female writers will be writing female protagonists: Meredith Finch will be writing Wonder Woman, Gail Simone will continue her work on Secret Six (which includes several female characters), Amanda Connor will co-write Harley QuinnStarfire, and the Harley Quinn/Power Girl mini-series, and Genevieve Valentine will write Catwoman.

Today’s announcement is also a big deal for Asian American comic book writers and artists. Greg Pak, who has done phenomenal work for both DC and Marvel, will be continuing to write Action Comics and Superman/Batman. The big news is that Gene Luen Yang, author of several award-winning comic books including American Born ChineseBoxers & Saints, and The Shadow Hero will be making his DC Comics debut to take over the ongoing Superman series. DC reports that Yang will be charged with helping to depict Superman “in a more contemporary light”. Ming Doyle, one of the industry’s few Asian American female talents, will also be joining Constantine: The Hellblazer as a writer, and Dark Universe as an artist.

Teamed with artist John Romita, Jr., Yang will be the first Asian American to write the tale of DC Comics’ flagship superhero in his eponymous title; this is also symbolic because Superman’s story — with its immigrant narrative overtones — has long spoken to Asian American fanboys. As Will West put it:

This is a pretty big deal. An Asian American is writing the American Dream superhero.

(Of course, Pak has been writing Superman through both Action Comics and Superman/Batman or some time, but you get the gist!)

Yang’s writing is just superb and stellar; I’ve been a fan for years. I haven’t been buying comics in a number of years; the addition of Yang and Doyle to a writing staff that already includes Pak’s strong work is making me change my mind on that decision.

As far as Asian American creative talent are concerned, Yang, Pak and Doyle will also be joined by several Asian American artists in driving the behind-the-scenes work for DC. Talented Asian American artists Bernard Chang, Sonny Liew, Ardian Syaf, Annie Wu and Billy Tan will pencil Batman BeyondDr Fate, Batman/Superman, Black Canary, and Green Lantern, respectively; Irene Koh is also working on art for Black Canary although she’s listed by BleedingCool and not included in  DC’s official announcement.

DC says:

“This heralds in a new era for the DC Universe which will allow us to publish something for everyone, be more expansive and modern in our approach and tell stories that better reflect the society around us,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio.  “Whether you’ve been a DC fan your whole life, or whether you are new to comics – there will be a book for you beginning in June.”

 

Iron Man x Medicom Toy (Japan) 400% and 100% Bearbrick

Medicom Toy has released an edition of its ultra-popular Bearbrick in an Iron Man iteration. The Marvel superhero gets the Bearbrick makeover with a re-imagined suit and iconic Bearbrick ears. The Iron Man Bearbrick comes in both 400% and 100% versions, with the 100% Iron Man Bearbrick retailing for ¥1,500 JPY (approximately $13 USD) and the 400% retails for  ¥7,800 (approximately $66 USD).

They will be available beginning February 8, for more information, check here.

 

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Artist Profile: Khoa Ho’s illustrated silhouettes of superheroes, highlighting their past and present

 

HulkThe Doctor – Hulk

San Francisco-based artist Khoa Ho has released volume two of his ongoing Superheroes – Past/Present poster series. It features illustrated silhouettes of well-known comic book superheroes that highlight their past and present.

Prints of Khoa‘s volume one and two posters are available to purchase online at Hero Complex Gallery.

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 Artist Profile: Khoa Ho’s illustrated silhouettes of superheroes

Captain AmericaThe Soldier – Captain America

ThorThe God – Thor

Wonder WomanThe Amazon – Wonder Woman

Green LanternThe Pilot – Green Lantern

images via Khoa Ho

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Comics: First look at Si Spurrier and Rock-He Kim’s X-FORCE #1 (Marvel Comics)

Comicbookmovie:

Almost every sovereign state in the Marvel Universe makes use of sanctioned superhumans to protect national interests and pursue a covert agenda. In this dirty, secret, no-holds-barred, deadly game of superhuman black ops, veteran X-Man Cable and his team will spy, torture, and kill to ensure that the mutant race not only has a place in the world…but also a stake in it.

X-FORCE #1
Written by SI SPURRIER
Pencils & Cover by ROCK-HE KIM
Variant Cover by PHIL NOTO

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Comics: First look at Si Spurrier and Rock-He Kim’s X-FORCE #1

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Marvel collaborates with Medicom Toy (Japan) with the 400% Deadpool & Cyclops Bearbricks

 

Image of Marvel x Medicom Toy 400% Deadpool & Cyclops Bearbrick

Marvel and Medicom Toy team up to produce a Cyclops and Deadpool edition of the 400% Bearbrick. The figurines are 28cm tall and make welcome additions to the lineup of other collaborative Bearbricks that already include more popular characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man.

Both the Cyclops  and Deadpool figurines are scheduled for release and delivery in May at a cost of ¥‎6,800 JPY (approximately $65 USD) each. If you want to secure yours early, project 1/6 is currently accepting pre-orders for the 400% and 100%-edition Bearbricks.

Check out this link:

Marvel collaborates with Medicom Toy (Japan) with the 400% Deadpool & Cyclops Bearbricks

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Artist Profile: Michael Cho’s superheroes are super retro

Visual News (Benjamin Starr):

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 11

Two things that really flourished during the ‘50s: illustration and comic books. Toronto-based artist and illustrator Michael Cho has perfectly combine those two trends in deliciously retro fashion, creating handmade fan art the old fashioned way. Featuring your favorite heroes of yesteryear – from Superman and Thor, to Batman and Ironman – his work is exceedingly positive and makes you feel that all is right in the world… and if it isn’t, he’ll show us who to turn to.

Much of Cho’s work breaks the digital mold, being created with the tools of the past – pens, pencils, watercolors and gouache – for that truly retro feel. His color palette is limited and communicates with bold strokes of black detailing. To get the often dynamic scenes composed just right, he often creates multiple sketches of his work before creating a final image.

Other themes Cho has followed include series’ featuring famous NBA stars, plenty of retro sci-fi, and a fantastic collection of Toronto back alleys (who knew they could look so inviting?). See more at his website or follow him on Twitter.

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 1

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 2

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 8

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 9

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 10

ironman

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 3

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Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 5

Quantum Physics illustration

Self portrait with family:

Michael Cho Retro Illustrations 7

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Artist Profile: Michael Cho’s superheroes are super retro