Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Superman Prevented The Mayan Apocalypse: Comic Bookery in 2012

So first off, we're all still here, right? No hellbeasts? Zombies? Solar flares that only hit small populated islands I didn't hear about? An invading Alien war-nation that wants to battle our champion and enslave us if said champion loses? Kaiju rabbits that sprang up from the ashes of Chernobyl? Sentient robots that have decided we need upgrades? Grumpy Cat has risen as the Antichrist? Bueller? Nothing? Okay, just checking.

Seeing we are all still here on this planet is still goin' round that big star that keeps us from not freezing and the shotguns out my window last night announced that I will soon be considered another year older, let us look back on some things that happened in comics in 2012. There was a lot that happened, and we certainly cannot cover everything. I haven't stored up enough jokes for that and I'm sure I'd miss something due to being off Twitter the day it broke.

Gail Simone Was Fired From Batgirl. Nerds Raged. Gail Simone Was Unfired From Batgirl. Nerds Rejoiced.

This is so recent and fresh in memory it's easy to put it up at the top just because it is one of the latest big things to happen in the industry. However it's pretty important in and of itself. Gail Simone is one of the biggest female writer's there are in comics today. She has a huge, wonderful, crazy fan base that tends to involve severe hashtag abuse on Twitter. Simone was given Batgirl, a character whom she has publicly professed as one of her dream jobs, and she did a really fucking good job writing it. With the new 52 launch, Batgirl was one of the standouts despite retconning Barbara Gordon's very long stint in a wheelchair. As other titles fell to the wayside and died off, Batgirl defied expectations and sold better than predicted.

And then DC decided to fire Simone. Via e-mail.

There are obviously more factors that were going on then what we know. But the fact of the matter was Simone had a well selling comic. Her number's weren't sub-par. She is also one of the too few ladies on a female centric title. And someone figured she didn't even deserve the courtesy of a phone call to know she was fired. It was abrupt, and didn't seem to make any sense monetarily or creatively.

This pissed everyone in the fan-o-sphere off to say the least. The internet was loud; from the urges of people to move away from buying DC titles to other companies popping up and offering a suddenly free Gail Simone with job offers. It was enough that DC listened and fairly quickly reinstated Simone. And while some of us would have wanted to see Simone off writing Buffy or something, it's good to know that the publishers are listening.

So Many Exits From The Big Two, Everyone Goes Out And Plays With Their Own Toys.

Speaking of writers getting jostled around, a lot of folks got fed up with that. Some of us scratched our heads when grimace artist/90's child star of comics Rob Liefeld threw gasoline on the bridge and shot it with a flame thrower. But then Greg Rucka made his reasons from stepping away from the Big Two well known as well before heading off into the sunset to do his own awesome thing, it was a bigger deal. It left a lot of folks stunned and others not so much. There were others just as talented, just as wonderful, that did the same although to perhaps less attention.

However with the Big Two no longer playing the long game and constantly shuffling everyone around,  Image being eager to invite talent to come on over and own their stories, and even non-Image creator owned endeavors being easier to bankroll, the Big Two are just a way station for a lot of people now. You go in, you develop a fanbase, and you move onto your projects before they suck all of the creativity out of you*.

Everyone Got Self-Published On Kickstarter.

Kickstarter was the place to be if you wanted to get funding for a comic. There was an enormous roster of comics in 2012 with campaigns on Kickstarter; from unknown indie kids to big shots in the industry. Webcomics that had been around awhile and needed some print money to graphic novels that had just a few pages done. It seemed like everyone was on Kickstarter, and a lot of folks got the funding they needed to put out their books. While the quality will certainly vary, this year the crowd funding site became a major option for everyone and anyone who wants to make comics.

Constantine Leaves Vertigo, Goes To DC.

In news that made everyone go "Ruh?" in their Scooby Doo voice, Vertigo cancelled the long running Constantine, and DC announced the title for the New 52. Seeing as the book is considerably more mature and less "super hero-y" than the usual DC fare, sticking Constantine into the DC U has confused and worried a lot of folks that the book will be toned down to it's detriment.

That Guy From Buffy Made An Avengers Movie.

Getting away from books, this was the movie of the year for me and many other people. The night I saw it was something I will never forget. The crowd was electric, and for the most part in costume as we cheered, laughed, and were engrossed in Marvel's epic summer flick. I had a friend who said he could only compare it to the time when he saw Return fo the Jedi on opening night. It was a solid superhero movie, fun to watch over and over again. And hey there's this Joss Whedon kid who I hear's pretty up and coming.

Growly Batman Wrapped. Muted Color Pallet Superman Is Teased.

I think I've heard every year for the past three or for "This is the year of Superhero Movies" or "This is the Summer of Superhero movies" or something like that. There have been a lot of superhero movies over the past decade. A lot of tights, fights, and not so subtle 90 minute toy commercials (I am looking at you, Green Lantern). However this year we saw Nolan's chain smoker voiced Batman walk off into the Parisian sunset.

It wasn't the best movie in the world. Actually, the more I watch it the more I dislike it and would rather watch Anne Hathaway's Catwoman in a movie of her own. Bruce just seems to mope around a lot, there's a part that involves shoving his protruding spine back into place, and in general the story just plain falls apart. More than enough people have picked it apart.

With the franchise done though DC is going full steam ahead with Zack Snyder's very texturey Superman. From what we were given it looks moody, with Clark Kent (played by the jawline attached to Henry Cavill) struggling with his extraordinary-ness and briefly pursuing a career on the Deadliest Catch. With the movie to be a launching off point for DC's JLA extravaganza, the brief glimpses are promises of a much larger geek beast if the film does well.

That Guy From Buffy Promised More Firefly Comics That Move Continuity Forward.

2012 was the 10 Anniversary of FOX's red headed stepchild that everyone else loves so dearly, Firefly. Despite being enormously successful in the cult following market, the God King himself having admitted to have plotted out the series for seven seasons and having a handful of comics that happen to be some of Dark Horse's best sellers, there's been little to move the storyline forward post-Serenity.

So when Joss announced at the SDCC 10th Anniversary Panel that not only would more Firefly comics be coming out, but ones that saw the crew flying further into the future there was some rejoicing to say the least.

If You Want A Comics Convention, Avoid SDCC Entirely.

This has been the case for several years. The Entertainment Industry portion of SDCC has just out-muscled Comics. While big event unveilings and panels happen for the larger publishers, it lacks in the ability to interact and have a decent experience that doesn't involve single file lines.

However SDCC alternatives seem to at least now feel more visible with more popping up. Emerald City Comic Con has become the Con the talent that avoids SDCC like the plague attends. In 2012 Image Expo (which seems to be a one shot) was a great smaller con focusing on creator owned books. Morrisoncon blew everyone who attended away with the intimacy and joy of celebrating the medium. And even if you were stuck at SDCC and didn't want lines Tr!ckster was across the street where guys like Fabio Moon and gals like Amanda Conner were hanging out and enjoying themselves.

Spiderman #700 Made People Hulk Out. Hulked Out Fans Threaten Writer With Death.

Really, guys, really? Christ on a cracker, it's comics.

Asher Powell’s oldest memories are reruns of the Adam West Batman show. By day she is a mild mannered geek wielding an art degree and a heavy caffeine addiction, but by night she is known as a writer who’s work has been featured on Autostraddle and Bleeding Cool. You can follow her on twitter where she rambles about the nerdier side of pop culture as well as her kitties and what she’s procrastinating on. She apologizes profusely for any and all grammar or spelling errors.

*something that was actually said during Morrisoncon.

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