That's That Shit: Week of 09-05-2012: Wondercon in Anaheim, Mark Millar vs. Trolls and a SHIELD TV Show

A comics news article

That's That Shit

Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 9/5/2012


Hi. That's That Shit is exactly what it says above -- we talk in-depth about everything that happened in the comics world last week, and then look forward to some notable releases slated for this coming Wednesday.

Your panel of judges are Comics Bulletin Managing Editors Danny Djeljosevic and Nick Hanover, who pretty much have paper and ink in their blood, and CB Columns Editor Andrew Tan, who got his start in comics late in life through Adrian Tomine and is slowly dipping his toes into the broader aspects of the medium. So we deliver the news, Andrew asks the questions and hopefully everyone learns something.

Bang on.

But first, this week's theme music:



Last Week's News


Wondercon Might Return to Anaheim



Danny: Wondercon, a convention typically held in San Francisco's Moscone Center, might be held at the Anaheim Convention Center for the second year in a row in 2013. Comic-Con International revealed that they couldn't get any spring 2013 dates for WonderCon at the Moscone Center, but may be able to schedule it at Moscone in the fall of next year.

As a result, CCI is going to pursue both a fall date in San Francisco and a spring date in Anaheim just to make sure. If they score both they're going to keep WonderCon in the Bay Area and give the Anaheim convention a new name.

In 2012, construction on the Moscone Center forced the convention to temporarily relocate to Anaheim, which seemed to work out pretty well (it was my first WonderCon), but most of the people I've talked to about it said it just wasn't the same. I can vouch for that to some extent, because Anaheim is a glorified parking lot.

Andrew: I’ve been to WonderCon a couple of times in SF and it’s always a treat to see costumed people roaming downtown, alongside engineers of some kind probably working for an obscure start-up. I’ve been told that it’s basically Comic-Con junior, except it doesn’t smell as bad and you can get across the hall without getting stopped by a blockade of stormtroopers. And programming primarily is comics related. Speaking of which, is there a major benefit for Comic-Con International in moving WonderCon to Anaheim? It seems like keeping it in SF helps keep the programming about comics although I could be totally wrong. 

Nick: As someone who works in the convention center business when I'm not working in the comics business, my guess here is that there's a bit more to it than construction. San Francisco is a notoriously expensive city and it wouldn't surprise me if the Moscone Center is short on throwing benefits towards CCI the way San Diego has (especially since San Diego and Las Vegas are still more or less at war for the right to host Comic-Con). By potentially getting both cities, CCI would have the benefit of an ideal city location in San Francisco and an ideal city partner in Anaheim, which is desperate to shake its poor reputation and gain more events of this nature, particularly when San Diego has reaped huge rewards from hosting SDCC over the years. San Francisco doesn't really need a WonderCon, but Anaheim is almost certainly willing and able to bend over backwards to make this work.

Danny: So far they only seem to be moving it to Anaheim out of necessity. Logically, it makes sense to have a convention in Anaheim if you want to entice more of the SDCC Hollywood folk to come in. I know this year they had some celebs promoting TV shows, SDCC style. Not sure if that happens at WonderCon normally.

But there's the problem with moving conventions: the city is essential to the experience. Moving SDCC up north (as they threaten every year) would mean no Gaslamp bustling with a charming/annoying throng of nerds and marketing opportunities. There's a culture around that yearly event, and I imagine the same is true of WonderCon in SF. It's not something you can just transplant.



Batman Live Invades America This Week



Nick: Batman Live, the bizarre Cirque du Soleil spectacle that Chris Sims has been eagerly anticipating, will make its stateside debut this week, with a five-day stint in Anaheim's Honda Center and a finale in San Antonio's Freeman Coliseum at the end of December, just in time for the Mayan Apocalypse. Although Cirque du Soleil events typically stick to being family friendly, Sims and others have already pointed out how insanely creepy a lot of this performance is, complete with hanging corpses and a disembodied Joker head. Still, if you're bored with that Cirque du Soleil take on the Beatles and are too impatient for the inevitable Batman reboot, this should fill some kind of void in your life. Tour dates are as follows:

  • Anaheim, CA Honda Center Sept. 5-9, 2012
  • St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center Sept. 13-16, 2012
  • San Jose, CA HP Pavilion at San Jose Sept. 20-23, 2012
  • Los Angeles, CA Staples Center Sept. 27-30, 2012
  • Las Vegas, NV Thomas & Mack Center Oct. 3-7, 2012
  • Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena Oct. 10-14, 2012
  • Rio Rancho, NM Santa Ana Star Center Oct. 17-21, 2012
  • Colorado Springs, CO World Arena Oct. 23-24, 2012
  • Loveland, CO Budweiser Events Oct. 28-28 2012
  • Wichita, KS Intrust Bank Arena Nov 13-14, 2012
  • Sioux City, IA Tyson Event Center Nov 16-18, 2012
  • Kansas City, MO Sprint Center Nov 23-25, 2012
  • Green Bay, WI Resch Center Nov. 27-28, 2012
  • Ft. Wayne, IN Allen County War Memorial Col Dec. 4-5, 2012
  • St. Louis, MO Chaifetz Arena Dec. 7-9, 2012
  • Dallas, TX American Airlines Center Dec. 12-16, 2012
  • Tulsa, OK BOK Center Dec. 19-23, 2012
  • San Antonio, TX Freeman Coliseum Dec. 27-30, 2012

Andrew: Do you know how this insanity even started? Does anyone actually control what can be done with the Batman franchise? It just strikes me either as a fantastically misguided idea that came out of a Stefon-like art director, or more optimistically, further proof of how comics are continuing to penetrate the mainstream. 

Danny: I think they just wanted to turn off the dark, y'know?


Asshole on the Internet Gets Treated Like an Asshole


Danny: There once was a man on Twitter who went by John V (or MisterE2009) who decided to take on the hobby of harassing good, hardworking comics folk on the Internet -- crude, sexually violent things that you could only say to another human being if you were a sociopath and/or hidden behind the comfortable veil of anonymity.

Thankfully, Mark Millar caught wind of this guy an spearheaded a campaign to get him in trouble. People reported the shit out of him on Twitter (myself included) and apparently Millar's got a criminal lawyer in LA on the case. Hopefully, if nothing else, it teaches this bro and others like him a lesson in not being a dick.

Me, I feel like John Oliver in this sketch.

Andrew: I hope when the cops find him and brutally arrest him, the officer will say “Looks like this MisterE just got cracked.”



Nick: This could wind up being an extremely interesting case in more ways than one, though, since it sits in the middle of a free speech debate. I imagine that it will hinge on whether it can be proven that real harm was imminent and likely since the current benchmark for this kind of litigation is Brandenburg v. Ohio. That case, which established the Brandenburg test or imminent lawless action test, specifically outlines intent, imminence and likelihood as the three factors that must be judged before restricting free speech. While this individual has said some hateful, disgusting things, I don't see how any criminal lawyer could effectively argue that his words fit the criteria of intent, imminence and likelihood, with intent being the only one that could potentially be met and even then it's a stretch. Even the remark this individual made to Heidi MacDonald about meeting her at a con was vague in its intent and even less concrete in the likelihood of any violence being carried out, from a legal standpoint.

From a civil law standpoint, though, there are a number of options, including defamation of character. I suppose if some evidence is dug up about stalking or if this is used to implement a new cyber bullying law in California (and even then it will be interesting to see how that would carry over on an interstate level since many of the victims aren't in California) then this could go somewhere else. Either way, this guy is scum.


Joss Whedon to Bring S.H.I.E.L.D. to ABC, Maybe Last Longer Than a Couple Seasons 



Nick: Marvel's new BBFF (best best friend forever, y'all) Joss Whedon is now set to bring some of that Avengers mojo to network television through S.H.I.E.L.D., a series that will be like Dollhouse, except without Summer Glau (hopefully) and with a shelf life that will hopefully be at least twice the length. Details on the pilot are vague so far, but Whedon promises that the show will work for established comic fans and people new to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to the Avengers film. And as a concept, S.H.I.E.L.D. makes a lot of sense as a television property, since it can mine some of the territory that made Alias and 24 such big hits while also having the potential to feature superheroic elements. There's also the potential for some of Whedon's Avengers stars making guest appearances and fleshing out the backstories of Black Widow and Hawkeye as well as Nick Fury and Maria Hill. But I think what we all really want to know is whether MODOK will be showing up. Actually scratch that, what we really want to know is when MODOK will show up.

Andrew: Tahmoh Penikett better be in this. Also, Adam Baldwin. Also, Alan Tudyk. Also, Jewel Staite. Actually is it possible for Whedon to just slowly make S.H.I.E.L.D. into a Firefly crossover? But seriously, who’s gonna die three quarters of the way into the first season? Are there any particular S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with a bullseye the size of Agent Coulson?

Danny: There are lots of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the comics -- some of whom even have names! -- so there's a wide variety of characters that can be shockingly killed off.



This Avengers Deleted Scene Probably Should Have Been Left in the Movie



Danny: The Avengers was a pretty long movie, and obviously a ton of stuff probably had to be cut out for pacing and tone (including the inappropriately morose alternate opening), but the above deleted scene, depicting Captain America feeling out of his element in modern society, really should have stayed in. For a guy who leads the Avengers, Cap kind of gets the short end of the stick for most of the film's runtime, and the above scene -- which somber without being oppressively mood-killing -- would have given us the perfect "in" for understanding just where Captain America's head is at in this movie. Oh well, even without it the movie's still pretty fresh.

Andrew: Out of all the characters, I kind of hate to admit Captain America is the person I felt the closest to relating to. That said, I would love it if the next Captain America was just Cap having trouble talking to girls and the climax is him finally asking a girl, who is his friend, out on a date. Cut to black.

Also, is this a thing that ever got explored in the comics or is Cap a total lothario?

Nick: Cap is surprisingly bad with the ladies and has a bad habit of getting any women who are interested in him killed. So no, Starfox he ain't.


This Week's Comics


Fashion Beast #1

(Alan Moore/Antony Johnston/Facundo Percio, Avatar)



The mid-80's were a stunning period of brilliance for Alan Moore, seeing him create true masterpieces including Miracleman, Watchmen - and Fashion Beast! Working with Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols), Alan Moore turned his attention to a classic retelling of a fable through his unyielding and imaginative vision.

The two developed a story that redefined Beauty and the Beast in a dystopian future city dominated by a fashion house, which Moore then fully-scripted into a huge screenplay. Never previously published, this epic work is now adapted for comics by long-time Moore collaborator, Antony Johnston (Courtyard) preserving every scrap of Moore's original dialogue

Danny: Fashion Beast isn't the first time Avatar has taken an unproduced screenplay by a master and made it into a comic -- a few years ago, they   adapted Frank Miller's original script for Robocop 2, and that was cool. Apparently, the comic book version of Fashion Beast is pretty faithful to the script.

Nick: Plus, Courtyard was a similar thing, featuring Antony Johnston's take on an Alan Moore short story that eventually led into Neonomicon. Courtyard was a little light, but Fashion Beast is a more substantial piece of source material, so I doubt that will be an issue here. This is also the kind of Moore adaptation that's easy to get behind, since it bypasses the questionable morality of Before Watchmen while fulfilling a similar need. I'd be on board regardless, though, because I find Malcolm McLaren to be one of the most fascinating pop culture figures of the late 20th century. 


Aya: Life in Yop City

(Marguerite Abouet/Clement Oubrerie, Drawn & Quarterly)



Ivory Coast, 1978. It's a golden time, and the nation, an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa, seems fueled by something wondrous. Aya is loosely based upon Marguerite Abouet's youth in Yop City. It is the story of the studious and clear-sighted 19-year old Aya, her easy-going friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It's wryly funny, breezy account of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City. This reworked edition offers readers the chance to immerse themselves in the lively world of Aya and her friends, bringing together the first three volumes of the series in Book One. Drawn & Quarterly will release volumes four through six of the original French series (as yet unpublished in English) in Book Two.

Danny: We can always use more French comics here in America, but even better because the Aya comics focus on a world most readers will probably be unfamiliar with. This should be a really exciting read, and collecting the first three volumes in one book is never a bad idea.

Nick: I haven't checked this series out before, and I'm excited to get the opportunity to explore a work that offers some perspective on a culture that is woefully underrepresented in pop culture in general and comics in particular. I've been drawn to the music of this region and era for some time thanks to compilations from Luaka Bop and others, and I know that Drawn & Quarterly will do a characteristically fantastic job of presenting this work in a new form. 


Dal Tokyo

(Gary Panter, Fantagraphics)



Collected into one giant volume for the first time, Fantagraphics proudly presents Gary Panter's sci-fi/punk mash-up masterpiece Dal Tokyo. Panter imagines a Mars where Japanese and Texan culture have collided and the result is a dizzying and absorbing mix of more or less intelligible jokes, non-sequiturs and surreal eruptions that can engulf the entire panel in scribbles. Most of these strips were only published in Japan and are being published in the US for the first time! 

Danny: This is so far up my alley it's knocking over trash cans.

Nick: Fantagraphics has historically done an excellent job of seeking out material like this, which likely wouldn't get the reissue treatment otherwise. But even so, now might be the perfect time for a work like Dal Tokyo to be unleashed on American audiences thanks to likeminded series such as King City paving the way. I'm hoping that Dal Tokyo will wind up garnering a lot of interest and Fantagraphics and other publishers will be more inclined to dig up even more work of this nature.


The Phantom Stranger #0

(Dan DiDio/Brent Anderson, DC)



Learn what happened to The Phantom Stranger after the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY story, and how he is responsible for the creation of The Spectre! And what else has he done that may have sealed the fate of the entire DC Universe? Major players in The New 52 will be introduced in these pages!

Danny: For the entirety of September DC Comics is celebrating the one-year anniversary of their New 52 relaunch by interrupting the regular numbering of their 52 superhero ongoings and putting out #0 issues that take place before all their series' #1s. Also, it's an opportunity to debut the publisher's latest wave of titles. This week, we have The Phantom Stranger #0 by Dan DiDio and Brent Anderson. Phantom Stranger, to me, will always be the guy from Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers: Zatanna miniseries who goes out to buy groceries for Zatanna only to get distracted for like two years.

Nick: I like Brent Anderson, and I enjoy this character, but I'm baffled by this creative team. Surely there was a better writer available for this project than Dan DiDio? Was Peter Milligan on holiday? Even Anderson seems like an odd fit, but that may just be because I primarily associate him with Astro City and that series so rarely deals with entities like the Phantom Stranger, instead sticking to more street level superheroics. Don't get me wrong, there has been some epic magic in Astro City (the Hanged Man, for starters), but the Phantom Stranger is such an odd, perplexing character that he almost begs to be illustrated by someone truly gonzo.

Danny: If only they meant this iteration of the Phantom Stranger to be a weird mystical thing. I believe this is meant to deal with that Pandora character who'd been skulking around the backgrounds of DC Comics back when the New 52 started. Expect a whole lot of stuff that ties into broad DC Comics continuity.


Glory Vol. 1 TPB

(Joe Keatinge/Ross Campbell, Image)



After missing for almost a decade, GLORY's whereabouts are uncovered by a lone reporter, but the globe-spanning conspiracy keeping her hidden from humanity could make her return more dangerous than anyone ever anticipated! This first collection of a brand-new saga written by Eisner & Harvey award-winner JOE KEATINGE (HELL YEAH) and illustrated by acclaimed artist ROSS CAMPBELL (Wet Moon, Shadoweyes) reintroduces GLORY to a new century by revealing secrets from her past, journeying to the far-flung future and beginning a war unlike any we've seen before.

Danny: Glory is so dope. Originally a faux Wonder Woman character created by Rob Liefeld, Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell have reimagined the character into something unfamiliar -- now, she's a bulky alien warrior who may or may not be a legit threat to the people around her. Keatinge's a guy who sees continued potential in the superhero genre (an issue of his other superhero comic Hell Yeah also comes out this week), and with Campbell they bring the ultraviolence and sci-fi craziness like nobody's bidness.

Oh, and one of the issues in this ($9.99!) collection starts with the following: "500 years later. Mars."

Nick: Glory has been a consistently awesome series that, alongside Prophet, has helped build up the case for the 2010's as the Image Decade. Keatinge and Campbell have proven to be a devastating team full of incredible ideas and ambition and under their watch, Glory has been reconstructed as a terrifying badass with nary a pants/no pants debacle in sight. And at the $9.99 pricepoint (seriously, that's the cost of 2.5 Big Two comics), there is literally no reason not to pick this up, particularly if you've been looking for female superheroes who are tough, smart and not inclined to pose like centerfolds. 

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