Friday, August 24, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 33: Bits and Pieces

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

Yes, yes, I know... the last column only came out a couple of days ago and here we are again...

That's kind of kooky-crazy, isn't it?

Well, there was some quick update information I wanted to share with y'all and I figured that writing an additional column might help to restore the faith you all had in me before my recent hiatus-es...


Anyway, the information update is that Wonder Woman #13 is no longer the comic that I so eagerly advocated that you pre-order, mere weeks ago. Instead, it is now a fill-in issue, and issue #14 will be Gail Simone's first issue.

I thought I'd better mention this because if someone ordered Wonder Woman #13 on my recommendation, expecting to get a snazzy Gail Simone comic, and instead received an Amazons Attack epilogue that is designed to help set up the upcoming Wonder Girl limited series that no one is going to buy, that person might harbor ill will towards me.

And I don't want that.

Also, I wanted to post the following pages from a book called Proof that will be coming out in October from the good folks at Image. I originally had no interest in this title because the premise didn't really grab me. But having just seen these preview pages, I've decided to give it a try...

There's sort of a Ted McKeever vibe to the art (by Riley Rossmo) that I really, really like.

If you're interested in seeing slightly larger versions of the above pages and reading a pretty decent interview with the artist and writer of Proof, you can do so here.

Here's the solicitation text for the first issue, which evoked absolutely zero interest in me...



art & cover RILEY ROSSMO
When FBI agent Ginger Brown got a promotion, she didn’t expect her new duties would involve tracking down the world’s most mysterious creatures. The Loch Ness Monster, Mothman and El Chupacabra are now on her "most wanted" list and her new partner looks an awful lot like… Bigfoot!

TAGLINE: If you believe in monsters, you need Proof!


The main problems with the above are that stupid tagline (Why even include a tagline? What's the point, except to annoy me?) and that whole "If you like The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, Star Wars, or anything else, you'll love our comic!!!" thing. Plus, the concept somehow seems overly familiar. I have no idea where I've come across a similar thing, or if I even have, but it just sounds... uninspired.

Much better is the solicitation text for issue #2, due out in November:

When El Chupacabra claims another victim, the case becomes too much for small town sheriff Elvis Chestnut to handle. Lucky for him, Proof is on the way. Meanwhile, Ginger learns the secrets of The Lodge and the Dover Demon delivers a warning. All that, plus the Cottingley Fairies attack!

Anyway, we'll have to see. I do like those preview pages, though...

Finally, I wanted to share an excerpt from an interview with Keith Champagne, who wrote the much reviled 52 crossover issues and who is now being forced against his will to write a project that sounds truly heinous, Countdown: Arena. As you might have guessed from the title, this is yet another Countdown crossover. Readers may not be enjoying Countdown, but that surely hasn't stopped DC from putting out dozens of related mini-series, specials, and crossovers.

The premise behind this particular one is that a whole bunch of super-heroes from various Earths fight each other in an arena. So, for example, you might see Batman from the Elseworlds story where he's a vampire fight Batman from the Earth where he fought in World War II. Or Superman who married Lois Lane might battle Superman who didn't marry Lois Lane.

Dan Didio has used his usual strategy of trying to garner interest by promising that characters will die, somehow failing to realize that no one cares about the deaths of obscure characters that haven't been seen in decades except for a few long-time readers who get really pissed off about it.

Anyway, here's Keith Champagne, attempting to sound enthused about a project that he clearly didn't want any part of...

Newsarama: First off Keith, how did you get involved with this mini-series? And what did you think of the concept behind Arena when you first heard about it?

Keith Champagne: Well, it's a long and tortured tale involving Dan Didio, Mike Siglain, an email or two, a meeting with Mike in the city, and my immediate and resounding yes after what exactly Arena was intended to be.When I first wrapped my head around Arena, my initial thought was, "hmmm...sounds kind of like a video game." And after writing it, I still think it's a no-brainer for a great video game. But it makes an even better comic! Honestly, I started Arena shortly after World War III. In my head, I was hoping to switch gears and write something smaller, maybe even something a little funny. But with great opportunity comes... um... a great opportunity. I couldn't say no, especially not to a concept with so much potential for good times, and a chance to work with a razor sharp story editor like Siglain again.

[Here's a tip, dear readers... when a writer describes his story by saying that it would make a great video game, that's what we in the business like to call a red flag. Especially when it's followed by an admission that he'd rather be working on something on a smaller scale.]

NRAMA: Tell us a little about the story. It focuses on Monarch, right?

KC: Monarch -- he sure does get around that Multiverse. And in this case, he's gone through all 52 of the universes, cherry picking the last wave of his army before he rains war down on the corn-rowed heads of The Monitors.To that end, he's lined up the greatest heroes -- and a few of the deadliest villains -- from throughout the entire Multiverse. Three versions of each, to be exact. So, among others, we've got three Supermen, three Wonder Women, three Batmen and many, many more that he's drafted into his cause.I should mention that these different versions of the characters should be pretty familiar to people who enjoyed their Elseworlds. Every universe from Gotham By Gaslight to New Frontier and all the way to Wildstorm are represented. Even Captain Carrot's. One at a time, the versions of each character must battle one another in an enormous, city-sized Arena that Monarch has constructed. He only has room for one of each: the best, strongest, and most determined in his army. From there, things get brutal and bloody.

[See? You thought I was kidding about the multiple Batmen and Supermen from obscure Elseworlds stories fighting. But I wasn't.]

NRAMA: Brutal and bloody? So does this answer those questions people always stand around and argue about at comics shops? Like... "who would win in this fight?"

KC: Yes.

There's your high concept right there.

Anyway, I just thought it was an interesting example of how you can get into the comics business and have all these great stories in your head that you're dying to tell, but then you get assigned to something like Countdown: Arena and your guitar ends up gently weeping off in the corner.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this extra-super-bonus Hoopla! column... really, I just wanted to warn you about Wonder Woman #13. Having done that, I feel like my day has been a success and my existence on this planet has been, once again, justified...

Be here next week for some real-life comic-book reviews... just like grandma used to make!

- Paul


udanax said...

Hoopla ?

Hoopla said...

Yes? You rang?

Haha! tricked you. I'm actually "Hulk, not THE Hulk, just the Hulk."

Ok, Actually, I'm a spammer, spreading spam and other meat substitutes all over your sandwich. Sorry about that.


keith champagne said...

You actually couldn't be more wrong about my level of enthusiasm for Arena.