Category Archives: power girl

Ric Estrada 1928-2009

Comic book artist and inker Ric Estrada passed away yesterday after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Primarily known for war comics like G.I. Combat and the unique Blitzkrieg, he also had a hand in many superhero comics over the years including Karate Kid, Legion of Super-Heroes, Wonder Woman, Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter and in the 1970s revival of All-Star Comics, he co-created Power Girl with Joe Orlando. He’ll be greatly missed.

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Wizard World Philly – Saturday


WIZARD WORLD PHILLY

SATURDAY

After a bit of a late start I met up with Comic Widows co-horts Anthony and Ray. We began with a strategy meeting regarding some interviews planned for the day. And trust me, it was nowhere near as cool as it sounds, but we were taking it pretty seriously.

In the midst of our war council we also interviewed the young lady we were sharing the pressroom with at the time, Nicole Boose. We also learned she was with Marvel editorial and reviewing art portfolios at the con. Very cool lady, and pleasant informative interview.

As the pressroom overlooked the con floor we also did some costume spotting. From our vantage point we got to see quite a few good ones, and of course some bad ones as well. Among the former were several Marvel Girls in the Neal Adams green mini-skirt, a bright-green Riddler, a foam rubber Galactus, what might have been Nightwind from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Dr. Strange, the prerequisite dozen Stormtroopers that show up at every con, and a bald Robin. Also throughout the day there were many others spotted – a pair of Tomb Raiders, Zatanna, the cast of the new Indiana Jones flick, a baby Batgirl, a flat-chested Power Girl, and, ahem, a tranny Power Girl. And then there was also The Blob. Oh wait, that wasn’t a costume.

Then we hit the con floor and did a kinda noisy interview with Jared Barel of Loaded Barrel Studios. They do a startling and unique melding of photography and comic art that needs to be seen to be believed. They call it making ‘live-action graphic novels’ and it looks great. Check them out, it’s terrific stuff. I really did like their work, and really, it’s not just because they were giving out Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls at their booth, but let’s be honest, that never hurts. Lessons to learned for other folks with booths at these cons.

After exploring the floor for a bit I ducked into the Crisis Now panel in the midst of questions and answers. Dan DiDio was in the house and mocking and ridiculing the characters we all love as if that was his job. Oh wait.

Several different things were addressed while I was there. When questioned on “Batman RIP,” DiDio repeatedly said in staccato fashion, “Batman dies!” then rescinded, “Batman doesn’t die, but he’s gonna wish he was dead.” Other items – the Milestone characters are not available for DC to use, but never say never. We will see Christopher Kent again. Apparently there is an unannounced Zatanna series coming at some point.

DiDio admitted that 2007 was not a year where everything was clicking as well as possible. And he added that it’s his job to make this year as great as possible. He also confessed that Steve Wacker leaving for Marvel was a huge loss for DC.

The Devil also said that Death of the New Gods was a celebration of Jack Kirby’s work on the New Gods. Wtf? Kill them to celebrate them? In answer to the next question, DiDio stated that Final Crisis will involve all Flashes. A fan asked “Even Bart?” and DiDio answered “All Flashes.” Just don’t kill Jay Garrick like you killed the Martian Manhunter, okay? Bastards. And during the lightning round he answered “Yes.” to the question of whether barry Allen was coming back.

Same room, a bit later, Cup O’ Joe with Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, standing room only, much like the DC panel before it. In attendance – (duh) Joey Q, Fred Van Lente, C.B. Cebulski, Tom Brevoort and another person whose name I didn’t catch – he didn’t talk much and ran the slide show though. The slide show announced Marvel Zombies 3 where the fan fave monsters invade the Marvel Universe proper, due in September.

Old news came with slides depicting the new Devil-Slayer series by horror novelist Brian Keene and Stephen King’s The Stand also starting in September. Mystery pics of Lady Bullseye followed (and of course quickly leaked to the internet) who Ed Brubaker is introducing in Daredevil. Nice art, but seemingly just a female version of Bullseye. Yawn.

Um, who brought the baby to a panel? Who brought a baby to a convention? Please just make it stop crying. Great parenting there, folks. Although he/she stopped crying, I wondered if the wonder-parents were still in the room when J.Q. dropped an F-bomb later on in the hour.

Then came, predictably, questions and answers. There will be more Squadron Supreme, written by Howard Chaykin, with a demented twist, and Greg Land on covers. And no, Land on covers is not the twist. Speaking of twisted, there’s been a big secret in the undercurrent of the Ultimate Universe, to be revealed in Ultimate Origins. Something major in their lives is a huge falsehood. Maybe the secret of why Ultimates 3 is so late will be revealed.

More “One More Day” backlash reared its ugly head and Joe explained that all of Spider-Man’s history is intact, save that he and Mary Jane didn’t get married on their wedding day. Something happened and that story just hasn’t been told yet. Joe says he’s seen it and it’s great. In response to another question, Tom B said that Peter and his Aunt May did in fact live at Avengers Tower. Some racy humor about May and Skrull Jarvis followed unfortunately. Either way, Joe and Tom certainly seem tired of doing OMD damage control; it’s in their faces.

My friend Ray hit Joe Q with a good one. He referenced the difference between two Jack Kirby reprint volumes, one from DC and one from Marvel – the difference is that DC paid the Kirby estate royalties and Marvel did not. Joe kinda dodged the question, saying that he doesn’t discuss Marvel policy in public. He added that Marvel is currently working with the Kirby estate and that should speak for itself.

Other items included that Baron Zemo was coming back, and a new Thunderbolts writer has been chosen but unannounced – could these be related and Fabian Nicieza is coming back? There is a Runaways film in development with Brian K. Vaughn involved. There are possible plans for the female Bucky from the Onslaught universe. The sequel to Marvels is coming in October. Whoever is left at the end of The Twelve will remain part of the present MU.

Quesada coined the term “Marvel lifestyle” for the fact that now Marvel does their own comics, movies and videogames – in response to a question about digital comics. I like it. Joe also claimed that he thought Spider-Man 3 was a pretty good movie. “Maybe one villain too many.” Wow, you said a mouthful, Joe.

At the close of the panel, the 18 carat gold Iron Man cellphone was given away. Over $1500 was raised for the Hero Initiative on the raffle for it. Great job, folks!

At this point, I was toast and had to go home, home to my super-cool Avengers glass that the Bride had gotten for me earlier in the day, and home to the Bride too, of course. But I’ll leave you with another quote, this one a bit dated, but it was shouted by a guy in a Nightwing t-shirt exiting the men’s room earlier this afternoon. “Hey, I found Ray Palmer!”

Wizard World Philly – Friday

FRIDAY

Well, I will say this right off the bat, getting in was a hell of a lot easier this time than previous years. I might even go so far as to say it was a pleasure. One hopes it goes as well tomorrow and Sunday when it tends to be much busier.

Upon entering the show floor that Wizard seemed to be so proud to fill earlier in the week, the one thing I noticed is that it seemed both empty and sparse. I’m sure that will change. Or not. I did learn later in the day that the place was so empty because hundreds of folks were still waiting in the VIP lines. Many were there for an extended amount of time apparently.

At the DC booth I saw that they were giving away copies of DC Universe #0. That’s right, for free. The book that originally sold for fifty cents and will be sold in reprint for a dollar, was free. I’ll leave you to formulate your own opinion on that.

The Mondo Marvel panel was first and included Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Dan Slott, Greg Pak, C.B. Cebulski, Brian Reed, Duane Swierczynski, Fred Van Lente and was hosted by Joe Quesada. Immediately they threw out the new ideas coming from the House of Ideas. There’s a new X-Men miniseries called Manifest Destiny, a new Deadpool series, Greg Pak’s new origin of Magneto, yawn. Then they brought up Age of the Sentry, a limited series by Jeff Parker featuring a retro look at the Sentry’s Silver Age adventures.

Other than the Sentry deal, there is a noticeable lack of Avengers, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man news. And a sparse showing as well, due to the VIP thing, but then again it is the first panel of the day. Many things were discussed in an extended question and answer session, including one fact from the lips of editor Tom Brevoort, “Mary Jane (Watson-Parker) is not a Skrull.”

A fan who didn’t like the new FF by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch inspired an intriguing response from Brevoort in that not every comic will click with every reader, and that he was sorry it wasn’t working for the fan. Wow. I wonder if that kind of honesty could have come from, say, Dan DiDio?

Speak of the devil, after hanging out a bit with some friends, I attended the DC Nation panel. This panel was mostly held in dim light as host, DC Senior Editor Ian Sattler, didn’t want to be blinded by the spotlights used in previous panels. It should be noted that he never told us who was on the panel, but it did include J.G. Jones, Jimmy Palmiotti, Shane Davis, Art Baltazar and possibly Ethan Van Sciver among others. Like I said, who knows who was there – we were never told.

And although the panel was without introductions, the audience response to the slide show was very positive. It was noted that Final Crisis: Superman Beyond would be partially in 3-D. And of course the Power Girl slide couldn’t pass by without at least one inferred boob joke. Sigh. There are just to many men in comics. Too bad Amanda Conner wasn’t there. And from Palmiotti’s description of the series, I hate to say because I’m really looking forward to it, it sounds an awful lot like the way Brian Reed describes his Ms. Marvel.

And then the questions and some answers followed. A fan question regarding “Batman R.I.P.,” brought up that no one has said that the caped crusader is going to die. No one knows what’s really going to happen, including a few of the folks on the mystery panel.

Another fan, who said he was a DC reader for more than four decades, brought up how dumb a villain Libra was – an opinion I personally don’t agree with by the way, and like him I also read the original Libra story when it first hit the stands. He asked specifically what is the reaction when someone says for the biggest story of the year, here’s Libra, an obscure lame villain. The answer – it depends on who suggests it.

An unnamed artist on the panel, possibly Shane Davis or maybe Ethan Van Sciver, said he’s been begging to do an Aquaman revival. He said he asks once a week, and that he walks into DiDio’s office holding a trident sometimes he wants it so bad.

Other questions yielded the following answers. Sue Dibny will be seen in the upcoming Final Crisis: Reign in Hell miniseries. Despite rumors to the contrary, Jim Shooter is still writing Legion of Super-Heroes, Rich Johnston be damned apparently. J.G. Jones verified that his script for Final Crisis #1 says that “Libra spears the Martian Manhunter through the chest and kills him.” Bastards.

Also today I got to hang with some folks I don’t usually get to hang with as often as I like. Good friends and fellow Comic Widows staffers Anthony and Andrea were both on hand. I also hung with Abraham of the Avengers Forever Forum, and I also got to say hello to Michelle who I haven’t seen in ages and finally got to meet her husband Joe. Good times.

I’ll leave you folks with a quote for today, overheard on the convention floor. There were two older women browsing one of the t-shirt walls of an exhibitor and one said to the other, “Look, another Wonder Woman! I had no idea she was so popular!” Gotta love it.

Sweating 03: Batmania Vs. Supermanga

SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF 03

Batmania Vs. Supermanga

Reviewing: Secret Files & Origins To The DC Universe 2001-2002, Sugar and Spike Replica Edition #1, Birds of Prey #42, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure, Superman #178, 182, Adventures
of Superman
#603-605 and Ultiman Giant Annual #1

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

DC has been doing these Secret Files books for awhile, sometimes they’re worth it, sometimes not. I’d have to say Secret Files & Origins To The DC Universe 2001-2002 was not. This was a commercial, and false advertising at that.

Let’s just look at the cover. Superman (who at least looks like Superman, a rarity as we’ll see below) appears in six panels in the lead story. Wonder Woman, two panels. Hawkman, the reason I bought it, was mentioned once and appeared barely in two panels. Saturn Girl, also two panels. Krypto, apparently the star of the book, six panels like his master. Azrael gets a vague non sequitor two page sequence. Orpheus, a new character gets a text piece – an ad for his new book basically. And Steel? Only on the cover. What a rip!

Inside the book we get a jumbled but touching story about a working couple who hardly have time for each other because their jobs have them each running around the DC universe. It’s interspersed with mentions of various major plotlines going on in many DC books this past year. The highlight is a fictional movie ad for “Topeka” a movie made about the Worlds At War series that ran through the Superman books.

Then we have the blatant ads, the pin-ups and text pieces on upcoming series or books DC wants to push. Suicide Squad (already on the cancellation block), Haven, Doom Patrol (yes, another new Doom Patrol), Orpheus (a Bat spin-off I won’t bother with cuz I don’t want to buy the other fifty Bat-books to keep up), Power Company (actually quite good, but this dry text piece sure wouldn’t have sold me on it), Josie Mac (also quite good but dry as well) and Legion which is completely unrecognizable to me as the Legion but makes sure to make itself inaccessible to new readers. Hmmmm, ads that don’t work, another $4.95 down the drain, I think I won’t be buying any more Secret Files.

To wash the sour taste of that one out of my mouth I also purchased the reprint of Sugar and Spike #1 originally published in 1956. This was a joy by the master Sheldon Mayer and worth every penny of $2.95. Why can’t we have more comics like this?

Birds of Prey is a hot topic lately. It’s been picked up as a series for the WB by the same people who do “Smallville.” To be aired Wednesdays at 9:00 PM it will be in the future as “Smallville” is supposedly in the past. Also in common with “Smallville” the comics continuity is thrown out the window, in other words some of the characters in this show will have the same names as characters in the comics. The plot for the pilot has Batman (played by the actor from the OnStar commercials) fleeing Gotham City after the Joker (voiced but not performed by Mark Hamill) kills Catwoman and cripples Batgirl. Years later Batgirl, now a computer hacker tries to fight crime with help of two new female crusaders.

Casting for the moment has Dina Meyer (who was so hot in “Starship Troopers” and “Johnny Mnemonic”) in the Oracle/Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, Rachel Skarsten as the telepathic (?) and teenage (??) Dinah Laurel Lance (not called Black Canary in the pilot but sources say her mother appears in later episodes and is referred to as Black Canary) and Ashley Scott (“A.I.”, Fox’s “Dark Angel”) as the Huntress/Helena Kyle (reverting to the original comics continuity as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman). Recent casting changes have Sherilyn Fenn (“Twin Peaks”), who was to have played Dr. Harleen Quinzel who eventually becomes the Joker’s companion Harley Quinn, having her scenes reshot and replaced by Mia Sara (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Time Cop”) because she could not commit to the series.

Now I don’t follow the comics series because it’s so tied up with the Bat-continuity and I don’t want to buy fifty books a month for one story but I know enough to know the show certainly won’t attract viewers to comics, they’ll be hopelessly confused. The most recent BOP I picked up was #42 because of Power Girl.

I’m a big Power Girl fan mostly because of the Justice Society and the 1970s All Star Comics series. That said, this issue read and the horror of what’s been done to the character in the intervening years I think the only writer that should be allowed near her is Paul Levitz. The story in this book, why Power Girl no longer works with Oracle, is good by Chuck Dixon (who should be pounded in the head for getting PG’s secret identity wrong – it’s Karen Starr, not Steele. Hello? What do these DC editors get paid for anyway?), it’s just not my Power Girl.

As long as we’re on the Bat-books, this summer welcomed the long-anticipated sequel to the classic The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. I bought all three issues of The Dark Knight Strikes Again or DK2 at a tragic $7.95 each and am wondering who I see about getting it back. Who said we needed a sequel anyway? The original was just that, original. It had things to say, trends to set, unexplored territory to explore and talent to show off. Unfortunately I think Frank Miller (like Peter David and the Hulk in my last column) has said all he has to say about Batman and should quit while he’s ahead. DK2 is drivel, and a waste of money – for me, for you and for DC cuz I’m sure Miller did not come cheap.

On the other side of the Bat-coin this summer was the Bruce Wayne: Murderer story arc running through all the books. I only picked up the first part; Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure. Ten cents… I find the marketing ploy rather curious considering most comics shops gave these away for free. It’s a great story, the best Batman I’ve read in years, by Greg Rucka. You get the origin, the motivation, brings you up to date in continuity, springs a great cliffhanger to launch this summer’s story arc and entertains as well. As interested as I am to find out what happens I just don’t have the cash to buy all the Bat-books this summer to find out. Shame, cuz the start is terrific.

It was recently announced that Wolfgang Petersen, director of action films like “Air Force One”, “The Perfect Storm”, “Outbreak” and “In The Line of Fire”, was online for preproduction of a film project called “Batman Vs. Superman”. Sadly from interviews it seems the German director knows very little about these two great American icons. It will be based upon the old day vs. night, hero vs. anti-hero cliche which is from a script by the multi-talented Kevin Williamson (“Scream”, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Dawson’s Creek”) which is at least a good sign. Petersen wants to cast unknowns in the title roles rather than actors already established in the parts. It should be noted that there is also a “Batman Year One” (Darren Aronofsky), a live action “Batman Beyond” (Neil Stephenson) and a new “Superman” (McG) all in preproduction and unrelated to this project right now as well.

If we were to do a Batman Vs. Superman as far as comics quality this summer Bats would be the sure winner because the Superman books surely do suck. Over the past months the art has been turning more and more manga. Sorry this is not my Superman, he’s not big eyes and cartoony exaggerated muscles. My Superman is Max Fleischer, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, even John Byrne or Alex Ross but no how no way manga. If I want that crap I’ll watch one of my videos or read Impulse. It ain’t Superman.

With my thoughts on the deteriorating art stated I’m just going to review the writing on the following books. Superman #178 features a visit to Smallville (do I smell a marketing link here?) and the return of Quality Golden Age great Uncle Sam. Sam has been restored to his original form after a stint as the costumed Patriot (a biiiig mistake in my eyes) and engages Supes in a Marvel Comics style brawl for no apparent reason (shades of the Hulk and the Thing). Superman #182 has Supes saving Lois from various members of the newly-re-formed Suicide Squad (now this is a marketing ploy) like Killer Frost, Solomon Grundy (again? Wow, between the “Justice League” cartoon and the comics this has been one busy summer for old Grundy) and Deadshot. As with the Batman 10-Cent Adventure above both these books have great cliffhangers but are so continuity-heavy in the subplots it kills any desire to pick up the series regularly.

I also picked up Adventures of Superman #603-605 because I’m a sucker for the Crime Syndicate even if they’re not the evil Justice League from Earth Three anymore. Crisis still burns me up, I was five when I was introduced to the concept of parallel Earths (Justice League of America #91 to be precise) and have never had a problem understanding it. I still maintain it was the idiot editors at DC who didn’t do their jobs that were the morons who didn’t understand it, not the readers. Jeez, how did anyone watch “Sliders” if it’s such a hard goshdarn concept???

Post-Crisis the Crime Syndicate now hail from an anti-matter universe which of course makes even less sense than Earth Three thanks to the twisted mind of Grant Morrison (don’t get me started…). Here again, the art… ick. Mirror Mirror is an appropriate title for this trilogy because the manga-ish art has turned into some dark twisted Bizarro version of manga – it hurts my head to look at it, let alone read it. Any coolness the story may have had was destroyed by the visuals. It will be a loooong time before I pick up another Super-book.

For us Superman purists at least there is still Big Bang Comics. These folks specialize in paying homage to the Golden Age and the Silver Age of comics. Their version of Superman, Ultiman, has the Ultiman Giant Annual on the shelves this summer. Set up like the DC 80-Page Giants of the 1960s we get a few Silver Age style stories of Ultiman, a Thundergirl (sort of Mary Marvel meets Supergirl), and a Blackjack and his Flying Aces (Silver Age DC Blackhawks). A great tribute to the comics of the sixties. Ahh, memories… definitely pick this one up.

reprinted from http://www.comicwidows.com