You just can’t keep Otto Octavius down! Today, Marvel is proud to present your first look at July’s SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #32 from the blockbuster creative team of Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Adam Kubert! Be there when the fan-favorite series that took the industry by storm returns for not one, but two issues kicking off the Edge of Spider-Verse – the exciting lead-up to November’s explosive Spider-Man event featuring ever Spider-Man in history! But how is the Superior Spider-Man still around? Find out for yourself as the Superior Spider-Man finds himself trapped in the year 2099 with no way home! Stranded in an unknown future, he’ll unearth a mystery that will have fans on the edge of their seat and guessing until the release of Spider-Verse in November!
How was Otto flung into the future? How will he return? And what happened while he was there? Find out as the blockbuster series that kept fans talking until the very end returns for a senses-shattering encore this fall in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #32!
Archie Comics announced plans to relaunch its superhero imprint with a new name: Dark Circle Comics. The name change signals a new direction for the superhero titles, which will feature a more cinematic, literary and mature approach to the characters told in accessible stories that will appeal to new and longtime fans.
Previously known as Red Circle Comics, the new imprint will announce a slate of titles in advance of Comic Con International: San Diego later this month. The imprint news broke in USA TODAY via an interview with Dark Circle Comics Editor Alex Segura. The story also debuted the imprint’s new logo.
“When we brought Alex onboard to oversee our superhero imprint, we knew we needed to be bold and decisive with how these books were presented, in every way. They couldn’t just be more of the same,” said Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “This is a fresh start and a new direction for these iconic characters. It all boils down to story – tales that feature compelling characters by some of the best talent in comics. Alex – with the help of myself, our President Mike Pellerito, CCO Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Editor Paul Kaminski – has carefully curated a line of comics that will hopefully be seen as the definitive interpretations of these characters for a long time. We couldn’t be more excited.”
“These will be creator-driven books telling new, genre bending stories with some of the best characters in comics,” said Segura. “They’ll be more akin to cable television shows like Boardwalk Empire, True Detective and Orange is the New Black. Unique voices telling stories about flawed characters from a range of genres, including crime, superhero adventure and off-the-wall action. These are definitely not all-ages comics – they’ll compete with the best Image, DC and Marvel have to offer. They won’t be bogged down by continuity while still carrying on the legacy of these heroes. Fans are in for a treat.”
The relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons begins this week with the release of the D&D Starter Set, a $20 box designed to be the perfect introduction to tabletop fantasy role-playing games. I tested it out with a group of neophyte gamers, and we had a blast.
Wizards of the Coast has been steadily demolishing my skepticism about the new edition, and the Starter Set has finally disintegrated it altogether. The boxed set itself is very nice – the huge, full art on the cover looks great, and it’s a big, sturdy box. In fact, a good chunk of it is filled with a cardboard spacer, which means there’s room in there for lots of D&D goodies down the line. It comes with a 31-page rulebook, a rather thick adventure book, and a full set of polyhedral dice. Nice dice, with a rich, marbled blue color.
This stripped down D&D rule set covers a lot of ground with not many pages. It introduces broad concepts of roleplaying (telling a story, reacting to situations described by the DM, rolling dice to resolve uncertain situations), then quickly and clearly explains abilities, skills, skill checks, movement, and combat. The last five pages or so are devoted to spellcasting and a short list of spells. In that handful of pages, though, the Starter Set conveys a wonderful sense of boundless adventure. Mike Mearls and the other D&D designers have said all along that they wanted this edition to feel like a distillation of all the elements from previous editions that made D&D feel like D&D. In this short D&D primer, I think they’ve succeeded. Reading through it gave me clear echoes of the excitement I felt when I was 12 and reading the AD&D Player’s Handbook for the first time.
The past few weeks have brought some truly surprising and exciting announcements from the Batman corner of the DC Universe, but this one tops them all. Today it was announced that Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher will take over as new writers on Batgirl, with Stewart providing covers and layouts for new comics artist Babs Tarr.
Any one of those creators alone would be a pretty big deal deal, but while Stewart and Fletcher are intriguing choices for the adventures of Barbara Gordon, the biggest news by far is Tarr, an illustrator and video game artist best known to ComicsAlliance readers for her incredible cosplay-inspiring art and frequent appearances in the Best Art Ever (This Week) feature. This is a move that we never saw coming, but one we’re completely in favor of.
Oddly enough, Stewart is the most unsurprising choice of the bunch, and that’s actually saying something. He’s worked on the Batman books relatively recently as an artist, collaborating with Grant Morrison on Batman and Robin, and he’s written comics that include an Assassin’s Creed tie-in with Karl Kerschl, BPRD: Exorcism, and his Eisner-nominated webcomic Sin Titulo, but Batgirl is his highest profile superhero writing gig at DC.
Given DC’s recent push for books helmed by writer/artists (or, in the case of creators like David Finch and Francis Manapul, writers known primarily for their art) and his knack for fluid designs and engaging, lifelike characters, Stewart makes a lot of sense to spearhead the aesthetic revitalization of one of DC’s most iconic heroines.
It’s Fletcher’s presence on the writing side that’s actually a little more intriguing, given that he was also announced as the co-writer of the upcoming Gotham Academy, alongside Becky Cloonan — another writer-artist — with art by Karl Kerschl. Given Fletcher’s presence on both books, and the claim that Academy will feature “new characters and old,” it’s almost impossible not to think Batgirl’s new direction will tie into events at Gotham Academy, forging an entirely new corner of the Bat-books based around young women — something that’s a hugely welcome change from the New 52 tradition.
Tarr is the hammer of this particular announcement, and possibly the biggest mic-drop moment that DC’s had in the past few years. It was only a few months ago that ComicsAlliance published an editorial about the idea of a “House Style” for DC and what that unified aesthetic for an entire universe — where Superman didn’t look that different from Batman – meant for the readers.
It was mentioned in that piece that there are a few exceptions to that rule, but Tarr’s not just an exception, she’s the diametric opposite of DC house style. There are some absolutely beautiful DC Comics coming out right now, but I’m pretty sure none of them look like Tarr’s bosozoku Sailor Scouts. There’s a fashion design-heavy style to what she does that doesn’t look like anything else on the stands, let alone anything else that DC’s publishing.
And again, it’s worth noting that Tarr was announced as the regular artist of a relatively high-profile book. For a company that hasn’t been taking a whole lot of risks lately with the visual style of their titles, this suggests a commitment to a new kind of aesthetic that can appeal to an audience outside the core that the New 52 has been pursuing thus far. And that’s a very good thing, even if you’re not already a fan of Babs Tarr — which I most definitely am.
More importantly, DC’s investment in Tarr is a clear signal that they’re finally reaching out to the contemporary female reader, and it’s something that the Batgirl title should have been doing all along.
The new creative team say they plan to relocate Barbara Gordon to Burnside, the hipster corner of Gotham. Fletcher told MTV News, “Barbara allows herself to be immersed in youth culture for the first time, exploring the social side of life in Burnside. That’s not to say there isn’t mystery, of course! Try as she might to live a ‘normal’ life, Barbara very quickly finds herself drawn back into the world of crime fighting. Our take on Batgirl mixes the best elements ofVeronica Mars and Girls, with a dash of Sherlock thrown in for good measure.”
The story also features a costume redesign by Stewart and Tarr — a look that Stewart says was pieced together by Barbara from Burnside’s boutiques and vintage stores.