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The Wednesday Waffle Issue 16: A new line up and more trouble at DC


CLICK HERE TO GO TO THIS WEEK'S RACK


CREATIVE TEAMS ANNOUNCED FOR DETECTIVE COMICS AND NEW HARLEY QUINN, SUICIDE SQUAD AND SWAMP THING ONGOING SERIES


Everything is kicking off at DC in March - following a two month "time out" for the Future State (see what I did there) event and info is beginning to filter through about what we can expect.

Batman crashes into Detective comics Art by Dan Mora copyright DC Comics

Writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Dan Mora will take the helm of Detective Comics when it all gets back to normal with issue #1034 on March 24. The pair previously worked together on the contemporary Batman/Bruce Wayne story The Gift in the commemorative Detective Comics #1027 earlier this year.


It seems likely that James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez will continue on creative duties across the rack on Batman - so far the only creative team to keep their seats after Future State. I don't know about you, but I'm good with that.


Task Force X, otherwise known as The Suicide Squad, whose most recent regular book ended last week, will be back - somewhat unsurprisingly given that the movie reboot is also due in the spring*. It does look as though Harley Quinn may not be part of the line-up, for the first time since the New-52 nearly a decade ago. This does strike us as odd, given that Margot Robbie's version of the character is so central to the film.


Perennial fan favourite character Swamp Thing is also getting his own book again, this time under the pen of Ram V, who cemented his horror comic credentials with the dark vampire tale These Savage Shores. It's been a while since Swampy had his own title, and we're kinda looking forward to it.



A new Harley Quinn ongoing launches on March 24 with writer Stephanie Phillips returning Harley to Gotham, perhaps explaining why she isn't available for Suicide Squad duties. DC have released this artwork by Riley Rossmo to give us a flavour of what is to come.


while Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis take over the Batman/Superman ongoing series with issue #16.


*Well, possibly. See our later section on AT&T and Time Warner...



LIVE ACTION SPIDER-VERSE IN THE WORKS!


Hollywood really really likes money. So when the groundbreaking animated feature Into the Spider-Verse became the ultra mega hit that it did (after a disappointing showing at the box office, where it received little love from cinemas in it's original release) it's no surprise that the studio began to look at ways to replicate that success.


Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2

Obviously there's an animated sequel in the works. But ground breaking digital animation isn't a thing that can be rushed and it'll be a good while before we can see another instalment in the adventures of Miles, Gwen and the rest of that inter-dimensional team.


Fans have been speculating for some time about the possibilities of getting Toby Maguire, Alex Garland and Tom Holland together for a live action version. Well. It looks as though that is not only happening, but at least one classic Spider-Movie villain is also set to return as it is reported that Alfred Mollina will return to reprise the role of Otto Octavius, Doctor Octopus himself!


Now, although this has been widely reported we haven't seen that Marvel or Sony have officially confirmed this - but they surely can't let us down now?!



SPEAKING OF LETTING US DOWN...


We're not going to go into detail about the flaming dumpster fire that has resulted at DC Comics in the wake of their parent company (Time Warner) being bought by AT&T. It's a long and unedifying story, and it's told in much more detail than I could manage by Heidi MacDonald over at Comics Beat.


Essentially, it's a cautionary tale about what happens to small pieces of corporations when people take over and don't understand what they've bought. From our point of view, it's a sad truth that the suits at AT&T had no interest in comics when they bought Time Warner, and they still don't. They had seen the success of Netflix and the other big streamers, and they wanted in.


So, what they really wanted was the cable TV network HBO and the streaming service HBO Max. Even the mighty movie studio that is Warner Brothers was nothing more than a "content creator" in this mindset. Hollywood though, aside from its great love of money, is also reasonably well known for its love of ego.


A lot of big names working from Warner Brothers are not happy that, in the words of Christopher Nolan when Warner Bros announced that all of their movies for 2021 would be simultaneously released on HBO Max they "went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service" - which is what I believe the young people would call a "sick burn" on the less than stellar performance of HBO Max but also some serious pushback against the new way of doing things.


Now. I'm slightly biased. Not only is our store underneath the stairs of Harrogate's Everyman Cinema, which means we really rather like cinemas, but also, I'm forty nine years old - I rather like the old way of doing things. Old gits like me worry about whether cinemas will continue to exist if movies are released cinematically and on streaming at the same time. A more sober reflection suggests it'll be fine. If lockdown has taught us anything it's taught us that streaming entertainment is great, but it doesn't measure up to the communal experience of a theatre, and however flash your home cinema system is it's never going to match up to the multi-million pound systems boasted by the likes of The Everyman.


"But Regie - how does this impact comics?"


Good question.


Simply put, if a part of their organisation as large as Warner Brothers is seen as a mere "content creator" by the new management, what hope does such a relatively small cog as DC Comics have? DC has been viewed as little more than an intellectual property generator for Warner for years - I guess it barely even registers on AT&T's radar.


So. If you have no love for, or even interest in, comics, what's your reaction to something like DC going to be when you suddenly become the executive who discovers it came as part of that streaming service you bought? You're probably going to slim it down to make it cheaper to run - at the same time purging it of people who are attached to the "way things are done". That the people you're dumping carry the combined experience and skill of literally decades means nothing to such executives, and they don't know enough about what they've got to be able to understand what they're losing.


And suddenly the carnage that has ripped through DC Comics editorial and management is easy to understand. What will happen in the end? Who can say. DC will survive in some form, the characters will continue to be published. How that will be done remains to be seen...


WERE SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS "WITH BENEFITS"?


If you're my age, you will probably have fond memories of the eighties cartoon series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. The show had Spider-Man sharing Aunt May's house with the titular friends Ice-Man and Firestar. You see what they did there, the friends having contrasting ice and fire powers. A fun fact is that the original idea was to have the friends be Bobby "Ice-Man" Drake and Johnny "Human Torch" Storm, but the powers that be at NBC were concerned that younger viewers might try to imitate The Human Torch by setting themselves on fire (yes, really)* so the very definitely not on fire fire powered Angelica "Firestar" Jones.


I wasn't into my teens when the show first aired in the UK and I took the characters' relationships pretty much at face value - Peter and Bobby were friends, and given that there was some kissing between Peter and Angelica so I assumed that she was Peter's girlfriend. I never gave any thought to how big Aunt May's house might be, and whether everyone had their own room. Other people clearly have more time on their hands than I do...


Over at CBR, Anthony Gramuglia has espoused the theory that the three Spider-Friends

were living in a polyamorous relationship. Modern MCU Aunt May might have been OK with that. I somehow can't quite see the elderly early eighties version of the character allowing any such activity under her roof...


*At least that's the story I was told at the time. These days Marvel claims that ol' Flame Head was unavailable because of rights issues - which given the complex legal labyrinth that used to surround The Fantastic Four seems entirely plausible. But it's less fun...




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