Summary of the juiciest DC Comics news from February 11th - 13th, 2013!
DC hires divisive sci-fi writer to pen digital "Adventures of Superman" strip!
At a time when DC Entertainment is attempting to promote a new Superman film this summer which is literally the lynch pin for their short and long term film adaptation strategy, one would assume that they would shirk away from any unwelcome controversies. Yet this is exactly what has happened when it was announced by IGN at the start of the month that a "digital first" comic book series called "Adventures of Superman" would debut April 29th. It joins other successful "digital first" comics which are later reprinted into physical comics such as "Batman Beyond Unlimited", "Ani-Comi-Girls", "Batman: Lil' Gotham" (which is now bi-monthly), and "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight". The dilemma began when science fiction writer Orson Scott Card was selected to write the first two chapters of the story alongside art by Chris Sprouse.
Orson Scott Card is best known for his series of sci-fi novel called "Ender's Game", but has written for comic books before; most notably "Ultimate Iron Man" for Marvel Comics some years back. He is also known for being an anti-gay rights statements and outright activism going back to at least 2000, including joining the board of the National Organization of Marriage, which opposes same sex marriage legislation, in 2009. This afternoon, Newsarama summarized things nicely as it reported DC Comics' official stance on the matter - which is a disclaimer that the opinions of employees/creators they work with don't reflect on the company.
Not only has this decision brought ire from many websites within the LGBT community, but has brought about a petition on allout.org with over 10,000 signatures there urging DC to remove him from the strip. Bad buzz can either kill a comic, or make it infamous and a short term hit seller, but it isn't a good story for DC to have, especially amid cries of soft sexism in the company last year. Amid some of the bad press in terms of the Superman lawsuit between Warner Brothers and the heirs to the creators of the character, is this too much bad press even for the man of steel to shoulder? The controversy also overshadowed the secondary creative team of Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee, which should make for exceptional stuff.
Chief creative officer and top DC Comics writer Geoff Johns has announced that "Green Lantern #20" will be his last issue on the franchise, which he has written and steered for nearly a decade. It will ship in May and will feature a 64 page story. On DC's own blog, Johns summarized his long tenure on the franchise going back to 2003 and credited all of the artists and writers he collaborated with. It could be argued that Johns helped steer Green Lantern from being a B-list character into one that WB felt was worthy of feature film and public recognition. While Johns is also well known for writing "The Flash" and "Teen Titans", his runs on those series hadn't stretched as long as his tenure with the ring bearer. Only his roughly nine year run on "JSA" comes close.
The best reason for the move is that Johns is launching "Justice League of America", a spin off to the "Justice League" title he is already working on. Given many of his work duties that don't involve writing comic scripts, the workload likely reached critical max. Still, there is hardly any shame at ending a run once it nears the decade mark, especially on a bang. The dilemma will be who DC picks as a replacement, which has yet to be announced.
Will a "Justice League" movie happen in 2015?
A rumor from Badass Digest suggests that the script for the tentatively planned 2015 blockbuster has been "scrapped" and that Warner Brothers may seek to restart the project from the ground up once again. The script by Will Beall reportedly focused on a "cosmic threat" via Darkseid but that the studio had issues committing to any character appearances beyond the "core five" of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern. The studio has also apparently been unable to woo a director to steer the project. The only recent news in that department was Ben Affleck denying any involvement with it as if it were an STD several months ago.
Batman-on-Film claims that the wariness the studio has about a "Justice League" film may cause them to hesitate on any new potential Batman films, given that the Chris Nolan trilogy ended last summer. The studio will wait to see how "Man of Steel" performs before making any moves, which was their strategy on any long term superhero film projects back when "Green Lantern" was about to debut in 2011 - to underwhelming results.
In 2007-2008, Warner Brothers had signed George Miller to direct a "Justice League" film and had even cast many of the roles, but the writer's strike in Hollywood crossed with a boost in taxes in Australia (where shooting was to take place) caused the studio to scuttle the project in the cradle. Almost seven years later, and it seems WB is actually farther away from a team superhero project than they were then - at a time when many are expecting a response to Marvel Studios' blockbusters.
Read last week's DC Comics news here!