Nerd Bytes is all the news nerds love to hear from comic book, movie, television, video game and other nerdy industries. We know you can’t catch it all in your fast-paced lives, so we catch it for Nerd Bytes is all the news nerds love to hear from comic book, movie, television, video game and other nerdy industries. We know you can’t catch it all in your fast-paced lives, so we catch it for you and post it here in easy to read Nerd Bytes. One stop shopping for the Nerd Brain! Enjoy!
DC COMICS BYTE: On the heels of the oh-so-meh Forever Evil event at DC Comics, they have decided to stick with the evil theme. Klarion The Witch Boy will be joining an already evil-heavy slate that includes Sinestro, Lobo, Deathstroke, and Catwoman. Speaking of Catwoman, her current writer Ann Nocenti will be jumping ship to team with Trevor McCarthy on the new series. Word is a newcomer will be replacing the veteran writer as Genevieve Valentine will get the book. I’m not sure I like this new villainous future in comics. DC Comics isn’t alone in the push as Marvel Comics has ongoing series starring Loki and Magneto. It’s also not limited to secondary books as Lex Luthor has found a home in one of DC Comics’ flagship titles, Justice League. I guess we should restrict judgment to the resulting stories and art. Good stories and art can make any characters poignant. In case you think the comic publisher has given up on heroic tales DC Comics also announced the expansion of the Bat Family in October. Two new ongoing series are set to launch that promise to explore new directions in an already crowded Dark Knight universe. Arkham Manor, written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Shawn Crystal, remakes the Wayne Family’s ancestral home as the “local psycho dungeon”. The inmates will be among the dregs of Gotham and will certainly not be on their best behavior. On the lighter side will be Gotham Academy. Co-written by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher and drawn by Karl Kerschl, this title will explore Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school. Teen angst, tomfoolery, and occasional guests like the schools benefactor, Bruce Wayne, will keep readers on their toes every month starting in October.
ARROW BYTE: I love the summer, even as short as it is in Michigan. The creators of Arrow are making me wish that summer would end so that the Fall television season could get going. Why, you might ask? Well the crators of the popular CW series have announced another addition for the upcoming season and it’s none other than Ray Palmer, the Atom. The actor tapped to play the diminutive hero is no stranger to Warner Bros. or DC Comics characters. Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) did a serviceable job in a terrible movie. As much as I disliked the “remake” that couldn’t even be bothered to come up with new dialogue, the failure of the film was not Routh’s fault in any way. If anything Warner Bros. owed him a mulligans given that their film certainly harmed his reputation as an actor, at least with disappointed and outspoken nerds. Word is that Palmer will be a recurring character in Arrow’s third season, serving as the new owner of Queen Consolidated. He had better watch his back though. Past owners of that company have not had amicable or healthy departures. Routh joins Devon Aoki (Tatsu Yamashiro, Katana), Karl Yune (Maseo Yamashiro) and Peter Stormare (Werner Zytle), Count Vertigo) as additions to the cast for the Season Three which debuts on October 8th.
I am always looking for a new project that will catch my interest. This time the project found me. J.L. Giles-Rivera contracted me on twitter and asked me to take a look at the project he is drawing. I did, because I’m good at following simple instructions, and I do love finding diamonds in the rough. Gilbert Deltres, the writer of the comic book, described the process that resulted in Under the Flesh
“UTF is an independent comic book that started to take shape about a year ago. After months of drafts, scripting, and conceptual art changes, it was launched as a webcomic in March 30th, 2014. Right now, issue #1 is 100% completed, fully drawn, inked, colored, lettered, and ready for print! Backing us will help us to keep on making more and more pages and update our content more frequently!“
This is not another zombie story, at least not in theory. The infected aren’t the dead risen to feast on human flesh. Don’t get me wrong, they do snack on human flesh, but they also satisfy the other needs of men in animalistic and brutal ways. Men may be the only ones infected by this pathogen but they are far from it’s only victims. Deltres describes his story on the Kickstarter page as;
“It’s been two months since Desolation Day, when an unknown male-specific virus ravaged the world, degenerating men into savage cannibals called “fleshers.” Ruben Lobos, is a short-tempered, genetically enhanced soldier, who’s clueless about his abilities since the pathogen struck at the same time of his experiment. He’s interestingly surrounded by a diverse cast of strong female characters in a dying world where women outlast men. His group survives inside the walls of an abandoned college library, building a false sense of security that’s about to crumble. Exploring his transhuman abilities comes at the price of protecting others, including the love of his life, Dinah. Is there any time for an insanely jealous girlfriend as the world collapses? Ruben needs to start making sense of things quick before the lives of those closest to him fall victim to the cannibal havoc ravaging the world.”
The main character Ruben is a soldier who was enhanced by experimental “cell-fusing nanobots” that saved him from the virus, but also enhanced him beyond normal human physical limits. After reading the first issue I see this as less of an action-packed thriller, although there are elements of that genre, and as more of a character study. The men and women of this devastated world react very differently to the challenges that face them in their daily lives now. Deltre described Under the Flesh as, “a grindhouse mashup of The Walking Dead, Y: The Last Man, & Captain America”. Thats rather great company and I had my doubts before I read the first issue. I do see parallels to all of the stories he mentioned. The Walking Dead is very much a story about human survival with a zombie menace as a motivating factor, among many. Y: The Last Man world issues but focused mainly on the relationships between Yorick and a world full of women with different motivations to want him alive or dead. The Captain America parallel is much more obvious with the super-soldier serum and Ruben’s moral code.
Let’s not overlook the art in this book. As good as the writing is, J.L. Giles-Rivera may well be the star of this show. His art style is crisp, clean, and detailed in a way that brings this tragic world to life. Deltre created a world of emotional people interacting in real ways and Giles-Rivera translates that into visual thrill-ride. The scenes go from serene, which is rare in this book, to total chaos in the flick of a pen and Giles-Rivera handles it all masterfully. I think my favorite part of his art style is his handling of the facial expressions of the cast. You don’t just feel the emotion from Deltre’s words you see it on their faces.
I give this project and issue #1 a rating opf 8 out of 10, and I certainly want to see more. Check out the Under the Flesh Kickstarter
and if you are as moved by the work as I was please donate what you can. There are some great incentives, but the real reward is seeing more Under the Flesh.
MARVEL BYTE: Someone whose opinion I greatly value once told me to always deliver bad news sandwiched in two pieces of good news. So here I am doing just that. I have been a fan of Marvel Comics for much of my life. The Avengers of the 1970s attracted me to what would become a comic book obsession that has lasted for decades. There has always been a side of me that would defend Marvel Comics to the bitter end. Don’t get me wrong I am also a fan of DC Comics, Dark Hose Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image, IDW, Dynamite and many, many more. If it’s good I want to see it, its almost a compulsion. Ok, here’s where the tone will change. I am over this whole Death of Wolverine schtick, really, really over it. It has happened so many times over the years that it is nothing more than a re-treaded story line that no one believes at all. Wolverine is one of the most popular and successful comic book characters in history. He may not be Batman or Superman, but he’s in the conversation. His legend has done nothing but increase since the first X-Men movie was released. He’s been the star of 90% of Fox’s Marvel Comics based movies and Days of Future Past was even reimagined with him as the lead instead of Kitty Pryde. So now we’re killing him off again, or based on past experience, maybe we’re not. Lets say Charles Soule and Steve McNiven, the creative team on the current Death of Wolverine limited series, actually do kill him off. Then what? He’s certainly not going to be dead for long. Is he an LMD, a clone, or has he been in a cocoon under the Hudson River since 1887? Who knows, but his death will be as temporary as any death has ever been. Now let’s consider the flip-side, what if this is another sleight-of-hand trick and he doesn’t die. Does that make this limited series dishonesty? Is it another trick to get us to part with our hard-earned money? With cover prices hitting $4.99 on a regular basis these days, this is no small investment. Either way I feel dirty, used, and maybe even a little violate. Don’t you? This being said, I love, and I do mean LOVE, the writing of Charles Soule and the art of Steve McNiven. I have no doubt that this limited series will be well written, well drawn, and an entertaining read. If you’re not sure read Soule’s run on Thunderbolts. The guy understands the broken minds of the anti-hero style characters. The creative team alone makes me want to read this limited series, but I may need a shower afterward. What is your take on this?
NERDITORIAL: While I completely understand the rights of companies to do whatever they want with their “intellectual property”, I think they often go too far in the protection of the bottom line and profits. The latest sad example of this involves DC Comics. Jeffrey Baldwin was a five year old boy who was starved to death by his grandparents in 2002. Todd Boyce heard his story and, in a classy attempt to honor the boy, raised money to commission a statue of the boy dressed as his hero Superman.
Jeffrey’s father Richard testified in court that before his teenage parents lost custody, Jeffrey loved to dress up as the superhero and pretend to fly. “He wanted to fly,” Baldwin said, according to CBC News. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as SUPERMAN] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
This is a tragedy of the highest order of that there can be no doubt. DC Comics is a charitable organization. Their philanthropy is well documented and this seems like a perfect bandwagon to jump on and support. Why then did they refuse to grant the rights for the Superman logo to be used for this young victim? Some speculation is that they don’t want the iconic logo associated with child abuse or murder. I don’t agree, this kind of underdog story pulls at the heart-strings of America and the world. This would be a story reported in every major media outlet with DC Comics and Mr. Boyce on the short list of heroes. Instead we’re questioning their reasons for having their lawyers respond, in such a cold way, with;
“for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.”
I really hope that DC Comics reconsiders this stance. There is nothing to lose here and everything to gain by standing behind a boy whose life was cut short far too early. Godspeed Jeffrey, you’re my little Man of Steel too.