Fourcast 09!: Live from San Diego

July 28th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Esther and I went to San Diego Comic-con and came back with stories and a few interviews. This is just the first of two fourcasts from SDCC. Pardon the quality– the mics pick up everything, and I think we can be heard clearly, but there’s a fair amount of noise on the line. Yowza.

-We talk a little about the con in general
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental
-I interview Jason McNamara, author of The Martian Confederacy. Jason’s a great guy, super funny, and always a pleasure to speak to.
-Leigh Walton, similarly to Jason, is another great guy in the comics industry. He does marketing for Top Shelf and is one of my favorite people to talk about comics with. He runs down Top Shelf’s line-up at the con and we nerd it out a bit over paper quality (so nice to find a kindred spirit).
-We come back to me and Esther, conversation already in progress. We talk about the Dwayne McDuffie and Darwyn Cooke panels at SDCC, discuss the future success and current failings of comics, and then ditch the podcast to go see the Women of Marvel panel.

Surprises to come! In the meantime, read the podcast boilerplate:
If you’re new to the Fourcast!, subscribe to the podcast-specific RSS feed or subscribe on iTunes. Our full-blown RSS, with space-age things like “text” and “images” is here. Befriend us on Facebook, too!

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“I know I won’t.”

July 2nd, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I’m definitely a fan of Dwayne McDuffie. I’ve spoken at length about how disappointed I was that DC hamstrung his run on JLA, leading to an uneven pace, choppy character work, and a general feeling of unease. I was actually surprised when I saw this post on his website:

Here’s a preview of my final issue of Justice League of America, featuring the JLA teaming with Icon and Hardware in battle with Starbreaker. Don’t miss the secret of how the Milestone heroes ended up in DC Comics’ continuity.

I also suggest you take a look at some of the comments from your fellow comic book fans. Every once in awhile, I’m reminded how racially backwards a portion of our audience is and how important it is to… You know what? I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“…how many blacks did McDuffie manage to sneak onto the team this time–five? (I bet DC editorial gave him the same order as Burger King in that lawsuit–to “lighten things up around here.”)”

“Why don’t they call this the “Minority League”? ”

“I don’t think anyone will support an original black “mainstream” character. I know I won’t.”

“Couldn’t they get Static, Black Lightning, or one of his daughters instead of Dr. Light on the cover of BET League of America? Ha!”

“Maybe they should establish a separate league for all the negro superheroes. I’m not saying kick them ALL off. One would be okay. (Doesn’t Hollywood have some kind of law that says every movie has to have at least one black in it?) I just think they’re going overboard with all this diversity stuff. I mean, how many comics do minorities read anyway?”

Dwayne again. Welcome to my world. You know, the one where race doesn’t matter…

The comments come from Newsarama’s preview of JLA #34. It’s fair to say that I got a little pissed over it. I took a break, wrote a review, and decided to come back and write about it some, because I still think it’s ridiculous.

Newsarama is basically one of the three biggest comic sites on the internet. It’s only competitors are Comic Book Resources and IGN’s comics section. When people look for comics news, they go to CBR or Newsarama. It’s one of the outlets for mainstream comics.

So, why does it suck?

I like some of it. Jimmy Palmiotti’s column on Blog@, Brandon Thomas’s Ambidextrous, Chris Arrant, and Vaneta Rogers’s interviews are all great. I generally enjoy all of those. The rest of it, though, seems to be a pit of low standards and fluff pieces.

A bunch of smart people consider Newsarama’s forums among the lowest of the low. They’ve got a rep for being terrible. Honestly? It’s true. The boards are filled with mouth breathing bottom feeding neckbeard douchebags who have nothing better to do than put their illiteracy on display for every to see.

The comments I quoted above appear below a preview of Justice League of America, a book that has been consistently in the top 10 of comics sold and is written by a man who is the highest profile black writer in comics and a well-respected one in animation. This isn’t exactly Johnny Noname shopping around his Spawn ripoff. Many of the comments are clearly racist in nature, which is in direct violation of Imaginova’s TOS, but the commenters have yet to be banned or even have their comments deleted. A few of them are regulars. What am I missing?

Basically, judging by this, a lot of comic fans deserve the mouth-breathing manchild reputation that fanboys get. This sort of thing is pathetic, and for Newsarama to allow it on their servers, when they are one of the gatekeepers of comics news and culture, is ridiculous. It makes me not even want to interact with these people or read the same books they do, just so that I’m not guilty of being stupid by association.

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Great Moments in Black History #13: “Now I’m here to tell ya… there’s a better day”

June 8th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

from milestone’s static shock: rebirth of the cool. words by dwayne mcduffie & robert l washington iii, art by john paul leon.

(i’m done. that’s 13 weeks of black comics– 6 guys, 6 chicks, and a resurrection batting clean-up. you can’t tell me you can’t find comics starring black people any more. we’re out there, superheroes or not.)

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McDuffie fired off JLA

May 28th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Nope, it was my own doing. I was fired when “Lying in the Gutters” ran a compilation of two years or so of my answers to fans’ questions on the DC Comics discussion boards. I’m told my removal had nothing to with either the quality of my work or the level of sales, rather with my revelation of behind-the-scenes creative discussions.

I have to say I’m a bit disappointed, because next summer was planned to feature a JLA-driven crossover, where my book’s story line would have been the driving force. I’m distressed by where I left Black Canary, as my intention was to use the current subplot to strengthen her character and relationships with the new membership, and instead I’m leaving her at the bottom of a hole I’d intended to rebuild her from. I was also just about to get a regular artist for the first time since I’ve been on the book, which would have been nice. That said, I’m sure DC’s going to put together a creative team that will generate major excitement around JLA, which is as it should be.

As for me, I’m still busy story-editing both Ben 10: Alien Force (just nominated for 3 Emmys!) and the upcoming new Ben 10 series “Ben 10: Evolutions.” As far as comic-related stuff, the all-new “Milestone Forever,” is still on track for late this year/early next year, and the Milestone trade paperback program is in full swing, with Static Shock, Icon and Hardware volumes already on the way. I’ve also recently completed a console video game script that I can’t talk about yet, but that will be of interest to anyone reading this thread. I’m currently writing a Direct-To-Video animated feature for Warner Animation, the second of two I’ve taken on this year. Again, I can’t say what they are until they’re officially announced, but they’re likely of interest to superhero fans, and one of them I can’t help looking at as what-could-have-been. You’ll see what I mean.

From McDuffie’s boards, via the homey Uzumeri.

And I mean, I’m not surprised. It’s sad, but I’m very glad to see that McDuffie has plenty of stuff lined up. I wish DC hadn’t hamstrung him right out of the gates, but that’s what happens with top-down editing. I said it in ’07 and it’s still true: DC screwed up. They screwed up hard.

McDuffie show-ran Justice League Unlimited and he’s running Ben10. Those cartoons are rolling in dough. The Static Shock cartoon had better ratings than Pokemon. Why bring him in and then handcuff him? He gave Tom Brevoort gold on Fantastic Four. Fun, all ages comics that had plenty of appeal for everyone.

To put him on JLA, and then tell him “Write these stories,” is pathetic. McDuffie and the JLA is a no-brainer. Everyone loved JLU. That’s why they put him on the book. It’s so simple a child could come up with it. The fact that he had to address the status of the book in public basically means that he was getting no traction behind the scenes, doesn’t it? Doesn’t that sound like some kind of mismanagement?

Firing McDuffie when you still employ artists who can barely draw anything approaching acceptable comics, such as Ed Benes or Tony Daniel, is pathetic. Try again.

DC Comics, and Dan Didio, lost. End of story.

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Great Moments In Black History #09: “I Guess He’s Never Heard of Lauryn Hill”

May 11th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

from marvel’s fantastic four: the new fantastic four. words by dwayne mcduffie, art by paul pelletier.

(i still don’t know that i genuinely care about storm, but this is a couple of good bits.)

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DC Stays Losing

March 26th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Dwayne McDuffie: I wrote a scene set at their gravesite that I recently had to quickly rewrite into something not very good.

Matthew Murray: Do you actually enjoy writing JLA? It just seems to be constant editorial rewrites and bad art.

McDuffie: No, I don’t.

To be honest, I wouldn’t like writing JLA either if I was paired up with an artist with zero storytelling skills, multiple tie-ins and interruptions due to crossovers or just editorial mandate (no one but Dan Jurgens cares about Tangent Comics, DC), and having to clean up Brad “Write First, Think Later” Meltzer’s crappy subplots.

I think back to this, back when I was excited, and this, when the shine first started wearing off, and then this, coming a year later, in which I don’t even want to read a series I was hyped for and features characters I love because I know it’s going to be subpar.

I said it in 2007:

Step 1: Hire a quality writer, one known for doing right by your characters.
Step 2: Pair him up with a T&A artist or two, neither of whom are known for their ability to convey emotions beyond Angry, Shocked, and Aroused.
Step 3: Hamstring the writer by making him tie into your crappy stories that have nothing to do with the book he’s writing.

Turns out I was right.

Well done, DC Comics.

(thread on McDuffie’s forum here, via the new scans daily)

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Black History Month ’09 #27: Life Is Illmatic

February 27th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Today is a short one. It’s from Icon #30, by Dwayne McDuffie and MD Bright. They say my overall point much better than I could, so I’m going to keep my talking to a minimum.

Really, though- I hope DC does right by Milestone. The company, its legacy, and its characters deserve to be done properly.

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Milestone 2008: Rebirth of Cool?

December 16th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I love love songs. No joke– I think that they’re one of the best uses for music. I even like different kinds of love songs. If put to the test, my favorite kinds would be, in order from most to slightly less most, heartbreak songs, cheating songs, and then straight up love songs. I don’t know why that is, but it is what it is.

I’m inclined to like songs about heartbreak. I don’t know why, maybe an inner romantic or mope or something. I tend to like them, though, which is why I was looking forward to Kanye’s 808’s and Heartbreak. While I’m sort of ehhh on the autotune, the concept for the album was solid. It sounded like an album that was at least partially built for me. Love Lockdown came out and I kind of both love the drums and the video. I feel what he’s talking about in the song, too, so there’s that. Scandalous comments about how he doesn’t listen to hip-hop in his place because it’s “too nice” aside, I was looking forward to it.

In the end, I was almost completely disappointed. The beats were tight, but Kanye’s autotuned vocals don’t stand up to the concept or the music. It comes off feeling heartless, which I guess was part of the point, but he seriously needed some heart for this album to be a success for me. I dig Welcome to Heartbreak (with Kid Cudi) immensely (“Chased the good life my whole life long/ Look back on my life and my life gone/ Where did I go wrong?” is incredible), and I think that Amazing with Jeezy is probably my favorite cut off the album, but the other two-thirds of the record left me flat or irritated. I can’t think of a single reason to listen to Robocop, for example, nor the song with Wayne. Heartless is mediocre. Say You Will is Kanye doing his best “That’s the way love goes”-era Sade impression (including the song itself), which is a lot like my well-tested “That’s the way love goes”-era Sade impression– not very good at all and the last thing you want to hear. Paranoid isn’t awful, but it’s a bit too ’80s keytar rock for me. It sounds like it should be on the Scarface soundtrack right next to “Rush Rush Get the Yeyo.”

808s and Heartbreak got me thinking about complete packages. No matter how inclined you are to like something, it still needs to be quality in order for you to actually like it. I’m inclined to like 808s and Heartbreak, but the end product didn’t measure up. I’m inclined to like Jubilee and the New Warriors, but the book that featured them was lacking.

I’m inclined to like Justice League of America #27, because I like Milestone, I love Dwayne McDuffie’s writing, and the JLA is okay I guess. I didn’t like it because Ed Benes’s art kills the book for me.
Read the rest of this entry �

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Wondercon Day Two!

February 24th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I got an email earlier this week (or maybe late last week) from someone I’d spoken to a couple times. She wanted to interview me at Wondercon! Being a suitably narcissistic fellow who loves the sound of someone listening to him speak, I said “Yes!”

–So, at 1030 Saturday morning, I was interviewed by the wonderful Lene Taylor of I Read Comics. She asked me my opinions on comics, race in comics, and my Black History Month series. What a start to the day! Thanks for letting me ramble, Lene. Hopefully it came through all right in the recording.

–I bought a grip of trades again. I can’t help it, man. The haul this time was Peng (signed by Rey, and shoulda been bought years ago when it came out), Dr Strange: The Oath, X-Men Legends vol 4: Best of X-Men Unlimited, Human Target, Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs Nighthawk, and Gambit: House of Cards.

I know someone who’d kill for that Gambit trade. Eat it, Sara! It’s going for 130 dollars on Amazon! I paid half cover for it!

Cripes, she might actually kill me at that price.

–I caught some awesome panels. First was the podcasting extravaganza. It was moderated by Matt Silady and featured Ron, Josh, and Conor of iFanboy, Lene Taylor and Logan Hall of I Read Comics, Chris from Around Comics (I forgot his last name like a jerk, though I’ve hung out with him basically two or three nights in a row now), and Bryan Deemer of Comic Geek Speak. It was a fun panel, made double fun by the fact that I know/am familiar with most of the people up there. I got to ask a question about timeliness in podcasts with regards to content. Does it matter at all? Chris had the best answer: “Nope.” The others mostly agreed, with the caveat that they will cover something if it is underreported or if there’s a demand for it. Otherwise, there’s no reason to feel pressured. It was a great panel, and everyone involved did a great job. Also, Conor is incredibly awesome and has a hard life being so awesome.

–The next panel was the Animation Break-Down panel. I’ll let the convention site tell it. I added in iMDB links.

4:30-5:30 Animation Story Break (“Wait, does it HAVE to be a story?”)— Go behind the scenes as writers take an idea for an animated superhero story from one-sentence premise all the way to a full-blown beginning, middle, and end. Then the real fun begins with audience participation! The crack writing staff features Charlotte Fullerton (Kim Possible), Michael Jelenic (The Batman), Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock), and Matt Wayne (Justice League Unlimited). Moderated by Eugene Son (Storm Hawks). Expect laughter and tears – mostly the latter.

Um, wow, what a line-up! Basically, the gimmick of the panel turned out to be breaking down a Howard the Duck vs Green Lantern Corps movie. It was pretty ridiculous (in a good way) and a lot of fun. Also, as seen below, I got McDuffie to sign a couple of trades– Static Shock and Fantastic Four, in fact. That was a great moment.

–After that, I chilled out a bit, went home, changed, and went out to the world famous Isotope Comics for the awesome Darwyn Cooke signing event. I’d volunteered to work the art table, so I stuck around upstairs for most of the night, giving people the mean mug when they get their drinks too close to the art.

Did I mention the art? We had J. Bone drawings, we had some stuff from Spider-Man Tangled Web by Darwyn and J (I want to keep calling him J.Bone, but man! that’d be weird), we had some Doop/Wolverine stuff… and we had pages from the as-yet unreleased New Frontier Animated Special. It drops the first week of March!

How were the pages? They were awesome. Beautiful, every single one of them. I saw a few pages that I kept going back to. You’ll see them when the book drops. I’ll just say that there is a note in them that just says “Think fast” and a wonderful smirk. That character should always smirk. Manoman.

How was the party? Hrm. Did you know that a million people were there? Maybe not a million, but it sure felt like it. The party was out on the street for a bit and getting across the store was nearly impossible. The guest list was completely ridic, though. There were some folks in costumes. The mascot or whatever from the new Zelda was in effect. There were some burlesque-looking girls.

There was also Amy Jo Johnson a.k.a. THE PINK POWER RANGER (according to Ron), JH Williams III, Paul Dini, Bill Willingham was maybe there, Antony Johnston stopped back in again, Ross Richie of Boom Studios was there, and a grip of people from DC Comics/Warner Home Video were there.

Repeat: Pink Power Ranger.

I might have possibly kind of told Paul Dini to get his drink off the art table before it spills, but in my defense if I did do such an unconscionable thing it was because I didn’t recognize him until Marsha, Darwyn Cooke’s wife, pointed him out to me.


It was pretty cool talking to J. Bone and David Bullock about art and work and like that. Those were great times. Bullock did some work on the upcoming Spidey cartoon and being something of a big Spider-Man fan, it was cool to speak to him.

Oh yeah, Darwyn Cooke… he is awesome, through and through. I finally saw a break in the signing line and he signed my copy of Selina’s Big score and the print of the Isotope flyer. We talked more about the John Henry stuff. I mentioned that I was going to fanboy at him for a moment and told him that I led off my Black History Month posts with the John Henry sequence from New Frontier and he was like “That was you?!”

So, uh, Darwyn Cooke reads my blog! He also told me to post this picture.


He thanked me for feeling that the John Henry stuff wasn’t overwrought or horrible and I thanked him for writing it.

I’d brought a camera with me with the intention of taking a ton of pictures, but instead I basically just took shots of me and my friends chilling in the art room. Check the flickr set here!

Sunday is almost guaranteed to be more laid back and less awesome than today. I’m going to be trade bin diving with Keith and Ash (I want to score another Gambit book!) and just wandering the floor the rest of the show. I’m definitely gonna do a stint at the Writers Old Fashioned table, too.

Also, wandering the Wondercon halls listening to Saul Williams’s “The Inevitable Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust” is really, really weird but really, really fitting. I don’t know why.

One quick reminder: You can still enter the contest to win a free copy of New Frontier! Go post on that thread to get it done and I’ll pick the winner Sunday night.

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Wondercon Day One!

February 23rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

What did I do today?

I went and saw a Becky Cloonan panel. It was pretty cool, and she talked a lot about her influences. She was also asked three different times what books she likes to read. I was first, mind you. Way to go, guys– try being on time. She’s a big Gambit fan, and a friend of mine got a sketch from her of him.

After that, I saw Terry Dodson. He gave a really interesting talk on his career and how he got to where he was. He also told how he ended up having his wife be his inker, which was a little neat. Basically, she was an interior design major, but she has impeccable penmanship and line control. She apprenticed for a little while, and the rest is history.

After that, I saw Darwyn Cooke for the second time. He did a stealth signing at the Isotope on Thursday night, which was really cool. It was really laid back, plus I got my Absolute New Frontier signed. He told a bunch of very cool stories, too.

I met Dwayne McDuffie.

Let me repeat that– I met McDuffie. Pardon my fanboy, kids. I thought I saw him, but I wasn’t sure, but Howard Brown of PCS made it a point to introduce us. Do I even have to say how awesome that was?

I bought a couple of trades (Impulse: Reckless Youth and Sam Noir Volume One) and wandered the floor. Did some networking. Solidified a deal that’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done solo (I’ll talk about that next week!). Hung out with Mindy Owens, writer of the Runaways/Ultimates Saga and Spider-Man Fairy Tales, and her twin sister. Saw a bunch of people I know. Chilled at the Writers Old Fashioned table (AA90!) for a little while. Hung out at the Ben Templesmith and Antony Johnston signing at the Isotope.

Tomorrow? I’m getting interviewed (exciting!), watching a podcast panel moderated by a friend and featuring a few friends, and working the Darwyn Cooke signing.

I’ll be around. Holler if you see me!

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