In other Firestorm alum news, Stuart Moore is having a good month, too. The trade paperback Wolverine: Blood and Sorrow was released, collecting his excellent tales of the famous beclawed one. Also out is an issue of New Avengers/Transformers and Earthlight #2, which is the series that has earned Stuart several nods from critics. He's also been announced as a new editor for a co-branded line of SCI FI Channel/Virgin comics.
The third and final former Firestorm creator to talk about, and the one that might have a hand in Firestorm's future, is Dwayne McDuffie. If I weren't such a slacker, you would have seen here that Dwayne was announced last month as the new writer on Justice League of America. Given the other work we've seen from him, I take that as great news. It doesn't hurt that this improves Jason's changes of making the team.
Dan Didio said that we'll see Firestorm join a team "soon". For a while there, The Outsiders was high on the candidate list but that lineup has now been made public, as is the lineup of Teen Titans. I've long felt that the JLA was the best fit and rumor mill strongly points in that direction. Perhaps we'll find out in a couple of weeks during the San Diego Comicon. Hey DC, throw us a bone!
Speaking of the series finale, that was quite a cliffhanger. I'm not sure I've seen a series end that way, but it gives me great hope that the story will continue. Yesterday's August solicitations don't offer much hope of seeing that thread being picked up this summer, but you never know.
Stuart Moore gave a nice interview to Comixfan containing some nice post mortem analysis of what went right and what went wrong with the series. It's also a good way to catch up on Stuart's more recent projects.
And how about that World War 3? Yeah, some of the story framework doesn't make a ton of sense, Jason isn't going to kiss Lorraine and, hey, weren't there people on that carrier? But, all that aside, I found it to be an immensely enjoyable mini-series. Hats of to Keith and John, both of whom have a history with Firestorm. Keith, in particular, did some impressive writing for someone newer to the scripting side of things. His two issue were full of little moments that really sold the story.
On a housekeeping note, I finally updated the Issues page so, while I might be missing a small number of very minor references, I'm basically caught up there. I want to serve as a resource for writers who want to pull Firestorm off the shelf, dust him off and stick him in their books. I have a fair amount of character biography updates to do, as well.
There's not much else to report in the realm of Firestorm news. I imagine we'll be seeing Jason and company in Countdown and there are some hints that Firestorm might have a role to play in the new Infinity Inc. Of course, we're also just a week away from the series finale and a promised change to the character. I'm interested to see what happens there, but I can't even begin to speculate on what it might mean.
I wish there was more to report. The usual knuckleheads are doing their best to embarrass themselves on the DC message boards and make the place unpleasant for everyone else. There's no specific news to report about future appearances so we'll wait another three weeks for World War III part 1 to see what Keith has in store for Jason. I haven't even seen any tempting original Firestorm art auctions lately, except one from Perez's Flash backups that went for a few hundred. I will get some pages updated, I promise. It's just that I upgraded to Vista (I like it) and now I can't find the install CD for my art program. D'oh!
My store wound up ordering something like sixteen of the Firestorm: Reborn TPBs mistakenly thinking that it was a regular issue. Oops! They're confident that they can move them eventually, though. Hopefully Stuart and Jamal got a little extra cut because of that. :)
Seeing such a strong issue makes it that much harder to see the book go. Unfortunately, there was confirmation from Dan Didio at Wondercon that Firestorm is done from now, despite the removal of the tag "final issue" on the dccomics.com solicitation giving some hope.
But the news isn't all bad. Firestorm and its creators were featured prominently in the 2007 Glyph Comics Awards nominations. Congratulations to Stuart, Jamal and Brian Stelfreeze. Stuart also earned a nod or two for his Earthlight book from Tokyopop. Nice going!
Speaking of Stuart, his Detective Comics issue comes out tomorrow so pick it up. It's the first of a two-parter, and I really like the setup he describes in his Wizard Universe interview.
10. It's been two long months since the last issue. That's long enough to give a comics reader the shakes.
9. Gorgeous cover by Pete Woods. Pete Woods!
8. Shilo Norman is here. If you liked Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory, here's your best chance to catch up with the character.
7. It's a great way to meet Jason, who will be featured in a major DCU team book later this year.
6. The New Gods. They are some of DC's most colorful characters and they've been missing for a while.
5. The premise is ingenious. The unsung half of Firestorm - Martin Stein - is a brilliant Nobel winning physicist who spent time as a cosmic entity. Why wouldn't he have knowledge that DC's most infamous answer-seeker wants?
4. We're told that it leads into DC's Next Big Thing, so it's a great way to get an early scoop.
3. It's so pretty. Just look at Lashley's fantastic art in the previews. He said that he tinkered with his style a bit and it looks wonderful.
2. Dwayne McDuffie wrote it! You know, Justice League Unlimited writer, Milestone Media (think Static Shock), Fantastic Four, etc.
And, finally, the only one you should really care about...
1. It's ridiculously entertaining. It delivers on the full promise of the character - action, humor and a ridiculous amount of power that needs to be used very carefully.
If you need further convincing, you can see for yourself in this preview over on Newsarama:
Thanks to poster theid from the DC boards for pointing out a new Wizard Universe interview with Dwayne McDuffie about his arc. There is a lot of interesting information and six new preview pages, making a total of nine we've seen from the issue. The art looks fantastic and the writing is a lot of fun. I'm very much looking forward to it. Just two more weeks!
Just to follow up with our favorite creators, Jamal's run on Nightwing recently started with #129 recently. Even better, Keith Champagne has his back with the inks. Stuart Moore's PARA TPB is now in comic stores and I highly recommend picking it up. Both Stuart and Jamal will be appearing at the New York Comicon on the 23rd through the 25th for you lucky buggers who live on the east coast.
I'd obviously prefer that the series march on and on, but 35 issues is a good run these days. Jason's a great character and I know he'll get his share of air time in the rest of the DC universe. In fact, this week's edition of the Lying in the Gutters rumor column has... potential spoilers ahead... Firestorm teaming with Nightwing, Donna Troy, Supergirl and Flash on a new team. That sounds like a great setup to me.
This site isn't going anywhere. I'll continue to add to it. In fact, since Jason's only appearances will be in books other than his own, I figure it's that much more important that there be a good reference site for him for other writers to use. I'll need your help more than ever to keep an eye out for his appearances, too.
Just as a reminder, tomorrow's release of the Superman: Back in Action TPB features Firestorm heavily, both in the main storyline and in an old DC Comic Presents that has Superman teaming up with the Ronnie/Martin version of the character. That should be well worth picking up.
Oh, and I met Matt Haley this past weekend at the Phoenix Comicon and got a Firestorm sketch from him that I'll post later. Everyone loved his Firestorm covers so it only seemed fitting.
Keith Champagne, who was once content to merely ink the likes of Firestorm, has been put to work by DC in creating the stories around World War III. He talks about his plans over on Newsarama. His issues will touch on Firestorm's missing-year situation, which will be great to see. In fact, he says that the story is told through the eyes of a character who is deciding his own role, but I'm keeping my hopes in check because that could refer to a lot of characters. I'll definitely be buying those issues - Keith proved his writing chops for me on his JSA run. Interestingly enough, the other two issues of this done-in-a-day miniseries will be written by John Ostrander, who was once at the writing helm of Firestorm (and who now writes the absostupendoterrific Star Wars: Legacy for Dark Horse).
And, if you need a quick hit of Firestorm now, look for his bio page in the back of this week's 52 issue. Jamal and Keith once again team up to draw Jason. I'm looking forward to it. Also, did you catch Jamal's work in last week's issue of 52? I saw the preview art before the credits and knew instantly that Jamal was on duty that day.
One of the topics of discussion, of course, will be last week's issue #32. What a fun comic to read - Stuart and Jamal obviously had a good time putting it together. These are two great minds that have been pouring themselves into these stories, and they deserve our thanks for the great ride. They'll be missed!
There are some interesting comments by Dan Didio in a Newsarama interview. He talks about the rationale behind replacement characters and specifically mentions some of the thinking about Firestorm. It's worth a read.
Today marked the release of DC's March solicitations, including Firestorm #34. This really does look like a great story that Dwayne and Ken are putting together. If there was any doubt of that, Newsarama posted a preview of Firestorm #33, which looks fantastic and is very entertaining. It's not too usual to post a preview more than two months before an issue is released, but hopefully this will give time for some buzz to build.
Finally, Pop Mahn reveals in his Newsarama interview that he's working on a couple of issues of Firestorm. Ken later confirmed that he'll be cutting his run short to run off and work on a dream project. So, welcome aboard, Pop!
It's now been officially announced that Jamal Igle will be Nightwing's new artist. As sad as it is to lose him, it's great that he's getting a bit of a professional bump up. Congratulations, Jamal!
Stuart isn't sitting still, either. I definitely recommend signing up for his newsletter (instructions) to keep up on his projects. Recently, he mentioned that he was doing a Batman two-parter. You can also see a preview of his Punisher X-Mas Special here.
Jason McDonald, a longtime fellow fan, has put together a great MySpace page for Jason Rusch. I haven't been sold on MySpace in general, but this is a pretty cool idea. The biographical section covers the basics of Jason's life while each blog entry covers an issue of the story. I'm told that there's over a 1,000 friends already. Not too shabby! Nice going, Jason and Jason.
Another fan, John Simcoe, added a great entry to his comics blog explaining why Firestorm is such a great title and one he would recommend to anyone just starting the hobby. It's a worth a read. He makes several good points then sums it up with "Quite frankly, Firestorm is what a comic book is supposed to be." It's hard to argue with that.
Finally, Ken Lashley has reemerged on Comic Bloc to answer (or not answer as the case may be) fan questions. Someone beat me to requesting a Firestorm sketch, and he delivered with an impressive one that he put together right after being offered the job on the title. It's crackling with energy. Click on the image to see a bigger one. I hassled Ken to know what he's working on in the book. He's done with #33 and is now on #34. It'll be exciting to see his work on the title.
Yep, the prediction from my last post was wrong. But then again, it was a trick question as 52 never told the story of Firestorm and Cyborg's separation. Today's issue was very entertaining, though. They did a good job of making Firestorm show that he wasn't ready for the biggest of the big leagues while not making a complete joke of him, either. I can rest a little easier now.
I'll work backwards with the news. This Monday's solicitation involved two surprises for Firestorm fans. First, there is no issue planned for January. My suspicion is that that has to do with a time gap in getting the new creative team lined up and going. Either that, or DC needed an extra month to prepare their worldwide, massive media push for Firestorm. Right? The good news, or rather the fantastic news is that there will be a Firestorm trade paperback in February covering the first One Year Later arc of the title. Where's the trade? is something we've been asking each other for a while. In fact, this is the very first collection of any Firestorm title, so it's a first in the 28 year history of the concept. Not too shabby!
Last week's #30 brought some nice moments in the story. True, I felt that Lorraine's political speech ate too much panel time and felt shoe-horned in, but the issue was a good one because it established a lot of connections between characters and set up a bad situation with the villain, whose visual redesign was fantastic. It even almost sold me on Jason and Gehenna's relationship. ;) The news that Jason was training with Mr. Terrific filled my heart with glee. Steve Sadowski stepped in on art chores in the middle of the book and did a great job. I particularly liked his take on Lorraine, Martin and Gehenna.
And I think that's about it. I've been working over the past several days to update the issues page, and now have some bio pages to update. Maybe I should look at January as a nice month to truly get caught up.
Speaking of Firestorm in other books, last week's Action Comics was a nice send-off to that arc. Firestorm got a few speaking parts, too. Many thanks to Kurt and Pete for portraying our man so well. Tomorrow brings OMAC #4. So far, Firestorm has shown up in each issue, albeit in decreasing roles. Let's see what happens. Hopefully, he'll be there again.
Also from last week (yeah, yeah, I'm behind), we saw Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman considering Firestorm and Firehawk for Justice League membership. While they didn't show the vote tallies, my impression was certainly that they didn't make it in. I think that's probably still a year or two away. Today, I actually met with Brad Meltzer (Justice League's writer) and we talked about Firestorm and the League. He said he saw my point and was going to correct his oversight and bring in Jason right away. I think we see eye to eye on the subject, which is as it should be because Brad's a great writer and a great guy. Oh, and one of the sentences in this paragraph is a big, fat lie. :)
Dan Didio announced earlier in the week that Mike Siglain, Firestorm's current editor, is being put in charge of 52. That's two editors that have been stolen from Firestorm for 52, the first being Steve Wacker. That's pretty cool for Mike, though. There hasn't been an assistant editor credited in the last few issues, so who knows where Firestorm is going. Note to editors: Firestorm is obviously a fantastic career move!
Last but not least, a friend tore the Firestorm article out of Wizard for me. It was interesting to learn that a JLU episode about Firestorm was worked on, but was scrapped when it didn't look as promising. Dwayne hints at a throw-down with Firestorm and several New Gods in New York City. He also makes it clear that this story entails moving Jason out of his newbie phase and into the class of hero that people will notice. That all sounds great to me!
In other news, poster barrie325 over on the DC boards got his copy of Wizard early and spilled the beans that Ken Lashley will be drawing Dwayne McDuffie's issues. Very cool! A lot of us were wondering who would land the role. Recently, Ken has done The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive and 52. He's also a cool guy, as he spent some time with us over on Comic Bloc. Welcome aboard, Ken! Let's hope he posts some concept art to whet our appetites a bit.
Finally, I went to my first comics convention over the weekend in Phoenix. It was a lot of fun and I'll probably get around to describing it in gory detail some time, but for now I'll post the Firehawk sketch that Amanda Conner did for me. She's a great artist and a really fun person. How cool is that? It's my first convention sketch. I didn't quite spot the right artist with the right style to draw Firestorm, but maybe next time around. I'll have another shot in four months because they're moving the Phoenix Comicon to January starting next year. I imagine that's because professionals are a little convention-weary by September. Phoenix is pretty nice in January, Jamal. Nudge nudge, wink wink. ;)
Over the weekend, Stuart posted his commentary on #29. You'll find Jamal's here. Those are always interesting reads. I'm going to miss'em (both the creators and those commentaries, that is)!
- Newsarama announced that JLU show co-writer and indie comic legend Dwayne McDuffie is going to write a three-issue Firestorm arc starting with #33. The story line will deal with Martin discovering the underlying principles of the Firestorm matrix. In doing so, he earns some unfortunate attention from the New Gods as his discovery relates to something some of them have wanted to discover and others have wanted to conceal for a long, long time.
- The following day, Stuart Moore let fans know that, indeed, he and Jamal Igle were off the book.
- Jamal later came along and confirmed that, while dropping a not-so-kryptic hint about his next project with DC.
The concerns? It's a blow to lose Stuart and Jamal. They're great minds in this medium and they've been really open and personable with the fans despite some really bizarre attitudes thrown at them. We all know that they truly love this book, so it can't be easy for them. It does soften the blow knowing that Jamal is getting a bit of a professional promotion, moving to a higher profile book. For his part, Stuart has a lot of other coals in the fire, both in comics and in prose. So I know they'll be fine - I just know we'll all miss them.
There is a bit of an ominous note here for the title itself. Dwayne is signed up for three issues and has made it clear that he's not currently engaged for more. It's fair to take this as a trial - not of Dwayne himself but of the book's ability to grow in sales. At the same time, it would be foolish to take this as an advanced cancellation notice since DC would not otherwise make this investment. It would be equally foolish to not be concerned at all. Firestorm is running a bit above cancellation numbers, but it's no secret that it has struggled for sales. I think Dwayne's participation and the fact that this story is supposed to lead into The Next Big Thing(TM) at DC will help out quite a bit.
You and I also have a role to play here. I think we got a little complacent when Infinite Crisis and One Year Later drove the sales to new heights. We, the fans, need to get the word out there and let our fellow readers know that this is a book well worth picking up. Between Stuart and Jamal's remaining four issues and Dwayne's upcoming arc, it should be an easy sell.
Oh, and I've been working on a little something fun and Firestorm related, too. Stay tuned.
Oh yeah, and the November solicitation for some book named Firestorm came out this week.
First, as you can see, our man's getting his own action figure! I really like it. I could stand for the red to be a bit darker and I hope the flaming mullet is detachable, but overall it's a great looking figure. Sign me up for a few, DC Direct.
The other news was a near-future spoiler from Jamal during today's DC Universe panel, so be warned. Dan Didio asked each participant to give a spoiler for their title. Jamal revealed that the Firestorm seen at the end of #27 was, as some had guessed, Mikhail Arkadin! Pretty cool. It looks like I'm up for another bio page.
And fortunately, I'm finally more or less up-to-date with bio pages. I did a big round of updates over the last few days for Jason, Martin, Lorraine, Gehenna and created a new page for The Pupil. Phew! I was embarrassed to find that some of those pages were last updated around ten issues ago.
Finally, while we're on the topic of upcoming events, head over to this post over on the DCMBs and try your hand at guessing some of the events coming up in the next arc.
I won't make it this year. If you're into whining, you can hear about it on my new ComicBloc blog here. :)
Over on Newsarama, Brad Meltzer does a little teasing about Firestorm's membership in the JLA. For the record, my overall impression is that Firestorm won't be joining the JLA in the next several months.
And finally, a big, resounding HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JAMAL! I have to continually tease him for being born a few days before I was.
I already pointed to Stuart and Jamal's respective message board posts covering #27, but Comic Bloc has posted the compiled version complete with Jamal's preliminaries and final pencils. Next time, I'll probably just wait to link to that version. I find those behind-the-scenes comments very useful.
Once again, we've been spoiled by Stuart and Jamal sharing their thoughts on the issue.
Not to be outdone, Stuart posted some teases about what's going to happen in the issue. Okay, he actually posted those a few days ago but that sounded more dramatic and less like I'd forgotten to post it.
At least I can point to the issues page and say that I've been up to something. It's great to see that Firestorm's appearances in other titles are still coming fast and furious. Speaking of appearances, Firestorm's appearance in OMAC #1 was well worth picking up a copy. I applaud Bruce and Renato for doing their homework on the character.
First, September's solicitation gives us our monthly peak at the future. Again, we see a great mix of villains, supporting cast, family and mysterious types. Should be good!
July is right around the corner and that means a few things for Firestorm aficionados. Keep an eye out for Firestorm in both OMAC #1 and Action Comics #841. I'm excited about those appearances. Speaking of appearances, you can catch Stuart and Jamal at this year's San Diego Comicon. I actually had a hope of being there with work taking care of most of the expenses, but they need me there about a week before the convention. Argh!
Finally, did you catch Firestorm's briefest of appearances in DC's Brave New World compilation book? He's in there, I swear! Alright, it's pretty trivial so don't hurt yourself looking for it. Look at the monitors (no, not those kinds) on the last page.
Once again, Stuart and Jamal recorded some thoughts on the creative process behind the issue. Their comments were compiled and formatted by magicspoon, one of ComicBloc's administrators. If you're following the title or are simply curious about the creative process, their comments are a must-read.
Don't forget, #26 is out this week!
Wizard also posted an interview with Jamal that largely centers on Firestorm. There's some interesting information about how the new costume came about. It's well worth a read.
I spent some time reading the script while looking through the issue itself - it was an interesting exercise. If nothing else, it will give you an appreciation for the amount of thought that Stuart and Jamal put into these stories. It also made me miss Dr. Otaki a bit. :)
Speaking of Stuart, he managed to find a new blog entry by Rafael Kayanan, a great artist who got started with Firestorm. It includes a great image of Ronnie's version of Firestorm.
There isn't too much else going on in the way of Firestorm news - just a lot of anticipation around June's issue. It's almost here!
In the interview, Stuart gives a great cliff-notes version of the themes of the book and a few peaks at where it's going without revealing too much.
Elsewhere, Jason, along with others, seems to have been taken captive by a Superman villain in Action Comics. If you look carefully at the cover, you can see Firestorm being held captive. The OMAC #2 solicitation indicates that OMAC tangled with Firetorm in July's OMAC #1. Finally, Firestorm appears on the cover to Justice League of America #1.
That's a whole lotta love for Firestorm in August!
And if you're not convinced of that already, check out this MP3 interview with Comic Geek Speak. That's the first time I've heard Jamal's voice. He comes off as confident but never cocky and spills a lot of interesting details about his career and some plans he has pitched for Firestorm. It's well worth the time to listen to the interview. One interesting piece of news is that they're considering a trade for 2007 containing the OYL storyline.
The art again, was great. Jamal has already posted his commentary on it. Stuart's will follow tomorrow.
Happy Birthday, Firestorm! For the occassion, I've put up some quotes on the home page from those who know.
Oh, and come help us figure out what we should do for Firestorm Vol. 3's Second Anniversary!
Today marked the release of DC's July solicitations. The Firestorm #27 solicitation seems to point to two major plotlines coming to a head. Brian Stelfreeze turns in another great cover, too. Almost equally exciting is Jason's cover-worthy appearance in July issue of the venerable Action Comics. It wouldn't be the first time Superman took on Firestorm, but I don't think it will come to that. It looks like moving to New York is paying off for Firestorm already!
First, Stuart is pioneering a brand new means of communication - the audioless podcast! Okay, so it's a message board post but it's interesting reading. You'll get a behind-the-scenes peak at the thought process that goes into the book. If you like it, let him know and maybe we'll see more in the future.
Also, there's a great new interview over on Silver Bullet Comics with both Jamal and Stuart. It has some interesting comments on their working relationship, as well as a few new tidbits on the current plot. It's well worth a read!
And, finally, kudos to the creative team for giving me so much to write about! :)
Another oft overlooked contributor is the colorist. In this case, it's David Baron, who was kind enough to hook me up with some digital art from the comic. Expect some upgrades in the site images here and there.
I've mentioned on a couple of message boards that the tone and pacing felt "off" on this issue, so I might as well say it here, too. There are quite a few characters in this one but no two of them are comfortable with one another. Everything is too unsettled. I realize that much of this points to the effects of Stein's dissappearance, but it gives the impression of very little progress in Jason's life. There is plenty of enjoy, however, and the solicitations for the issues that follow give me plenty of hope for more twists and turns even as things around Jason settle down. I look forward to meeting Greg, too. ;)
Over on Dave Baron's blog, he mentions that he just finished coloring #25 so it's a safe bet that we'll see that one on May 10th, as scheduled.
Infinite Crisis #6 spoilers ahead. You've been warned!
Martin's brains and Jason's powers, together, saved the day. They performed a little fingerectomy on Alex Luthor's giant hand, which foiled his plans to combine Earths 2 and 3. Not only did they prevent the destruction of both earths in the process, but they saved the lives of Superman and Wonder Woman, who were then on Earth 2. If you're going to make a career out of superheroing, that's just the kind of thing you want on your resume!
Just so we're all on the same page, the records left by the Titans of Myth more or less told Donna Troy that the universe was going to be destroyed. She decided to prevent that by gathering a team and going to the middle of universe. That entire storyline, which started in DC's books seven months ago and crossed into several titles, culiminated in Firestorm stopping Alex Luthor's mad experiments. Not too shabby, I must say. It's a good day to be a Firestorm fan!
Ah well. From the silver lining department, that possibly takes the wait between #24 and #25 down from five weeks to four. Possibly. And, maybe we'll get something of a fix in this week's issue of Infinite Crisis. Jason's still floating around its pages, after all.
Jamal casually mentioned something on the DC boards that a lot of us have been hoping for - a trade paperback of Firestorm. Apparently, there are some discussions about the content. There's nothing to share about time frame and I won't get my hopes up until things are a little more solid, but the fact that it's being kicked around is encouraging news!
From the "kindred spirit" news department, Blue Beetle #1 came out this week and it was a great, funny book. Writers Keith Giffen and John Rogers are already catching a lot of grief for replacing an previously established character with a new teenager. Sound familiar? I wonder if Dan Jolley could start up a self-help group for writers of replacement characters?
In other news, Comic Bloc has posted a review of Firestorm #23. You'd almost get the impression that these guys liked the issue!
Today also marked the release of the solicitation for June's issue. This is really the first of Stelfreeze's covers to knock my socks off. If Matt Haley was the master of big, bold action, this cover shows the power of understatement. I love it!
As I'm sure you know, #23 came out this week. With the big One Year Later leap, there were a handful of changes. I'll have plenty of pages to update over the next few days.
For me, this issue wasn't love at first sight, but I enjoyed it - particularly on a second reading where I picked up some of the subtleties. I think I knew a little too much of what was going to happen, although there are certainly some new mysteries for us to kick around including quite a cliffhanger at the end. There is no shortage of new elements: Lorraine's roles, some new tricks with the suit, new baddies, a mysterious fellow who met an unfortunate end, Gehenna's new role in Jason's life, and many others. The subtle changes in the art and the new colorist's (Dave Baron) touch were nice changes to match the tone, too. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is headed.
Don't forget to check DC's site for the solicitation for #26 late tomorrow!
Stuart's newest interview with Newsarama was posted today and it contains at least one substantial spoiler about Firestorm's direction. Starting in #23, Jason will be partnering with Lorraine Reilly. Stuart credits Dan Didio with the idea, which you can take as Stuart being graceful or Stuart saying "if you don't like the idea..." depending on how cynical you are. :)
I think there's a lot of potential for a partnership between Jason and Lorraine. The last time they worked together, she wanted him to succeed but didn't have much patience for his shortcomings as a newcomer. More recently, she showed that she had more respect for his abilities by recommending Jason to Donna Troy for her mission in space. In any case, it'll be interesting to see how the two work together. I was also glad to hear that Martin's dissappearance is temporary, too.
On another topic, and one that I need to get much better at sharing, both Stuart and Jamal will be attending the New York Comic Con this weekend. So if you're lucky enough to live around the area, go see'em!
Stuart gave us fair warning that Newsarama is about to run an article on Firestorm that spills a lot of details about the book starting with #23. I have mixed feelings about such things - I enjoy being surprised but I like the idea of building some excitement. So, if you're interested, keep an eye out over the next few days.
Keith Champagne, Firestorm's inker, put a page from #25 up on his blog. It shows a nice, quiet scene between Alvin and Gehenna. It's great that you can pick up the jist of a scene from the art alone.
In other news, Dan Didio was asked the status of Ronnie Raymond at this weekend's Wonder Con. His response was straight-forward enough: "Gone". That doesn't neccessarily mean forever, of course.
Finally, this week marks the release of #22. That's enough to make my week. DC has a little Firestorm tile with a section of the cover on its home page. I think we're all looking forward to learning more about Firestorm and seeing how this new version takes shape.
When you think about it, nobody has put more energy into Firestorm than Jamal. Pencillers, by far, put in more time on a given issue than anyone on the creative team. On top of that, Jamal has worked on more issues than anyone. He's a huge part of what makes the book what it is.
Which brings me to the picture to the right (click to enlarge). It's the coolest thing I have in my house, excluding anything that breathes. It won it on eBay several weeks ago and it finally came last week. I was so excited. I ran out and got a frame and hung it. Just as an indication of how excited I was, it made it up on the wall before the picture of my new baby daughter did (okay, there's more to it than that, but still).
It's an 8 1/2 by 11 inch preliminary sketch of Firestorm versus Typhoon and Multiplex. This drawing eventually became the first page of #12. I like it in this form because you can see more of the pencil marks and understand how each element was made. Not that that will bring my drawing abilities above those of an 11-year old, but it's still very interesting to study.
Now, if I had my proverbial druthers, I'd buy art directly from Jamal from his Serendipity Art gallery. Afterall, I have it on good authority that he's planning to use that money for a really good cause. The trouble is that I don't have hundreds of dollars of wiggle room in my budget. Have I mentioned the baby?
Anyways, it's great having Jamal on this book and even better that he interacts with fans on various message boards. If you're in New York, be sure to catch him at the New York Comic Con towards the end of the month. He plans to be there.
It was a lot of fun. There were a couple of hints about upcoming stories, discussion about the book in general and insight into other things happening with Jamal and Stuart. I'd like to make this a regular thing, even if it's just among fans. We have a great group of readers.
A big thanks to Comic Bloc, who hosted the chat and provided the transcript. The guys there work hard to run the best comics community on the web.
And look - she's already a fan!
Back in October, I met Geoff Johns when he came to Phoenix. He's a really nice guy and his energy is contagious. He was thrilled to learn that I started reading comics basically because of his run on The Flash. He thought it was really great that someone would pick up their first comic at the age of 31. As we talked about my degree of addiction, he asked me who my favorite character was. When I told him it was Firestorm, his demeanor changed right away to something like... guilt. I've suspected from then on that they were going to do something bad to Firestorm in Infinite Crisis. It was pretty funny, actually, particular since I had some assurances that the book was continuing on.
Tuesday night, the night before IC #4 came out, I bumped into Geoff again in the Comic Bloc chat room. Other members were talking to me about Firestorm and Geoff responded with a "poor Firestorm...". I told him that I knew he was up to no good. I even invited him to come to Sunday night's Firestorm chat to beg our forgiveness. He just laughed. Did I mention that I Geoff's a cool guy?
So, here we are. Poor Mick. I think a lot of us had a sense that he was on his way out, but he died like a true-life hero while saving others. It's even made clear in the Firestorm issue that Jason died, really. In a way, it's a complement for Jason to join the esteemed ranks of once-dead heroes. He still has one more to catch up to Ronnie, though. ;)
There's a lot of symbolism in the things Jason sees in the Firestorm issue that I still need to get my mind around. There was the process of educating Jason balanced on one hand with the "rehumanization" of Martin on the other. I think they're going to make a great team.
So, another great issue. I think Barrows great a great job on the art. In my book, he's welcome to come back if Jamal ever needs a break and/or moves on to other things.
Hopefully, we'll see you this Sunday for the chat!
First, we've all been dieing for Firestorm #21 and it's finally here this week, as confirmed by Diamond's shipping list. Be sure to read Infinite Crisis #4 first. And be afraid for Jason and Mick. Very afraid! Here's a mischievous little quote from Stuart's email newsletter about this issue:
That aside...this is the big one. It brings together a lot of themes from my run on the book, and is probably the most ambitious issue I've written to date. If you like cosmic action, subatomic physics, superheroes, surrealism, or Professor Martin Stein, I humbly suggest you give it a try.
Oh, and you Ron Raymond fans might want to check it out, too.
With this release comes our first Firestorm chat! Stuart and Jamal have agreed to a chat this Sunday night starting at 7 pm eastern, 4 pm west coast over on Comic Bloc. It should be lots of fun.
Today also marked the release of the solicitation for #24 It looks like Stuart is bringing in a lot of the best characters from the past while moving the story forward.
Finally, if you dug Dan Jolley's book Bloodhound, ask your retailer to order Sawed Off Mojo. It's solicited now and will be in stores in March.
While inserting these references, I put in some time this weekend for a much-needed revamp of the the Issues page. As I mentioned elsewhere, just putting in the book's new title as of #23, "Firestorm: The Nuclear Man", blew up the page so it had to be recoded sooner or later. Probably the most interesting change is that I included pop-up links to see Firestorm cover art in detail, all of which were derived from the original digital art and not scans. Mrs. Clear thinks there's a little too much white now, but I did that to make things easier to read. Let me know what you think.
Finally, for Ronnie fans, I found a very cool animated-style custom Ronnie figure while I was looking for covers. I really like what Bill did.
DC's site still shows that Firestorm #21 is shipping this week but it isn't due to a delay in Infinite Crisis #4, which it follows. I imagine most of you know this, but I wanted to get the word out in case. Stuart Moore says that he'll let us know the new date as soon as he finds out. DC shows IC #4 coming out on the 18th, so that may be the date. The good news in this is that there will probably be very little time between #21 and #22.
I hope you caught Infinite Crisis #3 for its Firestorm happenings. It was only about two panels, but Stein showed up in the form of the fire elemental that we know and love and offered his assistance. For the occasion, I've updated the Firestorm/IC FAQ. The story should really get interesting in #4 where something pretty bad happens to the group.
Jamal recently gave an interview at Newsarama in which he talks about Jason's new look. If nothing else, it'll give you a new appreciation for how much thought goes into each detail.
Finally, I've been meaning to point out this essay on Firestorm which points out several of the title's strengths that are often lost on people. He also comments on how he's been using the book to help an at-risk teen that he mentors. Pretty cool.
Jamal posted a page of interior art giving away Firestorm's new look. I think it's stunning - puffy sleeves and all. That is one very cool design.
Finally, the solicitations also revealed that Stuart is working on an arc of JSA: Classified about Vandal Savage. I haven't picked up the series yet but I'll be there for this one. The premise sounds really interesting.
Need your Stuart Moore fix? He wrote the lead story to X-Men Unlimited #12, also out today. The premise grabbed me - Wolverine laying in the snow for the whole story coping with the pain as his body recovers from severe damage. I certainly liked it.
Finally, a big congratulations is in order for Dan Jolley. He just announced his recent marraige to Marie Croall. They're both very cool people.
Remember, Stuart's backup story in Legion of Super Heroes #12 comes out this week. Check'er out.
On the downer side of the news, Infinite Crisis #4 has been pushed back to January 25th. Firestorm #21 needs tp follow IC #4, so it will likely be pushed back, too. This also means that the Firestorm chat will likely be in early February or so. If there's a silver lining here, it's that there's a possibility that #21 and #22 could come out a week or two apart from one another. And, hey, #20 is just over two weeks away. I'm feeling better already.
I hope all of you in the US has a good Thanksgiving Day. I took the chance to do some shopping and picked up some older Firestorm stories from the Justice League and JSA. No, I'm not a fan. Why do you ask?
It looks like the plan is to squeeze #21 and #22 in between Infinite Crisis #4 and #5. Stuart's hints that a big change would come before the One Year Later jump make more sense now. The big question is the identity of the new partner and, hey, didn't Jason already leave for space with a partner? The Alvin reference came from left field, too. At least, I assume that they're talking about Alvin.
In the same month, there is Infinite Crisis #5, in which Jason's new costume debuts according to Jamal. The Rann/Thanagar Special also features Donna Troy's team, so Firestorm may also be there unless it's in the brief period of time before he "rejoins" the group.
Again, since many people picking up Infinite Crisis aren't familiar with Firestorm and might not know why there's a disembodied head floating over his shoulder, I thought it was appropriate to put together a new Infinite Crisis FAQ for Firestorm. Yes, I borrowed some content from the Villains United cross-over FAQ. Unlike that appearance, this one will span multiple issues so I'll keep it updated as the series goes. So far, I can only guess what questions might come up based on the wonderful three-page preview on Newsarama.
I'll also confess that I skimped on some details this time around because many of the answers are available in the recent (and fantastic) Firestorm #19.
Over on his blog, Keith Champagne spills the news that he'll be the new inker on Firestorm. That's very cool - I've enjoyed his work elsewhere such as JSA. He even had a hand in the last issue of Firestorm.
Of course, this means we're losing Rob Stull. Rob's been doing great work since #8, which makes him one of the old-timers. Thanks for all the hard work, Rob!
I'm updating other pages with the new stuff from #19, yadda, yadda.
It's a fun comic and it includes much of the cast and a lot of good character moments. I wondered how we would have time for Mick, Martin, Gehenna and Donna and still have a coherent story, but it came together very well. I can't recommend this issue enough.
Since I don't read every DC book, I'll need you to be my eyes on ears. Please let me know if you spot a reference that I haven't included.
Remember, folks, Firestorm #19 is out tomorrow.
And let me tell you, his story is extremely complex. I wouldn't mind some fact-checking by some of you long-time fans. Still, I'll also add that Martin was one of the truly unique aspects of Firestorm from the beginning. There just aren't many characters his age that play such a central role in comics. If he doesn't show soon, I do hope we get to see him at some point. You'll notice that he's on the cover to #21.
Speaking of #21, Stuart has confirmed that the announced January 4th date is incorrect. It will be released on the 11th, which is the same day as Infinite Crisis #4. Based on a suggestion from nightwing1982, we're working on organizing a Firestorm chat with Stuart and Jamal on Comic Bloc right after that issue is out, so create an account there if you haven't already. It's a great community.
The issue wasn't much like I expected at all - in a good way. I knew an OMAC would show up and I basically knew how Jason would deal with it, but everything else was a surprise. I never would have guessed that a couple of those minor threads from previous issues would be revisited, well, ever. The clever moments came fast and furious, from tiny (no pun intended) jokes like the name 'Nanette' to more intricate ones like Jason's long speech to the S.T.A.R. labs receptionist. I've found that you have to pay attention to every little detail because you don't know when they'll resurface. It's pretty clear, though, that this issue closed another chapter in Jason's life. I'm anxious to see what happens as Crisis gets rolling in the next issue. Just wait 'til you see the cover to #21! It will be seen in the solicitations this coming Monday.
Newsarama carried a new interview with Stuart this week talking about the present and future of the character. Most definately worth the read as there are hints about things to come such as a girlfriend, a possible appearance of Martin Stein soon, more Gehenna, and wider recognition of Jason among the hero community. Very exciting.
Stuart Moore has posted an update of some of his upcoming projects, including brief flirtations with Wolverine and the Legion of Super Heroes. For you lucky buggers who live around New York City, Stuart and Jamal will be part of a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe this Wednesday. Details here.
And, finally, someone finally went and made caffeinated soap. Not Firestorm related, I know, but that may be my new favorite thing to talk about for a while.
In the meantime, you'll catch a little Firestorm cameo in JLA #119. While it didn't amount to much in that issue, the possible consequences are pretty interesting.
What's with all the hostility between Firestorms and Thanagarians, anyways?
This issue takes place "during or after [Infinite Crisis] #2", meaning it probably takes place entirely in space. After this issue, we launch into a pair of issues that Stuart has said involves some major changes for Firestorm. Jamal is doing the covers of #21 and #22, and they've both said that the cover to #21 will cause quite a stir. Stay tuned.
In other Firestorm news, John Ostrander gave a really good interview recently in which he touches very briefly on the whys and wherefores of his time as Firestorm's writer.
As with VILLAINS UNITED, there are a couple of FIRESTORM characters thrown into the mix who are crucial to defeating the OMAC.Hmmmmm. I think there's a fairly big twist coming in this one.
His other comments also seem to confirm my suspicions that a little transmutation is the cure to what ails ya, particularly if you're an OMAC.
Also of note is that the art here is done by Pat Oliffe and Simon Coleby. Jamal and Rob are still credited on the solicitation, so I don't know if they're sharing duties or not. I also just noticed, much to my disappointment, that the issue is now coming out a week later than was originally announced.
If you followed Jason from VU wanting to see a unique knock-down, drag-out battle of superbeings, you probably didn't find it here. Otherwise, there was plenty to enjoy. The issue put Jason's personality on display, introduced an interesting new character, dropped more hints about Firestorm's nature, and brought in a character who is very important to the Firestorm mythos. Not only did it touch on VU, but there was an interesting and unexpected visit to a corner of space where the Rann-Thanagar war is taking place, allowing Stuart to flex his considerable SciFi muscles. In short, there were a lot of interesting things going on, and plenty of fuel for speculation. So much, in fact, that I've started a commentary on the issue just like I did on early issues. Give me a few days. I wrote a dozen paragraphs tonight on the first three page alone. I also have plenty of other work to do with a summary, a bio for Gehenna as well.
The best news of all, though, is that the next issue is only three weeks away!
Stuart Moore: Sooner than you think.
This exchange on the DC message boards, among other things, caused me to do a little research on the whereabouts of Martin Stein. Martin, for those of you who may not know, is currently the spacefaring Elemental Firestorm. Martin was an original component of the Firestorm and a critical part of the old series. Stuart has also stated openly that Martin will at least appear in this series. While I will be creating a biography page for Martin in the (hopefully near) future, for now I'll refer you one of these excellent sites: The Nuclear Fan and DCU Guide.
So, without further ado, click here to see what Martin's been up to lately.
I was sick this weekend so I had some extra time to read some issues of the old series, around the time of Ronnie's graduation. Those were fun issues. Interesting subplots with Ronnie and Martin's personal lives, some interesting villains (plus some really goofy ones), some more insight into Firehawk's character, and a lot of discoveries about Firestorm's powers that will help me understand what's what. One of the things that left me scratching my head a little was how everyone didn't know Firestorm's identity. Ronnie and Martin would discuss their powers right next to other people in restaurants, the Weasel seemingly learned their identity before going to jail, Ronnie changed into Firestorm in front of the school with people standing around and on and on.
I was also happy to find another Olsen (my last name) in the DCU. Wendy Olsen is a brilliant research scientist with cerebral palsy at Vandermeer University. Think Stephen Hawkings without the Y chromosome. According to the letter columns, there's no relation to Jimmy Olsen or his parents. Including Mrs. Olsen, Hal Jordan's childhood school teacher, that makes five DCU Olsens that I know of.
Finally, a brief word about Hurricane Katrina. I'm just dismayed by the devastation and suffering it's caused. My family is going to try to dig a little deeper than usual to help people out of this. Please consider pitching in, too. Our help is badly needed.
There are a few things that are emphasized in both interviews. One is that any of the next several issues would make a great jumping-on point. That's a good thing to highlight since several people will be looking at a Firestorm book for the first time with the upcoming crossovers. He also emphasizes that you don't need to read anything other than Firestorm to understand what's happening. Another reoccurring theme lately has been Stuart's glee that nobody has publicly guessed what big things are about to happen in the book. That sounds like a challenge to me!
A week after the Firestorm issue, Infinite Crisis #2 comes out. It mentions an appearance by Firestorm, so presumably he's in space for this issue.
But, in the spirit of stopping to smell the roses, that's a great cover. It's been posted on other comic message boards and people are gah-gah over it. Kudos to Matt Haley. Speaking of Matt, his GI Spy series is finally getting its start this week.
For this occasion, I've created a little FAQ for people who are seeing Jason for the first time in this series and may want to know more. I've also done a lot of updating and housecleaning. I found lots of embarassing errors, too. You guys are supposed to let me know about that stuff!
Anyways, thanks DC and thanks for the love, Gail! I'm very excited to get my mitts on this issue.
August marks an important time for Firestorm because we'll see his first major appearance in the DCU with Villains United #4. For the occasion, I'll be working on a Firestorm primer for people who are reading the miniseries but who aren't familiar with the character. I'll also see if I can pull together some of the glimpses we've had of the future. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a huge draw of this book is the unpredictability. I think we'll see some major changes over the next few months.
Another tidbit to come out of DC Panel was that Firestorm was to play "an important role" in Villains United. So says Bob Wayne, the VP of sales at DC. Stuart Moore, on the DC boards, confirmed that this would launch from the ending of #16, so I believe that that clinches Jason's role as the powerful hero that the Secret Six need to rescue, as mentioned in the solicitation for Villains United #4. Keep in mind that VU is the most popular DC miniseries today, so that's some serious attention. I'm very excited.
Today, officially, the solicitation for #18 was published to the internet. If the cover doesn't make it clear enough, OMAC is going to be causing trouble for Jason, and it sounds like Jason is going to be ill-equipped to resist.
It's a good time to be a Firestorm fan.
Stuart Moore, in addition to talking up Firestorm's future (more on that tomorrow), has some other projects in the pipeline. He's done a graphic novel called "Will Star! Space Pilot!" for AiT/PlanetLar. He also wrote a story for Western Tales Of Terror #4 for Hoarse & Buggy Productions. Stuart described a number of his other projects towards the end of this SBC interview not too long ago.
Dan Jolley is teaming up with fellow Studio Phoenix members to launch a line of creator-owned comics under the name Voicebox. Dan's project will be a comic called Sawed-Off Mojo. Read Dan's interview on the site and see some preview pages there. Fans of his Bloodhound should like this. I became a convert of that title, so I'll be checking it out.
John Ostrander has been doing some awesome stuff with Star Wars for a while. At San Diego, Dark Horse announced a one-shot by Ostrander called Purge, which tells the story of a pocket of surviving Jedi that have an unfortunate encounter with the freshly minted Darth Vader. John's ongoing title has not been announced, but it's suspected he'll be writing a series about the events after Episode III.
For those of you in the US, have a happy 4th! It was a pretty remarkable thing the founding fathers did all those years ago. A democractic republic was a big gamble and they knew it. We're not what we used to be but, all in all, the results have been pretty amazing. Enjoy the day and think about all those who can still only dream about the freedoms we have.
We need some more bodies playing the Firestorm trivia game. Pop in and dazzle us with your knowledge of all things Firestorm.
I find myself oddly intrigued by this Gehenna character. After reading about the place of that name, I assumed it had to a villain. Not so. By all appearances, she's the supporting character that Stuart has hinted at over on the DC message boards.
Coming aboard is Paul Mounts. I learned a little about him just looking around the web. He's probably best known for his work at Marvel, on such titles as The Ultimates, Fantastic Four and Wolverine. He's also worked on a lot of well-received independent projects with top artists and writers. The Fourth Rail chose him as best comics colorist of 2002. Here's a good interview with Paul about his take on the art. More recently, he did the colors for Superman: Red Son, which was a great series.
So, welcome aboard, Paul! Drop me an e-note if you get a chance.
In the meantime, it looks like I have lots of updating to do.
First, I'll say that when I'm wrong, I'm wrong. No sign of Ronnie. I'll take some consolation in the fact that nobody believed me anyways. Looks like we've moved on to teasing about another Firestorm character, though. :)
I'll just share some quick thoughts on the issue. Spoilers ahead.
As advertised, it had the feeling of a season opener. Much like the change that took place with issue #8, there's a new tone here and Jason has a new outlook on life. Thankfully, it's a very natural progression from the past. There was a higher dose of humor which was natural given the circumstances. Most of it worked but a couple of jokes fell a little flat. I'll also have to admit I'm one of those who had to re-read the opening action sequence to get it. I found it funny that Stuart couldn't resist using a supercollider in the story. He knows a little something about them. I've been curious about the Pionic Man, so it was interesting to learn that he might not be the real villain here.
It was a pretty dense issue. Most of it was setup. New relationship with Alvin. Sharing a new apartment with the lead singer from Hoobastank (sorry, couldn't resist) who's wearing a really cool t-shirt. New job in an interesting environment. It's a good launchpad for more stories. Let's have'em!
Five more weeks. Ugh.
In the meantime, Stuart Moore has been setting a few things up. First, he has a new mailing list which he describes as follows:
I keep forgetting to post this here: I have an e-mail list that I use to keep people informed of my upcoming projects. On average, I send one out once a month, but sometimes it's more frequent (like now, when my FIRESTORM is about to start) and sometimes less. Occasionally I'll throw in some exclusive art I've gotten that hasn't appeared anywhere else. In weeks to come, I should have news about FIRESTORM, my new Tokyopop project, and more.
If you'd like to be added to the list, send an e-mail to email@example.com
The other thing he's done is distributed black and white advance copies of #14 to various, prominent bloggers. A thread containing a link to all the reviews is here. I started to read them but two of the first three contained too many spoilers for me. It's tough having a thread on the boards that I have to steer clear of, but I like this method of gaining a wider audience for the title. From the little I did see, I'm beginning to suspect that my theory about Ronnie's return in this issue is mostly bunk, but we'll see.
The solicitation for Villains United #4 really grabbed me, too. Knowing that Jason was scheduled to make an appearance in that book, I've been watching its solicitations for hints of how he'll be involved. The solicitation has this to say about the issue: "The renegade Six, the criminals who have refused to join the ever-increasing ranks of the villainous Society, are given an unlikely and potentially deadly mission: rescue one of the DCU's most powerful heroes!"
Now, that could refer to any of several heroes, but consider this:
- We know from Countdown that the Society is considering using Jason to create Kryptonite to deal with Superman.
- Presumably, the Society is going to get their hands on these means before they confront Superman.
- We know from Stuart's comments that Jason is in Villains United. He leads a pretty insulated life right now and is part of no team, so trouble generally finds him. The kind of trouble that is known to be looking for him that the Six would want to undermine would be the Society. It all holds together well.
- The timing is right. The Firestorm issue that comes out the first week of the month ends with Jason being thrust into the VU plot. The following week, this VU issue comes out. In September, Firestorm's issue contains the VU crossover.
- The language of the solicitation leads me to believe they're not dealing with Superman or someone of that stature. They would probably come out and say so if that were the case. Instead, they've accurately described Jason as one of the most powerful heroes. I think the identity of the hero will be a big surprise to many, and that's what a successful solicitation does.
This sort of thing helps get me excited about the book. I've decided to let others worry about whether Ronnie will be around or not. I buy comics for entertainment, and I'm already intrigued enough to know that these stories are going to entertain. Part of the beauty of this title is also that I don't know where things will stand at the end of any given issue or storyline. Off the top of my head, I can't say that of any other book I'm reading.
It also seems pretty apparent that the issues will be really dense. There is a *lot* of stuff going on.
Spoilers for #13 ahead:
This issue featured the dissappearance of Ronnie. That's okay, though, we knew it was coming and it's likely temporary. To some, that's all that happened in this issue, but there was quite a bit more. We got to peer into Cliff's sick mind. We were taught about the obligations of being a hero once more from someone who really knows. Perhaps most importantly, we saw Jason pointed squarely in the right direction. He is now on the cusp of becoming a hero.
The issue really had a great feel as the end of a chapter in Jason's life and I'm anxious to see how the new chapter begins. Now that there's a new status quo of sorts, I can safely update several of the information pages. Look for little changes here and there over the next few weeks.
Of course, if tomorrow's issue really stinks, I'll have to take it all back.
John sometimes shows up on the Dark Horse message boards. I asked him to make sure Dan Jolley gets his Firestorm alumni packet soon. Please don't go there to harrass John about elementals or Russians. :)
The estimable ChrisCross kindly informed me that the cover credits on the issues page needed some tweaking. Again, I sleep better at night knowing that the site is that much more accurate when people correct me. Keep'em coming.
Mostly out of habit, I still check eBay for Firestorm auctions. Today, I found an auction for a piece of Firestorm art that caught my eye:
I love cute. I'm all about cute. But it just seems a little odd for a commission. "Hey, could you draw Ronnie Raymond Firestorm but, you know, make him a toddler? And instead of a potty training seat could he be sitting on an atom? That would be awesome!"
Oops, I stand corrected. Apparently, that's something the artist, Jim Coon, does often. Here's a gallery of the kidified characters he calls BABY-DOLLZ. If that's your thing, now you know where to find it.
Last week, I wrote a little article on the use of Ronnie's during Stuart's run. Nothing definite, but I think we've seen enough hints that Ronnie fans will continue to see their favorite character in the book.
Oh, and there's a refreshing lack of character x vs character y debate.
In other news, I'm one of those dolts that I like to make fun of now and then. I kind of already knew that, but I recently found lots of evidence. I've been spelling villain 'villian' all over the place and, well, probably since forever. A vigilant spelling vigilante let me know about that, so thanks. Please drop me a note if you see problems. I'll probably even pull that particular mistake again just to see if you're paying attention. ;)
For those (like me) who have been interested in getting their hands on some Firestorm art, Jamal Igle announced today that he'll be selling artwork and doing custom art work through Serendipity Art Sales starting in May. Sounds like a good use for some of those tax refund dollars.
On to the next four week wait! I'll be updating things here and there, as usual.
Stuart Moore is up to no good again on the DC boards, artfully dodging direct questions about, among other things, whether or not Martin Stein will show up at some point. He also reveals that Firestorm will play a role in the upcoming villains United mini-series, as opposed to just being affected by it.
Matt Haley, the series cover artist, has posted a large version of the cover to #14. It's a great image and the costume tweaks seem to be well-received. Thanks to thenuclearman for pointing out that the image was there.
Some preview copies of Dan Jolley's HELL, Michigan have gone out to comic stores. I'm not a big fan of the horror genre (although I'm betting it's a lot of fun to write) but the setup is intriguing. If you'd like more series information, go to Funnel Cloud 9's website. I love that company name. If you register on their boards and tell'em Clear sent you, I could even win a nifty prize. Dan also just announced a new gig with Chaos! Comics, with details to follow.
Finally, I was able to plunge into a bunch of old Firestorm issues while I was sick this weekend. There's a lot to like about them. Check'em out if you haven't already.
From Firestorm #9: Jason faces Killer Frost
Pencils: Jamal Igle
Inks: Rob Stull
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
From Firestorm #11: The History of Ronnie Raymond
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
I love both of these. I didn't resize them to any particular dimensions. I'll leave that up to you. If you're using Windows, click on the small image to launch a bigger one in a new window. You should be able to right-click on the larger image and choose "set as background" or "set as wallpaper" and tell it to stretch to fit the screen.
I asked for permission to offer these images and got a semi-official "we don't know". I decided to go for it since it's pretty common fan site practice and I have no intent other than to promote the title. If DC asks me to take them down, I will. In other words, you might consider downloading these sooner rather than later.
Naturally, some were concerned with the lack of mention of Ronnie, but Stuart had already promised not to talk about his fate. He repeats his standard line to Ronnie fans: try #14 and you'll know whether you'll like where it's going. Some remain irritated that he's "teasing" fans, but is that really a tease at all? Isn't his meaning pretty obvious? Consider: if Ronnie were not in the issue 1) Stuart would be setting fans against him by implying that he might be there and 2) the statement would make no sense otherwise. If Ronnie is not in that particular issue, how would he expect that issue to tell the reader what happened to Ronnie one way or the other?
I've been making a few updates here and there, including biographies for Multiplex and The Thinker. Look for a Typhoon profile soon.
By the way, Jamal Igle has created a mini-site that features some of his recent work. If you've been wondering what else he's done, have a look here. There's a lot of great work there.
Dale Eaglesham pitches in with the art for this issue and does a great job. If you like his art, look for him on the upcoming villains United miniseries with Gail Simone. Once again, colorist Chris Sotomayor steals some of the panels with his great work.
Looks like I have some pages to update. Keep an eye out.
I asked cover artist Matt Haley who the person on the cover was and he didn't know. He simply received some reference material. The look apparently came from Jamal Igle. Many are speculating that it's an update to the Thinker, who seems a likely candidate for the "mysterious villain" that's behind the plot against Firestorm.
Stuart Moore has been taking questions on this DC message board thread. If you want a few glimpses of what's coming up, that's a great place to start. He's a brave soul.
Don't forget what tomorrow is: DC's May solicitations. Oh yeah, and that other holiday with the hearts and stuff. :)
In other news, just in case you're not seeing enough Firestorm in your daily life a guy on eBay has made a Firestorm (Jason Rusch) switch plate from the last page of #1. It looks like it's well done. See the auction here. Too bad my house uses rockers. :)
Politics aside, there are thousands of military men and women serving there under very tough conditions. They want to get the job done and come home. In the meantime, comics have proven to be a very popular item with the troops. They're perfect for a setting where entertainment needs to be quickly digested and shared and where there are no televisions to be found. Think about how appropriate Firestorm is to a group of people who represent the most powerful force on earth but are young and often come from troubled backgrounds. They have a legacy to live up to whether they want to or not. They stand out, both to those who would do them harm and to those whom they serve. I think Jason Rusch's story will resonate strongly with some of them.
So, I'm going to choose a unit through Any Soldier to send these to. And, who knows, having the books passed around can't hurt interest levels, either. Everybody wins. Think about doing something similar if you get the chance.
Don't forget, Firestorm #10 comes out tomorrow!
See the interview here. It talks a little about Stuart's background and interests. In it, he also reveals some of his plans for the book, which are quite interesting.
If Stuart Moore is a new name to you, be sure to check out my little article on him and why I think he's a great choice for the book.
In other news, Jamal Igle has verified that the new, as-yet-unnamed writer has been selected. Based on the schedule as I understand it, he or she is probably writing already.
Finally, Tilman Goins of Funnel Cloud 9 (love that name!) sent me some information about Dan Jolley's upcoming project, Hell, Michigan. Go check'er out. Since there's some interest in the project from Hollywood, plan to be onboard early so you can impress your friends and neighbors. For a little more information, look at Dan's interview on The Pulse. Interestingly, the interview also covers wrap-up plans for his run of Bloodhound and Firestorm (plans for both Jason and Ronnie), as well as hints of future projects with one possibly coming out of DC. Good stuff.
Tonight seems like a pretty good opportunity to drop some more news on you, in light of the announcement of Bloodhound's cancellation earlier today.
What do you get when you combine a number of new projects for me, one of which is immense in scope and totally beyond anything I've done before, with DC's plans to "re-think" one of their titles?
My farewell. Issue #13 will be my last one of Firestorm.
I'm leaving at a really good place, though. "Learning Curve," the arc that just started, will be wrapped up with a great big bow, and I'm very pleased with what DC and I were able to accomplish. I'll miss the book -- I had some things coming up that I was tremendously excited about -- but I have total faith in Steve Wacker to shepherd this title along and make sure it's great.
I'll be talking at length about my new projects pretty soon (as soon as a couple of them are cleared for discussion, that is), but you can get a little glimpse of one of them at www.fc9.net. It's a book called "Hell, Michigan," and I'm having a blast with it.
So, it's finally official. I can't say I'm happy about it. I came for the art and shiny #1 stamp on the cover, but stayed for Dan's writing. He's wildly enthusiastic about his next project at least, so I'm happy for him.
My New Year's resolution? Don't take it out on the new guy. :)
I also received an email from Anthony Otero, who has created his own Firestorm Site. Check it out! He's collected some nice images.
Don't forget, #9 comes out tomorrow. I know that high expectation never did anything for anyone when it comes to entertainment, but I'm pretty excited about getting my mitts on this one.
I hope you were able to enjoy your holidays. I learned a lot about train sets and got to spend some nice time with family. I also can't help but mention that I was moved by the tragedy in the Indian Ocean and hope we can all find ways to pitch in. In a world without superheroes, you and I will have to do.
Nice to know that nothing new and different can flourish in some of the fans eyes, or in the industry at large.
Wait, did i say 15? I meant 13.
Shortly after that, All The Rage posted a similar rumor which fueled some speculation on the DC boards:
Itís not entirely clear which of these rumors will pan out, but since both mention issue 13, it seems likely that issue will be either a "new direction" or "the end."
Just when it seemed bleak, Jamal Igle had this to say:
Finally, Dan Jolley chimed in (registration required):
Okay, I can tell you with complete confidence that Firestorm is NOT getting cancelled.
I can also tell you that there are Big Things in the works -- even bigger than I've hinted at in the past -- and that you're going to love what's coming up in the story. I mean, LOVE. It's going to make you giddy like a little schoolgirl.
And when I can get more specific as to upcoming events, I will.
When asked directly if he was off the book, Dan followed up with this:
So, the book appears to be safe (phewww), but it looks like some big change is a comin'.
Well, Chris is the man. He came through and you can see that I've changed some of the images. The digital ones are so much more vibrant. I think it improves the look a lot. Let me know what you think. I restructured the header, too, so let me know if you have problems on your browser. I'm particularly nervous about Safari on the Mac.
By the way, colorists are generally underappreciated, but Chris's contributions to this title are remarkable. The fire and light effects, the blurs, the skin tones, it's all him. I went through every issue last night and fell in love with the book all over again. Much of that has to do with the great artwork. Chris is the one person that's worked on every issue's art so far, so hat's off to Soto!
Doesn't this just look like a love letter from Dan Jolley to the long-time fans? Ronnie Raymond's return is clearly more than an imaginary event. You also have two classic villains. I've read a few Multiplex issues and I put him up there with Mindboggler on the goofy scale. Typhoon, I know less about. I'm interested to see what Dan does with them.
Anyways, when they show up, I'll have a lot of reading to do. We'll be seeing at least a little bit of Ronnie in the next few months, so it's good to have a little more information. I've already posted a bio of Ronnie, but it's just enough to fill in people new to the series and far from being a complete overview of his life so far. If things go as planned, bios on Killer Frost and Firehawk will follow soon.
Also, for you Ronnie Raymond fans out there, there's a new figure in stores today. It's really pretty nice.
If you're a regular DC message board user, I also created a page on how to improve the looks of the boards using the magic of user style sheets. It's a dark art, but you'll find it explained here.
On another note, I got a peek at an advanced copy of #7, coming out this week, and it is fantastic. This one has a very action-oriented vibe. I can't wait to read the conclusion in Bloodhound.
See it here.
The good news is that our extra patience has paid off. We had to wait an extra couple of weeks for #6, but that means #7 will come more quickly. We get a double dose in November, with Firestorm playing a central role in both Firestorm and Bloodhound.
I understand some of the concerns and spot a thing here or there that I'd prefer to be a little different, but man does that perfectly convey power and its just a very, very cool and novel design. Chris now has the rights to it, but I hope there's a chance to use it some day. Maybe it's Firestorm when merged with Martin Stein or some other powerful character. Maybe it's a more mature Jason or even a Kingdom Come Firestorm. Who knows?
If you'd like to catch up with ChrisCross or get involved in the discussion about this design (plus see concept number one), visit the ChrisCross message board that the folks at comiXtreme set up for him.
Dan Jolley's Interview
Liam Sharp's Interview
Fall 2002 - DC announces plans to do a Firestorm mini-series.
February 27, 2003 - CBR Interview with Mike Carey
Mike Carey was slated to write this series and reveals here his feelings on what the book should be. As you can tell, DC went with a radically different vision than the one Carey had.
May 14, 2003 - Mike Carey pulled from Firestorm
After an editorial shakeup, with Firestorm's proposed editor Dan Raspler leaving DC, Carey was pulled from the project and it was put on hold by Peter Tomasi.
Summer 2003 - DC acknowledges that editor Peter Tomasi has an ongoing Firestorm project in the works.
September 25, 2003 - New series, helmed by Dan Jolley and ChrisCross, announced
Finally, it was clear that the series was a go. At the same time, the news that Ronnie would be replaced was released. Some still haven't recovered. :)
February 9, 2004 - Newsarama interview with Dan Jolley
Some of the first complete details of the new direction and some reasons behind the change.
March 17, 2004 - CBR Interview with Dan Jolley
Excellent summary of Jolley's take on the book. Dan says he has about three years of stories in his head already.
May(?) 2004 - UGO Interview with Dan Jolley
Some more details on the editorial process that led to the change, plus some insights on Dan's take on abuse.
July 14, 2004 - Broken Frontier Interview with Dan Jolley Short and sweet, but Jolley implicitly reveals that Martin Stein (one of the original two people fused to create Firestorm) will not appear any time soon.
July 9, 2004 - Newsarama interview with Jamal Igle Recently announced as the new series artist, Jamal Igle talks about his upcoming work. Also includes some quotes from Tomasi on the market's reaction to the book.
July 11, 2004 - ChrisCross explains his departure from the book While he surely has some legitimate gripes, Cross does not help his reputation here.
July 18, 2004 - ChrisCross apologizes Cross offers a course in outstanding apologies.
August 4, 2004 - Dan Jolley drops Ronnie hints Perhaps feeling giddy with the power of having a brand new message board, Dan states that a big reveal will take place in #6, but a true resolution will come later. He also implies that he thinks Ronnie fans will be happy, but can't guarantee that.