Todd McFarlane’s original anti-hero has cause to celebrate twice over. Firstly, SPAWN is the longest-running current independent comic book. Secondly, the series hit the 250-mark in January. Regardless of hiccups, shake-ups, lawsuits, and overhauls, that’s an impressive feat!! Mr. McFarlane could not be a prouder papa!! Suffice to say the character’s longevity can be attributed to an animated series, a toy line, and a large fan base. The momentous issue had fifty-nine pages of original content and six covers by Todd, longtime collaborator and mega-star Greg Capullo, Skottie Young, Jock, Sean Murphy, and Philip Tan. It’s important to note this is one of the very first Image titles launched in conjunction with the other six founders’ projects.
4. Crossed wires
Inter-company crossovers are not a new phenomenon. However, they haven’t been as frequent as they were in the heyday of decades past. Disputes over characters’ copyright and usage put kinks in the plans. The most exploitative one was the completely consumer-oriented DC vs. Marvel / Marvel vs. DC in 1995-1996. Since then, there have been various eye-raising pairing between several indie publishers as well as the major ones. Clap your hands to IDW Publishing and DC Comics for bringing back this over-the-top yet so much better team-ups!! There are two collaborations from both: STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN featuring the current cast from the relaunched motion pictures as well as all the Color Corps and BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES wherein the Half-Shell Heroes find themselves on the Cowled Crusader’s turf! DC itself has taken its BATMAN ’66 property and placed him in the TV world of The MAN from U.N.C.L.E. The former was a six-part mini that launched in July and recently wrapped up. The former both had the first issues see light this month.
3. Maintaining an Image
Image is bar-none the number one indie publisher. In terms of actual sales and market share, they are third. That matters not. The appeal to Image is that it acknowledges and honors all creators that jump on board. Whatever comes out of their brains belongs entirely to them. Zero editorial interference. No danger of legal action. Do your own thing and it amazingly well. Superstars Scott Snyder, Rick Remender, and Kelly Sue DeConnick are firmly planted but Brian K. Vaughn, Grant Morrison, and Marjorie Liu have hopped on board among many others. Over two-dozen new books emerged this year alone.
2. Hip and unsquared
Controversy is king, much like cash. Why not combine them and wait for results?? Marvel Comics stirred the pot too forcefully earlier this year when its latest themed variants initiative was announced. Hip hop is a complex musical genre and sub-cultural movement that extends past its African-American roots but ignorance and/or supplanting will not do them any favours. MC’S EIC Axel Alonso took major flak and had to plead self-defence in July when these upcoming covers were announced. Long story short, he claimed that he and most staff at Marvel have always appreciated and embraced hip-hop culture. It goes far beyond gimmicky. Interpret that how you will: “This variant program is an opportunity to show not only my love for hip-hop culture, but also the love of so many in Marvel’s freelance community. Hip-hop inspires a lot of us. It is the musical score for a lot of our lives. This comes from a place of love.” Participate in a forum if you want to input your opinion.
1. LGBTQ+is the new alphabet
XY DC, LGTQ…Wait a minute!! That ain’t the right order! Who cares?? This is the new reality!! Go with the flow already! Major strides were made this year alone especially from the Number Two Company in the industry: DC Comics!!! This has nothing to do with status quo nor luring the masses. It is about natural inclusion and rich characterization. DC takes the cake for the most prevalent individuals found in their works. Granted, the ‘trend’ had a soft start in the mid-80’s with indies or B/C/D-list characters at Marvel as well as DC. The zeitgeist definitely has something to do with this. The legalization of gay marriage in the entire USA on June 26th perfectly synchronized with the goings-on of the DCU. Other companies have leagues of their own including BOOM!, Image, Northwest Press, and more obscure ones like So Super Duper Comics. Brian Michael Bendis put X-Men fans in a tizzy when Iceman was teased at being bisexual but confirmed to be gay within a six-month span. Since the Big Two have a firm hold on the horizon, here are an extensive list: http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/celebrate-pride-month-with-this-list-of-63-lgbt-marveldc-characters