Comicscape: America's Got Powers/Super Crooks - Mania.com



Comicscape: America's Got Powers/Super Crooks

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Comicscape: America's Got Powers/Super Crooks

A Scot and a Brit tackle the good 'ole American funny book

By Joel Rickenbach     April 18, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Not every column will be me gushing over some life re-affirming new hotness. Sometimes I will just pick a few new books that I think are worth discussing. There is a plethora of new series' hitting the stands this spring, and I hope I can help steer you in the direction of a few of them. This week's little theme is writers from the UK whose books deal with America as a central part of their story. Next week's theme is American writers whose books have absolutely nothing to do with the UK whatsoever. We're terrible at reciprocation.
 
 

Super Crooks by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu

 

Mark Millar has made a living out of creating buzz for his projects. He claimed Eminem was a lock to play Wesley Gibson in the Wanted movie. The Kick-Ass film was in production before the second issue hit the stands, and the rights to Nemesis were sold before anyone saw a single panel. The returns have been undoubtedly diminishing- Wanted wasn’t the blockbuster they thought it would be, Kick-Ass bombed and that Nemesis movie… any day now... Right? Now, those aren’t necessarily Millar’s fault, but one starts to wonder what will happen when you peel back all the layers of hype and hyperbole, are there good stories here? Before we tackle that question lets give Millar some credit- the guy is prolific. In the past year he released a sequel to Kick-Ass, the seven issue Superior, the forthcoming Jupiter’s Children and now he’s released two new series’ on the same bloody day- Secret Service with Dave Gibbons and Super Crooks with Leinil Yu. I hope to get you a review of Secret Service in the next week or so, but today it’s all about the Crooks of the super variety. Super Crooks hinges on an idea that you either buy, or you don’t. It's a very meta concept that posits the idea that there really aren’t any superheroes outside of the USA. As the book states- “Have you ever heard of Captain Spain?” You see, our band of lovable Super Crooks are sick of getting defeated time and again by the overwhelming amount of superheroes here in the states, and who, quite frankly, take their job way too seriously. So what’s a Super Crook to do? Head to Europe and rob it blind before the superheroes catch on. Millar is known to borrow a bit of an idea, a famous face or even a persona, and I’m not knocking him for that, this time he seems squarely influenced by Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11. Actually, it’s more like Ocean’s 11 and 12.  Hell, there’s even a part for Carl Reiner. Millar’s books are always high concept enough to pique your interest, and Super Crooks is no different. It’s fun, it’s breezy, Leinil Yu’s art is phenomenal, but how deep this book actually is remains to be seen. I dig that the book feels more like Casino than capes, and the scene in Vegas was definitely a highlight. I hope Millar really uses Spain to his full advantage in the rest of the series, there’s a vibe and a flavor to be had that we don’t see very often in comics. Millar has warranted me picking up the second issue, he’s piqued my interest enough, but whether he can make it as effortless as Clooney, Pitt and Cheadle is definitely another story.

 
 
America's Got Powers by Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch
 

 

 
A mysterious stone lands in San Francisco, and suddenly hundreds of children within a five mile radius are born with superpowers. No, it’s not Rising Stars. These kids are chosen to fight in a giant arena until there is only one left standing. The whole thing is engineered by a government that is not to be trusted, and the battles are televised to a public who are getting more and more desensitized by their lust for blood. Nope, it’s not The Hunger Games. It’s America’s Got Powers, and the new season is about to start. I apologize, I’m being disingenuous, I would usually bring out the comparison stick to admonish, but the fact is America’s Got Powers is rather fantastic. Yes, if you’ve read J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars the super powered origins of AGP will seem very familiar, and if you are a living breathing human being it is absolutely impossible not to think of the zeitgeist that is The Hunger Games at many points in this story, but AGP has mojo all it’s own thanks to writer Jonathan Ross and artist Bryan Hitch. If you’re not familiar with Ross, he wrote Turf for Image comics. If that doesn’t ring a bell, he’s one of the most popular and recognizable personalities in the history of the BBC, and is married to Jane Goldman, screenwriter of Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and The Woman in Black. "Wossy", as he's affectionately known in his home country, brings his expertise from the telly to great effect in AGP. The swooning public, the mindless banter of the hosts and the production crew milking every shot and camera angle. What's more impressive is Ross doesn't forget the heart. Tommy Watts is our "in" to this obsessed, televised world, and for a kid who's power rating is a stunning 0%, he quickly proves to us why his story is one worth following. Tommy does his part by working at the arena souvenir shop, or donning an exaggerated mascot costume to portray one of the crowd favorites. He keeps himself in the thick of the spectacle, and thankfully that means we are too. There are many facets to this story worth discussing, but I'll leave them for you to discover. It does need to be mentioned that Bryan Hitch is at the top of his game, and his style is perfectly suited for the material. This season's games promise to be the most brutal ever, and America is hanging on every moment. I for one would be just fine if Jonathan Ross kept picking up the pen and putting down the microphone.

What about all of you? Pick up anything new and interesting lately?

New Comic releases for 4/18/12

DC COMICS
BATMAN #6 2nd printing $2.99
BATMAN #8 Court of Owls $3.99
BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #3 $3.99
BATMAN ODYSSEY VOL 2 #7 (of 7) $3.99
BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT #5 2nd printing $2.99
BIRDS OF PREY #8 $2.99
BLACKEST NIGHT SPECIAL EDITION #1 $4.99
BLUE BEETLE #8 $2.99
CAPTAIN ATOM #8 $2.99
CATWOMAN #8 $2.99
DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #8 $2.99
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #8 $2.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #8 $3.99
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #8 $2.99
NIGHTWING #8 $2.99
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #8 $2.99
SUICIDE SQUAD #7 2nd printing $2.99
SUPERGIRL #8 $2.99
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS VOL 2 #6 (of 6) () $3.99
WONDER WOMAN #8 $2.99
YOUNG JUSTICE #15 $2.99
NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 $75.00
SHOWCASE PRESENTS ALL STAR SQUADRON TP VOL 01 $19.99 

VERTIGO
DOMINIQUE LAVEAU VOODOO CHILD #2 $2.99
FABLES #116 $2.99
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO SPECIAL #1
HELLBLAZER #290 $2.99
CINDERELLA FABLES ARE FOREVER TP $14.99
SHOOTERS HC $22.99

MARVEL COMICS
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #684 Ends Of The Earth $3.99
AVENGERS #25 Avengers vs X-Men $3.99
AVENGERS SAMPLER #1
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (of 12) 2nd printing $3.99
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 (of 12) Avengers vs X-Men $3.99
DEFENDERS #5 $3.99
INCREDIBLE HULK #7 $3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #515 $3.99
JOHN CARTER GODS OF MARS #2 (of 5) $2.99
MARVELS AVENGERS PRELUDE FURYS BIG WEEK #4 (of 4) $2.99
NEW MUTANTS #41 $2.99
PUNISHER #10 Omega Effect $2.99
THUNDERBOLTS #173 $2.99
UNCANNY X-FORCE #24 $3.99
VENOM #16 $2.99
WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #9 Avengers vs X-Men $3.99
X-FACTOR #234 $2.99
X-MEN #27 $3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 RAMOS CVR $99.99
AVENGERS SERPENT CROWN PREM HC $24.99
EMMA GN TP $14.99
FEAR ITSELF HOME FRONT PREM HC $29.99
FEAR ITSELF UNCANNY X-FORCE DEEP PREM HC $24.99
NEW MUTANTS DATE WITH DEVIL PREM HC $19.99
RED HULK HULK OF ARABIA TP $14.99
SIX GUNS TP $14.99
ULT COMICS SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 04 $19.99
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS BY MARK MILLAR OMNIBUS HC $75.00
WOLVERINE AND X-MEN BY JASON AARON PREM HC VOL 01 $19.99
X-FACTOR TP VOL 13 HARD LABOR $15.99
X-MEN FATAL ATTRACTIONS HC $99.99
X-MEN HIDDEN YEARS TP VOL 01 $34.99

AAM MARKOSIA
DAMAGED GOODS GN $17.99

ABRAMS
LOVECRAFT ANTHOLOGY TP VOL 01 $19.95

ABSTRACT STUDIOS
RACHEL RISING #7 $3.99

APE ENTERTAINMENT
POCKET GOD GN VOL 02 TALE OF TWO PYGMIES $12.99
POCKET GOD GN VOL 03 QUEST CALLED TRIBE $12.99

ARCANA STUDIO
TURNING TIGER GN SPECIAL ED $7.99

ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #228 $3.99
BETTY & VERONICA #259 $2.99
SONIC UNIVERSE #39 $2.99

ARDDEN ENTERTAINMENT
MIXTAPE #1 $2.99

ASPEN COMICS
FATHOM KIANI VOL 2 #1 $3.50

AVATAR PRESS
STITCHED #4 $3.99

BLANK SLATE
SURVIVALIST $7.99

BONGO COMICS
SIMPSONS COMICS #189 $2.99
SIMPSONS CONFIDENTIAL TP $15.99

BOOM! STUDIOS
HELLRAISER MASTERPIECES #12 $3.99
IRREDEEMABLE #36 $3.99
PLANET OF THE APES #13 $3.99
STEED AND MRS PEEL #4 (of 6) $3.99 

KABOOM
ICE AGE PLAYING FAVORITES $3.99
PEANUTS #4 (of 4) $3.99

DARK HORSE COMICS
3 STORY SECRET FILES OF THE GIANT MAN $3.50
BPRD HELL ON EARTH LONG DEATH #3 $3.50
DARK HORSE PRESENTS #11 $7.99
RAGEMOOR #2 $3.50
RESET #1 (of 4) $3.50
RESIDENT ALIEN #0 $3.50
STAR WARS DAWN OF THE JEDI FORCE STORM #0 3rd printing $3.50
STAR WARS DAWN OF THE JEDI FORCE STORM #1 3rd printing $3.50
STAR WARS DAWN OF THE JEDI FORCE STORM #3 $3.50
ARCHIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 05 $49.99
ART OF TARA MCPHERSON HC VOL 02 LOST CONSTELLATIONS $24.99
FEAR AGENT TP VOL 06 $16.99
GANTZ TP VOL 22 $12.99
HELLCYON TP $12.99
KATSUYA TERADA THE MONKEY KING TP VOL 02 $16.99
OH MY GODDESS RTL TP VOL 41 $12.99

DKE INC
MR TOAST COMICS #1 $3.00
MR TOAST COMICS #2 $3.00

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
DANGER GIRL ARMY OF DARKNESS #5 $3.99
RED SONJA #65 $3.99
SHADOW #1 $3.99
VAMPIRELLA #16 $3.99
ARMY OF DARKNESS OMNIBUS TP VOL 02 $29.99
VAMPI OMNIBUS TP VOL 01 $29.99

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS
CASTLE WAITING VOL II #16 $3.95
KRAZY & IGNATZ TP 1922-1924 DRIM OF LOVE $24.99
KRAZY IGNATZ LTD HC FIRST SUNDAYS (1916-1924) $95.00

HIGHWAY 62 PRESS
STRANGEWAYS THE THIRSTY GN $17.95

IDEA & DESIGN WORKS
DOCTOR WHO VOL 2 #16 $3.99
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS EBERRON ANNUAL 2012 #1 $7.99
ETERNAL DESCENT VOL 2 #4 (of 6) $3.99
G.I. JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO #177 $3.99
GHOSTBUSTERS #8 $3.99
NEXT MEN AFTERMATH #42 $3.99
ROCKETEER ADVENTURES 2 #2 (of 4) $3.99
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MICRO SERIES #4 Leonardo $3.99
TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS EYE #4 $3.99
HP LOVECRAFT THE DUNWICH HORROR TP $17.99
TRANSFORMERS CLASSICS TP VOL 03 $24.99
ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS THIS MEANS WAR PROSE SC $17.99

IMAGE COMICS
BLOODSTRIKE #26 2nd printing $2.99
BOMB QUEEN VII QUEENS WORLD #3 (of 4) $3.50
MANHATTAN PROJECTS #1 3rd printing $3.50
MANHATTAN PROJECTS #2 $3.50
NEAR DEATH #7 $2.99
NO PLACE LIKE HOME #3 $2.99
PROPHET #23 2nd printing $2.99
PROPHET #24 $2.99
SAGA #1 3rd printing $2.99
SPAWN ORIGINS HC VOL 06 $29.99 

SKYBOUND
SUPER DINOSAUR #10 $2.99
WALKING DEAD #96 $2.99 

TOP COW
DARKNESS #101 2nd printing $2.99
WITCHBLADE #155 $2.99

KENZER & COMPANY
KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #185 $5.99
KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE BUNDLE OF TROUBLE TP VOL 36 $14.99

KODANSHA COMICS
CAGE OF EDEN GN VOL 05 $10.99
BLOODY MONDAY GN VOL 05 $10.99

ONI PRESS
SECRET HISTORY OF DB COOPER #2 $3.99
SIXTH GUN #21 $3.99

ORION
ASTERIX OMNIBUS SC VOL 03 $19.95

PAPERCUTZ
DISNEY FAIRIES GN VOL 08 TINKER BELL STORIES FOR RAINY DAY $7.99
DISNEY FAIRIES HC VOL 08 TINKER BELL STORIES FOR RAINY DAY $11.99

REBELLION / 2000AD
2000 AD #1772 $5.25
2000 AD #1773 $5.25
2000 AD #1774 $5.25
2000 AD #1775 $5.25
JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #321 $11.99
JUDGE ANDERSON PSI FILES TP VOL 02 $32.99

SEA LION BOOKS
HUSH HUSH HC $19.95

SILVER PHOENIX ENTERTAINMENT
BLOOD FEAST #1 $3.50

TOON BOOKS
SHARK KING GN $12.95

UDON ENTERTAINMENT
CAPTAIN COMMANDO GN VOL 01 (of 2) $19.99
DARKSTALKERS ULTIMATE ED TP $49.99
MEGA MAN ROBOT MASTER FIELD GUIDE SC $13.99
OMAR DOGAN GIRL SEVEN SC $39.99
PIXIV ALMANAC SC $39.99

VIZ MEDIA
CASE CLOSED GN VOL 42 $9.99
CROSS GAME TP VOL 07 $14.99
DOROHEDORO GN VOL 06 $12.99
EXCEL SAGA TP VOL 23 $9.99
ITSUWARIBITO GN VOL 05 $9.99
KEKKAISHI GN VOL 31 $9.99
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE HERE COMES THE SUN GN $6.99
MAOH JUVENILE REMIX TP VOL 10 (of 10) $9.99
MR BUMP IN LIGHTS CAMERA BUMP GN $6.99
NAOKI URASAWA 20TH CENTURY BOYS GN VOL 20 $12.99
TENJO TENGE GN VOL 06 $17.99
X 3-IN-1 ED TP VOL 02 $19.99

YEN PRESS
BETRAYAL KNOWS MY NAME GN VOL 03 $18.99
BLACK BUTLER TP VOL 09 $11.99
DURARARA GN VOL 02 $11.99
HIGH SCHOOL OF DEAD GN VOL 06 $13.99
HIGURASHI WHEN THEY CRY GN VOL 18 ATONEMENT ARC PT 4 $11.99
 
Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 19
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jedibanner 4/18/2012 5:47:22 AM

Last year was a great year for Image comics and a lot of the new stuff that came out was just so good. Anything from Radical is also usually very good and fresh (although the books take forever to come out).

Love the new Millar stuff, Superior was great and the new Kick-Ass is also a whole lot of fun.

Bryzarro 4/18/2012 6:43:13 AM

 Well you sold me on AGP.  I was head over heels for Rising Stars.  Just not the ending.  Hunger Games was pretty good ouside of the love triangle drama. So i'm adding this to my pull list this afternoon when I go in.  

As much as I've enjoyed most of Millar's work (Nemisis was a fun messed up ride) I will wait and get the arc in bulk and make my decision after.  I did that for Nemisis so I didn't have to wait each month for issues.  

Oh boy today is going to be a pricey one.

jedibanner 4/18/2012 7:28:06 AM

AGP...if it would've come out before HG I'm sure it would've done better. Now? It's too close to HG which was so boring and crappy imo, I'm sure at least this book will do way better then whatever was done in HG.

Boombatty 4/18/2012 8:49:36 AM

 Joel, where did you get this from, "Wanted wasn’t the blockbuster they thought it would be,"?

Wanted made over 341 Million $ world-wide on a 75 Million $ budget.

It sold well on the DVD market.

It has a sequel in production.

It wasn't a sequel OR a known property to anyone outside of comic book fanboys.

As for Kick-Ass, while I will give you diminishing returns it did do almost $100 Million on a $30 Million budget which is considered quite profitable.  Additionally the after market (ie. DVD, etc.) did very well.

joelr 4/18/2012 8:52:44 AM

@Jedibanner I totally agree, last year Images was killing it- Blue Estate, Butcher, Baker Righteous Maker, Intrepids, Non-Player, Green Wake...

@Bryzarro Glad I sold you on AGP! Please let me know what you think once you get a copy.

joelr 4/18/2012 9:05:28 AM

@Boombatty True, looking at worldwide BO, Wanted is a modest success, but they were hoping for much more than $134 mil domestic, and the budget was much closer to $130 mil with marketing included. Plus, take away the theater's share of the BO, and Wanted suddenly didn't even break even domestically. Not to mention they were hoping Wanted was going to be a profitable franchise...

Kick-Ass was unfortunately a bomb. Again, the budget was probably much closer to $60-$70 million, and it grossed far below that before the theaters even took their cut. Lionsgate though they had a bonafide blockbuster on their hands, and well.. they didn't. They were hoping for a $40mil opening weekend alone...

 

Shmoooooo 4/18/2012 9:47:11 AM

By all published accounts Kick-Ass had a $30 million budget and took in over $98 million worldwide.  Do you just change the budgets as you see fit so your articles look like they were researched or do you actually have some evidence as to your $60-$70 million justification other than your uneducated opinion?  Theaters BTW, don't take much of a cut during the first couple of weeks, they make their money at the concession stands.  So that $30 million was pretty much made back in the first week if you add in the first week worldwide as well.  How, exactely, was that a bomb?

joelr 4/18/2012 12:06:09 PM

@Shmoooo Sorry friend, but I have no reason to try and make anything I write "seem" researched, and when it comes to the film/television/comic industry I believe I am quite educated, but would never laud over that fact, or play it as some kind of trump card. I'm here to talk about and celebrate comics with some good folks who want a place to hang out and talk shop.

I know the box office and how it works quite well, so trust me when I say all the facts i've presented are genuine. Look, I was once in your shoes, if a movie I liked made even a little over it's budget I would be overjoyed and feel justified. However, as I educated myself, I realized that's sadly not the case in Hollywood (or anywhere). If you pay attention to the industry you will quickly see that studios never report the actual budgets (usually leaving out marketing costs which can add 30%-50%), and when news outlets talk about how much a movie made they never factor in the theater's cut, and we never see what the studio actually makes. Sure, the studio/theater profit model is a sliding scale- the longer a movie plays in theaters the larger percentage of those profits goes to the theater week after week. However, each film a studio releases has it's own deal with the theaters. Some are very front-loaded in the studios favor, some are actually quite a bit more equal. And the foreign market is a whole 'nother can of worms.

If you liked Kick-Ass, then great, I'm happy for you. Box Office has no bearing on whether you should like a movie or not, but facts are facts- Kick-Ass was a financial failure as a film, plain and simple. Need more proof? Go to Box Office Mojo and scroll back to Aptil of 2010. See that headline? "Kick-Ass opens up a can of weak sauce."

That's just something I found through, ya know, research.

jedibanner 4/18/2012 1:41:39 PM

Geez shmoooooo, give the guy a break, you have to have faith in what the people write when there is an article specific about something and that it's all true and can be proven.

And Wanted was a bomb, everyone knows that...

Boombatty 4/18/2012 1:54:24 PM

Go to Box office Mojo and they also state the budget as $30 Million.

As for domestic vs worldwide, the fact is $340 million against a budget of $75 Mil (Box Office mojo again) or even $130 Mil is pretty good.  I don't think you can discount the Wordwide gross.  My understanding it is just as important to more than important than domestic only.  I seem to recall that pre-marketing budget times 2.5 is the goal (or obviously higher) to be considered profitable.  This applies to worldwide and in both cases means Wanted did really well and Kick Ass did generate profit (although I would say this is the modest hit as opposed to wanted).

Additionally, DVD/Download sales can generate a significant profit and turn a film finacially viable even if it didn't gross enough. A good example is Fight Club which made $100 Mil against a $63 Mil budget BUT added $55 Mil in DVD sales for the 2004 RERELEASE alone (which don't incur even close to the Movie Run costs) it was considered profitable when added to the original DVD release, Blu-Ray, and showing rights (HBO, etc.).

The point being that I would love to see the final numbers on Wanted.  I know it was a pretty popular second run (the DVD release hit $65 Million in revenue in 09 and I don't know what the Blu-Ray numbers are) and $340 Mil Box Office.  I would hazard to say it was considered more than a modest hit.  

Also keep in mind that Wanted was Rated R.  Not PG-13.  So I don't know how high the thought of Franchise was.  Typically to make a franchise soar the studio demands the film be PG-13.  The highest domestic R rated movie that year was $154 Mil, not that much higher and $415 Worldwide, also not a huge leap more.  So I would have to vehemently disagree with you on it's staus as a hit.  

As for Kick Ass and your referencing of the Box Office Mojo article, well from the very first line, "Kick-Ass didn't bust out of its unpopular superhero comedy confines nor did it match its hype, but it nonetheless delivered one of the highest-grossing starts ever for its sub-genre".  I don't believe a studio looking for a franchise hit delivers a $30 Mil budget.  $130 Mil maybe.  My guess is the studio knew it was a hard sell and set the budget with the expectation that to be profitable they needed to hit 2.5x, or $75 Mil.  Also, in February it was announced that the sequel is scheduled to begin filming in the summer of 2012.

 

 

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