Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense) #154

Published On March 9, 2018 | By Joe Gordon | Books, Comics, Film TV & Theatre

It’s Friday once more and that means time for Richard and Joe’s handy, quick-hit round up of news and links spotted over the last few days; yep, it’s time for another Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense):

Laydeez Do Comics

The Laydeez Do Comics Prize will be exhibiting zine of the entrants on their festival day on March 24th at the Free Word Centre in London; as ever check out the website for more details.

Sandman Universe

This news broke just too late for us to include in last week’s Stuff: DC/Vertigo announced a new line of titles expanding on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman universe, commencing in August with a storyline to “reintroduce” the Sandman characters, plotted by Neil, co-written by Simon Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters and Kat Howard, then four titles, one each by those authors. I’m normally wary of revisiting past glories like this, no matter how much I loved them (and I do love the Sandman), especially when it is others who will be doing most of the new series rather than the original creator. But Neil himself has chosen the writers and been working with them as to parameters to be set, characters and how they can be explored, so it doesn’t come across as some cynical, corporate idea to mine an existing and still popular property (which this kind of thing can often easily be if done wrong, or done for the wrong reasons).

“The Sandman Universe has always been very close and personal to me and I am thrilled to open up the world once again to an extremely talented group of writers and artists.I get to see the joy in these brilliant people whom I’ve selected, as they get their chance to play in this world,” explained Neil, adding “it’s a huge sandbox with so many wonderful toys that nobody’s getting to play with right now.” Of course there is still the problem of different voices – when a character has been told by one writer for so long it can be jarring for readers to settle to a new voice, let alone four. Then again Mignola has managed this both in writing and art with Hellboy and it has worked, and worked well. Regardless of my caution, I will still have to read these… The titles announced are The Dreaming, House of Whispers, Books of Magic, Lucifer, and a Sandman Universe #0 one-shot. (via the Guardian)

(Sandman Universe, cover artwork by Jae Lee, published Vertigo/DC)

Black Label

No, not the rather bland whisky, this is DC Black Label – another new imprint announcement from DC, the Black Label is a line of out-of-continuity works by some of the top creators in the field, being give license to work on some of DC’s greatest characters free of the constraints of making any stories or developments fit into a particular line or ongoing series or even format. DC cites previous examples such as Miller’s now iconic Dark Knight Returns as a success for this sort of approach, and indeed Miller will be in the first wave of Black Label titles with Superman: Year One, working with John Romita Jr.

Other projects include Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo on Batman: Damned (seeing Batman work with John Constantine following the discovery of a dead Joker), Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez with Wonder Woman: Historia (exploring the history of the Amazons from the early days up to the arrival of Steve Trevor), John Ridley’s The Other History of the DC Universe, Batman: Last Knight on Earth by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and Greg Rucka with Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter. Black Label starts from August with the first of the three-part Miller and Romita Superman: Year One. (via Hollywood Reporter)

Zarjaz hits Issue 30

FutureQuake Press announced their long-running Zarjaz, their 2000 AD themed comic that some of Tharg’s droids are known to enjoy a look at themselves, has a new issue this month, and it is a bit of a milestone as Zarjaz hits issue 30, with a very Dreddverse-centric issue (cover art by Dan Cornwell)

“A Noble Spirit Embiggnes the smallest man”

The word “embiggen” (meaning to make larger, basically), coined as a local phrase in the Simpsons many years back in a story about the founding of the cartoon family’s hometown of Springfield, has been entered into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in the US! (via the BBC)

Peter Nicholls, RIP

Sad to learn of the passing of Peter Nicholls, aged 78. Peter, as many of you will know, was the creative force behind the indispensable and Hugo-award winning The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, and continued to edit it until his growing health problems interfered, although he remained editor emeritus for the third edition and still continued to make contributions when able. I remember selling copies of the Encyclopedia from my SF&F shelves and always the same joke would be made at each transaction abou the “Encyclopedia Galactica”. Now online it remains an enormous resouce for all of us who love the fantastic genres, and SF&F readers the world over are indebted to Peter and his colleagues for creating it. (via Locus)

New space opera for Orbit

Orbit announces the acquisition of a new space opera trilogy by Moringstar award-winning author Megan O’Keefe. Not many details yet, with the first book due from Orbit in 2018, but they did post a tiny taster: “The last thing Sanda remembers is her gunship breaking up around her as her preserving pod expanded, sealing herself away for salvage-medics to pick up. She expected to awaken in friendly hands, patched up and patched back into a new gunship. Instead, she awakens 230 years later upon an empty enemy smartship, The Light of Berossus or, as he prefers to be called, “Bero”. The war is lost. The star system is dead.

However, Bero may not exactly be telling the whole truth.”

Lost in Space

Netflix are rebooting 1960s family-friendly science fiction staple Lost in Space for a new generation, and the first trailer has gone online for it. I’m really not sure what to expect from this – it certainly can’t be any more of a misfire than the movie version several years back, can it (what a waste of a good cast)? The Horror Channel was running repeats of the original show recently in their Sci-Fi Zone segment – very cheap more ham than a pork farm and frequently very, very silly (not in the funny way, the daft way), and yet there is something about it that was still enjoyable and warm and fun despite all its failings and the years being less than kind to those failings.

Those sort of failings won’t fly for any new show though, and I am curious and will certainly give the first few episodes a try to see how it goes, but I think it is a tricky property: make it too light or younger-viewer friendly and it may be dismissed, but make it too serious (as it looks in the trailer) and they will be accused of making the show too darker and grimmer compared to the original, so either way I suspect some folks will not be happy. Proof of the pudding, as usual, will be in the viewing… (via Live for Film)

Sadly, as yet no word on Netflix also rebooting the Muppets’ classic Pigggssssss iiinnnnnn Ssssppppaaaaaaccccceeee!

Mignola on the new Hellboy movie

Mike Mignola has been talking to Entertainment Weekly and says the forthcoming Hellboy movie, helmed by Neil Marshall, has been a different experience from the (well-received) Del Toro Hellboy movies, and that he has been more active in some areas, less so than others, in the film process. He’s been consulted more on the narrative this time, less on the concept art where he commented that the artists working on the film design were looking so closely at his and Ducan Fegredo’s original comic art that he really wasn’t needed to do more on that front.

The first film was based on one of the comics, but Del Toro was looking to reinvent everything. I think the difference is here, the bulk of the Fegredo arc takes place in the real world. So instead of making up a whole fantasy world, it was, ‘Let’s find locations that feel like these real-world locales that Duncan drew in the comic.’ I think the bulk of the characters in the film are established in the comic. It was insane for me to walk in there and see that someone did a really nice rendering of a creature I created or Duncan created. It’s got a whole different feel from the older movies. Duncan’s not working on it, but I did see stuff in the movie that was so close to what Duncan drew, more so than what was in the previous movies. It was pretty exciting.”

First guests announced for the Lakes

The Lakes Comic Art Festival has announced the first of the 2018 guests as early bird passes go on sale: “First to be announced are British guests Yomi Ayeni, Ottilie Hainsworth, Kripa Joshi (who originally hails from Nepal), Rian Hughes, Ian Rankin and John Wagner; Kaisa Leka (from Finland) Victoria Lomasko (from Russia), Mikiko, Orijit Sen (from India); and Guy Delisle and Seth (from Canada). Two US guests have also been announced so far – writer Joe Kelly and colourist Elizabeth Breitweiser.” There will, of course, be many more names being added in the coming weeks and months.

Edinburgh Comic Con approaches

Also on the convention and festival front, a reminder that the Edinburgh Comic Con is hurtling towards us at warp speed, returning to the city’s Conference Centre venue (just moments walk from the Haymarket tram and rail stations, handily) on April 14th and 15th.

I had a terrific time at last year’s bash, and that venue was great – very central and with loads of space to spread out, so although the weekend was packed there was still plenty of room to move around (not the elbowing each other tight corridors between tables you sometimes get at some venues), and there was a really nice family-friendly vibe to the event with kids and sometimes the entire family in costume. Very much looking forward to this year’s bash. Meantime here is one of my colleague’s wee girls at last year’s event, cosplaying as the cutest Jedi Padawan ever!

world's cutest jedi padwan 02

Margate Comic Art Festival

And yet more comic con news, on the same weekend as the Edinburgh bash but at the other end of the UK in sunny Margate this time, the Margate Comic Art Festival will be running on the 14th and 15th of April. Wow, some of us can remember when we had the Birmingham and Bristol shows and that was it for the whole years (and thankfully Caption too), now there are so many comic festivals in the UK, from massive, ones like the MCM events to fan-run, not for profit gigs like the Capital Sci-Fi Con in Edinburgh and all sizes and ranges between. It’s terrific to see, and especially good to see many new events not restricted to just the centre of major cities too. It is getting hard to keep a track of them all, mind you!

Cartoon round up

The always-ace Stephen Collins in the Guardian Weekend:

A third installment of The Empty Nesters by the fab Eddie Campbell, here’s a quick snippet, check here for the full thing (“this one’s rude,” Eddie warns):

Jen Sorensen in The Nib on Caveman Flim-Flam, here’s a taster, check here for the full strip:

Chris Riddell on former prime minister John Major’s call for giving MPs a free vote on Brexit or a second referendum for the Guardian:

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About The Author

Joe Gordon
Joe Gordon is's chief blogger, which he set up in 2005. Previously, he was professional bookseller for over 12 years as well as a lifelong reader and reviewer, especially of comics and science fiction works.

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