Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1053


Aquaman Shrine Interview with Sean Parsons

Writer Jeff Parker, Penciler Paul Pelletier, and Inker Sean Parsons have quickly established themselves as yet another gangbuster creative team on Aquaman, continuing in the rich tradition of very talented folks who have brought us the Sea King's adventures. The Shrine has been fortunate enough to chat with both Jeff and Paul, and Sean similarly generous in taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about what it's like to work on Aquaman (whose 33rd issue drops today!):

The Aquaman Shrine: Were you a fan of Aquaman before getting the assignment?
Sean Parsons: Of course I was a fan of Aquaman. I can remember being little and seeing a water ski show with the cast of Justice League and Aquaman was the best. 

AMS: It was fate!
SP: I think it was fate. I have an Aquaman villain living in my pool. Our little dog (Macaroni) likes to float around in our pool inside a small inflatable pool that looks like a crab. It reminds me of the Nautilus because it looks like she's in the mouth of a giant creature. I think she thinks she could be Arthur's greatest foe if she could just get past her own form of Kryptonite, chicken wrapped peanut-butter biscuit flavored dog treats.
AMS: Do you have any particular favorite runs of the Aquaman comic? Any favorite artists? Aquaman has been very fortunate, in having some real greats work on his stories.

SP: Peter David had a nice long run. Anyone would appreciate a chance to stay with a character and guide him for so long. I can't even fault him for the long hair. It was a 90's thing. :) Plus, that was about the time I was breaking in so I was devouring a lot of material in those years. Heck, even I had a pony tail in the early 90's. I tried to kill it, but it came back a few years ago. Maybe Aquaman's long hair could come back as a villain and try to take over Arthur's head again.

AMS: Jeff Parker has been introducing a lot of new villains to the book, are there any from Aquaman's (admittedly rather thin) Rogues Gallery that you'd like to see in the book, if only to get the chance to work on?

SP: I'd love to be a part of a cool Black Manta story. We only got to draw him on one of the killer 3D covers. I'd love to see Paul’s take on him in a real story. Visually, he is just a fantastic looking character.

Beyond Black Manta, I'd love to see Jeff and Paul keep creating new forces to challenge Arthur. I can't get enough Topo either.

I'd just love to see Jeff go nuts bringing new lore to the book. I could see Aquaman getting into it with some fantastic new sea creatures. Paul does a most excellent job bringing those things to life. Maybe have some sexy mermaids come throw some attitude around Atlantis so Mera has to kick some butt. I'd love to see a cover with some mermaids trying to tear Arthur apart and Mera coming in to save the day.

AMS: How did you end up with the job as inker on Aquaman?

SP: It was kind of direct, but then roundabout. They needed a couple pages inked on issue #14 over Pete Woods, and I got lucky enough to get a couple of those. Here's where it gets roundabout. Pete liked what I did, and so he asked for me to be his inker on an upcoming project which turned out to be Vibe. It was a monthly assignment and I was stoked to pick it up. Pete's pencils were great and I knew it would be a fun assignment.

The editor on Vibe, Brian Cunningham, was also taking over Aquaman at the time and asked me if I was fast enough to ink Vibe and do two fill-in issues of Aquaman at the same time. I said I could pull it off, so he gave me the two fill-ins with Paul. Paul was happy with the inks, and I loved working with Paul and somehow our fill-in run (Paul was assigned three fill-ins, but someone else inked the first one) turned into a steady run. I guess when DC sees a good thing happening they leave it be. Two fill-in issues have turned into the longest run on a title I've had in the business. It's been really fantastic and I hope we can keep it going for a lot longer.

AMS: Some art teams are brought in to help "save" a book, while others take over following a successful run by other artists. You and Paul were definitely in the latter situation; was it intimidating at all knowing you would be taking over a book whose previous art team was so well received?

SP: Ivan and Joe were just crushing things on Aquaman. A real powerhouse team and I couldn't be happier to come in behind them. It's been a real privilege. Getting to keep Geoff Johns on the book for my first nine issues really helped to solidify Paul and me as the art team on the book. I think if I had been coming into the title knowing we were going to be the regular team I would have been more nervous about it, but thinking we were just pitching in for a few issues took a lot of pressure off of me.

AMS: Do you change your approach to inking depending on whose pencils you're working with? Can you describe how you work with Paul Pelletier's art? 

SP: Yeah, I really try hard to ink everyone differently. I try to look at the intent of the penciler and figure out what style he is going for, and bend my inks to enhance that look for him. I consider myself very adaptable to most styles, but sometimes you get a guy who draws like Alan Davis, but wants you to ink him like Travis Charest and mentally I can't bring myself to change someone's pencils like that. If you can draw like Charest, I can ink you like him. I consider it a fun challenge to push myself to ink new styles. I can't squeeze water from stones though, so if you draw like Davis, I'm going to ink you with a brush. 

With Paul, I think we've changed and grown together through the months and formed into something neither of us started as. Lately, I've been doing some digital inks over Paul as well as some traditional work. I think the result is coming out nicely.

I still ink all the covers traditionally, and inevitably I end up doing a handful of pages each issue with the traditional tools of the trade. When inking Paul traditionally we work via email. Paul scans the pencils in and emails them to be to print out as blueline on Bristol board and I ink those boards, scan it in and email back to Paul and editorial for approvals.

When I get the go ahead, I upload my files to DC's server and I also email the large file to the colorist so he can get a head start coloring. We’ve been very lucky to work with a couple great colorists on Aquaman. First we got to keep Rod Reis from Ivan's run on the book, and when Rod finally stepped away, Paul tagged Rain Beredo in and he’s been doing a knockout job for the team. Add Jeff Parker to the mix and I don't think I could dream up a better group of people to handle the book. Jeff has been doing a great job showing Aquaman as a leader and a real guy. I love his direction on the book. He's also created one of the coolest new villains I've seen on the book, the Chimera, which the public was just introduced to and will be getting to know over the next couple issues. 

Sean was thoughtful enough to send some examples (click to embiggen) of what he's talking about. We thank him for his continuing great work on Aquaman and for talking with us! Thanks Sean!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1052


Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 11

Episode 11: "Conquerors of the Future"

The Super Friends get thrown for a loop...a time loop, that is!
All across the planet, disasters--both natural and not--occur, as they do. Luckily, the Super Friends are there each time to prevent them, only to be stopped by...members of the Legion of Doom? Yes, the bad guys start saving lives, leaving the Super Friends to stand there like slack-jawed morons:
The Super Friends are stunned by this turn of events, but tentatively decide to give the Legion the benefit of the doubt. Suddenly, a distress call comes from an alien planet, saying that solar flares are destroying everything. Just as they are about to leave, Luthor beams in and say they will handle the job.

But, of course, all of this is yet another ruse to destroy the Super Friends. After The Riddler heads off to the distressed planet to leave a clue, the rest of the Legion heads into the future:
In the year 3984, Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with humans living in a domed city (seen above--pretty spiffy, H-B) and some other, mutant-like race on the outside. We see a few of them (they kinda look like extras from Thundarr The Barbarian), and they run and hide when they see the the Legion's strange-looking ship suddenly materialize. Luthor strikes a deal with the mutants, saying that they both want to attack the domed city

Back in the present, the alien who contacted the Super Friends earlier calls back, wondering why the heroes never came. Waiting for them on the now-doomed planet is The Riddler's clue, which is transmitted from a floating Hall of Doom. Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and Black Vulcan attack, only to have it explode and be proved as a decoy. It emits a strange gas which begins breaking down the heroes' molecular structure!

The Legion tricks the leaders of the domed city into letting them in, only to let the mutants follow behind them. The Legion of Doom are now rulers of the Earth! Thanks to some quick thinking by Black Vulcan, the three heroes escape the effects of the gas, and tell the others back at the Hall of Justice about The Riddler's clue. Meanwhile, the Legion of Doom decides conquering Earth is not enough, and begin taking ships into deep space to take over other planets

Batman figures out the Legion's plan thanks to Riddler's clues, and Superman, Green Lantern, and The Flash go into the future, via a nifty animated effect:
After escaping the clutches of giant, mutated spiders, our three future-traveling Super Friends learn they've gone even further ahead in time, and there are records of what the Legion of Doom did in 3984, thanks to some dusty history books:
Superman, Green Lantern, and The Flash go to 3984, defeat the Legion of Doom and return the domed city back to its "rightful" rulers. Dragging the bad guys back to the present, the Super Friends explain--for some reason--just how they defeated the Legion of Doom:
...The End!

Yes, The End--for once, this episode ends with the Legion being captured, and not getting away via some deus ex machina that Luthor was so good at inventing. What will the Super Friends do for the next two episodes, clean up the Hall of Justice?

Once again, Aquaman does absolutely nothing in this episode. He's present for the two group shots (one of which you see below), but that's it: basically he stays behind with Apache Chief, the only other character who does not participate in the action.

One nasty little throwaway in this episode is with the aliens whose planet is threatened by the solar flares: when the Super Friends finally arrive (having not even bothered to check up and see if the Legion of Doom--a trustworthy bunch--were actually doing what they said), it's stated that the alien world is now doomed. The Super Friends don't seem to care, though: once The Riddler shows up, they focus on that, and the slowly-dying planet and its residents are never seen again. Ouch.

This episode's Aqua-Content: Low


Monday, July 21, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1051


Atlas of the DC Universe: Atlantis

Here are two pages from the Atlantis chapter of Mayfaur Games' Atlas of the DC Universe, written by former Aqua-Scribe (and current Archie murderer) Paul Kupperberg. This book is discussed on the current episode of The Hero Points Podcast, which is available now!

Click here to view/download all ten pages of the chapter, and then roll that die!

DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 2

sgThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents...DC RPG: THE HERO POINTS PODCAST!

Episode 02 - The Atlas of the DC Universe

The second episode of our HERO POINTS PODCAST -- the show that tackles role-playing games set in the DC Universe! This time around Shag and Siskoid chat about THE ATLAS OF THE DC UNIVERSE, from Mayfair Games released in 1990. First, we interview comics legend and author of the Atlas, Paul Kupperberg. Then, we provide an overview of the Atlas pointing out some favorite bits. Finally, we wrap up the show with your Listener Feedback!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for scans from the Atlas:!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Online Atlas of the DC Universe:

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades -

Thanks for listening! Let's roll!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

World's Finest Comics #126 - June 1962

Comics Weekend "Aquaman's Super Sea Circus" by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Aquaman just can't help performing charitable works for Surface Dwellers, even if it sometimes it causes trouble:
Aquaman and Aqualad get shot out of a cannon, only for Topo to do the same, where the three of them collide in the sky! Aquaman, unconscious, falls into the sea in front of the shocked spectators:
...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman and Aqualad!

I was kinda glad that there was nothing sinister behind Topo's behavior; as Aquaman said, he's just a big ham! But of course he gets to redeem himself, taking care of the bad guys with extreme prejudice. Crook-wise, I don't really think there's much shame being defeated by an octopus wearing boxing gloves, since how could anyone prepare for such an occurrence?

By the way, if this story title sounds a little familiar, it's because he participated in "Aquaman's Sea Circus" in Adventure Comics #154. I guess in the intervening decade, comic editors felt they needed the adjective to jazz it up a bit.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Teen Titans Go!: "Pirates"

Cartoon Weekend "Pirates", Directed by Luke Cormican, Written by Adam Tierney

Aqualad made a big guest appearance on a recent episode of Teen Titans Go!, so let's take a look!
"Pirates" opens under the sea, with Aqualad chilling out and watching a Spongebob-esque show on TV. Suddenly, he gets an urgent message from Robin, demanding Aqualad's presence topside pronto. Oh, also: "Bring lots of shrimp."

Aqualad grabs some of his finny friends and heads to the beach, where he finds not an emergency, but...a Teen Titans cookout! And Aqualad's shrimp pals are the "guests" of honor. Garth is horrified by the Titans are gleefully gulping down the shrimp, but gets distracted by the hooded cutie-pie known as Raven. As he tries to put the moves on her, Beast Boy (who also has a crush on her) is aghast, but Cyborg tells him to be careful, because Aqualad is a pirate, and pirates are tough:
Robin wonders (heh) why Cyborg thinks Aqualad is a pirate, and Cyborg confidently states that anyone who comes from the sea is a pirate. Fair enough.

The wooing continues, and Aqualad simply won't take no for an answer. He takes Raven to a trip under the sea, but arranges something that the dark-souled Raven might like: a battle royale among Aqualad's finny friends, featuring sharks, whales, an octopus, a turtle, and more. It's not pretty, but Raven is, and she loves it:
Beast Boy wants to fight Aqualad for Raven's affections, but it's mostly just a lot of insults back and forth. Raven doesn't want two boys fighting for her, unless it's for real: a battle to the death!
Aqualad refuses to fight, but Beast Boy has no such compunction. Using his shape-shifting abilities, he mops the floor with the Prince of the Sea, leaving Aqualad a bruised, crumpled heap on the floor. As he is carted off to the hospital, Raven gives Beast Boy a smooch: he's won this round!

Back at the hospital, Aqualad has been saved, but he's a slightly different guy than how he started:
...what is it with members of the Aqua-Family and hooks for hands?!?

Of course, it's great seeing Aqualad get such a spotlight on Teen Titans Go! I don't watch the show regularly, but I have found it charming and funny, and a real pleasure to look at. I think it's a funny adaptation--a very loose one, to be sure--of the situations first created by Haney, Cardy, Wolfman, Perez, etc.

That said, and I'm probably taking all of this way too seriously, but it really bothered me that so much of this episode's humor revolved around cruelty to animals. The Titans gleefully eat Aqualad's self-described pals, he pits a bunch of them against each other for Raven's amusement, and a running gag involves Garth walking on a small turtle, who clearly is in pain because of it. I don't know, maybe it's my years of vegetarianism combined with my even more years of Aqua-Fandom, but it bothered me seeing Aqualad written as someone who would allow and participate in violence inflicted on his finny friends. It's the opposite of pretty much everything I like about Aquaman and related characters, and I wondered what I would say if a child of mine watched this show and thought it might be funny to, I don't know, step on a turtle.

I realize that violence against animals is a staple of animated hi-jinx, reaching back to the 1930s, but seeing adults do this to animals really wiped the smile off my face as the episode rolled on. Still, there are some funny gags here, and the episode moves at a lightning pace (the segment is a little over ten minutes, so it's over before you have time to get bored). It has been previously established that Aquaman exists in this universe, maybe he can make a return appearance to teach his protege the error of his ways?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1050


Aquaman Art Gallery: Gabriel Hardman

This convention sketch is by the awesomely talented Gabriel Hardman. Somebody get this guy an Aquaman fill-in issue to do!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Throne of Atlantis: Aquaman

Courtesy TV Guide, today we got our first glimpse of Aquaman as he will appear in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis!

The Sea King will be voiced by actor Matt Lanter, who has a lot of VO genre credits, from Spider-Man to Star Wars. Let's all welcome him to the ever-growing Aqua-Family!

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis comes out early 2015.

Random Panel of the Day #1048


DJ Spider is Mera!

Pro Cosplayer DJ Spider makes for one adorable Mera, who looks like she is preparing for a day at the beach. Hopefully Arthur can take some time out from fighting yet another monster to join her for a game of Hard Water Volleyball or two!

(h/t: Andy Kapellusch)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1047


Coming Up in Aquaman: October 2014

The covers to Aquaman #35, the Aquaman #35 variant, and Aquaman and the Others #6, all coming in October!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Throne of Atlantis Action Figures


Big news on the Aquaman front today, as the first pictures were released of the upcoming Throne of Atlantis line of action figures, (presumably) based on the look the characters will have in the animated movie!

And it's not just Aquaman and Mera we're being treated to--the King and Queen of the Seven Seas will have bad guys to fight:
One question: will there be a Topo Build-A-Figure??

Each figure is $19.95 (ouch!), and will be released in January 2015. Starting saving your pennies, Aqua-Fans!

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