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Comics Relief: DC Celebrates 75 Years Of THE JOKER, Marvel’s Latest SECRET WARS One Shots, & More

It’s a big weekend for comics fans, with Free Comic Book Day upon us and a little movie called Avengers: Age of Ultron hitting theaters. But before you do all that, read up on some of the comics news you might have missed from the week that was in in the weekend edition of Comics Relief!

Comics Legend Gerry Conway Slams DC For Changes In Their Royalties Policies

Writer Gerry Conway is a longtime veteran of the comics industry, having created dozens of characters for both Marvel and DC, including the Punisher, Firestorm, Power Girl and many, many others. Among the characters he created were Killer Frost, whose (current) alter ego is Caitlin Snow; Vibe, who’s secret ID is Cisco Ramone; and Felicity Smoak, all three characters currently being used on the hit CW shows The Flash and Arrow.

Recently on Conway’s Tumblr, he posted this question: “Who created Caitlin Snow, the alter ego of Firestorm super-villain Killer Frost, who appears regularly on The Flash? According to DC Entertainment, nobody.” Apparently, there is a loophole at DC over paying comic book creators whose creations get used in other media, known as “creator equity participation” until recently, when new DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson changed the policy so no derivative characters are payed for. So Conway gets no royalties for Power Girl for example, because she is derivative of Supergirl, and not her “own” character (despite having a different costume and even civilian name.)

So technically, Conway, who created the original Killer Frost, should be getting payments for the use of Caitlin Snow, right? But he’s not (and he’s totally ok with that) because he feels that writer Sterling Gates, who introduced Caitlin a couple of years ago as the new Killer Frost, should get that money. But he’s not, because it’s a derivative character. But Conway isn’t getting paid for it either, so…apparently, no one created Caitlin Snow at DC it seems. And that’s just SHADY. [Gerry Conway’s Tumblr]

Humble Bundle Offers Deal For Comics Aimed At Younger Readers

It’s said, for people to become lifelong comics fans, they need to get bitten by the comics bug early, when they’re young kids. Well, Humble Bundle are making it very easy right now to get a ton of comics for younger readers into their hands; for the next two weeks, they’re offering up a a large amount of younger reader titles on their usual pay-what-you want system, including comics from publishers like Archie, Dark Horse, and Image, including an amazing full-color Usagi Yojimbo original graphic novel by Stan Sakai. For more on this offer, click here. [Comics Alliance]

Iceman’s Coming Out Issue Already Skyrocketing In Price

Nothing pushes-up back issue sales like a little controversy, especially the kind that gets you mainstream attention, like the X-Men’s Iceman coming out as gay recently in issue #40 of All-New X-Men. Well, just a week old, and that issue has already skyrocketed on the back issue market. All-New X-Men #4 has already sold two for $12.95 on eBay, less than a week since it was published for $3.99. Will it go up even further? Time will tell, but this proves back issue’s biggest friend is mainstream media attention. [Bleeding Cool]

DC Celebrates 75 Years of The Joker

He’s The Clown Prince of Crime, The Harlequin of Hate, the Batman’s biggest foe, and maybe even the greatest villain in all of comics. The Joker first appeared seventy five years ago this week in Batman #1. To celebrate, DC giving away a pretty hefty Joker-centric prize-pack, and among the prizes are the Batman: Arkham Origins Collector’s Edition (for Xbox), the Batman: Death of the Family Book and Joker Mask Set, some smile-worthy Joker collectibles from DC Collectibles and more. This giveaway ends on May 22. You can enter by clicking on this link

Marvel’s #1 Duck Gets A Species Makeover: Say Hello To Howard The Human

At last weekend’s C2E2 in Chicago, Marvel Comics  announced Howard The Human #1, a Secret Wars one-shot written by Skottie Young. Yes, that’s right, the former duck is now a man. The story will find Howard changed from a duck into a regular human being, and he’ll be the only human in a city filled with animals. Although this is a Secret Wars tie-in, don’t expect too much Secret Warsy-ness in this one.

According to Young, “I don’t want to ruin the story, but there’s nothing really to ruin. It’s Secret Wars in the way that Secret Wars is giving us the chance to tell a lot of big stories that are very integral to the main crux of it all. Then we’re also getting to tell a lot of tales within this world.  Howard the Human is one of those stories where there’s a part of this world that exists, and it doesn’t know anything else but what it is. That’s about as Secret Wars as this one gets for me.” Howard The Human #1 hits comics shops this August. [Comic Book]

Secret Wars Will Introduce Us To Hank: Agent of HYDRA

Howard the Human wasn’t the only oddball one-shot being announced at C2E2;  Marvel Comics has also announced Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra #1, an upcoming Secret Wars One-Shot. According to Marvel’s description, in this story “Hank must navigate through the perilous dangers of picking up his kids from school, reporting to Hydra’s HR department, and longing for a more meaningful life. But hey, since  it is kind of re-writing all of existence, maybe he’ll get his wish. Delivering the civilian shenanigans are former Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer David Mandel on writing duties, and illustrator Michael Walsh on art. [Digital Spy]

Legendary Comics Collects Grant Morrison’s Annihilator

Coming off his two Eisner Award nominations for his work on Legendary Comics’ Annihilator and DC Comics’ Multiversity, Legendary Comics has officially announced that writer Grant Morrison‘s six issue Annihilator will be available in hardcover this summer.  The critically-acclaimed series was written by Morrison with artwork from Frazer Irving (Batman and Robin, Judge Dredd, Necronauts).

According to the official synopsis, Annihilator is described as “an original graphic novel odyssey directly from Morrison’s subversive mind, the reality-bending sci-fi adventure like not other tells the story of washed-up Hollywood screenwriter Ray Spass who is caught in a downward spiral of broken relationships, wild parties and self-destruction. Out of luck and out of chances, he’s one failed script away from fading into obscurity. Little does he know he’s about to write the story of his life. As his imagination runs rampant, Ray must join forces with his own fictional character Max Nomax on a reality-bending race to stop the entire universe from imploding… without blowing his own mind in the process.” The new collection hits this August. [Bleeding Cool]



Excited about Annihilator, or any of the news items in this week’s Comics Relief? Let us know in the comments below!

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