Through the Mail Slot

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Having just finished up an ASTRO CITY letter column, which’ll go up shortly, I figured I’d check and see what kind of non-Astro City mail we had here in the blog mailbox.

Ulp.

Looks like I haven’t answered any blog mail in a year. Aheh. Sorry.

Let’s do some, and at least make a start on digging out.

First up, from MIKE, on 12/11/12 (yes, just about exactly a year ago):

Just reread AVENGERS: ULTRON UNLIMITED. Masterful entertainment.

Thanks.

Thank you, Mike! And, um, sorry to be so delinquent in responding.

Next, from THOMAS:

Okay, so you get a brother hooked on ASTRO CITY, then it’s gone. I think it’s the best written book of the last twenty years. Please let me know if it will ever be back.

I’m an English prof at a small community college, and I’ve written a few small projects for small comic book publishers. Your work was not only entertaining; it was inspiring. I hope it will return soon.

Thanks, Thomas. Glad to have had an effect, creatively if not as an avatar of productivity.

I hope you’ve noticed by now that ASTRO CITY’s been back since June, and (so far at least) hitting all our release dates. Hope you’ve been enjoying it!

Next, LARRY:

Any DC plans in the near or far future? You’ve been away from the DCU (and the DCNu) for too long. I, for one, would like to see you writing SUPERMAN as I think you could return that book to the proper place it deserves. It has been floundering (to be kind) since the relaunch, I think.

I haven’t been keeping up on Superman lately, but from what I’ve seen online, people seem to be happy with what Scott Snyder, Scott Lobdell and Greg Pak have been doing with the books, so I hope it’s been to your taste.

No ongoing DCU plans for me, at present—though I am still slowly working on BATMAN; CREATURE OF THE NIGHT, the “thematic sequel” to SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, for which John Paul Leon is doing a masterful job with the art. But beyond that, I’m hoping to concentrate more on creator-owned material, and have a few projects in the works that you’ll get to see begin sometime next year.

So I won’t be diving into the waters of the New 52, but I hope I’ll be able to do other books that’ll capture your imagination and attention…

On to CHRIS:

Was lucky to pick up ARROWSMITH recently in the back issue bins and loved it…but I couldn’t find the second volume…was there a volume 2 or just the first limited series?

Just the one limited series…so far. Carlos and I definitely want to do more, and we’re in discussions about it, but so far they’re unresolved. Once something’s resolved, one way or another, we’ll have more to say.

But Fletcher’s story isn’t over, and we’re both itching to get back to it.

From another MIKE:

I’m new to comic books. I bought my first about two months ago—a Superman comic, and I’ve been reading SUPERMAN quite heavily in the two months since.

I bought the collected edition CAMELOT FALLS vol. 1 about a week ago from my local comic shop and I have to say that it’s been my favorite of what I’ve read about the character thus far, along with Brian Azzarello’s FOR TOMORROW. I picked up vol. 2 yesterday to finish the arc. Very good story.

Though there were a couple things I didn’t understand:

-Khyber makes alliances, such as offering Ocean Master the North Atlantic in exchange for service. A later panel makes reference to his allies being awarded territories and his enemies carving out their own empires, only for all of them to fall to Khyber. Is he betraying his allies there?

-The ending left the tale wide open as a cliffhanger, with Khyber awakening after being believed to be dead. Was there any intention to definitively answer if history was going to play out as Arion predicted?

-Also in the middle of Volume 2, there is a moment where Superman is searching for Arion in the ocean, then it cuts to him in the future with the Phantom Stranger where Phantom gives Superman the ability to resist Arion’s magic. Superman then remarks about how Phantom Stranger sent him back to two weeks prior, though in the next page he’s right back underwater looking for Arion. What was happening there? I didn’t understand that cutaway.

All in all, great story. Just wanted to let you know—even if it is quite belated.

Hey, my answer’s even more belated!

No, the line about “one by one, they fall to Khyber” was referring to his enemies. Presumably, those who were ruling parts of the world in his name kept doing so, subject to his overall authority.

I don’t think we ever planned to commit to that particular nightmare future definitively happening in DC continuity (that’s very hard to do, with potential futures), but Khyber would have started making machinations that could have led there, and we’d have seen Superman and others struggle against them, knowing what might happen if they failed.

The scene with the Phantom Stranger is a memory, a flashback. Superman’s confronting Arion in his undersea lair, and he thinks back to his look at the future with the Stranger. Then when the flashback’s over, he’s still where he was when he started thinking back. That scene with the Stranger actually happened two weeks prior, in Superman’s life, on the heels of that encounter with the tentacle-creatures in Metropolis, with Zatanna, when the Stranger shows up to talk to him.

Very glad you liked it, in any case!

From BRAD:

Like many, I’m always looking for the hard to find CONFESSION hardcover. Considering DC awhile ago reprinted the first LIFE IN THE BIG CITY hardcover, have you heard of a simular treatment for CONFESSION? If they are please no new cover. I felt the new cover on LIFE/BIG CITY was not nearly as good as the first one. Just my opinion.

Thank you for the great work that I’ve enjoyed all these years.

You’re more than welcome, Brad.

The plan with the hardcovers was that as DC ran out of copies of any book in TPB and needed to reprint them, we’d do a new edition, with the unified design seen on the LIFE IN THE BIG CITY reissue, in both hardcover and trade paperback. That got interrupted by our publishing hiatus, but as far as I know it’s still the plan. We have a new edition of FAMILY ALBUM ready to go, and when DC needs to reprint CONFESSION, we’ll do a new hardcover and TPB.

There will be a new cover, though—the idea is to have the whole series in a unified design, all with new covers by Alex. And they’ll look awesome. Plus, that way, the readers who picked up the first editions have something special, while we make hardcovers available in a new form to all.

From ANIKA:

We are great fans in Germany of you and therefore we would be very happy, if you can send us 4 handwritten pictures of you. Many thanks in advance for your kindness.

My apologies, Anika (particularly since you asked last March), but I don’t do autographed photos. If I was an actor or politician or something, I’d have a stock of photos I could sign and send, but I’m a comics writer, and you’re, I think, the second person in my more-than-thirty-year career to even ask for that. So I just don’t have the photos to send. Plus, I’m not remotely photogenic.

But someday, hopefully, I’ll get over to Germany for a show, and I’d be happy to sign some comics for you…!

From ERIC:

It’s great to hear AC is coming back in June 🙂 Awesome!

Hope it was worth the wait!

From a reader I won’t name:

First of all I am a fan of ASTRO CITY, and I am very happy it is coming back. I am sure you get e-mails about new superhero ideas all the time, but I have one about a new character for ASTRO CITY’s return.

And I’ll apologize here again, but that’s where I stopped reading your e-mail.

I don’t need new superhero ideas. I have more than I can ever use already, and keep coming up with new ones—and Brent and Alex have ideas they throw in here and there, too. I understand you’d like to see your own ideas come to life, but I got into this business in part so I could do that with my ideas, and I’m not really open to suggestions.

My best advice would be to make up your own stories about your character ideas, and maybe one day you’ll be in a position to make them come to life in something you write yourself. That’s the best way to have them come out just as you want them, too.

From JONATHAN:

I recently read THE WIZARD’S TALE by you and David Wenzel and I must say, I loved the story, the artwork, and everything else about it. It was a wonderful story that I will probably reread many times. I don’t know if you intend on continuing the story, but if you do, I look forward to reading it.

David and I have talked about a possible sequel, but I think it stands pretty well on its own. So I guess we’ll have to see.

There is another story David and I want to do together, though. I’m still hoping to get to that, someday, as I clamber back to health. Glad you liked THE WIZARD’S TALE, though!

From ODELL:

I am a fan of your work and brilliant imagination. I am a current candidate for a MFA in screenwriting, for the program I have written a Black Panther feature length screenplay. If you ever have the time and want a good read I would love to email it to you to know your thoughts on it or even better your stamp of approval?

Again, my apologies. I just don’t have the time, and I avoid reading unsold fiction for legal reasons.

Best of luck with it, though!

From JUSTIN:

I just wanted to say that I only recently got into comic books at the age of 26. I literally just finished reading SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, and seriously, that book fulfilled every thought I’ve ever had about Superman in reality. The posibilities, the problems, the ideal—though in my head things play out differently. Thank you for writing that though; it’s by far the favourite book on my shelf.

I’m very happy you liked it. Thanks for the note.

From MARK:

Thanks so much for making yourself available for questions on Formspring!

My pleasure. Now, of course, Formspring’s gone under new management, and looks a lot spiffier but is harder to navigate, and I’m getting far, far fewer questions than I used to. Ah well. Sic transit gloria mundi, and all that.

If anyone’s interested, my formerly-Formspring activity can be found here.

From ALLEN:

Will there be ASTRO CITY action figures from Mattel anytime soon?

Nope.

From ROBERT:

Hello: What happened to the two ASTRO CITY trade paperbacks that were solicited by DC but were never published?

Plans for them were put on hold until we could be back in harness with the new series. One of them comes out next…April?…and the other should be along sometime after that, as we get the book-edition program up and rolling again.

From EDGAR:

Hey Kurt, I am working on a my own made up sequel to MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA, and since Phil Sheldon is no longer with us, I’ve put someone to take his place: Me! I love the Marvel Universe, and your books really made me feel great. (I just finished reading EYE OF THE CAMERA yesterday, no joke!) I’ve always loved the character of Phil Sheldon, I see some of him in me. I’m not a professional writer but I just think it would be really cool if you could help me on this project of mine.

I even have the working title.

MARVELS: TRUTH BEHIND POWER.

Are you interested? I’ll give you more of my ideas if you would like to hear them. I would like for you to help me shape up my story and how about we introduce Deadpool to the world of MARVELS, huh? You created it, after all.

Me? Created Deadpool? No way!

But again, as I said earlier—I have more than enough ideas of my own, and I keep coming up with more. I don’t need other writers’ ideas, and I’m not looking to write more MARVELS, either in collaboration with someone or solo.

So I can’t help you with your story. I’m too busy working on my own. But I wish you all the luck with it, and if you ever get to a point that you’re writing for Marvel, I hope you get to do it.

Glad you liked EYE OF THE CAMERA.

From EDUARDO:

I just wanted to ask you a couple of question about one of my favorite works by you, SHOCKROCKETS.

1) Any chances of seeing a hardcover in the near future in a size which truly showcases Stuart Immomen’s fantastic job? IDW’s book is so small that I don’t think it’s worth buying it (particularly if, like me, you own the floppies). I dream of a big hardcover book that reprints this masterpiece.

2) Any chances of a second miniseries in the future? I know Stuart Immomen is very busy (and he would be the first choice, of course) at Marvel, but perhaps with other artist?

Best wishes and keep up the good work!

1. No plans to do an oversized hardcover. I don’t think the IDW edition is small—it’s the same size the comics were printed at. I agree with you that an oversized HC might be nice someday, so show off Stuart, Wade and Jeromy’s art, but for now at least, this is the edition we’ve got.

2. Maybe someday! We did have further plans. But if it does happen, it’ll be with Stuart on the art, not someone else. While SUPERSTAR might continue at some point with another artist, SHOCKROCKETS was very much a co-creation with Stuart right from the jump, and as far as I’m concerned it wouldn’t make sense to do it with anyone else.

I’m saying this a lot, but: Glad you liked it!

From ZACK:

Huge fan of your work! I was recently rereading AVENGERS FOREVER (one of my favorite storylines) and had a quick question about one of the implications made in the story. In that story, you stated that the whole storyline of The Crossing was the result of Immortus and the Space Phantoms trying to distract the Avengers until Onslaught’s coming, and that most major figures featured in the story were Space Phantoms. Now, from what I recall from that storyline is that it was implied that Tony Stark slept with Mantis. Would that mean that Tony actually slept with a Space Phantom? Was I supposed to read that interpretation, or am I reading too much into this :)? Thanks!

The “Mantis” in that story was a Space Phantom, so if Tony slept with her, he slept with a Space Phantom. A Space Phantom mimicking Mantis’s form, so certainly, physically human in every detectable way, but a Space Phantom nonetheless.

I’m sure he wasn’t the first; they’ve been around and acting as Immortus’s agents for a long time.

And on that note, we’re caught up! I hope to do these more often, so it won’t be next December before I dig into the mailbag again…

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