Monday, 10 May 2010

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet, Part Two: Action Comics

For every hero, there is a villain who defines him.

The Joker

Lex Luthor

In recent months, Action Comics has focused on Nightwing and Flamebird. But as the dust settles from War Of The Supermen, Lex Luthor is moving into the spotlight and seizing back his company and this title.

Orchestrating this change of fortunes is new ongoing writer is Paul Cornell, who takes over with issue #890 due out in June.

We have a lot of love for Paul here at Proud Lion. Back in 2008, the man was kind enough to come and cut the ribbon, declaring our little Cheltenham comic shop officially open on Free Comic Book Day 2008.

Paul is joined by Pete Woods on interior pencils and superstar David Finch on covers.

The solicitation from DC for the next issue, #891, is as follows:

When Lex Luthor finally regained control of LexCorp, he thought he had everything he wanted. But in BLACKEST NIGHT, he briefly became an Orange Lantern and got a taste of true power. Now he'll do anything – anything – to get that power back. Buckle in for a greatest hits tour of the DCU's most wanted as Lex Luthor begins an epic quest for power, all brought to you by new ongoing writer Paul Cornell (Dr. Who, Captain Britain and MI-13) and artist Pete Woods (WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON), with covers by David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, Ultimatum)!

Sounds pretty awesome right? That's July, mark it in your calendar folks, you need to pick up this comic. Villain are always awesome, particularly when well written. Both Kurt Busiek and Warren Ellis' takes on Thunderbolts were amazing. Mark Waid's Incorruptible/Irredeemable books are great too.

Plus, Lex Luthor? That guy's incredible. Throughout every iteration of Superman, Lex is the definitive Superman villain in my opinion. Gene Hackman. John Shea. Michael Rosenbaum. Kevin Spacey. All memorable portrayals of the character.

With the recent anniversary of Proud Lion opening and the exciting news that Paul was going to be writing Action Comics, he was kind enough to take some time to catch up with me.

Prowling the Savannah: Busy times as always for yourself.

Having written several titles for Marvel (including Wisdom, Captain Britain & MI-13, Fantastic Four True Story, Black Widow Deadly Origin, Indomitable Iron Man and contributing to the new Age Of Heroes miniseries) you're now penning a title for the Distinguished Competition.

As summer begins, you take over on Action Comics - congratulations! Can you tell us a little about the story? It focuses on Lex Luthor doesn't it?

Paul Cornell: It's Lex going on an epic quest for power that will result in him encountering a series of the most interesting and powerful villains in the DC Universe.

Rather like 'Hush' was, apart from everything else, a showcase for the villains of Batman, this is comparing and contrasting Lex to his opposite numbers in other books, other genres.

I find him fascinating, and with many sides to him. I hope that we never cease to remember that he's not a good man, but there are certainly admirable and entertaining things about him. I'm really enjoying it. Pete Woods' art is a joy.

In recent months, Action Comics has focused on Nightwing and Flamebird. From a retail point of view, it's been sad to see sales of such a prestigious title flagging, especially when it's only a few years after Richard Donner and Geoff Johns' incredible run.

Will your first issue mark a good jump on point for new (or lapsed) readers?

My first issue is #890, and new readers can most definitely start here. You don't need to know anything about the Superman mythos or the previous run.

Moving away from the world of comics, you also have a new TV pilot coming up called Pulse. I'm personally really looking forward to this.

Can you tell us a little about it? Who would you say it appeals to? I've heard the pilot compared to Ultraviolet, would you say that's the tone the production team and yourself have aimed for?

I'm happy with that comparison, because Ultraviolet was a great show.

Pulse is a medical horror drama about what would happen if a group of people decided to advance medicine by putting ethics aside. It's 'you're going to hospital, what's the worst that could happen?'

It's a conspiracy thriller about young doctors having to work out who they can trust. It's really bloodthirsty: there's an operation scene where we covered our young cast in the stuff.

It's brilliantly directed by James Hawes. It's got Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore, Gregg Chillin and Ben Miles, to name but a handful.

We're hoping that online audience reaction to the pilot will be strong enough so that we can go to series. It's an SF show, in that we're dealing with frightening medical tech, not the supernatural.

What else do you have on the horizon? New novels? Convention appearances? Maybe a new script for a certain time traveller in a blue box?

I've just sold a novel to Tor UK, an urban fantasy, that'll be out next year. I'm going to San Diego for the first time this year. And I've been nominated for two Hugo awards, one for Captain Britain, one for prose, and I'm looking forward to Worldcon in Melbourne.

Massive thanks to Paul for taking the time to talk to us.

Some early reviews for Pulse can be found here at Geek Syndicate and at Forbidden Planet International. The pilot should air on BBC 3 in June.

To keep up-to-date, check out Paul Cornell's blog. I'll keep you updated here too. As soon as there's a trailer on Youtube, I'll slap it up on Prowling The Savannah.

Action Comics #890 is out in the UK on July 1st and will be followed by #891 on July 29th.

Ben Fardon is the owner, proprietor, manager and filing clerk for Proud Lion. Bascially, Ben is Proud Lion is Ben. He often uses the personal pronoun 'we', in an attempt to not feel like a man alone. In that context 'we' refers to Ben, the bricks and mortar, the stock and the branding that comprises Proud Lion. It also makes him sound kind of crazy. 'We' are OK with that.

Ben has been reading comics since he was five years old and his Dad bought him a Transformers comic at the local newsagent. In the same comic were reprints of Iron Man in the red and silver armour. To this day, Tony Stark is his favourite superhero.

He likes eating, swimming and science fiction Tv series. He recently became addicted to The West Wing.

One day, he'll finish a script for something.

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