Comics Roundup: Pixelated Heroes; Conan; Kevin Keller; Hark! A Book! In this week's comics roundup: an online superhero game launches, Conan O'Brien makes his caped cartoon debut, Riverdale's gay character returns (with his own logo!), and a very funny webcomic will become a very funny book.

Comics Roundup: Pixelated Heroes; Conan; Kevin Keller; Hark! A Book!

Screenshot from DC Universe Online Sony Online Entertainment hide caption

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Sony Online Entertainment

Screenshot from DC Universe Online

Sony Online Entertainment

Justice Comes With a Low Monthly Fee

Yesterday saw the launch of DC Universe Online, a "massively multiplayer online action game" for the PC and PS3.

Players create avatars allied with a DC hero or villain, choose costumes, select powers, and set forth onto the streets of Gotham, Metropolis and other DCU locations to either defend justice or commit evil (read: to whale on others). Said wailing earns experience points, which causes the character to level up, getting better/stronger/faster/more creepy in the process. (Evidently, players will occasionally be able to assume the identity of actual DC heroes and villains -- like Blue Beetle, above -- and villains in self-contained training simulation.)

This is grand news to some. (Note: A Marvel MMORPG has been in the works for some time, though its development has hit some bumps.)

Now me, I've never tried an MMORPG (or, in this case, a MMOAG) and don't plan on it. My reasons are three:

1.  I don't need to pay 60 bucks for a game, and 15 bucks a month thereafter, to get called a gay slur by insolent nine-year-olds. I can get that just by stepping outside the apartment. For free.

2. I've seen several friends get sucked into World of Warcraft, only to emerge with nothing to show for it but a deathlike pallor, hollow eyes and a flying mount. I don't need to try meth to know that within a month I'd go full-on Winter's-Bone-day-player. Same principle.

3. The game's take on superhero costumes -- at least the ones I've seen so far -- skews toward a battle armor/semi-pro football vibe that, from a comics perspective, screams I-Love-the-90s. (Yeah, I just said that. See point 1, above.)

Anyone else going to give it shot? Let's hear your take in the comments.

The Flaming C is Hot Under the Collar. And, Evidently, the Oven Mitt.

If you haven't been catching Conan O'Brien's taped segments with the folks at DC Animated (including big, muckety-muck animator Bruce Timm), you're missing some of what Conan does best. In the latest, the creators of the soon-to-debut Teen Titans cartoon sent him a clip in which they swapped out the character of Superman, replacing him with Conan's superhero alter-ego, the Flaming C. Gotta love the steam rising off that oven mitt.

The Gay Face(book) of Riverdale

Late last year, Archie Comics introduced a gay character name Kevin Keller, and the skeptical among us wondered if he'd fade into the background like so many others (where have you gone, Raj Patel?) or if he'd stick around and perhaps even attain solid 2nd-tier status, right up there with your Big Ethels or your Dilton Doileys.

This morning, we may have gotten an answer, as the following image appeared on the Archie Comics Facebook page. Whether or not it's a one-shot comic isn't the thing to concentrate on, here. What's important is: Dude's got his own logo now. In the Archie universe, logo = longevity.

Plus, She Draws a Great Aquaman. So.

This morning, comics reporter Tom Spurgeon (at his site called ... The Comics Reporter) broke the news that publisher Drawn and Quarterly will be collecting Kate Beaton's great, deservedly beloved webcomic Hark! A Vagrant! in a book this fall. If you're wondering why this is good news, you have either never read Beaton's sublimely funny takes on literature, history, mermaids and family, or you are stupid, cold and unloved. That's just science.

Go here, poke around. You're welcome.