Here’s a little holiday jam to get you in the mood for next week’s Turkey Marathon.Add a Comment
Rat Queens co-creator Kurtis J. Wiebe has posted a statement regarding his co-creator Roc Upchurch’s recent arrest for domestic violence after attacking his ex-wife. The upshot: Upchurch is off the book.
After a few days of reflection and going through a roller coaster of emotion, I’ve realized I’m not angry about this revelation. I’m deeply saddened. When you work with someone so closely on a project that is so personal, you are much more than creative collaborators, you become friends that feel like family. I have a lot of love for Roc Upchurch, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, at conventions and signings and quiet times over dinner when the crowds have gone away. Shannon and I have spent time with his wife, whom we admire greatly. With everything that has happened, I still care about and love Roc and my greatest hope is that in all this there is an opportunity to find help and for healing to take place in his family. They are never far from our thoughts.
I’m not a stranger to domestic abuse. I know that keeping abuse a secret and being afraid to speak about it are why so many people suffer in silence. It is a topic that needs to be openly talked about and there needs to be a feeling of safety and acceptance for those that come forward with their stories. It is why I am addressing this news rather than burying my head in the sand.
I want you to know that Rat Queens means the world to me on a personal level and my mission for the series is unchanged. I want to write stories about women that I see in my everyday life, about friendship and to make comics that include and embrace diversity.
As of today, Roc Upchurch will no longer be illustrating Rat Queens. This is going to be a transitionary period for the series as we rebuild and prepare for a new start. I am committed to Rat Queens, to stand by what it has always been praised for and to prove to the fans that they weren’t wrong in loving it.
Earlier today I quoted a piece that suggested that Upchurch would not undergo any repercussions for his actions. IN this case, that was incorrect.
Recorded live at Comic Arts Brooklyn, in this week’s podcast More to Come’s Calvin Reid interviews Jen Wang, co-creator of “In Real Life” with Cory Doctorow as well as the webcomic Strings of Fate; Belgian cartoonist Oliver Schrauwen, creator of Fantagraphics’s Arsene Schrauwen, a surreal fictional biography of his grandfather set in the then Belgian Congo; and Tim Lane, creator of the new Fantagraphics graphic novel The Lonesome Go as well as Abandoned Cars on PW Comics World’s More To Come.Add a Comment
The US branch of the international literary organization PEN America is holding an auction of “Firest EDitions/Second Thoughts” tpo help support its mission of freedom of expression. The auction, to be held at Christies, includes first editions of various famed books annotated and signed by the origianl authors. Among the works p for bid on December 2nd, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel, in a special copy signed by original author Paul Auster and adapters Paul Karasik, David Mazzucchelli and Art Spiegelman.
The book is often considered a landmark of showing how the comics medium can transform even a celebrated literary work into a new and powerful mode of storytelling. A special panel spotlight on the book was held at CAB 2013.
And there’s video….Add a Comment
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After some well publicized difficulties, artist James Jean has been back making great art for a while now. And better than ever, as this already sold out print Seasons may indicate.
I’ve long been awaiting Jeff Trexler’s analysis of the Marvel/Kirby Settlement, and he starts a two-part piece with Should the Kirby Family Have Settled? In case it hasn’t been explicitly stated enough, it was Trexler’s exploration of the potentially ground breaking work for hire aspects of the case that Kirby family attorney Marc Toberoff seems to have used to get the Supreme Court to even look at the case. To allow it to go to decision would have established an important precedent—but it was extremely risky for the Kirby heirs:
That’s not an unreasonable point of view, but it’s also not entirely fair. To see why, it can help to compare the Kirbys’ situation with that of the Siegel heirs in their own pursuit of a historic precedent. As we saw with the Siegels, the calculus in the Siegel case involved more than a decision between a win and a loss. The Siegels filed their lawsuit after agreeing to a set of terms that their previous attorney had informed them was legally binding; the likely and ultimately realized worst-case scenario was that the Siegels would quote-unquote lose with an eight-figure payout. The Kirbys, on the other hand, were in Schroedinger’s Court – the case for the moment was dead and alive, but once the Court observed it the lawsuit would reduce to just one of these states with no in-between.
Trexler also suggest that the votes on the final case may not have been the ones we were expecting. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—who actually requested Marvel answer the petition—may not have been all pro-freelancer:
Nonetheless, while Ginsburg’s dissents in such infamous cases as Citizens United (opposing corporate personhood) and Hobby Lobby (opposing the corporate religious exception for birth control coverage in Obamacare) have made her an anti-corporate hero, her approach to copyright cases is far more tempered. Exhibit #1: Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in the equally notorious case of Eldred v. Ashcroft upholding the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Act, the law that extended the term of copyright and kept Mickey Mouse out of the public domain.
Ginsburg also concurred in the Grokster case, an unpopular decision (in free-culture circles, at least) that sided with the music companies against those who believed that online file sharing should be left alone. Moreover, Ginsburg sided with the majority in the recent Aereo case, which helped the big TV networks to keep an Internet start-up from rebroadcasting freely available TV signals. Opposing Ginsburg & the rest of the majority in defending the rights of the corporate copyright establishment: conservative Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.
In a subsequent piece, Trexler will look at what we know of the settlement, which it’s been suggested, included a mid-eight figure monetary sum.
I urge everyone to just go read the whole thing. Given what we know, it’s quite possible that we have Trexler himself to thank for the circumstances that allowed the Kirby heirs and Marvel to come to an agreement which allows Jack to finally get his due in the modern Marvel Universe. And for that, we all owe him a huge thank you.Display Comments Add a Comment
Exhibit A: A Howard the Duck cameo at the end of the years #1 movie
Exhibit B: Marvel brings out a Howard the Duck Omnibus, reprinting the masterful comics by Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Val Mayerik and more.
It doesn’t take much detective work to figure out that a new Howard the Duck ONGOING COMIC was on the way. And it’s by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones , EW reveals. Did I ever think I would be writing a story about Chip Zdarsky writing for Marvel? Writing Howard the Duck? No, I did not.
Remember, Disney loves cute talking animals
What can readers expect from your work on Howard the Duck? Comedy is obviously a huge part—will there be a lot of visual humor? Chip, will fans of Sex Criminals find themselves at home here?
QUINONES: Nah. I think we’re going for something a bit more grounded here. We really wanted to explore Howard’s pain and loneliness, and how he expresses his outsider frustrations with extreme violence. Kidding! It’s definitely meant to be funny. I’m a big comedy fan, so expect a lot of visual gags throughout. Chip and I have already been brainstorming some on the subject.
ZDARSKY: Expect a humorous tale of time and sexuality! I’ve basically just copied Matt’s first three Sex Criminals scripts and replaced characters with Howard and some C-level superheroes.
I think it’s going to be fun! We’ll get to explore the Marvel Universe with a very short tour guide and a very good artist and me, a man who dresses as Garfield on the weekends.
Ha ha, I’m writing Howard the Duck!
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Wow speaking of comics crafts, coloring is definitely one of the key components of today’s comics golden age, yet one of the least understood, and Nathan Fairbairn presents a fascinating process post on how he colored Pax Americana, which has art by Frank Quitely. Among the insights—because Quitely’s coloring on his highly detailed art is so painstaking Fairbairn knew he could never equal it, but he had to try.
Pax Americana, written by Grant Morrison, is part of his Multiversity series, and also a take on Watchmen, and takes on Watchmen by Mark Millar and Warren Ellis. Multiversional indeed. The book has set Twitter all abuzz all week. Quitely’s art is stunning (and violent) as always, but the coloring is a powerful part of the effect of the book, dawn to small details of shadows.
And that’s just for starters! There’s a stunning amount of thought and care that goes into doing it right, which is why I usually just fake the hell out of it. On this book, though, I put in the effort.
And by “put in the effort” I mean “eventually asked Frank to do it for me when I couldn’t get it to look right.”
At any rate, this particular shadow was important. Frank told me he wanted the peace flag to cast the shadow of a mask on Harley’s face, which, symbolically, is so goddamn brilliant it makes me want to fly to Glasgow and hug the guy.
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Todd Klein is the dean of comics lettering in the US, with more awards than he can carry, and a portfolio of logos and classic lettering that would be hard to touch. And he’s put it all together for a seven part series on the history of comics lettering:
This is an amazingly concise and fact filled journey through the most overlooked aspect of comics creation. That contains not only examples of lettering through history but a ton of photos of the letterers themselves, few of whom I’d ever seen before. I’d love to read this in a little chapbook but I guess copyrights would prevent that. For instance, the above lettering from an early Wonder Woman looks like mechanical lettering but it’s actually from the dreaded Leroy lettering guide, which produced a more mechanical looking font.
In the final chapter, Klein looks at the actual rise of Digital lettering:
The 1990s were definitely a era of turmoil for letterers in comics. Once digital lettering became possible, it was just a matter of time before comics publishers adopted it. An all-digital workflow offered many advantages for them, saving time, expense and materials. It also offered flexibility for reprints in other languages they hadn’t had before. Artists and especially inkers generally hated it, as it meant they had more to draw or ink on the page, once the lettering wasn’t there. It also hurt sales of comics art to fans. Without the lettering, comics art is just pictures, the story is missing. Letterers (and colorists) faced the hardest challenges though, needing to buy expensive computers and software and learn new working methods if they wanted to stay in the market. Letterers also had to create their own fonts, a difficult task, or use commercial comic book fonts, thereby making the work they did less likely to stand out from the crowd. Many feared the changes, and much anger and hatred were directed at the pioneers in digital lettering. Alan Moore once said, “You can always recognize a pioneer — he’s the one lying face down in the dirt, pointing the way with arrows in his back,” It was true for comics lettering, and there are still hard feelings from the 90s, when some letterers unwilling to go digital, or behind the curve, were pushed out of the business. Others came around later and reluctantly, often at a cost to their ability to find work.
Despite this, we now seem to have a fairly wide field of lettering options, from hand designed fonts to the occasional mad(wo)man who still does it by hand. If you’ve ever wondered about comics lettering, get a hot drink, sit down and red this whole series.
PS: Klein reprints this chart
made by Comicraft back in the day he made detailing the old way vs the new way. UPDATE: This is actually Todd’s work sorry for the misidentification!
LISTS! Michael Cavna—who will be full time at Comics Riffs next year, hoorah—has his top ten, most of which I expect to see over and over as the best lists roll out:
By Gilbert Hernandez (Drawn & Quarterly)
CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?
By Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK GRAPHIC NOVEL: VOLS. 1 AND 2
By Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (Harper Collins)
THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS
By Max Brooks and illustrator Caanan White (Broadway Books)
HIP HOP FAMILY TREE: BOOK 2 (1981-1983)
By Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
HOW TO BE HAPPY
By Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)
SAGA: DELUXE EDITION, VOL. 1
By Brian K. Vaughan and illustrator Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
THE SHADOW HERO
By Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Sonny Liew (First Second)
By Raina Telgemeier (Graphix)
THIS ONE SUMMER
By Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
Over at PW I reported on Consortium starting to distribute Alternative Comics and Secret Acres to bookstores. They currently distribute Uncivilized, Toon Books, Nobrow and Koyama Press, as well as publishers such as Fulcrum and Enchanted Lion who put out a lot of graphic novel material. (And a lot of other distinguished small press publishers as well.)
I understand that Consortium has been very important for publishers like Uncivilized and Koyama—and that Consortium is pretty aggressive about bringing new comics publishers into their fold. At CAB I also heard a bunch of griping about Diamond—mostly shipping dates catalog listing and so on. Small things, and Diamond is pretty much the rock of the industry, but if people are getting better service elsewhere they are likely to move.
One thing about the publishers picked up by Consortium—they may be small presses that publish a lot of indie cartoonists, but many of their books aren’t necessarily limited in audience to hardcore indie comics readers. For instance, Wendy, shown above, is a popular webcomic and a devastating take on socialite culture. Sam Henderson’s books are just funny gags, Nobrow puts out a ton of books that are just great to look at, Uncivilized books are smart and accessible, Edie Fake’s work has gotten acclaim many places, Toon Books are award winning crowd pleasers and so on. Getting better distribution seems to be a very important move for all these publishers and I expect we’ll hear more about this in 2015
Robyn Chapman has some thoughts about this and what it means to micro presses here.Display Comments Add a Comment
§ Rat Queens artist and co-creator Roc Upchurch was arrested last month on charges of assault and battery against his wife, who posted an account on a blog and then removed it. It’s a sad familiar tale, but hasn’t gotten that much attention among comics folk. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do when one of our own transgresses. Women Write About Comics’ Megan Purdy also received information about the assult and the arrest and offers some very important perspective:
Many have suggested that the arrest is a private matter, and that his ex-wife’s more extensive allegations have the potential to ruin Upchurch’s career. But domestic violence is not a private matter — it’s a criminal one — and rare is the man’s career that has been ruined by it. Upchurch stands to lose little from our merely speaking about an arrest that hasn’t been further pursued. Rat Queens, remember, is a creator-owned book published by Image, and it has been hailed as a breath of fresh air, a genuinely and breezily feminist comic, around which Kurt Wiebe and Upchurch have been a vibrant and supportive community. That community is unlikely to suddenly disappear in the wake of this news. Some readers may stand to lose more, though, should we shy from reporting the matter honestly — they may lose whatever sense of safety and trust they have found among us.
We must not shy away from reporting unpleasant facts.
We must not cultivate a culture of silence and polite withdrawal.
As I said, there is often foot shuffling about these matters, but bringing them to light is often the surest way to begin recovery for all involved.
And now back to more trivial matters.
§ That big Saga hardcover with extras is just out and Brian K. Vaughan offers the potential problems with the breast-feeding cover:
Anyway, Eric Stephenson was concerned that we might be limiting our audience with this kind of cover, and we had a lot of back and forth with him until he finally said, “You guys know I’m not your boss, right? You can do anything you want at Image, I just wanted you to be aware of the climate out there.” Which is one of the countless reasons why Image is the best publisher in the world. And to Eric’s credit, as soon as he saw Fiona’s gorgeous execution of our cover idea, his response was the same as mine: “However many of these we print, it’s not gonna be enough.”
Thankfully, retailers have been equally supportive, and we haven’t had a single complaint. Sounds like one national book chain is even going to feature the hardcover at the front of their stores for the holiday season, so we’re enormously grateful for everybody’s approval of horned babies and milk-engorged boobs.
§ Did you know that New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff stars in a video series called The Cartoon Lounge? In the above episode Mankoff fiddles with his gizmos.
§ DC Comics is suing the Valencia football (soccer to Usains) club because their traditional “bat logo” has been altered in such a way as to resemble Batman’s. Valencia has included a bat in the logo since 1919 so this is hardly a new thing. Another local team, Levante, also has a bat in their logo because apparently, Valencians are in love with bats:
The symbol of the bat has a long history with Valencia that dates back to the 13th century when the region was conquered by King James I of Aragon who added the image of the bat to his coat of arms as a symbol of good luck. Bats are common in the region of Valencia and the Balearic Islands and the coat of arms of the city of Valencia still features a bat.
Perhaps DC should send Bruce Wayne to team up with these guys instead—it seems they are all on the same side.
§ A new Egyptian comic called Shakmagia or “ewlery Box” includes comics focusing on the problems with sexual harassment and volence in Egypt. The link includes a history of Egyptians political cartoons which go back 100 years.
§ Cinemax’s pilot for Outcast,the Kirkman/Azaeta comics has been cast.
Rounding out the cast is an ensemble of season television and film actors, The Hollywood Reporter notes, many of whom who have starred in recent television hits. The cast include Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl), Philip Glenister (Big School), Reg E. Cathy (House of Cards), Julia Crockett (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire, and Kip Pardue (Ray Donovan).
§ Acclaimed cartoonist Kevin Huizenga has updated his activities. Haven’t really seen much from him of late which is sad, but Ganges will continue with a new issue out next spring. YAY.
§ Noah Berlatsky has his own book on Wonder Woman coming out next year, and some thoughts on the current Jill Lepore book:
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That issue is…the title, and in many ways the thesis of the book, are misleading. Lepore presents the Marston family history of polyamory, and therefore the connection between Wonder Woman creator William Marston and his lover Olive Byrne’s aunt Margaret Sanger, as unknown. If this was the first book you’d ever read about Marston and Wonder Woman, I think you’d come away with the impression that Lepore is the first one to reveal that Marston and his wife Elizabeth lived in a polyamorous relationship with another woman (Olive Byrne).
Last year the Society of Illustrators inaugurated a comics art competition similar to the one for illustrators they’ve been running for many years. (Disclosure: I was a judge.) The Comics and Cartoon Art Annual offered a printed guide to the best comics of the year in a succinct form. The competition is back in 2015, chaired by Steven Guarnaccia, with Co-Chair: R. Sikoryak. The above art is by Bendik Kaltenborn. I had a great time with my fellow judged and absorbing a great many new cartoonists and established one in a new guise. I’m sure this year will be an even better compeition. Entry guidelines are below. Last year’s winners are here.
ABOUT THE COMIC AND CARTOON ART ANNUAL
The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce the second annual Comic and Cartoon Art Competition.
Open to artists worldwide, entries are considered by a jury of professionals, including renowned cartoonists, illustrators, publishers, and editors. The competition will result in an exhibition that will showcase the most outstanding works created in this genre throughout each year.
The original works will be exhibited in the MoCCA Gallery at the Society of Illustrators from June 16 through August 15th, 2015.
Opening Award Galas will be scheduled where Medals and Certificates will be presented to the artists whose works are judged best in each category.
All accepted entries will be reproduced in a full color catalog.
A selection of 40 works from each Exhibition will then tour colleges throughout the country in an educational traveling show, a tradition that we have had at the Society for over 30 years.
Long Form: A work that is longer than 40 pages. Includes graphic novels, comic books, etc. An anthology is eligible in this category if it is created by one person, and the individual stories form a cohesive whole. If stories should be judged independently, please submit an entry form per person.
Short Form: A work that is more than two pages but shorter than 40 pages. Includes stand-alone work, zines, comic books and work that has been published in anthologies. Work appearing in anthologies may be entered in this category if the individual story is shorter than 40 pages. If stories should be judged independently please submit an entry form per story.
Special Format: Work that is design-driven and created with special attention to production values, including limited edition, small press, hand-made and artist’s books.
Digital Media: Work that is native to a digital format. Includes web comics, online comic strips, and other digitally driven works. Up to 20 images accepted per entry.
Comic Strip: A short-form work published in newspapers, magazines, books, online, etc. featuring four or more panels. Must be one page or less.
Single Image: Work featuring a self-contained narrative image with or without caption. Includes gag cartoons, political cartoons, single-panel cartoons, etc.
HOW TO ENTER LONG FORM & SHORT FORM BOOK SUBMISSIONS
Eligibility: Any book that was created from January 2014 – January 2015. Both published or self-published are accepted. International entries are welcome. Each submission will receive consideration by every member of the jury for its category.
How to enter: Mail 6 copies of the publication to the Society of Illustrators: 128 East 63 Street, New York, NY, 10065. Attn: Comic and Cartoon Art Competition. Must include the official entry form with each copy.
DEADLINE: Monday, January 5, 2015.
Entry Fees For Book Submissions:
$30 per entry (includes all six copies) for non-members of the Society of Illustrators.
$20 per entry (includes all six copies) for members of the Society of Illustrators.
Include a check with the entry. Checks made out to Society of Illustrators.
Last May, Alan Moore announced he would be involved with a new line of digital comics called Electricomics. Given that Alan Moore is to computers as Daryl Dixon is to soap, this seemed counter intuitive, but it turns out his daughter Leah was very much involved in it. A line of comics was announced:
Electricomics will be a 32-page showcase with four very different original titles:
Big Nemo – set in the 1930s, Alan Moore revisits Winsor McCay’s most popular hero￼
Cabaret Amygdala – modernist horror from writer Peter Hogan (Terra Obscura)
Red Horse – on the anniversary of the beginning of World War One, Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and Danish artist Peter Snejbjerg (World War X) take us back to the trenches
Sway – a slick new time travel science fiction story from Leah Moore and John Reppion (Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon, 2000 AD)
Those of you picturing Alan Moore hunched over a computer workstation writing code with his beard nearly hiding the keyboard, stop it. Don’t be ridiculous; that’s what he has code demons for (No, seriously, a shed full of ‘em. It’s in the zine.). Mr. Moore may not be a wizard of the tech variety, but it seems his self-proclaimed alienation from modern forms of media has allowed to conceive this project relatively unpolluted by the endeavours that precede it. He doesn’t know Comixology, Madefire, or Manga Studio. He knows comics. That’s something that was made crystal clear through the course of this panel, the idea that, if you could distill from the form the Essence of Comics, then that would be the driving technology behind this project. That’s what a couple top theorists, legendary writers (did I mention Garth Ennis?), and hotshot programmers are doing with a bundle of government money: not an exercise in visual FX, motion graphic, music, flashinglight and pretty colours, but attempting to take the narrative structural and spatial freedom of a digital workspace and make it understandable and accessible to you through…an app.
And here’s another second look at a comics property that already had a time at the dance—Global Frequency, already the subject of a failed project way back in the prehistory of 2005, is getting another look as a TV show, with Jerry Bruckheimer once again leading the way.
The comic book Global Frequency came out from Wildstorm during the days when it was edgy and daring.. (For those of you who came in late, Wildstorm was once an imprint of DC Comics that put out more wild and crazy adventure themed stuff. It was shut down a few years ago and its remaining properties were folded into Vertigo.)
Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by a bunch of artists including Garry Leach, Steve Dillon, David Lloyd and Gene Ha, it followed a high tech privately sourced elite crime solving organization—an idea that has kind of been done to death since then but it still works when done well. (Person of Interest?) A pilot was made starring Michelle Forbes and Josh Hopkins in 2005 but it went nowhere. But those were the days when comic books were just things printed on paper and not idea space thought peaches.
Now it’s back with Bruckheimer producing and Rockne S. O’Bannon writing a new pilot. O’Bannon is well known for creating Farscape, and he’s also working on Constantine, but don’t hold that against him.
As Deadline helpfully points tout, this is part of the EXPLOSION of WB TV projects based on comics, joining the on air Arrow, Gotham, Flash and Constantine, and the upcoming iZombie and Supergirl, which has a series commitment at CBS, and Lucifer, also at Fox.
Whoever is doing TV development at DC Comics—you rock.Display Comments Add a Comment
Now what was that I was just saying about non Marvel and DC properties getting a second look—or in the case of From Hell, a third look. The masterpiece by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell that followed the saga of Jack the Ripper in fascinating detail was already made into a movie starring Johnny Depp. But now it’s back in development as a TV show:
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Don Murphy, who producer not only the From Hell film but the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film, is producing, with Children of Men’s David Arata (Children Of Men) writing a script. And then:
When the current resurgence of event series started, Murphy thought that would be a great way to handle the material properly, giving the story time to play out and doing it justice. He reached out to Fox Group chairman Peter Rice who was an executive on the movie. Rice loved the idea and the project was set up at Fox TV Studios whose then-topper David Madden had worked with Murphy in the past. Arata was brought in as writer and the drama was sold to FX, with FX Prods. coming on board to co-produce with FtvS. Murphy is executive producing with Susan Montford, via their company Angry Films, along with Arata.
All of which is to say that expect Moore not to have anything to say about this and to get exceedingly cranky when asked.
BUT, you may recall that League of Extraordinary Gentleman was announced last year as a “put pilot”—meaning it would have to be made and shown or Fox would have to pay a sizable fee—and where is that? Not another peep heard.
All of that said, in case you need to be reminded, From Hell is a true masterpiece of comics, Moore’s phantasmagoric view of true life historical detail and artist Eddie Campbell’s deeply felt expressionist art combining with one of the greatest mysteries of all time to make an unforgettable story. If you haven’t read it, remedy that right now!Display Comments Add a Comment
With 56 super franchise movies coming at ya in the next six years, The Beat has been keeping an eye on whether any of those zillions of non Marvel/DC comics options might be getting closer to the screen. And the answer is sort of yes. For instance Cowboy, Ninja Viking, written by AJ Lieberman and drawn (in spectacular fashion) by Riley Rossmo came out from Image in 2009, five years ago. It was published in the briefly-trendy Golden Age size and was one of the first books to introduce the now ubiquitous limited-palette/expressionist art style that you find in so many comics.
With a catchy title and high concept—intelligence operative is a multiple personality with Cowboy, Ninja and Viking and personas—an option was inevitable. But that’s as much as you usually hear about these projects.
But now it’s roared back to life with the rumor that it-boy Chris Pratt, fresh off his dreamy, funny, Modern-Han-Solo role as Starlord, may be in talks to star in a Cowboy, Ninja, Viking movie:
A Cowboy Ninja Viking movie has been kicking around for a few years now. Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese initially penned the adaptation for Disney, which deemed the resulting script “too edgy”. Universal subsequently picked it up out of turnaround and a few years ago attached Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) to direct, though he’s no longer involved with the project.
[snip] Though a director is not yet set for the film, attaching Pratt as the lead will no doubt attract interest from a number of filmmakers. Film 360 is producing the project, as is Mark Gordon, who is also producing the Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic at Sony.
So there you go, a catchy title and a decent concept and this project won’t fade away.
I expect to see a lot of these floating around comic projects get their tires kicked over the next few months.
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The post-Guardians partnership between Marvel and Jim Starlin continues with the second original graphic novel in a proposed trilogy about Thanos the purple skinned Mad Titan created by Starlin. THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN comes out in June. While standalone graphic novels were once rare at Marvel they’ve gotten into the pool with the Starlin books, and some introductory books aimed at beginning (as in not experts in Marvel continuity) readers. The first book in the trilogy, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, made the NY Times bestseller list, so it probably did all right.
Starlin created Thanos, who is expected to be the big villain in a number of Avengers movies, and his daughter Gamora, and has had a major hand in developing the mythology of the Infinity Gems which have been a running theme throughout the Marvel MCU for a while. And as the blurb shows, the book includes more of the whole Thanos/Guardians/Warlock mythology that Starlin developed:
Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone has re-ascended to power, more dangerous and more deadly than ever before. When he and his Negative Zone armies make another, renewed assault on our universe in search of a source of infinite power, a fragile alliance of the universe’s most unlikely protectors will form to stop him.
Now the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator the Majestor of the Shi’ar Empire, and Adam Warlock and more must unite like never before! Only Adam Warlock’s complex cycle of death and rebirth has left him more confused than ever before. What is his purpose in the universe? Why is he here? With his Infinity Watch reunited alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, between them they may hold the key to ending the threat of Annihilus once and for all – but to do so they’ll need to enlist the help of another.
Could it be that the fate of everything lies in the hands…of Thanos?
Oni publicity guy John Schork has left, as announced in a model of grown-upness via social media
Hey everyone, just a quick note, Oni Press and I have decided to part ways mutually and amicably.
— SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK! (@SchorkWeek) November 20, 2014
I had a great time and made a lot of great friends there, but I'm excited to pursue new opportunities.
— SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK! (@SchorkWeek) November 20, 2014
And I still advocate that you buy absolutely every goddamn thing they publish!
— SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK! (@SchorkWeek) November 20, 2014
Schork who has also worked at Dark Horse and IDW, joined Oni about a year ago as Director of Publicity. He was a pal on the convention circuit and it was always a pleasure working with him, so hopefully we’ll see him at the next stop.
Perhaps this will kick off a new round of publicity musical chairs? Also, DC is hiring.Display Comments Add a Comment
§ Roz Chast did not win the National Book Award—Evan Osnos won for Age of Ambition— But she’s still a winner in my book! There ceremony also saw Neil Gaiman presenting Ursula K. LeGuin with a lifetime achievement type award. LeGuin had things to say:
As she delved into the state of the publishing industry today, Le Guin’s speech was not without message. “Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and a practice of an art,” she said. Le Guin, too, referenced the Amazon issue, citing a “profiteer trying to punish publishers for disobedience.” She continued, “I have had a long career and a good one, in good company. Now, here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds. But, the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”
§ Rob Salkowitz recently summed up Five Trends In Digital Comics To Watch including Google maybe not being in the mix on digital comics yet. And also this blunt assessment that sort of points out the elephant in the room:
Dark Horse Digital needs… help
There is no polite way to say this: Dark Horse’s app was already falling behind in 2012. The company has left piles of money on the table by cutting itself off from the broader market and denying readers a decent digital experience.
On the upside, this situation has kept Dark Horse from getting entangled with Comixology, even at the level of core technology (Comixology tech powers most of the industry’s “white label” publisher apps, including DC and Marvel). Dark Horse would be well advised to get out of the app business and turn its digital distribution over to a competent partner. That presents a good opportunity for anyone ready.
§ I loved this post: Ines Estrada looks back on 2014 and it was pretty great from the micro press/small press/ indie side…at least artistically. I assume everyone is living on a single can of tuna a day as they share precious Risograph ink cartridges, but the comics look great.
§ Welp, that new Wonder Woman by the Meredith and David Finch team came out yesterday. Tim Hanley was underwhelmed. Tech Times felt it
“deliver[ed] some captivating mysteries” and Graphic Policy felt it “does what it needs to have done.” One thing is for sure, WW is back to having that whole “boobs and butt” look.
§ Speaking of BnB, J. Caleb Mozzocco comments on the return of 90s icon Jim Balent:
Here his art isn’t even recognizable (to me) as that of the same guy, but I guess it has been 20 years or so. I’m guessing it’s largely the coloring, which gives the figures a sickly, wax dummy-like appearance. The way Catwoman’s kicking though, that’s definitely a Balent pose. And, looking closely, they’ve definitely got Balent proportions…although, like I said, Harley’s breasts look remarkably realistic, at least in the way they get smooshed like real breasts when wearing a super-tight corset (Also, that’s a really nice background and, if you look closely, you’ll find a cat shape hidden in it, something Balent used to do with his covers for the Catwoman).
§ The 4th Letter Blog, mainly run by David Brothers, with help from Gavin Jasper, is closing up shop. Brothers now has a busy job with Image Comics, and it had fallen into silence, so it’s no surprise, but let’s give it the 21 kb salute…or whatever you ive when a website goes away. Brothers was a passionate advocate for Manga and for diversity and lots of other stuff. He’s taken his passion behind the scenes now and that’s good, but so few really strong “personality blogs” remain…their time has passed I guess.
§ - Andrice Arp interviewed Simon Hanselmann for Gridlords and it was highly amusing. Hanselmann totally has the comics rock star thing down pat.
§ A look at this years Best American Comics by Paul Morton is called Emancipation from Irony—and Scott McCloud did catch a certain zeitgeist, even if it is a bit normcore.
The Best American Comics 2014 reads as a sequel to McCloud’s theoretical studies. Previous guest editors instructed readers to thumb through the anthologies and choose work that interests them most just as they would browse the shelves in a comics shop. McCloud asks that you read his anthology in order, cover-to-cover, and that you treat it as a critical narrative. He divides his book into discrete sections, presenting a taxonomy of genres. The book is an argument on the state of comics in the second decade of the 21th century.
§ As a counterpoint to the above there’s the upcoming The Mammoth Book of Cult Comics which collects a bunch of lost comics. I was particularly happy to see Gregory Benton’s Hummingbird and Jeff Nicholson’s Through The Habittrails resurrected here.
§ Peoples like to make lists. Here’s Paste Magazine’s 10 Great Comics for Adolescent Girls.
§ Cartoonist Ted Slampyak drew Little Orphan Annie until it was cancelled, and his own Jazz Age Chronicles. He also draws occasional informational comic strips for The Art of Manliness, such as this truly essential one showing How to Gird Up Your Loins which tuns out to be a very practical and important thing.
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I am a 19 year old young cartoonist who lives in Malaysia. WHAT? MALAYSIA? If not for the two airplane incidents, I am quite sure the majority of the US population will not know where Malaysia is at all, let alone comic creators in Malaysia.
Which is interesting isn’t it? Here’s something to consider: would people like you, the comment reader, be able to notice Malaysian creators if not for the internet? Would people like you know who Hwei (lalage) is? Would people like you be able to know who I am (well, hello, I am here and I don’t mind work)? Let’s take this further: would people like you be able to read European comics, South American comics, Indian comics, Russian comics, Australian comics, Indonesian comics, African comics, even some AMERICAN comics, if not for the internet?
Would we even have this comic surge right now without the internet?
The reason why we even have a comic surge in the first place is because we’ve finally opened up doors for creators of different races, cultures, nationalities, identities, opinions, political parties, viewpoints, EVERYTHING to express themselves. And that’s good! Because this opens up the audience too!
To shift away from the internet is to reduce opportunities for young cartoonists like me. To reduce flavour in an increasingly globalised industry.
Well, this is a wonderful surprise! Panel Syndicate announced today that a new digital comic by Albert Monteys (of El Jueves fame) is being hosted on their platform. Panel Syndicate, launched by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin with the purpose of hosting their spectacular 10-issue series The Private Eye with colorist Muntsa Vicente, is holding true to their word and opening up the publishing platform up to other creators.
The reason this is super-noteworthy (other than gracing us with more of Montey’s wonderful work) is what makes Panel Syndicate’s platform so unique. Their comics are digital-only, DRM-free, widescreen-oriented, and available in multiple file formats costing as much as you’re willing to pay. This digital pay-what-you-want method, while undoubtedly around previously, was popularized when UK music group Radiohead released their acclaimed In Rainbows album in 2007 self-produced on their website.
For me, Panel Syndicate’s method is one of the best available – for those willing to take the risk. If you receive enough purchases from readers, there is literally nothing standing between you and the full payment other than the costs of hosting and the time spent making the work. It goes without saying that The Private Eye has been a smash hit as it was launched soon after it became clear that Saga was well on its way to becoming the titan it is today, but I’m thrilled that we’re getting work from a creator who is less known in the United States. I didn’t consider the possibility of a place like Panel Syndicate being leverages as a way to expose the US audience to comics from other countries, but it makes so much damned sense. If Monteys wants Universe! available in Spanish, Catalan, and English; that’s an easy option, no second printing needed. It’s ultimate control for the creator with nothing but gain for the reader, so long as we have an open heart and open mind when choosing what we buy.
You can find the first issue of Universe! and all released issues (8 0f 10) of The Private Eye at Panel Syndicate.Add a Comment
Another win for a graphic novel as Jillian Tamaki won canada’s Governor General Award : for This One Summer in the Children’s Literature Illustrations category. This is a prestigious Canadian literary award, and its the first win for a graphic novel, although cousin Mariko Tamaki was nominated for their previous collaboration, Skim, and Mariko was nominated in the Children’s Literature category this year. Jillian gets the hometown hero treatment from the Edmonton Journal (she’s a native of Calgary.)
It’s the first Governor General nomination for Jillian Tamaki but, strangely, not the first time her work has been nominated. There was controversy back in 2008 when Skim, the first book she created with her cousin, was nominated in the text category but not for illustrations. Tamaki argues that separating illustration and story into two categories for comics does not make a lot of sense, suggesting that it may be time for a separate category for graphic novels.
“It’s the same strange divorce of text and image for this one as well,” Tamaki says. “I think we are both creators of the book. You can’t read a comic without either component, it won’t make sense. It’s something I will always be addressing when talking about the award. But I am completely flattered by the honour and will be sharing the prize with my cousin.”
Valiant continues to roll out some new books—this month it’s Josh Dysart’s Imperium—but I really just posted this for the Matt Kindt/Jeff Lemire variant covers.
IMPERIUM #1 [VALIANT NEXT]
Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Cover A (Harada) by RAUL ALLEN
Cover B (Lord Vine-99) by RAUL ALLEN
Cover C (Major Mech) by RAUL ALLEN
Valiant Next Variant by TREVOR HAIRSINE & TOM MULLER
Character Design Variant by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Artist Variant by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Blank Cover also available
A daring new superhero saga from New York Times best-selling creator Joshua Dysart – writer of of the Harvey-Award nominated series HARBINGER – and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (UNITY, Justice)!
Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet.
Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now.
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 4
DIVINITY #1 (of 4) [VALIANT NEXT]
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TREVOR HAIRSINE
Cover A by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC
Cover B by TOM MULLER
Valiant Next Variant by BUTCH GUICE & TOM MULLER
Character Design Variant by LEWIS LAROSA
Artist Variant by LEWIS LAROSA
From New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, Mind MGMT) and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine (X-Men: Deadly Genesis) comes a shocking new vision of science fiction in an all-new prestige format limited series.
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent a man farther into the cosmos than anyone has gone before or since. Lost in the stars, he encountered something unknown. Something that…changed him.
Long thought lost and erased from the history books, he has suddenly returned, crash-landing in the Australian Outback. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Earth is about to meet a new god. And he’s a communist.
How long can it be before the first confrontation between mankind and DIVINITY begins?
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | PRESTIGE FORMAT | On sale FEBRUARY 11
From the award-winning team that brought you ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, New York Times best-selling creators Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry continue a centuries-spanning race against the clock!
At this very moment in Geneva, Switzerland, history is being made. A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process. But she doesn’t know that yet. Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror, and misguided protector of the time stream will be banging down her door. Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first…right? Now it’s down to history’s most jaded, most tempestuous time traveler to stop the worst of everything that is, was, and will be…before time runs out!
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 18
As the world teeters on the brink of a new Dark Age, superstar creators Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man), Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT), and Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) recruit each of Valiant’s most formidable heroes into the 10,000-year-old battle for the fate of all mankind!
The entire Valiant Universe faces off against the Immortal Enemy! Can they help Eternal Warrior succeed where he has failed so many times before? Civilization’s best hope against the darkness may lie in the unlikeliest of romances…
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | PRESTIGE FORMAT | On sale FEBRUARY 18
X-O Manowar has beaten the Vine. Survived the Armor Hunters. Come face to face with the Armorines. Now he faces an unimaginable threat…a threat from beyond the grave.
The lesson needed to defeat them resides with his past and the greatest love of his life, Deidre of Dacia. But the last Aric knew of her, she was captured by the Roman legions and heading towards a slave camp. Her story, however, did not end there. Heavy hangs the head the that wears the crown.
Join New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (Green Lantern, The Flash) and rising star Rafa Sandoval (X-Men: Legacy) for this special done-in-one jumping-on point issue – revisiting a mystery ripped from the pages of X-O Manowar #1!
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 4
The fix is in – and award-winning creators James Asmus (Gambit) and Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spider-Man) are about to unleash a world of hurt on the world’s worst superhero mis-adventurers!
Quantum and Woody have been hyp-mo-tized! But why? And how did these two chuckleheads suddenly become the heroes and idols of millions? A sinister puppet master lays his cards on the table and activates his Manchurian Candidates. Because when the world’s worst superhero team swoops into action…Quantum and Woody must die!
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 25
UNITY #15 (NEW ARC!)
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by PERE PEREZ
Cover A by RAUL ALLEN
Cover B by JENNY FRISON
Variant Cover by CHRISCROSS
ALL-NEW ARC! New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, RAI) and Harvey Award nominee Pere Perez (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG) rebuild the world’s most elite super-team one member at a time!
The United have left Unity decimated – a member lost, a terrible secret revealed, and the entire world turned against them. Not Harada, not Dr. Silk, not even the mighty Armor Hunters left the team as fractured as this! Now, Unity must decide where their place is in this new world and whether they will stand together or fall apart, beginning with the one teammate that might just be the most dangerous of all…the lethal intelligence operative called NINJAK!
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 18
“Battle for New Japan” explodes with another pulse-pounding chapter by New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, Mind MGMT) and featuring fully painted artwork by superstar artist Clayton Crain (X-Force)!
Romance threatens to destroy a necessary peace between Raddies and robots as Rai builds his army for the final assault on Father! Plus: a glimpse of Earth 4001 and the secret weapon hiding out on the planet’s surface that could be the key to taking back New Japan!
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 11
It all ends here! Legendary creators Christopher Priest (Black Panther) and MD Bright (Iron Man) deliver the final chapter for a comic book milestone more than a decade in the making!
Quantum. Woody. The other Quantum has disappeared. The other Woody has been revealed. Heroes, enemies, frenemies, and armies of vicious mercenaries descend on one luxurious ballroom during a black-tie affair…they all want the secret young Woody guards, and nothing will stop them from taking it. As the bullets fly and the champagne flows, can Quantum save the life of his young ward? And just whose side is the slippery Woody finally on…?
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 11
THE DELINQUENTS TPB
Written by JAMES ASMUS & FRED VAN LENTE
Art by KANO
Cover by PAOLO RIVERA
Quantum and Woody are the world’s worst superhero team. Archer & Armstrong are a mismatched pair of conspiracy-busting adventurers. When a mysterious force collides these ill-suited and irresponsible “heroes” are in for a cross-country race through the darkest corners of American mythology, all hell is bound to break loose. Can two busted pairs become four of a kind in time to defeat the Hobo King, save the day, and make it back home in time for happy hour? Let’s hope so…’cause these guys make a really, really bad team. (And you don’t even want to know about the goat.)
It’s an all-new superhero joyride from fan-favorite writers James Asmus (QUANTUM AND WOODY) and Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG) and heat-seeking artist Kano (QUANTUM AND WOODY,Immortal Iron Fist), colliding Quantum and Woody and Archer & Armstrong for the world’s most disastrous team-up adventure! Collecting THE DELINQUENTS #1–4.
$14.99 US | T+ | 112 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 4
TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 9781939346513
“✮✮✮✮✮…[The Delinquents] just might be the single most entertaining comic book released in…the entire year of 2014.” – Comic Book Resources
Peter Stanchek and his band of teenage runaways are harbingers of a new age, born with the power to change the world… or break it. Plagued by emerging psionic powers he hardly understands, Peter turns to Toyo Harada and his Harbinger Foundation, an organization dedicated teaching young people like Peter. But when Peter learns to what lengths Harada will go to further his secret agenda, he turns on his mentor, gathering a group of like-minded rebels. On the road and always just one step ahead of Harada and his hit-squad of super powered Eggbreakers, these renegade harbingers will have to learn how to use their powers to change the world for the better along the way.
This deluxe hardcover collects the critically acclaimed masterpiece that kicked off a whole new age of superheroes from legendary creators Jim Shooter (Secret Wars) and David Lapham (Stray Bullets). Collecting HARBINGER (1992) #0–7 in a deluxe hardcover format, complete with process art, sketches, and more rarely seen back-up material from the Valiant vault.
$39.99 US | T+ | 200 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 25
HARDCOVER | ISBN: 978193934648
“’Children of the Eighth Day’ deserves to be uttered in the same breath as the masterpieces of the art form: Watchmen, Maus, Dark Knight Returns…” – SequartDisplay Comments Add a Comment