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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Future Comics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 55
1. Future Comic alert: The Boat by Nam Le and Matt Huynh is gorgeous

2 boat

[Note “Future Comic” is the category we assign to comics that use interactive elements to tell stories. Here is one such comic.]

It’s been a while since we had a good “future comic” to talk about, as they’ve become way too expensive  for the casual creator to produce, but here’s one that is beautiful, inventive AND moving. The Boat adapts the internationally acclaimed Dylan Thomas Award-winning story by Nam Le about Vietnamese resettlement in Australia following the fall of Saigon in 1975. It was commissioned by Australian network SBS and their interactive unit has created a scrolling graphic novel that uses limited animation, archival footage, text, gorgeous hand drawn art by Matt Huynh and sound design by Sam Petty (Animal Kingdom, The Rover)  to tell this story.

Both Le and Huynh are connected to the story of 16-year-old Mai, who is sent alone in a boat to what her parents hope will be a welcoming new home. Le’s family was part of the diaspora and Huynh’s family left Saigon a few years after the fall.

6  boat

said: “The Boat is the most urgent and immediate comic I’ve ever made – a work of a kind I’ve never quite seen before and a unique chance to engage an issue so entangled with my own life. It’s a work that deals not in metaphor or analogy, not exclusively fiction or history and impossible to segment artist from subject. This resulting work is proof of my life, luck, of a country’s compassion for people in the most vulnerable of circumstances over 40 years ago and our urgent, unavoidable connection to today’s asylum seekers and refugees.”

Le said: “An astounding and original piece of work: Matt Huynh and the team at SBS have taken a short story and shifted it into another register. The result is strange and powerful; more importantly, it opens up new ground. I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

As I’ve mentioned, making a project like this is not cheap, so props to SBS for having the resources to make something that tells an important story in a new and moving way.

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And here’s a video on the making of the comic:

 

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2. New open source Comic Smart Panels allows you to make your own animated comics

As digital comics have become a cornerstone of comics reading, several companies have offered their own version of a technology which allows the panels to transition for digital reading. Comixology has “Guided View,” Marvel has its Unlimited technology; iVerse offers uView. The iVerse systems can be applied by users to comics viewed through their platforms, and Comixology also allows publishers to adapt their own comics.

Yugoslavian software developer Zoran Bosnjak writes to inform us of a new open source software that allows you to apply this kind of technology to any comic. It’s called Comic Smart Panels Creator & Viewer (available for Windows for now) which allows fluid panel animations and scaling for any kind of comic. Balloon sequence can also be defined, as seen with the Thrillbent comics and other “ecomics” platforms.

The files are stored in Comic Panel Definitions (CPD) files which are JSON files (with meta information about panel positions and dimensions.) While these can be read by the companion “Viewer” program, they should be importable to other viewing platforms.

As you can see from the screenshots below this still seems to be a but tech-y and not necessarily a weekend project for most folks.Both Guided View and uView are already available to those who want it, and have perhaps a bit less of a learning curve (the issue of the Maxx shown in the YouTube video is perhaps the least likely candidate for any kind of guided view.) . However, the more software the more people have, the more results you’ll see.
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3 Comments on New open source Comic Smart Panels allows you to make your own animated comics, last added: 4/27/2015
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3. Future comics: “When Damo Met Can’ by Soto and Willumsen

damo can soto willumsen Future comics: When Damo Met Can by Soto and Willumsen

There haven’t been many new developments in the “Future comics” category of late; that is comics that use animation, gifs, or other tablet- or web-based technology as a storytelling tool, beyond Madefire’s leading the category, and Boulet and Emily Carroll being the Eisenstein’s thus far. It seems like motion comics and the costs of developing platforms have sort of put this on the backburner…plus guided view and the like are now such a standard aspect of reading comics that they don’t elicit much comment.

When Damo Met Can by Zack Soto and Conor Willumsen isn’t a groundbreaker by any means, just a reminder that this is still pretty much wide open space.

The comic was commissioned by Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo as part of a series edited by Marc Weidenbaum, formerly comics editor of Pulse Magazine and an editor at Tokyo Pop. According to the website:

[W]e’re celebrating one of Japan’s most beloved art forms: manga. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing animated music-related comics from Japanese and international artists that showcase a wide variety of styles, highlighting the impact that manga and comic artists have had on storytelling around the world.

Other comics in the series feature one about MF Doom by Gabe Soria and Dean Haspiel and one about DJ Krush by Haruhisa Nakata. It’s a nice little series that serves to remind us that comics’ horizons are still wide open.

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4. Future comics: The Bloody Footprint by Lilli Carré

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The New York Times has been dabbling in “future comics” type stuff over the past year orzo, and they se Lille Carré up to bat and she hits a home run with The Bloody Footprint an inquiry into memory and and identity that cleverly uses the scroll and gif panels for an effect distanced enough for memory and sharp enough for contemplation.

Speaking of scroll comics, Frank Santoro has a smart essay dissecting them

However, in comics there is a new language: the scroll. The scroll as a formatting reality for old and new comics is an incredible development. It is not retro, and is barely related to Asian scrolls of centuries ago or even contemporary Japanese four-panel scroll comics. There has been a real concerted effort to utilize the scroll in comics in a way that, to my mind, has never existed ever. There is a direction for forward-thinking comics; it is not a stylistic thing so much as a new format that is available because of the new technology. Music exists as time–new technology may help make the music but there is no way to speed up listening as there is to speed up reading.


Have you seen any good future comics (those using electronic and other non traditional storytelling formats) of late? Share it in the comment.

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5. Surveying the tablet comics world: Symbolia, Wormworld, Sequential, Madefire

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NOTE: the below is me spitballing at 3 in the morning just to get some dialog going. I invite your comments and corrections.

I’ve had this news item floating around for ages and kept meaning to write it up: Symbolia, the journalistic comics magazine for tablets, has wrapped up its final issue. Founded by Erin Polgreen and Joyce Rice two years ago, this was an ambitious attempt at putting out non fiction comics on hardhitting topics. But in two years, a lot changes on the electronic front:

A lot has changed since we launched Symbolia. It’s been an amazing two years, and we couldn’t be prouder. We’ve helped to both legitimize an industry and change the way people think about what journalism can be. We never dreamed that we would work with organizations like American Public Media, Tumblr, and the Showtime documentary series Years of Living Dangerously to create amazing visual narratives.

That said, we don’t want Symbolia to be a one-note media organization. There are other opportunities out there to tell stories using games, virtual reality, and other emerging technologies. That’s one of the reasons Joyce is pursuing game design and journalism leadership as part of her fellowship at American University.

With a little bit of sadness and a lot of excitement for new beginnings, we’re writing today to tell you that THE FUTURE, Symbolia’s latest issue, will be our last. Symbolia has published hundreds of pages of illustrated journalism in the past two years and launched the careers of some incredible artists. Our community has been amazingly supportive from day one and we’re incredibly grateful.


Among the changes: The Nib, edited by Matt Bors, and Fusion.net, edited by Jen Sorenson, emerging as well funded outlets for these kinds of comics. (With The Daily Show evolving, The Nib may just be your best daily politically based humor fix.) But these are web-site, and being multi platform seems to be far more successful than tablet-only apps.

Symbolia’s folding is another sign that, contrary to what many people, myself included, thought, tablets just aren’t that great an outlet for comics. Oh sure, we all read comics on our tablets, but as a native platform, it’s kind of fizzled. The reason? Probably the huge expense of development and maintenance.

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Last summer Daniel Lieske announced that he was discontinuing the app for his lovely Wormworld comic , because it just cost too much to run. As he explained, after sinking 8000€ into developing the app (about $10,000), it just never become self sufficient:

The app turned out very nicely, even received a reward at an international digital publishing expo, and through the advertising on the Wormworld Saga website we were able to attract a steady stream of new users. However, I had to realize pretty early that my initial expectation about the amount of money the app would generate was completely unrealistic. The app made only a few hundred euros in the first three months and while there was some growth over time this trend generally continued. The app made a significant jump when it was featured on Google Play and attracted over 150 thousand new users over the course of one week. During that week, the app generated over 3000€ of revenue and I thought that this had to be the breakthrough. However, revenue plummeted directly after the feature and although the huge number of new users raised the revenue that came with each chapter release, the total amount was still below what I had hoped for when I based the project on the expected income from the app and quit my job. Over it’s total runtime of 3 years, the app earned me about 7000€.

Now, I don’t want to sound as if this is nothing. In fact it’s good money. It means that I got nearly all the money back that I originally invested, which is cool. And today I would be totally happy with an app making a few thousand euros every year. Unfortunately, the app didn’t only start to bring in money but it also started to cost more and more money.

The costs of the app – bandwidth costs, bug fixes, updates, chapter releases – are carried by Robot Media. For them, making the deal with me was a risky investment and while I was happy with a few thousand euros from the app every year, their much smaller share of the revenue put them in a tight spot. Actually I really have to be thankful that they kept the app going for as long as it went. The situation began to become a real problem when Apple released iOS7 which called for a lot of changes in the code of the app. And not only that. In order to submit an update for an iPad app now you have to provide retina quality graphic assets. All in all the new iOS would have forced Robot Media to invest several thousand euros worth of man hours to update the app. They don’t have that money and neither do I.


Lieske has instead jumped on a much easier digital funding method: Kickstarter, which funded a first print volume of Wormworld and —something I had no idea of when I started this post—just announced the launch of a second volume in the next few days.

Lieske seems to be very transparent about what quietly happened elsewhere. My own iPad is littered with comics apps that launched in the iPad heyday with special effects—you can check them out under the “Future Comics” tag here—but few of them are maintained or updated any more.

Of course there are still tons of great comics apps for tablets—Comixology, iVerse—and Thrillbent and Nobrow have their own comics portals there as well. But as I mentioned before, they don’t really create content for tablets.

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One sort of exception I can think of off the top of my head would be Sequential, which releases “directors cut” graphic novels and the occasional compilation via their app. They also pursue a lot of marketing opportunities to get their stuff out there, such as a special graphic novel showcase at the upcoming London Book Fair, with an app and a pavilion:

The specially-designed pavilion will provide a home at the Fair for exciting international comics and graphic novel content and rights available for licensing and translation through a bespoke app designed by SEQUENTIAL, the digital comics and graphic novel app, that will be available to access via specially installed iPads around the pavilion as well as being available for download to the Fair’s visitors. All this will be supported by a series of seminars featuring key speakers from the world of comic and graphic novels. There will also be a graphic novel-themed bar next to the pavilion.

The decision to commission the creation of a special app to showcase graphic novels was partly to make the comics easily accessible but was also a nod to the growing market for digital comics and graphic novels which is estimated to be around  $100 million dollars this year.


SEQUENTIAL will preview an enhanced digital version of Posy Simmonds’ True Love at the LBFm, and anything that gives us more Posy Simmonds is a wonderful thing.

Of course, Madefire is still around, as well, but their plan to get acquired by some bigger company as a tech company seems to have stalled, and their own original content has slowed down.

Are there some huge developments I’m missing? More than likely—please school me in the comments. But overall, people seem to love downloading and reading their comics on tablets, while resisting content created just for the medium, no matter how many bells and whistles it comes packaged with. Of course, it doesn’t help that (cough cough) a lot of the content created for tablets was meant to be a technical showcase first and a great story second. There are certainly exceptions—both Symbolia and Worldworld are definitely that—but maybe there hasn’t been a Battleship Potemkin or Avatar, let alone a Saga or Sex Criminals for tablet-based comics yet, at least not in the way that so many web-based “future comics” are.

The barriers to entry to app development are high; but even a dummy can code a webpage and get it up in a few hours. I’m excited to what emerges at Thrillbent or Comixology’s Submit, or via individual creators like Emily Carroll and Bouletcorp. (I wish I read some French so I could check out that Professeur Cyclope project I mentioned the other day.) Or Electricomics. So many frontiers to explore.Tablet-based comics have sort of fizzled because of the cost of app development. Is there a future for this platform?

1 Comments on Surveying the tablet comics world: Symbolia, Wormworld, Sequential, Madefire, last added: 4/8/2015
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6. WonderCon ’15: Exhibition Hall Highlights

By Nick Eskey

The guys of CME in front of "Deadeye

The guys of CME in front of “Deadeye”

Known for being the fan favorite of major conventions, with its relaxed nature and lines, WonderCon has been gaining in popularity over the last few years.

For this last WonderCon, I was a little underwhelmed with the pick of panel selections, so I decided to spend more time on the sales floor than I usually do. The diversity of vendors, artists, and publishers gathered here are always wonderful to see and explore. During my long exploration, I came across a few booths that I felt deserved a shout out.

C.M.E. (Creative Mind Energy LLC): I’ve seen these guys for a few years now, at both WonderCon and Comic-Con. Every time I do, it’s a great pleasure. CME is a

Design Studio Press

Design Studio Press

family business that come up with original creative content for various avenues, such as print, television, movies, and video games. The artwork of their comic books are so unique, featuring beautifully, hand drawn scenes. The work stands out and makes a name for itself. One of their latest works, Deadeye, will be coming out this June. Find a copy for yourself. [http://creativemindenergy.com/]

Design Studio Press: This publisher has been around for 15 years. The level of workmanship in each book shows why they’ve been around this long. Design
Studio Press’s content is mostly beautiful reference materials for making art and designing. A couple books of theirs that really impressed me were “How to draw” and “How to render.” Each one’s a thick piece of work; highly detailed, lots of pictures, and very simple to follow. But what really was impressive is that if you download the company’s app on your phone, and train the camera on certain pages, an AR tutorial will appear on the paper, including more than what is there. This is truly the next step in books and technology. [http://designstudiopress.com/]

Abraham Lopez himself

Abraham Lopez himself

Abraham Lopez: A picture is worth a thousand words, so goes the saying. This artist’s work is indeed worth that many words, creating a hilarious work of fiction. Using a combination of comic and Disney characters, his drawings place them in farfetched, but yes very amusing scenes and situations. During the entire convention, his booth was consistently surrounded. I myself had to buy a few of his prints. They are just that good. But beyond their subject matter, his art is well done and polished. [http://artistabe.deviantart.com/]

Even though WonderCon is over, still check these guys out. They all deserve some patronage in my book. I’d love to see them again at this year’s SDCC.

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7. Image Announce Dark Skullkickers Dark #1

Frequent collaborators on mysteriously short-lived Image projects, Jim Zub and Edwin Huang have been announced as the creative team for a new issue #1 from Image in June, Dark Skullkickers Dark #1. And that’s not a typo – the extra Dark is there for a reason.

And that reason is because the comic is dark.

darkskullkickers Image Announce Dark Skullkickers Dark #1

This is, of course, the most recent ‘relaunching’ from the Skullkickers team, who have spent the last few months designating each new issue of Skullkickers as a different #1 relaunch. Each time they relaunch, they add a different adjective in front, like ‘Mighty’ or ‘Savage’, poking fun (but also emphasising) the bizarre importance that the comics market puts on relaunches and short-term storytelling.

Next month will probably see Trinity of Sin: Skullkickers announced. In a fun press release (and you know there’s nothing I find more entertaining than a press release, guys!), Zub quotes Image’s PR and Marketing Director Jennifer De Guzman thus:

It’s a pale reflection of the industry’s need to spin rebooted series through endless hype, turning the crazed hamster wheel of entertainment promotion until it’s fallen apart. Good-bye, integrity.

This whole thing – which has generated consistently higher sales for the series – is a pointed criticism aimed at all the comic book websites which value a quick spike in internet traffic over covering important or worthwhile news stories. Here’s the variant cover for the issue!

darkkick Image Announce Dark Skullkickers Dark #1

Where was I? Ah yes, comic sites which are obsessed with printing press releases and quoting verbatim rather than writing something new or useful for readers. Here’s a quote from Zub about the subject:

Fun comic books are a thing of days past. In order to grab a modern audience I’ve dipped into the darkness of my own heart and spilled my blood upon the pages of this sequential masterpiece. Oh yeah, there’s beer in it too.

(The first issue of Dark Skullkickers Dark will be out in June.)

1 Comments on Image Announce Dark Skullkickers Dark #1, last added: 3/11/2013
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8. Titan Unveil ‘Monster Massacre’ Anthology

The Brit Zone continues, sort of, with a new announcement from Titan Comics. This week Titan unveiled a new co-publishing deal between themselves and Atomeka, which will put out ‘Monster Massacre’. This anthology will feature stories all about – you guessed it – monsters. On top of stories from creators like D’Israeli, Ian Edginton, Ron Marz, and Dave Wilkins, the book will also include a Joe Simon/Jack Kirby story, ‘The Greatest Horror of Them All’, taken from Black Cat Mystery.

The cover is far too rude for me to post on The Beat, so instead here’s a page or two of interiors.

mm2 Titan Unveil Monster Massacre Anthology

Put together by writer/artist Dave Elliott, the anthology’s full list of credits are:

Joe Simon/Jack Kirby, Andy Kuhn, Dave Dorman, Mark A Nelson, Ron Marz /Tom Raney, Dave Elliott/Alex Horley,Vito Delsante/Javier Aranda, Dave Wilkins/Dave Elliott, Jerry Paris/Arthur Suydam/Dave Elliott,  Ian Edginton/D’Israeli, Alex Horley and Steve White.

A little bereft of female creators perhaps, but that’s a fine line-up. There are ten stories collected in total, along with two art galleries.

mm1 Titan Unveil Monster Massacre Anthology

The anthology will be released in September, and be day-and-date digital.

6 Comments on Titan Unveil ‘Monster Massacre’ Anthology, last added: 3/14/2013
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9. The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive

Hold onto your monocles, because it’s time for DC comics to make their first attempt at getting you to drop them in shock. The initial round of April ‘shock’ gatefold covers have been released via various locations – CBR, MTV Geek, DC’s Source blog, and so on – and I’ve collected them here. So far we have, I believe, seven officially released covers from DC, as part of their (formerly WTF) April promotion, from comics including Dial H, Batman, Stormwatch and Swamp Thing.

Each one of these is meant to make you spit out your Pimms in surprise – so, how well do they succeed?

wtf6 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive wtf1 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive wtf2 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive wtf3 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive wtf4 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive wtf5 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive

wtf7 The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive

Personally? Well.. I wasn’t shocked (my monocle remains trusty and proud), but I was pleasantly surprised by some of the stories suggested here. Mr Miracle’s return in Earth 2 is probably the best of the reveals so far, but that new Batwing also looks pretty familiar…

11 Comments on The First Round of Shocking WTF DC Covers Arrive, last added: 3/21/2013
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10. Valiant Tease ‘The World’s Worst Superhero Team’

Valiant have released a teaser today, which teases (as teasers are wont to do)  something coming up in July..

valiant Valiant Tease The Worlds Worst Superhero Team

Well, I’m not a betting man, apart from the lottery which I bet on and lose every week – but could this be a new series from Valiant?  Hmmmm…

6 Comments on Valiant Tease ‘The World’s Worst Superhero Team’, last added: 3/22/2013
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11. James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July

As predicted, Valiant’s teaser from earlier in the week was for a relaunch of their massively popular duo Quantum and Woody, who will be returning in July flanked by James Asmus, Tom Fowler, and Jordie Bellaire. And a goat.

 James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July

The first issue of the series, which was originally launched all the way back in 1997 when I was still in primary school, will be out on July 10th, with a variety of variant covers from the likes of Fowler, Marcos Martin, Ryan Sook and Andrew Robinson. The Tom Fowler cover will have an interactive ‘talking cover’, with a goat that growls at you. Here’s Martin’s cover:

 James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July

Talking about the series, Asmus says:

In all of comics, there’s no other book that mixed style and substance quite like Quantum and Woody. I was willing to literally kill someone for the chance to write the relaunch for the new Valiant Universe. I might have. Those first days after I got the call are a blur. But Quantum and Woody isn’t (just) a superhero book – it’s action-comedy, it’s family drama, it’s a boys-meet-goat tale that tugs at the heartstrings.

Valiant also released some preview pages from the first issue, c’est la vie:

QW 001 001 James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July QW 001 002 James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July QW 001 003 James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July

11 Comments on James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire relaunch Quantum and Woody in July, last added: 3/27/2013
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12. INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator-Owned for ‘Half Past Danger’

Later this year IDW will be publishing Half Past Danger, a new series written, drawn, and created by Stephen Mooney. After working as artist on several IDW titles including Star Trek and Angel for the last few years, Mooney decided it was time to set up a creator-owned project, which he’d have full control over. In order to do so, he had to set aside a year in which he scripted, designed, pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered the project – six months in which he wasn’t earning money from any other gigs. It was quite the risk, taking himself out of the comics scene for a year in order to focus on a comic he had no idea would ever see the light of day.

However! The good news is that IDW decided to pick up the book, starting with issue #1 this May – preorderable now! I spoke to Stephen about making the leap into creator-owned work, the inspiration for Half Past Danger, and how the experience has been.

hpd1 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

 

Steve: Half Past Danger is dedicated to your father, “who took me to the movies”. What kind of films would you go see? Were there any in particular which served as inspiration for Half Past Danger?

Stephen: Oh wow, yeah. Loads! The first film I can remember my dad taking my brothers and I to see was E.T. in the Savoy cinema in Dublin in 1982, when I was five years old. Still my favourite cinema to this day. I can remember it like it was yesterday; its one of my first real memories. The whole experience made such a huge indelible dent on my psyche, in so many ways. The bustling anticipatory atmosphere of the jam-packed theatre, the crowd reactions as the movie ebbed and lowed. I was absolutely hooked. It also started my love affair with Spielberg’s eighties ouevre. Films that followed included The Return of The Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies, Back To The Future, Big Trouble In Little China, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and many, many more.

The most obvious influences on Half Past Danger filmically-speaking are undoubtedly the first three Indiana Jones movies. They really colour and inform my entire storytelling style. That bang-zip-wallop rapid-fire action beats-ridden kind of a narrative, with a few gags interspersed. Half Past Danger aspires to be that style of tale. Strong influences also would be the very early Connery Bond films, and pulpy matinee-style fare like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Then of course you have the classic Harryhausen dino movies. Great stuff, all.

Steve: How did the story of Half Past Danger start to come together? When did you first have the idea for it?

Stephen: The idea has been in my mind in some shape or form for years now, in that I’ve always known that if and when I ever attempted a story of my own that it would be 100% mired in that kind of pulpy action-adventure style, simply because that’s the genre I feel most comfortable in, and know so well. I always knew also that I’d want the main character to be an Irishman, since that’s the one thing I’ve been all my life, and nobody could tell the story of that particular character better than me, to my mind. I guess somewhat inevitably I injected much of my own personality and traits into a somewhat idealised version of myself, and placed him squarely into this scenario I’d begun to dream up. Hell, the guy even looks like me. If that’s not vanity wit large, I dunno what is.

The story came together over the last couple of years, I knew the high concept from the start, Nazis versus dinosaurs, but I wanted to really take my time and write something that hadn’t specifically been seen before, since as everybody knows, a lot of these themes have been done before on many occasions. The real trick is to give readers something they haven’t experienced as of yet, and I didn’t want to press too far ahead until I was sure I’d come up with a new spin on what in some ways could be seen as an old tale.

Once I figured out the main wheres, whys and whats, the rest came fairly rapidly.

Steve: This is your first creator-owned work – how did you decide that Half Past Danger was the right project to get off the ground?

Stephen: Well, it’s the only project that I’ve ever completely fleshed out, to be honest. I had this one idea that I thought was really strong, and it was bang in the middle of my wheelhouse, or more specifically what I wanted my wheelhouse to be, so I ran with it. To be honest I didn’t question it too much. Do I have other ideas? Yeah, but they all revolve around this universe! I guess I just had a single, enormous itch I needed to scratch for the time being, and I’ll see where I go from there.

hpd2 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

Steve: You’ve said that you took six months off to focus on this project, writing, drawing, inking, colouring, lettering…. Where did you start with the project?

Stephen: With the writing. I didn’t put pencil to paper drawing-wise until the full series was totally written and put to bed. Then pencilling, inking, coloring, lettering, in that order. Then back to the start again for issue 2 and go again; rinse and repeat.

Steve: Did you work issue-by issue on the story, or plot out an entirety and then start filling it in? How did you approach the story once you had the concept locked down, in essence.

Stephen: I worked out the entire plot first. I’d be terrified to embark on a story without knowing how it was going to end. To be honest, I’d probably never GET to the end in that scenario, I’d just circle the drain narratively until I eventually flushed the project. In order to commit myself to this massive body of work, I had to make sure everything was utterly and clearly signposted. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to visualize my goal, and I’d be second-guessing myself all the while. Because the writing was the only element that I’d never approached before, I wanted to give it all of the respect it deserved, and to take the time to get it done right. Or, at least as right as I could get it!

Steve: How long has each issue taken you to complete? Did you find yourself surprised by how difficult certain aspects of the process were?

Stephen: Man, too long! The writing took about 2 months all-in, including research. That was fine. It was when I got stuck into the art side of things that I began to get bogged down a little. One of my dreams for the book was to do absolutely everything myself; complete creator control. That proved to be somewhat of a pipe dream in a way, though. The first issue of the book took me four months to pencil, ink, colour and letter. That was just unsustainable, the book would take another two years at that rate, and I was already six months in. Hence the addition of Jordie Bellaire as series colorist from issue 2 onward.

Something had to give, and of all of the aspects visually, I was spending the most time on the colours, which was crazy. Jordie is a very close friend, and when she saw me floundering she offered to dive in and help me out. She’s an amazing colorist, and a big fan of a lot of the same source material as I am, so it was a pretty seamless transition really. It also doesn’t hurt that Jordie’s a phenomenally talented colorist, in constant demand at all the biggest companies. I’m certainly beyond delighted that she chose to climb aboard.

With Jordie alongside, I’ve been spending two months a piece on the subsequent issues, almost all of that time spent drawing and inking the 26-odd pages per issue, then a couple of days of lettering at the end.

hpd3 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

Steve: I was really struck with a blog post you wrote about the role of writing and art in comics - http://www.halfpastdanger.com/2011/10/writing-vs-art-this-time-its-personal.html . Now you’re further into the story, how have you found the balance between writing an issue and drawing it?

Stephen: It’s very hard for me to separate the two, if I’m being honest. In this instance, it’s all just the story. When I was writing it, I knew exactly how every beat and scene would look on the page (or at least how I’d like it to look), and now that I’m drawing it, I almost know off by heart the entire story and script, so it all just flows onto the page. Again, it’s all just utmost inseparable elements of the story, for me. The script is more a broad outline with fairly tight dialogue than anything. Stage directions.

Steve: I’ve read the first issue of the series, and really enjoyed the central character, Tommy Flynn. Did you find the design process easier for a character you created, and would be writing yourself? Has it been easy translating your ideas to the page, rather than interpreting an established work, as you’ve done before for IDW?

Stephen: Yeah, I think it has. I wouldn’t say easy, but I certainly haven’t had to wrestle it into submission or anything like that. Probably because the main character is a bit of a cypher, in that he acts and reacts pretty much the way I would assuming I were a lot braver and a tad more selfless. Working with the established characters, like say Angel or Spike wasn’t that difficult either though, in terms of working what was written on the page, because I had such bloody good writers whom I trusted implicitly. I’ve been very lucky that way. I’ve never had trouble portraying any given character on the page, the acting and character beats are one of the very few aspects of the drawing that come totally naturally to me.

Steve: With more control over the final product, have you noticed yourself experimenting more with pacing and panel layout?

Stephen: Oh god, yeah. WAY more. I’m very respectful of a given writer’s script when I get it on a work-for-hire job, I’m loathe to mess with what they’ve asked for in their direction. They spent time working that stuff out, so I stick pretty religiously to it when at all possible, even when I might disagree on the shots called for. Or maybe there might be a crazy talking order or something going on that just isn’t feasible without the addition of an extra panel or the use of a slightly different angle. Perhaps I should go more with my own gut, I don’t know. Usually I just want to make the writer happy. If there’s leeway there, I’ll certainly take it. This kind of touches on that article on the Half Past Danger process blog that you mentioned in one of the earlier questions.

On my own book, I’m much freer to go with my initial instincts, storytelling-wise. It’s one of the most satisfying elements of the whole venture, and one of the reasons I actually wanted to attempt it. I think one of the reasons that people seem to be responding to how ‘cinematic’ the storytelling is, is because that’s my natural modus operandi, and my default setting.

Steve: How has the experience of working on a creator-owned project been for you?

Stephen: Absolutely wonderful, so far. Dizzying highs, terrifying lows, creamy centres. It’s as hard as I’ve ever worked, and in even more of a vacuum than before. It’s incredibly scary and daunting, because at the end of the day, for better or for worse, it’s all me on the page; nobody to hide behind. But at the same time, that’s pretty much the most incredible aspect. Where else can a sole creator be responsible for almost every aspect of production? Film? Animation? It just doesn’t happen, and that’s one of the reasons I love comic books so much.

Steve: Do you see yourself doing more creator-owned work in future, or are you looking to alternate with some more work-for-hire projects?

Stephen: In a perfect world, I’d love to do further HPD series every year or two in the Hellboy model, with the odd work-for-hire gig interspersed between. But obviously, that all depends on how the first series is received. I’ll certainly stick around for as long as Chris Ryall and the amazing guys at IDW will have me, I genuinely don’t think that there’s a better home for Half Past Danger.

hpd4 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

Steve: Jordie Bellaire will be coming on as colourist as of issue 2, as you’ve mentioned, whilst I believe Declan Shalvey will be drawing a backup strip for each issue. There seems to be quite a growing community of comics creators in Ireland recently. How important is it to have that sense of a creative community? Is it helpful to have people to bounce these ideas off?

Stephen: Oh, it’s invaluable. it really is. Having guys (and gals!) like Dec, Jordie and also Nick Roche, Will Sliney, Stephen Thompson and all the other Irish pros to bounce stuff off and get opinions from is simple indispensable. We’re a very close network. Almost collaborators in a way. I couldn’t do this without their help, I mean that. Otherwise I’d just be floating along in a nebulous void of gibberish. And I wouldn’t even know if it was good gibberish. So yeah, absolutely essential.

Steve: What advice would you give to anybody looking to create their own comics?

Stephen: Get off the pot and do it. Let go of the doubts and the maybes, and just make it happen. Everybody is afraid; everybody wonders if they’re actually good enough. I know I do. The only way to find out is to light that touch-paper, and have at it.

At the end of the day, even if Half Past Danger doesn’t hit that sweet spot critically or commercially, I’ll still have the satisfaction of knowing I tried.

I did my best. Otherwise, as dramatic as it sounds, I’d go all the way to the grave wondering what might have been.

 

Many thanks to Stephen for his time! If you’d like to find out more, you can read all about the process on his blog, which has been constantly updating with information and thoughts on the creation process for the last few months. You can find his pencilling, inking, colouring, bits of script, all sorts of things on there – I really recommend you have a look. You can also find him on the twitters! Half Past Danger #1 is out in May.

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13. Marvel to Publish Some More Superior Books

Marvel have announced that they’ll be publishing two new titles soon, both tying-in to their Superior Spider-Man series, and both of them focusing on villains. Which means the Spider-Man franchise at Marvel will now be made up of six titles, all of which feature a villain-of-sorts in the main role. We have Scarlet Spider and Venom currently on the go, and now July will see The Superior Foes of Spider-Man and Superior Carnage both released into the world (presumably picked up by a cup/coaster combination, and subsequently thrown out a window).

spiderfoes Marvel to Publish Some More Superior Books

The creative teams are pretty good! The Superior-Spider Foes will focus on the five-strong member of the current Sinister Six, who are made up of Speed Demon, Shocker, Beetle, Overdrive and Boomerang. This is being billed as an ongoing series, and will be written by Nick Spencer, drawn by Steve Lieber. Boomerang appears to be the central character here, although I’m not sure what the ongoing premise of the book will be. It seems like it’ll be a look at life as a for-hire supervillain, and all that entails. Double-crosses, failed heists, an inevitable upcoming appearance from Spider-Man…

superiorcarnage 02 Marvel to Publish Some More Superior Books

Superior Carnage follows the previous two successful Carnage miniseries Marvel have put out recently. Zeb Wells won’t be writing this one, but another member of his writing room at Robot Chicken will be - Kevin Shinick. And whilst Clayton Crain will only be on covers this time round, that does make space for Steven Segovia to come in as artist for the five-issue mini. The mini will focus on another attempt to take over and control the ‘Carnage’ symbiote, but this time it’ll be a villain trying to cause trouble, in the form of The Wizard.

Both books are out in July.

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14. 24 Hours of Halloween: Emily Caroll’s When The Darkness Presses

when the darkness presses 24 Hours of Halloween: Emily Carolls When The Darkness Presses

F YEAH!!!!!! If there is one Halloween tradition in comics that must be kept is a new digital comic by Emily Caroll! Her previous uses of the digital palette to create horror has made her one of the few true autuers of “future comics”—and the print iteration, Through the Woods 24 Hours of Halloween: Emily Carolls When The Darkness Presses is one of the best graphic novels of the year. Her previous horror comics like His Face All Red, Margot’s Room, Out of Skin and The Hole the Fox Did Make are all classics of terror and digital storytelling.

And here she is this year with When The Darkness Presses, which …..Oh I’m not going to say a word. JUST CLICK IT. When I saw she had a new horror comic out I just about yelled for joy. And that was before I even opened the door. Drop whatever you are doing and do the same.

one 24 Hours of Halloween: Emily Carolls When The Darkness Presses

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15. Mike Carey Writing New Series for Boom!

TweetHey, have you ever wondered if a British writer was going to write a new series for Boom? But have you been unable to find out because everywhere you go is being obtuse?  Don’t worry! Because The Beat’s own Laura Sneddon interviewed Mike Carey for The New Statesman, like, a week ago, and he revealed that [...]

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16. Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day Issue is INFINITY by Hickman and Cheung

TweetFree Comic Book Day is coming up, and Marvel have today revealed what their release is going to be – Infinity, by Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung. This looks like a prelude to the oft-rumoured cosmic event Marvel will be running in Autumn (why have just one event a year?). However, strangely enough there’s no [...]

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17. Aw Yeah Comics! Hits Kickstarter Target Within Hours

TweetAfter the cancellation of Superman Family Adventures, the creative team of Art Baltazar & Franco haven’t wasted any time in moving onto their next project. And what a move! After putting a Kickstarter up for their new ‘AW YEAH COMICS!’ series, which was to last six issues, it took only a few hours for them to [...]

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18. DC Cancel Six Titles, Fire More Writers

TweetWhat a day. It’s been revealed that May will see six more DC titles cancelled, being Deathstroke, Hawkman, Team 7, Firestorm, Ravagers, and Sword of Sorcery. Some of the books have been going since the very start of The New 52 initiative…. some of them lasted for a much shorter period of time. Team 7, Ravagers and Sword [...]

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19. Geoff Johns to Conclude His Green Lantern Run with issue #20

TweetAfter ten years working on the character, and reigniting one of DC’s struggling titles into one of their most popular franchises, Geoff Johns has announced that he will be leaving the world of Green Lantern with the giant-sized issue #20 in May. Johns’ posted a farewell note on DC’ Source blog today, to confirm the [...]

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20. ‘Seconds’ from Bryan Lee O’Malley Delayed until 2014

TweetOver on his Tumblr blog, writer/artist/Backstreet Boys maven Bryan Lee O’Malley has explained that, due to a shoulder injury he suffered last year, his next project Seconds will be delayed until next year. His first major project since the conclusion of Scott Pilgrim, not much is known about Seconds at this point. We know that [...]

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21. Clayton Crain Joins Valiant’s Harbinger Wars

TweetValiant are pushing to the next stage of superhero this year, taking their five comics (all of which seem to have been very well reviewed so far, beating statistical probability to a pulp) and experimenting with crossovers and events. The first title they relaunched in 2012, X-O Manowar, is entering an event storyline called Planet [...]

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22. Vertigo Announce Two New ‘Fables’ Books, and an Unwritten Graphic Novel

TweetShould that have been a semicolon instead of a comma in the title? Oh boy, the things I worry about when writing up Mike Carey news. Today! Vertigo have announced a bathful of new books, with an encyclopedia and anthology for Bill Willingham’s Fables coming later this year, followed by a full original graphic novel from the creative [...]

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23. Advance Review: Uncanny Skullkickers #1 tests out The Adjective of Power

TweetUncanny is such a strange word to use to describe a comic, much less a range of different comics which tend to feature characters who aren’t unexpectedly familiar – they’re the X-Men and Avengers, they’ve been around for decades. Which is why it’s nice to see that the Skullkickers creative team of Jim Zub and [...]

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24. Chris Sprouse Steps Away from Orson Scott Card’s Superman Story

Artist Chris Sprouse, who would have been drawing controversial writer Orson Scott Card’s contribution to the upcoming Superman anthology Adventures of Superman, has stepped down from the project today. He cites the media furore over the comic as his reason for dropping the project. As a result, the first issue of this digital-first series will feature stories from Jeff Parker/Chris Samnee, Justin Jordan/Riley Rossmo, and Jeff Lemire.

DC have also issued a statement hoping to see Sprouse on a new project soon. Hopefully this will be a Superman one as well, because his Superman is super-aces –

sprouse Chris Sprouse Steps Away from Orson Scott Cards Superman Story

Sprouse’s statement regarding leaving the comic, which became controversial due to Card’s well-known association with anti-gay activism, is as follows:

The media surrounding this story reached the point where it took away from the actual work, and that’s something I wasn’t comfortable with. My relationship with DC Comics remains as strong as ever and I look forward to my next project with them.

DC have responded amicably to the artist’s decision, saying:

We fully support, understand and respect Chris’s decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment. Chris is a hugely talented artist, and we’re excited to work with him on his next DC Comics project. In the meantime, we will re-solicit the story at a later date when a new artist is hired.

The issue was scheduled for April, and had sparked a massive debate over whether Card was the wisest of choices for DC to hire on a Superman story. Some people thought he should have the right to free speech, some people thought maybe DC shouldn’t have hired a real world villain to write a Superman story. That oil-and-water combination of opinions has basically been interminably floating over comic book comment threads, and everybody’s had a really good, friendly time of things.

The real news from all this? It’s that there’s no need for people to boycott issue #1 anymore! Jeff Parker! Chris Samnee! Superman! Wooooooo!!

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25. SXSW: Marvel Make 700 Digital Issues Free, Announce Weekly Wolverine Series, Reveal Project Gamma

This is all just breaking!

Marvel are at South By Southwest right now, announcing some new digital projects. The first is ‘Marvel Infinite’ comics, Marvel’s own digital service for comic books. It appears that Marvel will be making 700 of their #1 issues available for free, so new readers can try the first issue before seeing if they want to continue on and buy the rest. Also announced is a new weekly digital Wolverine series called ‘Japan’s Most Wanted’, which will be headed up by Jason Aaron but overseen by a number of different writers. And finally, they’ve revealed that ‘Project Gamma’ will be an adaptive audio addition to their digital comics, putting sound to their digital stories.

gamma SXSW: Marvel Make 700 Digital Issues Free, Announce Weekly Wolverine Series, Reveal Project Gamma

So! Let’s break that down as best as possible. The first news involves Marvel Infinite, which was previously revealed to be the new name for Marvel’s digital comics program. As part of their rebrand, which Todd spoke about a few days ago, Marvel are going to make a series of issues available for free to readers. These will be the first issues of every respective series – Guardians of the Galaxy, for example – offering readers a chance to try the books before they decide to pick up the following issues and start following the books proper.

However! This will be a limited offer from Marvel, and it looks like the books will go back to regular pricing – ranging from $1.99 to $3.99 – so you have until Tuesday.

Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted is a digital series, which will be released weekly. The first issue will be out in July, with Jason Aaron overseeing the storyline. Jason Latour will also be writing, with Paco Diaz on art. CBR have an interview with the creative team, and Marvel have offered a solicitation for the series:

Marvel Comics’ latest innovative Infinite Comic is here! Wolverine stars in a weekly adventure from the mind of super star writer Jason Aaron (WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, THOR) that pits Wolverine against classic villains and a threat unlike any he has ever faced!

The Wolverine series will last 13 weeks, and then be followed by three other stories, which will all also last for 13 weeks each.

And finally, Project Gamma. This will be another addition to Marvel’s digital comics, where readers can add audio to their comics as they read them. The sound will be fully adaptive, with no loops. It’ll move with you, in essence, following you as you follow the story. There’ll be music played which changes depending on location and character. There’s no official date for this yet, but Marvel plan to roll this out later in the year. Rolling Stone seem to know a lot about this, actually. You can also find a video from Marvel here.

Kieron Gillen is already furiously writing an email to Kenickie’s manager as we speak, asking for clearance rights.

12 Comments on SXSW: Marvel Make 700 Digital Issues Free, Announce Weekly Wolverine Series, Reveal Project Gamma, last added: 3/11/2013
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