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1. MATT CHATS: Brian Buccelleto on Transmedia Project “Sons of the Devil” Coming Soon from Image Comics!

Welcome to MATT CHATS, where I (Matt) talk to a person of interest in the comic book industry every Tuesday at 4:30 PM Eastern. Today I am speaking with an industry veteran but relative necomer to the Image renaissance. When Brian Buccelleto offered the first two issues of his upcoming Image series Sons of the Devil (also a short film) to reviewers on a recent episode of the Word Balloon podcast, I jumped at the chance to read them and talk to him. As a fan of his collaborations with Francis Manapul on The Flash and Detective Comics, I was not disappointed, more than happy to discuss with Brian the differences between something on the screen and on the page, the effect crowdfunding has on financials and other aspects of the creative process.

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Did you talk with Kyle Higgins about the process of bringing something from the screen to the comic book page?

He’s a really close friend of mine and so we talk about everything – including the process of filmmaking and comic books. That said, he helped me out a lot on the film. Shout out to Kyle!

How are your philosophies similar?

We love film and comics and want to do both. So I think everything we create is done with the hope of being able to tell the stories in both mediums.

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What do you think are the pros and cons of doing a film simultaneously with a comic, as opposed to adapting a film years later like Higgins did?

I think the biggest pro for doing it simultaneously is that you can actually SEE the story come to life on screen, which informs what you do in the comic AS you are doing it. Having actors take your material, interpret it, and make it their own helps you see the characters in new and interesting ways. Also, in the case of Sons of the Devil, we were able to secure interesting locations and have visual reference that I then gave Toni in the script. I think there was a certain level of synergy with doing both comic and film together. For Kyle and C.O.W.L./The League, I think adapting it later allowed him distance to cherry pick the best elements of his short. Honestly, I don’t know if there is a downside to either. Making comics and films are each awesome experiences… getting to do BOTH is off the charts awesome.

What are some storytelling benefits of telling a story both on the comic page and on the screen?

I think the two mediums are similar but have their own inherent advantages in how the story is told. Film is a forward-moving visual medium where you experience the story with sight and sound. There is a momentum to films that you want to sustain because you HOPEFULLY have the viewer’s undivided attention and you want to keep it. It’s more of a sensory experience for the viewer. Comics are also visual, but are experienced at a pace dictated by the reader. There is no captive audience. In some ways that’s a disadvantage… but the benefit of a comic is that a reader can spend as much time on a single page as he/she wants. And the reader can go back and re-read and really digest the material without it hurting the experience.

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What kind of audience did the Kickstarter attract? Was it more composed of fans of films or comics?

It was mostly comprised of fans of my work, who were intrigued by my transmedia concept.

Does the fact that the comic was funded through a Kickstarter campaign change the financials of the series at all? Because of the Kickstarter, for example, is the sales threshold lower?

II I don’t think being a Kickstarter project has any bearing on sales thresholds. In the case of SOTD, almost all of the funds we got went into the budget of the short film – which ended up costing more than what we got from Kickstarter. So financially speaking, the Kickstarter didn’t pay for the ongoing series. I had to get financial support from other means. But Kickstarter allowed me to start the comic book and get far enough down the road to pitch it to Image. This allowed me to take the concept from its initial plan as a one-shot to becoming an ongoing series.

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Kickstarter is as much about marketing tool nowadays as it is a way to amass funds. How big of an impact do you think the campaign has had on the visibility of the work?

Honestly, I don’t know how directly Kickstarter will factor into the marketing of the book. I had approximately 250 backers, so I don’t think that number will significantly impact the sales number for issue 1.

For any artists looking to be discovered, can you describe how you searched for an artist for Sons of the Devil?

I feel VERY lucky. I was searching an international portfolio website called Behance when I came across Toni Infante’s work. I also tried DeviantArt and inquired using social media.

What were some of the challenges of working with a less experienced artist?

Honestly, I don’t look at his art or our lack of American comic credits and think “less experienced.” He is a professional artist with an amazing skillset, and I haven’t had any challenges that you might associate with a new artist.

Were there any benefits?

Only that I get the honor of working with him.

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Was it hard letting go of the coloring duties for Sons of the Devil?

Not really. I’ve been coloring for 20 years and have had my fill. Of course, him showing me great coloring samples helped to make the decision easy.

You’re perhaps best known in the comics scene for your collaborations with Francis Manapul. Has it been difficult in any ways to be seen as a writer in your own right?

Not really. I made the decision to do my own solo stuff very early on, so that I could carve out my own identity as a writer. I self-published a book called Foster early on in our Flash run and did a 12-issue Black Bat story for Dynamite. I think it took a little more time for me to build trust within DC editorial so that they saw me as an individual in collaboration with Francis and not just the guy that he brought in to help. But to their credit, they have been very supportive of me and have allowed me amazing opportunities to shine on my own with Rogues Rebellion, Injustice and a few solo arcs on Flash. Oddly enough, I think Francis has had a tougher time being seen as a writer because he is such an amazing artist that it overshadowed his own writing chops. But he IS a writer/storyteller and has future plans to do his own solo stuff.

What are your hopes for Sons of the Devil professionally, creatively and personally?

Personally and creatively, I am always trying to grow as a writer and tell personal stories that resonate. So my hope is that each project I do is better than the last. Professionally, I would love for SOTD to be an ongoing series AND a television series.

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Do you think the amount of great output from Image Comics good for business, or does it make it harder for your book to stand out?

I think there is always room for good books from every corner of publishing. The Image brand is obviously something any creator would want to be associated with. The amount of quality content that Image puts out means that retailers and fans will be more likely to try the book because Image’s track record is a promise of quality. As far as standing out among the other great books, I think that’s a challenge no matter how many books Image is publishing. There are 400 books that come out in a given month… so standing out is bound to be a challenge,

What’s the most exciting part of taking the plunge with a creator-owned series from Image?

Being able to tell the stories I want to tell EXACTLY how I want to tell them. Unfiltered.

You can find Brian on Twitter and his name on issues and trades in comic shops across the world.

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2. Review: Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four #1 (Digital) = Buy Me!

Injustice Gods Among Us: Year Four #1

Injustice- Gods Among Us - Year Four (2015-) 001-000

 

 

Writer: Brian Buccellato

Art: Bruno Redondo

Inks: Juan Albarrran

Colors: Rex Lokus

Publisher: DC Comics 

 

Since the series inception under writer Tom Taylor, Injustice Gods Among Us digital first book (based on the hit game by Mortal Kombat creator Netherrealm Studios) has been one of the overall best books in DC Comics line up. Now under the meticulous pen of current Detective Comics co-writer Brian Buccellato, Injustice methodically kicks off its Year Four story.

Chapter one is part epilogue along with being part set up as it deals with the aftermath of the destructive battle between Mr. Mxyzptlk and Trigon at the end of Year Three. Superman continues his crusade to save the human race from itself by his iron fist rule, Batman has gone into hiding as he plots his next idea to remove him from power, and all the while Ares schemes to return the worship of mortals to the gods instead of Earth’s metahuman pretenders. Since the series takes place five years before the events of the game, this volume is already hinting at some of the threads that are left to be tied together such as Damian’s transition to Nightwing and Batman’s plan to bring the heroes from the other dimension over.

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Buccellato continues to show why he’s one of comics most underrated writers. His understanding of how these characters differ from the regular DCU books is put to use in showing how the cracks in Superman’s regime develop. Hal Jordan and Superman show an intolerance for each other you wouldn’t see anywhere else. His Damian Wayne has a different type of chip on his shoulder compared to the regular DC version. It’s almost like he blames Batman for the actions that led to his killing Dick Grayson and that makes him as far from the boy seeking his father’s approval as you can get.

The art teams seen before in previous issues will be returning to action in Year Four. Issue one features the line work of Bruno Redondo. Out of all the artist the series has seen, Redondo’s work is most representative of the visual world established by Netherrealm in the game.

While this opening isn’t new-reader friendly to those who haven’t read any of the Injustice books or played the game; it’s a great continuation of the events unfolded thus far. Year Four is a carefully paced opening that’s a prime example of the writer’s strengths. Buccellato has a habit of making his characters earn their big moments, which make those points even better reads.

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3. ‘Ernest & Celestine’ Director Will Adapt His Own Comic for TV

Benjamin Renner will take 'The Big Bad Fox' from the page to the screen.

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4. Book & Me | Comic #3

bm3

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5. Review: Secret Wars #1 is an Omelet of Marvel Warfare

Secret Wars #1

SCWARSCOV2015001_DC11

 

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color:Ive Svorcina

Letters: Chris Eliopoulous

Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

 

The time for talking and teasing is over, Marvel’s “mega game changing” event Secret Wars is upon us. Now, it’s time to see if the real thing can possibly live up to the hype. Free Comic Book Day gave readers a zero issue that served as a primer for anyone not caught up on current events in Avengers titles. Issue one of Secret Wars marks the real kickoff of the collision between the Marvel universe we’ve known for more than 75 years and the Ultimate universe launched back in 2000. With a lot of ground to cover we’ll keep it short and major spoiler free.

The opening chapter isn’t so much about the Battleworld or fighting Beyonders as it is a reckoning of the cataclysmic incursion between Earth-616 (regular universe) and Earth-1610 (ultimate universe). Before Secret Wars, writer Jonathan Hickman had set a chain of events in motion during his Avengers run where alternate universes could only survive annihilation by destroying other universes. It all gets extremely lightly touched upon in the opening through the dialogue of the evil Reed Richards from the Ultimate universe, but doesn’t explain all the events leading up to the end of the worlds. Hickman instead made this first issue a massive Marvel fight between Ultimate Nick Fury’s forces and the Avengers of the regular Marvel U. In the midst of battle, the good Reed Richards (616) attempts a last ditch effort to gather essential people on Earth to his life raft (that’s literally what they called it) in order to continue the human race once doomsday obliterates everything. The end of issue one is where the meat of Secret Wars battle for reality begins, but we’ll have to wait till issue two to see how things really take shape.

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An action packed story relies heavily on an artist who can cinematically capture it all. Esad Ribic’s work in the book is solid. The scale of the lens readers witness events through is massive and his panel layout choices move everything along at a break-neck pace. He does sacrifice fine detail in the drawings, but fortunately doesn’t skimp on the small details in the panels particularly the impact moments. Where the visual really pops is in the color work of Ive Svorcina. It brings out such a distinction in the contrast of the 616 and Ultimate universe that adds the much-needed definition between the sides in battle. Marvel’s AR app also gets a really great workout from the art in the book, if you haven’t used it, make sure you download it for this series.

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Overall, enjoyment of Secret Wars #1 is fragmented and where you find yourself depends on how closely you follow Marvel books. If you’ve been following Hickman’s Avengers titles then this series is a can’t miss payoff for your loyal reading. However, Marvel’s ambitions for Secret Wars went far beyond that audience. The publisher didn’t spend a year bombarding us with –teaser after teaser– and –press announcement after announcement– just to solely reward Hickman’s core audience. A highly touted PR campaigned combined with the timing of releasing right after the Avengers: Age of Ultron film hit theaters meant Marvel wanted to bring in everyone who’s ever read or even thought about picking up a comic book to buy this book. In this regard they didn’t make issue one as new-reader friendly as it should have been. If you haven’t been reading Avengers routinely then your level of indulgence from reading Secret Wars will depend on if you can accept the premise of this book without knowing the intricate moves that initiated it.

Having not finished the most recent issues of Avengers, I found myself scratching my head at some of the exposition all the different factions represented here are having in their conversations. However it didn’t dramatically hinder my enjoyment of the action and tension Secret Wars #1 was filled with. When you compare Secret Wars to DC’s Under the Dome; Marvel is making up serious ground. Though DC’s Convergence had more emotion in their opening; the current slow pace isn’t doing it any favors. While Secret Wars doesn’t quite live up to the hype, Marvel opened it with action movie like entertainment, and sometimes that’s all you really need to get hooked.

Note: Though we can’t talk about the tie-in series just yet. It’s important to note that after reading some of those #1s, Marvel is so far keeping to their promise of keeping Secret Wars main series as the only one you need to read. Check back later today and we’ll post a code for a digital copy of Secret Wars #1

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6. On the Scene: 4 (AWESOME) Comics Locations in Europe

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I didn’t think London would be a particularly (hip hop) happening place for comics, alas I was wrong. In many instances I was pleasantly surprised at what was going on in the comics world overseas. During a leisurely excursion into the land of royalty and great pub food and drink, I was treated to a variety of specialty shops complete with a wonderful sense of style and tone all their own. These places had Free Comic Book Day events, special bundles and sales, exclusive art prints and more. One of the only downsides period; was the exchange rate on each sale. There is no sales tax on books in the United Kingdom (I’m pretty sure,) which lessened the blow of getting hit with the currency dilemma. Without further ado, here’s an assessment of my trip so far:

1) Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet is a well documented dose of nerd surprises. What struck me is the sheer amount of toys waiting on the first floor. The comics were hidden in the basement below, allowing me to believe that the retailer makes most their income based on the amount of toys they sell in front. The comic book selection was still completely overwhelming. With the high prices, I was searching for something that would be out of print, or on the small press side of the industry. With a limited knowledge of small press and knowing what was in print at the moment, I chickened out of buying anything. The Death of Captain Marvel was the only thing tempting me ­­ but it was in a weird hardcover format that would have probably been heavy in a suitcase. This is a side note, but I still would like to say that DC has done an extraordinary job with their newest set of packaging for their figures. All of the packages contain a simple and clean white background with some comics panels lurking in the background ­­ now it’s time for Marvel to catch up.

Forbidden_Planet_London_January_2012

Picture via Wikipedia

1.1) Harrods

Harrods (think black tie Costco) was mostly devoid of comics content. Even their bookstore contained no comics. Still, I was determined to find something ­­ and I did…eventually. I found a painting by Roy Lichtenstein for over £30,000. Not exactly comics, but something that the comics community feels strongly about.

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1.2) Stonehenge

You know…comics can be found in some funny places ­­even the Stonehenge museum? Inside the museum lie a couple of comics inside bearing the representation of the signature landmark. Recently London has spent a considerable amount of capital updating the landmark with an expanded lobby area. As seen in the image below, representations of the figure in comics work can be seen in Thor, Rip Hunter, Action Comics and more.

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2) American Dreams Comics

Bath, close to Stonehenge is a truly lovely City ­­and one place that also contained some hidden comic book treasures. Hidden may not be the correct word, because Batwoman and Captain America cosplay teams were handing out DC and Marvel issues for Free Comic Book Day and leading foreigners towards their shop known as American Dreams Comics. I was ecstatic because I was able to get everything I wanted from FCBD without having to wait in the lines of Forbidden Planet on the way back home. The cashier had instructed me to look out for long lines, but told me that they did have a lot of product in store at Forbidden Planet. This was a perfect solution and convenient for the people that I was traveling with. A healthy amount of youth were enjoying themselves in the store scouting out some of the posters that the retailer probably had leftover. It’s really cool that Secret Wars #0 took a spotlight on the Future Foundation for the duration of the comic. This makes the tale much more accessible for the youth that may have populated this shop.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Picture via americandreamcomicsbath.wordpress.com

2.1) Doctor Who Experience

I Really quick just wanted to mention that the Doctor Who Experience had a few of the loose Doctor Who issues in the store. Unfortunately, they were all way ahead of what I’ve read ­­ as the first trade of Al Ewing’s Matt Smith Who title has been really good so far. That’s it! No more Doctor Who. Promise!

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3) Blackwell’s Art & Poster Shop

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Oxford was home to a lovely art store entitled Blackwell’s Art & Poster Shop. The store had everything from posters, books, and fine art as well. Everything in the store had a mostly independent vibe (making it a very Beat friendly store.) Speaking of friendly, the staff was more than willing to help out customers. I saw one of the employees actively evangelizing Maus (which I still haven’t read) and burst into an immediate smile. My haul was once again fruitless, but the temptation for me here was the Boxers & Saints slipcase edition that I haven’t seen before. Lately I have seen the comics split in two (not sure what that is about?)

4) Mega City Comics

Last but not least in my time in London was Mega City Comics. This store (which had a logo from Shaky Kane) had some incredible bundles. Even my jaded comic book heart couldn’t deny the fine assortment of deals here. My traveling companions had to talk me off the cliff off buying issues #6-68 of X­-O Manowar (the first series from the original Valiant.) they talked me off of that cliff…eventually. I did end up sealing my fate (and suitcase space) with the full #38 issues of Marc Andreyko’s Manhunter. I made out of the store like bandit paying less than a dollar an issue.

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Here’s a tiny picture of a tiny dog;
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You’re welcome.

Next week: Scotland!

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7. Book & Me | Comic #2

Book & Me #2 by Charise Mericle Harper

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8. Children’s Book Week: James Kochalka’s five favorite kids comics

It’s the 96th Annual Children’s Book Week, and this year’s theme is COMICS. This is a great team up because, as I’ve noted many times in my life, kids like reading comics. To help celebrate, our pals at First Second have reached out to some of their authors to get their picks for favorite kids comics, and kicking things off we have the one and only James Kochalka, whose many kids books include “The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie” “Johnny Boo Book 1: The Best Little Ghost In The World and “Johnny Boo Meets Dragon Puncher” . Take it away, James:
———

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Teen Dog by Jake Lawrence

It’s laugh out loud funny story of a Fonzi-like teenage dog and his human friends, the and the art is gorgeous and super crisp and clear.  My boys (age 7 and 11) and I eagerly devoured each of the eight issues.  But what’s next?!  Jake, I’m sure whatever you do next is going to totally rock.

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Petite Poilu by Pierre Bailly and Céline Fraipont
These haven’t been published yet in the USA, but they’re wordless books so they’re great for importing even if you don’t know French.  I discovered it when I was a guest at Angouleme a few years back.  Petite Poilu translates as Little Hairy.  It’s about a little boy creature who has surreal adventures.  There are 16 volumes out so far, with the 17th due out in June, and they’re all staggeringly good.  It kind of reminds me a little bit of Jim Woodring’s Frank, if the Frank stories were happier.

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Bone by Jeff Smith
No other epic adventure comic even comes close.  In fact it’s the only epic adventure I hold in as high esteem as I hold The Lord of the Rings.  Everything else is just a pretender by comparison.

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Leave it To PET! by Kenji Sonishi
This is the funniest comic I have ever read.  It’s about a boy who recycles a can and the can comes back as a robot.  Throughout the series they meet dozens of other robots made of recycled stuff.  Everybody acts just completely off-the-hook insane.  It’s total bonkers fun.

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Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond
I love the way storytelling is so different in ongoing weekly serials than it is in a modern graphic novel.  To read them all together in a row gives you a totally new idea of what a story can be.  It’s a seemingly archaic form, but it has a lot to teach us about narrative.  Flash Gordon is great, and it’s what I’m reading right now to the boys, but there are other great ones.  The collections of Popeye dailies are probably even better, actually.

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9. Interview: Penelope Bagieu Kills With Her Graphic Novel “Exquisite Corpse”

Exquisite CorpseBy Nick Eskey

Penelope Bagieu is a French illustrator who over the last ten years has become more involved in making comics and graphic novels. Some of her works include Josephine, Not Bad, White Page, and Stars of the Stars. She also has a comic blog, My Life Is Quite Fascinating, where she portrays everyday life in a humorous light.

In honor of her debut English-language graphic novel Exquisite Corpse (published by First Second), we discussed with the artist her career and newest work.

How did you find yourself doing graphic novels?

By accident, mostly. I always wanted to make cartoons (actually, as a child, I said wanted to grow up to become Tex Avery. Great ambition). I studied animation in art college and everything. But then, one thing led to another, and I started to do commissioned illustration for magazines (mostly because I had a rent to pay), and one of these magazines offered me to do their weekly last-page comic strip, and I thought “hey, why not, it’s not that far from what I want to do, which is drawing and telling stories), and it had a little success, and it was turned into a book, and another, et ExquisiteCorpse voilà.

How are the stresses of making a living off of art?

On that aspect, I think it’s the same everywhere: very few people make a real living off of it. I’m lucky enough to be one of them, but most of the cartoonists I know also work for advertising agencies, or take commissioned anonymous jobs to make both ends meet. Comics is such a long-term business. It’s hard to be bankable when you need years to finish a book. French politic on books and arts in general is very compliant and we pay less taxes than most of the self-employed people in other domains. We also have our cherished law on the price of books, which prevent stores from giving away books on sale like it’s a TV screen. But it’s a very fragile economy.

How did you get the title “Exquisite Corpse?”

As often, my editor came up with the idea. I don’t want to reveal too much of the story, but I thought this surrealist technique of writing, in which a story alternates from the hands of one author to another, and also had some sort of macabre to it, well, it made sense.
Obviously the story takes place in France, and the main character is a woman. What kind of parallels have you pulled from your life for the book?
Well, that’s it, pretty much! Except all the inspiration on her crappy dead-end jobs and moron ex-boyfriend, that I kept in a corner of my head from my previous own career in crappy dead-end jobs and moron ex-boyfriends. I knew it would be useful one day!

What inspired you to write this story?

On one hand, it was a part of the world I come from, that is the people who never read and only know a famous name if it’s on TV, and on the other, this other world I got to know later, that is the tiny literary Parisian scene, a planet that spins by itself, without a care for anything other than prizes, critics and book reviews. I don’t judge either of these two worlds, and I don’t think any of them is better than the other. I just wondered what would happen if they happened to collide.

Not giving too much away, the main male character is an author who thrives on attention, and wilts without it. As also an author, do you feel any similarities with the situation?

Oh, the character of the author is so me. Which is why I have so much empathy for him. On the selfish aspect of creation, where nothing and no one exists but my story while I’m writing it. The world around me may fall apart, the plants die and the cat starve. It’s exactly like I’m starting a new love relationship and I’m totally devoted to it, and bore my friends to death while speaking about nothing else. I think it’s hard to be the boyfriend or the children of an author.

One of bigger themes I’ve noticed is people using each other to live, whether it’s physically or mentally, or emotionally. Do you see this cycle in your life, or life in Penelope.Bagieugeneral?

I think you tend to step up as you grow older, and don’t get fooled by people who make you believe you need them while they’re totally using you in a one-way system. But it’s not necessarily the case when you’re younger, or confused, or don’t really know where you’re going, like the character of Zoe. Because you have the feeling that these people you meet, who look so self-confident and strong, well they know. So you’re willing to follow them anywhere, and support, and help, and be used, because you think they have a plan. But in the end, they have no idea what they’re doing either and they need you just as much.

There are a few scenes in the book where breasts are exposed. With the U.S. having different censorship compared to some European countries, how do you feel that your book may either be censored, marketed to an older audience, or how it might affect who will carry it?

I found out about that while reading my first reviews! I read several times “uh-oh, not to be put in the hands of a younger audience,” and I honestly really scratched my head, mentally browsing my entire book and thinking “Wait, what? Where? Did I put any sex scene? Or a violent murder? Or a massacre? Oh, right! The image with NIPPLES!” So breasts are considered obscene here. Oh, well, we French have our weird little habits too, I guess.

The editor character seems to play an important part in Rocher’s career. Do editors really carry such an important role? How has your editor(s) affected your life and/or work?

There are two schools on this: either you consider you need to be absolutely alone to write, and you expect nothing from your editor but the publishing part, that is printing well and promoting even better. If so, you take his observations as interfering, because you know exactly where you’re going. I’m from the other school, where I need my editor to comfort me every ten pages, to be the cheerleader on the side of the road, to be able to tell me “this chapter is crap,” or “switch these two panels and it will be a lot more efficient.” Usually, I talk for hours with my editor while my story is just a tiny seed, something that is starting to itch my brain only. And we talk it over until it becomes clearer. And then, all along the writing process, I know that he knows my story just as well as I do. I always have this image of the crazy scientist in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr Finkelstein, who splits his own brain in two and give one half to his creation, so that they will understand each other perfectly. Well, I like that my editor has the exact same amount of information as I have on my own story. He can tell me at any time “Hey, you should read that book, it would help you on the subject,” because he knows what it’s truly about. Of course, it’s not easy finding people you trust enough, that you will blindly listen to them when they suggest you should dramatically change your story, or your images. But if you have these people around you, it is so comfortable, to know that you’re not alone, and that someone will warn you if you’re actually heading right into a wall. It’s a very lonely and insecure job, otherwise.

EsquisiteCorpseIf we were to use the character of the author Rocher as a sliding scale, where in your life do you see yourself now compared to his journey?

Haha, that’s a funny one! I suppose I’m at the point where I never really had bad-bad critics, and I still have the pressure of having had a very successful first book. I’m not famous enough to have really mean reviews, because if critics don’t like my books, they just don’t write a word about it, that’s how they show it. You must be very famous to have people finding a column in a magazine (and time, energy) to write all the horrible things they think about you. I didn’t marry my publisher, and I still have millions of ideas for my future books. But I quit reading things about my books a long time ago: I usually rather take credit for things that people tell me to my face.

What do you hope readers will take away after reading “Exquisite Corpse?”

I hope they miss their subway stop while reading because they’re too captivated by the twist, the tension and the suspense. Do you think they could do that for me?

Be sure to pick up Exquisite Corpse by First Second at your local retail store.

2 Comments on Interview: Penelope Bagieu Kills With Her Graphic Novel “Exquisite Corpse”, last added: 5/5/2015
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10. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy Visits The Stately Beat Manor Comics Pull: Best Comics of the Week for 4/29/15

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With great comics comes great responsibility — that’s something that we believe the Legion of Superheroes’ Arm-Fall-Off-Boy perfectly encapsulates. The character created by Gerard Jones, Ty Templeton, and Curt Swan inspires us to write these great pieces as he forces the staff here at The Beat Manor to keep reading until our arms fall off! How many characters have the ability to use their own limbs as instruments of destruction? Arm-Fall-Off-Boy A.K.A. Floyd Belkin’s visit to the mansion came at an important time in comics history as Marvel is now on the very edge of Secret Wars and DC is in the midst of Convergence. The rejected Legionnaire had some opinions on each that enlightened The Beat staff towards forming some new conceptions about these titles that we will share with the general public below. Our time with Belkin was limited, but he shared all the Superman and Legion anecdotes that we could handle in the span of just one afternoon. Without further ado we would like to present our picks straight from Belkin and The Beat Manor for your reading pleasure!


Alex and Floyd’s picks:

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Avengers #44 Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Mike Deodato

New Avengers #33 Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Kev Walker

Belkin advised us that Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers saga was one of the deepest and most bold comics events ever, with over 77 issues devoted to the lead-up into the Secret Wars, he told us that there was much ‘proverbial crap’ to hit the fan. We feel obligated to post anything the esteemed hero mentioned, but these pair of issues surely look interesting. How is Hickman and company going to blow up the Marvel Universe and create Battleworld? Bear in mind that this is comics, so it probably is going to be fun but not make any sense.

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The Multiversity #2 Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Ivan Reis

Floyd expressed some interest in taking a break from the big events and talking up DC’s huge Multiversity event for a short while. This saga is bringing some brand new heroes together for the first direct follow-up to the Multiversity labeled as The Multiversity #2, but how or why would the installment could it be labeled as such with a new selection of characters being introduced? One of the highlights of our afternoon with Belkin was a spirited debate between team Beat on whether Morrison could even follow-up Multiversity! When one Beat staffer mentioned that he or she (I will not disclose their identity) didn’t like Brazilian artist Ivan Reis, they were given a stern talking to — they insulted one of Belko’s favorites!


Kyle’s Pick:

shazam

 

Convergence: Shazam #1

Writer: Jeff Parker, Artist: Doc Shaner, Colors: Jordie Bellaire

STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! It’s Shazam versus Steampunk, as the world of Gotham by Gaslight takes on the Captain Marvel family and friends!
I’m not sure about Floyd’s opinion on the matter, though I have to feel like one of the Legion’s goofiest (sorry, dude) cast of characters must have some affinity for what I think is the greatest superhero of all time, especially one with as whacky a history as Captain Marvel/Shazam.
I find most, if not all, of Convergence pretty uninteresting so far, but the draw on this one for me, beyond the fact that I’m a die-hard Marvel family fan, is the reunion of the Flash Gordon team of Parker and Shaner. I’m especially excited to see Shaner’s sunny, beautiful work take on not only C.C. Beck‘s wonderful co-creation but also the Mike Mignola designed Gotham by Gaslight characters. I’m excited about reading Multiversity, but I’m looking forward to admiring Shazam.

Davey’s Pick:

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Holy F*ck TPB
ACTION LAB – DANGER ZONE
(W) Nick Marino (A/CA) Daniel Arruda Massa
Though we haven’t been able to talk much more about it since the first issue came out in print, Holy F*ck has been a fun ride that makes you feel dirty in the best way possible. A collected edition is the best way to read this:
Sister Maria has recruited two horny drug-fueled weirdos to stop the apocalypse. Their names? Jesus and Satan. Can these biblical frenemies help this nun with a gun defeat an army of pissed off mythological gods?

Heidi’s Pick:

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Super Mutant Magic Academy
Jillian Tamaki
DRAWN & QUARTERLY
 Lacking arms makes it hard to hold a book, so I don’t know where Floyd stands on graphic novels, but anyone with two hands would enjoy this. I know we’ve been Tamaki-crazy here at Stately Beat Manor, but SMMA, based on the long running webcomic, is a limber, darkly humorous take on the much-trodden “superpowered teens in school” genre, as teens learn that magic powers don’t help where self-esteem, misplaced love and growing up are concerned. As they do.
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 The complete Johnny Nemo
 Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins
Tian Comics
Okay technically this is a relisting, but why not take some time to honor the legacy of the late Brett Ewins, with this ode to Newave haircuts, private eyes and goofball futurism that never goes out of style. Milligan and Ewins in peak form.

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11. Alfred

 

The comic project my sister, Emily, and I have been collaborating on is ready to go. We're excited to share Alfred -- we've had a blast working on this and hope you like it, too. You can read weekly updates every Monday over here.

The back story? Over the holidays a coffeeshop conversation ended up evolving into Emily's idea for a comic. Many months, several late nights and a couple weekends later, we're ready to go. Alfred is equal parts sci-fi, fantasy and mystery, with a healthy dose of Maine thrown in. And let's not forget, lots and lots of salt water.

Enjoy!

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12. A-Force #1 Preview: Yes, Captain Marvel Punches a Shark…Stop Asking!

Marvel’s A-Force #1 from G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett with art from Jorge Molina features a stable of the publishers mightiest female heroes — and Captain Marvel punching a shark. The comic takes place during Battleworld in the upcoming Secret Wars event, which see’s nearly every Marvel character converging (haha) on one singular planet. The warriors attempt to defend their section of Battleworld, and Marvel notes that they have to fight off a mysterious horde. Nestled in the preview art is a mysterious woman in the back of the roster (five points to anyone who can figure out who she is in the comments!) The title includes a large roster of characters including familiar faces like She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Rogue, Dazzler, Phoenix, Pixie, Captain Marvel, Medusa and more. The new comic is set to debut at local comic shops on May 20, 2015 at a $3.99 price point. Cover artists include Jim Cheung, Jorge Molina, Stephanie Hans, Russell Dauterman, Adam Hughes, and more. Thanks to CBR for the preview. More importantly, Captain Marvel punches a shark in this comic…you’re welcome.

A-FORCE #1 (MAR150665)
Written by G. WILLOW WILSON & MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by JORGE MOLINA
Inhumans 50th Anniversary Variant by ADAM HUGES (MAR150666)
Variant Covers by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN (MAR150667) STEPHANIE HANS (MAR150668)
JORGE MOLINA (MAR150669) and SKOTTIE YOUNG (MAR150670)
Blank Variant Also Available (MAR150671)
FOC – 04/27/15, On-Sale – 05/20/15
As the Secret Wars begin, the Avengers as you know them are no more – and a new team will lead the way! In a secluded corner of Battleworld lies Arcadia, an island nation fiercely protected by a team of Avengers the likes of which has never been seen before!
So who are the Marvel powerhouses taking center stage? “She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and other fan favorites, will take charge,” says series co-writer G. Willow Wilson. “We’ve purposefully assembled a team composed of different characters from disparate parts of the Marvel U, with very different power sets, identities and ideologies.”
And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth’s Mightiest Heroines found themselves united against a common threat. Fighting to protect the small sliver of their world that’s left, they stand tall, shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to take on the horde. Ushering in a new day with a rallying cry heard across Battleworld – A-FORCE ASSEMBLE!









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13. C2E2 2015: Marvel Warzones Rounds Out C2E2 Announcements

Rounding out Marvel’s Secret Wars themed panels was “Warzones” and to do this editors Jake Thomas, Jon Moisan, and Nick Lowe were joined by James Robinson, Marguerite Bennett, Dan Slott, and Dennis Hopeless.

The presentation kicked off with Rick Remender’s Hail Hydra, a series that shows a piece of the Battleworld where Hydra rules all. It’s a book that does those things creators always want to explore but never could in exploring a world where evil always triumphs.

Marvel then announced a new series, Hank Johnson, Agent of HYDRA, which will be written by Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer David Mandel with art by Michael Walsh. It features a cover by Amanda Conner. The book is billed as an everyman who just so happens to work for the most villainous organization on the planet.

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Dennis Hopeless moved into his book, Inferno. “Inferno has been raging for five years and it’s like Colossus in ‘Escape From New York,’ said Hopeless. Art was shown from the book that featured Colossus squaring off against an army of demons. The group also touched on his other book, House of M.

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Lowe then talked about Infinity Gauntlet. Gerry Dugan is reinventing the cosmic side of the Marvel U for Secret Wars. He’ll tell a new story about the culmination of all the Infinity Stones (yep there calling them stones). Lowe also praised the work of series artist Dustin Weaver.

Old Man Logan was up next as the panel showed off interior artwork. The story is more of a continuation than a retelling as the book will deal with trying to dethrone all the super villains who’ve taken over. Bendis was eager to take on the story to try and one-up original writer Mark Millar.

Nick Lowe talked a bit about the 2099 universe and how Peter David’s book, Secret Wars 2099, was one of the first stories to be solidified for Secret Wars. He teased the appearance of characters we know and characters we’ve never seen, but also that the series could move into post Secret Wars Marvel.

A-Force interior art from Jorge Molina appeared, featuring high-flying action including Captain Marvel. The showing was a crowd favorite and writer Marguerite Bennett talked about the cast which features Dazzler, She-Hulk, Medusa, Nico Minoru and a new character named Singularity.

Planet Hulk was brought up and the group talked about how brutal the series is shaping up to be. The book will see all the Hulks gathered on a patch of planet called “Greenland”. Writer Sam Humphries also cast a gladiator Captain America that’s thrown right in the middle of all the savagery.

Another tease for the Spider-Verse series was given by Dan Slott. The book which is written by Mike Costa will feature Arana, Spider-UK, Spider-Man India, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Gwen. It’s an over-sized continuation of what Slott set up at the end of Spider-Verse.

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Slott then moved into Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. The writer gave more details about the series, “This is Peter in a world where he is father, husband, hero — in that order. That will change everything.”  He made it even more intense by revealing that Peter Parker will be putting on the Black Costume once again.

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Some interior art was shown from Skottie Young’s Little Marvel:AvX. The pages showed a glimpse of a battle between baby Archangel and Falcon. The group then briefly mentioned other series such as 1872 and Squadron Sinister before James Robinson talked a bit about Armor Wars. In the part of the Battleworld called Technopolis, everyone who wants to survive has to wear a suit of armor. A murder mystery unfolds when one character finds out the cause of the illness that’s confined their world. The writer also made it clear we’d see just about every incarnation of Iron Man armor that’s come before in addition to some new ones.

ARMOR-WARS-3-c32a9-9eaec

Not many new details were given for Years of Future Past and Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos. However, Lowe did bring up Guardians of Knowhere, a book that will again bring the creative team of Bendis and Mike Deodato. The duo is “reinventing” the location for Secret Wars and will see a new villain that has a future beyond the event.

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps was brought up. The book is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson featuring art by David Lopez. Not many new details were given about the story but the group talked about how blown away they were by Lopez’s pages.

The big reveal of the panel was Howard the Human, a tie-in book by Jim Mahfood. It’s a book that takes place in an all animal version of the Marvel U with influences from films such as Roger Rabbit and Cool World. Even the city is taken on a new identity, “New Quack City”.

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With Secret Wars right around the corner, has Marvel’s announcements and hype machine got you any more excited for their upcoming “Nothing will ever be the same” event?

1 Comments on C2E2 2015: Marvel Warzones Rounds Out C2E2 Announcements, last added: 4/27/2015
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14. C2E2 2015: CM Punk to Write Ongoing Marvel Book

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Image Credi: Fox Sports

 

 

Announced at C2E2, former wrestler turned UFC fighter turned author, CM Punk will write a new Drax the Destroyer ongoing comic for Marvel. The series will launch in Winter 2015. No co-writer or series artist was named, but the cover for the first issue will be drawn by Ed McGuinness.

Punk recently did a short story for Thor Annual alongside Chew artist Rob Guillory. His next story that will see print is part of DC/Vertigo’s Strange Sports Stories. This also marks Drax’s first solo ongoing comic joining the fellow Guardian ranks of Rocket Raccoon and Legendary Star-Lord. 

As the book is still aways away, more details are to be revealed soon. Teasing the book was a good move on both parties parts. Punk being a Chicago native, a big announcement about his future in comics during one of the biggest shows made all the sense in the world.

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15. It’s the Golden Age of Superhero Communism: Enter Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham

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This announcement is somewhat confusing, but so is the entire legacy of Miracleman, one of the most interesting heroes that Marvel has ever published. First off, the run with The Original Writer (Alan Moore) has come to an end with issue #16 that Marvel started printing after they acquired the rights to the character again. Instead of just continuing the book, the publisher has decided to renumber the title starting with Neil Gaiman’s first issue #17 and changing it to Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham #1.

However, the news does not stop yet, at C2E2’s Marvel Next Big Thing panel, the run with Gaiman (drawn by Fables artist Mark Buckingham) was announced to debut September 2015. The original comic ended before the run came to an end with Miracleman #24. There were originally only seven issues of the tale, but Marvel is now attempting to publish the rest of the saga written by Gaiman.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether there are any issues done, or whether Gaiman and Buckingham could perhaps start creating material with the character? Marvel already scraped Grant Morrison material from the vault with All-New Miracleman #1. Who’s to say they can’t publish more? Thanks to CBR for originally reporting on the news — and thanks to Miracleman for being one of the most interesting and convoluted characters in comics both in front of and behind-the-scenes of comics history.

For an incredible history lesson on the birth and death of Miracleman, take a look at our own Poison Chalice pieces.

9 Comments on It’s the Golden Age of Superhero Communism: Enter Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham, last added: 4/28/2015
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16. C2E2 2015: Marvel Secret Wars “Battleworld” Panel

The second of Marvel’s Secret Wars themed panels focuses on “Battleworld”. Senior Editor Nick Lowe was joined by James Robinson, Joshua Williamson, editors Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan, and Secret Wars writer Jonathan Hickman.

Nick Lowe kicked off the panel by asking Jonathan Hickman to describe the main “Secret Wars” book. The event is the culmination of his grand design for his Avengers run. Hickman also praised his artist Esad Ribic as Lowe showed off pages from issue #1. Pages which featured characters locked in battle. When Hickman was asked to talk about what happens in the opening, he answered by quipping, “Everybody Dies.”

Next up Lowe showed the covers for Inhumans: Attilan Rising, which will be written by Charles Soule with art by John Timms. Soule himself described the book as “in-line with Casablanca.” The cast of characters include an all-new version of the Hulk, Undead G-Man, a Ghost Rider, and Mega-Rad.

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Lowe transitioned into Ultimate End, written by Bendis with art by Mark Bagley. Lowe talked about wanting to keep secrets about these series so the twist and turns will have the emotional impact intended. (Maybe don’t start talking about post Secret Wars before the event begins)

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More details emerged about Master of Kung-fu from the team of Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic. It takes place mostly in K’un-Lun, but in this alternate version of the mystical city, everyone is a martial arts master. This part of Battleworld has several schools of martial arts taught by alternate versions of their characters; including aBlack Panther School, a Spider-Man School and a White Tiger dojo. An underground tournament between all determines who runs this part of Battleworld and Shang-chi will have to go up against his own father. It was mentioned that Talajic is a martial artist and has been waiting years to do a story like this.

In keeping with the fight theme the group talked about the Secret Wars: Battleworld anthology series. The first issue will feature a story by Williamson about a Doctor Strange-powered Punisher fighting a demonic Fantastic Four. Editor Moisan teased more outlandish battles such as Blade fighting Howard the Duck, Egyptian Silver Surfer will take on a crocodile version of Abomination, and old West Deadpool fightingDevil Dinosaur.

4520216-secret_wars_battleworld_1_stokoe_variant

Williamson talked a little bit about Red Skull. His book has a version of the character that is supposed to be dead and his influence is still felt in the realm. A group of heroes will enter the deadlines to either verify the rumors or kill the Red Skull.

Next up was Secret Wars: Journal. The series will be a place for parts of Battleworld that don’t have a series of their own. One of Kevin Wada’s covers shows Kate Bishop from the ‘1602’ universe where she is a Robin Hood-esque figure.

The group touched on Thors, but not much was given outside of a bit of art. It’s the series most fans and critics are excited for, especially featuring the art of Chris Sprouse. (Can someone do a Too Many Cooks/Thors mashup?)

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James Robinson talked about Marvel Zombies vs. Age of Ultron. The series is about a pocket of humanity in the middle of a war between the undead superheroes and Bendis version of elements of the Age of Ultron. Robinson described it as, “mayhem, violence and black comedy, but there’s also these characters that love each other trying to survive.”

As the presentation started to run long Lowe quickly ran through the other Marvel Zombies book, along with covers for Ghost Riders, and Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde.

Thomas talked about Siege by Kieron Gillen. The series will have three double-paged spreads drawn by guests artists. It’s premise is about a part of the Battleworld called “the Shield” which is attacked by Ultrons and Zombies. The cast which includes versions of Scott Summers, America Chavez, Kang and the 1602 Kate Bishop are forced to be on the wall defending this part of the planet.

The presentation portion ended with the newly announced Secret Wars: Secret Love. It looks like Marvel is going to dive back into romance comics with the cover featuring Ms. Marvel and Robbie Reyes. Creators involved include Katie Cook, Michel Fiffe, Felipe Smith, Jeremy Whitley, and more.

Secret_Wars-Secret-Love

 

Strange that this title got a Battleworld banner. Now we hope one of these stories mimics the song “Love is a Battlefield” or when they did it on South Park.

Sunday morning, the third part of these Secret Wars panels wraps things up with “Warzones”.

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17. C2E2 2015: Marvel Secret Wars “Last Days” Panel

Marvel is bringing their Secret Wars to the second city all weekend at C2E2 2015. Kicking things off are the “Last Days” of the Marvel U. To talk about these events the publisher assembled Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, Al Ewing, Dennis Hopeless, editor Jon Moisan, and Charles Soule.

The presentation kicked off with Ms. Marvel #16, which sees the return of artist and Kamala Khan’s co-creator Adrian Alphona on art duties, with co-creator and series writer G. Willow Wilson leading the young Ms. Marvel into her biggest adventure yet of her very brief superhero career. We already know that the young Kamala is part of the All-New All-Different Avengers post Secret War, this arc could however change the direction of the character for the future.

Magneto #18 will begin his journey through his last days arc. The group gave few new details about what we’ll see but did mention Sugarman will be a part of the arc. All the characters we’ve seen in the series will be uniquely affected by the incursion.

Image Credit:  Marvel

Image Credit:
Marvel

A sliver of Black Widow was shown as the group teased issue #19. Her story will feature the character in the present while still showing the beginnings of Natasha’s story. We’ll see one of her most horrible moments during her Red Room days. It looks to be a very emotional last days for Black Widow.

The Punisher’s last days will see the character pushed to his end physically and emotionally. As the entire run will culminate in this story, the team is going all out with balls to the wall action. Now it seems that the series could be ending to make way for a possible new series written by CM Punk.

Al Ewing talked about Captain America and The Mighty Avengers. His goal is to break as many hearts as possible. As he talked about when the announcement was first made, his story will look at the world crumbling around the team. It’s a story told from the readers point of view.

Image Credit: Marvel

Image Credit:
Marvel

Loki: Agent of Asgard #14-15 will see scores settled between the gods of Asgard in a total war ignited by King Loki. The writer teased a returning element from the Simonson run that will blow readers minds.

Dan Slott in typical fashion played with the crowd by asking if everyone was worried about what will happen post Secret Wars. Jokingly, according to him it’s all “GONE!” He’ll continue working with amazing team of Mike and Laura Allred on the last days of Silver Surfer. He did drop a few tidbits about the upcoming arc. Surfer will survie in the void and be given the power to recreate the universe. This arc will examine the question about what to do with infinite power.

The group announced Ant-Man: Last Days #1, which goes on sale in August. Scott Lang will be teaming up with a golden age hero we’ve already seen but don’t know the identity of. Last Days of Ant-Man will not be a new series but instead just a one-shot with the creative team of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas.

Ant-Man_LastDays001_Cover

 

You can watch all the C2E2 goodness through lifestream on their website here

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18. Alan Moore Interview Part III – Jack the Ripper, Joyce Brabner, and a Swan-Shaped Pedalo

Previous parts of this interview: Part I – Steve Moore, River of Ghosts, The Show, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Part II – Punk Rock, Crossed, and Providence. Now read on…

From HellPÓM: A few other things… Yes, now. Have you been following any of the latest revelations on Jack the Ripper? Do you keep an eye on that?

AM: [Laughs] No, because it’s all going to be bollocks.

PÓM: Oh yeah.

AM: Alright, I stand to be corrected, but what are the latest revelations on Jack the Ripper?

PÓM: Somebody claimed to have bought a scarf, a very expensive scarf…1

AM: Oh yeah, I read about that. And obviously at the time, that’s bollocks…

PÓM: Oh yes, absolutely and complete bollocks!

AM: And they’ve since proved that it’s bollocks – I think that they’ve just said that, no, there’s no connection at all between Catherine Eddowes and the stain on this scarf.

PÓM: I do remember thinking that they seemed to be in possession of an awful lot of information about DNA and all of that that seemed… unlikely.

AM: Unlikely at the time, yes. No no, that – these are always going to be non-starters. Alright, unless there is some brilliant piece of evidence waiting to be discovered that – how likely is that?

PÓM: I know. I just wondered if – ‘cause you did From Hell, I presume you still have some interest in the subject.

Koch SnowflakeAM: Well, with From Hell, at the end of it, in The Dance of the Gull Catchers, there is that statement about – Look, how long can this go on? About Koch’s Snowflake2, about the increasing trivia applied around the crinkly edges of this case, but the area of the case cannot exceed the original events and consequently, new books about Jack the Ripper, they’re less about Jack the Ripper than they are about keeping the Jack the Ripper industry going, because it’s been quite lucrative for a few years, you know? And I honestly think that that is the truth.

So, no, I tend to be dismissive of – every four or five years there will be ‘At last, the final truth!’ And it never is. And it’s very often preposterous, or a deliberate hoax. Or you’ll get, say, Patricia Cornwell, with her vandalisation of a Walter Sickert painting in the ridiculous hope that she could match the DNA to that on the letters received the police, which were not from the killer anyway.3

PÓM: I remember when the documentary was on the telly, I saw it was coming up…

AM: Yeah, I saw that, and I saw at the end of it, all she’d got was some footage of Walter Sickert being led out, probably in his eighties, to be filmed in a garden somewhere, and she said, ‘Yes, look at those eyes – pure evil.’ Ignorant woman.

PÓM: I remember she said something like ‘I knew as soon as I looked into his eyes that it had to be him.’4 And this is a woman who…

AM: That was all the evidence that she’d got, and – the thing is, that Patricia Cornwell is apparently supposed to be an actual real-life pathologist…5

PÓM: Yeah!

AM: …apparently cases in the American legal system have presumably depended upon her evidence – I hope she was doing a little bit more than looking in people’s eyes.

PÓM: I know! I have never been so disappointed with something on the television – in my life! Because I expected – because of who she was, and what she was, I expected this was going to be really incisive and good and interesting.

AM: I had read some of her books, so perhaps I wasn’t expecting quite as much as you were.

PÓM: [Laughs] Fair enough!

AM: I read a few of her books with the beautiful woman pathologist…6

PÓM: Oh, I know who you mean…

AM: …who somehow always ends up at the centre of every case. She’s always the one that the serial killer gets an obsession with, even though there’s no way in the real world that he would ever know who she was. She’s always smarter than the police. And then when I found out that Patricia Cornwell was herself a pathologist at some point I thought, ‘Yes, I think I can see where this is going.

PÓM: Yes. It did seem as well the whole Jack the Ripper thing was kind of because her father had left home when she was five, and there were some elements of that in there, which is where it started getting strange.

AM: Yeah, well a lot of these people who get obsessed with true crimes, they’re – sometimes, they can be working out something in their own psychology, rather than anything to actually do with the crime that they are officially dealing with. I haven’t really taken a great deal of interest in Jack the Ripper since finishing From Hell – probably more in Psychogeography and London.

richard_coles_dogPÓM: I must say, we’ve been spending a fair bit of time in London, Deirdre and myself. We were over there last week. We went to see – do you know the Reverend Richard Coles?7

AM: Oh yes, I met him once. I met him with Robin Ince.8

PÓM: Yeah. He was doing a thing in the British Library, he was doing – because he’s got a first volume of his autobiography out – another good Northampton lad!

AM: Is he? Yeah, he’s from out in the outskirts, I think he’s from one of the villages.

PÓM: That’s where he’s being a Rev these days. A thoroughly lovely man.

AM: He seemed really nice when I met him, and of course he was great in The Communards.

PÓM: Well, he was. He was. Not a great dancer, but a charming human being. But, yeah, I’ve recently joined the British Library, which is completely fantastic.9 I’m doing research into Flann O’Brien, and The Cardinal and the Corpse, all of that.

gorse 3[There’s actually a part of the interview missing here, because I felt it was so far removed from having even the slightest relevance to this particular site that it was best elsewhere. It concerns English writer Iain Sinclair‘s 1992 documentary film The Cardinal and the Corpse, which almost no-one has seen besides Alan and myself. It also peripherally concerns Irish writer Flann O’Brien, about whom I have been spending quite a lot of time reading and researching of late. The interview is here, on the gorse website. By absolutely no coincidence whatsoever I have an essay on Flann O’Brien in gorse #3, entitled The Cardinal & the Corpse, A Flanntasy in Several Parts, which I commend to you all. End of outrageous and gratuitious self-promotion.]

PÓM: Are you doing some series of things with Joyce Brabner?10

AM: There is a work that I’m – I’m doing a work with Joyce, but I’m starting that at the moment. I can’t tell you much about that, because it will be sometime this year – I’m more or less starting work on it now, over the next – probably over the weekend, and it’s likely to be something to do with identity, but I really can’t tell you much more than that – I’ve got my ideas, but they’re not really well formed enough yet, but later in the year I’ll be able to fill you in more with that.

A 4-seater swan pedalo

A 4-seater swan pedalo

PÓM: Ok, cool. Sure, we’ll talk again, undoubtedly. And I think I’m going to wrap it up – I must say, when you’re talking about doing Swandown, and things like that – that’s the thing with the pedalo, isn’t it? With the swan-shaped pedalo?11

AM: That is one of the sweetest films I’ve ever seen, and not just because I’m in it. In fact, I think that my contribution is one of the more negligible aspects of it. It’s English poetry. It shows you that there is no landscape that cannot be made poetic with the addition of a big plastic swan. And in fact, since then I also earlier this year – no, last year, last year. Spring or Summer, I went and filmed a bit with Andrew and Iain for their next project, which is called By Our Selves, and it’s all about John Clare12, and it’s got Andrew mucking about dressed as a straw bear, and recreating John Clare’s limping walk from Epping Forest and Matthew Arnold’s mental asylum back to Helpston in Northampton. Eighty miles or something, where he was eating grass and hallucinating. Yeah, so Andrew and Iain came up to Northampton, I spent a lovely afternoon sitting pretending to be a version of John Clare. They’ve got Toby Jones

13 doing all the heavy lifting in terms of being John Clare, so that should be – ‘cause he’s an incredible actor…

Alan Moore and a Straw Bear, borrowed from here

Alan Moore and a Straw Bear, borrowed from here

PÓM: What I was going to say about that is, you do really seem to be having far too much fun, still – you’re doing everything you want to.

AM: That stuff is the best. Things like that that just come out of the blue. I still enjoy me comics work, I still enjoy the ordinary writing that I do, but – the little surprising things like that, that I’ve not done before, that are a great afternoon out, seeing lovely people, and knowing that it’s going to end up as a really poetic cinematic document, yeah, I am having a lot of fun with that, when it happens. It’s irregular, but charming when it does.

PÓM: Well, good. And I think that’s it. Is there anything that you’re doing that I should know about that I don’t know about?

AM: Yeah, probably. Whether I actually consciously know about it, is the big question. There must be some – did you hear about The Dying Fire?

PÓM: Nooooo…

AM: This was a book that I’ve just brought out from Mad Love Publishing, it’s the collected poetry of Dominic Allard14

PÓM: Yes, I did, because I have a copy inside. Yes, of course.

Dying FireAM: Ah right. With the big introduction. That seems to be going quite well, and Dominic seems a bit stupefied by the sudden exposure – mind you, Dominic seems a bit stupefied by most things, it has to be said. But, no, that was really good, taking the books down to him, and giving him a load of copies, so there’s that. What else have I been doing? I’ve been reading through Steve Moore’s journals, which I collected from his house, and that’s bittersweet. There’s some incredible information in there, things that I’d forgotten about. Just day-by-day stuff in Steve’s life, but he was meticulous about listing it all.

PÓM: Do you do that? Do you keep a journal, or anything like that?

AM: No I don’t. And Steve’s journals are part of the reason why I don’t.

PÓM: Oh yes, one other thing I did want to ask you. Do you remember our last interview? That was the written interview.15

AM: Yes…?

PÓM: Did you ever get any feedback on that, or did you hear – there was a certain amount of…

AM: I don’t know if I did or not, Pádraig. Where would I have got it from?

AM: Well, indeed. There was huge amounts of hoopla on the internet about it, which – it was interesting. It was…

AM: Oh, that was the stuff about the Golliwogg?

PÓM: Yes, the Golliwogg, and…

AM: Yes, that was when I wrote my – Yes, I remember – that was when I spent the Christmas writing the rejoinder?

PÓM: Yes, yes!

AM: Yeah, I didn’t hear much about it, to tell the truth, once I’d got it out of me system, and I thought that the issues had been addressed, I just kind of let it go. Why, did – you say that there was a lot of furore?

PÓM: Oh, I had – when I put it up on my blog, and it just spread out everywhere, and I was getting hundreds of comments and replies. It was all quite fascinating – it genuinely didn’t bother me in any way, shape, or form. The people who said rude things, I just deleted them, because people have strange notions about what the right to free speech actually means. And it was just – it was interesting – it was great. It was a fantastic piece of, em…

AM: Invective?

PÓM: I was going to say a fantastic piece of writing, of a thing to put out there, and I was delighted to be in that way involved with it but, yes, a fine piece of invective, and all the better for it.

AM: I was talking with somebody who read it, and he was saying ‘I think you might have revived a kind of literary form, that has not been really practiced since the eighteenth century,’ the really crushing, bitter, stinging satire, if you will. Yeah, I was quite pleased with it. After doing it, I tended to put it out of me mind.

PÓM: No harm in that. I must say…

AM: Was any of the response positive?

PÓM: Oh yeah! Oh Christ, yes! Plenty of it. There was lots of people who are just happy to do down anything that turns up, but there was a lot of people that thought you gave someone a kickin’ that deserved a kickin’.

LocusAM: Well, that’s good. I had a very nice comment from Ramsey Campbell16. He said, pretty much, ‘Right on, Alan,’ so that was nice. I did see, in the Michael Moorcock issue of Locus that came out recently that Mike, he was talking a little bit about Grant Morrison as well, just because he was asked some question about why he doesn’t encourage other people to do Jerry Cornelius stories these days, which apparently does rather connect up with some of Morrison’s work. Ah, I thought it needed saying, and it was better out than in.

PÓM: Well, indeed. Sure, it’s all part of life’s rich pageant.

AM: Absolutely.

MelindaPÓM: How’s Melinda?17

AM: Mel’s fine – oh, yes, that’s something that I should probably tell you about. Mel is preparing for her first spectacular exhibition. This will be at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury.

PÓM: Oh, I love Bloomsbury, I have to say. I could live in Bloomsbury.18

AM: Have you been to the Horse Hospital?

PÓM: I don’t think we have, no.

AM: Well, I did a gig there with the lovely Kirsten Norrie19 – which also, she appears with me in that, By Our Selves, the John Clare film. But I did a gig where Kirstin was singing, and I was reading a part of Jerusalem, so I went to the Horse Hospital, and in there, I knew that our gig was underground, in the basement, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is a bit weird, there’s no stairs, there’s just these ramps.’ And then I thought ‘Horse Hospital!

But it’s a lovely little space, and I believe that Mel will be doing her exhibition there on April the 10th, and there’s tons and tons of drawings, there’s seven or eight of her paintings, and I believe that there might be some bronze busts that she’s done of the three main characters from Lost Girls. So, if anyone reading this happens to be in the Bloomsbury area around April 10th this year, they could do worse than to drop in.

PÓM: I shall be sure to tell people.

AM: OK, you take care, like I say, Pádraig, and love to Deirdre – and that’s what Mel’s doing, she’s preparing that.

———————————————————————————————————-

FOOTNOTES:

1On the 6th of September 2014 the Daily Mail carried a story that DNA evidence had been found on a scarf – allegedly once the property of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth of the five ‘canonical’ victims of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper, whose exploits set Victorian London into a frenzy of speculation which has still not died away – which proved that the killer was actually Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski. The story is here, although you really also need to read the refutation, here, as well.

2I refer you to the Koch’s Snowflake page on Wikipedia, because they explain it better than I ever will.

Chasing the Ripper3Crime writer Patricia Cornwell wrote a book called Portrait of a Killer — Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, published in 2002, where she claimed that British painter Walter Sickert was the Whitechapel murderer, and went to extraordinary – and, frankly, borderline insane – lengths to prove it, including supposedly cutting up one of his paintings in an effort to find clues of some kind. There’s an excellent piece about it on the Casebook: Jack the Ripper website, here. In the meantime, Cornell has written more on the subject, a Kindle Single called Chasing the Ripper, published in 2014, and available here, if you’re feeling brave.

4 Yes, she really says something almost exactly like that. Here‘s the relevant bit from the documentary, courtesy of those nice people over at YouTube.

5Patricia Cornwell isn’t actually a ‘real-life pathologist,’ although she did work in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia for six years, first as a technical writer and then as a computer analyst, so had at least some input into their findings, one imagines.

6Dr Kay Scarpetta, the protagonist of twenty-two Cornwell novels thus far.

Fathomless Riches7The Reverend Richard Coles is a Church of England priest, currently working as the parish priest of St Mary the Virgin, Finedon, Northampton, in the Diocese of Peterborough. He was previously in The Communards with Jimmy Somerville, formerly of The Bronsky Beat, with whom Coles had also occasionally played. He is openly gay and lives with his civil partner in a celibate relationship, although they have four dachshunds, and he remains the only vicar in Britain to have had a Number 1 hit single. Above and beyond all that, he does regular appearances on the television and radio in Britain, and is a thoroughly lovely human being. He did an appearance in the British Library on Friday the 20th of February 2015 to publicise his autobiography, Fathomless Riches, which I attended with my wife Deirdre.

8Robin Ince is an English Science-Comedian and renowned Atheist. He is involved with the occasionally annual Christmastime event Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, as well as the radio programme The Infinite Monkey Cage, both of which have included Alan Moore on occasion.

9If you think I’m being overly mean in describing the Rev. Coles as a bad dancer, I suggest you go look at this video of The Communards performing Never Can Say Goodbye

, and make up your own mind. The British Library, by the way, is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world. If Heaven is not very like it, I shall be very disappointed.

secondavecover110Joyce Brabner is an American comics writer, and the widow of the late Harvey Pekar. She has collaborated with Moore before, on Brought to Light, and on Real War Comics. Most recently she has written the non-fiction graphic novel Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, about the real-life efforts of people caught up in the AIDS epidemic in New York in the early 1980s. It’s good stuff, and you all need to go read it.

Swandown11Swandown is a 2012 film in which Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair pedaled a swan pedalo down the Thames from the Hastings, on the sea, to Hackney, in London, occasionally joined by people like Alan Moore and comedian Stewart Lee. Look, I promise I’m not making this stuff up, and there’s a photograph to prove it. From left to right we have Lee, Moore, Kötting, and Sinclair.

12John Clare, known as The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet, was the writer of collections like Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery and Village Minstrel and other Poems. The film By Our Selves is in part based on Iain Sinclair’s book The Edge of the Orison: In the Traces of John Clare’s ‘Journey Out of Essex’. More information can be found on the By Our Selves Kickstarter page. It was successfully funded, and the project is ongoing.

Toby Jones13Toby Jones is an excellent English actor. Amongst other things, he has done the voice of Dobby the House Elf in the Harry Potter films, appeared in an episode of Doctor Who, and had parts in films like Captain America: The First Avenger, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hunger Games, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and many many more.

14Mad Love Publishing is a publishing company Moore set up in the late 1980s with others, originally to publish AARGH (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia), and subsequently the first two issues of Big Numbers. The company had a long hiatus, but has reappeared recently as the publisher of Dodgem Logic, and most recently of The Dying Fire, a poetry collection by Moore’s old school friend Dominic Allard. The Northants Herald & Post reported on the story here.

15The interview referred to hear, which Alan doesn’t at first realise I’m referring to, is the infamous Last Alan Moore Interview?, which some of you may have already read, or at least read about. It has, to date, a bit over 100,000 views, and 350 replies, which is not too bad for the first post on a new blog!

doll216Ramsey Campbell is an English horror writer who has written numerous novels, including The Doll Who Ate His Mother, The Face That Must Die, and The House on Nazareth Hill, as well as numerous collections of short stories. He has a list of awards for his work as long as your arm, including the British Fantasy Award, the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and the Bram Stoker Award.

17Melinda Gebbie is an American comics creator, now settled with her husband, Alan Moore, in the heart of England. They’ve worked together on various things, including Lost Girls.

18Bloomsbury is the bit of London that contains the British Museum, occasional headquarters of the Victorian version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the British Library. It’s full of culturally wonderfully stuff, parks with friendly squirrels in, and lots of Blue Plaques to all sorts of writers and the like. I recommend you go visit, at least once in your life. The exhibition in the Horse Hospital runs until the 9th of May, so there’s time to see it yet.

19Kirsten Norrie is a Scottish artist and musician, and a member of Wolf in the Winter, an international performance collective.

3 Comments on Alan Moore Interview Part III – Jack the Ripper, Joyce Brabner, and a Swan-Shaped Pedalo, last added: 4/27/2015
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19. Walking The Game Beat: Star Wars, Possible Disney Infinity 3.0, New Arkham Trailer?

We now live in a post Star Wars trailer world, it’s a world where anything is possible including universally liking things. This week we’ll touch on new developments with Batman, Disney Interactive, and free Mortal Kombat X goodies.

In addition to seeing the first full trailer for The Force Awakens, fans at Celebration in Anaheim got a first look at Battlefield game series developer DICE’s plunge into the Star Wars universe with Battlefront. With the game set to be a November holiday release we can now start the anticipation build up. DICE has lit the match and started the fire by releasing a series of video diaries chronicling the game’s progress. Watch the first one below:

Star Wars: Battlefront comes to the PS4, Xbox One, and Origin PC on November 17, 2015.


 

While no official announcement has been made, Infinity Inquirer managed to get a leaked image  of possible characters for Disney Interactive 3.0. The image showcases a lineup of 11 new collectible toys which include Sam Flynn and Quarra from Tron Legacy, Olaf, and Mulan. Keep in mind Disney has neither confirmed or denied the image, but it has been taken down at the request of Disney from several sites.

lineup

With E3 approaching soon we should find out more details on the future of the franchise, including the possibility of incorporating figures from or to previous versions of the game.


 

Last week the Mortal Kombat franchise had it’s biggest launch in the game’s history. While no specific numbers are known it has been released that the PS4 version is outselling both Xbox One and PC. For a breakdown of sales, MKX sold 61% of its copies on PS4, 38% on Xbox One, and 1% on PC.

This week, to thank fans who’ve been part of this launch the latest game update will include a new free DLC skin for a classic character. Patch 1.02 improves online stability, adds a new move for Takeda, and includes general balancing tweaks. It’s most visible addition is the classic look of Sub-Zero seen here.

Destructoid has also reported that classic Mortal Kombat fatalities from the 90’s could be coming back in DLC form.

CDC-fhYUUAExRG2

Now that we’ve played the game, it’ll be interesting to see how the DC Comics prequel series catches up to the game. As of now one of the game’s main four characters, Takeda, is a teen just starting his training under Scorpion. The series still has yet to do any significant story on the game’s main character Cassie Cage.


 

Halo 5: Guardians released a new trailer that showcases UNSC elite manhunter Spartan Locke taking out Covenant while in pursuit of Master Chief. If you check it out you’ll see new weapons and multiplayer abilities the game will have when it releases this October. Additionally it’s been announced anyone pre-ordering the shooter from GameStop in the US will get access to the Hunter-Class armor set.

Halo 5: Guardians releases for the Xbox One on 10-27-2015.


 

Batman: Arkham Knight draws closer and closer each week, yet the wait feels unbearable. The game’s director Sefton Hill isn’t making things easier. He teased fans on  twitter with talk of a new trailer, as if that wasn’t enough there’s also talk of new features Rocksteady has not yet disclosed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 3.52.40 PM

 

 

He even went so far as to say, a familiar face from Arkham City would be appearing in the new trailer. With just about everyone in the Batman universe appearing during Arkham City, it’s anyone’s guess just who he’s referring to. We should know more about the trailer including a possible date in the next few days.

Batman: Arkham Knight is set to release on June 23, 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC.


Game Comics out 4/22:

Halo: Escalation #17 (Dark Horse Comics)

STK668369

(W) Duffy Boudreau (A) Douglas Franchin, Rob Lean (CA) Sparth                                               “The Glass Horizon” part 1: An action-packed survival tale on the treacherous and barren glasslands of a Covenant-ravaged colony world . . . and a Spartan-IV’s mysterious origin revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomb Raider #15 (Dark Horse Comics)

STK668382

(W) Rhianna Pratchett (A) Derliz Santacruz, Andy Owens (CA) Andy Park

While using the cover of a fake documentary about the legendary Chupacabra, Lara and her friends are drawn into a missing-child case while hunting the organization holding their friend hostage!

 

 

 

 

 

Batman: Arkham Knight #3 (DC Comics) (Print ed)    

STK668557  (W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Viktor Bogdanovic & Various (CA) Dan Panosian

The Arkham Knight’s shadow spreads across the city as Batman digs deeper into the murders of villains – and it will soon put him on a collision course with the most dangerous enemy he’s ever faced!

Angry Birds #10 (IDW Publishing)
STK669247
(W) Various, Paul Tobin (A) Various, Stefano Intini (CA) Paco Rodriques
The pigs decide to build the “ultimate” fortress but can they muster up enough brainpower to find new ways to stop the Angry Birds?
Skylanders #8: Return of Dragon King (IDW Publishing)
STK669292
(W) Ron Marz, David Rodriguez (A/CA) Fico Ossio
RETURN OF THE DRAGON KING CONTINUES! CLASSIFIED is back! Only Spryo, Hex, and Cynder have the knowledge needed to defeat this arch-nemesis!
Sonic Universe #75 (Archie Comics)
STK667496
(W) Ian Flynn (A) Jim Amash & Various (CA) Patrick Spaz Spaziante
Sonic Universe has reached 75 thrilling issues, and we’re celebrating in style! “Fury”: The race is on as Sonic chases down Metal Sonic for one of the sought-after Chaos Emeralds!
Are you excited for Star Wars Battlefront? How much more Batman teasing can you take? Did Mortal Kombat X deliver for you? What video game inspired comics do you read? These are the questions we’d love to ask all your faces.

 

1 Comments on Walking The Game Beat: Star Wars, Possible Disney Infinity 3.0, New Arkham Trailer?, last added: 4/20/2015
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20. Titan to release hit Bande Dessinée Mutafukaz this Fall

Mutafukaz Volume 1French entertainment group Ankama announced today they’ve sold Titan Comics the publishing rights to their series Mutafukas for English-speaking countries. The Bande Dessinée tells the story of Angelino and his adventures in Dark Meat City following a scooter accident that leaves him with the ability to see strange entities doing dirty deeds all over town. The strip is the work of the graphic artist known as Run. Les Inrocks magazine called the illustrator a “postmodernist Virtuoso, Run is a bit like the Tarantino of comics, and MUTAFUKAZ is his Kill Bill.”

The series has reportedly sold over 100,000 copies in France, with the final issue scheduled for release this Fall. A full-length film from Studio 4C, the long running Japanese animation group who was responsible for the “Kid’s Story” segment of The Animatrix, has been in the works since 2011.

Check out some early preview pages of Mutafukaz below.

Mutafukaz_Previews

 

 

Mutafukaz_Previews2

 

1 Comments on Titan to release hit Bande Dessinée Mutafukaz this Fall, last added: 4/21/2015
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21. MATT CHATS: Gabo Gabs about Writing and Drawing Micro-Fiction

Welcome to MATT CHATS, a weekly interview series in which I talk to a creator, consumer or seller of comics. This week I spoke with Gabriel “Gabo” Bautista, who is working on several projects right now including The Life After for Oni Press and Albert the Alien for Thrillbent. During that time he also managed to fit in Jupiter, a series of 100 micro-stories set on the largest planet made up of just one drawing and one page of text each. His Kickstarter campaign has been funded, but it’s still running so you can jump in and get an early copy of the hardcover and push it closer to its stretch goals. I spoke to Gabo about creating Jupiter, setting rewards for the campaign and more.

gaba

I first encountered your work with The Life After, and what immediately struck me was the panel density. What was your reaction to a script that asks for a lot of panels per page?

I’ve always been a fan of using a lot of panels! The idea of slowing down time by shoving more panels on a page has always intrigued me, so when I first read Fialkov’s script I was elated. There is that 50 panel two-page spread that we had in the first issue. The monotony and slight repetition of each panel really drives home the idea that Jude does the same damn thing day in day out, like many of us have suffered or currently suffer in our day to day lives.  I’m all for a page full of panels as long as there is a good reason for it!

TheLifeAfter1-00

Did working in that kind of style influence the creation or development of Jupiter?

Jupiter was mainly influenced by two things: a challenge by Kenneth Rocafort to do a daily drawing in a Moleskine daily planner, and constant dreams of futuristic settings that I feel intimately connected to. The rest sort of just ran its course on its own, I just sat back and let my hands do the work.

What’s the appeal of a story told in one image and a page or less of text?

I’ve always been intrigued by the synopsis’ you find on the back of books, especially sci-fi and fantasy novels with those amazing painted covers. Being able to squeeze a whole concept into just a paragraph is the idea I wanted to harness for this project.  The fact that you can open the book to any page and be immersed into that world for a brief moment is what I find appealing. That and it’s great for people like me who has short attention spans haha.

example1big

Do you find micro-stories to be more or less challenging than longer-form projects? Why?

I’ve never taken on the task of writing something longer than a few pages, but I feel micro-stories are easier in that it doesn’t take a lot to belt one out, its almost like playing a quick game of poker vs a round of Magic the Gathering. While Magic is way more complicated and requires more time to complete, poker in itself is full of strategy and complications that take years to master, only its much faster to play.

For me, developing a story comes pretty easy. Sometimes I feel that perhaps my brain produces way too much of whatever chemical causes someone to make things up, but I sure as hell am grateful for it.

Is there any way you’d prefer Jupiter to be read? All at once/one at a time/some other way?

I’ve never really given that idea any thought. I suppose it could be read from beginning to end, but at the same time I love that Jupiter is like a sketchbook where you can flip to any page and be sucked into that scene in just a matter of seconds.

f99a0535d64face0e0f1a5a9d3904d04_original

Would you ever sell the Moleskin daily planner that contains all of the Jupiter drawings?

I’ve had a lot of friends suggest I put it up as one of the reward tiers, putting a price of a couple thousand on it, hoping maybe some crazy rich person would pledge for it. At the same time though I’ve had other friends who scold me for thinking about it, saying I should keep it as long as I can. I’ve never been big on keeping my art, hell sometimes I just give it away at conventions, but the idea of giving away or selling a book with over 100 drawings in it is a bit hard to process. To be honest my biggest fear would be that the pages would get separated and distributed, and at the same time I would love nothing more than for people to have a little piece of Jupiter to themselves. I’M TORN. WHAT DO I DO? It’s literally just collecting dust in my studio! [Laughs] Maybe in a few years I’ll start tearing out the pages and gifting them or selling them. WHO KNOWS. I have to keep reminding myself that we are simply guardians of art until a new owner is found.

250

You offer high-level of backers a significant influence over the content of your book, particularly at the $250 level. Was that an easy decision to make, or did it feel more like a necessary evil in order to get funded?

It was 10% “necessary evil so I could get funded.”  I figured people would be clamoring at the chance to be in the book. “TO BE IMMORTALIZED,” I kept repeating in my head. Overtime though, I’ve realized that the people who becoming part of the book WILL be immortalized, in my heart.  Cheesy, ain’t it? I’m serious though! Those people who pledge at that level believe me and Jupiter enough to become a part of it, they trust in me to do a great job in taking their likeness and converting them into a legend of Jupiter. It’s super awesome, and they are super awesome. Ultimately though, I always wanted to have this be a THING in Jupiter, taking a few people and turning them into legends… It’s neat!

example2big

After 100 drawings and 100 stories, how connected are you to this world?

There’s a lot of it that I don’t remember. I look at the images and fragments of the stories come to me. Sort of like when you’re looking at an old photo of yourself hanging with friends.  You might know when it was taken, what might have been going on in your life then, but you probably don’t remember it as well as you’d like. My connection to the world of Jupiter I’ve created is similar; I don’t try to force things into it. Instead I let those things come out when they want, and hope to hell they make sense and that I can jot them down before I forget them.

What’s the scariest part of the project for you?

The scariest thing for me was not being able to fund it. After Day 2 of the Kickstarter, the fear was completely obliterated.

example3big

Now that the campaign is funded, are you thinking ahead about future stories?

I’ve been planning this for a while; the illustrations in Jupiter are actually from a 2013 Moleskine daily planner. I’ve got a 2014 thats nearly half full, and a 2015 that I’m currently filling. The next book will be slightly different, though; some of the stories will be written by guest writers (some of which will be some notable comics people!) I’m looking forward to seeing what people write to a piece of art that’s already been created.

Jupiter is just one of many projects you’re working on. How do you balance it all?

I have no damn idea. I can’t deny that I’m late on some projects and have had to pretty much cancel or put other projects on hold, but Jupiter has been done for several months, and I just needed to get it out of my system.

What keeps you cranking out pages, day after day after day?

BILLS, MAN. BILLS. I literally have no choice, if I slow down or slack off I will be sleeping on the streets. No greater motivator than the risk of going homeless if you goof off too much. Also the fact that I’m getting old. I see all these young cats in the comic game making power moves, and I’ve just barely reached the big leagues at 34? I don’t have time to mess around, I need to keep moving, keep drawing. Draw or Die.

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You can find Gabo on his website and on Twitter, and back his Kickstarter campaign for Jupiter for a few more days. Don’t wait.

0 Comments on MATT CHATS: Gabo Gabs about Writing and Drawing Micro-Fiction as of 4/22/2015 1:19:00 AM
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22. Review: Convergence #3, This Cold War Starts to Warm Up

CONVERGENCE #3

Convergence (2015) 003-000

Story: Jeff King

Art: Stephen Segovia

Colors: Aspen MLT

Inks: Jason Paz

Letters: Travis Lanham

Publisher: DC Comics

 

We’re about a quarter of the way through DC Comics event, Convergence. So far we’ve seen a lot of xenophobic worlds bent on destroying one another at the behest of Brianiac’s global caretaker Telos in all the satellite books. Seeing, literally, the exact same threatening words from Telos in multiple books is making that premise wear a bit thin. The event’s spine series has a little more going on than those titles, but we’re at a point where Convergence needs to punch it to fifth gear. So why is it starting to feel like it’s stuck in second?

After saving the mysterious Deimos in the last issue, the survivors of Earth-2 will follow him to the bowels of the planet in order to discover the key to stopping Telos evil multiversal Tijuana cockfight. Meanwhile, Dick Grayson and Thomas Wayne who, without spoiling events, are in for the fight of their lives against a small army of Bruce Wayne’s most formidable nemeses. It’s this part of the story that carries the tension and climax of this chapter to an ending that, while predictable, is so far the series biggest moment.

Sure there are a few problems with the pacing and dialogue in the issue. In fact, it feels like Convergence #3 is unintentionally a two-act book with it not introducing anything new. There’s a heavy sense of over explaining things in the front half of the book while the second half moves too quick to the dramatic finish. I can forgive most of these problems because Stephen Segovia’s art is lavish action. The fight scenes and scale of Convergence have been on point art wise for the series, but the plot needs to keep up or it runs the risk of becoming ineffectual.

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Convergence began with surprising promise from its zero issue. It played on the powerful force of nostalgia to get readers in touch with parts of the DC universe they’ve sorely missed. While powerful, nostalgia alone can’t carry an event. Issue three moves the narrative along more than any chapter thus far, but for being this far in, with this many orbiting tie-in books; the stakes need to have more weight by better defining the threat of Telos. If it’s not an Earth 2: Society post Convergence prequel, it needs to start showing it by actually having the different Earths start doing something.

1 Comments on Review: Convergence #3, This Cold War Starts to Warm Up, last added: 4/24/2015
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23. Doctor Who vets team for 5 issue series Rivers of London

Rivers_of_london_CoverA#1Ben Aaronovitch, writer of the pivotal 1988 Doctor Who episode Remembrance of the Daleks which saw the pepper pot villains levitate up a flight of stairs for the first time, will release a 5-issue comic series based on his best-selling novel series Rivers of London (known as Midnight Riot to US readers). From the Titan release:

Titan will be releasing a 5-part comic series penned by Aaronovitch (Remembrance of the Daleks) and Doctor Who showrunner Andrew Cartmel with art from Lee Sullivan (Doctor Who Comics).

The novels follow the adventures of Peter Grant, a young officer in the London Metropolitan Police who is recruited into a special branch of the Met that deals with magic and the supernatural.

The brand-new Rivers of London comic adventure entitled ‘Body Work’, will be set between Book 4, Broken Homes and Book 5, Foxglove Summer, in continuity with the novel universe.

Peter Grant has come a long way since first entering the special branch of London’s Metropolitan Police. With his hard-earned powers and a flair for the supernatural, it’s his job to investigate those shadowy crimes that involve urban vampires, weird folk in the Underground and, in this case, why cars are suddenly taking on lives of their own and killing innocent people!

The Rivers of London novels have sold over 1 million copies worldwide to date, and with the recent news that a TV show has been optioned, the new comic is set to be a huge smash hit!

“I’ve been a massive fan of the series for a long time and it’s always a dream to bring something you revere to life as a comic, especially when you’re working with such an incredible team of creators!” says Steve White, Titan Comics Senior Editor.

Rivers of London: Body Work #1 hits comic stores on July 15 and will also be available to read on your digital device.

0 Comments on Doctor Who vets team for 5 issue series Rivers of London as of 4/23/2015 12:25:00 PM
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24. Marvel and Telltale Games to Create New Game in 2017

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Telltale Games, the developer behind The Walking Dead game, have announced a new partnership with Marvel to develop a console and PC game in 2017.

The Marvel end of the announcement commented on the quality of Telltale’s work, “It takes a long time to find the right partner. We have one special game we’re excited about.” Their previous games include Tales From the Borderlands, Walking Dead, and Vertigo comic based game The Wolf Among Us.

Recently, Telltale announced an investment by Lionsgate towards developing a new transmedia experience that would utilize both video games and television.

Telltale’s blog only had the image and this statement:

Announced this evening in San Francisco, we’re excited to reveal an all-new partnership with the incredible team at Marvel Entertainment. We’ll be teaming up on the development of an upcoming Telltale game series project set to premiere in 2017!

We’ll update with more information as it comes in…

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25. Kaptara #1 Review: Sex Criminals Dreaming in Space

Kaptara-coverWriter: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Kagan McLeod

Color Assist: Becka Kinzie

Editing: Thomas K

Production: Drew Gill


Kaptara is a wild card for Image Comics right now. Chip Zdarsky is a proven creator in the field of comics, but I’m not sure that anyone in the audience of the 2015 San Francisco Image Expo convention quite knew what the author was going to say. A book that he was writing to be set in space with an up-and-coming artist would have certainly ranked pretty low among anything the audience had in mind. Yet here we are at the first issue of Kaptara from Image.

What happens when a newspaper illustrator and a Sex Criminal go to space together?

The philosophy between two space travelers being a meathead a video game obsessed scientist is the perfect way to introduce readers to the fun of Kaptara. The irony nestled within this pages seems perfectly at home with Zdarsky and company, as with the other characters first introduced in the issue. The mission gets hectic pretty fast, and the language is laid down with thick discretion introducing readers about space. The protagonist Keith seems as if he sort of serves as the mouthpiece for the rest of the cast and the creators telling the story. His warm disposition and sarcastic attitude perfectly encapsulate the audience that will likely be engrossed in this story. Which is why it’s great that Keith is also the person that has the biggest problems with this tale via his interactions with other teammates. While he seems ready to see to the challenge, the unlikely hero is still flawed.

One of the best parts about this issue is how it almost immediately addresses some of the quiet moments between these people stuck on a space expedition. After all is said done, most of these quiet moments are present in the best instances of all your favorite sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, it’s just a matter of making these characters interesting enough to land the quieter moments.

Still Kaptara is a genre tale. It’s not something incredibly concrete and immediately simple to the reader. In other words, it’s not just a bland run of the mill sci-fi military drama either. Speaking to that a little further, Kaptara almost immediately starts with fantastic pacing. By giving us a peek at the end of the story, stakes are being added to the quiet moments that happen later on. We’re already invested in these characters — making what happens at the end of this issue actually elicit some sort of genuine emotional response from the reader.

Speaking of craziness in artwork, that’s the catalyst that sturts to push this issue into crazytown. This comic embraces the weirdness of comics in general headfirst, descending full on into madness. This issue is a whopping 30+ pages, which is excellent for comics readers really looking to stretch their dollars as far as it can go for floppies. The comic also manages to shift up their supporting cast in ways that will affect subsequent installments. In fact, the Zdarsky humor starts to fade out towards bleak and dangerous subtext. Thankfully, the comic swerves back into the wonderful absurd brand of comedy that makes stories by this author great.

McLeod’s kinetic action-heavy cartoonist style with a bevvy of curved lines suit this title incredibly well. The artists’ work is described well as being ‘kinetic.’ The lines seamlessly flow off the page, and the monsters and characters are never staying still. In creator-owned titles, we’ve seen countless instances of not being able to tell characters apart because they are drawn too similarly. Thankfully, McLeod’s previous experience in the art world has allowed him to avoid the pesky instances denying clarity amongst a story. Wow…is all that should be said about the coloring in this story. McLeod and coloring assistant Becka Kinzie are going to amaze readers with the amount of sheer detail nestled into the coloring here. There is a lot of information being tossed at the reader very quickly in this first comic, but the first splash page really shows off something commendable in the not only the drawing by McLeod, but with the coloring as well.

For any comic book fan that has had enough of spandex clad gentlemen spending time in New York, I would like to propose something with a little space grit smeared all over it: Kaptara. This a book taking a familiar element of space travel that smothers in some dirty weirdness in the form of floating eyeballs, kings, princess, dance parties, skulls, lizards, space travel, and dreams. If you have a sickness Image Comics, Kagan McLeod, and Chip Zdarsky can you write you a prescription for a new drug called Kaptara.

6 Comments on Kaptara #1 Review: Sex Criminals Dreaming in Space, last added: 4/25/2015
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