Some people compare superheroes to mythical gods because of their supernatural powers (and for their all-too-human squabbles), and Marvel has made a mint on translating a Norse deity into a superhero with Thor. But beyond the borders of Asgard is a cornucopia of gods and demigods in the Marvel pantheon just waiting to be reawakened and put back into the fight. And I’m not talking about Marvel movies (although that’d be nice, too!). I’m talking about Marvel Comics’ staff bringing these heroes (and villains) of lore back into the mix.
“The thing is, I get bored easily. So if my manga was just about the action, or comedy, or tear-jerking moments, I would get bored. I change the style of the series to keep up my motivation to draw. [...] Humans can only come up with new ideas when they’ve reached their limits. When I finish a manuscript, I am completely exhausted.”
– Eiichiro Oda, the 38-year-old creator of One Piece, crediting a short attention span and sheer exhaustion as the secrets behind his hit pirate adventure, which has more than 345 million copies in print worldwide. He reveals that he doesn’t sleep or eat much when he’s working.
Following the release this morning of the preview of Marvel’s remastered Miracleman #1, CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley dug into his archives for the original 1982 color issue, by Alan Moore and Garry Leach, so we can compare and contrast (the story first appeared in black and white in 1982′s Warrior #1).
While some traditionalists may argue for the original, we can probably all agree that Miracleman’s recolored, non-purple face on the right is a great improvement. You can compare the other preview pages below.
The remastered Miracleman #1, featuring a new cover by Joe Quesada, goes on sale Jan. 15.
I’ve been a fan of Ben Caldwell since coming across his Action! Cartooning tutorial book many moons (OK, nine years) ago. I don’t think he’s yet to produce that one killer piece of work that will win over critics of his Wonder Woman strip in DC’s Wednesday Comics, but I don’t doubt he’ll get there. I really don’t think there’s an artist in comics anywhere that has so successfully synthesized so many influences from so far into such an identifiable style of their own as Caldwell. And now there’s another place to see his work, as alongside his blog and his Twitter feed, he has a Tumblr, too.
He’s been experimenting with a new brush pen lately, and posting the results. Yet another string to his bow. They’re awesome, add a certain heft to his usual line, and are a happy reminder of the guy’s talent.
We featured The Mortal Vintner and its Mike Mignola-designed wine labels last year, and now the Dayton, Washington-based winery are releasing the “Skeleton Head” wine en primeur via its webstore for 10 days only. But you do get a 20-percent discount during that period. I notice buying the magnum gets you a little more Mignola art in the border.
Jamie Hewlett has already produced work concerned with ecological concerns before: His band Gorillaz’s third studio album Plastic Beach often ruminates on imagery inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Now he’s taken part as one of a wealth of artists and designers who’ve created Christmas cards as part of Greenpeace’s “Save Santa’s Home” campaign.
With only a relative handful of pages left on the calendar, The A.V. Club has released its picks for the year’s 20 best mainstream and superhero comics, prefaced with a bit of commentary about the state of publishing.
- Mind MGMT, by Matt Kindt (Dark Horse)
- Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde (Image Comics)
- Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, et al. (Marvel)
- Astro City, by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson (Vertigo)
- Swamp Thing, by Charles Soule, Kano, et al. (DC Comics)
- FF, by Matt Fraction, Michael Allred and Laura Allred (Marvel)
- Locke & Key: Omega and Alpha, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW Publishing)
- East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image Comics)
- The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber (Marvel)
- Five Ghosts, by Frank J. Barbiere, Chris Mooneyham, et al. (Image Comics)
Frank Miller has yet to finish work on Xerxes, his long-discussed follow-up to 300, meaning Dark Horse won’t be able to release the comic in time for the March-premiering 300: Rise of an Empire.
What’s more, ICv2.com reports no progress has been made on the planned five-issue (previously six-issue) miniseries since March 2011, when Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson told the website Miller had completed the second issue.
With the 2007 release of director Zack Snyder’s 300, sales of the collected edition soared, propelling the 1998 book to the top of bestseller lists and leading Dark Horse to order two 50,000-copy printings to meet demand.
While Snyder’s film was a direct adaptation of the comic by Miller and Lynn Varley, even replicating its imagery, it’s unclear how close Rise of an Empire hews to the plot of Xerxes, which the writer had described as “a sweeping tale with gods of monsters” centering on the Battle of Artemisium (it’s a naval engagement that occurred at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae).
Digital comics | Ethan Gach contemplates what the popularity of tablets means for the comics industry, with a particular focus on comiXology. He points out that the digital distributor offers not only bestsellers but also titles that appeal to a broader audience — and has brought success to some indie creators via its comiXology Submit program. [Forbes]
Academia | Tom Spurgeon talks to Professor Benjamin Saunders, director of the Comics & Cartoon Studies Program at the University of Oregon, which just received a major donation that will serve as an endowment for the program. [The Comics Reporter]
Manga | Kodansha will release a second printing of the January issue of Aria magazine, which features the debut of Hikaru Suruga and Gan Sunaaku’s Attack on Titan spinoff No Regrets. The first printing was five times greater than the magazine’s usual press run — Aria has a verified circulation of 13,667 copies — so with this new printing, the January issue will have 10 times the number of copies of the average issue. [Anime News Network]
As part of All-New Marvel NOW!, veteran artist Lee Garbett will team in February with writer Al Ewing for Loki: Agent of Asgard, a series the god of mischief is fully grown and in the service of the All-Mother. More immediately, however, Marvel is setting the stage for the initiative with All-New Marvel NOW! Point One #1, a one-shot that arrives Jan. 8 with a Garbett-drawn Loki serving as the thread that brings together all of the stories.
In my interview with Garbett, the artist clearly relishes the opportunity to draw Asgard’s new “one-man secret service” as well as work with Ewing. ROBOT 6 is also pleased to provide an exclusive page from the upcoming All-New Marvel NOW Point One.
Two and a half weeks after informing attendees that pre-registration for Comic-Con International 2014 wouldn’t occur in November, organizers have announced they’re postponing the process until early next year to “fine-tune” the online system.
“Although we have been working around the clock with EPIC Registration, there is still room for improvement,” states the new update on the convention’s blog. “Because we want to have as fully developed a product as possible we have decided to postpone Comic-Con 2014 badge preregistration until early next year. We know this is a disappointment and are sincerely sorry for the delay. However it really is our hope to avoid some of the issues we’ve had in the past and the additional time will allow us and EPIC to best address those issues.”
Organizers say the hope to implement new features, including a shopping cart that “should allow you to hold available badge inventory for all members of your party during your registration session,” single-session purchasing for multiple badges, a unique registration code to help weed out the landing page and waiting room, and extensive load-testing.
Comic-Con International 2014 will be held July 24-27 in San Diego.
Sequart has premiered a clip from its upcoming documentary The Image Revolution in which Image Comics founders Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane recount the fateful meeting they and Jim Lee had 22 years ago this month with then-Marvel Comics Publisher Terry Stewart. It’s an oft-repeated tale — it’s part of Image’s origin story, after all — that benefits from Liefeld’s animated storytelling and impressions.
Funded in part through Kickstarter, the documentary from director Patrick Meaney, Sequart and Respect! Films traces the 20-year history of Image, “from its founders’ work at Marvel, through Image’s early days, the ups and downs of the ’90s, and the publisher’s new generation of properties like The Walking Dead.”
You can preorder The Image Revolution for $4.99 digital download at Sequart.
While the original 2002, five-issue miniseries was in color, the 128-page trade collection ($19.99) will be in black and white but will feature two new pages by the Love and Rockets co-author.
ROBOT 6 readers with good memories might recall that I wrote about Grip earlier this year, lamenting that it was, to my knowledge, the only work by Hernandez that had never been compiled into book form.
To describe Grip’s plot takes some effort, as this is one of Hernandez’s more surreal and deliriously and wacky stories, involving a wide cast that includes an amnesiac young man, a pair of police detectives, a trio of Amazonian adventurers, another trio of gun-wielding gangsters, a sweet little old lady, a dwarf couple and a little girl with an eyepatch. As I wrote in May:
The story begins with the amnesiac young man wandering around a nondescript city and being assaulted by some of the people mentioned above for reasons that are murky at best. The story takes an even stranger left turn, however, when the man literally loses his skin at the end of the first issue and starts walking around beaches spouting seemingly half-remembered phrases. The skin starts to take on a life of its own as well.
2013 has blessed us with a bumper crop of great books by Hernandez that includes the critically acclaimed Marble Season and Julio’s Day, as well as Children of Palomar and Maria M. With Dark Horse planning to release Grip in addition to the collected edition of his more recent Fatima miniseries, it seems as though 2014 will continue that trend well into the new year.
I talked with Hernandez over the phone a few days before Thanksgiving about the new collection, the not-so-secret origins of Grip, and what else he’s working on.
The shortlist has been announced for the 2014 Stan Lee Excelsior Award, whose winners will be selected by students from 77 secondary schools across the United Kingdom.
Established in 2011 by Paul Register, a school librarian in Sheffield, the awards are designed to promote comics and to encourage children and teenagers to read. The winners — first, second and third place — will be announced in July. The nominees are:
- Indestructible Hulk: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu (Marvel)
- Quantum and Woody: The World’s Worst Superhero Team, by James Asmus and Tom Fowler (Valiant)
- The Judas Coin, by Walter Simonson (DC Comics)
- Aliens: Inhuman Condition, by John Layman and Sam Kieth (Dark Horse)
- Earth 2: The Gathering, by James Robinson and Nicola Scott (DC Comics)
- Sherlock Bones, by Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato (Kodansha)
- Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z, by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. (Marvel)
- The Halloween Legion, by Martin Powell and Thomas Boatwright (Dark Horse)
ComiXology has unveiled its own version of an Advent calendar with a countdown called the “12 Days of Free Comics.”
The promotion is exactly what it sounds like: Each day between today and Dec. 20 (alas, not Christmas), the company is offering a different digital comic for free. To kick things off, there’s Batman #13, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV and Jock, the first issue in the “Death of the Family” storyline. Day 2 is … well, you’ll have to check back with comiXology to find out.
“Over the course of these 12 days we’re making holiday giving easier than it’s ever been,” comiXology co-founder John D. Roberts said in a statement. “These twelve days aren’t just to give back to the fans that have made comiXology so great but also to let those fans share the love of comics with everyone they know.”
Fair warning, though: Readers have just 24 hours to claim their free comic; by the time Day 2 of the promotion arrives, Batman #13 will no longer be available (for free, at any rate; it’ll regularly cost you $2.99).