Robot 6

Creator Spotlight #3 by Steve Niles

One of things I love most about creator-owned books are the range of subjects and genres that creators can explore. Within the creator-owned world you can find your superhero books as well as horror, sci-fi, slice-of-life, humor, westerns, historical drama and all the sub-genres in between.

I’m a huge fan of historical-based action and drama stories. I usually find them in books and films, but even those can be hard to come by. Especially when it comes to stories about Vikings, movies often fall short. They just seem to miss the point, oftentimes trying to make these plunderers a likable lot, when in truth they could be pretty nasty and that’s kinda what was great about them. Well, stories about them.

IVAN BRANDON AND NIC KLEIN

That’s why I love Viking, written by Ivan Brandon with stunning art by Nic Klein. It’s not a dead-on, historically accurate story, but it feels right. Brandon and Klein get Vikings and it comes pouring out with violent enthusiasm.

The art is perfect and Klein’s use of color is both surprising and refreshingly different for the subject. The occasional dips into surreal imagery are stunning and add another layer. Not to sound like a ghoul, but the violence is depicted with the same beauty as the quieter moments.

What I like best about Brandon’s script is the unapologetic honesty of the characters that we wind up liking and understanding, almost in spite of ourselves. That’s a feat. The dialogue is spot-on and Brandon gives each character a different voice while avoiding the overwrought dialogue so many of these stories seem trapped by.

Check out Viking from Image Comics and stop by Brandon’s and Klein’s websites for info about their other projects.

My webcomic pick this week is….

KILL ALL MONSTERS

In Kill All Monsters! the giants have already won. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting in which the world has been completely overrun by giant monsters. Pockets of humanity are hiding and surviving as best they can, but no one’s found an effective way to defeat the beasts…until now.

Operating out of a hidden temple deep in the jungle, the African Defense Force has created a small until of giant mechs, operated by an international team of the best pilots humanity has to offer. The story begins with the unit’s first trip out of their home continent as they try to assess some of the damage done to Europe. What they learn there is even more terrifying than they imagined.

Kill All Monsters is really fun, great looking stuff! Check it out here.

Usually, I try to feature several creators per spotlight, but since we’re heading toward Emerald City ComiCon this weekend I thought I’d talk about how we can support creators at conventions.

Cons offer a chance for fans not only to meet creators but also to purchase comics art and sketchbooks directly from them. I blogged about it this week on my website [http://www.steveniles.com/2011/03/just-a-quick-update-i-have-to-admit-im-impressed-with-the-level-of-interest-and-energy-the-creator-owned-comic-communit.html], but it’s worth repeating: Buying original comic art from creators is another great way to show support.

For some artists, selling the art from their books is a vital revenue stream. But it’s also a win-win for the buyer; you get beautiful, original, one-of-a-kind art and oftentimes these pages go up in price, so they are investments as well. If you are at Emerald City this weekend, stop by Artist Alley and check out some original art. I think you’ll be surprised how affordable it can be.

Cons also offer about the best access you will have to creator-owned books you might not be aware of when you flip through Previews. Creators and publishers’ booths give readers a chance to check out what they’re selling, so stop by a couple this weekend and try something new. You’re sure to find plenty of free samples and previews to peek at.

That’s all for this week. Next week I swear I’ll have more cool stuff!!!

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Comments

7 Comments

Thanks for the Kill All Monsters! shout out, Steve! And the limited edition Kill All Monsters! ashcan will debut at ECCC this weekend! Pick it up at booth #610! Each copy has a free original sketch card included!

Hyung Suk Kim

March 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I am curious how Ivan Brandon’s Viking fare against Brian Wood’s Northlanders.

Can anybody compare the two series? Differences & Similarities? Strengths & Weakensses?

I like Brandon’s work so far (Final Crisis: Escape, Nemesis), so I am very interested in Viking

@Hyung Suk Kim – “Very interested”? Then just get it. You won’t be displeased. And Nic Klein’s art is unique.

@Jason – A shout out from Steve Niles. Sweet!

Hyung Suk Kim

March 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

@Naveen Malli

I definately will eventually. I have been trying to decide whether I should get the hard cover version or the recent soft cover version. I often heard that Viking is a comic in which size makes a big difference. I am curious whether the extra size is worth the 9 dollar difference.

Also regarding Northlanders…

I was just curious what type of historical fiction Viking was. One thing I liked about Northlanders was that even though it was a period piece, it had a very modern feel. (language, characters…)

With art like Klein’s, you definitely want to get the HC. It’s sooooo nice!

I second Jason. There are a lot of textures in the painted pieces that are more appreciated when viewed larger.

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