Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
“Well, pilgrim, that looks like a lot more than a sunset on the horizon.”
That’s not official dialogue from Zachariah Gunn: Dakota, but after seeing the above image that’s just one of many things that popped into my head. Zachariah Gunn: Dakota is a comic series that veteran comics creator Gary Erskine has been teasing online and in recent conventions. Created with Dominic Regan, this series is described by the creators as a classic Western inspired by things like Once Upon a Time in the West and Hellboy.
I’ll admit that next to nothing has been revealed about this comic serial yet, but the ingredients we know so far — the creators, the set-up, and that title — make it something I definitely want to see more of. Here’s some images from the series Erskin and Regan have posted on a Facebook fan page set up for the comic. No word yet on when and how the series will ultimately be released, but I’d wager an announcement is in the near future.
SuperF*ckers made its animated debut today on the Cartoon Hangover site. Based on the comics by James Kochalka published several years ago by Top Shelf, it features, as Kevin noted earlier this week, “teen superheroes doing, and saying, bad and occasionally disgusting things.” And some very funny things.
A censored version of the first episode can be found below, and you can watch the uncensored version on YouTube. Neither one of them are really safe for work, though, so put your headphones on before watching.
In addition, once you’ve enjoyed the cartoon, you can buy the merch … WeLoveFine has a whole Cartoon Hangover section on their site now, featuring the SuperF*cker characters, and to celebrate the show’s premiere, the above shirt featuring Ultra Richard is their deal of the day. They’ve also got one featuring Jack Krak that’s tied to the first episode. You can find images of some of them below.
“Good editors are your partners in making good comics. They are on your side. They are the trained second pair of eyes who look at your stories without the baggage you bring to them (sometimes, sadly, artists can get too close to the comic they’ve been working on for years, and not see the occasional story snarl or character breakdown), and challenge you to make your comic the best it can be. They point out when a comic panel doesn’t read properly, when a character looks off-model, and sometimes they’ll even give you notes like ‘this looks awesome!!!’ with little hearts drawn in the margins. Good editors are worth their weight in gold.”
— Faith Erin Hicks, on why she prefers to work with an editor
Of course, I’m biased because I was an editor before I was a writer, but I think Faith hits the nail on the head here. Everything is improved by a second set of eyes. The whole piece is worth reading, because Faith talks about the sort of discussions she has with her editor and what she is and isn’t willing to change.
Tommy Lee Edwards is known to us comics fan for his comic book work on the likes of Marvel 1985, Turf and The Question, but Edwards is more than that. Much more.
After years of doing concept, design and illustration work for movies like Batman Begins, Star Wars and Harry Potter, Edwards is delving into the movie business himself with a project called Vandroid. Planned as a short film tribute to ’80s action movies, Vandroid will be filmed in mid-December near his studio in North Carolina. In addition to the short movie, Vandroid will also come with a soundtrack album and, yes, a comic book.
Described by Edwards on the local visitors bureau website as the first of “many” live-action film projects, Vandroid looks to be a stylish piece of work and has the potential to be the start of a new phase for Edward’s career.
Mike Huddleston, artist of the sorely underrated Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker, has been posting sketches created on his iPhone to his Facebook page, and they’re impressive to say the least. Remember, these are drawn with an implement as imprecise as a fingertip, on a surface smaller than this crumpled envelope I’m writing my shopping list on. Consider that the next time you’re infuriating yourself even trying to send a text on one of the damned things.
Five of Huddleston’s iPhone finger paintings can be found below.
“They are their own thing. They do not need your imprimatur, O pompous reader of literary fiction. They are basically for -children, and for men (yes, men, really, men) who are a bit too thick to read proper books, as I was for many years, and still sometimes am, like if I’m tired or hungover or on a plane.”
— Giles Coren, explaining why comics should not be considered for literary awards
Pretty much everything in this column is wrong, including Coren’s assertion that “Nobody calls them ‘graphic novels’ any more”; he goes on to explain, “In America, which is the home of the genre, they are called more often ‘comic books,’ spoken as if all one word, and with an East Coast accent (since that is whence they come), so: ‘-karmicbwurks’.” Perhaps this article is intended as satire, but people in the comments and on Twitter are taking it pretty seriously; judging from his Wikipedia article, Coren is just one of those curmudgeonly guys who likes to toss out verbal bombs once in a while to get everyone talking about him. Mission accomplished!
SLG Publishing will be forced this spring to close its San Jose, California, offices and Art Boutiki & Gallery to make way for a new apartment building. The Market Street location, which Publisher Dan Vado lovingly refers to as a “stinking rat-hole,” has been home to SLG for nearly 11 years.
“The property is scheduled to be razed and have an apartment building built,” Vado tells Metroactive. “When that will happen, we’re not sure, but we were informed that we should be looking for a new place to do business.”
Located in downtown San Jose’s SoFA District, the SLG Art Boutiki is a combination comics store and gallery that for the past three years has also been host to all-ages live-music performances; it’s also home to the San Jose Comics Festival. While Vado tells Metroactive they can probably remain on Market Street as late as the end of the summer, on the Art Boutiki website he teases he’s already “singled out a location that will allow us to continue to be one of the coolest places in Silicon Valley.” However, no contracts have been signed.
In the meantime Vado plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the relocation.
We’ve mentioned ex-Fables cover artist James Jean’s esoteric post-comics endeavors before (here and here, to be precise). Following up on last month’s announcement that he’s launching a range of designs at Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford boutique, images of his mural at the store’s Blitz gallery have now appeared at his website, and have since spread like wildfire across the Internet (detailed close-ups below). What has perhaps been less spotted is the coverage of Jean’s work in situ at Blitz by the art and design Tumblr Curious Fiend, from two weeks ago. Their photography reveals how Jean designed a space to display his creations that is as beautiful and intricate as the work itself.
Awards | Were women underrepresented in the first British Comic Awards? With three women and 13 men on the shortlist, some argue they were; Laura Sneddon follows the discussion, including those making that claim and those who responded. [The New Statesman]
Best of the year | Paste magazine lists its 10 best comics of the year, including Hawkeye, Saga and Building Stories. [Paste]
Best of the year | Rachel Cooke focuses on British graphic novels, although a few outsiders creep in as well, for her list of the best graphic novels of 2012. [The Guardian]
Faced with growing criticism, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has apologized for insulting comments he made about women, gays and lesbians in a nearly two-year-old blog post, characterizing his remarks as “poorly worded and offensive to many.”
The statement, released last night by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and re-posted on Gunn’s Facebook page, followed outreach from the organization, condemnation by the Human Rights Campaign — “James Gunn’s blog post is offensive not just to LGBT people and women but rather to anyone with even the slightest sense of decency” — and online outrage, all stemming from a deleted February 2011 post on the filmmaker’s website.
Newly unearthed via Google Cache, the results of a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll include commentary in which Gunn refers to Gambit as “this Cajun fruit,” calls teenage mother Stephanie Brown “easy,” admits wanting “to anally do” Kitty Pryde, and suggests Tony Stark could “turn” the lesbian Batwoman.
Consider the Twinkie. A relic of a more indulgent age, lately almost an afterthought, and most recently the latest symbol of vanished childhoods everywhere, it is once more in the spotlight due to the apparent end of the Hostess company.
While I have my own thoughts on the specifics of that particular corporate conclusion, suffice it to say that my sympathies are more with the soon-to-be-displaced workers than with either Hostess’ management or the Twinkies’ fans. Still, the reaction to Hostess’ demise demonstrates that there’s still a demand for the indestructible yellow creme-torpedoes — perhaps even more so now — and as long as people want ‘em, the Twinkies will be there.
The most important thing about a Twinkie is that it’s a Twinkie. Specifically, it’s made according to a particular recipe, and it has a particular name. Those two pieces of intellectual property will most likely be sold as part of Hostess’ liquidation, thereby giving their new owner the ability to make “genuine” Twinkies. In my estimation, it’s only a matter of time before Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, and all their confectionery cousins find their way back to stores near you.
First Second sent out its latest catalog earlier this week, highlighting all the graphic novels it will release next spring. The bad news is, there’s still no Battling Boy on the schedule, nor do the Box Brown Andre the Giant or as-yet-unrevealed Becky Cloonan books appear. But the good news is there are projects featuring the likes of Faith Erin Hicks, Matt Kindt, Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, Dave Roman and many more.
Here’s the rundown:
Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon. “A heartwarming tale of the perils and pleasures of friendship featuring two ducks who are both a bit odd.” Varon has done several graphic novels for First Second, including Bake Sale and Robot Dreams, while Castellucci wrote the Plain Janes books for DC’s Minx line, as well as several Young Adult novels.
Primates, by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. A new science book from Jim Ottaviani, the author of thwe well-received Feynman, “with Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas and all sorts of primates.” Wicks, meanwhile, has a fun blog where you can check out her work, which includes several kids titles like Spongebob and Adventure Time.
Franco Urru, the Italian artist best known to American readers for his work on Spike: Asylum, Spike: Shadow Puppets and Angel: After the Fall, has passed away, reports IDW Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall.
“Between flights now, I just got terrible news that Angel artist and wonderful person Franco Urru passed away,” Ryall wrote this morning on Twitter. “Rest peacefully, dear friend.”
Urru, who began working in comics in Italy as an assistant, inking, penciling backgrounds and conducting research for established artists, broke into the U.S. industry in 2006 with Spike: Asylum. “I landed into that wonderful script after a friend showed my pages to Chris Ryall,” he told The Comic Book Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2009. “At the time Brian Lynch had written his first story for IDW and I started to work immediately on the covers of the entire mini. After finishing the first cover I realized that I was exactly where I wanted to be.”
In Italy, Urru worked in a variety of genres, ranging from fantasy to superheroes to erotic comics. His death follows the passings this week of alternative comix pioneer Spain Rodriguez and 30 Days of Night and Willow Creek artist Josh Medors.
In the back of It Girl and the Atomics #1, Jamie S. Rich talks about how he went from editing Mike Allred’s Atomics to writing this spin-off; sort of the BPRD to Madman’s Hellboy. He talks about Allred’s adoration of Silver Age superhero comics and reading that, it hit me why Madman has always been so much fun, yet simultaneously so frustrating for me.
I grew up in the ‘70s – the Bronze Age, if you like – so my childhood comics were Savage Sword of Conan, Ghost Rider and Master of Kung Fu. At DC, Batman wasn’t fighting aliens and other-dimensional imps anymore, he was going on globe-trotting adventures against Ra’as al Ghul and spy organizations. Those were fun comics, but Marvel had made its mark even on DC, and there was weight to those stories. The heroes felt like real characters.
Going back and reading DC Silver Age comics as an adult, I have a hard time with them. They’re zany and imaginative, but they were also short on characterization. To be a fan of a DC superhero in the ‘60s was mostly about being fond of his powers or costume or something equally superficial. It was hard to connect to the characters as actual people. That’s my problem with Madman and It Girl, too.
BOOM! Studios will continue down the road to Hell in February with Hellraiser: The Dark Watch, an ongoing series co-written by Hellraiser creator Clive Barker and Witch Doctor‘s Brandon Seifert, with art by Tom Garcia. Barker first explored the world of Pinhead, the Cenobites and the mysterious puzzle boxes in the novella The Hellbound Heart, which later spawned a series of films.
In a press release sent out today, BOOM! notes, “As promised, Clive Barker did not only return to the Hellraiser universe, he re-imagined it! Nothing is as simple as it seems–the old ways have been destroyed and a dangerous new world lies in its wake. Where are Elliott Spencer and Kirsty Cotton? Who will rule and who will serve?”
Seifert told USA Today earlier this month he plans to build his stories from the first two Hellraiser movies. “Hellraiser is about the Cenobites and the Cotton family, sure — but it’s about other things too. It’s about the people who escape from Hell, just like it’s about the people who put them there.” Seifert is also the writer of Hellraiser: The Road Below, a spinoff miniseries that kicked off this month and tells the story of Kirsty Cotton’s first “call to Earth” after she became the new Pinhead. So no doubt we’ll see some Pinhead-on-Pinhead action in the new series.
BOOM! picked up the license to make Hellraiser comics at the end of 2010 and launched an ongoing series in March 2011 that lasted 20 issues. It wasn’t the first time Hellraiser found its way into comics, as Marvel published a Hellraiser anthology series under their Epic banner in the late 80s/early 90s that BOOM! republished in a collection last year.
The complete press release, along with variant cover art, can be found below.