Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Top Shelf points out that Cartoon Hangover has been adorably counting down to the Friday debut of SuperF*ckers, the online animated series based on the comics by James Kochalka. If you’ve read the series, which the publisher describes as “obscenely funny,” or even just read about it, you have a pretty good idea what to expect from the cartoon: teen superheroes doing, and saying, bad and occasionally disgusting things. If that’s not enough to sell you on the animated SuperF*ckers, it’s produced by Frederator Studios, the folks behind Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors.
Tyson McAdoo didn’t hang around long in comics; it’s hard to find many credits for him, just a few inking gigs at the Big Two and Dark Horse. He’s a man with an interesting life story, though: Training as a teenager to be a ballet dancer until he broke both knees, he chose instead to attend the Joe Kubert School, fell into work as a jobbing comic book inker, then onto steady employment in animation, where he now art directs for Cartoon Network/Adult Swim.
His parallel fine art career is similarly cross-cultural, drawing on the demi-mondes of burlesque, tattooing and skateboarding. His work over the last couple of years shows an interesting progression, initially producing pieces that looked very much redolent of the post-Timm school of sexy cartoon art (like a more baroque Shane Glines), his work has gotten increasingly painterly and expressionistic, and less about straight-forward stock pin-up poses. Even the fact that the guy has a day job producing commercial art aimed at the young and then spends his spare time producing very adult (his site’s subtitle, “I kinda want to draw you naked” rather gives the game away there) fine art suggests interesting layers of dichotomy to the man. Plenty of examples after the break, and yes, some of it is NSFW.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d get Remake 3xtra, the latest comic in Lamar Abrams’ occasional superhero/manga satire. I’d also get Batman Inc. #5 to get another glimpse into the Gotham City of the future, where Damian has taken on his father’s superhero role.
If I had $30, I’d check out Dante’s Inferno, Kevin Jackson and Hunt Emerson’s adaptation of the classic poem. The British Emerson has been around since the days of the underground, but he hasn’t gotten much attention, at least on these shores, which seems odd given what a funny and facile cartoonist he is. He tends to fire on all cylinders when riffing on classic literature, too, so I imagine this will be a pretty great book.
Splurge: I don’t own the hardcover edition, so the new paperback collection of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes seems like a no-brainer to me. On the other hand, Humanoids is releasing the Technopriests Supreme Collection, an omnibus, epic sci-fi story that is yet another spin off of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ Incal. This particular series features art by Zoran Janjetov.
Robot 6 favorite Kerry Callen posted a new strip online recently, a fine example of that classic comics trope so beloved of bloggers, superdickery, thus practically ensuring we’d run it here. Great technique meets great gag; Callen does an effortless job of riffing on Joe Shuster’s style. See it in full below.
Publishers Weekly reports that Craig Thompson, creator of Blankets and the much-discussed Habibi, has signed with Scholastic to do a children’s graphic novel called Space Dumplins. In a (NSFW) blog post last December, Thompson said he was working on three books: a children’s graphic novel, a nonfiction book about “global trade,” and an erotic graphic novel. Apparently this one has taken over, for now.
Thompson’s agent, PJ Mark, describes the book as the story of “a little girl and her misfit friends who set out to rescue her father from the belly of a planet-eating space whale.” Sounds like fun, and if there’s anyone who can market the heck out of this book, it’s Scholastic, which also publishes Jeff Smith’s Bone, Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Drama, Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series, and Doug TenNapel’s Bad Island and Cardboard.
More than a year after Iron Man 2 actor Don Cheadle donned a green wig and body paint to play Captain Planet in a hilarious, and off-color, send-up for Funny Or Die, the Academy Award nominee is back, this time as the malevolent protector of a dystopian world in which those who offend him are transformed into trees. Or broccoli. Or bunnies.
The video ends with “To Be Continued,” so hopefully we won’t have to wait another year for the next installment.
Viz Media will at last synchronize the content on its digital anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha with Japanese releases, beginning with the Jan. 21 issue. Fans had long been frustrated that the North American edition lagged behind its Japanese counterpart by as much as two weeks, and featured fewer series.
“North American fans have been waiting for a long time for real-time publishing to synchronize with Japan, and it’s about to happen in Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha,” Alvin Lu, Viz Media’s executive vice president of publishing, said in a statement. “A robust Viz Manga digital infrastructure, combined with our close relationship with Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan allows us to close the gap in release schedules.”
Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will feature new installments of Bleach, Cross Manage, Naruto, Nisekoi, One Piece and Toriko on the same day as their general release in Japan. Monthly titles like Blue Exorcist, Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal will debut the Monday following their Japanese release.
Viz also will add more titles to the lineup, beginning today with Nisekoi, Naoshi Komi’s romantic comedy described as a “laugh-out-loud feel-good manga series.”
Awards | Although the website for the 40th Angoulême International Comics Festival is down, several outlets managed to pick up on the official selections for the 2013 festival, to be held Jan. 31-Feb. 3. Contenders for book of the year include Big Questions by Anders Nilsen, Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Fables by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges and others, The Hive by Charles Burns, The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon, Paying For It by Chester Brown, and The Walking Dead Vol. 16 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Fatale Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and The Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case were among those named in the crime comic category. [BoDoi]
Publishing | Bluewater Productions Publisher Darren G. Davis isn’t afraid to talk about real numbers: Bluewater’s income is about $2 million a year, and the most popular titles sell 5,000 to 10,000 copies apiece, although others never make it out of the triple digits. And while he admits he doesn’t have a thick skin, Davis says he has gotten used to criticism: “I’ve learned that I’m not my company. When they attack my company, they are not attacking me personally.” [The Columbian]
Storytellers fascinate me, a fact that is hopefully obvious given my affinity for interviewing them. Over the years, I have mined creators for information to varying degrees of success — some folks want to open up, others … not so much.
Chris Wright, writer/artist of Blacklung, showed a willingness to discuss his creative process to an extent I rarely get — and for which I am eternally grateful. Case in point of the quality of his answers, consider this one-sentence excerpt: “I love Tchaikovsky, and Mahler, and Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen, and Cormac MacCarthy, and Tarkovsky.” All that in one sentence. Blacklung, which was released Nov. 7 by Fantagraphics, was best described by my Robot 6 pal Chris Mautner as “a bloody seafaring tale about a man determined to do what it takes to meet his dead wife in hell.” Wright’s debut graphic novel is part of today’s Fantagraphics Cyber Monday Sale. If you want to get a taste of the novel, Fantagraphics offers a 12-page/4.9 MB Blacklung excerpt for consideration.
Tim O’Shea: This book is dedicated to the late Dylan Williams. Can you talk a little bit about the impact that Williams had on your career?
Chris Wright: I don’t know if it’s so much about “career.” I mean, Dylan was a guy who touched a lot of people, and I was sort of on the periphery of that. I didn’t know him as well as I would have liked, but he saw my stuff around, and offered to put a book of my work out, and that book became Inkweed, which is kind of a menagerie of short stories, and drawings. I’ll always be grateful to him for that book, and for his interest and encouragement in general.
Richard Bruton draws our attention to Your Days Are Numbered, a London-based free quarterly “graphic fiction magazine” chock-full of interviews and illustrations, all presented in a smartly designed package. The current issue (the fourth), which you can browse below, includes interviews with the likes of Brandon Graham, Chris Ware and David Ziggy Greene (who also provided the cover art).
You can subscribe to Your Days Are Numbered on the magazine’s website.
“I think the digital playground is still working out its own rules for comics and the best ways in which to incorporate comics. The conceptual problem is that when a new delivery system comes up, everyone tries to shove previous content into the new venue without understanding the benefits of the new form, like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. It’s not just a new distribution system, it’s a new system, and you have to adapt and create something new and suited to its rules. When television was aborning, the fledgling networks brought in radio drama writers who wrote dramas or variety shows that were structurally identical to what they’d done in radio; playwrights brought in from New York to give the new form legitimacy wrote one-set or two-set plays that could have been produced on any stage, they just filmed the play. Digital comics = the filmed play. We’re not there yet. But we’ll get there.”
– J. Michael Straczynski, on the state of digital comics
The University of Kentucky has developed an awesome tool for making the periodic table of elements fun. The Periodic Table of Comic Books allows users to click an element and discover comics that talk about it, while also reading analyses of how scientifically accurate those comics are.
It’s still a work in progress, so there aren’t yet entries for say, meitnerium or astatine, but there are a surprising number of references for elements like hafnium and lutetium in addition to expected ones like oxygen, nitrogen, and – of course – krypton. As an example, below is Scrooge McDuck talking about lithium, but there are also fun examples of Jimmy Olsen looking for germanium and the Beyonder turning an office building into gold. A fun, educational way to kill some time.
Ryan North’s (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) Kickstarter for his illustrated prose book, To Be or Not To Be is way past being fully funded with 24 days still to go, so this isn’t a plea for action so much as it is a public service announcement. Because, dude …
North is putting together something that he can’t call Choose-Your-Own-Adventure for legal reasons, but totally is, only it’s for grown-ups, based on Hamlet, allows you to play as various characters including the ghost, and is illustrated by an insane line-up of artists like Kate Beaton, Chip Zdarsky, Chris Hastings, David Malki, Dustin Harbin, Jim Zubkavich, Kazu Kibuishi, Ray Fawkes, Vera Brosgol. … Seriously, I’m going to embarrass myself by leaving someone awesome out and the list is loooong. Check out the Kickstarter page for the full scoop.
$15 gets you a PDF copy, but $20 gets U.S. residents the PDF and a paperback copy too. Backers outside the U.S. are asked for a $30 pledge to cover shipping costs. And of course there are other goodies for pledging more.
Last week, a reader alerted The Beat that there’s a grace period for returning DC Digital Comics on Amazon, just like other Kindle titles. Heidi MacDonald pointed out that, “in theory, someone could buy this week’s DC lineup for Kindle, read them and return them.”
Although commenters point out the folly in actually trying that (and Heidi specifically discourages it), it got me thinking: Why shouldn’t comics be returnable? I mean, we could put whatever restrictions on it you like, but my question isn’t so much about policy as it is about why people buy periodical, single-issue comics in the first place; particularly, monthly superhero comics. I agree that it would be a crappy thing to read and return a publisher’s entire weekly lineup. My question is: Why is that even a temptation?
Although we compiled a list of Cyber Monday sales on Sunday, it looks like the comics-related savings don’t end there. Here are some more deals for you to take advantage of today (and in one case, beyond):
• In addition to its continued “Blackest Friday” sale, comiXology today is offering 99-cent digital editions of Marvel’s Avengers titles, 50 percent off select IDW Publishing comics, and up to 80 percent off select Dynamite Entertainment collections.