INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Early last week an otherwise-respected comic book artist took to Facebook to rant about the perceived insult of women attending comic book conventions dressed as comic book characters. Others have since soundly disassembled whatever point he was trying to make, so I wasn’t sure if much value could come from one more person on the Internet condemning the tirade for being ill-conceived, juvenile and sexist. But then I just did, so there you have it.
That aside, this is hardly the first time there’s been an inordinate amount of hand-wringing over whether certain people are enough of a geek or nerd or fan or whatever to qualify for … I have no idea what — some mythical geek clubhouse, I guess. If it’s your job to be a comics encyclopedia, I suppose there’s some basis for this. But most of the time, it’s just teeth-gnashing over fans not being “fan enough.” The people fretting about it are apparently disturbed that someone is falsely enjoying, or not enjoying enough, what they enjoy. Honestly, I don’t understand it. Is it that these people are embarrassed to like what they like, and they think they’re being mocked for liking something silly? Whatever the reason, it no doubt says more about them than the person who may or may not like or know about something with enough fervor.
As they teased back in September, Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn, Womanthology) and her husband Ray Dillon (Servant of the Bones, The Last Unicorn) have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a graphic-novel adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
“The original story is one of the most beautiful, inspired things I have ever read, and I hope to convey that beauty to the best of my abilities into this graphic novel,” De Liz writes on the project’s Kickstarter page. “I also intend to further explore Peter Pan and Captain Hook’s backstory by adapting parts from J.M Barrie’s The Little White Bird ( prequel to Peter and Wendy) and a little known informations given by Barrie about Jas. Hook into the story.”
They’re seeking a rather sizable amount — $48,000 — to fund production of the first of three planned volumes, which will be released by IDW Publishing. Pledge incentives range from a copy of the 90-page Peter Pan: The Companion Guide to signed editions to an appearance as a background character in one or more panels. Just a day into the campaign, they’ve already raised $6,424.
“The great thing about the Hulk is that, as we saw in the Avengers movie, I don’t care if you’re 300 yards away when he changes. You pee your pants because you know your life is likely over, whether you’re his friend or his enemy. It’s like being in the middle of a lightning storm — you just don’t know. And I never want to lose sight of that sense of danger to the book.”
– Mark Waid, discussing the Green Goliath as a force of nature, and a weapon of mass destruction, in Marvel’s Indestructible Hulk, which debuts today
The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman, who was embroiled in a bizarre and hilarious legal dispute over the summer, is now facing another lawsuit, this time from a Massachusetts greeting card company.
Law360 reports that Excelsior Printing Co. on Tuesday sued the popular cartoonist and Papyrus-Recycled Greetings, a subsidiary of American Greetings, claiming they’re using a trademarked name to sell cards based on Inman’s Oatmeal creations. Excelsior insists its recently purchased subsidiary Oatmeal Studios has been using the name to market humorous cards for more than 35 years.
The lawsuit asserts the use of “The Oatmeal” mark will confuse consumers, who may believe the businesses are related. Excelsior asks for unspecified damages and an injunction barring The Oatmeal from using its name in association with greeting cards.
Awards | Graphic novels for the first time have made the shortlist for the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Awards): Mary and Bryan Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes in the Biography category, and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart in the Novel category. [The Guardian]
Passings | Indian politician and former editorial cartoonist Bal Thackeray has died at the age of 86; Thackeray was in the news most recently supporting fellow cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was jailed briefly on charges of sedition. [The Comics Reporter]
Awards | The Australian Cartoonists Association has bestowed their highest honor, the Gold Stanley Award, on David Pope, cartoonist for The Canberra Times. [The Canberra Times]
This isn’t a “Best of 2012″ list, because (a) 2012 isn’t finished yet, and (b) every time I attempt to put “Best of” lists together, I inevitably end up forgetting something that I utterly adore and feel guilty about it afterwards. Instead, inspired by Thursday’s upcoming holiday and the fact that you might be thinking about buying things on Friday for some reason, here are five things in comics from this year that I’m thankful for.
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, my Wednesday haul would start with Glory #30 (Image, $3.99). This series has been great, and since Kris Anka began doing covers, it’s gone to very great. Now, seeing New Yorker cartoonist Roman Muradov coming in to do a story makes it potentially even more, well, great. I’m psyched to see Glory face off against her sister, and Campbell’s depiction of both has been mesmerizing. Next I’d pick up Comeback #1 (Image, $3.50), featuring letterer Ed Brisson making his major writing debut. The cover design by Michael Walsh is impeccable, and the concept of time traveling for grieving loved ones is a fascinating concept. Next up, I’d get a Marvel double – Wolverine and the X-Men #21 (Marvel, $3.99) and Hawkeye #4 (Marvel, $2.99). This carnie issue of Wolverine and the X-Men is intriguing; it’s going out on a limb, but after what Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw have done so far, I trust them. With Hawkeye, I’m slightly hesitant to pick up an issue knowing David Aja isn’t drawing it, but Javier Pulido has the potential to be an ideal temporary substitute.
If I had $30, I’d look back on my $15 and reluctantly put Hawkeye #4 back on the shelf to free up money for Derek Kirk Kim’s Tune, Book 1: Vanishing Point (First Second, $16.99). Man oh man, do I love Kim’s work, and seeing the previews for this online makes me see a honing of the artist’s style akin to the way Bryan O’Malley did between Lost At Sea and Scott Pilgrim. Count me in.
If I could splurge, I’d take a chance on the anthology Digestate (Birdcage Bottom Books, $19.95). I’m no foodie like C.B. Cebulski, but I like food and I like anthologies so this is right up my alley; especially when the chefs include Jeffrey Brown and Liz Prince. Where’s my order?
Like many of us, 13-year-old Nick Mastrangelo is a fan of Daryl Dixon, the crossbow-shooting, motorcycle-riding loner from AMC’s The Walking Dead. But while the rest of us are content to watch Merle’s younger brother kill walkers, and the occasional owl and possum, once a week, aspiring animator Nick created his own Daryl Dixon adventure. The result is bloody, manic and undeniably awesome (Robert Kirkman calls it “the coolest thing I’ve seen all day”). If The Walking Dead can spin off a weekly talk show, then I see no reason why it can’t spawn a series of animated shorts (by Nick Mastrangelo, naturally). Get on it, AMC.
If it seems like only last week that we were looking back on Marvel’s 1980s sci-fi series ROM: Spaceknight, that’s because we were. Spurred by Hasbro’s new trademark filing for ROM, we summed up the inauspicious history of the Parker Brothers action figure, and the more successful — and more fondly remembered — comic book it spawned.
But no sooner had we left Galador and the Dire Wraiths behind than Comic Book Resources debuted art from Marvel’s Age of Ultron #2, by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch. And right there on the massive two-page cork board, squeeze between photos of Doctor Strange and Wiccan, is none other than ROM, greatest of the Spaceknights!
Are the two things related? It’s certainly possible — after all, Marvel and Hasbro have had a long (and presumably profitable) relationship that continues to this day with Avengers and Superhero Squad action figures, giant plastic Hulk hands and the like. So who better than the House of Ideas to help revive that plastic relic of 1970s toy chests? However, it’s unlikely Marvel would plunk another company’s character into a major story event, particularly after it’s had to untangle its own creations from licensed properties over the decades (ROM, Micronauts, Godzilla, et al). It seems more probable that Bendis and Hitch are having a little fun, dropping a figure from Marvel’s past among some of its more prominent players. Still, though, an Easter egg like that is usually tucked away along the edges of a panel or a page, not smack-dab in the middle …
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics artform and its community, has elected new officers and a new member to its board of directors.
Milton Griepp, founder of ICv2.com, was elected vice president following a lengthy tenure as treasurer; Jeff Abraham, president of Random House Publisher Services, was chosen to replace him as treasurer. Larry Marder and Dale Cendali were reelected as the organization’s president and secretary, respectively, while Andrew McIntire, senior director of retail operations for TFAW.com, was welcomed to the board, joining members Joe Ferrara, Steve Geppi, Paul Levitz and Chris Powell.
Founded in 1986, the organization last week launched its Spirit of Giving fundraising drive, with The Will & Ann Eisner Foundation contributing $2 for every donation and gift placed through the CBLDF website by Dec. 12. In addition, foundation will contribute $10 for each new membership and $5 for each renewal made until Dec. 31.
The CBLDF is offering a wide selection of works personalized by such creators as Alan Moore, Jeff Smith, Brian K. Vaughan, Raina Telgemeier, Paul Levitz, Brian Wood, Jason Aaron, Cliff Chiang and Terry Moore. In addition, there are books and prints signed by the likes of Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Paul Pope and Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Marvel has revealed Joe Quesada’s variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #700, the final issue of the long-running series, which is ending as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. The issue features a regular cover by Mr. Garcin, and a second sketch variant by Quesada.
Before the year closes out, fans are in for one of the biggest shocks to hit the life of Peter Parker. Just when you thought all was going well for the World’s Greatest Super Hero, think again. This December, secrets are revealed, but the twists and turns are not done yet! Join Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, and a cavalcade of talented writers and artists in witnessing Amazing Spider-Man come to a close as we celebrate 50 years of Spider-Man!
The Amazing Spider-Man #700 will be one of only two Marvel comics on sale Dec. 26, which Diamond Comic Distributors as designated as a skip week because of the holiday. The other is Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, by Chris Yost and Paco Medina, which continues what Marvel is billing as “the must-read story.” See the full Quesada cover below.
Last week, IDW Publishing released the second and final part of The Zaucer of Zilk, a heady psychedelic brew of a type all-too-seldom seen on the shelves of comic stores. Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall is both a confirmed Anglophile and a fan of Brendan McCarthy, so it was no real surprise the first non-Judge Dredd publication to come out of his company’s agreement with 2000AD was a quick-turnaround reprint of the comic, deemed an instant classic by many longtime readers of the venerable U.K. anthology.
2000AD doesn’t do superhero stories too often (I could count them all on one hand, and half of them had The Zaucer of Zilk‘s Al Ewing attached as writer), and this one is so genre-bending that it barely qualifies. The Zaucer may well gadabout in a form-fitting costume of primary colors, but as McCarthy wrote on the pitch sketches for the series, it’s also “Elric meets Time Bandits meets Yellow Submarine meets The Wizard of Oz.”
Robot 6 spoke to Brendan about the series’ inception, its conclusion, and its potential future. And as usual for McCarthy, the interview came with a side order of strong opinions, controversy, and some good news for fans of the legendary work he produced in the 1980s with Pete Milligan.
Amid all of the best-of-the-year lists, National Public Radio’s comics go-to guy Glen Weldon takes a different approach, focusing on “outstanding works that haven’t gotten the column inches they deserve” — in short, the graphic novels and collections that might’ve slipped beneath the mainstream radar. Of course, half of his selections have already made best-of lists this year:
• The Crackle of the Frost, by Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner (Fantagraphics)
• Little White Duck: A Childhood in China, by Andres Vera Martinez and Na Liu (Graphic Universe)
• Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/Graphix)
• Gloriana, by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly)
• Saga, Vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
• Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood, by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang (DC Comics)
You can read what Weldon has to say about each off the books on the NPR website.
Digital comics | Technology journalist Andy Ihnatko discusses the significance of DC Comics’ expansion of its digital-comics availability from comiXology and its branded app to the iBooks, Kindle and Nook stores: “Now, all of the company’s titles have a presence in the same bookstore where hundreds of millions of people worldwide buy the rest of their content.” [Chicago Sun-Times]
Conventions | Steve Morris reports in on this past weekend’s Thought Bubble convention, in Leeds, England, which sounds like it was amazing. [The Beat]
Conventions | Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, Young Lee has an account of Durham’s NC Comicon. [Technicianonline.com]
As a kid growing up in Georgia in the 1970s and 1980s, my first exposure to Jack Davis’ art was his University of Georgia Bulldog sports art. As I grew older, of course, I learned about the far-reaching variety of illustrations and stories he has produced throughout his career. Recently I discovered that cartoonist Patrick Dean had curated an exhibition of Davis’ career for the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens: “Beyond the Bulldog: Jack Davis,” which runs through Jan. 6.
Soon after the exhibit’s Nov. 3 opening, I lined up Dean for an interview, in which he discusses how much Davis’ family is involved with, and interested in, orchestrating exhibits of the artist’s work. He also talks about what makes Davis’ work resonate with him.
Tim O’Shea: How did you come to be involved as the curator of the project?
Patrick Dean: I majored in graphic design here at the University of Georgia, with a focus on illustration. In my senior year of 1998, Jack Davis, a UGA alumnus, visited the graphic design building. He stopped by a few classes, told stories, passed out sketches, etc. Ridiculously pleasant guy. My illustration professor, Alex Murawski, knew I was a big fan of Davis’s work. From that year onwards the department started the Jack Davis Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture Series. The graphic design department would invite illustrators and cartoonists to visit, talk to the classrooms, and then wind up with a big talk in a lecture hall. They’ve had people like Sergio Aragones, Arnold Roth, Anna Kunz, Mike Luckovich, to visit, and every year Davis would be in attendance. After I graduated in 1998, Murawski would always keep me in the loop on these talks.