Comics legend Stan Lee will pay another visit to Springfield next season, playing himself in an episode of Fox’s The Simpsons.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 90-year-old Lee will pop by The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop to offer advice about comics and romance to Comic Book Guy, whose budding relationship with a young Japanese woman/manga fan stands to be ruined by Homer.
Hopefully this time Lee annoys Comic Book Guy a little less than he did in his first appearance on The Simpsons, in the 13th-season episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” Next season will be the show’s 25th.
Halo 8 Entertainment has released a trailer for Ghostface Killah’s Twelve Reasons to Die, the upcoming comic series from the rapper and his fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, who’s serving as producer.
Debuting May 29 from Black Mask Studios, following the release of the album by the same name, Twelve Reasons to Die blends horror and crime for “a brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.”
What’s impressive, though, is the lineup of cover and interior artists: Tim Seeley (Revival, Hack/Slash), Paolo Rivera (Daredevil), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle, Detective Comics), Ramon Perez (Tale of Sand), Ben Templesmith (30 Days Of Night), Riley Rossmo (Bedlam), Garry Brown (The Massive), Jim Mahfood (Tank Girl), Kyle Strahm (Haunt), Toby Cypress (Blue Estate), Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D.), Joe Infurnari (Mush!), Breno Tamura (Pigs), Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole), Gus Storms (Space Creep), Chris Mitten (30 Days of Night) and Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats).
Twelve Reasons to Die was co-created by Ghostface Killer and Adrian Younge, and written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon.
This week saw the arrival of Guardians of the Galaxy #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, John Dell and Justin Ponsor. The series spins out of the events of Bendis’ Avengers Assemble arc, but at the same time sets up a new story and mission for Starlord, Rocket Raccoon and the rest of the team.
So does the comic soar or make a crash landing? Here are a few opinions from around the web to tell you just that ….
Something like a cross between fan fiction and minicomics, doujinishi are most often defined as self-published parodies, extrapolations or fantasies revolving around popular, existing (and generally copyright-protected) characters and franchises. They’re generally created by fans for other fans, although the doujinishi culture is so pervasive in Japan that the phenomenon is tolerated and, in some cases, even encouraged and participated in by professional creators (and copyright holders).
Western otaku have likely seen more than their fair share of doujinshi, but more casual Western comics fans likely haven’t had any real exposure.
Enter Dark Horse’s recent Neon Genesis Evangelion: Comic Tribute, an officially sanctioned, professionally curated and created, $11, 170-page doujinishi-style anthology, produced and published in the digest-sized tankobon format made familiar to American manga fans over the past decade and a half or so.
But what is it, exactly? A bunch of different manga creators, the most prominent among them probably being Sgt. Frog‘s Mine Yoshizaki, providing short, parodic riffs on various aspects of the Evangelion franchise. Think of it as the manga equivalent of a celebrity roast.
Conventions | With just a day to go until WonderCon kicks off in Anaheim, California, Saturday and three-day passes have sold out. Although Friday and Sunday badges are still available, organizers recommend they be purchased in advance online, rather than at the door. Additional passes will likely become available as cancellations and refunds are processed. [Toucan]
Conventions | Renatt Kuenzi files a report on this month’s Fumetto International Comix Festival, which co-director Marta Nawrocka describes as “a festival for exhibitors and artists – not a fair with stands and people dressed in suits.” Part of the challenge for organizers of the festival, which featured work by Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco, Swiss artist Bastien Gachet, and Arab artists Mohamed Shennawy and Lena Merhej, among others, was to combat the German-Swiss prejudice that comics are “juvenile.” [SwissInfo]
More than four years after she last appeared on television, Lana Lang will return in DC Comics’ digital-first series Smallville Season 11.
In the eighth season of The CW drama in the Season 8 episode “Requiem,” Lana was forced to leave Metropolis after she absorbed a kryptonite bomb into the nanoskin of her power suit, making her unable to be near Clark Kent.
“Since then Clark has not only gotten over Lana, but he has moved on with his life,” Season 11 writer Bryan Q. Miller, who also worked on the TV series, tells TV Guide. “He got engaged to Lois Lane and became Superman. “A lot has happened in Lana’s absence.”
According to the website, she’ll be reintroduced April 5 in “Valkyrie,” a storyline drawn by Season 11 cover artist Cat Staggs that follows Lois Lane on assignment for the Daily Planet to the Congo to investigate the Angel of the Plateau, a costumed superheroine — guess who! — fighting African warlords. Miller indicates “we will see a villain from Smallville days past” in the second chapter.
April 12 will see the debut of the spring’s main arc, “Argo,” in which Superman and Booster Gold travel to the 31st century to see the Legion of Super-Heroes. New chapters of “Valkyrie” will appear between installments of “Argo.” New chapters of Smallville Season 11 appear online each Friday.
Tapastic is a new digital-comics platform that allows users to upload their comics to the Internet. That isn’t a new idea, and when Nina Kester, whom I first met when she was working with Archie, contacted me about it, my first question (asked and answered below) was “How is this different from SmackJeeves or Drunk Duck?” Well, I was a bit more polite than that.
One way to look at it is that Tapastic is webcomics sites 2.0. It’s sleeker, more polished, and it has venture capital funding, so someone is planning to make money from it. I asked Nina to explain what Tapastic is up to, talk about the plans for WonderCon, and recommend a couple of her favorite comics from the site.
ROBOT 6: What sets Tapastic apart from other webcomics sites?
Nina Kester: The first thing everyone notices about Tapastic in contrast with other comic websites is our design. Our CPO Daron Akira Hall’s minimalistic aesthetic for the site and Tapastic’s apps and his design of the user experience always tend to be the first “wow” because it makes the content look so attractive. In his own words, “the main focus for the overall design UI from my perspective has been to keep it simple and flat, not too colorful … in order to let the content shine through, keeping the focus on the art, etc.”
If you’ve been a comics fan for any significant amount of time, you’ll know that the people who work at and frequent comic shops are sometimes just as interesting as the titles you’re there to buy. With that in mind, cartoonist Jayson Kretzer has been doing a webcomic called Wannabe Heroes based on the exploits of a group of comic shop friends who find themselves with powers of their own. Oh, yeah, and a ninja bear.
Kretzer’s Wannabe Heroes has been running as a webcomic for several years, switching between humor about the unique subculture that is comic fandom and action-oriented exploits that include the aforementioned ninja bear. And now this month, Krezter is looking to take his creation to a new level — with some help from you. Kretzer has launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise $3,200 to publish a full-color first issue of a conceived four-issue Wannabe Heroes series containing all-new material. He’s already halfway to his goal.
Wannabe Heroes‘ webcomics are online now, and the first issue of Wannabe Heroes is set to be released in May.
“The health of the industry is based upon having good stories and good characters, and a wide customer base. If bringing some of these characters back to the fold in a meaningful way adds to that, then it just strengthens our industry. [...] “Good stories that entertain are something that we all should applaud on any level. Whether we’re doing it directly at Image Comics, or at our competition, it helps keep our industry that we love alive. I will sit back and be as interested as anyone else.”
– Todd McFarlane, who was embroiled in a nearly decade-long legal battle with Neil Gaiman over the rights to the characters they co-created in Spawn #9, responding to the announcement last week that the writer will introduce Angela into the Marvel Universe this summer. McFarlane also confirmed to Newsarama that as part of the 2012 resolution to their lawsuit, Gaiman owns the rights to Angela outright.
Superman may have a reputation as a big pushover, but that’s because not enough people know Kerry Callen’s version. That Man of Steel screws with Batman for kicks, won’t put up with your sob stories and doesn’t care what kind of excuse you have for not wanting to do the dishes. Knowing that, you probably shouldn’t tease him about his costume.
But that’s what some jerk does in the latest installment of Callen’s hilarious Super Antics comic strip and, well, see what happens below. Following that: more about superman’s undies.
To quote our very own Michael May, “wish this was real”: Brendan McCarthy plugs the release today of IDW Publishing’s The Complete Zaucer of Zilk by slipping this sketch out into the ether, of the three magic-wielding characters he’s drawn over the years: the Zaucer, Doctor Strange, and Mirkin the Mystic, of the all-too short-lived Paradax! comic from 1987 (two issues, and one was all-reprint).
It comes with a companion piece: this sketch, of Paradax himself meeting Doctor Strange. As I never tire of pointing out, Pete Milligan and McCarthy’s Paradax (in Eclipse comics’ Strange Days) pretty much invented the whole “superhero as an unlikeable wannabe celebrity” subgenre, three years before Morrison’s Zenith in 2000AD, and 15 years before Warren Ellis’ The Authority made that trope de rigueur for mainstream comics for an extended period. And also in passing invented that whole “leather jacket over your superhero costume” thing that ruled the 1990s.
A famous British band once sang about how it “Just Can’t Get Enough,” which is how I feel about the work of Andrew Robinson. But luckily for me, there’s about to be a whole lot more of him this year.
Robinson has been releasing pages on his DeviantArt page from his long-awaited graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. Announced in October by Dark Horse, it’s a biography of the famed manager who acted as shepherd/friend/taskmaster for the revelatory music group the Beatles. The graphic novel is written by comics newcomer Vivek J. Tiwary, a Broadway veteran with 25 Tony Awards for his work on The Addams Family, Green Day’s American Idiot and The Producers.
The Fifth Beatle has been a three-year labor of love for Robinson, creating the 120-plus pages entirely by hand using pencils, pens, markers, acrylics, watercolors, gouache and more. The project has drawn him away from the public eye save for some cover work, but that time away looks to be paying off.
Animation and visual effects production company Blackmeal has created a 40-second video it calls “an homage to Marvel, which created most of the superheroes who entertained generations of children and adults for more than 80 years.” Using Captain America’s shield as a starting point, the cartoon sticks with the round shape and transforms it into iconography from various Marvel heroes, like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops and the Hulk. It’s an amazing, joyful piece of work that I’d love to see in front of every animated Marvel project from now until the end of time.
Following a failure of the online-registration system last week that left many would-be exhibitors out in the cold, the Small Press Expo announced it’s expanding the number of tables available for the Sept. 14-15 convention.
In a statement posted last night on the SPX Tumblr, organizers said they’ve reserved the full ballroom at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, allowing for an increase in the number of tables from 210 to about 280. While that won’t accommodate all of those shut out March 17, they believe it should take care of most of them.
Exhibitors who attempted to register for tables should be contacted later this week about their status; there will also be a waiting list. Those who are still unable to secure tables are invited to attend SPX, where two free two-day passes and a tote bag will be waiting for them at the registration desk.
“So, to be clear, this will be an experiment — and an acknowledgement that we let our community down last weekend,” the statement reads. “This expansion may not be a permanent move for SPX, but we’ll do our utmost to make sure that this year’s show is the best — and best attended — yet. As to whether the expansion is permanent will be dependent upon how well you exhibitors do in terms of sales and the resultant feedback we get about this expansion after the show.”
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 67th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Brian Crane (Pickles), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues) and Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) — who were revealed last month.
The winners will be announced May 25 at the Reuben Awards dinner in Pittsburgh.