It’s hard following up after the class act that’s Superman, with him being “Super” and all. However, former Walt Disney storyboard artist Brittney Williams is showing off the other side of the Man of Steel’s life in a great piece of fan art dubbed The Daily Planet Files.
These comics and illustrations show the meek Clark Kent and the gregarious staff at Metropolis’ Daily Planet as if they were a comic series you never knew existed. Working as a spirital kin to the Lois Lane, Girl Reporter pitch by Dean Trippe and the never-realized Wonder Womwn series by Tintin Pantoja, Williams’ The Daily Planet Files shows the Justice League isn’t the only interesting group he’s part of.
Cartoonist Josh Neufeld is no stranger to calamity. His best-known work, A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge, saw him working as a comics journalist telling the stories of survivors of Hurricane Katrina in the wreckage of the the Big Easy. And now he’s back, telling a story closer to home in SuperStorm Stories: A Red Hook Family for Medium‘s comic blog The Nib. Serialized in two parts, Neufeld’s comic depicts the remembrances of a Red Hook family of three talking about how their house was flooded during Sandy.
Cartoonist Ron Wimberly is a busy man — but not too busy to try something new.
For the past few weeks, the Prince of Cats creator has been working with Nike and advertising agency Weiden & Kennedy comic strip about Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Launched in September, Calvin & Johnson tells the story of Calvin and how he uses his alter ego (named Johnson) to help manage his life off the field and unleash his speed on the field. The Johnson alter ego is more than just another side of Calvin, as Wimberly states it’s played — in comic form — by rapper/media mogul P. Diddy. If that doesn’t sound like a traditional comic, that’s on purpose; Wimberly says that’s one of the reasons he chose to do it.
“What’s cool about this job is that it’s a comic that you won’t find in a comic book store. It’s not about superheroes,” he told ROBOT 6. “Hell, it’s kind of in the style of yonkoma manga. It stars people of color, made by a person of color. And it’s produced by Nike; they see the value in the medium for everyday folk who are not necessarily initiated in the language of comics. And none of that was deliberate … just happened that way. So that’s cool … rare, but hopefully not for long.”
Artist Pere Perez has worked on comics for the likes of Dark Horse DC, Marvel and Valiant, but now he’s poised to strike out on his own with his first creator-owned graphic novel Shaolin Mutants.
Described by Perez as an “epic kung-fu adventure,” Shaolin Mutants follows a kung fu-trained Shaolin monk named Leroy as he fights mutant armies in a near-future apocalyptic world. Kung fu is often used in comics, but Perez has a leg up on many of his colleagues: He’s a black-belt Wing Chun instructor who’s been practicing martial arts for nearly two decades.
“My love for martial arts has triggered the creation of this book, and my knowledge of them has helped me to create fighting choreographies and page layouts unlike anything you’ve ever seen on a comic book,” Perez writes on the Indiegogo page for Shaolin Mutants. “Also, I’ve tried to explain the philosophical and moral aspects of martial arts, so hopefully this book is not just an anthology of cool action scenes.”
Brian Stelfreeze is a well-known cover artist, with runs on DC Comics’ Batman, Birds of Prey, Firestorm, Shadow of the Bat and others, but that immense skill often overshadows another of his talents: superhero costume design. Very early in his career he created what has become the seminal Nightwing, and he recently did some more DC character redesigns — but this time for fun.
For the past few weeks, Stelfreeze has been drawing redesigns of DC’s Crime Syndicate of America and posting them on a Yahoo! Group devoted to his work. The idea came about when Stelfreeze was talking to his friend Robert Jewell about the comics they grew up with, and they pinpointed an issue of Justice League of America they read as kids that focused on the Crime Syndicate. With the Crime Syndicate getting new life in DC’s current Forever Evil, Jewell and Stelfreeze thought it’d be fun for the artist to redesign these classic characters. Using notes from Jewell and members of the Yahoo! Group, Stelfreeze took on these characters and developed his own takes on them — with amazing results.
Not all struggling actors are waiters — there’s one who’s a superhero.
Next week Monkeybrain Comics will launch a new series centering on out-of-work actress Miranda Turner and her double life as a superhero, fittingly titled The Double Life of Miranda Turner. Originally released as a webcomic by artist George Kambadais, he’s changing gears and enlisting It Girl & The Atomics writer Jamie S. Rich for this ongoing digital series coming out every six weeks.
“Jamie wrote a really fun introductory adventure for our debut issue,” Kambadais said in a statement. “It captured the irreverence and joy I think we both wanted and that is often lacking in the bigger superhero titles. There’s going to be room for plenty of emotion and character growth in The Double Life of Miranda Turner, but the first rule is to entertain. We want the exploits of Miranda and Lindy to be as much fun for you to read as they are for us to make.”
Comic book adaptations are a big deal — on the big and small screens and in video games. But there’s a number of popular franchises in modern media whose comic book origins have been forgotten and even de-emphasized by their owners. In this week’s Six By 6, I look at six concepts that are well-known by the world at-large who share a secret origin in sequential art.
Subscriptions have long been a part of the comic book industry; paying your money in advance, and getting the titles by mail every month can be comforting. But a new service called Pullist is offering a very different type of subscription: one where you don’t know what you’re going to get.
Described as a “curated comic book service,” Pullist sends to subscribers a surprise graphic novel each month. For its first month, Pullist enlisted Glory writer Joe Keatinge to make the pick.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been a boon for independent comic creators, providing much-needed start-up cash to get their projects off the ground. Similar in scope to the rise of underground comix in the 1960s or the black-and-white boom of the 1980s, it’s changed the game for a number of creators. That’s why recent news that the massive video game publisher Square Enix is partnering with Indiegogo is so interesting.
To briefly summarize: Square Enix is one of the big players in the video-game market, especially in Japan, with titles such as Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider. In the partnership with Indiegogo, the two companies have essentially formed a think tank for independent developers outside of Square Enix to post video game proposals as Indiegogo campaigns. If they’re successful in the crowdfunding stage, they’ll receive marketing and development help from Square Enix to make the projects a reality. Going further, Square Enix even says there’s a possibility that video game developers could pitch projects based on the company’s immense back catalog.
It looks like Mattel may be pulling a bit of a Marvel on fans.
Variety reports that Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker, has created a new in-house studio called Playground Productions to manage the creative direction of its properties, such as Barbie, He-Man, Max Steel and Hot Wheels. The new division will reportedly oversee the development of scripts for television and film, and control how the toys are adapted for books, live events, video games — and, by logical extension, comics.
Mattel already has one of its properties already in the comics world — DC’s He-Man & the Masters of the Universe title — but given this new push to better organize and monetize its brands, we could see a lot more.
Stan Lee has a pretty good track record when it comes to creating heroes, and now he’s added one more to that long list: Chakra.
The character that will make his animated debut Nov. 30 in an hour-long television movie called Chakra: The Invincible, which will air across South Asia on Cartoon Network. According to Deadline, the movie potentially could reach 34 million households. Readers received their first taste of the character in May in Liquid Comics’ Free Comic Book Day offering.
Years before Bruce Timm made his mark on superheroes with his work on Batman: The Animated Series, he plied his trade in the early 1980s as a background and layout artist for the animation studio Filmation. While he spent his days working on cartoons like G.I. Joe and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Timm devoted his nights to pitching Marvel and DC Comics. After a chance meeting with a Marvel editor, Timm got his break — but not at the House of Ideas. Instead, he made his professional comics debut in 1984 on the Masters of the Universe minicomics.
For three years Timm worked on this series, packaged with the Mattel action figures, sometimes inking other artists and sometimes drawing his own. He contributed several covers to the series, especially in the European editions. Here’s a sampling of the various covers and pin-ups he’s done, as well as some interior pages. Be warned: It’s a lot different than the Bruce Timm time you’ve grown to love from animation, but it still has a special charm.
Last year popular convention artist Grant Gould set out on his own to create a fantasy tabletop role-playing game called Blade Raiders, combining his love for tabletop gaming, comics art and new concepts. Raising more than $8,000 on Kickstarter, Gould made that dream a reality — and now he’s taking the next step and bringing the Blade Raiders stories to life as a graphic novel.
Launched earlier this month on Kickstarter, the Blade Raiders: Grimalkin campaign is a creator-owned graphic novel set in the world of his RPG that mixes swords, sorcery, high adventure, creatures and quests. Gould is known with his frequent convention appearances and for his work on an official Star Wars webcomic, but with Blade Raiders: Grimalkin the cartoonist is branching out on his own.
Beneath the racks of Big Two superheroes and genre comics sits a thriving world of art and storytelling. Some call it independent comics, some call it small press, but in a interesting minicomic, Pat Barrett has some other words for it.
Created using the style and template of the fondly remembered 1978 classic How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema, Barrett delivers a comedic but seething look at the small-press industry. Debuting last month at the Small Press Expo, How to Make Comics the Whiner’s Way lampoons the plight of would-be comic artists in the realm of independent comics. Available for sale online at Birdcage Bottom Books, it’s a tongue-in-cheek “how to” that could also be read as a screed against a growing trend in comics.
“Do you like to gripe? Do you also like to draw? Then the world of small press comics is perfect for you!,” Barrett writes on the comic’s back cover. “The unheard-of Pat Barrett takes a stab at legitimacy by telling you how to accomplish what he hasn’t. Because those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, write a how-to book. Heed his words, learn some things, and most of all, Never Stop Whining!”
Here’s a sample of what’s inside the eight-page comic, which is available for $2.
Sometimes, you just want to leave your work at work. But in an upcoming graphic novel, Army investigator Kate Bailey is dragged back into the line of duty when a dream about her own murder begins to come true. Mixing ghost stories and police procedurals, veteran writer Brian Augustyn and artist John Derrick West are looking to step out on their with a new self-published, creator-owned graphic novel Dead Ringer.
“Dead Ringer is a hard-boiled mystery/ghost story,” Augustyn writes on the Kickstarter page. “…. Kate Bailey [is an] an Army veteran and former JAG investigator, recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. She comes home to Chicago, where she struggles to fit back into civilian society. Plagued by nightmares of her time in Afghanistan, Kate sleeps fitfully as a rule. She is completely blown out of her bed one night, however, by a terrifying dream—of her own brutal murder at the hands of a monstrous psychopath.”