[Updated 5:55pm PST: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Humanoids had filed for bankruptcy. Also, since the original article's publication we have spoken to a representative from the American company Humanoids Inc., who currently holds the rights to Hide & Seek.]
Chris Claremont casts a long shadow in modern superhero comics, due to his landmark run on Uncanny X-Men. Many of Marvel’s current X-Men stories — and let’s not forget Fox’s blockbuster movie franchise — are built on earlier work by Claremont and has collaborators. Despite that pedigree, new Claremont comics are few and far between.
In a 2012 interview, he told ROBOT 6 that while he no longer received work from Marvel, he did have a string of projects set up in Europe.
“I have two comics projects that I started in Europe, one science fiction and one fantasy. The fantasy series, titled Wanderers, got one issue published, a second issue fully complete and a third one plotted out before the artist left to work for Marvel,” Claremont said, referring to artist Phil Briones. “That’s no fault of the artist, but the book was published as a dual-publishing arrangement between a French and Italian publisher that came to blows. I think the French publisher was hoping for better sales of the first volume, and lost interest afterwards. But now because of that, I’ve got a hundred pages of story sitting on my desk. The other series, the science fiction one, went to the publisher and an artist drew 20 odd pages before the company collapsed. The other publishers I’ve shown it to were interested, but said that either the artist or the story wasn’t quite right for them. Again, there are many cases of concepts that look golden to creators but hit speed bumps along the way and never make it to fruition. That’s the business.”
Before you take to the skies in Hayao Miyazaki’s final voyage in The Wind Rises, Viz Media is inviting you to take a return trip to an old favorite in a way you’ve never seen before: the world of Totoro.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, Viz is publishing two new books about the seminal animated film. Unlike some of Miyazaki’s other films, My Neighbor Totoro wasn’t preceded by a manga, but it’s getting the next-best thing with My Neighbor Tortoro: The Novel, an illustrated novel pairing Miyazaki’s watercolors with a child-friendly novelization by Japanese children’s book author Tsugiko Kubo.
Although some of Miyazaki’s watercolors of My Neighbor Totoro have been seen online and in various magazines, My Neighbor Totoro: The Novel will be the first time they’ve been officially released all in one bound volume. This hardcover will arrive Oct. 1, along with an updated edition of the popular My Neighbor Totoro Picture Book released a few years ago.
In 2006, Earth scientists revoked Pluto’s status as a planet — it’s now a “dwarf planet,” neither a planet nor a satellite — and in the process sealed all of our fates.
In the upcoming graphic novel Forgotten Planet, the Plutonians are coming to Earth with payback on their mind, and the only one standing between us and them is a salty former mercenary named Cale Beckett who’s trying to live out his last days in the Tanzanian outback. But as the Plutonians arrive, he must re-live his secret past a hired law officer on Pluto in the 1970s. His comrades from those days are being killed one by one, and so Beckett must return to the place he hoped to forget.
Forgotten Planet comes to you from Eagle-nominated writer Peter Rogers and artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo (Jonah Hex, Iron Man). The duo is using Kickstarter to help make this graphic novel a reality, hoping to raise £11,500 (roughly $15,500 American dollars). If successful, a majority of the money would go to the artist as a page rate, while the rest would go toward the book’s production; the creators have partnered with the indie publisher Scar Comics for printing and distribution.
Here’s a look at thew two covers for the graphic novel, as well as a sample of the interior work:
This week finer comic shops will have Rian Hughes’ Soho Dives, Soho Divas available for purchase. The previews don’t really do justice to the book, which collects Hughes’ portraits of London burlesque artists. Read on …
Although he’s currently known for his work on brawny heroes like Superman and Red Hulk, upcoming Astonishing X-Men artist Ed McGuinness got his big break from a very different kind of hero: a merc with a mouth. In 1997, he and writer Joe Kelly joined forces to put the ’90s anti-hero Deadpool head-deep in hijinks and human suffering, and gave the mercenary an oddly lovable supporting cast that included Blind Al and Weasel. The series gained cult status among for its ballsy slapstick humor that grew to become a trademark for the once-dark character.
And now, Marvel is pulling together Kelly and McGuinness’ run — along with a few extras — in a massive tome titled Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus. Although I have a bit of an issue with not including the artist’s name in that title, I’m excited to get all these issues in my hand. For this early 2014 collection, Marvel commissioned McGuinness to create a cover commemorating the run. “It was a blast revisiting these characters,” the artist wrote on his DeviantArt page.
Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus is scheduled for release in January.
Although Image Comics has staked out territory as both the premier publisher for creator-owned work and a proving ground for fledgling writers and artists, it was another 1990s company that served as an entry point for many of today’s top talent: Caliber Comics.
Launched in 1989 by retailer Gary Reed, Caliber Comics was a harbinger of the coming wave of creator-owned titles. Launching with two flagship books — Deadworld and The Realm — Reed quickly expanded the line with his in-house anthology book Caliber Presents and a entire sub-line of illustrated books similar to Classics Illustrated. But perhaps its enduring contribution was as a doorway into the comics industry for writers and artists who are today marquee names
The list of A-list creators whose comics debuts were made possibly by Caliber is mind-boggling: Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Michael Lark, James O’Barr, Brandon Peterson, Dean Haspiel, Georges Jeanty and Jason Lutes all made their comics debuts here. In addition, Caliber also was where many budding creators made their first recognizable work; it was at there that Mike Allred created Madman, and Guy Davis blossomed with Baker Street.
When Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals debuts next week from Image Comics, some readers will be exposed to Chip Zdarsky for the first time. And I tell you, it’ll be an unforgettable experience.
Zdarsky may be virtually unknown to devotees of mainstream comics, but for the people of Toronto and those in certain corners of the Internet, he’s a bit of a phenomenon. I was introduced to his work around 2003 through a collected edition of his comic strip Prison Funnies, and then through discussions on the Warren Ellis Forum. He was one of the early members of the web collective Act-I-Vate, contributing a short-lived but legendary series called Zdarsky-verse, which included a drug-fueled Pac-Man.
Steve Rude is a comics legend, both for his artwork and for his over-sized personality. But as I was reminiscing about his work while waiting for him to release something new, I came across a mysterious blind spot in my memory of the Dude: the time he drew the X-Men.
In 1999, Marvel put together Rude and writer Joe Casey for a throwback three-issue miniseries titled X-Men: Children of the Atom, which documented the recruitment of the original X-men by Charles Xavier. Out of print since 2001, this diamond in the rough is especially poignant now given the return of that era’s X-Men in All-New X-Men … but more generally because, well, Rude’s art is great.
Above is a commission Rude drew of the original team, and I’ve pulled together some of the covers from this forgotten (at least by me) miniseries, as well as some illustrations the artist has created with the team in the time since.
Aaron Lopresti has been drawing comics for 20 years, but the project that comes out this week is something he’s never been able to do until now.
With DC Comics’ digital-first series Legends of the Dark Knight, the veteran artist of Wonder Woman and The Amazing Spider-Man was given a chance to write a draw a Batman tale on his own terms. Titled “I… Batman,” the story finds Batman at the mercy of a Murderer’s Row of villain, with Lopresti able to depict the rogues in the signature styles of some of their most popular artists. Brian Bolland’s rendition of the Joker from Batman: The Killing Joke, Bruce Timm’s Clayface from Batman: The Animated Series, and more. And for Lopresti, he gets to dream up a twisted Frankenstein-like version of Batman as seen above.
Lopresti spoke with ROBOT 6 about this unique assignment, his burgeoning career as a writer/artist, and the homages in this three-part story.
Seeing films and television series adapted as comic books is nothing new, but in the past decade we’ve experienced a new phenomenon in which canceled TV shows are finding a second life, and a second chance, in comics form. In many cases, these properties pick up right where their television runs left off, such as in Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight and IDW Publishing’s recent X-Files launch. So with that in mind, we turn to six other beloved genre shows that deserve a comic-book revival.
Despite the solitary nature of creating comics (or perhaps because of it), it’s very easy for writers and artists to become fast friends with one another — be it at conventions, in-store signings or even just online. Over the years editor-turned-writer Jamie S. Rich has accumulated countless friends and connections in the industry through his time at Dark Horse, Oni Press, writing books like 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and living in the comics mecca of Portland, Oregon. And after moderating numerous panels at conventions and even hosting his own “Evening with Jamie S. Rich” movie night at a Portland theater, the writer is taking things even further with a new comics interview webseries called From the Gutters.
Once there was a blogger who had a dead-end day job at a coffee shop, using it to fund a hopeful career as a journalist. Then came along a ghost who possessed her roommate, transforming him into a paranormal investigator.
No, this isn’t auto-biographical (I wish!) but instead it’s the premise of the indie-comic series Tales of the Night Watchman. Created by writer David Kelly and artist Lara Antal, the series debuted earlier this year online and at various Northeast comic conventions. The blogger in this case is named Nora, and her roommate is Charlie, and together they are baristas by day and heroes by night once they come into possession (literally!) of this spectral detective called the Night Watchman.
The first issue unveiled this startling tale with the introduction of the Night Watchman as well as the appearance of his arch-nemesis Merrick. At the Small Press Expo this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland, Kelly and Antal will debut the series’ second issue as well as a spinoff one-shot with artist Molly Ostertag subtitled The Night Collector.
The creators have provided ROBOT 6 with a sample of the first two issues of the main series as well as The Night Collector.
Welcome to a new world in comics — the world of Cartozia. Created by a who’s who of indie cartoonists and up-and-comers, this world is being created, defined and explored in an epic 10-issue anthology series titled Cartozia Tales. Editor/cartoonist Isaac Cates has brought together an assortment of creators to act as the base of the series — among them, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Ming Doyle, Meredith Gran, James Kochalka, Dylan Horrocks, Jason Lutes, Maris Wicks, Kevin Cannon and Jon Lewis — to help map out this world in short comic stories. And now with the first issue available for order online, the Cartozia Tales crew is turning to Kickstarter to continue the journey.
“Cartozia Tales is created collaboratively by a group of indie cartoonists working together to discover and invent the world of Cartozia and its secrets,” Cates writes on the project’s Kickstarter page. “We share the creation of the world of Cartozia by a process of chance, setting our stories in different parts of the map randomly with each issue. As the months progress, we trade characters and locations, picking up and expanding the stories started by our fellow contributors.”
Cartoonist Evan Dorkin of Milk & Cheese and Beasts of Burden fame has been musing on Twitter about doing more work in his on-again, off-again Welcome to Eltingville comic strip. Last seen in a 2012 issue of Dark Horse Presents, the series profiles four hardcore comics fans in their social lives in and around their comic store — based on the real Jim Hanley’s Universe chain. Dorkin created Welcome to Eltingville for in the early 1990s anthology series he produced titled Instant Piano, and the series was even adapted as a very short-lived (one episode) series for Cartoon Network. The series was produced shortly after Dorkin began work there on Space Ghost Coast to Coast and later Superman.
“Of late my thoughts turn to Eltingville,” Dorkin began Sept. 6 on Twitter. “For Eltingville to live…Eltingville must die. For Eltingville to die… Eltingville must live. Everyone roll D20 to make a saving throw against Eltingville.”
As you might expect, the brief mentions of Dorkin doing new Welcome to Eltingville caused his fans to begin talking it up. Late Tuesday, Dorkin had a firm answer — or answers: “For those asking about Eltingville, the answer is ‘Yes.’ Also, ‘No.; As well as, ‘No, no, no Kickstarter, no.’ Thank you. Stay Tuned.”
In 2007 Brian Wood led a proverbial raiding party of Vikings into the comics landscape with the Vertigo series Northlanders, which was canceled in 2012 after 50 issues. But now Wood is plotting a return to the history books and the battlefields, only not at the DC Comics imprint.
In a blog post titled “On Vikings — or lack thereof,” Wood explains he always planned to revisit Northlanders given the intense research and unpublished stories. But when it came time to working it up, something happened.