Kiel Phegley, Author at Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Todd McFarlane swears off the possibility of DC/Marvel freelance, but not crossovers

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Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane has made it a habit of late to open up his archives via his Facebook page, sharing everything from early Spawn designs to evolutionary charts. But this weekend, he held court on some of his publishing philosophy as it applies to his past life as a Marvel Comics superstar.

“Here’s the the answer to a question I get asked a lot: ‘NO!… I WILL NEVER DRAW for Marvel or DC Comics AGAIN!'” the artist wrote in a new post. “But it’s not why you might think…”

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Retired ‘Asterix’ artist Albert Uderzo surprises with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ tribute

AsterFixIn the long week since the horrific massacre at France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine, there have been a number of tributes from artists worldwide to the fallen comic satirists. But today as the story of the attack reached a violent end, one more creator surprised fans with some social media solidarity: Asterix co-creator Albert Udzero.

Retired since 2011, the artist returned to the drawing board today to pencil two “Je suis Charlie” tributes featuring his famed characters Asterix and Obelix which were sent out in a pair of tweets on the official Asterix account.

Charlie [Hebdo] and Asterix have nothing to do with each other obviously,” the artist told Le Figaro in an interview. “I simply want to express my affection for those designers who have paid with their lives.

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Charlie Adlard records horror scene with ‘[REC] 4: Apocalypse’ poster

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Thanks to the pop culture ubiquity of The Walking Dead, series artist Charlie Adlard has become a horror franchise all his own. So it’s no surprise he was tapped to draw the U.S. poster for the latest installment of Spain’s popular [REC] film series.

The LA Times debuted the image which uses the monochromatic feel of Adlard’s Image Comics work to present [REC] 4: Apocalypse actress Manuela Velasco amidst the viral video-style undead at the series’ core. The film, directed by Jaume Balaguero, arrives in the U.S. via VOD this month. See the full poster after the jump.

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Exclusive preview | Bunn and Haun’s ‘Wolf Moon’ #2

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The Sixth Gun co-creator Cullen Bunn is certainly no stranger to the supernatural, but for his first major Vertigo comic, he’s biting into another kind of horror.

The publisher has shared with ROBOT 6 an exclusive first look at pages at Wolf Moon #2, by Bunn and Jeremy Haun. The series explores a viral werewolf disease that transfers to a different victim every full moon, marrying the conceit with a procedural detective story for a bloody addition to the Vertigo line.

Under a cover by Ryan Kelly, Wolf Moon #2 arrives on Jan. 7.

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Exclusive preview | Richard Corben’s ‘Rat God’ #1

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Richard Corben is known for both his classic horror comics and, in recent years, a spate of adaptations of classic tales of terror. His next project, Rat God from Dark Horse, blends the two, as it draws inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft to tell an all-new story of backwoods horror.

The story folds together Corben’s interest in Native American culture, commentary on the racism in Lovecraft’s work, and his own dense, shocking style of drawing. In the comic, an arrogant New England scholar sets out to uncover the background of a young student from a rural area, only to discover horror beyond imagining.

We’re happy to share an exclusive preview of Rat God #1, which arrives Feb. 4.

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Ed Brubaker on letting ‘Criminal’ out of jail with ‘Savage Edition’

thefadeoutcvrmagazineSince they signed an exclusive five-year contract with Image Comics last year, the crime-comics duo of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been rolling out newer, weirder stories with the finale of Fatale and their latest Hollywood noir The Fade Out.

But at the end of this month, they’ll return to their biggest project, the anthologized yet interconnected neo noir series Criminal. Originally published though Marvel’s Icon imprint beginning in 2006, the series returns on Jan. 28 with a one-two punch of Coward, the first Image Comics trade collection, and an all-new magazine-sized one-shot titled Criminal: Savage Edition.

We caught up with Brubaker about the return of Criminal, the one-shot’s mix of prison life and ’70s genre comics, and the future of his partnership with Phillips.

ROBOT 6: You’ve spoken a lot about picking up new readers with each project you’ve launched at Image, and because it’s been a few years since you and Sean did a brand-new Criminal volume, I thought we’d start with the basics. How do you describe Criminal to those who haven’t read it? It’s a series with a high concept behind it, but it’s not one of those “It’s The Big Sleep … in Space!” kind of high concepts.

Ed Brubaker: It really doesn’t have a high concept, does it? I usually just lean on saying it’s won a bunch of awards and is critically acclaimed, because I don’t know how to “one-sentence” it. But let’s try …

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Watch this interview with Mark Gruenwald from 1988

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The now standard “What’s your next big storyline about?” approach to interviewing wasn’t created by the comics Internet. But before news sites existed, those conversations did take longer to reach the public. This weekend, one arrived after a 26-year delay.

Flying Color Comics retailer and Free Comic Book Day founder Joe Field wrote in with a curious discovery from his archives: a video interview conducted with Marvel writer and executive editor Mark Gruenwald at the 1988 Wonderful World of Comics Convention in Oakland, California, a precursor to today’s WonderCon.

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Alex Ross’ ‘Secret Wars’ image digs deep into Marvel’s bench

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When Marvel’s new Secret Wars series hits next year, one of the biggest secrets may be who exactly is in this comic.

Since the publisher released a high-res version of Alex Ross’ promotional painting for the Jonathan Hickman/Esad Ribic event this morning, fans have been spotting a number of left-field additions to the fray – some which barely qualify as Z-listers.

In addition to modern Marvel mainstays like the new female Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America and the Ultimate Universe’s Miles Morales, the image also includes a variety of alternate-universe combatants, including:

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SDCC | Highlights of the Sunday programming schedule

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For its final day, Comic-Con International is keeping the focus on the kids. Today, the biggest con on the calendar revealed its Sunday programming slate, and the traditional kids day of the show lived up to its name.

Publishers will roll out their best all-ages offerings in panels like Oni Press’ Monsterpalooza and IDW’s Kids Comics spotlight. But so much of the action of the day centers around the creators who will be appearing on a multitude of kid-centric programming including Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Dave Roman, Sonny Liew and Gene Luen Yang. Even the media portion of the con is getting in on the action with a special presentation on the documentary about San Francisco’s famed Batkid.

On the traditional convention front, fans can pop in for the annual Jack Kirby Tribute panel or check the latest offerings form publishers like Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and more

Creator-wise there are spotlights on the likes of Chuck Dixon, Jim Rugg, Jim Lee, Graham Nolan, Marc Guggenheim, Kelley Jones and more.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Saturday programming schedule

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Though the show has stretched far beyond the traditional weekend confines, Comic-Con International’s biggest day remains Saturday. And that was proven true today with the release of Saturday programming for the impending pop culture monolith.

The day comes crammed with every conceivable kind of panel. On the traditional comics publishing front, DC and Marvel both continue their weekend rollouts with a Batman: 75th Anniversary assembly, the traditional Cup O’ Joe Q&A and more. Meanwhile, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get their own anniversary panel to celebrate 30 years while current Turtles publisher IDW keep in step with three panels including a spotlight on Locke & Key creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. BOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Lion Forge round out the more pop culture oriented indies with their own panels while the alt comics world is well covered with spotlights on Drawn And Quarterly, Fantagraphics and Abrams ComicArts.

On the media side, Marvel Studios captures its traditional Saturday night spot in Hall H (where we’d wager and Avengers reunion is on tap) while earlier in the day, Warner Bros. brings a look at Mad Max, The Hobbit and the latest Wachowskis film (though curiously absent from the official list is any presentation on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). The media offerings also have a particular “Saturday Morning Cartoons” feel with spotlights on kids fare like Phineas & Ferb,Regular Show and Steven Universe.

Creator-wise, there’s a broad selection of comics talents on hand including Don Rosa, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Drew Friedman, Berkeley Breathed, Jim Steranko, Lucy Knisley, Mimi Pond, J. Micahel Straczynski and Saga creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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Five ways to celebrate Bill Finger’s birthday

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Bill Finger

In recent years, it’s become fashionable to refer to Bill Finger as the “secret” co-creator of Batman. And while that’s an attention-grabber for the uninformed, it’s more accurate to say the writer, who died in 1974, is the uncredited, unrecognized and unsung creative force in the creation of DC Comics’ Dark Knight Detective.

Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of Finger’s birth. It’s an occasion many in the comics community have been promoting as an opportunity to correct the record in some small way, such as with biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman’s quest to get a Google Doodle in his honor.

But for the average comic fan, there are also plenty of ways to celebrate the legacy of Bill Finger and his unquestionable contribution to one of comics’ most enduring character. Here is just a handful of suggestions:

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Brad Meltzer remakes history in ‘Detective Comics’ #27

ROBOT 6 EXCLUSIVE: Jim Lee's cover for "Detective Comics" #27

ROBOT 6 EXCLUSIVE: Jim Lee’s cover for “Detective Comics” #27

Over the past few years, Brad Meltzer has become one of the pinch hitters of comics.

Although his day job as a bestselling suspense novelist and TV host of History’s Decoded has kept him from taking on an extended comics project since 2006’s Justice League of America relaunch, Meltzer has stepped in for a number of comics projects over recent years, including an arc on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 and a recent short in Art Baltazar and Franco’s Aw Yeah Comics.

Next up for the writer is a special contribution to DC Comics’ Detective Comics #27, arriving next week. The spiritual heir to the first appearance of Batman will clock in at more than 100 pages to kick off DC’s 75th anniversary celebration for the Dark Knight, with contributions by Scott Snyder, John Layman, Mike W. Barr and more creators from the character’s past and present. And for his part, Meltzer will team with artist Bryan Hitch to retell “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” the Bill Finger/Bob Kane short that began the Batman legend in 1939’s Detective Comics #27.

We spoke with Meltzer about the legacy of the original story and the challenges of bringing it into the modern era – and not for the first time – while DC shared an exclusive first look at Co-Publisher Jim Lee’s variant cover for the issue.

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‘Persepolis’ reportedly removed from Chicago Public Schools [Updated]

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Persepolis

Reports began circulating last night that Chicago Public Schools has instituted a ban on Marjane Satrapi’s 2000 graphic novel Persepolis. Copies of the book apparently were taken Wednesday afternoon from Lane Tech College Prep High School, one of the oldest, largest schools in the city, as a preamble to a district-wide ban.

ROBOT 6 reached out to the CPS press office this morning and has been promised a response by the end of the day.

Word spread through a post on the parent/teacher news blog CPS Chatter that included a photo of an e-mail (below) from Lane Tech Principal Christopher Dignam to his staff regarding the move. The only reason given was a directive handed down from a regular Chief of Schools meeting held Monday.

Retired CPS teacher Fred Klonsky had more information on his blog, noting a report from one teacher that “News on social media boards yield that CPS is claiming that there was a set of new books sent to schools and the distributor included copies of this one by mistake. Since CPS hadn’t paid for them, schools were asked to pull the books and send them back. ‘a mix-up.’ The books, in fact, were purchased some years ago by an English teacher when she applied (and received) a grant to pay for them.”

The story of Satrapi’s own experience as a young girl living through Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Persepolis has experienced near-universal acclaim, winning, among other awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award for adult books that have special appeal to teenage readers.

UPDATE (9:46 a.m.): DNAinfo Chicago reports teachers, parents and students are planning a protest this afternoon in response to the graphic novel’s removal. The website spoke to a representative for Pantheon Books, Satrapi’s North American publisher, who noted that Persepolis has never been banned in the United States.

UPDATE 2 (10:38 a.m.): Mayor Rahm Emanuel has told DNAinfo Chicago he’ll “take a look into” the book’s removal.

UPDATE 3 (12:50 p.m.): Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has told principals to disregard the previous directive. However, she’s asked that Persepolis not be taught to seventh-graders.

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R.I.P.: Spain Rodriguez (1940 – 2012)

Trashman by Spain Rodriguez From Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter comes the sad news that pioneering alternative comix artist Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez passed away this morning. He was 72 years old.

Born in Buffalo, NY, Rodriguez built his early cartooning chops in and around New York City where in the late ’60s he contributed to nationally known underground newspaper The East Village Other. The artist was known for his muscular, inky style which was born out of artistic influences like the EC Comics of Wally Wood and real life ones like Rodriquez’s years riding with biker gang the Road Vultures.

By 1969, the artist had relocated to San Francisco where he joined with foundational underground comix artists like R. Crumb, publishing stories for a bevy of titles put out by Last Gasp Press including Crumb’s Zap Comix and Skull Comics and later contributing to other acclaimed titles including Rip Off Comix and Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor.

Rodriguez was perhaps best known for Trashman – a meaty satirical anti-hero inspired by leftist political and road warrior narratives. Though in his later years, he produced a wide range of non-fiction works including the autobiographical My True Story and Che: A Graphic Biography about the life of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

News of Rodriguez’s death is scarce, apparently circulating via an e-mail to friends and supporters. In honor of his passing, The Comics Journal is representing some classic stories with the artist including a 1998 interview with his sometimes publisher Gary Groth and a profile written in April of this year to celebrate his latest release Crusin With The Hound.


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