SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Stéphanie Hans clearly loves her work.
During the past five years, the artist has quickly become a fan and critic favorite for her distinctive approach to covers. More recently, however, as she notes in this interview with ROBOT 6, she has enjoyed how her collaboration with Marguerite Bennett on Angela: Asgard’s Assassin has pushed the artist outside of her creative comfort zone.
In addition to addressing the difference between the demands of her U.S. comics work compared to the covers she produces for French prose publishers, Hans explains why she thinks it’s important for her to share her creative process on Tumblr for aspiring artists.
Creatively, this will be a satisfying week for Invisible Republic creators Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, as the first issue of their ambitious sci-fi adventure — “Breaking Bad meets Blade Runner” — arrives from Image Comics.
Bechko and Hardman initially started Invisible Republic around 2009, only to set aside in order to collaborate on other projects. When the creators picked it up again, Hardman chose to rework his art to a certain extent. Fortunately for ROBOT 6, Hardman notes, “I drew the entire first issue years ago before we reworked it into its current form and we haven’t shown these original versions of the pages anywhere else.”
The black-and-white pages are the original versions, while the final versions are in color (courtesy of series colorist Jordan Boyd).
Writers James Tynion IV and Noah J. Yuenkel have teamed with artist Matt Fox for UFOlogy, a six-issue miniseries debuting April 1 from BOOM! Studios. Set in the Midwest, the story centers on two teens, Becky and Malcolm, who uncover a mystery involving aliens that somehow traumatized both of their parents more than a decade ago. To mark the launch of this new series, BOOM! Studios asked artist Alison Sampson to create a Jackpot Variant, which will only be one for every 100 copies of Fox’s main cover.
Sampson shared with ROBOT 6 the creative process behind her cover:
Three factors interest me after reading the first issue of Southern Cross, the Image Comics mystery–set on a futuristic tanker spaceship–by writer Becky Cloonan, artist Andy Belanger and color artist Lee Loughridge. Something about the way the cast is introduced as the series lead Alex Braith boards the tanker flight to Titan (a refinery moon) plays out in a manner that is reminiscent of a 1970s murder mystery movie set on a train. Secondly, the cinematic scale of some of Belanger’s establishing shots, particularly of the tanker itself. But most of all, I find myself taken by the troubled and somewhat internally conflicted character of Braith herself.
As a kid, I was a DC and Marvel junkie. In fact well into my 30s I was still very much all about the two main publishers, in retrospect much to my shame. If you look at most of my ROBOT 6 peers, their collective reading tastes in their younger days was far more diverse than mine ever was. I am glad to say that these days, my reading is far more diverse. Rather than getting wrapped up in the universes of the big two, my reading choices typically are driven by the creative teams on a project. Such is the case with the new Valiant ongoing, Imperium.
Hellbreak, the upcoming supernatural action series by Cullen Bunn, Brian Churilla and Dave Stewart, marks a departure on two fronts for the illustrator, who not only embarked on a new artistic style but also made the move to digital.
Ahead of the title’s debut next week from Oni Press, Churilla shared with ROBOT 6 a look at his process. It’s particularly interesting to learn that preference for working in blue pencil, as he explains, mostly is due to the influence of the Chip Kidd/Paul Dini Batman Animated art book.
In September 2014, when readers first met Spider-Gwen in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, I expressed a desire that the Spider-Verse crossover event would not be the last folks would get to enjoy the adventures of the alternate Marvel universe (Earth-65) with a living Gwen Stacy. In fact, I speculated “judging by the creative team’s eagerness to do this one-shot, I imagine they could easily be persuaded to do far more than one issue.” Just how much more they were ready to do became delightfully obvious this week with the launch of the new Spider-Gwen ongoing.
The writing team of Brian Joines and Jay Faerber along with the artistic combo of Ilias Kyriazis and Charlie Kirchoff have created the Front Line, a quirky Canadian-based team with far more interesting personal lives than their heroic pursuits, as neatly laid out in the first issue of the Image Comics series, Secret Identities.
Next week will be big for Thief of Thieves artist Shawn Martinbrough on two fronts, as not only does Thief of Thieves #26 go on sale Feb. 25, but on the following day he’ll discuss his career and his noir-influenced approach to storytelling as part of the Society of Illustrators’ celebration of Black History Month. He’ll be joined in the conversation by comics writer and historian Danny Fingeroth.
In conjunction with the release of Thief of Thieves #26, ROBOT 6 asked Martinbrough to rank his 10 favorite covers, and reveal a bit about the creative process for each one:
This week marks the release of Matthew Dow Smith‘s October Girl #3, nearly two and half years after the debut of the second issue of the Monkeybrain Comics series. Smith is the first to admit that’s way too long a period between issues.
As part of my continuing effort to have creators open up about their creative process, I asked Smith to share the process for creating a page from October Girl #3. He’s clearly eager to get the next installment of his dark fantasy series into readers’ hands. Understandably, given that the story’s core concept seems delightfully engaging on several levels (a young woman, Autumn Ackerman, discovers that her imaginary childhood friend is quite real).
Since the late 1970s, on a weekly basis, I always have eagerly anticipated the day new comics were released. This week was faced with the greatest amount of anticipation, because of events in my personal life. In the early hours of this past Tuesday morning, a seizure of unknown origin rendered me temporarily unable to speak and unexpectedly hospitalized for a few days. One immediate change due to my hospitatlization, state law prohibits me from driving for the next six months. Fortunately, my wife was kind enough to drive me to the comic book store the day after my release from the hospital.
This week, due to my health scare, I was just a smidge more appreciative than normal to see the release of the first issue for Jimmie Robinson’s new Image Comics creator-owned series, The Empty.
Next month Dark Horse will release a collected edition of Murder Book by writer Ed Brisson and a variety of artists — Declan Shalvey, Simon Roy and Johnnie Christmas, among them — with a new cover by Michael Walsh (based in part on one of his designs for a previously released volume of Murder Book stories).
Dark Horse’s Associate Editor Jim Gibbons was kind enough to share with ROBOT 6 some of the cover process for the new Murder Book trade paperback, due out March 18.
Last week Lee Loughridge, colorist of Deadly Class, Southern Cross and Catwoman, spent a few days last week at the SCAD Atlanta campus lecturing and working with students in conjunction with the institution’s Alumni Mentor Program.
According to Pat Quinn, associate chair of sequential art: “The Alumni Mentor Program’s intent is to show current students how alumni found success in their field. Lee is an incredible example for our students, not just because he’s great at what he does, but more importantly because he knows the business inside and out. His insights into the art of making comics and how to survive as an artist are really invaluable.”
Quinn offered ROBOT 6 photos that he took over the course of the colorist’s visit, and we were able to chat briefly with Loughridge and some of the students about the experience.
Last month when writer Grant Morrison hyped Nameless, his newest Image Comics collaboration with artist Chris Burnham, by name-dropping concepts such as “nihilistic philosophy,” I found myself thinking “Christ on a crutch, that sounds dreadful.” Years ago I made my peace with how to appreciate Morrison. I do not dislike Morrison–I count his Animal Man and Doom Patrol runs among among my top 10 favorite comics series that I have read.
We frequently relish the opportunity to recommend creators or projects that readers might not otherwise consider. But in an effort to mix things up, it never hurts to solicit opinions from the creators themselves. This week, Justin Greenwood, artist of The Fuse and Stumptown, takes a moment to discuss Joe Infurnari‘s work on the sci-fi mystery series The Bunker.