Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
It’s difficult to say why I enjoy interviewing Chris Schweizer so much, but it may be because he’s always looking to improve his craft. And Oni Press’ new editions of his Crogan Adventures series, which are in full color due to the inspiration of Brian Hurrt and Matt Kindt, are only the tip of the iceberg.
Schweizer took some time to talk with me not only about the move to color, but also the expansion of the Crogan family tree to include women, his collaborators, and whether the former SCAD instructor might some day return to teaching.
Tim O’Shea: How flattered were Brian and Matt that they indirectly prompted your decision to switch to color with Crogan?
Chris Schweizer: Yeah, I talk about their role in this a bit in the foreword to Catfoot’s Vengeance, where I explain the reasons for going to color. I wouldn’t really call it “indirectly.” They were the catalyst behind my decision to work in color on everything (if you can call the direction that one’s work takes a decision; I feel like artists have very little say in the matter — artists can hamper their own evolution but can’t really steer it), which ended up requiring revisiting these earlier books to make them consistent with the ones on which I’m currently working. Their influence over that direction couldn’t be more overt.
Frequently spending 12 to 13 hours a day to produce two pages, Lantern City artist Carlos Magno devotes a lot of his attention to detail. It’s readily apparent in every panel of the upcoming steampunk series from Archaia.
Part of a broader multimedia property that includes a novel, an app and a planned television series, Lantern City centers on Sander Jorve, a family man who seeks to improve his lot in life. When his activist brother-in-law convinces him to infiltrates the ranks of the brutal Guard, Sander is set on a dangerous path.
This weekend, Benton, Haspiel, Kushner and Josh Neufeld, who joined HANG Dai last year, premiere new comics at MoCCA Fest 2015 [at Table 314]. To mark the occasion, I conducted a brief Q&A with each creator, in which they share what makes MoCCA such a great show.
No one is happier about it than Kushner, particularly as MoCCA 2014 was the last show he attended before his diagnosis with myeloid acute leukemia. So, much to everyone’s delight, MoCCA 2015 heralds Kushner’s return to comics.
Comic creators are rallying around Jupiter’s Circle artist Wilfredo Torres, who recently lost his wife Monica following a long battle with cancer. Spearheaded by Brent Schoonover, a group of Torres’ friends and associates have organized a rapidly growing fundraiserto help “a great guy and his family during a difficult time.”
Zander Cannon fans can rejoice, as the first issue of his Oni Press giant-monster series Kaijumax hits shelves on Wednesday. When I first heard about the comic, which is send on an island prison for for kaiju, the phrase “Pacific Rim meets Orange is the New Black” was mentioned. That’s certainly an apt comparison.
Creatively this project marks a major departure for Cannon, as all of his work is completely digital for the first time. The cartoonist shared a peek behind the scenes at a page from the second issue, showing the steps from rough layout to final product:
At first glance, you might expect Lucy Knisley‘s latest travelogue Displacement to be filled with the same humor and insight as her previous books Relish: My Life in the Kitchen and An Age of License. After all, it recounts the 2012 cruise with her memory-impaired 91-year-old grandmother and physically challenged 93-year-old grandfather. Yet the quality that’s made Knisley a great storyteller — her ability to recall nuanced encounters with a blend of wit and compassion — allows her to craft a compelling and complicated account of this time spent with her grandparents.
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: