Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Writer Jen Van Meter remains a creator who I continually expect, hope, what have you will gain the mainstream recognition and success that she has deserved as far back as 2002’s Hopeless Savages. So it is a great deal of resentment mixed with bewilderment when I pose the question: “In a market hungry for more well-written characters and stories from a great writer who just happens to be female, why the hell are people not raving about Doctor Mirage from every Internet social media forum?”
While creators in the past such as Mark Millar have done a fine job of developing their name as a brand to build a fanbase around, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has taken brand building to a whole new level. Perusing the back end material in the first issue, I was astounded and impressed to find that anticipation for the new Image Comics series, Bitch Planet, had grown so much in advance that a few people actually got a tattoo sporting the “non-compliance” icon (that features prominently in the story).
In the past, I enjoyed checking out a periodic arc of Adventures of Superman, the DC Digital First series that ended in April 2014. What appealed to me most about the series was the rotating creative teams on these arcs, including writers like Tim Seeley, Christos Gage, Peter Milligan, as well as artists such as Mike Norton, Jock, Gabriel Rodriguez. In other words, the anthology element to the series consistently entertained me.
More recently, the anthology appeal of the the DC Digital First line really amped up in recent weeks for me. To be specific, on Nov. 27 writer Corinna Bechko, writer/artist Gabriel Hardman and colorist Jordan Boyd launched “Dig for Fire”–a three-part story starting in Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #16. Then this past Friday (Dec. 5), I was caught by surprise to learn that writer Ron Marz, artist Cully Hamner and colorist Rico Renzi teamed on a three-part Legends of the Dark Knight #80 story, “Nevermore”.
Beginning n February, writer Stuart Moore and artist Gus Storms embark on a new five-issue EGOs arc, called “Crunched.” As noted in Image Comics’ solicitations, “The narcissistic super-team of the future returns to battle an invisible threat to the galactic economy.” To whet folks appetite for the upcoming arc, Moore, Storms and designer Brett Evans detailed for ROBOT 6 the steps leading up to the final cover design.
Artist Ken Lashley leaped into the spotlight this week with his collaboration with writer Gail Simone on DC Comics’ latest incarnation of Secret Six. No stranger to the publisher, he’s provided covers for such titles as Suicide Squad and Superboy, and drawn interiors for Superman: Doomed. A quick glance of CBR’s previews archives reveals the variety of work he’s done for other publishers in recent years, including a couple of AXIS Revolutions covers for Marvel.
To get an idea of the variety of characters Lashley draws, as well as some of his commissions, one needs only to look at his Instagram profile (where he posts under the username Ledkilla). In addition to the range of talent he shares with his fans, he clearly relishes shooting some of his samples at interesting angles, adding a layer of kineticism.
This week marks the release of Valiant Entertainment’s Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #2, written by Peter Milligan in collaboration with artist Cary Nord, colorist Brian Reber and letterer Dave Sharpe. In anticipation of the new issue, the publisher shared with ROBOT 6 process pages by Nord, Reber and Sharpe. One detail of note: There is no inking stage, as Reber colors directly over Nord’s pencils.
Valiant describes the upcoming issue as follows:
The industry learned over the weekend through colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser that flatter Eduardo Navarro Lopez passed away Nov. 27 after a battle with cancer. He was 36 years old. The Guadalajara, Mexico-based color assistant had been undergoing treatment for cancer, but had continued to work until as recently as earlier in November.
Breitweiser has worked with him her entire career, as she noted in her post paying tribute to him:
Today DC Comics released The Flash #36, an issue that represents the final work of Brazilian artist André Coelho. His death, while not widely reported until today, occurred in mid-October, as noted by this Oct. 20 MeiaLua memorial podcast. DC dedicated the issue of The Flash to the 35-year-old artist.
Co-writer Van Jensen also paid tribute to Coelho on his blog, writing, “He was an incredible artist, able to convey so much emotion into every panel. André also was always as nice as could be, responding to any request with a simple, ‘No problem!'”
With Thanksgiving this week, it was sheer coincidence that I ran across Doomsgiving, a Tumblr hashtag used by Washington-based cartoonist and writer “Calamity” Jon Morris to celebrate his affinity for the Doom Patrol.
Morris, who also posted Doomsgiving pieces last year (in addition to being involved in a variety of unique side projects well worth checking out), has penned The League of Regrettable Heroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History, set for release in June 2015). There are plenty more of his illustrations to enjoy on his Tumblr and on Behance.
POP, writer Curt Pires‘ collaboration with artist Jason Copland and colorist Pete Toms, wraps up this week with the release of Issue 4 from Dark Horse. One thing I consistently enjoy about Pires’ storytelling is how it works on two levels: You have a plot replete with action that always keeps the reader engaged, along with with a layer of subtext that invites deeper consideration.
In an interview with ROBOT 6, Pires allowed me to poke around both layers. Suicidal ideation, drug use and poetic terrorism are just a few of the concepts considered in POP, and in this interview.
As origins go, Jess’ latent seer powers to see demons being triggered by losing her virginity is one of the more unforgettable opens to a first issue I have read in quiet a while. That’s exactly how co-creator/co-writer/artist Michael Avon Oeming and co-creator/co-writer/colorist Taki Soma cut to the heart of their new Image Comics/Shadowline series, Sinergy.
Next week, BOOM! Studios’ KaBOOM! imprint launches Capture Creatures, a new ongoing series by writer Frank Gibson and artist Becky Dreistadt. It’s the latest evolutionary step for a property that began as a website with 151 Dreistadt paintings of cute creatures (inspired by Pokemon) before being Kickstartered as a 300-plus page collected edition with Gibson-written character descriptions.
In anticipation of the series debut, Dreistadt and Gibson shared six exclusive process pages with ROBOT 6 that follow the art from initial pencils (Dreistadt) to the inking stage (by Kelly Bastow), followed by colored pages by Tracy Liang and, finally, letters by Britt Wilson. Along with the process pages, Dreistadt and Gibson also detailed the influences and challenges behind bringing Capture Creatures to KaBOOM!
In case you weren’t able to make this year’s Thought Bubble: The Leeds Comic Art Festival, ROBOT 6 has rounded up snippets of the overall experience through social media. The festival, now in its eighth year, was held Nov. 9-16, ending with a two-day convention on Nov. 15-16. Beyond the final two-day event, Thought Bubble offered more than 80 comics-related opportunities — some in cooperation with the 28th Leeds International Film Festival.
This week marks the release of the final collected volume of Jack Katz‘s an epic series initially published in the 1970s and ’80s. Titan Comics began reissuing Katz’s magnum opus, which clocks in at an impressive 768 pages, in 2013. Each remastered volume was produced utilizing cleaned and restored art taken from high-resolution scans of Katz’s original art pages, as well as being completely relettered. Titan also provided background information on the history of Katz’s story, as well as extra material, such as character sketches as well as original drawings.
To mark the release, Titan Comics shared with ROBOT 6 some of the extras included in the final volume.
This February will mark five years since the release of Raina Telgemeier‘s Smile, the autobiographical graphic novel about her childhood from sixth grade to high school, partially documented by her orthodontia experience through those years.
Telgemeier’s teeth were forefront in her mind earlier this week as she visited her dentist, taking a couple of pictures while there, which she shared on her Instagram account.