SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Bryan Hitch has been a professional artist for more than a quarter century, so it makes perfect since that after all that time he would want to try his hand at writing as well as drawing a comic. This year saw the premiere of such an effort, the Image Comics six-issue miniseries Real Heroes.
The premise is direct: A group of actors portraying a team of superheroes gets thrust into an alternate universe, where they’re forced to portray actual heroes. Two issues will be released this month (Issue 4 arrives Wednesday, followed Nov. 12 by Issue 5) in an effort to catch up to its its schedule, before the series wraps up on Dec. 10.
In our interview, Hitch discusses how much he enjoyed writing and his intention to write more, and elaborates on his decision to have his last creative word on superheroes be his next project.
As a longtime fan of both writer Jamie S. Rich and artist Joëlle Jones, especially when the two are collaborating, I was overjoyed to learn this January will mark the launch of their new Dark Horse miniseries Lady Killer. But Monday I became aware of an incredible creative detail I had previously overlooked: The amazing colorist Laura Allred, who typically only has time in her busy schedule to work with husband Mike Allred, will be coloring Jones.
I was sad to see the month of October end, as it also meant Inktober drew to a close. Inktober, launched by Jake Parker in 2009, started as a challenge to “improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.”
In recognition of Inktober wrapping up, I decided to select some of my favorite Inktober pieces.
Throughout October on his Tumblr, Francesco Francavilla has taken folks on a one-a-day horror film art tour, christened FFFear. What’s so great about Francavilla’s romp through the horror genre is one day he could pay tribute to a 1931 classic, while the next he he tackles a movie from the ’80s.
Even better, rather than just sharing one photo of the art each day, he shows glimpses of the work in progress, and specifies the medium he used (typically for FFFear he opts for ink/inkwash on 9-inch by 12-inch Bristol board). It’s impossible to select the best of the 31 (I bet he may have saved the best for last; we’ll see). But still, here are some of my favorites.
One of the Monkeybrain Comics titles debuting this week on comiXology is the fourth issue of Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom, a series by Kevin Church and Grace Allison about an NYU student who goes on a bender only to awaken the next day in a fantasy realm. To mark the release of the new issue, Allison provided ROBOT 6 with a glimpse into the creative process.
On Saturday, Greenville, South Carolina, retailer Richards Comics & Collectables hosted an all-ages ComicFest featuring a range of guests, including Andy Runton, Van Jensen, J. Chris Campbell, Gregbo Watson, Duane Ballenger and Tracy Yardley. Judging from the Halloween Costume Contest photos, the event drew a fair number of children.
Hitting shelves today, Captain Midnight #16 is a special Halloween-themed issue by writer Joshua Williamson, artist Fernando Dagnino and colorist Javier Mena. To mark its release, editor Jim Gibbons provided ROBOT 6 with a glimpse into Dustin Nguyen‘s cover process, as well as the evolution of some of the interior pages.
In late 2012, Edison Rex artist Dennis Culver delighted The Wire fans with his illustration gallery of 52 characters in one giant poster. Now Culver has done it again, but this time with 58 Breaking Bad characters in one poster that celebrates the acclaimed Vince Gilligan drama.
The 24-inch by 36-inch poster is available for preorder, and will begin shipping on Nov. 10.
Late last month, I celebrated Seth Kushner returning home after a bone marrow transplant to combat his April-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. Soon after the article appeared, I corresponded briefly with the photographer and writer, and it was clear he was eager to regain his strength and begin working again.
Unfortunately, as his wife Terra noted last week in a Facebook post, within two weeks doctors informed Kushner that his leukemia had returned:
At this stage of his career, Jason Latour is respected equally for his writing (12 Gauge’s Loose Ends; Marvel’s Wolverine and the X-Men and the upcoming Spider-Gwen) and his art (too many to list, but most recently and notably his collaboration with Jason Aaron on Image’s Southern Bastards).
And on Thursday my fellow Southerner revealed a healthy dose of our region’s patented hospitality by offering fans a free download of Erase (Erase), his 42-page collection of life drawings and studies from 2006 to 2011.
Beginning today, writer Jim Gibbons and artist Caleb Goellner‘s Birch Squatch: The Last Bigfoot #1 (which premiered digitally in mid-September on Gumroad) is available on comiXology for 99 cents. To mark the occasion, Goellner shared with ROBOT 6 a glimpse into the creative process through a series of images.
The comic, about a legendary figure driven out of the woods by rampant development, is definitely worth a read.
For this month, Chris Schweizer, creator of Crogan Adventures and the upcoming all-ages graphic novel series The Creeps, is entertaining fans as well as himself with October Monster Drawings, which he is sharing on his myriad social media platforms, including Tumblr.
Noticing he’d reached his 17th piece the other day, I reached out to Schweizer to see whether we could share some of them here, and also get his perspective on what prompted him to do them in the first place. While he happily gave ROBOT 6 his approval to run a few, I heartily recommend you go check out the originals — and the entertaining text he provides with several pieces.
Here’s what he had to say about the Monster Drawings:
In the spirit of the Halloween season, Fantagraphics has compiled a weeklong sale on more than 25 of its horror titles discounted from 25 percent to 30 percent.
As with all of the Fantagraphics holdings, it’s an eclectic mix with a variety of gems for folks to consider. Consider the Jacob Covey-curated Beasts! Book 1, with work from more than 80 artists. As ROBOT 6’s Michael May noted in his 2010 review, “He [Covey] didn’t edit the book; he curated it like a museum exhibition. The book’s Introduction further reinforces that notion. It reads like a program, with a definition of cryptozoology and notes about the artists, the creatures they selected, and the approach the curator took in putting the collection together. It also shares interesting facts, points out easily missed elements of the book’s design, and even suggests the best way for ‘the enthusiastic reader’ to experience what’s to come. In other words, it’s not only a program; it’s a tour guide.”
Really I toyed with the idea of merely posting: “Christopher J. Priest and M.D. Bright are together again: what more needs to be written?” But the return of these two creators to comics in particular deserves more discussion than just one sentence. This week marked the release of the first installment in the five-issue miniseries, Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody #1.
On Friday, How to Be Happy creator Eleanor Davis embarked on a 17-hour drawing marathon to raise money for her friend Kyle Coldwell (“a 23-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, resident with a severe congenital condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy [SMA]“), who is the midst of a $10,000 GoFundMe campaign for funds to repair or replace his wheelchair van.