Last year an enterprising trio of comic creators had an idea for a comic series populated with sky pirates, dusty airships and floating cities. Sounds like a crazy idea, but they’re now going at full speed thanks to a little kickstart.
Coming this June from IDW Publishing, Wild Blue Yonder is created by the uber-talented artist Zach Howard and writers Mike Raicht and Austin Harrison. The story is best summed up by the press release: “When land and sea have become deadly and uninhabitable, the intrepid survivors of ecological disaster must take to the skies; to the Wild Blue Yonder.”
In the comic, the fractured remnants of human civilization fight over the last vestiges of precious resources — both in food and shelter, but also in fuel to keep their vessels aloft and away from the spoiled ground below. The largest and most enviable on Earth is an airship called the Dawn that runs on a combination of solar, hydrogen and magnetic energy — making it untethered from the needs of fuel that other platforms need to say afloat. With that, the Dawn is a prized commodity, not just for its owners and inhabitants, but for any of the more scurrilous lot left living on this planet — namely, pirates. But the one thing standing between humanity’s best hope of survival and certain doom is a female pilot named Cola, and her dog Critter.
Announced last year at Comic-Con International, Wild Blue Yonder used Kickstarter to raise more than $16,000 for the creators to devote their time exclusively to finishing their project in a timely manner. Unlike most creator-owned work, where creators only see money months or sometimes years after the book is published, Wild Blue Yonder utilized Kickstarter to mitigate that financially precarious scenario and devote the much-needed time to finish the five issues in a relatively short time.
IDW has provided an extensive preview of the first issue, which arrives June 12. If you’re interested in more, CBR interviewed Raicht in November.
In a ravaged world where the things you fear have been overtaken by fear itself, it’s a particularly bad time to be living. In the upcoming comic The Family, by Nick Percival, fear and other feelings have taken on physical form with literal Panic Attacks, Rage Storms and a Flood of Tears. And amid this nearly indescribable carnage, four stray survivors find comfort in each other and fall into roles as old as time: Father, Mother, Son and Daughter. They are the Family.
“The Family deals with a lot of themes I’ve always wanted to explore, particularly the extreme effects of different emotions and how they affect people,” Percival told ROBOT 6. “But I thought if I could set it in a world where every emotion and bad feeling actually exists as creature like entities, able to infect people and spread these feelings of rage, guilt, fear, panic, deceit, malice, etc., it would be a very interesting and very visual place to form a graphic novel series.”
The Family is the first interior comics work for Percival in almost three years, after his graphic novel Legends: The Enchanted. He’s primarily known for his startling realistic and gruesome twisted cover work for 2000AD, IDW’s Judge Dredd series and Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series, and the quality of his lushly illustrated painted work is a rare sight in comics these days.
But Percival is bringing this new series out simultaneously in France and the United States. U.S. readers will see it in a fall issue of Heavy Metal with a collection in 2014, while French readers can buy the graphic novel later this year from Nickel Editions.
Percival has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive look at the first eight pages of the series:
Someone, somewhere determined that on April 18, 1938 — it was a Monday, if you’re interested — Action Comics #1 arrived on newsstands, delivering riveting tales of Tex Thompson, Zatara the Master Magician and Scooby the Five-Star Reporter, and oh, yeah, introducing the world to Superman, Lois Lane and Krypton. It’s an issue that essentially gave birth to the superhero genre, and set the course of the fledgling comic-book industry.
Although DC Comics doesn’t appear to be marking the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, the city where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character is, beginning in about an hour. At 1 p.m. ET, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson will present the Siegel and Shuster Society with a proclamation on the steps of City Hall declaring today “Superman Day.”
To commemorate the event, a Superman flag will be raised, and the lights on City Hall and the Terminal Tower (familiar to anyone how watched The Avengers) will be turned blue, red and yellow. In addition, Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport will have cupcakes for travelers, and a birthday card for the Last Son of Krypton at its recently installed Superman Welcoming Center.
Have you ever met the Zoons? If not, you’re missing out.
Zoons is a term used for aliens in the long out-of-print Eclipse Comics series Zooniverse by Fil Barlow. The short-lived comic was published in the mid-’80s, and followed an eclectic group of aliens as they traipse to and fro in a space station known as the Hub. The title showcased Barlow’s impressive and exuberant cartooning skills but, for one reason or another, it wasn’t able to gain a foothold in the comics market. But now, more than 25 years later, it’s coming back.
Barlow is returning to Zooniverse after years working in animation on the likes of Alf, Extreme Ghostbusters, Igor and Tutenstein, re-publishing the long out-of-print original series and selling it on his website, as well as offering various minicomics and primordial versions of the series he created before it made its official debut at Eclipse. Barlow’s currently working on new Zooniverse material in both comic and animated form, so 2013 looks to be a great year to be a Zoon (or be a fan of one).
Comics are art, never forget that. And while epic storytelling has been the staple of serialized comics for decades, it’s the art that makes these comics … well, comics. And a long-time devotee of the more esoteric and outsider veins of comic art is now putting it under one roof with a new publishing house called Youth in Decline.
Described on its Twitter page as “a publisher of lovely and strange comics & zines,” Youth in Decline is a new boutique publisher headed by Ryan Sands of the blog Same Hat, a proponent of comics zine culture and underground manga. Sands worked behind the scenes in comics for years, editing and translating manga for Last Gasp as well publishing zines like Electric Ant, the anthology Thickness and Prison For Bitches with Michael DeForge. The first publication coming from Sands’ Youth in Decline is an ongoing anthology series titled Frontier, with each issue devoted to a single artist.
We’ve been following the progress of the free U.K. street-press anthology Off Life since July, before the launch of the first issue, and now it’s up to its fourth. It’s released today in its home city of Bristol (for a cross-cultural comparison, we’ll call it “the U.K.’s Portland”), with the digital edition arriving on Thursday; the print version hits London on Saturday.
It may also be their best issue yet, featuring work by such stalwarts of the U.K. indie scene as Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Dan Berry, Oliver East and Sean Azzopardi; a very entertaining group interview with three more of the best new cartoonists in the U.K., Hannah Berry, Jack Teagle and Isabel Greenberg; and fulfills editor Daniel Humphry’s mission statement of breaking some interesting-looking new talent, most of which I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on after this. How about some preview art after the break?
Following the video on Friday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman kicked into high gear Sunday with seven more stories, including a front-page feature.
Superman was, of course, created in 1933 by teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who lived in the city’s Glenville neighborhood (spotlighted in that Friday video), and then sold in 1938 to Detective Comics. The newspaper’s anniversary coverage includes:
• A timeline (of sorts, although it’s more like a game board) of Superman’s 75-year history, from his arrival on Earth to his first encounter with Beppo to his relaunch in DC Comics’ New 52
• An interview with Brad Ricca, author of the upcoming Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — the Creators of Superman
In addition to all of that, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has proclaimed Thursday “Superman Day.”
Here’s a bit of unwelcome news: Just as I’m enjoying the first trade of It Girl & The Atomics, Jamie S. Rich announces the series is coming to a close with Issue 12, due out in July.
The special issue will feature art by It Girl regular Mike Norton (Battlepug) as well as Chynna Clugston Flores (who drew the stand-alone Issue 6) and Natalie Nourigat (who will also be contributing to Issue 10, out in May).
Here’s how Rich broke the news on his blog:
Yes, you read that right. We’re wrapping up the first It Girl and the Atomics series with #12. There were a number of factors contributing to the decision, but it was the right one to make and the right time to do it. Hopefully the twelve issues we did will stand strong as a complete series whether I ever make it back to do more or not. (I have a few ideas for stories, but it will all be a matter of timing.) I wrote #12 special to cap off everything that had come before, which is why I corralled all the artists from the series to give it one more go.
It Girl was a spinoff of Mike Allred’s Madman Atomic Comics, which Rich edited (and therefore knew intimately). It stood well enough on its own, though, that I, a complete newcomer, was able to pick up the collected edition of It Girl & The Atomics and thoroughly enjoy it. And my colleague Michael May had some nice things to say about that standalone Issue 6 recently.
So what’s next? Rich doesn’t sit still for long, and in addition to his hint of more It Girl in the future, there’s this: “Expect more collaborations between myself and Image in the future. This door is closed, but we’re opening up a couple of windows.” Hmmm.
And with It Girl & The Atomics #9 in stores this week, we still have a bit more Atomic goodness to enjoy.
Following the title’s absence from Marvel’s July solicitations, writer Jason Latour has confirmed the cancellation of Winter Soldier with Issue 19.
“Well, I won’t lie, after spending the last 9 months or so living in Bucky Barnes’s skin, I’m a little heart broken,” he wrote on his blog. “He’s grown to be a very special character to me, maybe my favorite Marvel character ever, and I felt I could’ve written his story for years. The opportunity to do so came at a very trying time in my life and really helped me through some tough stuff, so in it’s way it’s very personal work. I hope that shows. That said though, really, enough cryin’ in my beer. I’m VERY grateful to everyone involved with the book all along the line for making it such a worthwhile experience.”
Latour thanked artist Nic Klein and editor Lauren Sankovitch before continuing, “But maybe most of all I’m in the debt of the special community of fans who stuck with us and showed us such big slobbery love through out. I know it was hard losing folks as revered and talented as Brubaker and company, but thank you for giving us a real shot.”
Klein added to the sentiment this morning, writing, “Thank you to the readers and Fans who supported the book and gave us a chance to tell our tale. I hope you all enjoyed the last 3 issues, and I hope you will stick around for the last 2 issues to see the conclusion of the arc.” He also posted a new illustration of Winter Soldier (at right), created as a “parting gift.”
Winter Soldier #19 arrives in June.
On the heels of this morning’s July solicitations, which included a mysterious “Classified” listing for a one-shot called Age of Ultron #10 U.C., Marvel has released a teaser that may tip the company’s hand … a little.
Seen in full below, the image depicts the word “HUNGER,” in telltale Galactus purple, repeated over over a cosmic background. Fiddling in Photoshop also reveals what appears to be mountains, but I could be wrong.
The issue is so secret, that Marvel isn’t revealing the writer and artist, or even what the “U.C.” in the title stands for. Whatever it is, it’ll likely spark the next round of Marvelman speculation. (Hey, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso did recently tell Comic Book Resources the company is moving closer to the character’s debut. MickyMoran vs. the Devourer of Worlds? Nah.)
Cartoonist Christine Larsen keeps a busy schedule between drawing comics, doing magazine illustrations and compiling art books like the upcoming Orcs. Still, she finds time to send up her childhood heroes from time to time.
Happily Evar After is an inspired three-page comic Larsen created for a Sailor Moon fanzine called Moon Power. Although that zine is apparently on hold, Larsen wanted to get her story out in theworld and posted it on her minicomics Tumblr MicroCosmics. And the story she chose … well, imagine if Tuxedo Mask forgot his anniversary with Sailor Moon.
I’d only just begun to recover from those haunting images of Comic-Con International attendees wearing those giveaway Court of Owls masks when I opened DC Comics’ July solicitations to find the publisher is offering the nightmare-inducing featureless disguises packaged with the trade paperback of Batman: The Court of Owls, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion.
Arriving Oct. 2, the $24.99 Batman: The Court of Owls Book and Mask Set offers you the chance to introduce a friend or loved one to the first arc of the relaunched Batman — and then scare the bejeezus out of them by wearing the mask. That is, if you’re willing diminish its potential value by opening the box. Oh, go ahead, it’ll be worth it …
Rather than continue Batman Incorporated following Grant Morrison’s announced departure, DC Comics will end the series with July’s Issue 13.
The news, revealed in IGN.com’s preview of the Batman solicitations, comes as little surprise, as the title was a vehicle for Morrison and artist Chris Burnham to tell the story of Bruce Wayne’s global team of heroes the writer began in 2010. The first arc volume ended in December 2011, following DC’s New 52 relaunch, with the second volume debuting in May 2012.
Ahead of the release of the Vertigo solicitations, MTV Geek has official confirmation that the long-teased Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril will at last debut in July.
Initially discussed in early 2011, following the closing of DC Comics’ Wildstorm imprint, the miniseries teams the character’s co-creator Chris Sprouse with his Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom collaborator Peter Hogan for an adventure that sends the science hero on a quest for the one thing that can save the lives of his daughter Tesla and her unborn child.
Zatanna is making the move from Justice League Dark to Justice League with July’s Issue 22, and she’ll bring with her a new costume.
Writer Geoff Johns made the announcement last night on Twitter with “the worldwide debut” of the character’s new look, which combines elements of her Satellite Era/Detroit Era costume — the cape, thigh-high boots and the design on the unitard — with the fishnet of her better-known stage-magician ensemble. Yes, gone are the bustier and leather pants of Justice League Dark.
With Zatanna joining Aquaman in Justice League, Vibe and Martian Manhunter in Justice League of America, and Gypsy and Dale Gunn reintroduced in Justice League of America’s Vibe, can a new Justice League Detroit series be far behind? The answer’s likely a firm “no,” but if Elongated Man makes a surprise appearance somewhere in the New 52, all bets are off!