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Simonson’s ‘Ragnarök’ strikes in July

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Fans who have been waiting patiently for Walt Simonson to unleash Ragnarök have a very happy summer in front of them. Per a post on IDW’s Tumblr, the creator-owned project will debut in July.

And oh yeah, there’s also an epic image of Thor getting ready to bash the Midgard Serpent right in the face.

Announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego last year, Ragnarök returns Simonson to the realm of Asgard. “All I can say is that I’ve loved the stories of the Viking gods since I was eight,” he said last summer. “I am thrilled that with IDW’s help and support, I’m launching an ongoing series of stories built around a new vision of some old friends. And enemies.” IDW will also publish a remastered edition of Star Slammer, Simonson’s first comic work, later this month.

Check out the promo image below.

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Eastman & Laird reteam for ‘TMNT’ 30th anniversary

tmnt specialCreators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are marking the 30th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in May by collaborating on a cover for IDW Publishing’s special issue. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the two have worked together on the property that launched a multimedia empire.

“Working on the TMNT comics with the wonderful and amazing IDW team over the last three years reminded me how much I missed and loved the four green guys,” Eastman said in a statement. “Getting to work with my co-creator Peter Laird again is the icing on the cake — and then some! It really took me back 30 years, to the earliest days, with the fondest memories, and why we got into this business in the first place.”

Debuting in 1984 as a black-and-white self-published comic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a parody of Cerebus, Daredevil, New Mutants and Ronin. However, the property soon spawned animated TV series, movies, video games and endless merchandise. Laird, who in 2008 completed a buyout of Eastman’s interests in TMNT and Mirage Studios that began eight years earlier, struck a deal in 2009 for Viacom to purchase the property for a reported $60 million.

IDW’s 48-page 30th Anniversary Special features new short stories by such creators as Dean Clarrain, Chris Allan, Gary Carlson, Frank Fosco and Jim Lawson.

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Stjepan Sejic bringing ‘Death Vigil’ to Top Cow

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After teasing the comic for the past three months on his DeviantART page, Witchblade and Aphrodite IX artist Stjepan Šejić has revealed his creator-owned Death Vigil will debut in July from, perhaps unsurprisingly, Top Cow Productions.

“You know I had to go with my Top Cow gang,” wrote Šejić, who’s also been busy preparing for the print release of Sunstone, the erotic comedy he created with his wife Linda Luksic-Šejić.

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IDW teams with Wood and Louise for ‘The Beautiful War’

the beautiful warAshley Wood will return to IDW Publishing this year with his Lore collaborator (and wife) T.P. Louise for an ongoing bimonthly series called The Beautiful War.

Debuting in May, the series center on Audel Howard, an industrialist who, “when he lets a green fairy out of the bottle, makes a deal that no mere mortal man can refuse. Wine, women, song, and a large backyard extension called America are now coming his way.”

“Any Ashley Wood book is an event that excites all of us at IDW,” Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall said in a statement. “And T.P. Louise, who crafted such an epic tale in Lore, is back to do the same thing here.”

The debut of The Beautiful War will be followed in June by the release of Wood’s Adventure Kartel, an oversized art book containing comic book stories, concept art and more.

Lore, the 2003 miniseries about a secret agency that protects the unwitting world from monsters of legend intent on humanity’s destruction, is being developed for film by Warner Bros.


State Department webchat to focus on superheroes

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Superheroes will move into the diplomatic spotlight Wednesday morning in a webchat hosted by the U.S. Department of State.

Called Superheroes@State, the live event will feature a discussion about comics and superheroes “as they relate to shared values in countries around the world,” with Comic-Con International’s David Glanzer joining Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan in the CO.NX studio. Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, creator of the Islamic superhero comic The 99, will participate remotely from Kuwait, while artist Dan Panosian will select his favorite submissions from an earlier contest.

CO.NX is a digital diplomacy team with the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs designed to engage audiences worldwide through webchats.

Superheroes@State is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

DC Comics cancels ‘The Movement’

movement9Less than three weeks after the final issue of DC Comics’ The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires arrived in stores, Gail Simone has announced the cancellation of its companion series The Movement with May’s Issue 12.

Unfortunately, this book just never found a big enough audience,” the writer posted Sunday on her blog. “The people who loved it, loved it hard, but that number was too small. I am bummed about it, we wanted to do a book that didn’t read or look like anything else out there, and I think we accomplished that. I take the responsibility, I think it took a little while for people to really adopt the characters, which was a conscious choice but also a risky one in this very cautious market where people have to be extra careful of which books they choose.”

Launched in May 2013, The Movement and The Green Team were a look at the 1 percent and the 99 percent, the haves and have-nots, in the DC Universe: While The Green Team, by Art Baltazar, Franco and Ig Guara, centered on teens who used their wealth to purchase power — and super powers — Simone and Freddie E. Williams II’s The Movement focused on another group of teens who used their abilities to fight corruption in Corral City.

“Whenever a book is cancelled, people often get mad at the publisher — it’s understandable, but in this case, we received nothing but support from DC,” Simone wrote. “They knew it was a dicey prospect, a book not set in Gotham or Metropolis with no known heroes, and an unusual core theme. They knew it was a bit risky commercially and they did it anyway, and they let us run out to twelve issues to finish it properly, when almost any other publisher would have cut it earlier on.”

IDW & Yoe Books celebrate Valentine’s Day with ‘Weird Love’

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, IDW Publishing provided ROBOT 6 with three exclusive elementary school-style cards to promote the forthcoming collection of the 1950s and ’60s romance comic Weird Love. Packaged by Craig Yoe’s Yoe Books, Weird Love follows in the tradition of the acclaimed Haunted Horror comic collection with “kooky, kinky and klassic” romance comics.

Among stories planned for inclusion are “Love of a Lunatic” from My Romantic Adventures #50, “I Fell For A Commie” from 1953′s Love Secrets #32, and “You Also Snore, Darling” from Just Married. IDW says Weird Love culminates with a “pre-Code comics ode to the female derriere.”

Weird Love is scheduled for release in May.

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‘Ms. Marvel’ rockets to the #1 slot on Marvel’s digital sales chart

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It looks like Marvel’s emphasis on reaching a female audience may be paying off for Ms. Marvel.

The first issue of the teenaged superhero’s series debuted last Wednesday to a chorus of critical acclaim, just one day after Marvel editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso spoke with The Washington Post about the publisher’s enhanced focus on female characters and creators — along with Ms. Marvel, new series have been launched (or will be launched) featuring female heroes Black Widow, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel and Elektra; under the “All-New Marvel NOW!” initiative. “While we don’t have any market research, the eyes don’t lie,” Alonso said in his interview. “If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging. They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to.”

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A quartet of Fab Four comics

The Beatles StoryThis weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America and their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The intersection of the Beatles and comics began a year earlier, though, when Paul McCartney told the music magazine NME that he would like to appear in The Dandy, a popular weekly children’s comic (almost 50 years later, he got his wish, as he appeared in the final issue).

In their heyday, the Beatles made frequent cameos in comics, and were often the subject of comics themselves; over the past few years, however, comics creators have taken a retrospective look at not just the musicians but the times they lived in and the personalities around them. Here, then, is a look at four comics, all very different, but each with its own appeal to those of us who remember when the Beatles were hot—and those who want to relive it in the pages of comics.

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Villains Beware: Here comes SuperAfrican!

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Africa, the cradle of humankind, is giving birth to a new offspring — a superhero — named SuperAfrican. Created by Kenyan singer/songwriter Sila Mutungi, SuperAfrican is debuting in a new, self-titled comic series from Visila Comics on February 25 in conjunction with Mutungi’s new music album of the same name. The musician says the idea for his African superhero came from growing up in Kenya as a fan of Batman, Superman and Spider-Man but failing to see many superheroes who looked like him or came from Africa.

“African children face problems hard for people from western countries to even conceive of, such as hunger, drought, genocide, extreme poverty and AIDS,” says Mutungi in the afterword for SuperAfrican #1. “And it’s about time they had a hero of their own to look to for inspiration.” Continue Reading »

We missed out on a ‘Birds of Prey’ WW II story, with dog fights?

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You might think you know about DC’s Birds of Prey … but do you really? Created in 1995 by Chuck Dixon, Gary Frank and editor Jordan B. Gorfinkel, the team led by Oracle (and later Black Canary) is arguably the best-known female superhero team in comics. Although the short-lived live-action television series didn’t do it any favors, the team — and the title — have gone on to become a staple in DC’s superhero playbook. But in all those stories from Dixon to Gail Simone and on to the New 52 adventures, do you remember the time they fought in World War II? I didn’t think so.

In 2001, Dixon worked with Argentine artist Lito Fernandez on a throwback issue depicting Babs and Dinah’s life as a “WW2 Era aviation newspaper strip,” the writer recalled. Paying homage to the likes of Milton Caniff and Frank Robbins, the issue was planned to be published similar to the WWII comic strips with black-and-white weekday serials and full-color “Sunday” sections. Created as an inventory issue to run in the Christmas season, for one reason or another it was never published, and Dixon left the series the next year.

This story seemed doomed to be lost in the sands of time, but Dixon posted the unlettered, uncolored pages Fernandez drew (they’ve been there for a while, apparently, but this is the first I’ve seen them). Here’s a sample, but visit Dixon’s site for the entire story.

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You, too, can be killed by Zoe in Terry Moore’s ‘Rachel Rising’

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Terry Moore is offering Rachel Rising fans a unique opportunity: to be murdered by 10-year-old serial killer Zoe in the pages of his horror comic.

“The down side of winning this contest is, it will result in your grizzly, fictional death. Awww,” he explains on his website. “The up side is, you will be forever immortalized in comics history! Yaaay! Long after you and I are gone, the issue with your demise will be around somewhere, enjoyed by later generations who will know your face and first name and talk about your encounter with our beloved psycho.”

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Soon, you can enjoy Captain Canuck syrup with your pancakes

Considering Captain Canuck’s status as a Canadian national superhero, to say nothing of his maple leaf-emblazoned costume, it was perhaps only a matter of time before he graced a bottle of maple syrup.

Writing for Sequential, BK Munn recounts his visit on Monday to the Toronto Gift Show, where he discovered the image of the 1970s comic-book icon “grinning out at me from a bottle of maple syrup.”

As it turns out, current rights holder Captain Canuck Incorporated has partnered with Waterloo, Quebec-based Turkey Hill Sugarbush Ltd. for, yes, Captain Canuck-brand “100 % Approved Canadian Maple Syrup.” It’ll be available in the fall.

Read more about it at Sequential.

Seattle’s Orcaman takes his eco message to comics

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For the better part of a decade, Seattle bricklayer Howard Garton has strapped a fin on his back to become Orcaman, a hero of the waterways who jumps aboard his personal watercraft to entertain ferry passengers and collect floating garbage. But when he realized the job was too big for even Orcaman, Garton turned to comics to spread his ecology message.

Queen Anne News reports Garton invested $20,000 into publishing The Adventures of Orcaman: The Drab Debacle, a 64-page comic about a local environmental hero and his pet pig Orca Porca (the writer just happens to own a pig named Lady Bonita, who has her own fin). Together, Garton writes on his website, the two “not only chase and stop the bad guys, they do it in a stylish and dashing manner.”

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Artist Mimi Yoon fires back in ‘Powerpuff Girls’ cover controversy

powerpuff girls6Artist Mimi Yoon has responded to the controversy surrounding her variant cover for IDW Publishing’s The Powerpuff Girls #6, which was withdrawn last week by Cartoon Network following complaints that the illustration “sexualized” the pre-teen animated characters.

The chain of events began early last week when retailer Dennis Barger Jr. singled out the cover (at right) on his own Facebook page, asking, “Are we seriously sexualizing pre-teen girls like perverted writing fan fiction writers on the internet?”

IDW Publishing’s Dirk Wood explained that the cover was “mandated” by Cartoon Network, which selected Yoon and approved the artwork. When contacted by ICv2.com, the network’s licensing division noted that the cover was intended as direct-market collectible item; however, “We recognize some fans’ reaction to the cover and, as such, will no longer be releasing it at comic book shops.”

After making vague references to the dust-up on Thursday, Yoon took to her Facebook page Friday afternoon to address the matter directly:

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