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Bill Finger biographer hopes cover credit is sign of bigger change

detective27-special editionLike many fans, biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman was pleased to see Bill Finger’s name on the cover of DC Comics’ Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, marking the first time the writer has received cover credit for the first Batman story. However, while he’s hopeful it’s a sign that change is afoot, Nobleman is keeping “realistic expectations.”

“Though this is indeed the first time that Bill’s name has been on the cover of a comic, it is far from the first time DC Comics has credited him as writer for his stories, so it is a logical extension of what they have already done,” Nobleman, the author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, wrote today on his blog. “Modern management is enlightened but also bound by old contracts. This is a way for them to demonstrate the former while honoring the latter.”

Characterized by Nobleman as “the dominant creative force” behind Batman, Finger is widely acknowledged with such contributions as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the name Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, the basic look of the Dark Knight’s costume, and numerous villains and supporting players. However, because of the contract Bob Kane negotiated with what would become DC, only he receives official credit for the creation of Batman and most of those foundational elements.

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Fire and Snow collide in Rich Ellis’ ‘Game of Thrones’ print

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Artist Rich Ellis (Memorial, Superior Foes of Spider-Man) has been sharing “process” posts on this one on his Tumblr, and now he’s done — creating a pretty awesome rendition of the two A Game of Thrones characters I think should hook up at some point, Stark bastard Jon Snow and the Queen of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen.

(Hey, why not? They both like animals …)

Ellis says he’ll have prints available at the Rose City Comicon in September, so start saving your coppers now.

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Ellis and Shalvey address their departures from ‘Moon Knight’

moon knight4Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey have commented on Wednesday’s announcement that they’ll leave Marvel’s Moon Knight after August’s Issue 6, with the artist revealing he’s taking a break from monthly comics.

Part of the publisher’s All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, Moon Knight debuted solidly in March, landing in Diamond’s Top 20 and earning praise for both the characterization by Ellis and the art by Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire (she’ll remain on the series).

“Issue 1 went to three printings, and 2 and 3 went to two printings, and so I consider that a job reasonably well done,” Ellis wrote in his email newsletter. “The job has been, simply, reactivating Moon Knight as a productive property for the Marvel IP library. And, in personal terms, producing six single stories that held together, because I thought it would be amusing to provide a book that could be entered at any point and still give the reader a complete experience. Which goes against the grain a bit, because the modern commercial-comics reader has been very much entrained to expect long arcs rather than singles. I’m sure there are plenty of complaints out there about the lack of character arcs or long stories. But the book is still getting bought and reordered. So I guess we found an audience after all.”

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Frank Cho unveils ‘The Jungle Queen’

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Frank Cho has been off in the jungle, and what he’s returned with is both familiar and new.

Earlier this week the artist formally announced his next major creator-owned series, The Jungle Queen. Alluded to previously in interviews and blog posts, The Jungle Queen sees Cho return to the subgenre he visited in Marvel’s Shanna The She-Devil and in the indie series Cavewoman by Bud Root. While the story of The Jungle Queen is still shrouded in mystery, if you like Cho’s memorable drawings of women, dinosaurs and women with dinosaurs, this looks like the book for you.

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Watch Brian Michael Bendis’ TEDxCLE comics talk

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Early last month Brian Michael Bendis returned to Cleveland for the first time in 14 years to speak at a TEDxCLE event at the Cleveland Museum of Art. His nearly 25-minute presentation, “The Little Boxes,” is now available online.

“I was young, and I would read these books, and I became obsessed with the little boxes in the front of the book, the little boxes with the names of the people who were responsible for the experiences I was having,” the writer recalls. “At first I thought I just wanted to see my name in those boxes because I thought it was the coolest place on Earth to see your name. I was a little kid, it seemed really cool to me. But really what was happening was I was experiencing — we’ve all experienced it in some medium — I was experiencing true storytelling for the first time.”

Watch the entire presentation below.

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Marie Severin gets spotlight in ‘The Mirthful Mistress of Comics’

Tuska Cover FinalA comics pioneer, Marie Severin was one of the very few women working in the industry during the Gold Age and Silver Age, first as a colorist at EC and then as a penciler, inker and colorist at Marvel. Now she’s the subject of TwoMorrows Publishing’s upcoming book, aptly titled Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of Comics.

Written by Dewey Cassell and Aaron Sultan, it’s a compendium of Severin’s art, from classic covers and stories to rare, unpublished sketches; it also includes an expansive interview with the 84-year-old artist.

Severin got her start coloring her brother John’s work at EC Comics, but her best-known work was for her Marvel, where she was employed for 30 years as a production artist, penciler, inker and head colorist. She co-created Spider-Woman, and provided cover and interior art for such titles as The Avengers, Captain America, Conan the Barbarian, Crazy Magazine and The Incredible Hulk.

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A call for help for Seth Kushner

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Photographer and comics writer Seth Kushner was recently, and quite suddenly, diagnosed with leukemia — as Hannah Means Shannon relates, he went from seemingly healthy to having the flu to hospitalization, all within two weeks — and now requires a bone marrow transplant.

A celebrated portrait photographer, Kushner is well known in comics circles for his collaboration with writer Christopher Irving on Graphic NYC and on the book Leaping Tall Bounds: The Origins of American Comics. A member of Brooklyn’s Hang Dai Studio, he’s also created numerous photocomix, and collaborated with numerous artists on the webcomic Schmuck, whose print collection was successfully funded last month on Kickstarter.

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Bill Finger’s granddaughter says DC isn’t ‘all good’ with family

Bill Finger

Bill Finger

Responding to a recent assertion by a DC Comics representative that “We’re all good” with the late Bill Finger and his family, the granddaughter of Batman’s uncredited co-creator has made it clear that’s not the case.

“I am currently exploring our rights and considering how best to establish the recognition that my grandfather deserves,” Athena Finger said in a statement.

Characterized by biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman as “the dominant creative force” behind Batman, Bill Finger is widely acknowledged with such contributions as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the name Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, the basic look of the Dark Knight’s costume, and numerous villains and supporting players. However, because of the contract Bob Kane negotiated with what would become DC Comics, only he receives official credit for the creation of Batman and most of those foundational elements.

Long a sore spot with fans and creators alike, the matter surfaced again last month at WonderCon Anaheim, when participants on a Batman panel were asked their thoughts about Finger not receiving “created by” credit. Larry Ganem, DC’s talent relations director, replied, “We cherish what Bill Finger did, and his contribution to creating Batman. We’re all good with Finger and his family.”

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Joe Keatinge says his ‘Vertigo Quarterly’ story was ‘drastically altered’

3790755-01Following the debut today of Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK, a four-issue anthology series from the DC Comics imprint, writer Joe Keatinge was quick to speak out about his collaboration in the first issue with artist Ken Garing, which he says was substantially rewritten by editorial without any consultation with him.

“The issue is advertised as featuring a collaboration between Ken Garing and me, with me on story and Ken on art, but there’s an issue with this and I felt the need to make it clear,” Keatinge wrote on his blog. “The story as published does not entirely reflect what we conceived and I originally wrote. I’m going to make this as quick possible as there’s a lot going on in the world that actually matters, but I felt like, after the warm reception to Shutter and Planetoid, some people reading this might buy comics with our names on them and thought it was unfair to them to not say something.”

He explained that he was approached to contribute a story to Vertigo Quarterly, and he looped in Garing, with whom he’s working on an upcoming series. Vertigo editor Mark Doyle was “very accommodating,” Keatinge said, but upon receiving a mock-up of the completed story the writer discovered it had been changed significantly — without consultation or an opportunity for him to address the issues Vertigo sought to address.

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Todd McFarlane offers a glimpse of his 350 rejection letters

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Over the course of his 30-year career, Todd McFarlane has spoken frequently about his lone road into the comics industry, one dotted with more than 700 submissions and 350 rejection letters. If you thought that was an apocryphal story akin to tales of having to walk five miles to school … uphill … both ways, think again.

On his Facebook page, the creator of Spawn shares a few photos from his submission days, featuring a sampling of his rejection letters, including one from former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter, as well as a chart he created to track where he sent the packages, and whether he received responses.

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Watch J.H. Williams’ art in motion in Blondie’s lyric video

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As we noted on Wednesday, multiple Eisner winner J.H. Williams III designed the packaging for Blondie’s upcoming album Ghosts of Download. But his art is also used in the new lyric video for the first single, “I Want to Drag You Around” (this week’s Record of the Week on BBC Radio 2).

Check out the video below. Ghosts of Download goes on sale May 13.

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‘Locke & Key’s’ Gabriel Rodriguez signs exclusive deal with IDW

SONY DSCGabriel Rodriguez, the Eisner-nominated artist of Locke & Key, has signed an exclusive contract with IDW Publishing, the company announced over the weekend at WonderCon Anaheim.

Since making his comics debut in 2003 with IDW’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the artist has gone on to draw more than 2,000 pages and covers for the publisher on titles ranging from Angel to Land of the Dead to Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show. However, Rodriguez is best known for his lengthy collaboration with author Joe Hill on the bestselling horror series Locke & Key.

“I’m deeply honored to start this new journey with my long term friends and partners from IDW Publishing. I’m excited, thrilled and thankful,” he said in a statement. “This is not only a major step in my professional career over time, Ted Adams, Chris Ryall and everyone from the IDW team have become close friends of mine, making me feel part of a family. It’s both amazing and challenging to start this new stage in our creative collaborations, sharing a common vision: passion for art and comics, deep love for storytelling, high standards in personal and professional relationships. I hope to be able to give my very best in projects to come, and the few things we’ve already discussed hinted a path of amazing possibilities! It’s somehow overwhelming, it can’t get better than this.”

Rodriguez’s next IDW project is Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, a collaboration with Eric Shanower announced last year at Comic-Con International. The eight-issue miniseries is scheduled to debut in August; an eight-page ashcan was distributed over the weekend at WonderCon.

Jim Zub explains why ‘Networking Is Not What You Think It Is’

Editor’s note: It’s with great pleasure that we present a guest post from Jim Zub, writer of Skullkickers, Samurai Jack, Red Sonja and Cub, Disney Kingdoms: Figment and many more. Jim regularly shares his insights and tips from his own experiences breaking into the comic industry over on his blog, and when he offered to let us post the latest one I jumped at the chance. This one, on networking, has good tips whether you’re looking to be a comic pro or just looking for a job in general.

Thanks to Jim for sharing; you can see the post on his blog right here.

*****

Jim Zubkavich

Jim Zub

by Jim Zub

“Networking” is one of those broad social terms that get tossed out in conversation, and everyone who’s been around a while nods their head knowingly when the word comes up, but it’s something I think is quite misunderstood by a lot of people trying to get their start in comics or any other creative business.

Networking is not entering a social setting, finding the most “powerful” person there and trying to dazzle them so you can become “friends”.

It’s not sending lists of questions to professionals so they can “help” you break in.

It’s not tagging people on Facebook so they see your artwork or writing.

It’s not about dominating a conversation or hogging the spotlight.

It’s not nepotism or elitism, contrary to what some may think.

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Osamu Tezuka exhibit added to Google Cultural Institute

Osamu Tezuka in 1959

Osamu Tezuka in 1959

The Google Cultural Institute has compiled images, videos and documents for an exhibit on Osamu Tezuka, marking the first time a manga artist has been featured in the digital historical archive.

Launched in 2011, the initiative is “an effort to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.” With the participation of 40 institutions in 14 countries, the Google Cultural Institute offers free access to photographs, footage and documents from historical events and figures of the 20th century.

According to Asahi Shimbun, the Tezuka exhibit was added to the “Cultural Figures” section on Monday, the fiction birthday of Astro Boy. The collection consists of 172 images, video and text pieces from Tezuka Productions and the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum.

“Tezuka repeatedly expressed his opposition to war and discrimination and emphasized the preciousness of life through his works,” said Yoshihiro Shimizu, chief of the copyright business division of Tokyo-based Tezuka Productions. “I am happy that information concerning Tezuka is spread around the globe (through the site) and his ideas are shared.”

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Stan Lee wishes Bob Kane were alive to see Marvel’s film success

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Separate from Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Marvel Studios cover story, Bloomberg Television chats with Stan Lee about the current popularity of superhero movies, concerns about “superhero fatigue,” and the differences between the box-office performances of the Marvel and DC Comics properties.

“I wish my friend Bob Kane were still with us — he’s the fellow who created Batman,” Lee says. “Bob always used to tease me about the fact that Batman was a big deal on television and in movies, and we at Marvel had done nothing. I wish he was here now so I could return that teasing. A character should be somebody that the reader, or viewer, really cares about, and maybe at Marvel we put a little more effort into refining the characteristics and the nature of our heroes, maybe a little more effort than they have on the other side of the aisle.”

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