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Moebius’ 18 tips for comics artists

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Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) may have passed away more than two years ago, but his works, and advice, lives on. Thanks to a translation by artist Xurxo g Penalta, English speakers now have the opportunity to read Moebius’ 18 tips for fellow cartoonists, from a 1996 interview with the Mexican magazine La Jornada Semanal.

Penalto’s studio mate Brandon Graham has posted the European master’s “brief manual” for cartoonists on his blog. This last tip  is oddly prescient for 2014 despite being offered nearly two decades ago: “Now it is possible to find [a] reader in any part of the planet. We must have this present. To begin with, drawing is a way of personal communication, but this does not imply that the artist must envelop himself in a bubble; it’s communication with the beings near us, with oneself, but also with unknown people. Drawing is a medium to communicate with the great family we have not met, the public, the world.”

ISIS calls for the death of ‘The 99′ creator

Cover-of-the-first-issue-001-214x300The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadist group better known by the acronym ISIS, has put out a call for the assassination of Nayef Al-Mutawa, creator of the superhero comic The 99.

The Kuwait Times reports that in a series of tweets, the group accused Al-Mutawa of mocking the 99 names of Allah, and offered a reward for his death. “Who can kill Nayef Al- Mutawa who makes fun of Allah’s names?” was posted by one ISIS account while another said, “Whoever finds him, kill him, and he will be rewarded.”

Growing out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has since disavowed the group, ISIS has of course been in the news for its military gains in Syria and Iraq, where it seeks to establish an Islamic emirate. BBC News has a solid primer on the extremist organization.

Al-Mutawa, who said he will take legal action against those behind the account, defended himself on his own Twitter, writing, “My work has glorified Islam from the U.S. to China for the past ten years. I really do not believe in ISIL and Qaeda … I don’t care about them.”

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Falcon-Jet scene in ‘Captain America’ #22 sparks calls for Remender’s firing

cap22aA social-media firestorm that erupted late last week urging Marvel to fire Captain America writer Rick Remender fizzled out by Sunday as the Twitter hashtag was hijacked and a Tumblr post explaining that the Falcon didn’t have drunken sex with a 14-year-old gained traction.

The controversy began shortly after the release on Wednesday of Captain America #22, which depicts Sam Wilson waking in bed next to Jet Zola (aka Jet Black), the daughter of Arnim Zola, after the two shared a little too much wine. Although Jet appears to be a prepubescent child when introduced in the first issue of Remender’s run, time passes rapidly in Dimension Z, where we’re told Steve Rogers spent at least 12 years. A rough estimation that Jet would now be in her early 20s is confirmed by a reference to her 23rd birthday during a brief flashback in the issue in question.

Perhaps some readers didn’t fully understand the timeline, or they confused Jet with her significantly young brother Ian (in fairness they did look a lot alike), and skipped over — or, in some cases, disregarded — the mention of the 23rd birthday. Whatever the case, some concluded from the three-page scene that Sam Wilson committed statutory rape.

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Photo of the Day | Stan Lee and John Lewis

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Nothing made me smile more today than seeing the above photo on the Facebook page of Congressman John Lewis. “It was wonderful to join the hardworking librarians at the ALA annual and meet new friends like Stan Lee,” he wrote.

Lewis, a civil rights leader who has represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district since 1987, is now of course also an acclaimed comics writer: The memoir March: Book One, the first installment of a trilogy by Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, was published last year by Top Shelf Productions.

Neal Adams heads to Meltdown for lecture, signing (& chocolate)

neal adams chocolate2Neal Adams will appear Saturday at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles for not only a signing but also for a sneak peek at the upcoming Blood motion comic, animated by Continuity Studios (the plan is for the story, originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents, to be eventually be developed as an animated feature).

However, it doesn’t stop there: Adams also will present a discussion about the Silver Age, followed by a Q&A.

And for fans with a sweet tooth, Sweet! Hollywood will use the event to introduce its set of signature candy bars with packaging featuring Adams characters like Bucky O’Hare, Crazyman and Armor, as well as “Neal’s best illustrated paintings” (they’re $8.99 each). Sweet! Hollywood previously teamed with Meltdown for the special Hellboy chocolates, released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1.

The lecture is scheduled for Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (the $5 tickets can be purchased here), followed by the signing.

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Weston shares a recent ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ commission

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You can almost hear the title’s famous theme playing in the background when you check out this recent commission by Chris Weston for the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The muted colors lend themselves perfectly to Weston’s approach to the piece, which features not only Eastwood but also co-stars Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach. Check out Weston’s blog to see his creative process for bringing it to life.

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

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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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