Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
After 12 years and more than 1,200 strips, the photo webcomic A Softer World is coming to an end
Creators Emily Horne and Joey Comeau have announced the series will conclude on June 1, coinciding with the conclusion of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a “best of” collection called Anatomy of Melancholy: The Best of A Softer World.
Couples get together over shared interests, and meetings at conventions aren’t uncommon — but they can be something, special as Zen Pencils cartoonist Gavin Aung Than illustrates in this heartwarming Star Wars-themed comic.
Veteran creator Steve Lightle is busy contributing covers to DC Comics, but also spending much of his time on a new series, Justin Zane. Described as a comic “set in the future but made for the NOW!,” Justin Zane is a sci-fi romp reminscent more of Barbarella than Lightle’s work on The Legion of Super-Heroes.
Centering on a patient who adopts the name Justin Zayne while under the care of psychiatrist Glimmer Starborn, involves a TV host named Catrina Fellina, rock bands called the Idle Reich, and more. Part of an effort by Lightle to control his own destiny and creativity, Justine Zane is in need of support on Patreon.
What if there were a world of magic where your powers were based on your hair? That’s what’s happening in the engrossing new webcomic Witchy by Ariel Ries.
Witchy follows a young woman named Nyneve who grows up in a world called Hyalin, where magic powers are based on the length of your hair. After her father was killed for rebelling and letting his hair grow out too long, Nyneve is conscripted into the Witch Guard — a army of magic users who were partly responsible for her father’s death. Witchy is a decidedly non-Western approach to fantasy, pulling more from Asian story-forms and anime such as Hayao Miyazaki.
The Greek gods are well-known for inserting themselves into the lives of mortals like you and me, but never quite like this.
During the Angouleme International Comics Festival last week, French artist Boulet created a comic in a 24-hour span pitting Zeus and Hades in a war of words and power that’s interrupted by a meager elderly widow. Titled The Gaeneviad, the comic brings this supernatural struggle down to eye level, featuring an infectiously warm woman and some unique behavior as the Greek gods try to woo her to their side.
Launched globally in July by NAVER, South Korea’s premier Internet portal, LINE Webtoon offers nearly 70 webcomics. It in turn introduced Challenge League, a free webcomic publishing platform where creators can upload their comics with a chance to become a featured artist, meaning they receive monthly pay and promotional support.
More than 1,900 webcomics were reportedly submitted to the contest. The winners are:
Grand Prize $30,000 Winner
Space Boy, Stephen McCranie
Second Place $10,000 Winner
ShootAround, Susanna Ada Alice Nousiainen
Although the contest has ended, each month LINE Webtoon will continue to select a comic submitted through the Challenge League platform to feature as a partnered series, with the creator made an official artist, “eligible for monthly payments.”
Intended to be shared on Facebook and Twitter, the seven comic strips depict Americans living vastly different lives — from the fitness nut to the adrenalin junkie to the hipster — who have one thing in common: They have health insurance. Each four-panel strip has at its center a badge encouraging readers to joint that person at HeathCare.gov.
Being a webcomics creator has its challenges, but here’s one you don’t see too often: finding out the title of your long-running strip is being used by someone who tweeting bomb threats to airlines. That’s the surreal situation Mark Mekkes found himself in on Saturday.
Mekkes is the creator of the long-running Zortic, which he describes as “a weekly science fiction, comedy adventure comic with a lot of parody and popular references.” The comic has been running for 14 years, but on Saturday, Mekkes noticed a spike in traffic and social media mentions. He didn’t think too much of it until he got a phone call from his brother-in-law, who had seen “Zortic” mentioned on the national news. The reason: Somebody using the Twitter handle “King Zortic” had tweeted bomb threats to Delta and Southwest airlines, resulting in two planes being escorted by fighter jets to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and then scoured by bomb squads. The threats were ultimately determined to be a hoax.
With the Internet, a variety of comics are available at your fingertips — the hard part is finding the best ones for you. And now Jesse Lucas is curating alternative comics like that for his new venture with Medium, Darling Sleeper.
Described as a “publication featuring comics, art and other independent thought,” Darling Sleeper is just less than a month old and has already posted some fantastic comics by Lucas and others, such as the one excerpted above, Cash & Bubs. In addition to standalone comics such as that, Darling Sleeper is also serializing comics such as The Veil: Lifted by J Johnny and Lucas’ Mercury in Retrograde.
This is Medium’s second foray into comics following the Matt Bors-edited The Nib, which runs political comic strips on a daily basis.
Dark Horse has announced a hardcover collection of Bowery Boys, the webcomic by writer Corey Levine and artists Ian Bertram (Detective Comics, Batman Eternal) and Brent McKee (Outlaw Territory).
Debuting in 2013, the coming-of-age adventure is set amid the political corruption, gangs and xenophobia of antebellum New York City, where immigrant Nikolaus McGovern rallies a crew of street youths after his father is framed for murder.
Collecting the first five seasons of the webcomic, Bowery Boys: Our Fathers will be release in August.
If the title doesn’t give away what the comic is about, then the latest strip (above) certainly does: It’s three panels, typically starring a Batman who’s not quite as grim and serious as his DC Comics counterpart. For instance, one installment finds the Dark Knight practicing intimidation lines before heading out, while in another he enjoys his own rendition of the classic Batman TV theme.
It’s a pretty funny comic that sometimes hits at hard truths — like, say, the apparent low intelligence of Metropolis’ populace. Maybe it’s something in the water.
What’s this affection we have for personifications of popular holidays? Santa can’t just be this weird elf who lives in the North Pole and breaks all laws of physics to shimmy down a chimney that’s too small for him. No, that guy is literally Christmas. If little children were to, say, stop believing in him, he’d up and disappear like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. If Christmas doesn’t exist, Santa doesn’t exist. Hence, he attains this almost god-like status, presiding over the other holidays like Zeus on Mount Olympus.
The idea has been explored in more popular venues, such as Jack Skellington as the long-limbed King of Halloween in The Nightmare Before Christmas and Santa Claus as a jovial, sword-wielding Cossack in The Rise of the Guardians. (No, not the one with the owls.) If anything, drawing on familiar properties allows creators to fancifully tweak characters that have long been in the public domain. A surly Easter Bunny played by Hugh Jackman? Who would’ve heard of such a thing? Webcomics are represented as well. The most notorious is probably the Christmas adventures that Bun-Bun would have in the pages of Sluggy Freelance.
In Holiday Wars, by Scott King, Michael Odom, Guiseppe Pica and Aturo Said (Volume 1), the personification of holidays is front and center. So what fuels this horrible holiday-on-holiday violence? Basically the core tenets of most stories of this genre: that Santa is beloved, Christmas is the most popular holiday by far, and the Easter Bunny is a total jerk. (It’s got to be those creepy buckteeth.) After the old gods left Earth, the popular holidays band together to keep order and to ward off malevolent spirits, thereby protecting humanity.
The old-school black-and-white sketches are a very good fit for Abby Howard’s macabre sense of humor. This becomes quite apparent in Chapter 4 of The Last Halloween. Characters and horror creatures in previous chapters have generally been more — how do I say it? — adorable? The eight-legged creature that stalks Mona at the opening of the comic looks like something designed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop for the Storytellers series. Visually distinct, but not the stuff of nightmares necessarily.
The monsters of Chapter 4 are more creepily organic like hairless, feral humans. They actually remind me of the creature from XTro, a little-known horror classic that most people would write off as camp until that backward-jointed creature shambles onto the screen.
Kate Beaton remains one of the most recognizable names in webcomics. Hark! A Vagrant began as humorous doodles posted to LiveJournal but has since become one of the most-loved webcomics in the world. It’s been nominated for several awards, winning the Harvey twice for Best Online Comic. In 2011, Time named Beaton’s collection (published by Drawn & Quarterly) one of the Top 10 fiction books of the year.
It’s not difficult to see why Beaton’s comics are popular: Her style is unmistakable; it’s loose and deceptively simple, as if she just had a funny notion only seconds ago, and yet manages to be successfully comedic with its goofiness, bug-eyed faces and rubbery body language. Her love of history helps, too (she has a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from Mount Allison University). There’s a lot of life that goes into both the caricatures of royal dead dudes and the attention to detail on the period costumes. And then Beaton has them act and talk like a bunch of teens. It’s a magical formula that combines goofiness with an air of respectability… like, say, a classy Victorian lady smoking a cigarette and talking like an urban tough guy. It’s the sort of thing that gets her invited to participate in a diverse array of projects, from Marvel’s non-canon superhero anthology Strange Tales to the notoriously sophisticated (and sometimes inscrutable) pages of The New Yorker.
A long time ago — say, 1999 — in a galaxy not so far away, the history of interlocking bricks was altered forever when, for the first time, LEGO licensed an intellectual property. X-Wings, TIE Fighter, and AT-ATs had been designed and assembled by hobbyists for years, but now you could put together a design that was blessed by both LEGO Corporation and Lucasfilm! Complete with actual minifigs! The agreement managed to coincide with the rise of several nerdier properties, and the once unthinkable was now possible. What a glorious future we live in to have both a LEGO Gandalf and a LEGO Rocket Raccoon?
But this world isn’t always met with open arms. As Professor Cane on Community once lamented, “What happened with LEGOs? They used to be simple.” Some fear that the focus on licensed merchandise — and the specialty parts that it takes to make, say, the Batwing — places limits on a child’s creativity. The diversity of available parts seem to be a godsend for Internet content creators, however. How It Should Have Ended’s parody of The LEGO Movie looks like it could have come straight off the screen. Meanwhile, some enterprising souls put together a LEGO version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens just one day after the official trailer debuted.