Joe Casey, comic book veteran and one-quarter of the Man of Action animation-writing team, joins some impressive company in this month’s Playboy, an issue celebrating the 60th anniversary of the long-running men’s magazine. Casey’s one of several notable names, both living and dead, advertised on the magazine’s cover, along with Truman Capote, Ben Affleck, Erica Jong, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Patton Oswalt and David Mamet.
Casey’s contribution to the issue is a Playboy-exclusive comic about a 1950s romance comic character in the 2013 dating world; it’s written by Casey, illustrated by his Haunt collaborator Nathan Fox, colored by Brad Simpson and lettered by Rus Wooton. Casey was featured in Playboy earlier this year, discussing his thematically appropriate Image Comics series Sex in the magazine’s March issue.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the writer — last week saw the release of the first Sex collection plus the Gødland Finale, wrapping up the Casey-written series that started in 2005. The 60th-anniversary Playboy, headlined by supermodel Kate Moss, is on sale digitally now, with a print edition available Friday.
PictureBox may be the only comic book publisher to win a Grammy Award, as Dan Nadel helped design the packaging for Wilco’s 2004 album A Ghost is Born. What might be more remarkable is that despite such a high-profile achievement, it isn’t likely to be how the small yet innovative comics house will be remembered when it closes at the end of year. Instead, at least in comics circles, PictureBox will be remembered for somehow capturing and releasing a mercurial yet eye-catching merger of music and imagery that manifested as graphic novels, art books and magazines.
For all intents and purposes, PictureBox is Nadel. He’s an accomplished editor, designer, publisher and curator of “visual culture,” as he describes it. “Each project comes from my own tastes and relationships, and are rooted in what I believe in,” he wrote on the PictureBox website. “Since it’s just me running this thing, you’re pretty much seeing me through those books and this site.” Looking through the PictureBox catalog proves that to be true. It’s like walking into the house of the kid down the street who had a collection of comics you never heard of but instantly wished you had. Where did he find these people, these mad geniuses? Maybe if I read everything, I’ll understand.
On the heels of Time magazine, National Public Radio has released a substantial list of the best books of 2013, which includes a dozen comics and graphic novels among its more than 200 titles (although, granted, not all of them are strictly “comics”). A handful of the selections should by now be familiar from previous best-of lists:
- Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight, by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy and Emma Rios (Marvel)
- Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly (Balzer+Bray)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Touchstone)
- Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
- New School, by Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
- Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe, by Tim Leong (Chronicle Books)
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company)
- You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons, by Tom Gauld (Drawn and Quarterly)
Black Friday has come and gone, and whether you were one of those who waited in line or simply scoffed at those who did, you’ll surely get a kick out of this great one-off comic strip by a storyboard artist known online as Sairobee. In this one-page strip, titlted “Happy Belated Black Friday, Y’All!”, the Los Angeles-based artist depicts an engaging and imaginative scenario: What if the Avengers went to Black Friday?
Brown, the artist of the forthcoming biographical graphic novel Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, was commissioned by Paste magazine talk about video games for its monthly feature the Leaderboard. Some people write for this monthly slot, but Brown draws — and tells an existential tale of the little hero of Hyrule. Check it out:
OK, so that $200,000 street-legal Batmobile replica is a little bit out of your price range. It’s understandable: After all, the economy is soft and crime-fighting doesn’t pay as much as it used to. Then maybe you’d have been better suited for a “one-of-a-kind” Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.
Alas, someone just snapped it up for a Buy It Now price of $17,500, ending the eBay auction a few days early. Sure, it isn’t Warner Bros.-approved, and it doesn’t have a blinking Batphone, it does look like an adorably squat version of the vehicle from the Christopher Nolan movies. Plus, hey, four cupholders!
The other former superheroes at Gotham Acres Retirement Community will definitely be jealous when they see the Can’t-Drive-After-Dark Knight cruising around in this baby.
The parade of best-of-the-year lists continues apace, with critic Douglas Wolk selecting Time magazine’s Top 10 Comics and Graphic Novels of 2013:
- Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
- The Phoenix: The Weekly Story Comic, by various (David Fickling Books)
- Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
- Fran, by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Zombo: You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant!, by Al Ewing and Henry Flint (2000AD)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Very Casual: Some Stories, by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
- Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
- Incidents in the Night, Vol. 1, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)
Visit Time to read Wolk’s comments about each title.
We’re taking a break from ROBOT 6’s exclusive new serialized Sixth Gun tale for a brief chat with creators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt about, among other topics, the release last week of the oversized-hardcover collection of their Oni Press supernatural Western.
Given that the book includes the Christmas short story “Them’s What Ails Ya!” and the strip on ROBOT 6 takes place during the holiday, I was curious to learn what draws them to that setting. Sixth Gun fans will also be happy to learn there’s a new limited series planned, and, more immediately, The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun trade paperback arrives next week.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without mashup king PJ McQuade adding another couple of designs to his growing range of Star Wars-themed greetings cards. Every year I bemuse my elderly relations with such delights as the Tauntaun snow-licking “Hoth-y Holidays!” card. This year they’ll be just as baffled to receive “Jabba All the Way,” ‘Wampa in a Winter Wonderland,” “Hive a Mos Wretched Holiday” or “Merry This Christmas Is.” And, hey, I’ve just noticed that if you stick a white beard on Yoda, he starts to look a little like Alec Guinness.
Legal | Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo has filed a legal complaint against his daughter Sylvie and her husband Bernard Choisy, claiming “psychological violence.” The dispute began in 2007, when Sylvie and Bernard were dismissed from their positions at Les Éditions Albert René, which published Asterix; a year later, Uderzo sold his stake in the company to Hachette Livre. The two filed their own legal challenge in 2011, claiming Uderzo, who is now 86, was being exploited by others. In this week’s filing, Uderzo says he is perfectly capable of managing his own affairs, and adds, “The sole purpose of these acts is to undermine our psychological integrity and to hasten our debility, in order to get their hands on our legacy, which they covet.” [The Guardian]
We’ve seen the Avengers, Spider-Man and his rogues, a cadre of villains and a quartet of superheroines, and now Marvel and Feld Entertainment have debuted the first look at the X-Men from the upcoming arena show tour Marvel Universe Live!
“Storm’s look has evolved in many directions,” costume designer Cynthia Nordstorm explained. “I mixed her flair with hints of Egyptian royalty. Pairing leather and boots really sets her up to ‘rock’ alongside her fellow X-Men.”
Launching in July, Marvel Universe Live! will bring Marvel’s most iconic heroes and villains to 85 cities across North America in the show’s first two years. The live-action production will integrate a character-driven storyline with state-of-the-art special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts and martial arts for what producers say will “redefine the live show experience.”
The Japanese Foreign Ministry has appointed renowned Slam Dunk and Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue as a Japan-Spain goodwill ambassador to promote the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. According to Crunchyroll News, Inoue will serve as one of three ambassadors between Tuesday and July 31, 2014.
Inoue, whose manga have been published in Spain, last year released Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi, a hardcover travel diary filled with prose, sketches and artwork inspired by his journey to the Catalan region and the work of architect Antoni Gaudí.
Recipient of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize and the Media Arts Festival Award, Inoue has been captivated with Gaudi for years. As part of the 400th-anniversary celebration, an exhibition of Inoue’s Gaudi-related work — tentatively titled “Gaudi-Takehiko Inoue Exhibition” — will be held in April in Barcelona.
Inoue’s basketball manga Slam Dunk has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
Between the chart-topping sales, rave reviews and widespread media coverage, it’s pretty easy to make a case for March: Book One as graphic novel of the year. To ensure that Rep. John Lewis’ congressional colleagues don’t miss out on the acclaimed civil-rights memoir, publisher Top Shelf is presenting all of the members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with digital copies of the book, along with the groundbreaking comic that inspired it, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.
In a letter accompanying the gift, Lewis explained that March “is not just my story, it’s the story of a movement, the story of a generation that stood up for justice in our country.”
The Georgia Congressman continued, “Just like the comic book I read more than 50 years ago, it is my hope that this graphic novel can inspire new generations to speak up and speak out, to make their voice heard, and, hopefully, to make our nation a more just and peaceful place for all.”
Co-written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, the graphic novel recounts Lewis’ you in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., and the Selma to Montgomery marches. The second volume in the planned trilogy is set to arrive next year.
As funny as the Amazon Drone Twitter account is, the best response to Sunday’s big revelation that the online retail giant is developing delivery by unmanned aerial vehicles has to be from Waterstones.
On Monday, the U.K. bookseller announced O.W.L.S., the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, which will utilize owls to bring books to customers’ doors. As Waterstones Press Manager Jon Owls (ahem) explains in the video below, “O.W.L.S. consists of a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working individually or as an adorable team, will be able to deliver your package within 30 minutes of you placing your order.”
Rafael Grampá’s art has already featured in one high-profile advertising campaign this year, for Absolut vodka. Now his work is featuring in an promo for Nike that strikes straight to the core of the Brazilian national self-image: soccer. For any sports lovers looking forward to the 2014 World Cup, it’s an amusing piece of film, maybe even the equal of the famous 1998 airport kickabout short.
Brazil is hosting the tournament after a year of civil unrest, which featured protesters calling for the international community to boycott the World Cup amid spiraling costs and accusations of corruption. But soccer is the true national religion of Brazil, and I expect the World Cup to result in a wave of euphoria and national reconciliation, just as the 2012 Olympics caused in the United Kingdom after the riots of 2011. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this joyous advert prompts the start of this process.