Current Transmissions

Steve Rude documentary arrives Oct. 7 on DVD and VOD

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Rude Dude, Ian Fischer‘s documentary about Nexus co-creator Steve Rude, will at long last be available Oct. 7 on VOD and DVD.

For the film, which has been screened at conventions nationwide, Fischer followed the veteran artist for more than three years, examining his three-decade career, and documents decision to move into fine art. The documentary also explores the impact his “battles with mental illness” have had on “his family, his colleagues in the comic book world, and his ever-dwindling set of friends.”

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Comics A.M. | Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Tony Auth passes away

Tony Auth

Tony Auth

Passings | Tony Auth, editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1971 to 2012, died Sunday at age 72. Auth, who won both the Pulitzer and Herblock prizes during his lengthy career with the newspaper, began drawing as a child, when a lengthy illness confined him to bed for a year and a half. He graduated from UCLA in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in biological illustration, and worked as a medical illustrator for a time. He began his cartooning career doing a weekly cartoon for a local alternative newspaper and then started drawing a thrice-weekly cartoon for the UCLA Daily Bruin. He left the Inquirer in 2012 to pursue digital cartooning and became the Digital Artist in Residence for WHYY’s News Works. In addition to his cartooning work, he illustrated 11 children’s books. His editorial cartoons have been collected into two books, and Temple University has begun fund-raising for an archive of his work. Michael Cavna has a roundup of tributes from Auth’s colleagues at Comic Riffs. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Return of ‘Stumptown’ makes me miss James Garner a little less

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The manner in which a comic series resonates with me often lacks sense. In the case of the launch of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown, I distinctly remember  a mid-2007 CBR article where Rucka described it as “my love letter to ‘The Rockford Files.’” From that moment on, I have been a huge fan of Stumptown.

Portland private investigator Dex Parios is not a perfect character; investigations rarely go smoothly for her. But she always succeeds on some level. Her family is important to her, more exactly her special needs brother Ansel Parios means the world to her. For me, the value of family is another homage to the James Garner 1970s series.

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Shiga, Alden, Tamakis win Ignatz Awards

Ignatz Awards presenters James Sturm and Sasha Steinberg

Ignatz Awards presenters James Sturm and Sasha Steinberg

The Ignatz Awards were handed out Saturday night at Small Press Expo in a ceremony that culminated with a mock wedding in which Simon Hanselmann married Comics (represented by a stack of graphic novels and real-life creator Michael DeForge).

Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the festival prize recognizes achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists, and then voted on by SPX attendees.

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A Batfan shows off his collection in this week’s Shelf Porn

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly trip into the home of one fan. Today’s collection comes from Batfan and father Andrew Seymour, who shares his comics, statues and more.

If you’d like to see your collection featured right here on Robot 6, you can find submission details at the end of this post.

And now here is Andrew …

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The Fifth Color | When miniseries are in for the long haul

BW-HomecomingTo call something a “series of mini-series” seems a bit clunky, doesn’t it? There should be a better, agreed-upon term for comics published in short bursts of story arcs, only to return after a hiatus with a new No. 1 issue and new storyline. Mind you, that’s a difficult mode of publishing to define: Do canceled ongoings count as a series of miniseries? What about hasty “reboots” or creative-team switches that lead to the renumbering of a title? And how do you even sell a book that comes with an expiration date?

There’s a habit of readers jumping ship after an ongoing has announced its final-issue date, and people are frequently more comfortable waiting for the trade paperback when they know there’s only going to be so many issues. Series of miniseries (see how awkward that is?) are a low-investment opportunity, both monetarily and plot-wise.

And yet they really work when the right effort is put in. They keep heroes that have been relegated to the back burner fresh in everyone’s mind without adding yet another character to the Avengers roster. The arcs they follow might be smaller in scope, but they give a bigger focus to the hero at hand. I’d much rather read a series of minis about a fan favorite than watch the character jockey for space in an event title or (again, because I pick on them) an Avengers series.

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Discovering Boulet with ‘Kingdom Lost’

Page00I didn’t know who Boulet was until this week. I imagine this statement is going to hang over my head, more damning with the passing of each year, like being a big fan of comics, yet having no idea who Hergé is. You’d be all, “Get out of here, you uncultured swine.” Fortunately, we live in an age in which Wikipedia exists. After a few searches it’s easy to catch up and go, “Yeah … I’m totally into Boulet.” A nervous giggle may or may not follow.

Who is Boulet? It turns out it’s the pen name of Gilles Roussel, one of France’s earliest and most famous webcomic creators. Bouletcorp has been running since 2004, and its strips have been collected in seven printed volumes.

His talents are also on display in other French print works, such as the sword-and-sorcery parody comic Donjon Zénith. Stateside, Boulet has illustrated Augie & The Green Knight, a children’s book written by fellow webcomic creator Zachary Wiener that managed to raise an amazing $384,000 through Kickstarter, totally smashing its humble $30,000 goal. (What’s being done with all that extra cash? It’s going to fund the printing of 800 copies of the book, which will be donated to libraries.)

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Sanrio wants men to know it’s OK to like Hello Kitty

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If My Little Pony can have a large, devoted male following, then why shouldn’t Hello Kitty?

It may be because, even after 40 years, many people still considering the adorable little merchandising juggernaut too feminine. However, Anime News Network reports Sanrio is hoping to change that with the Hello Kitty Men Project.

Launched Wednesday with a six-day exhibit at the department store Hankyu Men’s Tokyo, the initiative boasts the tagline “Sorry to keep you waiting, boys.” The goal is to put an end to the gender stereotype, and convince men that it’s OK to like Hello Kitty — and to buy her products.

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Andres Salazar talks ‘Pariah Missouri,’ Westerns and Kickstarter

Pariah 2Writer Andres Salazar puts a cool spin on the supernatural Western genre in Pariah, Missouri: The town itself anchors the book — Salazar calls it the “main character” — and he uses it as a vantage point to watch the comings and goings of an amazingly varied cast of characters, some with supernatural powers. He and artist Jose Pescador lay out the territory in Book 1, and assemble a sort of 19th-century Mod Squad to fight the forces of evil.

Salazar crowdfunded the first volume of Pariah, Missouri, on Kickstarter, and Diamond Comic Distributors picked it up for July Previews — in fact, it was a Staff Pick—and it’s available in comic shops now. He’s running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the second volume.

Robot 6: What is it about this particular time and place that intrigued you?

Andres Salazar: I wanted something different than a traditional Western, which are post-Civil War stories, usually in the 1880s, after the trains crossed the plains. I wanted it to be in the 1850s, when slavery was still present. Missouri had a unique position in the country as having both slaves and free blacks, so I wanted to explore those social dynamics. I grew up in Arkansas and traveled to Missouri many times, and there’s something special about the Midwest that I wanted to explore. It was the frontier in the 1850s, and a hotbed of various religions and folk magic. Lastly, I’m a fan of Mark Twain and his stories on the steamboats, and I wanted Pariah to be that mysterious steamboat boomtown.

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ComiXology offers special SPX-themed Submit bundle

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In celebration of the 20th Small Press Expo, held this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland, comiXology if offering a special SPX-themed bundle from Submit, its self-publishing platform for independent creators.

Available for this weekend only, the digital comics distributor is offering more than 80 titles by creator and small-press publishers exhibiting at the show for just $10.

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Read Kit Roebuck’s ‘Opplopolis,’ now in print form

Opplopolis1CoverKit Roebuck’s work first came to my attention with Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life, a   webcomic that took advantage of the online format and used creative layouts to heighten the sense of loneliness and isolation.

The saga followed two robots traveling around the solar system, having existential crises and zen-like moments as they savored the different cultures of each planet. The ending, however, provided little in the way of resolution beyond the quest for answers. That isn’t criticism: By the time the two robots end up on Pluto, you start to feel as if it couldn’t have ended any other way. Much like life, it’s the journey that matters.

I get a similar feeling when reading Roebuck’s latest work, Opplopolis. While the comic has been available online, with an option to download a copy onto Kindle, Roebuck has recently collected the first 10 issues of his webcomic in a print edition that can be purchased on Amazon. From Roebuck’s press release: “Released online in two-page installments since late 2012, Opplopolis has grown to thirteen chapters of a planned twenty, the first ten of which have now been collected into a single, 278-page printed volume.”

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Exclusive: ‘Birthright’ creators go behind the scenes of fantasy series

birthright1In Birthright, the upcoming fantasy adventure by writer Joshua Williamson, artist Andrei Bressan and colorist Adriano Lucas, young Mikey Rhodes goes missing, leaving his father a suspect in his murder, and the rest of his family in shambles. But just mysteriously as he disappeared, Mikey reappears, but he’s changed.

Debuting in October from Skybound/Image Comics, the series centers on a boy who’s kidnapped by fairies and told he’s destined to to defeat a great evil. But once he accomplishes that and returns home, what’s next?

To tell that epic tale, Williamson, Bressan and Lucas not only had to create a war-ravaged otherworld populated by fantasy creatures and untold horrors, they also had to establish a realistic, familiar setting in which the Rhodes family drama unfolds.

The creative team provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive glimpse into the process, sharing their thoughts on world-building, their approach to the designs of the central characters and the fantasy realm of Terrenos, and the mammoth undertaking of the impressive poster for Birthright.

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Fantagraphics announces micro imprint FU Press

fu press2Ahead of this weekend’s Small Press Expo, Fantagraphics has launched of a micro imprint devoted to publishing limited editions of quirky or “off-kilter” books by established creators and relative unknowns, as well as archival work by significant cartoonist, that might not fare as well in the traditional marketplace.

In the words of the press release, Fantagraphics Underground Press (aka FU Press) will release limited runs of between 100 to 500 copies that appeal “to a smaller, more rarefied readership.” The books and print projects will be sold at comics festivals and at select stores in North America.

FU Press will debut Saturday at SPX with Jonah Kinigstein’s The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Tower of Babel in the “Art” World, an 80-page oversized collection of political cartoons, and a 144-page compilation of Jason Karns’ Fukitor.

Future projects include portfolios by Richard Sala and Guy Colwell, and a reprint of George Metzger’s Beyond Time and Again.

Read the full press release below:

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Comics A.M. | This weekend, it’s Small Press Expo

SPX

SPX

Conventions | With the 20th Small Press Expo kicking off Saturday in Bethesda, Maryland, The Washington Post’s Lori McCue singles out three of the show’s biggest draws: appearances by Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry and Bob Mankoff. Meanwhile, Michael Cavna spotlights Fear, My Dear, the new release from convention guest Dean Haspiel. [The Washington Post]

Creators | As he prepared to head out to Small Press Expo, Farel Dalrymple paused for an audio interview about his newest book, The Wrenchies, which will debut at the show. [Comics Grinder]

Creators | Writer Tom Taylor teases what we can expect in his new Superior Iron Man series. [Previews World]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Selling Complicated Boy and Look-It-Up Lass

Try to work in these guys, too

Try to work in these guys, too

It won’t be long before the Legion of Super-Heroes reappears in the New 52. This week’s two-page editorial spread (written by editor Brian Cunningham) teases next month’s “The Infinitus Saga,” a Justice League United arc pitting the newest batch of Leaguers against the future’s greatest super-team.

Providentially, rumors have begun circulating about the Legion’s possible jump to the big screen, as Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Among the reactions to these rumors were Eric Diaz’s suggestions (at Nerdist) and The Beat’s conclusion that “I never got the Legion [but] this could be a charming and exciting film.”

To be sure, it’s way too early to evaluate the merits of a Legion film. Heck, there may not even be a Legion movie, if Batman v Superman underperforms. However, two things jump out at me from this coverage: First, the blockbuster Guardians has opened the door for adapting all sorts of superhero obscurities. Second, any adaptation must deal with — and most likely overcome — the Legion’s history (and history of reboots).

With regard to the latter, The Beat calls the feature “classic DC — a continuity-heavy series that has a smallish but rabid following, and a huge cast of characters who are sometimes oddballs”; and Nerdist notes that “DC has struggled to keep the book relevant” for most of the past 30 years.

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