Current Transmissions

Magneto friends the Avengers in Avengers Alliance Facebook game

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Marvel’s Avengers Alliance on Facebook, the turn-based social media game that lets you recruit Marvel characters and send them on missions to beat up the bad guys. The game launched almost a year ago, and it’s still going strong, with new chapters introduced at a steady pace, new player vs. player tournaments providing the opportunity to fight for in-game rewards, and special operations that introduce new characters to your ranks. They do a fairly good job of giving you something new to do at any given time. For instance, as the latest PvP tournament was getting close to completion (with the big prize being early access to recruiting the Punisher to your team), they introduced a new special operations quest “Cry Havok.” As you might have guessed, it introduces Havok … as well as the first “villain” you can recruit, Magneto.

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Rare original Calvin and Hobbes strip goes up for auction

Three months after an original 1986 Sunday installment of Calvin and Hobbes, drawn and hand-colored by Bill Watterson, sold for $203,150, another original strip is going on the auction block.

Like the previous piece, this daily strip was part of a 1986 swap between Watterson and Adam@Home and Red and Rover cartoonist Brian Bassett. However, The Daily Cartoonist notes that while Bassett sold the other original to help with the expenses of a divorce and upcoming marriage, this one is being offered by his ex-wife Linda through Heritage Auctions (both are signed by Watterson to Brian and Linda).

The strip, part of Heritage’s Feb. 21-23 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in New York City, has already garnered a top online/telephone bid of $15,000. The company cautions, “We know you’ve heard us say this before, but consider this a rare opportunity that may not be repeated for a long time to come. We have no more Watterson Calvin originals ‘waiting in the wings’ to trot out next time around.”

See the full strip below.

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Comics A.M. | Radical raises $3 million for digital, licensing

Radical Studios

Publishing | Radical Studios has secured $3 million in its first round of fundraising to further develop its catalog, expanding its digital publishing efforts and licensing capabilities. The publisher, which ultimately hopes to raise $9.5 million, has two comic-book adaptations in development at major studios: Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, at Universal Pictures, and Hercules: The Thracian Wars, starring Dwayne Johnson, at Universal Pictures. [Variety]

Retailing | Dave and Adam’s Card World, billed as the largest online seller of baseball cards, has branched out, with an eye toward becoming the largest online seller of vintage comic books by 2014. “We were somewhat shocked and surprised that vintage comic books are more popular than vintage baseball cards. As a card collector, that just hurts,” c0-founder and CEO Adam Martin joked. [Lockport Union-Sun & Journal]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Jason Latour on Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier 15

Thanks to my interview with writer Jason Latour (regarding Loose Ends in mid-2011), my attention was piqued when Marvel tapped him to succeed Ed Brubaker on Winter Soldier. Latour’s run begins Wednesday with Winter Soldier #15. In anticipation of that, Latour agreed to an interview in which I interrogated him about the collaborative dynamics with artist Nic Klein, Bucky Barnes coming to terms with his past, guiding a supporting cast that includes the legendary Nick Fury, and the introduction, and naming, of new characters. Also be sure to check out CBR’s preview of Winter Soldier #15.

Tim O’Shea: When scripting an issue, given that you are also an artist, do you sketch out thumbnails for artist Nic Klein to consider?

Jason Latour: Not really, no. I did do one unused thumbnail, and only because Nic asked. When you’ve survived German art Thunderdome like he has, you need no man’s help. He’s like Art Beast Omega.

Yeah, being able to draw is definitely a great tool to have in a pinch. But in general I try not to do layouts because that part of drawing is largely the artist’s contribution to the story. I don’t want to encroach too heavily on that. Even if they do something I don’t agree with here or there, we’ll all be much better off with an invested collaborator. I am open to thumbnailing a book for someone else to finish, but it would have to be the understanding beforehand. I’m much more likely to do design work,  because sometimes it just dramatically improves communication.

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Quote of the Day | The dearth of black writers at the Big Two

Reginald Hudlin's final issue of Black Panther

“This is the first week of Black History Month, a four-week celebration and remembrance of the significant events and people of the African diaspora. For many, myself included, it’s a month to reflect on where we’ve been, as a people and as a nation, and to contemplate exactly where it is we’re going. In terms of the comic book industry, an obvious interest and passion of mine, there is one glaring and sobering fact that needs our attention: There is currently not a single black writer working on a monthly series for either of the two biggest comic book publishers in the United States, and precious few working for any of the others.”

Joe Hughes of ComicsAlliance, delivering an eye-opening assessment of the lack of black writers at DC Comics and Marvel

Comic Book Resources columnist Hannibal Tabu points out that Marvel hasn’t had a black writer since Reginald Hudlin’s tenure ended on Black Panther in 2009. What’s more, “With Dark Horse Presents, Dark Horse has paid more black people in comics in the last year or so than DC and Marvel have done in many, many years.”

Spain Rodriguez and Mort Meskin chosen for Eisner Hall of Fame

Spain Rodriguez

As online voting opens for the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame, the judges have selected late Golden Age artist Mort Meskin (Vigilante, Wildcat) and late underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez (Trashman) for automatic induction.

In addition, they’ve named 13 nominees, from which voters will select four to be inducted in July during Comic-Con International. The nominees are:

  • Marjorie Henderson Buell (aka Marge), late creator of Little Lulu
  • Howard Cruse, creator of the acclaimed Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Lee Falk, late creator of The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician
  • Bud Fisher, late creator of the pioneering daily strip Mutt and Jeff
  • Bill Griffth, creator of Zippy
  • Al Jaffee, longtime Mad Magazine contributor famed for the “Mad Fold-in”
  • Jesse Marsh,late Golden Age artist known for his work on the Tarzan and Gene Autry comic books
  • Tarpé Mills (aka June Mills), late Golden Age artist best known for Miss Fury, the first female action hero created by a woman
  • Thomas Nast, 19th-century caricaturist and editorial cartoonist known as “the Father of the American Cartoon”
  • Gary Panter, acclaimed illustrator, painter and creator of Jimbo
  • Trina Robbins, influential underground comics writer/artist and co-creator of Vampirella
  • Joe Sinnott, veteran inker who worked on virtually every Marvel title during his 60 years working for the publisher
  • Jacques Tardi, acclaimed writer and artist, and creator of Adèle Blanc-Sec

To vote, you must be a professional working gin the comics or related industries as a creator, a publisher, an editor, a comics store owner or manager, a graphic novels librarian, or a comics historian/educator. Eligible voters can visit EisnerVote.com to select up to four names for the Hall of Fame. The voting deadline is March 4.

The Savaged Hawkman: What latest DC casualty says about New 52

According to recent convention scuttlebutt, DC Comics is apparently canceling its latest Hawkman series, the New 52-launched Savage Hawkman, perhaps as early as May’s Issue 20.

That is not the least bit surprising, really, given the publisher’s historical difficulty in keeping readers interested in Hawkman, and given the way in which the title and the character were served by the line-wide reboot and the accompanying creative-team chaos. It’s too bad, though, given how easily DC could have simply published the sort of Hawkman title the 21st-century super-comic audience would support, rather than The Savage Hawkman.

The series launched in September 2011 along with the other 51 new series comprising DC’s New 52 initiative, featuring a rebooted continuity for the then 71-year-old hero and a redesigned costume featuring more armor and pointed edges (most notably a set of Wolverine-like claws frequently waved in the direction of the reader on the covers). The creative team consisted of artist-turned-writer/artist Tony S. Daniel, who was just handling the writing, and Philip Tan, who was providing the art.

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Watch Paolo Rivera draw a Daredevil cover in 11 minutes

Yes, I realize I just posted something about Paolo Rivera on Friday, but this is too good to pass up: The artist has put together a time-lapse video detailing his process for Daredevil #22 (above). It’s at 20 times the normal speed, compressing three hours of work into just 11 minutes.

“It’s a pretty straight forward time lapse, but there are 3 things that I’d like to point out as you watch,” Rivera writes on his blog. “First, I use reference of my own hand to facilitate the drawing process. This photo is taken on the fly using Photo Booth on my iMac. It’s as easy as using a mirror, but with more options. Second, I employ a digital perspective template of my own design for the background. It’s extremely useful, but has a steep learning curve — I plan on releasing it to the public later this year. Lastly, toward the end of the video, you can see that I had trouble with Daredevil’s legs as he’s scaling Stilt-Man’s serpentine legs. The cover as a whole went pretty smoothly, but it took me a long time to find a pose for him that didn’t look totally awkward to me. Spidey, on the other hand, was a breeze — characters who are flying/falling are always easier to draw since they don’t have to interact with any other entities.”

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News Corporation sells IGN Entertainment

Following a failed bid to spin off IGN Entertainment, News Corporation has sold the network of websites to j2 Global subsidiary Ziff Davis, owner of Geek.com, PCMag.com and other properties.

Although the sale price hasn’t been announced, the figure is believed to be considerably lower than the $650 million News Corp. paid for IGN in 2005. According to PandoDaily, Ziff Davis shelled out even less than the $100 million that had been floated as an asking price. IGN had been on the market for six months.

The deal includes all of IGN’s websites devoted to video games, comic books, film, television and men’s lifestyle, including IGN.com, UGO.com, 1UP.com and AskMen.com. In some respects, it brings the two companies full circle as, before its acquisition by j2, Ziff Davis sold 1Up to UGO Entertainment, which was then acquired from Hearst Corporation by IGN in 2011.

“This is a transformative deal for our digital media business,” j2 Global CEO Hemi Zucker said in a statement. “By combining two of the most storied organizations in tech, gaming and entertainment, we have created a very powerful company capable of producing and delivering content in all forms to an audience that marketers highly value.”

Women of Action | Ame-Comi Girls

Amanda Conner's Wonder Woman

When DC Comics announced it was launching a series based on its popular Ame-Comi line of figures, I don’t think I heard a single person say, “Yes! I was hoping for that!” The Ame-Comi collectibles can be imaginative and attractive (some more than others), but no one was clamoring for a series that sexualized DC’s superheroines even more overtly than they already are. In fact, the most common responses were either head-scratching or eye-rolling, depending on how much the person thought DC has legitimately tried to reach out to female readers lately. But then the creators were announced.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray write the series and Amanda Conner drew the first couple of installments, which were serialized digitally first, 10 pages at a time. Putting the creators of the well-regarded Power Girl series on Ame-Comi Girls was a smart move and convinced a lot of readers who otherwise would have dismissed the comic – including me – to give it at least an initial look.

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Willem and Akira Toriyama win top Angoulême honors

Dutch cartoonist Willem was presented with the Grand Prix award over the weekend in France at the 40th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival, honoring his lifetime achievement. In addition, Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump creator Akira Toriyama was awarded a special Grand Prix recognizing his 40-year career.

As the recipient of the Grand Prix, Willem will serve as president of next year’s festival.

The other major prize winners, courtesy of The Comics Reporter, were:

Prix du meilleur album
Quai d’Orsay Volume Two: Chroniques diplomatiques, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Dargaud)

Prix spécial du jury
Le Nao de Brown, Glyn Dillon (Akileos)

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Comics A.M. | Manga sales slip in Japan for first time since 2009

One Piece, Vol. 67

Manga | The Japanese market research firm Oricon reports sales of manga volumes (tankobon) slipped 1.5 percent last year, to about $2.886 billion, the first decline since the company began reporting the figures in 2009. [Anime News Network]

Graphic novels | The Scottish Archaeological Research Project has put together a rather lively looking graphic novel about the history of Scotland, including such little-known events as the Storegga Tsunami. [BBC News]

Manga | Someone with a sharp eye spotted a manga license that hasn’t been officially announced: Kodansha Comics will publish Sherlock Bones, a series about a crime-solving boy and a talking dog, by Shin Kobayishi (Drops of God, Kindaichi Case Files) and Yuki Sato (Yokai Doctor). [allfiction]

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What Are You Reading? with Sonia Harris

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we reveal our picks for the best Super Bowl ads … er, where we talk about what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guest is Sonia Harris, who writes a weekly column – Committed – for Comics Should Be Good, and is a graphic designer on books such as Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker (collected in hardcover now from Image Comics) and upcoming comic books SEX (beginning March) and The Bounce. (beginning May).

To see what Sonia and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Dangling Spidey, boxed Batman and more

If it’s Saturday, it must be Shelf Porn, and today’s collection comes from Troy Potter. Troy shows us his nicely displayed shelves of statues, trade paperbacks, toys and more.

If you’d like to submit your collection to Shelf Porn, scroll down to the end of the post to find out how. Now let’s hear from Troy …

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Rob Davis does Hourly Comic Day

So yesterday was Hourly Comic Day. A few artists attempted the challenge, and their updates showed up regularly in my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline.  Maybe the most interesting and accomplished artist to do one this year is Rob Davis, the editor of the format-busting award-winning anthology Nelson, and a man you can trust to adapt one of the high points of world literature and make a damned good fist of it.  The nature of the Hourly Comic project means you read one of these things not expecting much — it’s always going to be self-reflexive, a strip doomed to be about a day spent drawing a strip — but if anyone can elevate the form, it’ll be Davis.  He’s posting his work throughout the day over at his blog, Dinlos and Skilldos.

More artists’ Hourly Comics are aggregated here. A clearly distressed and in pain Richard Bruton of the FPI blog links to Rob’s and a couple of other UK ones here, bless ‘im.


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