Current Transmissions

Quote of the Day | ‘I hear crying a lot … And I mean that in a good way’

“As simple as it sounds, it’s the simple fact that we’re helping people and having immediate positive impact in their lives. I hear crying a lot. I really do. And I mean that in a good way. I think it’s just the breaking of a dam sometimes, and an emotional release. I can’t tell you how often I’ll be speaking to someone on the phone after the disbursement committee has decided what to do, and I’ll tell Artist X, ‘Yeah, no problem. Gimme the address and an account number, and we can pay off that hospital bill. Give me your landlord’s name and number, we’ll take care of the back rent, and get you paid off for next month as well. And we’re sending a check to you so you can get some groceries.’ People just break down and start crying. I think it’s the stress of all these things ending, the cracking of that ice … it’s an emotional moment. The mind, the body, something … it doesn’t know what to do. So it cries. It’s odd, but I’ve come to not look at a full-grown adult crying as anything bad. In fact, it’s good. For so many people, it’s the end of a long and painful road.”

Jim McLauchlin, president and co-founder of The Hero Initiative, explaining why he loves his job.
Since its founding in 2000, the organization has given more than $500,000 to comics creators in need.

A quick trip through the spring/fall Fantagraphics catalog

Fantagraphics has made a number of notable publishing announcements over the past few weeks, but the new release of its spring/fall catalog reveals even more intriguing books coming down the pike next year. I thought I’d take it upon myself to run through what I feel are some of the more interesting titles scheduled for 2013, avoiding some of the more expected titles, like the new Donald Duck or Steve Ditko collections, or paperback editions of previously released material. If all goes well, I hope to do this sort of thing again with other small press publishers as we get closer to the end of the year.

Katherine Whaley

The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch. Deitch’s latest graphic novel (his first original one, his previous works having been serialized in anthologies and other series) concerns a young actress in early 20th century America who gets a plum role in a movie serial, only to discover all is not what it seems. Could alleged recordings of Christ made centuries before the invention of recorded sound be somehow involved? Could be! Printed in landscape format to give that “widescreen” feel. April, $29.99.

Bread and Wine by Samuel R. Delaney and Mia Wolff. Apparently this was published back in 1999, although this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. Famed science-fiction author Delaney chronicles his romance with a young homeless man, with Wolff providing art. April, $14.99

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Comics artists love Frankenstein’s Bride

Arthur Adams

Saturday was the birthday of actress Elsa Lanchester, so to celebrate, John Rozum posted an amazing gallery of art inspired by her most famous role, the Bride of Frankenstein. A ton of comics artists are included and you can see many of them below the break. Be sure to visit Rozum’s site for even more, including additional pieces by Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan and Bruce Timm, as well as art by Basil Gogos, William Stout, and Mike McKone. Continue Reading »

Point-Counterpoint | Technology and the Peanuts movie


“We finally felt the time was right and the technology is where we need it to be to create this film.”

Craig Schulz, son of Charles Schulz, on the ripeness of a CGI Peanuts movie

“Yeah, the technology is right. Because pen and paper was never quite good enough.”

Russ Fischer, commenting on the story for /Film

I get what Schulz is saying. “This film” doesn’t refer to just any Peanuts movie. There have already been at least two of those in traditional, hand-drawn animation. What he’s saying is that if they’re going to try to translate the Peanuts characters to CGI, that’s not something he wanted to rush into.

But while I’m not sure that Fischer’s snark is all that fair, I’m also not exactly sure why now is suddenly the time where technology has caught up and is adequate for portraying Charlie Brown’s round head and Lucy’s lumpy hairdo as computer animation. Is Schulz suggesting that the Peanuts CGI movie needs a level of technology greater than say, Toy Story or How to Train Your Dragon?

Paolo Rivera looks back on 2008’s Mythos: Captain America

Paolo Rivera’s blog posts are always interesting and informative, but few can top this reflection on Mythos: Captain America, his 2008 collaboration with Paul Jenkins that retold the origin of the Sentinel of Liberty (it was part of a series of one-shots that, in Rivera’s words, was designed to “bridge the gap between Marvel comics and Marvel movies”).

Sprinkled liberally with Rivera’s stunning work, the post also serves as a reminder of how quickly the artist has risen through the ranks of comics talent since 2006, when the Mythos series debuted. “The series did less than amazing in terms of sales, but Marvel still followed through with the project until we had enough issues to collect into a beautiful hardcover,” he recalls. “If nothing else, it proved to be a fantastic platform for jumpstarting my career — aside from being paired with a top-tier writer, I got to illustrate the cream of the crop in terms of Marvel characters. And all that while I was still a rookie: when they gave me the job, I had painted just 34 pages for them.”

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Valiant sponsors U.S. luge team, designs X-O Manowar uniforms

In what The Wall Street characterizes as a low six-figure deal, Valiant Entertainment has signed as a sponsor of USA Luge for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The comics publisher has also designed the team’s uniform to look like the armor of X-O Manowar.

“The sponsorship is going to help the team in a couple of ways,” explained Gordy Sheer, USA Luge’s director of marketing. “… They’ll look good and they’ll feel fast, but also Valiant is helping the team with financial support. We’re a small sport, and every bit of help that we get is absolutely meaningful and directly affects our ability to perform.”

In the video below, Wall Street Journal reporter John Jurgensen notes that while movie studios (including DC Comics parent company Warner Bros.) routinely promote projects through NASCAR sponsorships, this appears to be the first time a company has used a national athletic team to advertise a character.

“For Valiant the idea is to kind of become a household name,” Jurgensen said. The publisher relaunched its comics line in May, with X-O Manowar as its flagship.

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Comics A.M. | Brett Ewins out of jail; Ali Farzat continues to fight

Brett Ewins

Creators | Former 2000AD artist Brett Ewins has been freed on bail after a judge reduced his charge to assult. Ewins, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was accused of stabbing a police officer in a January altercation that left the 56-year-old artist hospitalized in serious condition. Because Ewins has already served nine months, part of it in a hospital (where he was in a coma), it’s unlikely he’ll have to go back behind bars. [Sex, Drugs, & Comic Books]

Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat, who escaped to Kuwait after the Syrian security police beat him and broke his hands, is now living in Egypt and continuing to draw cartoons supporting the Syrian revolution. “Fear has been defeated in Syria when the people marched 19 months ago against tyranny,” he said. “I began to directly draw people in power including Assad and his government officials, to break the barrier of fear, that chronic fear that Syrians suffered from for 50 years.” [Reuters]

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Whedon endorses Romney (and his vision for zombie apocalypse)

In between writing the screenplay for the sequel to The Avengers, developing ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and executive producing Dark Horse’s Buffy-verse comics, Joss Whedon somehow found time to shoot a video “endorsing” Mitt Romney for president. Sure, it’s a bit surprising, considering that Whedon and Romney differ on myriad social issues (today, in any case), but the filmmaker has found common, if post-apocalyptic, ground.

“Y’know, like a lot of liberal Americans, I was excited when Barack Obama took office four years ago,” Whedon explains, “but it’s a very different world now, and Mitt Romney is a very different candidate — one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse. Romney is ready to make the deep rollbacks in healthcare, education, social services, reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting — all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland.”

There’s more, of course. And along the way, Whedon gets in a little jab at Ayn Rand devotees, sure to make a few libertarians rethink their interpretations/warm embrace of Firefly.

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What Are You Reading? with Rafer Roberts

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where every week we talk about the comics, books and other stuff topping our reading list. Our special guest today is Rafer Roberts, creator of Plastic Farm–“The strange, terrifying, and hilarious story of Chester Carter’s messianic journey through madness and self-loathing.” Roberts is currently raising money for the second volume on Kickstarter.

To see what he’s been reading, along with the Robot 6 crew, click below …

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Shelf Porn Saturday | Comics and music collide in Canada

If you’re a fan of music and comics, this Shelf Porn goes to 11 … today we’re pleased to present shelves from Jay in Canada, who shows off his collection of comics, toys and music-related items.

If you have some shelves of comics, action figures or other related collectibles you’d like to show off, send me a write-up and some jpgs at jkparkin@yahoo.com.

And now here’s Jay …

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Comic Couture | Cyclops was right, Bat eyegear and more

Cyclops was right

If you’re a Cyclops fan and still smarting from the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, WeLoveFine.com has a constructive way to express your anger–at least more constructive than, say, unleashing a Sentinel or something. They received a ton of requests for a “Cyclops was Right” shirt (a la their “Magneto was Right” shirt) and were able to turn one around fairly quickly.

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Robot Roulette | Tim Seeley

Welcome once again to Robot Roulette, our interview feature where we throw random questions at comic creators and see how they respond. We’ve come up with 36 possible questions, and each week I will randomly select which of those questions our guest has to answer.

Today Tim Seeley, who you can find on Twitter and DeviantArt, takes my random questions and turns them into gold. Seeley is sometimes an artist, sometimes a writer, and sometimes both — you know him from Hack/Slash, Revival, Bloodstrike, Witchblade, Ex Sanguine and many more. My thanks to Tim for answering my questions.

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The Fifth Color | The finality of now

Captain America #19

the final issue until next month

Comedian Demetri Martin has this great, short bit about how he loves digital cameras because they allow you to reminisce instantly. That we can take a picture and immediately look back with clarity and fondness at something that happened only seconds before — “We were so young!” — is essential to current comics culture. The world so quickly and drastically changes for readers that events that happened just last month can feel oh, so long ago. Characters die and return, sometimes within months of our grieving. It seems like only yesterday when we were still under the threat of the Phoenix, because it was only yesterday, relatively speaking.

This week sees the ends of five titles, and each one takes a final bow with all due gravitas for its moment in history. Invincible Iron Man #527 says goodbye to Matt Fraction and Salvador LaRocca, who began their run when the first Iron Man movie was hitting theaters. Ed Brubaker relinquishes his Captain America writing duties with Issue 19; not exactly an illustrious numbering to leave on, but when you look back at all the work he’s done and how it’s changed the common reader’s understanding of Steve Rogers, it’s a remarkable career. Kieron Gillen leaves Journey Into Mystery with #645, after which the whole title gets a new face to focus on, a new creative team and a new mystery to journey into. And Jonathan Hickman leaves FF, a book he created to serve a beautiful purpose for Marvel’s First Family, and I dare anyone not to get a little misty eyed after turning those final pages.

These are all weighty doors closing on eras that changed the face of our comics, and we may never see their like again. Times, they are a-changin’ … but are they, really? This moment with these books written in such a way is over, but Captain America lives on. Iron Man will fly again, as will Fraction, both just moving in new directions. Heck, Loki isn’t even leaving Gillen’s hands; they’re just moving into a new apartment with different roommates.

So why do we mourn? Why do we read these books as the final issue of Captain America when we all know logically that Captain America will continue next month with a new issue? What exactly are we losing when so many things stay the same? I’ve got an idea; see if you agree.

WARNING: we’re talking about this week’s comics listed above but might spoil some Avengers #32. So grab your copies (and a couple hankies because man, FF is a tearjerker!) and follow along!
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Give $5 to Aurora Rise for a chance to be on Enormous cover

In the wake of the tragic shootings in July in Aurora, Colorado, Jason Farnsworth of All C’s Collectibles organized Aurora Rise, a benefit for the victims that drew creators like Matt Fraction, Mike Mignola and Steve Niles and publishers like Image Comics, Skybound, Dark Horse and Top Cow productions. The August fundraiser generated more than $20,000 in just two days. However, Farnsworth didn’t stop there.

Now Aurora Rise is no longer just a weekend-long event, but rather an organization dedicated to assisting those “victims of the theater shooting who still need surgery, who still need to see doctors, who can’t afford their medical bills, or who have taken a financial hit from lost wages.”

As part of its continuing efforts, Aurora Rise has teamed with Enormous creators Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour for an interesting new fundraiser: A $5 donation to the organization will enter you for a chance to be featured on the cover of Enormous #5, debuting in October 2013. One male and one female will be selected at random to be depicted being chased by a giant monster.

Winners will be announced Jan. 1, 2013.

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Amazon halts sales of Saga trade paperback

Amazon.com has stopped selling Saga, Vol. 1, only days after its release, labeling the collection of the critically acclaimed sci-fi/fantasy series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples as “under review.” An Image Comics representative told Comic Book Resources the online retail giant hasn’t explained why the book was pulled.

The generic “Item Under Review” label on the retailer’s Saga listing states “it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it’s described here.” According to the Outhousers, there’s been at least one report of an Amazon-shipped copy of the trade paperback being “‘extremely wavy’ due to heat warping.”

As Image notes on its Twitter feed, Saga is still available through the Barnes & Noble website, and from direct-market stores. It can also be purchased from other sellers through Amazon.com.

Debuting in March, Saga follows two soldiers from opposite sides of an intergalactic war who fall in love and risk everything for their newborn daughter, in the process becoming fugitives on the run from their own governments.

We’ll update when we know more.


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