As the comics community continues to process the news of Joe Kubert’s death, everything else feels very secondary. One way of honoring the legendary artist and teacher is by appreciating his art, and the art of his peers. Steve Niles discovered this series of art jams featuring a Kubert Hawkman alongside Wendy Pini’s Elfquest characters, Neal Adams’ Conan, Dave Cockrum’s Human Torch, and others. The rest of the jams include characters drawn by C.C. Beck, John Romita, John Byrne, George Perez, Gray Morrow, Dave Sim, Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Curt Swan, Jim Aparo, Milton Caniff, Hal Foster, Al Williamson, Chester Gould, and the list goes on and on.
I don’t know the history behind these pieces, but it occurs to me that many of these comics legends are still with us. In addition to saying our good-byes to Mr. Kubert and offering appreciations of his work, another great way to honor his legacy might be to reach out and express similar appreciation to living creators whose work we love.
Except for you, of course, because you’d have this very funny print hanging on your wall (see the full image below). The artist is DnaPna and you can buy his “Bat Temptation” piece in a variety of formats at society6.
The long-lived children’s comic The Beano has a new look (and a new subtitle: The Beano starring Dennis the Menace and Gnasher). Comics artist Lew Stringer takes a look inside at some of the changes. Nigel Parkinson takes over on Dennis the Menace, who will start to be menacing again; his character was watered down a while ago, but apparently the editors have started listening to 8-year-old boys, which is a good thing in this case. And several of the long-lived comics have had art changes. Only 19 of this issue’s 36 pages are comics, though.
• Stringer also reviews a history of The Dandy, which has the same parentage as The Beano but in recent years has become the edgier of the two (i.e. more fart jokes). It looks like The Beano may be evening things out a bit in that regard. John Freeman posts a lengthier review of the book at Down the Tubes.
• Jeremy Briggs talks to the organizers of Carlisle Mega-Con, a new convention taking place next weekend. As the organizers are also staffers at the local Waterstone’s, they have some insight into local tastes; interestingly, manga and superhero comics are both popular, but customers really prefer “genre books with a dark edge to them such as Vertigo.”
The nominees were announced for the 2012 Ignatz Awards, which will be presented during the Small Press Expo, held Sept. 15-16 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the awards recognize achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists — this year it was Edie Fake, Minty Lewis, Julia Wertz, Dylan Meconis and Lark Pien — and then voted on by SPX attendees.
The nominees are:
• Marc Bell – Pure Pajamas (Drawn & Quarterly)
• Inés Estrada — Ojitos Borrosos (Self-published)
• Jaime Hernandez — Love and Rockets: New Stories (Fantagraphics)
• Craig Thompson — Habibi (Pantheon)
• Matthew Thurber — 1 800 Mice (Picturebox)
Outstanding Anthology or Collection
• Big Questions, Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
• Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
• The Man Who Grew His Beard, Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics)
• Nobrow #6, Various artists (Nobrow)
• Ojitos Borrosos, Inés Estrada (Self-published)
How better to remember the late, great Joe Kubert than with this 1965 photo from the Morris County, New Jersey, Daily Record showing him at the drawing board with son Andy (age 3 1/2)? “The Green Beret” mentioned in the caption is Tales of the Green Beret, the comic strip the elder Kubert drew from 1965 to 1968 (it spun out of the novel of the same by Robin Moore).
The DC Comics blog featured the photo about two years ago, when Joe and Andy Kubert were collaborating on the first two issues of DC Universe: Legacies. Andy wrote at the time: “I came across this old newspaper photo in my files that I had totally forgotten about which my mom had given me about 15-20 years ago. It was taken in my dad`s studio in the house I grew up in … his studio was above the attached garage overlooking the woods in the backyard. I still remember the smell of the paper and ink in there. He would let me set up a little area to draw and read comics as he drew. I loved the war, mystery and Superman and Batman comics. He would also show me a few drawing tricks (and still does!). From the looks of the photo, I don’t know how he put up with me in there!”
“Kubert was a giant of our industry, a singular talent up there on the mountaintop with masters like Gil Kane, Will Eisner and Jack Kirby,” J.M. DeMatteis wrote on his blog. “His art was dynamic, powerful and, most of all, rich with humanity and emotional impact. Like Kirby, he was one of comics’ greatest cover artists. Like Eisner, Kubert got better with time and age (one look at his recent graphic novel, Yossel, more than proves that point): his work achieved a kind elegance and simplicity that made storytelling seem effortless, easy.”
In a lengthy remembrance, Mark Evanier shares a story from a mid-1970s San Diego Comic-Con:
Everyone loved Joe. Everyone respected Joe. He was among a handful of artists whose speed and natural ability caused others to gape and express their envy. One year at the Comic-Con in San Diego (the same mid-seventies con where I took the above photo), Joe was asked to do a drawing for a charity art auction. He stepped up to an easel with a big, yard-high piece of drawing paper on it. He picked up a box of pastel chalks. He turned to the easel —
— and in under a minute, there was this drawing there of Hawkman. It was an incredible, detailed drawing that might have taken another artist an hour and been a third as good. Other artists working on nearby easels stopped and blinked in amazement.
Organizations | Jillian Kirby, the 16-year-old granddaughter of Jack Kirby, makes a pitch for Kirby4Heroes, a campaign to encourage donations to The Hero Initiative on Aug. 28, which would have been the legendary creator’s 95th birthday. [Los Angeles Times]
Comics | Roger Rautio, who’s spearheading an effort to establish a physical Comic Book Hall of Fame, said he’s received responses from officials in four cities — Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and San Jose — and he may meet with a Chicago city council member as early as next month. [North Country Now]
Creators | Cartoonist Reinhard Kleist discusses his graphic novel The Boxer, the true story of Polish Jew Harry Haft, who had to fight other prisoners at Auschwitz for the entertainment of the Nazi soldiers. [Deutsche Welle]
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our guest today is writer and artist Jimmy Palmiotti, who you know from All-Star Western, Monolith, Phantom Lady, Unknown Soldier, Creator-Owned Heroes, Queen Crab and countless more.
To see what Jimmy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Artist Mike Wieringo and Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald passed away more than a decade apart, but both of them died on Aug. 12–now known as “M Day.” To celebrate the lives of both men, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort has set up a fundraiser on Razoo.com for the Hero Initiative.
“This year, we’d like the celebrate the spirit of generosity and camaraderie amongst the comic book community that both of these creators embodied by encouraging their friends and fans to make a donation to the Hero Initiative,” Brevoort wrote. “The Hero Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping out those members of the comic book creative community who have fallen on hard times financially. Assistance from the Hero Initiative has made a difference in the lives and situations of many great practitioners of our art. This is something that we believe both Mark and Mike would be behind.”
Head on over to Razoo.com to support the fundraiser.
Artistic mash-ups are all the rage these days; if you like My Little Pony and you like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, then you’ll love Death as a My Little Pony. A lot of these mash-ups find their way to T-shirts, like the above Game of Heroes, available on the RIPT T-shirt site for the next 12 hours. If you like Game of Thrones and you liked Avengers, then in theory I guess this is the perfect shirt for you. In theory.
This was another of those weeks where I ahd a hard time picking just one comic to focus on this week, so I thought I’d do another round-up post. Four first issues from four different publishers arrived on Wednesday, so let’s see what’s in today’s mystery basket …
Archer and Armstrong #1
Story by Fred Van Lente
Art by Clayton Henry and Matt Milla
Published by Valiant
Todd Allen, The Beat: “When the teasers for Archer and Armstrong #1 came out, there was a little bit of noise from the political parts of the web about what an awful liberal smear job the book was because of some villains billing themselves as the 1%. I’d gotten a good laugh out of villains calling themselves the 1% and wearing golden masks of bulls and bears (an obvious stock market joke) and I figured the usual noisy political types might be over-reacting. Come to find out, Archer and Armstrong is a much more political book than I was expecting. It’s also utterly hilarious. Unless you’re a dogmatic Republican with limited-to-no sense of humor. If you’re one of those, stay FAR away from this comic. It will set you off.”
Glyn Dillon‘s The Nao Of Brown is a book I can safely say I’ve been looking forward to since before it was announced. Though very few pages have leaked out, Dillon regularly posts panels via his Twitter feed, and they’re spectacular. Here’s a few recent ones to whet your appetite for what is sure to be one of the graphic novels of the year:
Plenty more art from Clowes, Yuko Shimizu, Daniel Krall, Nick Abadzis and Duncan Fegredo after the break. Continue Reading »
Losing your identity is terrifying. Hearing the story about the Wired writer who lost his digital life through an Apple and Amazon security flaw had me changing my passwords instantly, and I don’t even have an AppleID. It’s weird how much of ourselves we offer to people, and yet that sense of self is probably one of the most precious things we have. When confused or uncertain, not having a clear idea of who we are can make simple decisions, such as what you wear, or more complicated ones, like whether to take a better job, crippling. Gaining a sense of identity is a crucial step in being a teenager and that uncertain feeling can last all the way until adulthood. Maybe that’s the reason we take solace in superhero stories; the reassurance of an alter ego, the mystery of deceiving appearances, the sense of satisfaction in doing the right thing and the defeat in wondering if it really was right to begin with.
Spider-Men watches Peter Parker struggle through identity issues in a much more literal sense. Sent to the alternate “Ultimate” universe, he’s instantly confronted with who he was (a teenage superhero rather than the man he is now), who he is (a grateful New Yorker knows the man behind the Spider-Man mask right off the bat), and who he could be (a dead man). It’s rough, but we take it in the gut alongside Peter Parker, thanks to the skillful writing of Brian Michael Bendis and the incredible art stylings of Sara Pichelli, both of whom really bring the story into your brain and let it soak in all the emotional juices. But what will happen next? Issue 4 came out this week, and we only have one issue left before Peter Parker is sent back to his own universe, hopefully a little wiser and better off for his stay, but what will he leave in his wake? I’m going to talk about that and some bullet points about Spider-Men #4.
WARNING: Yep, I’m going to talk about Spider-Men #4 below, so grab your copy and read along!
In March 1979, 2000AD‘s then-publisher IPC launched a sister title to the science fiction comic whose success so baffled them. Tornado was a traditional British-style boy’s adventure anthology, weekly, printed on the same low-grade newsprint as 2000AD, and featured a mix of genre strips. Easily the best feature in Tornado was Blackhawk, written by the great Gerry Finlay-Day, later to co-create Rogue Trooper with Dave Gibbons. Just as Finlay-Day’s earlier strip Rat Pack in Battle Picture Weekly was heavily inspired by the storytelling engine of The Dirty Dozen, and so was Blackhawk. A Nubian slave leading a Spartacus-like rebellion is noted for his bravery by the Roman military, commissioned as a centurion, and forced to lead a rag-tag unit of other former slaves and gladiators in a series of suicide missions. Tornado was canceled after just a few months, and folded into the more successful 2000AD, as was always the way back then. Blackhawk was one of only two strips that made the jump (well, three if you count Kev O’Neill’s occasional Captain Klep one-page gags, his first satire of the superhero genre, eight years before Marshall Law).
To fit with the sci-fi ethos of 2000AD, Blackhawk had a radical change of direction, with the character abducted by aliens and forced to fight in intergalactic, and interspecies, gladiatorial combat. One noteworthy occurance was the strip was one of the first 2000AD strips to have U.S. talent working on it, with Joe Staton drawing an episode. The series ended in early 1980, and was never revived, bar Joe Staton’s second gig drawing the character, in 1982′s 2000AD Sci-Fi Special.
Until now. Sort of. The series has been reinvented, reminiscent of the job Ronald D. Moore did on Battlestar Galactica — it’s been stripped of all corn and cheese, roughed up, and sexed up. It now has its fantasy elements built in, rather than bolted on at a halfway stage. The strip-down and total rebuild has included a new name, Aquila. It’s one of the best new character launches for 2000AD in recent years, and we spoke to its creators, writer Gordon Rennie and artist Leigh Gallagher about the strip’s birth, and its future. Continue Reading »