Current Transmissions

Grumpy Old Fan | Foundational features and DC’s details

It seemed like a good idea ... AT FIRST

It seemed like a good idea … AT FIRST

Although I’m looking forward to Justice League 3000, I still can’t quite get over the Legion-sized hole in DC’s roster. The Legion of Super-Heroes turned 55 earlier this year (on Feb. 27, according to Mike’s Amazing World of Comics), which makes it some 18 months older than Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and almost two years older than the Justice League. Indeed, the Legion’s enduring popularity has made it one of the“foundational” features that DC will probably publish until its doors finally close, along with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, the League and Green Lantern. However, today I want to talk about the Legion in terms of a different kind of landmark.

By definition, a shared universe is composed of the combined details of its constituent features. We tend to think of this in terms of geography, cosmology and the space-time continuum. Accordingly, DC-Earth has various additional “fictionopolises” (including Metropolis, Gotham City, Central City and Coast City) and nations (like Atlantis and Themyscira); and it shares a universe with planets not found so far in ours (Oa, Tamaran, etc.). There are also other planes of existence to be explored (Gemworld, Earth-2, the Fourth World and the Fifth Dimension); as well as series set in the Dark Ages, the Old West and of course the 31st century.

Continue Reading »

ComiXwriter creators turn to Kickstarter to fund software

comixwriter

When screenwriter Glenn Farrington took a crack at comics, he quickly discovered that while there’s plenty of software designed to make film and television writing easier, there’s nothing like that specifically for comic books. So he turned to his friend Steven Stashen to create ComiXwriter, which they calling “the world’s first software dedicated to writing scripts for comic books and graphic novels.” In essence, it aims to be for comic scribes what Final Draft is for screenwriters.

And now they’ve taken to Kickstarter to raise $35,000 to fund ComiXwriter.

Continue Reading »

A few words about every story in ‘Alternative Comics’ #4

alternativeAlternative Comics, the publisher of alternative comics, is back in business, with two big releases of note this month: Failure, a collection of Karl Stevens’ remarkably illustrated comic strips from the Boston Phoenix, and Alternative Comics #4, the latest installment of its showcase anthology (the first three issues were released as Free Comic Book Day giveaways, with the third issue shipping way back in 2005).

The new iteration isn’t free (in fact, it’s a $5.99, 48-page book), and it’s not coming out on Free Comic Book Day, but it is bigger, newer and perhaps even improved. To find that out, we’ll have to take a closer look at this book, edited by Marc Arsenault and featuring a lovely cover by Mike Bertino.

Here then, are a few words about every single story in Alternative Comics #4:

“Talent Goes In” by Sam Alden 
This is a four-panel, inside-front-cover strip by Alden, which amounts to little more than a picture poem. It’s not terribly profound or even substantial but that’s okay, it’s only the inside front cover. Alden has a better strip later in the book.

Continue Reading »

‘Wonder Woman: Earth One’ isn’t ‘about superheroes punching each other’

wonder woman-earth one

“It’s not a comic about superheroes punching each other. It’s about the sexes and how we feel about one another, and what a society of women cut off from the rest of the world for 3,000 years might look like, and what kind of sexuality, what kind of philosophy, what kind of science would that have developed, and how would that impact our world if it actually suddenly became apparent that these women existed. So for me, that was always the original Wonder Woman story, but when you hear it retold, there’s a lot of potential in there to talk about the way we live today and the way the sexes view one another, especially in an age when pornography has become so ubiquitous, to go back to this sort of strange eroticism that Martson had. I think it is a really interesting way to talk about the issues we have in the world today.”

Grant Morrison, discussing Wonder Woman: Earth One, his upcoming 120-page original graphic novel with artist Yanick Paquette

Gerard Way co-wrote Saturday’s episode of ‘The Aquabats!’

aquabats

Gerard Way has moved from being the frontman for the platinum-selling rock band My Chemical Romance to the writer of the Eisner Award-winning limited series The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite to, now, a co-writer and co-director for the hit children’s television series The Aquabats! Super Show!

The Hollywood Reporter has a sneak peek at Way’s episode (below), which airs Saturday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on The Hub and features a guest appearance by his brother and former bandmate Mikey Way.

Continue Reading »

See Rich Barrett’s HeroesCon presentation on design in comics

design-slideshow011-640x480Design is integral to comics. In its basic form, it’s used by artists to tell story through panel composition and transitions, but in broader terms it’s the logos, trade dress and visual platform by which comics are shown to the public.

Last month at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina, cartoonist/designer Rich Barrett moderated a panel that looked at the approach and examples of graphic design in use in the medium. With a panel that included cartoonist/designers like Jim Rugg, Matt Kindt and Robert Wilson IV, publisher/designer Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books and non-comics desginer Matt Stevens, Barrett shepherded the room through slideshow series of impressive design, from page layouts to book covers to book packaging.

The indie-centric design group talked about the use of design by mainstream creators like Jonathan Hickman, Chris Ware and Chester Brown, and its changing role of design as the methods by which comics being sold have changed over the past 20 years.

Although no recording of the panel exists (as of yet), Barrett has shared his slideshow presentation here:

Continue Reading »

Amazon opens its Kindle Worlds store and submission platform

kindle worlds2

Amazon Publishing launched its Kindle Worlds store this morning with more than 50 works, including Shadowman: Salvation Sally by Tom King, X-O Manowar: Noughts and Crosses by Stuart Moore, and Harbinger: Slow Burn by Jason Star, all inspired by the Valiant Entertainment properties. In addition, the Self-Service Submission Platform is now open, allowing writers to publish stories based on certain licensed properties and earn royalties in the process.

Billed as the first commercial publishing platform for fan fiction, Kindle Worlds was announced last month as “a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.”

Continue Reading »

Comics A.M. | ‘Dragon Ball’ creator to launch new manga in July

Ginga Patrol Jaka

Ginga Patrol Jaka

Manga | As part of the 45th-anniversary celebration of Weekly Shonen Jump, legendary Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump creator Akira Toriyama will launch a new manga series called Ginga Patrol Jaka (Galactic Patrol Jaka) in the magazine’s July 13 issue. Teased only with vague declaration “The ‘legend’ of hope for the entire world returns here!!,” the series marks the 58-year-old artist’s first manga since the 2010 one-shot Kintoki, created for Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Top of the Super Legend” project. [Anime News Network]

Creators | Carol Tyler speaks frankly about her struggle to finish the third book of her trilogy You’ll Never Know while taking care of her dying mother and her seriously ill sister, who are characters in the book: “I literally had to do the back end of Book III in hospitals, nursing homes, at the chemo place and in waiting rooms. It was insane.” She also discusses her style choices and how the finished books differed from her original art. [The Comics Journal]

Continue Reading »

BOOM! and Archaia sittin’ in a tree: digging into the merger

Archaia's booth

Whatever happens, please let Archaia’s awesome con booth remain

This week’s Monday Surprise was the news that BOOM! Studios has acquired Archaia Entertainment, which will continue on as an imprint. The two Los Angeles-based publishers are a good fit, so while Archaia prepares to move into the BOOM! offices, let’s take a look at what it all means.

As previously reported, Archaia struggled after its relationship with book market distributor Publishers Group West dissolved, leaving the publisher with a load of returned merchandise. Despite growth in other markets, the hit was apparently too much.

Archaia has long been respected for the high-quality production values of its releases, which include a variety of creator-driven graphic novels, licensed properties and imported material.

Continue Reading »

Final cover for ‘The Complete Zenith’ escapes into the wild

zenith3

As the date of 2000AD/Rebellion’s limited release of The Complete Zenith draws near, the publicity campaign for the book also reaches its, uh, zenith.

No matter where you stand on the ethics of the release, or on the matter of the material’s ownership (and I’m sure there will be plenty more claims and counter-claims on that issue to come), it must be stated that the final cover is a great-looking design, strong and bold and graphic.

Continue Reading »

Read Ales Kot & Morgan Jeske’s ‘Change’ #1 online for free

change1-cover

If you’re still undecided about picking up the collection of Change, out today from Image Comics, your decision may have just gotten a whole lot easier: The first issue of the apocalyptic miniseries by Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske is now available for free online from Image, comiXology and, as a PDF, the writer’s website.

“It’s apocalypse in Los Angeles; apocalypse as a universal event, apocalypse as a personal event,” Kos writes. “Change is a SF action thriller that will, hopefully, bend your mind something fresh.”

ROBOT 6’s Mark Kardwell made the trade paperback his pick of the week, .”It has a fairly pulpy-sounding plot: Lovecraftian creatures bring about the end of the world […] but Kot is too interesting a writer for the story to play out in anything other than an original manner.” You can get a little sneak peek below.

Continue Reading »

Kid gangs and class warfare in ‘Bowery Boys’

HEADER

Oliver Twist meets Occupy Wall Street. That’s the most succinct way to describe the burgeoning comic series Bowery Boys by Ian Bertram and Cory Levine, and after years of it being hinted at online it’s now found a soapbox to tell its story: online for free.

Last week, the duo announced it will serialize the Bowery Boys graphic novel with three pages a week online at BoweryBoysComic.com beginning July 4. Described as “A New York Story,” Bowey Boys is set in 1850s Manhattan, where a group of young men try to reach the brass ring of the American Dream but face obstacles such as political corruption, street gangs, labor unions and rampant racism. At the center of this is Nikolaus McGovern, the only son for a God-fearing union leader who’s in deep over laborer’s rights, and the paths he crosses with politicians, businessmen and entrepreneurs. But in addition to that story, a big draw here is the art by Ian Bertram, a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Here’s a four-page sample of Bowery Boys:

Continue Reading »

Cancer survivor draws on real-life battle for superhero comic

header
We’ve seen superheroes face all sorts of obstacles, and one man is showing how comics can face down a real-world threat: cancer. Writer/artist Joe Martino has been creating comics since at least 1996, when he launched his independent series Shadowflame. But when he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma cancer, it became an uphill battle to keep doing what he loved. And now he’s using those events as the basis for a superhero series called The Mighty Titan.

“It was a tough decision to take some of my personal experiences and put them to paper in order to entertain and possibly allow people a glimpse of what some of us go through while battling this potentially deadly disease,” Martino said in a press release.

Continue Reading »

Miguel Cima wants more people to ‘Dig Comics’

dig-comics

Documentary filmmaker Miguel Cima has a passion for comics and wonders why more people don’t. It’s a valid, perplexing question considering the variety of genres and formats they come in. Comics are much more ubiquitous in Japan and Europe, so what’s preventing them from taking hold the same way in the United States?

Cima explored that some in his 2008 short documentary Dig Comics (Tim O’Shea interviewed Cima about it for Robot 6 at the time). You can watch the entire, 20-minute film, which includes interviews with Jeph Loeb and Scott Shaw, below.

The filmmaker wants to do more than just ask the questions, however: He also wants to help figure out the solution. To that end, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length version of Dig Comics. The $250,000 budget includes filming in New York City, France and Japan to gather more insight into the history of American comics and what makes comics so popular overseas. The feature is just a step in Cima’s larger plans, though. If it’s successful, he’d also like to develop a television series to continue the campaign to make comics as popular in North America as they are in other places and once were here.

Continue Reading »

Chris Weston reveals a jaw-dropping ‘Nosferatu’ poster

994786_10201416650568810_435906300_nChris Weston doesn’t blog that often — the perils of working more and more in a business where your projects are accompanied by non-disclosure agreements — but he recently posted a big update featuring art he’s created for his own amusement, some commissions and convention sketches, and some recent 2000AD covers finally seen without intrusive trade dress.

He also updates us on the fate of the “Carry On X-Men” poster we featured in December, stating that he was going to produce a silkscreen print but changed his mind in the post-Friedrich litigation landscape. Weston responded to a question about this image on Facebook this week: “I have asked Marvel three times for permission and offered to pay for a license to do a limited-edition print, but they haven’t bothered replying to me.”

The Nosferatu piece is a good example of the insanely complicated rendering Weston can bury in the background of an image, unnoticed at first glance. Hundreds of rats, thousands of bricks, each one hand drawn. And that’s before we even get to the ornate etching on the ship or the likeness of Max Schreck. Really, I’m dumbstruck by this.

Continue Reading »


Browse the Robot 6 Archives