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Comics A.M. | Salt Lake con’s success reignites mega-hotel talk

salt lake comic con logoConventions | The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con, which sold 50,000 tickets in advance of the Sept. 5-7 event and reportedly drew an additional 20,000 attendees, has rekindled discussion about a new mega-hotel in downtown Salt Lake City Utah. The proposed $350 million project, which would have been funded in part with tax dollars, was narrowly defeated by the state legislature in March. [Fox 13 News]

Creators | Art Spiegelman talks about his life and work, touching on writing vs. art, how Maus came into being, and his lack of depth perception: “I don’t really see stereo, so it’s not good for getting in and out of cars, but when I draw something, it looks real.” [NPR]

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Report Card | ‘King’s Watch,’ the Riddler and more


Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is typically a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.

So read on to find out what we thought about Brain Boy, King’s Watch and more

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Michael DeForge, ‘Pope Hats’ among 2013 Ignatz winners

Lose #4

Lose #4

Heidi at The Beat has posted the winners of the 2013 Ignatz Awards, which were announced at the Small Press Expo, or SPX, in Bethesda, Maryland last night.

The awards are named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip. Nominees were selected by a panel of five cartoonists — this year it was Lisa Hanawalt, Dustin Harbin, Damien Jay, Sakura Maku and Jason Shiga — and then voted on by SPX attendees. The winners are bolded below:

Outstanding Artist

  • Lilli Carré, Heads or Tails
  • Michael DeForge, Lose #4
  • Miriam Katin, Letting It Go
  • Ulli Lust, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life
  • Patrick McEown, Hair Shirt

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A future father says goodbye to his Shelf Porn


Usually Saturdays are a happy time here at Robot 6 as we share a fan’s collection with the world, but today’s edition is bittersweet, as future father Rich shares the collection he sold on eBay to buy nursery furniture. Rich’s art, figures and more have moved on, and hopefully this post will help give Rich the closure he needs. (But seriously, congrats to Rich and his wife on the upcoming addition to their family).

If you’d like to see your collection featured here on Shelf Porn, check out the submission instructions for complete details.

And now here’s Rich …

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DC Collectibles reveals New York Comic-Con exclusives


DC Collectibles has revealed their con exclusives for October’s New York Comic-Con, which include a Super Best Friends Forever: Poison Ivy PVC Figure and an action figure two-pack featuring Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Blue Lantern Saint Walker.

Like the three Super Best Friends Forever figures released for San Diego, the Poison Ivy PVC Figure is designed by Lauren Faust and sculpted by Irene Matar. It measures approximately 6.625” tall and is priced at $24.95.

The DC Comics Super Heroes: Hal Jordan & Saint Walker Action Figure 2-pack is sculpted by Robert Lynders. This set is the latest in the 3.75” scale and is priced at $29.95.

Both items can be bought at the Graphitti Designs booth #755 at New York Comic-Con.

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From ‘Jumpin’ Jesus’ to Doctor Who: Six questions with Landry Walker


Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Landry Walker, whose work includes Danger Club, Little Gloomy, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade, The Incredibles, Tron and more.

Now let’s get to it …

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The Fifth Color | What can I say about ‘Inhumans’?

inhumans_jaelee There’s a lot of new information coming out of Marvel as the publisher preps us for the next major event, even as the current one is just getting its sea legs. But for the moment, I want to talk about the past. This week, the original Marvel Knights Inhumans miniseries returned to the shelves in a super-sexy oversized hardcover, and it’s been a long time coming — not just because it was originally promised in the late 2000s, but because this one series is a milestone not only for the characters but for the company as well.

When this series — written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by Jae Lee — was released, I was working at my first comic-shop job in the City of Industry, California, and I was pretty much a mainstream X-Men junkie. I’m not saying the issues weren’t any good, but there is a candy coating that went over a lot of ’90s comics: We didn’t ask them to do much besides look pretty and accumulate value, and that’s exactly what they did. At Marvel, Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti were given the opportunity to grab unique creators and kind of make the Marvel Knights imprint their own. That obviously started with the incredible reinvention of Daredevil, Christopher Priest’s amazing work on Black Panther, and the Punisher series no one likes to talk about. All of those titles challenged the reader to think differently about well-known characters, and put a more “adult” spin on them than you’d find in your average Marvel title. The artwork was phenomenal; Lee was in almost a transitional state between the hyper-stylized work we’d seen in Namor the Sub-Mariner in the early ’90s to what he does now. But I don’t think it was the art that really drew me into the Inhumans series; it was the simple fact that I was invited in.

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Six more TV series we’d love to see revived as comics


Seeing films and television series adapted as comic books is nothing new, but in the past decade we’ve experienced a new phenomenon in which canceled TV shows are finding a second life, and a second chance, in comics form. In many cases, these properties pick up right where their television runs left off, such as in Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight and IDW Publishing’s recent X-Files launch. So with that in mind, we turn to six other beloved genre shows that deserve a comic-book revival.

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Woodring & Frisell to combine music & comics in San Francisco


Art and music collide in San Francisco this weekend as cartoonist Jim Woodring teams with jazz musician Bill Frisell for “a delightful live multi-media collaboration.” Woodring will join Frisell on Saturday for both an evening and matinee performance, in which Woodring will create live digital illustrations, projected on Miner Auditorium’s large video screen, to accompany and inspire the music.

This isn’t the first time the duo has collaborated: Frisell provided the soundtrack for Woodring’s Trosper, published in 2002 by Fantagraphics.

The matinee begins at 2 p.m., and the evening performance at 7:30 p.m. You can find more details on the SFJazz website.

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Rob Williams on being ‘Ordinary’ with D’Israeli


Next week sees the release of Judge Dredd Megazine #340, featuring the debut of “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by writer Rob Williams and artist D’Israeli, the creative team behind the acclaimed 2000AD strip “Low Life,: I’ve been a big fan of both their work for quite a while now — in Williams’ case, since his first published work, the great Cla$$war, in 2002; in the case of D’Israeli, scarily enough, it’s been since his “Timulo'”strip ran in Deadline in the late 1980s. I managed to grab a word with Williams about the new series, and he happily obliged, and sent along a veritable mountain of preview art to boot.

Robot 6: So Rob, the last ordinary man in a world of the super-powered, eh? But what’s Ordinary really about?

Rob Williams: I’m a little wary of frightening people off by talking about themes. “Ordinary” is filled with spectacle, big-Hollywood action set pieces and outlandish characters that are, hopefully, quite memorable, This is a world where everyone gets a different superpower, after all — no two people are the same. But, at its heart, it’s about emotionally allowing yourself to come to terms with fatherhood, really. Out main character, Michael Fisher, is a divorcee who very rarely sees his son when we first meet him. And then the world starts going to hell and it’s up to him to try and find this boy he hardly knows even though there’s a super-powered danger around every turn. And, for Michael, it’s coming to realise the real reason he never sees his son. The book’s called “Ordinary” for reasons that aren’t just about super powers and explosions and giants and talking bears and huge battles. There’s an emotional arc for our lead that is pretty unusual for modern comics, I think.

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‘The Devastator’ #8 shows what’s so great about crossovers

Every good crossover needs a hologram cover

Every good crossover needs a hologram cover

The Devastator #8: “Crossovers”
By Various Writers and Artists
Edited by Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows

People love crossovers. That’s not news, but I’ve never stopped and wondered why that is. What exactly is so cool about someone from Universe X running into someone from Universe Y? Or even people from different corners of the same universe meeting each other? And why do some crossovers work really well when others are so disappointing? The most recent issue of the humor anthology The Devastator explores crossovers in a way that’s of course funny, but also helps me understand what makes a great one, and why.

Devastator #8 features comics and pin-ups by a lot of great artists, as well as short stories, essays, infographics and epic poetry. On one level, it’s fun simply to read through and giggle at Box Brown’s Punisher/New Yorker mash-up or spot the references in Jim Rugg’s cover. But the more I read, the more I realized that The Devastator was scratching a crossover itch in a way that’s more satisfying than most of the actual crossovers it’s parodying.

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This weekend, it’s Small Press Expo

spx posterOne of the biggest indie comics events of the year, Small Press Expo (aka SPX), will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in North Bethesda, Maryland.

It’s a must-attend show for me, and this year will be no different. Well, it will be a little different, as my 11-year-old daughter will be coming along for what will be her first-ever comics convention. She will have copies of her own comic, Indefinable, for sale, so if you see us wandering the aisles, say hello.

Traversing the aisles of SPX with a pre-teen might prove to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m going to try to cram as much age-appropriate comics fun in the weekend as possible. Here’s some things I’m looking forward to/hoping to buy.

Five comics I’m planning on buying:

1. Wild Man: Island of Memory by T. Edward Bak. I’m a big fan of Bak’s Service Industry and really enjoyed the story he was serializing in Mome, about explorer and scientist Georg Steller. Wild Man: Island of Memory collects and reworks that material, the first part of what will be a projected four-volume series. Based on what I’ve read so far, I feel expect that this will be one of the more talked-about books at SPX this year.

2. Frontier #2 by Hellen Jo. Jo has been relatively quiet comics-wise since she released Jim and Jan a few years back. Now, via Ryan Sands’ relatively new publishing venture, Youth in Decline, she’s got what’s sure to be a swell mini collecting various paintings, pencils and other artwork.

3. Monster. It just wouldn’t be SPX if Hidden Fortress Press didn’t have a new volume of this usually reliable anthology. This year looks to be especially good, with 200 pages of comics by such noteworthy names as Marc Bell, Mat Brinkman, Jordan Crane, Michael DeForge, Edie Fake and Leif Goldberg. That’s a pretty killer list of talent – when was the last time we saw a new Brinkman comic, anyway?

4. Gold Pollen and Other Stories by Seiichi Hayashi. It’s nice to see more and more classic manga from people that aren’t Osamu Tezuka coming to Western shores. This is a collection of short stories from the author of Red Colored Elegy, a book I was a bit flummoxed by initially but that has slowly won me over more in ensuing years. The Picturebox site still labels it as “coming soon,” but it’s listed as a debut book on the SPX site. Basically, if it’s there, I’m buying a copy.

5. Love Stories by Mat Tait. New Zealand will be duly represented at the show by Tait, who will have this collection of stories available for sale. I’ve heard good things about Tait’s work and am excited to delve into it.

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Comics A.M. | Montreal Comiccon looks to draw 50,000 fans

Montreal Comiccon

Montreal Comiccon

Conventions | More than 50,000 fans are expected this weekend at Montreal Comiccon, where comics guests include Adam Kubert, Andy Belanger, Becky Cloonan, Bob Layton, Chris Claremont, Dale Eaglesham, Dan Parent, David Finch, Karl Kerschl, Mike Grell and Rags Morales.  Last year’s event drew 32,000, but organizers believe the inclusion of celebrity guests will attract significantly more attendees. [Montreal Gazette]

Creators | Artist, writer, and former carnival fire-eater Jim Steranko talks about his career in comics ahead of Nashville Comic Expo, where he will appear this weekend. He talks about learning to read — from comics — when he was a year and a half old, his many adventures outside of comics, and why he chose Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. when Stan Lee asked him which Marvel comic he would like to work on: “I could have nailed Spider-Man or Thor or the Fantastic Four, but that meant following Kirby. I might be crazy, but I wasn’t stupid. I pointed to Strange Tales and said I’d tackle the S.H.I.E.L.D. series, which was a Marvel embarrassment — the word ‘wretched’ comes to mind. I didn’t mention it to Stan, but I figured that on this strip, there was nowhere to go but up!” [Nashville Scene]

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Jamie S. Rich launching interview webseries ‘From the Gutters’


Despite the solitary nature of creating comics (or perhaps because of it), it’s very easy for writers and artists to become fast friends with one another — be it at conventions, in-store signings or even just online. Over the years editor-turned-writer Jamie S. Rich has accumulated countless friends and connections in the industry through his time at Dark Horse, Oni Press, writing books like 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and living in the comics mecca of Portland, Oregon. And after moderating numerous panels at conventions and even hosting his own “Evening with Jamie S. Rich” movie night at a Portland theater, the writer is taking things even further with a new comics interview webseries called From the Gutters.

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DC apologizes to those offended by ‘Harley Quinn’ contest

harley quinnDC Comics has apologized to anyone offended by the controversial Harley Quinn tryout page that asks artists to depict the fan-favorite character naked in a bathtub, seemingly about to commit suicide, and reiterated “the entire story is cartoony and over-the-top in tone.” However, the publisher appears to be continuing the DC Entertainment Open Talent Search.

The statement was issued Thursday, shortly after the the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness expressed their disappointment in the publisher, calling the contest “extremely insensitive” and “potentially dangerous.”

Their comments capped off a week of growing criticism about the panel, which Harley Quinn co-writer Jimmy Palmiotti clarified on Tuesday is part of a surreal dream sequence intended to have “a Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach.”

“We believe that instead of making light of suicide, DC Comics could have used this opportunity to host a contest looking for artists to depict a hopeful message that there is help for those in crisis” the three groups said in a joint statement, published by USA Today and The Huffington Post. “This would have been a positive message to send, especially to young readers,” the statement continued. “On behalf of the tens of millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide, this contest is extremely insensitive, and potentially dangerous. We know from research that graphic and sensational depictions of suicide can contribute to contagion.”

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