Current Transmissions

Photographs transport superheroes back to 16th century

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French photographer Sacha Goldberger, who previously made a splash with images of his 91-year-old grandmother as a superhero, exhibited his latest series “Super Flemish” over the weekend at the Grand Palais in Paris. As you might have guessed from the title and the above photo, the project features superheroes (and villains), Star Wars characters and other pop-culture figures — as if they were posing for Flemish paintings.

But these are indeed photographs, requiring models, costumers, hair and makeup artists and the like. And, as you can see from the gallery on Goldberger’s website, he even recruited his grandmother again. See more images, and photos from the exhibition, on Goldberger’s Facebook page.

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Lee Bermejo’s ‘Suiciders’ to debut in February

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Ahead of the release of the solicitations for February, Vertigo has unveiled the cover for the debut issue of Suiciders, the post-apocalyptic epic from Joker and Batman: Noel artist Lee Bermejo.

Originally announced in July 2013 for release later that year, Suiciders marks Bermejo’s debut as writer and artist on an ongoing series. Thirty years after a massive earthquake left Los Angeles in ruins, the city rises once more due to Suiciders, a television series that pits enhanced competitors against each other in bloody hand-to-hand combat using high-tech obstacles.

Bermejo illustrated the standard cover for the first issue, while Jock will provide the variant.

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Comics A.M. | San Diego enlists hotels to help keep CCI in city

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | The San Diego Tourism Authority is asking hotels in the Comic-Con International room block to freeze their rates at the 2016 level for the following two years, as part of its bid to keep the convention in the city. Already, 30 of the 50 participating hotels have agreed to do so. Meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will attend the next Comic-Con board meeting to make an appeal to organizers to remain in the city; Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi said Anaheim has made a bid for Comic-Con, but the city’s convention bureau wouldn’t comment.

A plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center collapsed after the hotel-tax funding scheme was ruled unconstitutional, but Anaheim is preparing to break ground on its own 200,000-square-foot expansion. However, Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said, “Some people had mistakenly implied that an expanded convention center would be the thing that solidified our decision to stay or go, but there are a number of factors to be addressed: hotel room rates, available space within hotels and outside the center, things that could mitigate the issue of having outgrown the convention center. An expansion would be great for the city and us, but if it doesn’t happen we’ve been able to make do without it, and if we can mitigate the concerns we do have we’ll be able to stay here.” [U-T San Diego]

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Winners announced for 2014 British Comic Awards

BCA LogoThe winners of the third annual British Comic Awards were announced Saturday at the Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, England. Two of the four awards went to titles published by Image Comics; all four of the winning works are readily available in the United States. Here are the winners:

Best Comic: The Wicked + The Divine #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)

Best Book: The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (Jonathan Cape)

Young People’s Comic Award: Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)

Emerging Talent: Alison Sampson for her artwork on Genesis (Image Comics) and “Shadows” from the In The Dark anthology (IDW Publishing)

Hall of Fame: Posy Simmonds

Two years ago, when the first awards were announced, there was some discussion about the gender balance of both the committee that chose the books and the nominations themselves. Last year’s awards all went to men. This year, there were more women on the committee and more women on the shortlist, and the awards were split, with Simmonds giving the women the edge.

Van Lente, Rosenzweig & Dinisio tap history in present day ‘Resurrectionists’

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Longtime readers of writer Fred Van Lente know well how much of a history buff he is. So it did not surprise me that his new ongoing series with artists Maurizio Rosenzweig and Moreno Dinisio, Resurrectionists, draws upon the past as a major fuel for the present day narrative. The creator-owned project builds upon the concept that certain people can utilize the knowledge and experience of their past lives.

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The Fifth Color | Wrestling with Marvel

my face when I learned CM Punk would be writing for Marvel Comics

My face when I learned CM Punk will be writing for Marvel

It’s a wonderful thing when two things you love seem to love each other as well.

When I read that former wrestling superstar and current Walking Dead enthusiast CM Punk is contributing a story for February 2015’s Thor annual, I enjoyed a small moment of having my cake and eating it too. Forgive my indulgence, but trust me, comics and wrestling sort of sit together on the school bus of storytellling; although they’re different mediums entirely, they share some common traits and interests that let one sort of lean into the other from time to time.

If you think about it, pro wrestling (or sports entertainment if you want to be more direct ) and comic books share a style of visual storytelling that starts in very broad strokes and becomes a masterpiece through the details and context of their respective works. Both deal in good and “bad”; whereas comics has its heroes and villains, wrestling has its faces and heels. Both heels and villains tend to do a lot of the heavy lifting, story-wise, as it’s their antagonism that creates the context and drives the plot. It’s why when Captain America and Iron Man fight, they’re never doing it for the competition; one of them will be in the wrong, enabling the reader to root for or against someone. When the Undertaker fights Hulk Hogan, no matter how cool the Undertaker is (and he’s so cool), Hulk Hogan is our hero, often our champion, so we hope he defeats the “bad guy.”

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From Russia with comics love: a look at artist Artyom Trakhanov

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New artists come along in comics seemingly ever week, but among the newest crop one has stood out for me: Russian illustrator Artyom Trakhanov. I discovered Trakhanov from his U.S. debut, the Image miniseries Undertow, but the more I’ve seen about him the more I’ve liked his work.

Since the completion of Undertow (which he describes as “Star Wars underwater”), Trakhanov has been churning out a number of one-off covers, short stories and concept art that have circulated online. Although more issues of Undertow are a possibility, the artist has been working on concept art for a number of other projects, including an enticing-sounding book with Brian Funk titled Enforcer, about gang wars in a city filled with magic. Artyom also has his long-running webcomic Madblade, which he hopes to resume and at some point translate into English.

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New Stuart and Kathryn Immonen book tops AdHouse slate

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Stuart and Kathryn Immonen‘s Russian Olive to Red King will headline a boisterous lineup of books coming in the spring from AdHouse Books. The slate, announced on The Comics Reporter, features Ignatz winner Sophie Goldstein’s new book The Oven in April, the Immonens’ long-gestating graphic novel in May, and the fourth issue of Ethan Rilly’s Pope Hats in June.

In 2010 Stuart Immonen spoke briefly to ROBOT 6 about Russian Olive to Red King, calling it a “tortured love story” featuring “petroglyphs and plane crashes and bad dogs and angry people.”

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Conversing on Comics with Ivan Brandon

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Ivan Brandon‘s stories may initially appear to be one thing, but when you read them you discover they’re actually something else entirely. The writer’s 2009 series Viking was a crime drama, and his new series Drifter is a story of frontier expansion in the 1800s — despite being set in the far-flung future. Many of Brandon’s stories have a technological bent, however; from his 2003 debut writing Terminator to his indie series NYC Mech to Machine Man in Marvel Comics Presents.

Drifter, with artist Nic Klein, debuted this week, and Brandon is in the middle of a four-city signing tour that finds him at Leed’s Thought Bubble this weekend and London’s Orbital Comics on Wednesday. It’s a familiar territory, launching a series, but he views the landscape of creator-owned comics differently today that he did when he started more than a decade ago.

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First officially sanctioned Batmobile is on the auction block

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Although George Barris’ Lincoln Futura concept car achieved iconic status on the 1966 Batman television series, it wasn’t the first Batmobile. That honor apparently goes to a customized 1956 Oldsmobile 88 built in a barn in New Hampshire and later sanctioned by DC Comics. And now it’s up for sale.

According to Heritage Auctions, 23-year-old Forrest Robinson began conceiving the car in 1960 — simply to drive around himself – and then enlisted his friend Len Perham to help build it. Their Batmobile, originally painted “space-age silver,” was completed in 1963, two years before Barris began work on the car for the TV show.

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Artists to follow on Twitter: Janet K. Lee

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While many creators use Twitter, not all of them do so to such a thorough degree as Janet K. Lee. The artist behind Return of the Dapper Men, Jane Austen’s Emma (for Marvel) and Lost Vegas shares commission pieces as well as works in progress and warmup sketches. Here are a few recent examples.

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Aspen seeks to broaden appeal of ‘Fathom’s’ Kiani with redesign

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Aspen Comics has unveiled a redesign of its often scantily clad Fathom heroine Kiani, set to be introduced in February with the launch of the fourth volume of her series.

The update of the decade-old Michael Turner character comes courtesy of  artists Giuseppe Cafaro (All New Fathom), Wes Hartman and Alex Konat (both of Fathom: Kiani fame).

“When Kiani was created in 2004, she was an instant hit with Aspen fans because of the depth of her personality and her unique character design,” Vince Hernandez, Aspen editor-in-chief and Fathom: Kiani writer, said in a statement. “And as our company and fan base continue to evolve, a new generation of readers will be introduced to this wonderful character, including a much larger female audience. We wanted to honor that spirit of progress by updating the look and feel of the series with an exciting new design.”

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Marvel/’Attack on Titan’ artist reveals Female Titan print

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Even as more details surface about the highly anticipated Marvel/Attack on Titan crossover, artist Gerardo Sandoval has debuted the limited-edition print he’ll have for sale Saturday as the Festo Comic festival in Mexico City.

The illustration features the characters from Hajime Isayama’s smash-hit manga fighting the Female Titan, who faces Marvel’s Avengers in the new issue of Japan’s Brutus magazine, on sale Saturday.

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Comics A.M. | Ed Kramer wants conviction thrown out

Ed Kramer

Ed Kramer

Legal | DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer is seeking to have his December 2013 conviction for child molestation thrown out, insisting he was forced into a plea deal by prosecutorial misconduct. His attorney Stephen Reba also claims that Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers ruled in 2009 that Kramer could determine whether he was healthy enough to stand trial, something she deemed unlikely. With the trial suspended, Kramer — who was accused of molesting three minors — was permitted to leave Georgia under conditions that included he not be alone with anyone under the age of 16. He was found in a Connecticut motel room in 2011 with a 14-year-old and subsequently extradited back to Georgia.

Reba claims that Beyers colluded with Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter to improperly reopen the case and denied Kramer the medical accommodations he needed to stand trial, forcing him into a plea deal. Porter has been removed from the case, as he is now a witness, and Reba wants Beyers removed as well. Nonetheless, Porter said the case is not going to go away: “The only way it will die is he’ll have to die or I’ll have to die and even that might not stop it.” [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Necessity invented Black Canary’s mother

And thus did Black Canary proclaim "the '80s are over"

And thus did Black Canary proclaim “the ’80s are over”

(NOTE: I’m happy to acknowledge the hard work and obvious dedication of the blogger Count Drunkula, whose Black Canary fansite Flowers & Fishnets was a great resource in putting together this post.)

Recent developments on The CW’s Arrow have gotten me thinking about the various twists and turns visited over the years upon DC Comics’ Black Canary. The television series has come at the character from a few different directions, even splitting some of her characteristics among three players. It makes sense for an adaptation of Green Arrow to include at least a nod to his longtime love interest, as traditionally they’ve been one of DC’s most prominent super-couples.

However, Black Canary didn’t start out as part of Green Arrow’s supporting cast, and even a cursory glimpse of her past invites some careful examination. Indeed, for a few years in the ‘80s, the history of Black Canary threatened to approach Hawkman levels of continuity complexity. Today we’ll look back at that history, and specifically at how a shared-universe setting can both screw up and enrich a character.

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