Current Transmissions

Paul Smith reflects upon early days of his comics career

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If you’re like me, who only recently discovered that comics industry veteran artist Paul Smith has a website and is on Twitter, suffice to say you are in for a treat.

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Comics, statues and more in this edition of Shelf Porn

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today’s shelves come from Joseph in Parts Unknown, who shares his collection of comics and more.

If you’d like to see your collection here, you can find instructions on how to submit it at the end of this post.

And now here’s Joseph …

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Ulli Lust, Gene Luen Yang win LA Times Book Prizes

Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life The winners of the LA Times Book Prizes were announced Friday night, and not one but two graphic novels took top honors.

Ulli Lust won the Graphic Novels/Comics prize for Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, which also picked up an Ignatz Award and won an award at Angouleme in 2011 for the original edition. The other finalists were David B.’s Incidents in the Night: Vol. 1, Ben Katchor’s Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories, Anders Nilsen’s The End, and Joe Sacco’s The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, so it was a tough field.

In the Young Adult category, Boxers & Saints was up against four prose books: Elizabeth Knox’s Mortal Fire, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Joyce Sidman’s What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings, and Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase. Yang’s earlier book, American Born Chinese, was nominated for a National Book Award and won a Printz Award; both honors usually go to prose books.

The Fifth Color | Bang for your buck

Deadpool #27

that’s .04 per character on the cover!

How are new comics priced? I ask this mostly as a rhetorical exercise; I’m sure there is a process to decide how much new titles cost that involves sacrificial chickens and a large dart board, because it seems absolutely unfathomable to me some days. The average comic is either $2.99 or $3.99, and I’m always a little thrown off by which books get to be what price. There’s a certain amount of prestige to the $3.99 books, but I couldn’t tell you why. All I know is that I’m really glad Hawkeye is $2.99, and no one wants to jinx that by overthinking the cost process.

I also know that a more reliable indicator of cost is size; the bigger the comic, the more money they want for it, and that’s fair. More pages, more work, more money; it’s not that difficult a sell. More pages also mean a special occasion as they don’t bust out the 80-page giants for just anything. Larger comics are for a special occasion, even if that special occasion is just an annual that only happens once a year. They celebrate things, like anniversaries, milestone numbering or big story events. Say, a wedding…

That bad segue leads to the shocking event that three books this week totaled up, cost around $20 in the United States, around the price of a trade paperback. But just for three comics: Daredevil #1.50, All-New X-Men #25 and Deadpool #27. Were they worth it? Read on and find out.

WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead for Daredevil #1.50, All-New X-Men #25, and Deadpool #27; I’ll try to leave out any juicy bits, but I will talk about what the books are about. You have been warned.

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Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson on Amazon’s acquisition of comiXology

darkhorsedigitalDark Horse Comics is the highest-profile publisher whose digital releases are not available on comiXology, opting instead to use their own platform, Dark Horse Digital. Following Thursday’s news that Amazon has reached an agreement to purchase comiXology for an undisclosed amount, ROBOT 6 reached out to Dark Horse president and founder Mike Richardson for his thoughts on the matter:

“Companies outside our industry have been paying increasing attention to comics in recent years. New technology has offered a variety of new opportunities in both content creation and content delivery. It is not surprising that Amazon and Comixology would come together considering this environment. The comics industry, despite periods of lull, has always been an evolving and changing business, and this move is consistent with that history.”

Strange amnesia, talking severed heads populate ‘The Amateurs’

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What if you woke up one morning and completely forgot how to do your job? That would be bad, especially if your job is butchering animals. Courtesy of our friends at Fantagraphics, we’re pleased to share a preview of The Amateurs, the debut graphic novella by Conor Stechschulte. I should warn you that the preview is NSFW, as it’s a bit gruesome.

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Ming & Rachel explain the ‘Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men’ pinup

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Earlier this week many of us delighted at the reveal of Ming Doyle‘s homage to John Byrne’s classic X-Men #137 (Phoenix Must Die!). The commission was done for Rachel Edidin in anticipation of the first episode of Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, Edidin’s new podcast with Miles Stokes that debuts this weekend.

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Conversing on Comics: Svetlana Chmakova

HEADER-TEMPLATE-Conversing-On-ComicsSvetlana Chmakova has sent demons to school, been on the run with witches and wizards, and braved the world of comics as a fan-turned-professional. If you asked her, she might argue the last one was the toughest of all.

The Russian-Canadian cartoonist made a name for herself as part of a wave of artists working on TOKYOPOP’s OEL Manga line. 2005′s Dramacon and the two follow-up volumes showed Chmakova delving into the world of comics and manga with a story inspired by attending comic conventions and interacting with cosplayers. Chmakova went on to be one of the star players hired for Hachette’s graphic novel imprint Yen Press, first creating her own series Nightschool and then adapting hit novelist James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard series. Chmakova’s work has been prodigious, with 10 graphic novels released in just over nine years, and now here in 2014 she’s beginning a new chapter with a new creator-owned series with Yen, webcomics and a line of video podcasts on drawing. ROBOT 6 caught up with Chmakova to find out about what’s on her plate, as well as what’s on her mind and in her future.

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Powell to show ‘March Book Two’ pages at SPACE this weekend

MARCH2001small-150Fans attending this weekend’s SPACE, the long-running small press show in Columbus, Ohio, will have the first opportunity to see some of artist Nate Powell’s work on the forthcoming March Book Two.

March Book Two, as you can probably guess, is the followup to March Book One, and is written by Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. The well-received graphic novel, published by Top Shelf, is Lewis’ memoir of the civil rights movement. According to the creator, “Original pages from the forthcoming March: Book Two will be unveiled for the first time ever, and will be on exhibit near my table all weekend.”

Powell will also give a presentation about his upcoming projects on Saturay at 3 p.m., which include Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero, a collection of comics called You Don’t Say, a new printing of Swallow Me Whole, an early look at his next solo book and “collaborations with acclaimed writers Scott Snyder and Van Jensen.”

In addition to Powell, SPACE will also host a ton of creators from the Midwest and beyond, including Matt Feazell, Ryan Claytor, Jimmy Gownley, John Porcellino, Carol Tyler and many more. Find the complete list here.

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Who was that furry lawyer in the back of ‘Shutter’ #1?

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If you bought Shutter #1 this week by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca — and you should, if you haven’t yet — then you probably noticed the return of a certain orange-and-black-stripped attorney — Tiger Lawyer!

Created by Ryan Ferrier, Tiger Lawyer has starred in a couple of self-published comics and also ran as a back-up in a previous Joe Keatinge comic, Hell Yeah. Ferrier created the character with the idea that he could use him all sorts of different situations and genres, and work with a variety of artists.

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Jim Zub explains why ‘Networking Is Not What You Think It Is’

Editor’s note: It’s with great pleasure that we present a guest post from Jim Zub, writer of Skullkickers, Samurai Jack, Red Sonja and Cub, Disney Kingdoms: Figment and many more. Jim regularly shares his insights and tips from his own experiences breaking into the comic industry over on his blog, and when he offered to let us post the latest one I jumped at the chance. This one, on networking, has good tips whether you’re looking to be a comic pro or just looking for a job in general.

Thanks to Jim for sharing; you can see the post on his blog right here.

*****

Jim Zubkavich

Jim Zub

by Jim Zub

“Networking” is one of those broad social terms that get tossed out in conversation, and everyone who’s been around a while nods their head knowingly when the word comes up, but it’s something I think is quite misunderstood by a lot of people trying to get their start in comics or any other creative business.

Networking is not entering a social setting, finding the most “powerful” person there and trying to dazzle them so you can become “friends”.

It’s not sending lists of questions to professionals so they can “help” you break in.

It’s not tagging people on Facebook so they see your artwork or writing.

It’s not about dominating a conversation or hogging the spotlight.

It’s not nepotism or elitism, contrary to what some may think.

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Dark Horse bringing Buffyverse, Stan Sakai variants to WonderCon

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Dark Horse will bring three con-exclusive variant covers to WonderCon April 18-20, as well as two limited-edition hardcovers.

The first issues of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 and Angel & Faith Season 10 each get a variant, by Tomb Raider art director Brian Horton and Angel & Faith artist Steve Morris, respectively. They cost $5 each, and you’re limited to five copies of each.

Usagi Yojimbo artist Stan Sakai has drawn a variant cover for Dark Horse’s upcoming The Witcher comic, based on the video game of the same name. All proceeds from the sale of this limited-edition variant will benefit Stan and Sharon Sakai.

Finally, they will be selling limited hardcovers collecting the recent Itty Bitty Hellboy miniseries by Art Baltazar and Franco, and The Last of Us: American Dreams by Faith Erin Hicks and Neil Druckmann.

Check out the covers after the jump.

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Take a look at the pin-up gallery of the latest ‘Trekker’ collection

24687Mercy St. Clair, star of Ron Randall’s long-running Trekker series, has been busting heads and collecting bounties since the mid-1980s — so it’s no wonder she needs a vacation. But when things go terribly awry on the train to her resort destination, the guns come out.

Trekker: The Train to Avalon Bay collects stories from Dark Horse Presents #24–#29 featuring that fateful train ride, as well as a 22-page crossover with Karl Kesel’s Johnny Zombie that ran on the Thrillbent website. It also includes a large pin-up section, and courtesy of our friends at Dark Horse, we’re pleased to present some of those pin-ups today — by Dustin Weaver, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm, Ron Chan and Pete Woods.

Also, if you live in Portland, you can meet Trekker creator Ron Randall at Bridge City Comics from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight. They’ll have advanced copies of the book, which arrives next Wednesday everywhere else.

Check out the pin-ups below, and for more on Randall, Willamette Week recently did a very thorough profile on him.

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Thom Zahler’s ‘The Complete Love and Capes’ arrives in June

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Before he started working on those red-hot My Little Pony comics from IDW, Thom Zahler created Love and Capes, the charming and funny story of mild-mannered bookstore owner Abby and Mark, accountant by day and superhero by night. Through four miniseries, we saw them fall in love, get married and eventually have a baby — and deal with super villains, Amazonian ex’s and other zany superhero stuff. If you missed it the first time, you’re in luck — IDW will collect all three miniseries in The Complete Love and Capes, due out June 18.

Zahler told me that in addition to the previously published material, there’s also a back section full of extras that haven’t been collected before.

“The T-shirt designs, the drinking glasses, the pins and all the prints I do of the Love and Capes characters in the cities that I visit for conventions,” Zahler said. “There’s also the one-page print I did with Just Jenn Recipes where we homage the old Hostess ads. That’s the only story to take place after the last issue of ‘What to Expect.’ And there’s a wonderful introduction written by Paul Levitz, too.”

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Comics A.M. |’Airboy’ artist Fred Kida passes away

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Fred Kida

Passings | Eisner Hall of Fame nominee Fred Kida has died at the age of 93. Kida was an active comics artist for almost 50 years; he got his start drawing Airboy for Hillman Comics in about 1940 and went on to work for Lev Gleason and then Marvel. He assisted Will Eisner occasionally on The Spirit and also drew a number of newspaper strips, including Flash Gordon and The Amazing Spider-Man. “He was a good, dependable artist who drew beautiful women, handsome heroes and some of the ugliest villains in comics,” said Mark Evanier. [News from ME]

Publishing | ICv2 has a two-part interview with Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci, who has plenty to say about variant covers, the launch of Twilight Zone and Legenderry, their Gold Key properties, and what’s coming in the year ahead. [ICv2]

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