Just like “the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City,” the Wolverine statue “would be a major boon for tourism in the city,” writes Brian LaBelle in his petition on Change.org. “It is also important because it is what is commonly referred to as a ‘catalyst project,’ meaning it will spur greater growth on the downtown of Alberta’s capital city and create numerous spin-off projects in much the same way that the X-Men comic book spun off dozens of other successful books.”
The petition couldn’t come at a better time, as there’s already a project happening to revitalize the downtown area of Edmonton — and build a new arena for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. A commenter suggests that perhaps the petition is a parody and “provides a clear example of how poorly conceived the current Arena deal with [Oilers owner Daryl] Katz is.” I can only hope that isn’t the case, as I’ve never been to Edmonton myself, but a statue of Wolverine would certainly be enough to get me to renew my passport and head north.
Publishing | Calvin Reid looks at Archie Comics’ growing book-market presence, which has exploded since the publisher signed Random House as its distributor in 2010. [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | Matt Kindt, author of Red-Handed, writes about how becoming a comics creator has made it impossible for him to enjoy reading comics for their own sake. [The Huffington Post]
Awards | Animal Land, by Zatch Bell creator Makoto Raiku, took the Best Children’s Manga honors in Kodansha’s 37th annual manga awards. The sports manga Gurazeni won the overall award for best manga. [Anime News Network]
Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and what have you we’ve been checking out lately. Joining us today is Allison Baker, co-publisher of Bandette, Edison Rex and all the other Monkeybrain Comics you can find on comiXology.
To see what Allison and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
If it’s Saturday, it must be time for Shelf Porn! Today’s shelves come from Kris in Bangor, Maine, who shares his shelves filled with graphic novels, action figures and more. On one shelf he has his DC figures, and on the shelf next to it are his Marvel figures, separated only by a small gap. If they ever decided to cross that gap … madness! (I watched Toy Story 2 last night with my son, so I can only imagine what those figures are getting up to at night).
If you’d like to submit your collection, find out how to do that by going here.
And now let’s hear from Kris …
Sharaz-De: Tales from the Arabian Nights
By Sergio Toppi
In his foreword to Sharaz-De, Walt Simonson describes picking up Sergio Toppi comics in their original Italian during the ‘70s. Though Simonson doesn’t read Italian, he was attracted to the art, and it’s easy to see why. Every page invites the reader to stop and study. Toppi is a master at cross-hatching. He gives people, animals, and settings layers and layers of detail through thousands of short lines, all directing the eye to exactly the place he wants it to go. He pulls me in not just panel after panel, but figure after figure. Fortunately, Sharaz-De has large pages with lots of room, and as adept as Toppi is at filling those pages with ink, he’s equally skilled at using negative space to balance out compositions and give the eye a break.
I empathize with Simonson’s being so pulled into this stuff even though he didn’t understand the text. I’ve often been tempted to pick up European comics that I couldn’t read simply because they were beautiful. I’ve always resisted though, because I’m too interested in story to be able to enjoy comics purely for their visuals. That’s why I get excited when publishers like Archaia translate these books for English readers.
I read Toppi’s Sharaz-De back-to-back with another graphic novel, A Flight of Angels by Rebecca Guay and Friends. There’s a line in Guay’s book that was written by Holly Black: “Tricksters tell the truth in a way that makes it lies.” That stuck with me, because I think the opposite is true of great storytellers, who tell lies in a way that makes them truth. That’s an appropriate description of what’s going on in Sharaz-De. It’s not only what Toppi is doing, but his main character as well.
Saw this via Mike Mignola’s Facebook feed: I feel like I’m maybe the wrong man to bring you this news, but Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are Elizabeth Barrial or Brian Constantine, a pair of Californian perfumiers who “specialize in integrating mythology, archetypes, folklore, poetry, and visual artwork with scent.” They’ve produced themed ranges influenced by H.P. Lovecraft and the works of Neil Gaiman in the past, and now they’ve brought out The Hellboy Collection, a “series based on the characters, locations, themes, and concepts in the world of Eisner-award winning Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.”
There’s a lot of humor present in this range: Hellboy’s signature fragrance is described as “aftershave, candy wrappers, brimstone, and cat.” There’s a scent called “A Plague of Frogs” described as “rubbery, wet, and warty.” Trevor Bruttenholm’s is “a classic men’s cologne mixed with the scent of old, yellowed books, a splash of bay rum, and summoning incense,” and Kroenen’s has the extremely pervy-sounding “shining black leather, gleaming metal, labdanum, and myrrh.” Funny stuff, but showing the B.P.A.L. crew are obviously fans of Mignola’s work.
The thing is, I don’t need this because I reckon I already smell like Trevor Bruttenholm without even needing a bottle of perfume, but this is possibly the oddest sounding product licensed from a comics property ever, and for that it deserves a hearty round of applause.
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 Dennis Hopeless, writer of Avengers Arena, Cable & X-Force, Lovestruck, Gearhead and more.
Now let’s get to it …
Comic-Con International has announced this year’s nominees for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, which is given to a comic artist “who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics.” This year’s nominees are:
• Rem Broo, artist of The End Times of Bram and Ben (published by Image)
• Craig Cermak, artist of Voltron, Year One (published by Dynamite)
• Bryan Coyle, artist of Babble (published by Com.x)
• Paul Roman Martinez, writer/artist of The Adventures of the 19XX (self-published)
• Russell Roeling, artist of Wasteland (published by Oni)
Both Cermak and Martinez are previous nominees.
The award is named for Russ Manning, the prolific artist who worked on Tarzan and Star Wars, and created the classic comic series Magnus, Robot Fighter. Started in 1982 as a joint presentation of Comic-Con International and the West Coast Comics Club, this award honors a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics. Previous winners of the award include Dave Stevens, the first winner in 1982, as well as Art Adams, Jeff Smith, Gene Ha, Jerome Opeña, Steve Rude, David Petersen, R. Kikuo Johnson, Marian Churchland, Nate Simpson and Tyler Crook.
The winner will be announced July 13 during the Eisner Awards ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
My favorite comic of the past year by a clear head and shoulders has been The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon. In fact, when others were courting controversy by loudly bemoaning the absence of Marvel and DC comics in the nominations for Eisner Awards, I was to be found loudly berating anyone that would listen that it was a crime Nao wasn’t in the running at all. It should have been nominated in at least three categories, I’d argue.
History won’t judge this oversight well, I would rage. It won the Prix Spécial du Jury at this year’s 40th Angoulême International Festival of Bande Dessinée, I’d point out. The French don’t just throw those things around like confetti. They know what they’re talking about. And they hate the English, I’d generalize. How good must it be for them to forget Agincourt and Waterloo and give the prize to a Ros Bif? Then the ambulance arrived, that big guy injected something into my neck, and I can’t remember much of the next couple of days at all.
This week saw the debut of Chin Music, a monthly series written by Steve Niles and drawn by Tony Harris. Announced at last year’s Image Expo, Chin Music is about a man named Shaw who flees through time from his ancient enemies, landing in Prohibition-era Chicago to find himself surrounded by gangsters, law enforcement and the local supernatural underground.
So does Chin Music hit the right notes or does it fall flat? Here are a few thoughts on the first issue from around the web:
Less than a year after a masked gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 others at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the management of a Missouri theater paid an actor — or, rather, actors — dressed in tactical gear and carrying fake guns to walk into the multiplex last weekend to promote the opening of Iron Man 3. Needless to say, it wasn’t well-received by everyone, including the police.
Columbia, Missouri’s ABC 17 News reports Jefferson City police responded to a series of 911 calls from moviegoers stating “that a man dressed in all black and body armor and a rifle was walking into Capital 8 Theaters.” However, instead of confronting the active shooter that they expected, Capt. Doug Shoemaker said police arrived to find a publicity stunt orchestrated by the theater.
“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” he told the news station. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”
A great artist can make readers stand up at attention, while a fast artist can make editors’ lives a lot easier. Luckily for fans and publishers alike, Declan Shalvey is both.
Taking the artistic reins on Deadpool in August, Shalvey is in the middle of an epic upward-bound trajectory in comics, drawing books for Marvel and Dark Horse. His career began with a 28 Days Later comic for BOOM! Studios, but fans didn’t really take notice of his work until he began alternating arcs of Thunderbolts with Kev Walker.
Despite its frantic biweekly shipping schedule, Thunderbolts was an ideal showcase for Shalvey’s gritty, textured illustrations (with a bounce reminiscent of emotive newspaper cartoonists). After working on that title, and its successor Dark Avengers, for two years, the Irish artist was tapped to follow after Tony Moore on Venom. But stand back: Shalvey isn’t just a superhero artist. While tackling those comics for Marvel, he also illustrated graphic novel adaptations of Frankenstein and Sweeney Todd for European publishers, and arcs of Vertigo’s Northlanders and Dark Horse’s Conan the Barbarian.
With a click of the “Buy Now” button, readers could download 50 first issues through the company’s online storefront. Worth $168.50, the titles ranged from from the first issues of 1994′s Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction and 2002′s B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth to far more recent series, like The Massive, Mind MGMT and The Black Beetle: No Way Out.
“The success of our digital promotion illustrates the growing reach of digital comics, which we believe are an important element in the recent resurgence of physical comic book and graphic novel sales,” Dark Horse President Mike Richardson said in a statement.
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival celebrates its 10th birthday this weekend with a truly stellar lineup of guests and an amazing array of events. The list of creators who will be there is impressive in both its quality and its breadth: Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, David B., Taiyo Matsumoto, Rutu Modan, Frederik Peeters, Paul Pope, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Hope Larson, Faith Erin Hicks, Derf Backderf, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, a roll call that goes from living legends to plucky creators making their own comics zines by hand.
After introducing DC Universe staples ranging from Batman and Nightwing to Monsieur Mallah and the Brain to the world of Smallville, writer Bryan Q. Miller is turning his attention to comics’ best-known superheroine. Or at least an interpretation of her.
In an interview with MTV Geek, Miller reveals August’s Smallville Season 11 #16 will see the debut of Wonder Woman in the world established by the long-running television series, although not by that name. Yet. Still, the writer assures, she is “Diana of Themyscira. Daughter of Queen Hippolyta. Amazon Princess.”