Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Rapper Ghostface Killer makes no bones about his love of comic books, occasionally even using the alias Tony Starks. For his 2013 album Twelve Reasons to Die, he ventured into comics himself with a companion series featuring contributions by such artists as Paolo Rivera, Francesco Francavilla, Ben Templesmith and Ron Wimberly.
For his follow-up 36 Seasons, due out Dec. 9, Ghostface is once again turning to comics talent, this time for a booklet included with the album. Produced by Matthew Rosenberg, who wrote the Twelve Reasons to Die comic, the booklet includes art from the likes of Ming Doyle, David Lapham, Michael Walsh, Palle Schmidt, Tyler boss, Artyom Trakhanov and Aaron Conley.
Dark Horse will celebrate the 200th issue of Dark Horse Presents in February with an 80-page installment that includes the first U.S. publication of “Masks,” a short story by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and veteran artist Dave Gibbons.
The story, about a mother turned masked vigilante, originally appeared in April as part of The Guardian’s celebration of the opening of the “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.” exhibition at the British Museum. “Masks” marks Flynn’s comics debut.
The nominees have been announced for the 2014 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, named for the renowned creator of Magnus, Robot Fighter and illustrator of the Tarzan and Star Wars comic strips.
Presented annually since 1982, the award recognizes an artist who, early in his or her career, “shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics.” Previous winners include Dave Stevens, Eleanor Davis, Jeff Smith, Marion Churchland, David Petersen and Art Adams.
This year’s nominees are:
A Centaur’s Life, Vol. 1 (Seven Seas): Easily the weirdest comic I read this month, Kei Murayama’s manga is about an alternate world where everything is the exact same as it is in ours, save for the fact that there are multiple races like centaurs, angel folk, goat folk, cat folk, dragon people and so on. Oh, and while human beings apparently still exist, the only one glimpsed is a medieval knight seen in flashback, having enslaved a centaur is some bizarre armor/restraining device in order to ride him.
What makes the manga so weird, however, is that there doesn’t seem to be any reason, at least not in this first volume, for why our heroine Himeno is a centaur, and why her classmates are all various fantasy races living out an otherwise completely mundane existence.
Himeno is a sweet, shy, pretty and popular Japanese schoolgirl (who is also a centaur). She’s afraid of boys, likes hanging out with her friends, and love sweets, although she worries about getting fat. The stories are mostly of the frivolous high-school comedy sort that could easily have been told with human characters.
In the first story, Himeno is self-conscious about her genitals, which she’s never looked at, as she’s afraid they might resemble those of a cow the kids once saw on a field trip (unlike some centaurs, the ones in this comic keep their horse parts covered in elaborate pants that appear difficult to put on and take off). In another, her class puts on a play, and she’s cast as the female lead, while her best friend — a girl with bat wings, a spade-shaped tail and pointy ears — is the male lead. In another, she’s suspected of doing some modeling work, in violation of school policy regarding part-time jobs.