Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
It’s shaping up to be a red-letter day for fans of free quality comics: As if that digital edition of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees #1 weren’t proof enough, this morning also saw the debut of Moose Kid Comics, an impressive children’s anthology featuring the work of more than 40 creators.
Created and edited by Jamie Smart, the 36-page digital comic boasts such talents as Roger Langridge, Tom Plant, Neill Cameron and Abby Ryder, Mark Stafford, Aaron Alexovich, Sarah McIntyre, James Downing, and Samantha Davies. And did we mention the “Young Tank Girl” strip by Alan Martin and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell?
“Here in the U.K, mainstream children’s comics have been dying out, especially ones featuring original content,” reads the comic’s mission statement. “The Phoenix and The Beano are the only commercially available weekly titles still producing entirely original characters, but they are competing against big-name licensed titles based on TV shows or merchandising. We want to help change things. We want to be creating the next generation of loveable characters for the world to embrace, all created by artists who retain their copyrights and put all their heart into their creations. We want to remind both children and adults alike how fantastical and imaginative comics can be, and to help bring children’s comics back into the public consciousness.”
Publishing | What begins as a profile of Australian publisher Gestalt Comics dovetails into a brief snapshot of the country’s comics industry — or, perhaps, “industry.” “There are publishers like Milk Shadow Books and Black House Comics, I think we all help to create the impression of there being an Australian industry,” says Gestalt co-founder Wolfgang Bylsma, “but I don’t think we’re established enough to call it an industry yet. There are very few people who are working full time in comics in Australia.” [artsHub]
Creators | Jamie Hewlett chats about art, influences, Gorillaz and whether he might considering returning to comics: “Would I go back to doing comics? I dunno, maybe. It’s a lot of work drawing a comic. [Laughs.] And, you know, I did 10 years of drawing comics, and I really enjoyed it, but I’m kind of keen to try other things that I haven’t done. But I was talking with Alan [Martin] about the possibility of doing something in a comic form together. We haven’t agreed upon anything yet. It’s just a conversation. I’d love to work with Alan again. I really like Alan; he’s really cool.” [Consequence of Sound]
Tank Girl returned to shelves on Wednesday in the form of Solid State Tank Girl #1 from Titan Comics. Perhaps coincidentally, but probably not, the artists at Ashcan Allstars have been celebrating Tank Girl week.
There’s some good work there — Tank Girl is a hard character to get right, tonally. Alan Martin’s signature character may have inspired a generation of Suicide Girls, but it’s hard to find an instance in her comics where her sexiness is ever being used in an exploitative fashion. Sure, there’s loads of gratuitous female and male nudity in the back catalog, but it’s almost certainly there for comedic reasons rather than titillation. So any artist attempting to draw the character as a straight-up cheesecake pin-up is completely missing the point. By and large, the Allstars have mainly got it right, but I’ll let you be your own judge of who’s been successful and who hasn’t — there’s a gallery of examples after the break.
This week, your favorite U.K. comic shops and online retailers should have received Everybody Loves Tank Girl, the latest volume in the ongoing saga of everyone’s favorite kangaroo-lovin’ chaos magnet (it will arrive in the United States next week). Since co-creator Alan Martin brought the character back in 2007, she’s been drawn by a succession of amazing artists: Ashley Wood, Rufus Dayglo and the elusive, legendary Mick McMahon. For this book, Martin has teamed with the great Jim Mahfood, marking the first time the U.K. comics icon has been drawn by an American.
Mahfood has made no secret of his love for Tank Girl, and he has clearly relished the opportunity to draw her and her extended cast of violence-loving misfits, producing some of the best work of his career. ROBOT 6 sat down with Martin to discuss this project and its unique origins, Tank Girl’s ongoing momentum, and the rumors that he is again working with the character’s co-creator Jamie Hewlett, still the only comic book artist in living memory to have ever quit the business to become a bona fide international pop star.
We followed along as Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin sought out a new artist before at last finding one in Warwick Johnson Cadwell. Now Titan Comics has announced in May it will debut their first collaboration, Solid State Tank Girl.
The four-issue series, which pits the title character against her “nastiest nemesis,” starts out simply enough, with Tank Girl, Jet Girl, Booga and Barney on a mission to save their favorite radio store: “But somewhere along the line Booga manages to electronically summon the gang’s evil counterparts, fronted by the darkest bitch on the planet – ANTI-TANK GIRL! The fight is to the death, as each gang member draws on their deepest, most screwed-up powers to eliminate their own personal nemesis. Things are about to get very dark, very bloody… and very stupid!”
The announcement arrives a week after the United Kingdom’s Titan Publishing announced the launch of Titan Comics, an imprint devoted to original creator-owned comics and new and classic graphic novels (among them, Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier and P.J. Holden, and Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol by Stuart Jennett). That was quickly followed by news that Titan has teamed with Dave Elliott to revive the Atomeka Press line and the well-regarded anthology A1.
“The new Titan Comics imprint is all about taking a chance on new creators and new talent,” Steve White, Titan’s senior comics editor, said in a statement, “and pairing Warwick’s street-art energy to Alan’s potty-mouthed imagination has refreshed Tank Girl once again. The results are blindingly good!”
Solid State Tank Girl #1 arrives in print and digital editions May 15. Read the full announcement below.
Publishing | DC Comics may no longer hold the rights to create new stories about The Spirit and other pulp heroes like Doc Savage and The Avenger, but it does retain the license to publish The Spirit Archives for “the foreseeable future,” according to Denis Kitchen, agent for the Will Eisner estate. Most of the hardcover collections are out of print. [The Beat]
Digital comics | Third time’s the charm for retailer Steve Bennett, as he goes through three different tablets (one was stolen, one malfunctioned) on his way to the ideal digital comics experience. [ICv2]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon kicks off his annual round of holiday interviews with a lengthy conversation with Alison Bechdel, creator of Fun Home and Are You My Mother? [The Comics Reporter]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where every week we talk about the comics, books and other stuff topping our reading list. Our special guest today is Rafer Roberts, creator of Plastic Farm–“The strange, terrifying, and hilarious story of Chester Carter’s messianic journey through madness and self-loathing.” Roberts is currently raising money for the second volume on Kickstarter.
To see what he’s been reading, along with the Robot 6 crew, click below …
Alan Martin has posted this short and sweet update to the Tank Girl Facebook page:
“TANK GIRL + WARWICK JOHNSON CADWELL = THE BEST COMIC OF 2013!!!”
Warwick Johnson Cadwell is, of course, the nicest man in the U.K. comics community, so this announcement has been met with no little jubilation from his friends on Twitter and Facebook. Here are some exclusive pieces sent along by Martin and WJC, the tryout art that secured him the gig. Dig that Gatchaman helmet.
Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin is on the hunt for a new collaborator to draw the Australian anarchist’s story. Comics luminaries such as Jamie Hewlett, Philip Bond, Ashley Wood and Jim Mahfood have done stints on Tank Girl, and an army of up-and-coming and established artists are hoping to follow in their footsteps. One of those artists who submitted work is James Harvey, and he just received news on how his samples went over with Martin.
“Sadly, I didn’t get it,” Harveyi wrote n a Tumblr post. “Alan said he couldn’t see his character in my drawings, and I guess he knows what he’s looking at. I’m going to post all the drawings I did on here so you can see what my Tank Girl might have looked like.”
Although fans won’t get to see Harvey’s Tank Girl in print, here is a selection of some of the art he submitted. Let us know what you think!
Alan Martin has posted on Facebook an open call for submissions in hopes of finding a new artist for his next Tank Girl project. Cue storm of Tumblr and DeviantArt links. He writes:
This is a call out to ARTISTS. In the coming months there will be an opportunity for someone to work on a new Tank Girl project. The budget won’t be huge, so I’m looking for an up-and-coming artist who is looking to break into the business, or an established artist who has always dreamed of working on Tank Girl(!). I’m looking for a comicbook artist that can deliver professionally finished, sequential, full-colour artwork and who also has a great grasp of the character. If this is you, or you know someone who fits the bill, please reply in this thread and post a sample of artwork on this page. I will be refraining from commenting on any individual submissions, as this is not a competition or a critique, so please don’t be offended at the lack of feedback. Many thanks in advance, and I look forward to seeing what’s out there! Alan XXX
Martin has had remarkable luck in finding collaborators over the years — Jamie Hewlett, Glynn Dillon, Ashley Wood, Rufus Dayglo, Mick McMahon, Jim Mahfood … Here’s hoping the next Tank Girl artist isn’t too intimidated at the prospect of filling those gigantic army-surplus boots. And how about a female cartoonist stepping up to the plate? Wouldn’t that make a certain sense?
The anthology Ink + Paper is about to release its second issue, and again has a cracking line-up of contributors, including assorted U.K. graphic novelists, cartoonists and children’s book illustrators. I’ll be getting this, if just for the strip by Will Morris, whose The Silver Darlings will be out soon from Blank Slate, and which I’m anticipating eagerly.
Below: Dredd, Tank Girl, another NSFW Jamie Hewlett watercolor, and more Continue Reading »
It’s Wednesday again, right (checks watch)? Jim Mahfood has made a video laying out an excellent case as to why you should get down to your local comic shop and buy the first issue of Everybody Loves Tank Girl, the Titan Comics miniseries by he and Alan Martin. Especially if your local is Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, which is hosting the release party.