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DC’s Ame-Comi Girls digital comic launches Monday

Ame-Comi Girls Wonder Woman art by Amanda Conner

DC Comics kicks off its return to digital comics beginning Monday with the debut of the anime-influenced series Ame-Comi Girls. Based on a series of statuettes released by DC Collectibles (formerly DC Direct), Ame-Comi Girls features some of DC’s top female characters redesigned both in story and style to be more like anime and manga. DC says the new series’ first story arc shows the heroines fighting off a female Brainiac and a gang of “bad-girl” supervillains.

According to The Source, new weekly chapters will be available for download each Monday, with five individual character arcs — Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Duela Dent, Supergirl and Power Girl — leading up to a united Ame-Comi Girls series.

What makes this extra interesting is the talent behind the digital-first project: Co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are joined by a great assortment of artists like Amanda Conner, Tony Akins, Ted Naifeh and Sanford Greene.

This series will be joined in June by an anthology-style Batman series that the publisher pointedly says will be outside of “DC Comics continuity.” The creators involved on that is a treat as well, from the inspired pairing of Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire to B. Clay Moore and Ben Templesmith.

Food or Comics? | Popeye or popcorn

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

AvX: Vs #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d go all-in on AvX: Vs #1 (Marvel, $3.99). As a story format-junkie, this seems like an ideal supplemental series to the event comic series as we know it – I may have read it wrong, but this seems low on continuity and high on action – kind of a throwback to the condensed comics of the ’60s, I hope. And seeing Kathryn and Stuart Immonen on this together is a big deal – wish they’d get more chances like this! Next up would be the finale of The Twelve, #12 (Marvel, $2.99). I argued with myself about waiting for the trade at this point, but at the end of the day I’m more interested in this than a lot of everything else going on out there. Plus, I bought the eleven previous issues so I should finish it out, right? Next up would be Spaceman #6 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). I’m finding this series benefits from a deeper re-reading prior to each new issues, but it’s paying off in spades in terms of my enjoyment. This is definitely a palate cleanser after Azzarello and Risso’s run on 100 Bullets, but in a good way. Finally, I’d get Daredevil #11 (Marvel, $2.99). The Eisner Awards judges got this one right when they piled nominations on this book, because Waid, Martin, and Rivera have really made the quintessential superhero book here. The fill-ins from Khoi Pham and Marco Checchetto seem off-putting, but they’ve earned some lee-way after the murderer’s row of creators who started the book. Can’t wait to see Samnee on this, however.

If I had $30, I’d start off with an interesting looking project that’s gotten no press – Airboy: Deadeye #1 (Antarctic Press, $3.50). Chuck Dixon and Ben Dunn — what a pairing. After that I’d go back to get Supercrooks #2 (Marvel/Icon, $2.99); Mark Millar knows how to sell a high-concept, but it’s Leinil Yu that’s making me come back past the first issue. After that would be an Avengers two-fer: New Avengers #25 (Marvel, $3.99) and Secret Avengers #26 (Marvel, $3.99). I dropped off New a few issues back, but with this new issue covering some never-before-seen connections between Iron Fist and the Phoenix Force, I’m back in for this one. And Secret Avengers, well, Remender’s on a roll with his Marvel work and this is continuing on that without being an Uncanny X-Force retread. And guest artist Renato Guedes seems a better fit for this than his work on Wolverine.

If I could splurge, I’d lunge for a copy of The Art of Amanda Conner (IDW/Desperado, $29.99). I was fortunate enough to get a digital review copy of this earlier, and seeing it like that only made me want this more. Rather than just being a template art book plugging in her work, the design and packaging really go along with what you’d expect from Amanda’s tongue-in-cheek comic style. Reading this makes me want to go back and track down her earlier work that I missed.

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Best look yet at Before Watchmen pages, character designs

Ozymandias character design by Jae Lee

While fans and retailers at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo were given a first glimpse at interior art for DC Comics’ sprawling Watchmen prequels, BuzzFeed now provides the best look yet at pages and character designs from Before Watchmen in the form of photos of a binder at the DC offices. Among the images are interiors from Rorschach, by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, Silk Spectre, by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner, Ozymandius, by Len Wein and Jae Lee, and Curse of the Crimson Corsair, by Wein and John Higgins. There are also character designs by Bermejo, Conner, Cooke, Higgins, Andy and Joe Kubert, and Lee.

Before Watchmen debuts in June.

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DC Comics offers a first look at Before Watchmen pages

DC Comics has updated its New Frontiersman promotional website with a first, albeit small, look at interior artwork from Before Watchmen, the sprawling prequel to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The portfolio, featuring art by the likes of Lee Bermejo, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones and Jae Lee, was shown Thursday at the Diamond Retailer Summit and Saturday at the “DC All Access: Before Watchmen” panel at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.

Amanda Conner’s Power Girl toilet seat cover

Jimmy Palmiotti recently posted a bunch of pictures of Amanda Conner at conventions. They’re a lot of fun, but sitting there amongst the photos of Conner with Wookiees and Black Canaries is a picture of a weird and hilarious piece of original Conner art: a Power Girl toilet seat cover on which the character discusses why she’s there and the impracticability of her costume.

There’s no real nudity, but its subject matter makes it possibly NSFW, so we’ll put the picture below the jump.

[Update: A commenter points out below that this is part of the Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum at Isotope, which includes other lids from artists like Brandon Graham, Darwyn Cooke, and Ben Templesmith. Thanks, Brian.]

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A first look at DC’s Before Watchmen covers [Updated]

As DC Comics’ Before Watchmen announcement rolls out from multiple news and entertainment outlets, so too do our first looks at covers for all seven prequels to the groundbreaking 1986 miniseries.

Okay, almost seven, as USA Today has only offered a detail of one of Lee Bermejo’s covers for Rorschach (at right), his four-issue miniseries with Luthor and Joker collaborator Brian Azzarello. To make up for it, though, there’s a cover by original Watchmen colorist John Higgins for a Crimson Corsair story by he and original Watchmen editor Len Wein.

We also have a Dr. Manhattan cover by Adam Hughes (courtesy of CBR), Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke (Hero Complex), Nite Owl by Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert (Heat Vision), Ozymandias by Jae Lee (Underwire), and Silk Spectre by Amanda Conner (Entertainment Weekly). UPDATE: Now, thanks to The New York Times, we also have one of J.G. Jones’ Comedian covers.

Check out the covers below. We’ll update if more, and in some cases larger, images become available.

UPDATE: DC Comics has released hi-res versions of each of the covers, which we’ve added below.

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NYCC hangover | A round-up of additional news from the show

Age of Apocalypse

News and reports from the New York Comic Con rolled out even after the lights were turned off on Sunday; here are a few of them, as well as some tidbits we missed the first time around:

• Marvel announced an ongoing Age of Apocalypse series by David Lapham and Roberto De La Torre, spinning out of the current “Dark Angel Saga” storyline in Uncanny X-Force. [CBR]

• Designer Chip Kidd is writing a Batman book called Batman: Death by Design with art by Dave Taylor. It’s due out next summer. [ComicsAlliance]

• USA Today spotlighted Captain Brooklyn, due next May from Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Tieri and Amanda Conner. The three-issue miniseries will be published by Image Comics. [USA Today]

• Following the convention, Marvel has released pages from the Prep & Landing story that will appear in a few of their upcoming November comics. [CBR]

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Nike enlists Amanda Conner and Jan Duursema for new campaign

Art by Amanda Conner

Despite how well Amanda Conner might be able to slam-dunk a basketball, it’s her artistic ability that’s got her joining forces with Nike on a new campaign. Joining with Star Wars artist Jan Duursema, Conner has created a series of superhero-friendly illustrations promoting Nike’s women’s training line under the title “Make Yourself: A Super Power.” Here’s the artwork released so far, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there are some actual comics in the offing.

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The Art of Amanda Conner coming in January

If you love comics, then there’s a good reason to suspect you love art; after all, that’s what they’re built on. And an upcoming release puts one of the the modern age’s most talented artists into full focus. Coming in just six months is The Art of Amanda Conner, penned by Conner herself and published by IDW.

I’ve been following Conner’s work for years; ever since her work on The Pro I’ve dug through back-issue bins and pre-ordered new work to keep myself appraised of what she does. She has an undoubted admiration for good girl art, mixing both sexiness and humor without turning it salacious. She seems like a talent that numerous publishers and writers fight over to draw their stories, but Conner has largely stuck to a close circle of friends, including her NYer beau Jimmy Palmiotti.

Although not scheduled for release until January 2012, The Art of Amanda Conner is a must-have in this comic-art-lovin’ household. I hope Conner will be at Megacon later that month so I can get it signed!

Talking Comics with Tim | Jimmy Palmiotti

Trailblazer

Anytime I get to talk to Jimmy Palmiotti, we never lack for projects to discuss. I can’t prove it, but I am willing to bet Palmiotti came up with at least two new story ideas while in the midst of this email interview. This Wednesday, July 6, marks the release of Trailblazer, a 48-page full-color western science fiction comic book ($5.99 [Image]) that he co-wrote with Justin Gray and art by Jim Daly. As detailed in this recent CBR release coverage, Trailblazer is “about a hired killer who turns in evidence against an employer for the murder of the woman who raised him. The government must then shield their star informant by enacting Operation Trailblazer, a witness protection program that uses not only location but time travel as well in order to keep their charges safe. As the assassin adjusts to his new life in the old west, he soon finds that no matter when or where he is the future is dead set in coming back to haunt him.” If you buy the book via Comixology, the original script is included as a bonus.

Before discussing this new Image release, we talked a bit about the impressive Jonah Hex 70-issue run (please note, for more scoop on Palmiotti and Gray’s plans for the new All-Star Western series be sure to read CBR’s Jeffrey Renaud’s recent interview with the creators)–not to jump the gun though, as issue 69 goes on sale this Wednesday (with art by Jeff Lemire). Also our discussion delves into the Palmiotti/Gray team reuniting with artist Joseph Michael Linsner on the Claws II (a sequel to Marvel’s Black Cat/Wolverine 2006 team-up) miniseries, which amazingly enough also goes on sale this Wednesday (check out the CBR preview of the first issue). Go into a comic book store this Wednesday, and bottom line, you will have your pick of Palmiotti product to buy. Palmiotti’s passion for comics and his equal commitment to meeting deadlines are two things I’ve always admired about him and that shine through in this interview. As you’ll read at the end of the interview, Palmiotti is curious to know what characters fans would like to see him work on, so please be sure to let him know in the comments section.

Tim O’Shea: You and Jonah Hex have a heck of a future together (with All-Star Western), no doubt. But I really want to talk about how amazing it was that you and Justin successfully told Jonah Hex for 70 issues. How proud are you of that accomplishment?

Jimmy Palmiotti: Very proud…and proud of the excellent work of so many amazing artists along the way. Justin and I would celebrate each and every year we were on Jonah , thinking at any minute it could be the last, but the great crew at D.C. comics always believed in us and believed in our choices and seventy issues is a huge milestone. They believed in us so much that with the new 52 books, they let us continue too do what we do best. In our minds, issue one of All Star Western is another chapter in the characters life and we haven’t missed a beat. The good news is that we are going to have a lot of fun with the other western characters in the D.C. universe.

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Lee, Deodato, Marz, Palmiotti, Conner and more contribute to Japan Needs Heroes

Japan Needs Heroes

Red Giant Entertainment has recruited several top names in the comics industry to contribute to Japan Needs Heroes, a graphic novel that aims to raise money for the Japan Society, a non-profit organization that has created a special disaster relief fund to aid victims of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan.

A press release that went out today from comiXology, which will distribute the book digitally when it is released, listed Stan Lee (who will provide the forward), Peter David, Ron Marz, Mike Deodato, Larry Hama, Jimmy Palmiotti, Elaine Lee, Amanda Conner, Howard Mackie and Brandon Peterson as contributors. You can find a list of additional creators on the book’s Kickstarter page, which Red Giant is using to fund the printing.

“My wife is from Japan,” said Benny R. Powell, CEO of Red Giant, “and her family still lives there. We hear daily reports of the fear and uncertainty they face. I realized we had to do something. Comics have a power to reach massive audiences and that’s a powerful thing. As more and more creators join our cause I believe we can raise a lot of money to help. This transcends any genre, medium, or publisher. This need is bigger than anything our world has ever faced, and we truly believe that together we can make a difference.”

Amanda Conner’s new cover for the Two-Step collection

Two-Step

Two-Step

On his blog, writer Warren Ellis reveals an impressive new cover that Amanda Conner and colorist Paul Mounts created for the trade paperback collection of Two-Step, which is finally being collected this November. The comic was published in 2003 by WildStorm, under their Cliffhanger imprint, I believe, and was written by Ellis and draw by Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.

“You know how this project started? I’d worked with Amanda before — on a Vampirella thing, just because I wanted to write something for Amanda, because she’s brilliant,” Ellis wrote on his blog. “And a couple of years later I got an email from Jimmy that read, I swear: ‘Wanna write something for Amanda and I? We both think you don’t suck.’”

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Apple

Apple

Technology | Apple said it is adding new security measures to its iTunes store after a developer reportedly hacked into numerous customer accounts to boost the ranking of his comic apps, which briefly dominated the book category. The company claims the weekend incident was an isolated — about 400 of its 150 million iTunes users were affected — but customers tell The Wall Street Journal that hackers have hijacked accounts before, with Apple doing little to stop them. [The Wall Street Journal]

Conventions | Heidi MacDonald looks at the tug of war between San Diego, Los Angeles and Anaheim for Comic-Con International, and the tough decision facing event organizers. “This has been by far the most challenging thing we’ve ever done,” said David Glanzer, the convention’s director of marketing and public relations. “Nobody thought we wouldn’t have a decision by June.” The board hopes to make a decision before this year’s event kicks off in two weeks. “If we don’t [make an announcement],” Glanzer said, “a lot of the focus is going to be on that.” [Publishers Weekly]

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Talking Comics with Tim: Jimmy Palmiotti

Power Girl 12

Power Girl 12

Much of this Jimmy Palmiotti email interview happened right before Friday’s announcement that Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner are saying goodbye to Power Girl once they finish issue 12. I could have reworked many of the Power Girl questions, but I chose to keep the remainder of Power Girl questions intact, as there’s still a few issues of the run (the focus of the discussion) and Palmiotti (as he always does) gave some great answers. Any interview with Palmiotti has to include his and Gray’s continuing work on Jonah Hex, of course. Finally, Palmiotti often has some creator-owned work set to release, and this time around it’s his and Gray’s collaboration with artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo on Random Acts of Violence, a 72-page graphic novella (published by Image and set to be released on April 28, 2010). I always enjoy the chance to interview Jimmy, and this go around proved no different.

Tim O’Shea: Can you divulge some more details about Power Girl 12 — and from a writer’s standpoint, how enjoyable/bittersweet is it to get to this 12th (and final one for the team) issue, where you get to (as the solicits put it) “All the pieces of the puzzle come together…”? As a creative team did you accomplish a great deal of what you had wanted to do in the 12 issues?

Jimmy Palmiotti: We all knew that issue 12 was going to be Amanda’s last issue on the book for a while but we didn’t know just how much her work and Power Girl became one for us. As we got closer to the deadline to find another artist, Justin and I started really thinking about how it would be next to impossible to find a replacement and even if we did, how it would be difficult to write a book like this for someone else…so we just figured it was time to move on, be a real team and all of us leave the book for the next crew to take on. That said, we know who the new writer is, are excited about who it is and have fed them the scripts and even asked if there was anything we could do with the book to leave it in a place where they need it and so on. Fans of the title will be happy that the book does not skip a beat and will be pretty excited with what the title has in store. Leaving the book is a hard thing to do, especially since we gave it our heart and soul and Amanda , Paul and John put so much into each and every page … but at the same time we look back at the 12 issues and are really proud of the work we have done and how we built on to Power Girl’s legacy.

Let’s just say the last 3 issues are going to be remembered as the best in the run and we couldn’t be happier with all the support we have been given by our editors Brian and Mike and the rest of the D.C. crew. it was a dream gig on all levels. I don’t think I ever laughed as hard or had more fun on any title.

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