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Stan Sakai participating in next Mouse Guard Legends anthology

Mouse Guard by Stan Sakai

Although the Mouse Guard series is David Petersen’s sandbox, he has been known to let others in to play with his toys. For instance, the first Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard series featured stories by Ted Naifeh, Gene Ha, Jeremy Bastian and many others.

We know that a second volume of the anthology series is in the works, and it looks like one of the contributors will be Stan Sakai, who shares one of his pages on his LiveJournal. Sakai of course has been doing Usagi Yojimbo for decades now, so it isn’t surprising to see him drawing anthropomorphic characters, but it is a rare treat to see his work in color (beyond the Usagi covers, of course, and the occasional graphic novel or anthology submission).

Nexus returns in Dark Horse Presents #12

Nexus by Steve Rude

This year was not only a challenging one for artist Steve Rude, but it also marked the 30th anniversary of his and Mike Baron’s Nexus. So it’s great that it is ending with a bit of good news for the artist — Dark Horse Comics announced this week that the Eisner Award-winning duo will bring their popular creation back to comics next May in Dark Horse Presents #12.

“Nexus has never been a stranger to different publishers. Last seen under the Rude Dude banner in 2009, Nexus has stayed in limbo, never quite knowing when to return, or if he ever would return. Things come together in strange ways. With the backing of Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics, Nexus will return to comics,” Rude said in a press release. “We especially look forward to the response of Nexus’s devoted fans, and thank them for the wonderful support and encouragement they’ve given us since the book’s debut in 1981!”

Nexus was first published in 1981 by Capital Comics. Since then, it’s been published by First Comics, Dark Horse and Rude’s own Rude Dude Productions. Dark Horse has collected most of the material in several archive editions.

Food or Comics? | Jason Conquers Amaretto

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.

Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes

Graeme McMillan

As we head into Christmas, I’m saving my pennies for last-minute presents. That said, if I had $15 to spend, I’d run towards Memorial #1 (IDW, $3.99), the debut of the new fantasy series by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis. I admit to having sneaked a peak at this particular present, and I really enjoyed the tone, which is somewhere between Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who and some of Neil Gaiman’s work. I’d also grab Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 (DC, $6.99), the collection of what was supposed to be the final issues of Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman, Inc. series before the relaunch; I’d enjoyed Batman Incorporated a lot, and am ready for more of the weird, retro-but-somehow-off series again, especially with lovely Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham artwork.

If I had $30, I’d also grab Fantagraphics’ Jason Conquers America ($4.99), a collection of some of the cartoonist’s work that’s so far gone unseen in the US, along with pin-up tributes from fans like Mike Allred and Rich Tommaso. My nostalgia would then compel me to grab Defenders: Coming of the Defenders #1 (Marvel, $5.99), a reprint of the original stories that launched the fondly remembered (and just relaunched) non-team. Hulk groove on old comics.

Were I to ask Santa for something to splurge on, I might go completely left-field and ask for John Byrne’s much-maligned Spider-Man: Chapter One TP (Marvel, $34.99), which I’ve never actually read, but have a strange fascination with. Would that make me naughty or nice?

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Zack Soto premieres Study Group Magazine

And while we’re on the subject of big BCGF news, how’s this: Cartoonist and editor Zack Soto has announced the launch of Study Group Magazine, with a first issue slated to debut at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival on December 3rd. Spinning out of Soto’s long-running Studygroup12 anthology (the last issue of which debuted at last year’s BCGF) and co-edited by Soto and former Comics Journal editor Milo George, Study Group Magazine will include both comics and comics journalism. On the latter score, the first issue will feature an interview with Craig Thompson by George, an interview with cover artist Eleanor Davis by Soto, and a profile of Brecht Evens by Greice Schneider. As for the comics themselves, look for contributions from Soto, Michael DeForge, Jonny Negron, Trevor Alixopulos, David King, Aidan Koch, Daria Tressler, Chris Cilla, Malachi Ward, and Jennifer Parks. And be sure to visit Soto’s blog for some gorgeous purple-and-yellow two-tone preview art.

Food or Comics? | Vess, Wonder Woman, Mudman and more

Mudman

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.

Graeme McMillan

What’s that, you say? Paul Grist’s new Mudman series starts this week (#1, Image Comics, $3.50)? Well, that’s how I’m starting my $15 haul this week. While I’m at it, let’s add Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Kirby Genesis: Captain Victory #1 (Dynamite, $3.99), before finishing up with the third issue of Wonder Woman (DC, $2.99) for a superheroic week that goes from the earth to the gods, with some blaxploitation and aliens thrown in the middle for flavor.

DC would dominate the other half of my budget if I had $30. I’d be grabbing the third issues of Green Lantern Corps, Justice League and Supergirl ($2.99 each, except Justice League for $3.99), but I’m surprising myself as much as anyone else by grabbing The Bionic Man #4 (Dynamite, $3.99) for my final pick – I read the first three issues in a bunch this weekend and really enjoyed the book to date much more than I’d been expecting.

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pood to cease publication with issue #4

As a newspaper broadsheet it was always able to do so literally, but now the alternative comics anthology pood has folded in the unfortunately metaphorical sense. Writing on the pood blog, co-founder and co-editor Geoff Grogan says the publication’s fourth issue will be its last.

Through pood, editors Grogan, Kevin Mutch, and Alex Rader published a wide array of challenging, often unfashionable altcomix work, by creators ranging from Jim Rugg to Hans Rickheit to (in the anthology’s fourth and final issue) DC and Dick Tracy artist Joe Staton. But Grogan says that the project, always a labor of love, was a quixotic one in today’s marketplace: Its unconventional newsprint format, uncommercial contents, and budget-necessitated lack of a dedicated PR person made it impossible to generate enough revenue to continue the series.

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Incoming | A roundup of publishing news

It seems like my Google Reader and email box are getting full, so here’s a quick roundup of several new and new-ish announcements and information about upcoming comics and graphic novels.

The Twelve

• Marvel has announced plans to finally release the last few issues of The Twelve, starting in January. “It’s taken a long while, but finally, FINALLY, the balance of The Twelve has been completed and we’re ready to ship it all to our long-suffering fans,” said Tom Brevoort, senior vice president and execuitve editor. “We appreciate everybody’s patience, and both hope and expect that the conclusion will live up to the wait. And for folks who missed out the first time, we’re making it easy to get back on board no matter how much or how little of the previous eight issues you may have already read, though the release of the softcover trade paperback of the first six issues, and a Marvel Must-Have containing #7 and #8. So you’ve got no excuse not to experience one of the best reviewed, best beloved and long-awaited series Marvel has ever produced as it reaches its ultimate climax.”

• Fantagraphics has released their publishing catalog for Spring/Summer 2012, which includes their first two EC Comics collections, Gary Panter’s Dal Tokyo, more manga from Shimura Takako and Moto Hagio, and new volumes of Peanuts, Mickey Mouse, Carl Barks, Captain Easy, among others. The full catalog is available as a PDF.

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Robot 6 Q&A | Art Comix pay tribute to the 1990s in Rub the Blood

Rub the Blood

One of the more interesting projects to pop up on Kickstarter lately is Rub the Blood, “an Art Comix tabloid that explores the lasting influence (for better or worse) of the Early 90′s Collector Boom comics of Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, etc. on today’s most fringe underground cartoonists.”

Co-edited by Pat Aulisio and Ian Harker, the project fittingly draws its name from a 1990s cover gimmick and features contributions from a variety of art comix pros. In addition to Aulisio and Harker, contributors include Josh Bayer, William Cardini, Victor Cayro, PB Kain, Keenan Marshall Keller, Peter Lazarski, Benjamin Marra, Jim Rugg, Thomas Toye and Mickey Z. Rub the Blood will debut at the 2011 Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Fest.

Aulisio and Harker were kind enough to share a few thoughts and details about the project and its inspiration with me; my thanks for their time.

JK: Where did the idea originate to put this anthology together?

Ian: It’s been something we’ve kicked around in various shapes and forms for a few years now. The joke was that one day Rob Liefeld will be just as adored among the art comix crowd as Fletcher Hanks is now.

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Brandon Graham finds his Voice in Dark Horse Presents #7

The Speaker

Here’s a nice Christmas present — Brandon Graham is doing a new story in Dark Horse Presents #7, which arrives in shops Dec. 21. I didn’t realize until Dark Horse called it out that Graham has a story in that issue, titled “The Speaker.”

“A man loses his voice—his voice goes off to see the world,” Graham said about the story. “Years later the man dies and the voice that walks like a man hears the news and returns home. The Voice has to deal with all the personifications of the man’s doubts, secrets and ideas that are left behind. It’s got doubts using tuning forks like guns and ideas that smash the light bulbs over their heads like they were bottles in a bar fight.”

In addition to “The Speaker,” Dark Horse Presents #7 also features new Age of Reptiles and Skeleton Key material, as well as a “Hellboy in Mexico” story by Mike Mignola.

Take a peak at James Kochalka’s ‘Attract Mode’ from the Devastator

from Attract Mode

The fourth issue of the humor anthology The Devastator arrives Nov. 9, and the theme for this issue is video games, It includes contributions from James Kochalka, Danny Hellman, Corey Lewis and many more. Above is a brief taste of Kochalka’s contribution; if you’d like to see the whole thing, you can find a preview of a few pages from the book on their site. And hey, if you pre-order it before Nov. 9, you’ll get a mystery prize!

A trailer for the book is available after the jump.

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Ryan Mita on the making of Minimum Paige

One of the most intriguing comics I picked up at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo a few weeks back was Minimum Paige, an anthology produced by the Harvard Bookstore and printed in-house on their print-on-demand machine, Paige M. Gutenborg. I checked in with editor Ryan Mita to get the story behind the stories.

Brigid Alverson: First of all, tell me about Paige M. Gutenborg—what is it and what can it do?

Ryan Mita: Paige M. Gutenborg is a book machine and fantastic opportunity for artists to custom print their works. Books must be over 40 pages long, there is no minimum print run and artists can design the book anyway they like.

In addition to custom printing, Paige can print nearly five million titles, including Google Books in the public domain, and later this fall, HarperCollins will make 5,000 backlist titles available.

We’re excited about the future of bookselling and Paige keeps Harvard Book Store a step ahead.

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The Sequential Goose | A short chat with Scott C.

From Scott C's 'Pop Goes the Weasel'

All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. In today’s final installment, Chris Mautner talks to cartoonist Scott C.

If anyone in this new anthology seemed like a “must-get,” it surely was the cartoonist known as Scott C., a.k.a. Scott Campbell. His charming, anthropomorphic — and frequently sardonic — work, whether found in video games made by Double Fine Studios, in comics like Hickee and the Flight anthologies, or in his new book, Amazing Everything: The Art of Scott C. seems perfectly suited to the off-kilter, frequently surreal world that nursery rhymes frequently seem to inhabit. The fact that he chose one of the most manic rhymes of the bunch — “Pop Goes the Weasel” — seems equally fitting.

How did you get involved in this particular project and what led to you selecting this particular nursery rhyme?

I’ve known Chris Duffy for awhile through Nickelodeon magazine. When he asked me to take part in the project, there were not many rhymes left. I chose Pop! Goes The Weasel because it is the most nonsensical of any of the rhymes and I thought it would be fun to pick apart.

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The Sequential Goose | A chat with Aaron Renier

All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. Today, Michael May talks to cartoonist Aaron Renier.

Aaron Renier first came to comics fans’ attention with his childlike, but suspenseful Spiral-Bound, a Top Shelf graphic novel that earned him the Eisner for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in 2006. Last year, he gained some of that recognition with his adventurous and spooky The Unsinkable Walker Bean from First Second. This year finds him still with First Second illustrating one of the more obscure (to me, anyway; Lewis Carroll fans will undoubtedly recognize it) nursery rhymes in their collection.

Michael May: For those who aren’t familiar with “The Lion and Unicorn,” can you explain the history behind it?

Aaron Renier: Sure. The history behind it is that in the early 17th Century, England and Scotland became unified and they needed a new coat of arms. So they took one of the two lions from the English coat of arms and one of the two unicorns from the Scottish coat of arms. One lion and one unicorn to symbolize the unity for the new British coat of arms. But when I read the poem I saw it as something much stranger, and colorful. So I tried to ignore that knowledge.

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The Sequential Goose | A chat with Richard Sala

Excerpt from Sala's "Three Blind Mice"

All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. Today, J. Caleb Mozzocco talks to cartoonist Richard Sala.


Richard Sala is a prolific comics artist and illustrator often compared to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey, given his interest in visually compelling, somewhat spooky subject matter and deadpan gothic humor. He’s responsible for creating several plucky heroines who confront various mysteries and horrors, like foul-mouthed girl detective Judy Drood from Mad Night and The Grave Robber’s Daughter, monster magnet Peculia from Sala’s signature series Evil Eye and K. Westree of Cat Burglar Black.

The artist’s most recent work is last month’s original graphic novel The Hidden from Fantagraphics, about a group of people stuck in a diner during what may be the end of the world. Well, that and “Three Blind Mice” for First Second’s Nursery Rhyme Comics.

J. Caleb Mozzocco: Do you think nursery rhymes played any particularly powerful role in your childhood or development as a storyteller?

Richard Sala: My mom had old books of illustrated nursery rhymes and fairy tales from her childhood (which were old even when she was young) when I was very little and they certainly had an impact on me. Years later I found copies of some of those books and was amazed to find the roots of some of my weird fears and obsessions!

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Please please please let me kickstart what I want

Rubber Ring

I love that Shawn Demumbrum discovered The Smiths the same way I did: through the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. But more than that, I love that he’s put together a group of storytellers with a similar affection for the band who want to make an anthology based on its songs. There’s a Kickstarter campaign of course, but it’s already reached more than double its initial goal of $3000.

The plan is to have 13 stories answer this question about 13 songs: “What story plays in your head when you listen to your favorite Smiths song?”  According to the Kickstarter page, each creative team will make a 4-8 page story inspired by their favorites. Demumbrum writes that “The song acts as an inspiration, jumping off point, theme or mood for the story” and that “Each story varies in style and genre.”

The set list is:

“Death at One’s Elbow” by Glen Curren and Madame M
“Shoplifters of the World Unite” by Shawn Demumbrum and Matt Goodall
“Rubber Ring” by Dennmann
“Girlfriend in a Coma” by JP Manzanares
“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by Henry Barajas and Christian Vilaire
“Cemetry Gates” by Libbi Rich and Eric Schock
“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” by Emily Rich and Jenn Fuguet
“How Soon is Now?” by Foo! and Sam Lagreen
“Pretty Girls Make Graves” by Thomas Healy and Justin Miller
“Panic” by Matthew Burke and Joshua Green
“What Difference Does It Make?” by Michael Kessler and Jeff Pina
“Handsome Devil” by Shelby Robertson
“Suffer Little Children” by John Chihak

Demumbrum hopes to debut the book at Tucson Comic-Con in November.

Update: Sterling Gates tweets that he’s also contributing a story to the book based on “William, It Was Really Nothing.”


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