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Each Tuesday at Robot 6, we run a look the week’s comic releases in a feature called “Food Or Comics?” The title implies the choice in spending money on either food or comics, but lately we’ve been able to get morsels of food and comics in a growing number of titles. Food as subject matter might seem odd, considering the intense action scenes that many comics are built upon, but as tastes vary and develop, comic fans are getting a craving for more than just one type of comics.
The first major entry I remember of food into American comics was in the second volume of Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. In it, the character Stephen Stills does his best impression of a food show host by outlining his process in making Vegan Shepherd’s Pie. Cartoonist Bryan O’Malley goes in depth, labeling all the ingredients and doing a step-by-step primer on Stills’ method for making this dish. Although certainly not the first, it was the first one that hit me as a reader– and many others as well.
As unsettling as those featureless Court of Owls masks are in the pages of Batman, they pale in comparison to the real-life versions given away by DC Comics at Comic-Con International. If the Warner Bros. tote bags are the must-have accessories of the convention, then the masks are the must-wear, nightmare-inducing disguises. Look at that sea of blank faces in the above photo by Scott Snyder — they’re a terrifying blend of Excalibur‘s Warwolves and Communion‘s alien greys — and just try to sleep.
If that’s not enough to leave you unhinged, check out chef, TV host and and Get Jiro! writer Anthony Bourdain and Comic Book Resources News Editor Kiel Phegley, who have also joined Gotham City’s secret society.
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.
If I had $15, I’d walk out of the comic store with one book this week Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me (Image, $14.99). I fell off this book after the first issue, preferring to read in trades, and now that time has come. I’m looking forward to being surprised at what Brubaker and Phillips have done in this first arc as the debut issue was very promising.
If I had $30, I’d load up at Image with Manhattan Projects #4 (Image, $3.50), Prophet #26 (Image, $2.99) and Hell Yeah #4 (Image, $2.99). Prophet is becoming my favorite Image book because it unites my comic heroes of childhood (Prophet!) and one of the top cartoonists out there (Brandon Graham) with a surprising introduction of BD-style science fiction. Hell Yeah is a fun romp reimagining the staples of ’80s and ’90s comics as if John Hughes were the eighth Image founder. Last up I’d get Wolverine and the X-Men #12 (Marvel, $3.99). I was worried this series would get derailed by Avengers Vs. X-Men, but Aaron and Co. have managed to keep it on point as best as conceivably possible. It’s an ideal opening to bring Rachel Summers to the forefront, and the smirking Kid Gladiator on the cover is full of win.
If I could splurge, I’d get Michel Rabagliati’s Song of Roland hardcover (Conundrum Press, $20). I’ll always admire Free Comic Book Day, because it was there that a little Drawn and Quarterly one-shot introduced me to Rabagliati’s work. I’m surprised to see this new volume of his work not published by D&Q, instead published by Canadian house Conundrum. Anyway, this book appears to deal with the death of the father-in-law of the lead character, Paul. It’s been extremely engaging to see Paul grow through the series, and having him deal with events like this as I myself grow up and experience similar events is really touching.
Legal | A federal judge has dismissed two claims by comics creator Jason Barnes, aka Jazan Wild, against songwriter Andreas Carlsson but will two others to move forward in a lawsuit over a graphic novel biography. The two signed a deal in 2007 for Dandy: Welcome to a Dandyworld, with Carlsson allegedly retaining the copyrights and Barnes receiving pay plus a percentage of book sales and a cut from any merchandising and movie deals. Carlsson filed suit three years later after Barnes posted Dandyworld online, a move the artist answered with a countersuit claiming, among other things, copyright infringement, bad faith and breach of contract because the songwriter published a bestselling novel in Sweden “inspired by a graphic novel created by Andreas Carlsson and Jazan Wild.” Barnes, who claims he never received residuals from the sales of the novel, asked a federal judge to determine copyright ownership. U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder refused to enter summary judgment about Barnes’ copyright, saying ownership will rest on whether he was an independent contractor of Carlsson’s employee, and dismissed the artists’ claims of negligent representation and fraudulent inducement. However, Carlsson will have to face accusations of breach of contract and bad faith.
If the name Jason Barnes, or Jazan Wild, seems familiar, it’s because two years ago he sued NBC and producer Tim Kring for $60 million, claiming elements from the third season of Heroes were stolen from his 2005-2006 comic series Jazan Wild’s Carnival of Souls. [Courthouse News Service]
Publishing | Don MacPherson rails against the current numbering and renumbering practices by Marvel and DC Comics: “I realize other publishers have adopted irregular numbering schemes as well, but DC and Marvel are the ones driving things in that direction. Constant relaunches with new first issues, renumbering those relaunches to exploit a big-number milestone such as a 500th issue, half issues, zero issues, issues with decimal points, Greek letters … it’s exhausting and irritating, and I’m certain it’s frustrating for people preparing price guides and collection databases. Next I’m guessing there will be a series numbered in an alien math rooted in a fictional Kryptonian base-14 numerical system.” [Eye on Comics]
Digital comics | David Brothers articulates what the problem is with DRM: “What I realized is that DRM has a lot of benefits for the publisher, but next to none for the consumer. Blizzard can track exactly who plays Diablo III and when, which is valuable for gathering demographic data, off the top of my head. ComiXology can tell publishers exactly what contexts their comics will appear in and on what devices. DRM is about control, basically, rather than being a value-add. It’s a limiting service, rather than one focused on expansion, and the people most affected by it are consumers who actually want to consume this stuff.” And it does nothing to stop piracy, either. [4thletter!]
Chef, author, television host and now comic writer Anthony Bourdain appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week and promoted the upcoming release of his Vertigo graphic novel Get Jiro!, which comes out later this month.
Co-written by Joel Rose, with art by Langdon Foss and colors by Jose Villarrubia, the story is set in a Los Angeles where “master chefs rule the town like crime lords and people literally kill for a seat at the best restaurants.” Two different factions want to recruit sushi chef Jiro, who’s known to “decapitate patrons who dare request a California Roll,” but Jiro has other ideas.
Check out the video below.
The pre-order listing for Anthony Bourdain’s “gourmet slaughterfest” graphic novel Get Jiro! has surfaced on Amazon.com, and with it the Langdon Foss-drawn cover.
Arriving July 3, the 160-page Vertigo graphic novel marks the comics debut of the acerbic chef turned author turned television host, who collaborated with friend and novelist Joel Rose and Heavy Metal artist Foss.
Bourdain first teased the book in September 2010, characterizing Get Jiro! as “sort of like Fistful of Dollars meets Eat Drink Man Woman” or, alternately, “Yojimbo meets Big Night and Babette’s Feast, an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.” If you’re hoping for something a little more specific, you’re in luck, as the Amazon listing includes an official synopsis:
In a not-too-distant future L.A. where master chefs rule the town like crime lords and people literally kill for a seat at the best restaurants, a bloody culinary war is raging.
On one side, the Internationalists, who blend foods from all over the world into exotic delights. On the other, the “Vertical Farm,” who prepare nothing but organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic dishes. Into this maelstrom steps Jiro, a renegade and ruthless sushi chef, known to decapitate patrons who dare request a California Roll, or who stir wasabi into their soy sauce. Both sides want Jiro to join their factions. Jiro, however has bigger ideas, and in the end, no chef may be left alive!
If there had been any doubts before, that sure make it clear: Food nerds, this book’s for you.
(via Anthony Bourdain)
Vertigo at last has set a June 2012 release date for Get Jiro!, the eagerly anticipated graphic novel from acerbic chef, author and television host Anthony Bourdain.
Teased in September 2010 by Bourdain, and officially announced a few weeks later by the DC Comics imprint, the futuristic action thriller set in a world where food and the secrets of its preparation are the source of all power, leading master chefs to fight over a mysterious sushi chef named Jiro. Bourdain has described the graphic novel as “a gourmet slaughterfest, sort of like Fistful of Dollars meets Eat Drink Man Woman” and “Yojimbo meets Big Night and Babette’s Feast, an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.”
Originally pegged for a 2011 debut, the 160-page hardcover is written by Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw) and friend and novelist Joel Rose (The Blackest Bird, Kill Kill Faster Faster), and illustrated by artist Langdon Foss (Heavy Metal).
Vertigo confirmed at New York Comic Con this afternoon that it will release a graphic novel by Anthony Bourdain, the acerbic chef, author and host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations.
Revealed last month by Bourdain himself, Get Jiro! is a futuristic action thriller set in a world where food and the secrets of its preparation are the source of all power, leading master chefs to fight over a mysterious sushi chef named Jiro. Bourdain has described the graphic novel as “Yojimbo meets Big Night and Babette’s Feast, an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.”
Get Jiro! is written by Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw) and friend and novelist Joel Rose (The Blackest Bird, Kill Kill Faster Faster), and illustrated by artist Langdon Foss (Heavy Metal). The book is expected to be released sometime in 2011.
During today’s “Vertigo: On the Edge” panel, the DC Comics imprint also announced:
Look for a full panel report at Comic Book Resources.
The graphic novel, Get Gyro, is “about ultraviolent food nerds,” says the 54-year-old Bourdain. “It’s a gourmet slaughterfest, sort of like Fistful of Dollars meets Eat Drink Man Woman.” Alternately, he describes it as “Yojimbo meets Big Night and Babette’s Feast, an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.”
In short: awesome. Could Get Gyro be what brings the cooking genre from manga into Western comics?
The graphic novel is set to be released sometime next year, presumably through DC’s Veritgo imprint. No artist is mentioned.
Among the many tributes to Harvey Pekar that have begun to appear online and in print, this one by chef and author Anthony Bourdain stands out. That’s in large part because Bourdain’s remembrance centers on a 2007 episode of his Travel Channel series No Reservations that brought him to a wintry Cleveland, where the irascible Pekar served as a guide and narrator.
Watching that episode, it was obvious a handful of ingredients — Bourdain, comic book-style illustrations and, most importantly, Pekar in his element — had combined to create something special. So it’s nice to see that, three years and almost 60 episodes later, “Cleveland” remains Bourdain’s favorite.
“That show was unique among over a hundred others in that everything — absolutely everything — went perfectly and exactly as planned,” he wrote today on his blog. “Unlike every other episode, pretty much everything had been ‘written’ (or at least planned out) in advance: the look, the American Splendor graphics, destinations, subjects and content. In the middle of a blizzard in the dead of winter, we got exactly what we were looking for. We wanted American Splendor and that’s what we got.”
It’s a lovely tribute that moves beyond an episode of a food and travel show, with Bourdain trying to capture what drew so many to Pekar and his work: “A few great artists come to ‘own’ their territory. As Joseph Mitchell once owned New York and Zola owned Paris, Harvey Pekar owned not just Cleveland but all those places in the American Heartland where people wake up every day, go to work, do the best they can — and in spite of the vast and overwhelming forces that conspire to disappoint them — go on, try as best as possible to do right by the people around them, to attain that most difficult of ideals: to be ‘good’ people.”
You can watch a teaser for the Pekar episode after the break.
When I learned that IDW was publishing Bob Fingerman‘s newest project, From the Ashes, I’ll admit I was pleassantly surprised, given that it seemed outside of IDW’s typical market focus. So when he recently agreed to an email interview I was eager to find out how it landed at IDW in addition to his thought process on this speculative memoir (as well as his latest Fantagraphics release, Connective Tissue). The first installment of the six-issue From The Ashes miniseries hits the market this Wednesday, May 13. Here’s the official snippet on the miniseries from IDW: “Fingerman and his wife Michele find out the apocalypse isn’t the end of the world in this hip satirical survival romp through Manhattan’s ruins. Think The Road, only funny!” My thanks to Fingerman for his time and to Emma Griffiths and Martin Wendel for facilitating this interview, as well as Chris Mautner for his help in formulating questions. If you happen to be in New York this Friday, May 15, Fingerman will have an art show/signing at Rocketship at 8 PM.
Tim O’Shea: Why did you opt to do this series as a mini-series, as opposed to a graphic novel?
Bob Fingerman: It wasn’t my choice. I’d have preferred to release it as a book straight off, but that’s not IDW’s business model. Still, they put out classy looking comics on good paper. And it will eventually get collected as a book.
O’Shea: You consulted with your wife, Michele, throughout the development of this story. But before embarking on this project did you tell her you intended this to be an “open love letter” (as you describe it in your recent Huffington Post piece) to her? Anyway you slice it, she clearly loves you a great deal to support a work that aims to capture your relationship with her and features “mutants, cannibals, zombies”.
Fingerman: Michele is the center of my life. She’s very supportive of everything I do. “Open love letter” is pretty corny, I’ll admit. But it’s honest. My consulting with her basically entailed repeatedly asking her, “Is it all right if I have you doing this or that?” She got final approval.