INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
If the cancellation of DC Comics’ Superman Family Adventures has left you a little deflated, take heart: Longtime collaborators Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar are turning to Kickstarter to launch their Aw Yeah Comics!, an “all-reader friendly” series with contributions from established and new talents alike, including Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Chris Roberson and Jason Aaron. The series was originally announced in July.
The comic, which stars Baltazar and Franco’s Action Cat and Adventure Bug, is designed to appeal to children and adults alike: “Our hope is to present a comic book that has just as much to offer a little girl as it does a little boy, and leave absolutely no one out of the fun. Because fun is important. Fun is a good thing for a comic book to have, and we want to add a little bit more of it to what’s out there now.”
Aw Yeah Comics!, which shares its name with the duo’s Skokie, Illinois, store, will debut in April with Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. According to the Kickstarter page, work on the first three issues is about 80 percent complete, while issues four through six are at about 60 percent. To help reach their $15,000 goal, they’re offering pledge incentives like an exclusive digital comic, an original mini-painting by Baltazar, a guest appearance by a donor’s own character, and a cover by Franco for a donor’s comic book.
The Kickstarter campaign ends March 7.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Mark Sable, the writer and co-creator of Image’s Graveyard of Empires with Paul Azaceta and the upcoming Duplicate from Kickstart Comics with Andy MacDonald. You can find his work and thoughts at marksable.com and contact him @marksable on the Twitter.
To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave, writers of Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, which was released last week by Monkeybrain Comics.
To see what Adam, D.J. and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Holiday or no, it’s a busy week for new comics announcements. The latest is from the Tiny Titans team of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, who chose Independence Day to announce Aw Yeah Comics, a new independent comic series featuring their mascots Action Cat and Adventure Bug, along with, we are promised, “a wide cast of crazy characters.” Each issue will feature different writers and artists, both veterans and newcomers. The monthly comics will be available, in print form, at conventions and at the Aw Yeah Comics store in Skokie, Illinois, as well as by mail order. No word of any digital release.
This should lift the spirits of readers still mourning the end of DC Comics’ Tiny Titans: Cool Toy Review and Fwoosh have the first looks at Mattel’s Comic-Con International-exclusive boxed set featuring five figures — Robin, Raven, Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy — based on the character designs from the Eisner Award-winning series by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. As you can see from the image above, the package is actually a Sidekick City Elementary bus driven by principal Slade Wilson and bearing the slogan “Convention or Bust.” On the back is a comic strip by Baltazar and Aureliani depicting the five pint-sized heroes, including a cosplaying Beast Boy, at the convention.
Check out more images below, and at Cool Toy Review and Fwoosh. The set will be available at the Mattel booth at Comic-Con for $20, and at MattyCollector.com later.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that when I read that DC Comics was canceling Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans series, I collapsed to my knees, raised my eyes to the heavens and let out a long, low “Nooo!” I would have torn out my hair, if I had any hair to tear out, and I did try to rend my garments. However, I quickly discovered that either I am too weak to rend garments, or my garments were simply too well-made to be easily rend-able.
Tiny Titans quite gradually had become my favorite comic book-format comic; I picked up the first issue out of a mixture of curiosity and cynical disbelief that you could do a mass-appeal kids comic based on DC’s Titans franchise (after all, DC seems to have had trouble doing a narrow-appeal grown-up comic based on the franchise over the decades, if you see how many times its been canceled, relaunched and given new directions and new creators since Marv Wolfman stopped writing it). But I never dropped it, as Baltazar and Franco had decided to do an old-school (like, John Stanley old-school) gag comic featuring kid characters for kid readers, and do it in Baltazar’s own super-cute style, and fill it full of DC trivia and ephemera.
The silver lining of its cancellation was the announcement of Superman Family Adventures, which uses a name most recently used by DC for their Showcase Presents collections combining stories from Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. The new comic was to be by the exact same creative team, which preview art suggested would be told in a similar style. Well, the first issue hit the stands yesterday, and I have some thoughts about it.
Ahead of the debut next week of The Superman Family Adventures, the new all-ages series from Tiny Titans creators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, DC Comics has unveiled Baltazar’s adorable character designs for the entire cast, from Superman, Supergirl and Lois Lane to Krypto, Streaky and the Phantom Zone villains. Announced in May 2011, The Superman Family Adventures replaces Tiny Titans on DC’s all-ages roster. Here’s the solicitation text for the first issue, which goes on sale May 30:
Superman’s closest allies take the stage like you have never seen before, from the Eisner Award-winning team of Art Baltazar and Franco (TINY TITANS)!
• Don’t miss the action-packed, history-making, super adventure awesomeness!!
• Classic Superman elements reinterpreted for all ages with the humor that only the creative team of TINY TITANS can bring!
Check out the rest of the character designs below.
Comics | With the success of The Avengers film, Kendall Whitehouse discusses the narrative techniques comics have “explored and exploited,” including “multi-issue story arcs, crossovers, team-ups, reboots and multiple title tie-ins,” noting they not only help sell more comics but also have blazed the trail for complex stories: “The story has now become a world unto its own that allows the reader to explore whichever dimensions are of the greatest interest. Follow the events from the perspective of Iron Man or Thor. Or just peruse the core series and ignore the supplementary story elements. The series presents a nearly unbounded narrative universe for the reader to experience. It is easy to interpret this with a cynical eye as nothing more than a series of cheap marketing tactics designed to pump sales. And yet, when well executed, something larger emerges.” [Knowledge@Wharton Today]
Retailing | Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day also served as the grand opening for Aw Yeah Comics, a store in Skokie, Illinois, owned (as the name suggests) by Tiny Titans creators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani and retail veteran Marc Hammond. [Skokie Review, Time Out Chicago]
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo opened its doors for the 2012 edition at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday the 13th. I decided to tempt fate, spit in the eye of superstition and join a trio of friends from my local comic shop to make the four-hour trek between Detroit and Chicago, take in the sights to see at C2E2 and return home, all in one day. That’s right: I was silly enough to think a whirlwind visit to Chicago would be a good idea.
We hit the road around eight o’clock and with a pair of stops on the way to coincide with the wonderfully easy traffic all the way into the great state of Illinois, we made it to McCormick place by 11:15 Chicago time. Coming in from the south side of the convention center, we mingled with Chicago White Sox traffic (oddly enough, the Detroit Tigers were in town to play the Sox) and managed to find parking at McCormick after driving through the shipping area of the parking facility.
“Superman is here! And he’s bringing his family!!! AW YEAH!” said Baltazar on The Source. “Working on Superman Family Adventures is truly a highlight to my career. Everything you know about the Superman mythos is here in this comic. You will see Bizarro, Parasite, Brainiac, Metallo and yes, even Lex Luthor! Writing and drawing bad guys is really cool! We had bad guys in TINY TITANS, but this time, they fight the heroes! ACTION! ADVENTURE! HUMOR! BIG GORILLAS! GIANT ROBOTS! LOIS! JIMMY! PERRY! and…SUPER PETS!!!! Whaaaa? Yep, that’s a true story right there! SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES is gonna rock! Aw yeah Krypton!”
“SUPERMAN!!! Are you kidding me? SUPERMAN!!!” Franco said. “Ask any comic creator and this will be the number one guy they want to work on!! I’m definitely excited to be able to work with my good friend Art Baltazar on the all-new Superman Family Adventures. The book is going to be filled with amazing adventures, stories and humor featuring the entire cast of the Superman family – Lois, Jimmy, Supergirl, Superboy and even a few surprises you haven’t seen in a while like Fuzzy The Krypto Mouse. You should come along because this is going to be a fun ride!”
The comic comes out May 30. Check out the full cover after the jump.
Comics | Matt Pizzolo discusses the Occupy Comics project, which raised more than $28,000 on Kickstarter: “The way the money is allocated is actually through the individual contributors. The artists and writers are all paid a proportional share of the revenue based on the number of pages they provide versus the total number of pages in the book, but all of the artists and writers are agreeing to donate that money to the protesters. Most contributors want to donate as a group to get the most bang for their buck, but they don’t have to — anyone can just take their share and hand it to the protesters at their local park if they want.” [The Morton Report]
Comics | Todd Allen compares the relative positions of DC’s New 52 titles in November with their September rankings; the November orders reflect the adjustments retailers made after seeing how the different titles sold in September. The results: Animal Man shot up by 10 slots, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men sank by eight, but most titles only moved a few notches up or down. [The Beat]
Along with the rest of the “Silver” comic books coming on Free Comic Book Day next year, DC Comics announced the DC Nation 2012 Free Comic Book Day Super Sampler, which will feature comics based on their animated series Green Lantern, Young Justice and a new series called Superman Family Adventures. Today on the Source, DC announced the creative team for that book–the Tiny Titans team of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani are working on the monthly Superman Family Adventures, which kicks off next May.
“I have been sitting on the edge of my seat, biting my tongue about Superman Family Adventures since Thursday, July 21 at approximately 4 p.m., when Art and Franco came to see me at SDCC and showed me the proposal for this series,” said series editor Kristy Quinn. “Whew. Now, at least, you’re all stuck waiting with me—I was getting lonely sitting at my desk with all this cool stuff I couldn’t share!”
Update: Issue #50 of Tiny Titans will be the final issue, as noted in today’s solicitations. Baltazar and Aureliani have been the creative team on Tiny Titans since DC started publishing it in 2008.
Ah, Comic-Con … there’s nothing like fighting through the crowds, and there’s nothing like finding a quiet corner somewhere to post all the pictures you’ve taken …
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello is all over the show today, promoting the shiny new book he’s writing at Dark Horse called Orchid. He said at a panel today that Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance is a friend of his and is the one who introduced him to his new “Dark Horse family.”
After taking this picture, I was almost run over by WWE’s Triple H. Only at Comic-Con can you bounce between a Nightwatchmen and The Game …
Here’s a quick review of DC’s Red Lantern Corps concept, introduced by Geoff Johns and company in 2007: Long ago, The Guardians of the Universe created an android army to police all of an existence, but a glitch in their programming caused them to commit genocide in “Sector 666,” killing all of the billions who lived there save five. These five formed a terrorist cell, and eventually one of them, named Atrocitus, killed the other four and used the power of his anger and need for revenge to form the Red Lantern Corps.
They wield the red energy of rage, and becoming a Red Lantern involves expelling all of the blood in the body, replacing the beating heart with the ring itself, and then pumping a sort of gory, acidic, liquid energy through the veins, which is often spit and vomited out as a weapon.
If you’ve only a passing familiarity with Green Lantern comics, the Red Lanterns are the characters you see puking blood on the covers.
So, perfect for little kids, right?
One might not think so, but artist Art Baltazar seems to have developed a knack for turning some of the modern DC Universe’s least all-ages concept into kid-friendly gold, as he demonstrates monthly in his Tiny Titans comic (Wherein Dr. Light is a science teacher, Deathstroke a elementary school principal and all the minor Titans characters brutally murdered in the pages of Teen Titans live in perfect harmony).
Baltazar gets his drawing hands on Red Lantern Dex-Starr, The Red Lantern who is also a house cat, in Super Hero Splash Down, one of the DC Super-Pets line of heavily-illustrated prose books for younger readers (Each are about 50 pages long, consist of three chapters, and have big, comic book sound effects embedded in the paragraphs, making for fun books to read aloud).
Conventions | Although final figures aren’t yet available, WonderCon organizers confirm attendance likely surpassed the 39,000 fans who came to last year’s convention. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | On his always-interesting new blog, Jim Shooter reminisces about the genesis of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars: “We went through a number of ideas for names for the toy line and series. Mattel’s focus group tests indicated that kids reacted positively to the words ‘wars’ and ‘secret.’ Okay.” [Jim Shooter]
Publishing | Longtime print broker Chikara Entertainment, which also offered book packaging and consulting services, has closed. [ICv2.com]
Retailing | Sarah Cohen provides a snapshot of South Florida comic stores struggling amid a weak economy and a changing marketplace. Some retailers have changed their strategies by diversifying their merchandise, holding events and reaching out to customers via the Internet. Others, however, prefer to do business the way they always have. “Making events and using social networking is pushy,” says Jorge Perez, owner of A&M Comics and Books in Miami. “It might help business, but then you would be on the computer all day doing stuff like that.” A&M, the oldest comic store in Florida one of the oldest in the nation, has seen business drop by about 40 percent since 2008. [Miami Herald]