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Russian artist Artyom Trakhanov broke into American comics with his nuanced and idiosyncratic work on the 2014 Image Comics series Undertow with writer Steve Orlando. Since then he’s contributed covers and short stories to several titles while working on multiple new projects, both with writers and on his own.
ROBOT 6 spoke with Trakhanov about working in the English-language market from his home in Novosibirsk, Russia, balancing his professional and his home lives, and what the comics scene is like in his own country. Trakhanov also revealed the first pages from an English translation of his long-running Russian webcomic MadBlade.
New artists come along in comics seemingly ever week, but among the newest crop one has stood out for me: Russian illustrator Artyom Trakhanov. I discovered Trakhanov from his U.S. debut, the Image miniseries Undertow, but the more I’ve seen about him the more I’ve liked his work.
Since the completion of Undertow (which he describes as “Star Wars underwater”), Trakhanov has been churning out a number of one-off covers, short stories and concept art that have circulated online. Although more issues of Undertow are a possibility, the artist has been working on concept art for a number of other projects, including an enticing-sounding book with Brian Funk titled Enforcer, about gang wars in a city filled with magic. Artyom also has his long-running webcomic Madblade, which he hopes to resume and at some point translate into English.
Rapper Ghostface Killer makes no bones about his love of comic books, occasionally even using the alias Tony Starks. For his 2013 album Twelve Reasons to Die, he ventured into comics himself with a companion series featuring contributions by such artists as Paolo Rivera, Francesco Francavilla, Ben Templesmith and Ron Wimberly.
For his follow-up 36 Seasons, due out Dec. 9, Ghostface is once again turning to comics talent, this time for a booklet included with the album. Produced by Matthew Rosenberg, who wrote the Twelve Reasons to Die comic, the booklet includes art from the likes of Ming Doyle, David Lapham, Michael Walsh, Palle Schmidt, Tyler boss, Artyom Trakhanov and Aaron Conley.
Created by Steve Orlando and Artyom Trakhanov, the new miniseries imagines modern-day Atlantis as a world superpower known for its opulence and excess. But Redum Ashargal seeks to liberate his people from their underwater life and sets out to find a legendary creature believed to hold the secrets of life on land.
I regularly see new Kickstarter appeals starting I’d consider investing in, but few as handsome as this: Drawmoreinc’s Nobodies Vol.2. Launched just a few days ago, they’ve already met nearly half their target in pledges, understandably considering the high quality of the contributors. The (rather strident) mission statement reads:
This comic anthology is a full color 120+ page perfect bound comic by comic creators from all around the world. Creators contribute all new original stories to the book to go with our theme of “nobodies.” We want to create art because we love it. We aren’t scared of the bumps and bruises (that comes with the territory). We’re here to make the work we want to read. There are no restrictions and anything goes.
This anthology is used to be a platform for relatively unknown comic creators to come together and show everyone else in the industry that we aren’t meant to be taken lightly and we’re here to stay.
The appeal page shows a lot of good-looking preview art, and plenty of links to further examples by the contributors. “Relatively unknown” is quite the catch-all term — some of these creators already have something of a cult following online. And of course, a lot of people won’t be able to resist the allure of the rewards of merchandise based on Shaky Kane’s cover art, including art prints and a rather groovy 3D t-shirt.