The ‘emo’ thing is both really funny and really annoying. All my books have been called ‘emo’ at one point or another, since Demo in 2003. Even Northlanders was called ‘emo’. Clearly its a meaningless insult, issued by lazy people who don’t have the proper words to describe something that is even a little bit less than 100% macho and straightforward. So Becky draws a sketch of Conan with a smile on his face, and only reaction available is to call it ‘emo’. It’s absurd. The funny part of it is these same people don’t even know what ‘emo’ is, what the word really means. A fun variation on this, something I spotted on some forum, was “Conan looks like a barista!”. I almost emailed Becky to ask her to sketch Conan working at Starbucks for the fun of it.
Brian Wood, talking to MTV Geek about his new Conan series, which launches this week, and the critique on some message boards that his character was too “emo.”
As funny as it is to imagine an emo Conan (paging Kate Beaton!), what I like about this quote in particular is Wood’s healthy attitude about criticism of his work. It’s not easy to put things out there and have them critiqued by the world at large, but dealing with it is a part of the job. Wood talks a little later about the passion of serious Conan fans and remarks that creators really should stay away from forums that discuss their work, saying, “I think readers should have the privacy and feel free to talk openly about a book without the writer or artist lurking over their shoulder, ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. It’s a little creepy, really.”
Dark Horse starts a new Conan series next month with Conan #1, by Channel Zero and Demo collaborators Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. Based on Robert E. Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast,” the comic will weave new adventures into Conan’s two-year journey with the notorious female pirate Bêlit, a period barely touched on in the original short story. Comic Book Resources has a preview of the first issue.
I spoke with Wood and Cloonan about their plans for the series, using the classic Howard tale as their framework, and the dynamic between the young Conan and Bêlit.
ROBOT 6: How did each of you first encounter Conan — in the novels, the movie, or the older comics?
Wood: I’m sure it was the Arnold movie that was my first exposure, but not in a really meaningful way. I was 10 when it came out, so I wouldn’t have seen it, but we all played it at recess anyway. Later on, as I started to become more aware of comics, I became aware of Conan as he was drawn by masters like BWS and Frazetta. Funnily enough, the novels came last.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Wonder Woman is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Judge Bao and the Jade Phoenix - A detective story set in ancient China. Plus: cool name.
Dicks #1 – Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s humor makes my top hat explode and my monocle fly off my face, but I remember this being pretty popular back in the day and I imagine that it’s new presentation in color and leading into a new storyline could make it popular again.
Ralph Wiggum Comics #1 – This, on the other hand, is exactly my kind of funny. Kind of like 30 Days of Night, I’m astonished no one’s thought of it before. Too bad it’s just a one-shot, but hearing that Sergio Aragones is one of the contributors makes me want to poke myself with my Viking helmet to see if I’m dreaming.
Following the teaser they sent out last week, Dark Horse Comics has announced five new B.P.R.D. titles that’ll be released next year and will “shake the organization to its very core.”
Here’s the line-up:
- First up, in February comes B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Long Death, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, with art by James Harren (Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest, Heralds). A team is sent to the deadly woods from New World to investigate a new series of disappearances, but they discover more than just the monster responsible, as loyalties are questioned and tensions mount!
- March will see the release of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror, written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, with art by Jason Latour (Wolverine, Scalped) and an all-new cover by Becky Cloonan. This chilling two-issue series brings a B.P.R.D. crew into the grips of a backwoods vampire clan hiding out in a Gothic southern home.
- Next, in May comes B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Transformation of J. H. O’Donnell, pairing Mike Mignola with Scott Allie again for the discovery of what drove the Bureau’s expert on ancient foes to near madness after a mission with Hellboy 24 years earlier. This supernatural thrill ride features art by B.P.R.D. newcomer Max Fiumara (Amazing Spider-Man) and a cover by Becky Cloonan.
- That same month features the return of the regular B.P.R.D. team of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Tyler Crook, with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine. The Zinco Corporation again rears its ugly head after a devastating earthquake, pitting Devon and Fenix in an uneasy alliance against bat-faced monsters and the evil empire’s other mad-science experiments! Additionally, this new series will feature covers by former Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo.
- Finally, Cameron Stewart returns to the B.P.R.D. universe in June with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism. In this story we learn more about Ashley Strode’s evolution as an agent after she meets up with a familiar face for a series of exorcisms in a rural Indiana town. Mike Mignola and Cameron Stewart team up to share writing duties, with pencils by Cameron and covers by Viktor Kalvachev.
“Let’s break some stuff that can’t be fixed. Let’s turn some corners where there’s no going back,” said Mike Mignola in a press release. “In both Hellboy and B.P.R.D., we’re saying, ‘Well, once we do this—once we round this corner—that’s it!’ It’s not like, ‘Oh, Batman, different costume.’ We’re doing stuff where there’s no way to fix it. That is the new reality in our world. You’re REALLY going to see that in 2012.”
Announced in August, the four-issue miniseries teamed Spencer with Demo artist Becky Cloonan for what was supposed to be a tale of a teenaged Doom as he journeyed into Hell to save the spirit of his mother.
“Really proud of the scripts and hope to get to work with @beckycloonan sooner rather than later,” Spencer wrote on Twitter.
The news follows a round of layoffs at Marvel last month that included the project’s editor Alejandro Arbona, as well as the cancellations of Alpha Flight, All-Winners Squad and Iron Man 2.0 (the latter also written by Spencer).
The T-shirt site Threadless has released a third round of “Comics on Tees” on their website, featuring the work of Becky Cloonan, Ethan Nicolle, J.R. Goldberg and Jhonen Vasquez, who wrote the four “issues” this time around.
This is the third “volume” of comic shirts from Threadless. The first volume featured artwork by Jill Thompson, Cliff Chiang, Tony Moore and Art Baltazar, while volume two featured Eduardo Risso, Lee Bermejo, Matheus Lopes and Dave Johnson, with a story by Brian Azzarello.
You can buy all four of the volume three shirts as a set for $79 or individually for $20 each. You can find artwork for all four shirts after the jump.
New York Comic Con picked up steam in its second day with announcements from Vertigo, Dark Horse, Marvel, IDW Publishing and Image, and the possibility of Sesame Street comics. Here are some of the highlights:
• Following in the footsteps of DC Comics: The New 52, most of Vertigo’s titles will be available digitally the same day as print.
• Geoff Johns announced that work is about to get under way on a Robot Chicken DC Comics special that will skewer the company’s superheroes in the same way that the show tackled Star Wars. The episode, written by Johns and MAD‘s Kevin Shinick, is set to air next summer.
• Confirming last-minute speculation, Ed Brubaker announced that he and frequent collaborator Sean Phillips (Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito) will release their next project through Image Comics. Called Fatale, the series blends noir elements with the supernatural world. “I’ve been wanting for a while to do something with a more supernatural element to it,” Brubaker told Comic Book Resources. “So Fatale mixes what we do and all the ways we’ve poked fun at the noir genre. If Incognito was us doing ‘What if Doc Savage, Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler had all existed in the same universe?’ then this is a weird combo of James M. Cain and Lovecraft. It’s got a real horror element to it — the first time I’ve really tried to do anything with horror — but it’s also got this really epic story to it.”
Dark Horse will announce a project at New York Comic Con that reunites Eisner-nominated Demo collaborators Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan.
Pointing to the “Comic TBA — Brian Wood (DMZ, Demo, Northlanders) and Becky Cloonan (Demo, Pixu)” entry on the publisher’s Oct. 15 signing schedule, Wood simply wrote “Huh?” on his blog and posted the graphic at right.
The duo first partnered on Channel Zero: Jennie One, the 2003 sequel to Wood’s first series Channel Zero. But the 12-issue Demo, published from November 2003 to November 2004, by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for both collaborators, earning Eisner Award nominations for best limited series and best single issue. Wood and Cloonan revisted their milestone work in 2010 with the six-issue Demo: Volume 2 from Vertigo. They also reteamed last year for “The Girl in the Ice,” a two-issue story for Wood’s Viking saga Northlanders.
Wood, whose Vertigo series DMZ and Northlanders end next year, is already working with his Supermarket collaborator Kristian Donaldson on The Massive for Dark Horse. He also has a Marvel project in the works. Cloonan’s Victor Von Doom miniseries, with writer Nick Spencer, debuts from Marvel in November.
New York Comic Con will be held Oct. 13-16 at the Javits Center in New York City.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Dark Horse Presents is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Puss in Boots Movie Prequel – I don’t care for movie prequel comics as a rule, but swashbuckling cats are awesome in any incarnation. As long as these are fresh gags and not just ones warmed up from Shrek, I expect to enjoy this.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Book 1 - I just introduced my son to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth a couple of weeks ago, so this is great timing. He had the same questions about The Dark Crystal‘s world that I always do, so I’m looking forward to seeing Archaia’s take on answering those. Totally feel like the world’s in good hands with this publisher and these creators.
The Sigh - If Archaia’s snagging Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis, Chicken With Plums) new book has been reported already, I missed it. I’m surprised that wasn’t bigger news.
Siegfried, Volume 1 – I’ve been meaning to read P Craig Russell’s Ring of the Nibelung adaptation for years, so I think this might be what pushes me to finally do it. It would be fun to read Russell’s and compare it to this version by Alex Alice.
Movies | National Public Radio commentator John Ridley critiques Hollywood for being even less diverse than the Big Two when it comes to diversity in lead characters, and demolishes their blame-the-audience theory that white people won’t go to see a movie with a black lead by pointing to a study by Indiana University professor Andrew Weaver: “Weaver found that white audiences tended to be racially selective with regard to romantic movies, but not necessarily when it came to other genres. So, sorry, Hollywood. You can’t blame it on the ticket buyers.” [NPR]
Creators | Becky Cloonan talks about the joys and the hardships of being a full-time comics creator: “Comics are hard work. Comics are relentless. Comics will break your heart. Comics are monetarily unsatisfying. Comics don’t offer much in terms of fortune and glory, but comics will give you complete freedom to tell the stories you want to tell, in ways unlike any other medium. Comics will pick you up after it knocks you down. Comics will dust you off and tell you it loves you. And you will look into its eyes and know it’s true, that you love comics back.” [Becky Cloonan: Comics or STFU]
Friday was a busy day in San Diego, with a full slate of announcements capped by the Eisner Awards in the evening.
• Image Comics will resurrect the classic television show MacGyver as a five-issue miniseries written by MacGyver creator Lee David Zlotoff and Doctor Who writer Tony Lee, and illustrated by Becky Cloonan.
• Brian Wood’s newest project was announced — The Massive, about environmentalists who survive the last environmental collapse. The comic will start its run in Dark Horse Presents #8 in January.
• Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger confirmed that Scalped will end with issue #60.
• Marvel teased the return of the Scarlet Spider.
• DC Comics released more interior art for several of their “New 52″ titles, including Aquaman, Mister Terrific and more.
Publishing | Arune Singh, Marvel’s director of communications, addresses how Marvel works with media outlets to break major storyline news and in many cases spoil the story, like Ultimate Spider-Man dying. Their goal is to hopefully bring lapsed or non-fans into stores: “When we line up this kind of mainstream media coverage, it’s offering the promise of breaking this big news to the outlet. It’s with the knowledge that they’ll be the ones making the headlines, being referenced by other sites and getting the attention. But if we wait till the story breaks or the Wednesday books go on-sale, someone else is going to buy the issue early in the morning and break the news. Is it possible that mainstream outlets will still pick up on the news then? Yes, it’s possible. But the only way to guarantee that big, sweeping placement worldwide — as you’ve seen with the Death of Spider-Man — is to break it before anyone has a chance. And that kind of placement is, as I mentioned above, what will get us attention from outside the industry.” [ComicsAlliance]
Retailing | Toronto retailer Chris Butcher worries about how well the two late Green Lantern movie prequel comics — one shipping this week, one shipping in August — will sell so long after the film’s release. He also discusses the lateness of the final issue of the War of the Green Lanterns crossover, which won’t come out until after the epilogue story in this week’s Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #11. [Comics212]
Rather than try to write a summary of my HeroesCon 2011 experience, I have opted this year to share as many photos as possible. My camera was out-of-commission yesterday so all photos were taken during the second day of the show (Saturday).
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
“Drink the Blood of the Dragon / Speak the Language of Birds” depicts Sigurd and Fafnir from the Völsunga Saga. After Sigurd had slain Fafnir with the sword Gram, Odin came to him disguised as an old man and instructed him to bathe in the blood of the dragon, and eat it’s heart to grant him invulnerability and the ability to communicate with birds.
The print costs $30, and purchasing info can be found at the first link above.