Ben McCool Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Conventions | The standalone Stumptown Comics Fest may be history, but an event has popped up to help fill the void: Linework NW, organized by Zack Soto and Francois Vigneault, a free, one-day show that will take place April 12 in Portland, Oregon. Michael DeForge has been announced as a special guest for the event, which will include such exhibitors as Fantagraphics, Koyama Press, Oni Press and Top Shelf Productions. [The Comics Reporter]
Creators | Scott Snyder is the subject of a glowing profile in The New York Times, which states the writer has “reinvented Batman in the past two years, deepening and humanizing the Dark Knight’s myth — in the making since 1939 — like no one since Frank Miller in the 1980s.” [The New York Times]
Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik had a great idea when they came up with Lookouts. If youth scouting existed in fantasy worlds, earning badges would be a lot more dangerous than just making fires and spotting raccoon tracks. It’s a clever concept that includes an ensemble cast of diverse characters and an endless supply of situations in which our heroes can find themselves. Getting Ben McCool to join the writing team is also a good thing. But the reason I most look forward to a new issue of Lookouts is the art by Robb Mommaerts and colorist Rainer Petter.
Mommaerts does several things exceedingly well, and he (and Lookouts as a whole) deserve to be talked about more than they are. First are the creature designs. Lookouts puts more thought into creatures than just sticking in a dragon or unicorn every once in a while, and even when the monsters are familiar, their looks are new and refreshing. Take, for instance, the sphinx that serves as the antagonist for most of the first story.
To see what Josh and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
If I had $15, I’d buy Boys #70 (only two issues until the big finale) and Classic Popeye #2, IDW Publishing’s ongoing series of reprints devoted to Bud Sagendorf comics from the 1940s, as the first issue was much more fun than I expected it to be.
If I had $30, I’d put those comics back, but would be stuck between a couple of books. The first would be Aya: Life in Yop City, which collects the three previous Aya books by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie in one volume. These are great, funny comics, full of life and observation regarding a culture — in this case African culture — most Westerners know nothing about.
There’s also A Chinese Life, a massive doorstop of a memoir by Chinese artist Li Kunwu (with help from writer Philippe Otie) chronicling his life and times. Kunwu lives through some of modern China’s most tumultuous periods, including the Cultural Revolution, and hopefully his book will, like Aya, humanize a time and culture that for many is just a few lines in their history book.
Finally, there’s Message to Adolph, Vol. 1, one of Tezuka’s final works, set during World War II, about three people named Adolph, one a Jew, the other a German boy living in Japan, and the third the fuhrer himself. Originally published by Viz about two decades ago, Vertical has taken it upon themselves to put out a newly translated version which is great news for those that missed this great manga the first time around.
Is there a greater splurge purchase this week that Dal Tokyo, the collected version of Gary Panter’s off-kilter comic strip? I plugged this book last week, but it deserves another one. I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile.
For the scholarly comics type, the splurge of the week might be Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, a look at the creator of Barnaby and Harold and the Purple Crayon and his wife, a children’s author with whom he frequently collaborated.
Talk about your Comic-Con exclusives. While walking around the show last weekend I found Bens Templesmith and McCool at Templesmith’s table, where they were putting the finishing touches on a set of very limited-edition prints. Templesmith’s known for using odd media in his work — things like toilet seat covers and casts of women’s breasts — but these 25 prints of McCool raising a pint were completed with actual Guinness beer. While Templesmith did most of them, McCool had a try as well, and the man has some serious talent in the alcohol medium.
I spent Wednesday in New York City at BookExpo America, which bills itself as “the largest book industry event in North America.” It took up a good portion of the Javits Center but was weirdly unlike a comic convention: There were panels and celebrity appearances and autographs, and all the publishers had booths, but they weren’t selling books. They had big stacks of one or two that were being given away for free, and everything else was display copies. It’s a very different vibe from a comic con, because the attendees aren’t so much fans as potential customers — retailers and librarians. Also, there were no costumes, although you could get your picture taken with a life-size inflatable Captain Underpants.
Comics were there, of course. Diamond Book Distributors had a booth, and IDW Publishing, Image, and BOOM! Studios were in the same alley, while NBM/Papercutz, Disney/Marvel and Fantagraphics were on other parts of the floor. Most of the big publishers have a graphic novel line as well, so there were some display copies sitting in the booths. And I was there to take part in the Hottest Graphic Novels of 2012 panel, which was well attended and well received.
Creators | Freelance artist Oliver Nome, who has worked for Wildstorm and Aspen but has no health insurance, is suffering from a brain tumor, and his dealer is selling off his art to help pay for the surgery. [Blog@Newsarama]
Publishing | John Jackson Miller looks at the shape of the comics market in 1995, before Diamond Comic Distributors had a virtual monopoly on distribution. [The Comichron]
Awards | The voting deadline for this year’s Eisner Awards is Monday. [Comic-Con International]
If I had $15, I’d skip lunch and dig in to the overdue Choker #6 (Image, $3.99). I almost considered waiting for the trade on this one, but I know once I see the shiny object in front of me in stores I’ll want to find out the ending to Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith’s story. After that I’d get Uncanny X-Force #23 (Marvel, $3.99), which still holds the crown for my favorite current Marvel book. I was hesitant of Remender & co. going off into Otherworld despite my fascination with the realm going back to my Excalibur days, but I’m being rewarded with good story for my allegiance. The only thing it’s missing is an appendix reminding me of older stories that he references here. Last up would be a two-fer with Spaceman #5 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Walking Dead #95 (Image, $2.99). I’ve talked about both at length here, and they continue to buffet me with greatness.
If I had $30, I’d first snag Daredevil #10 (Marvel, $2.99) to see more of Paolo Rivera’s work over the solid storytelling by Mark Waid. Then, I’d rub my eyes to make sure I’m not seeing things and pick-up the 5+ year delayed book Sharknife, Vol. 2 (Oni, $11.99). I’ve been a big fan of Corey’s work back when he was doing inspired Mega Man rip-offs, and the chance that I’ll finally see this sequel is exciting and heartbreaking. I hope the quality of the book inside is enough to stave off my feelings about the severe delay the book had.
And for splurging, I’d spend my CBR paycheck on Gone To Amerikay (DC/Vertigo, $24.99). This book is at the intersection of three reasons I’d buy it: Colleen Doran, Derek McCulloch and historical Irish narratives. I’d hold McCulloch’s Stagger Lee up to any graphic novel of the past decade in terms of skill and potency, so to see him pair that with Colleen Doran’s crafty linework bears my immediate attention.
The second day of WonderCon in Anaheim, California, featured announcements ranging from Marvel’s new Captain Marvel series to Dark Horse’s new motion-comics venture to IDW Publishing’s Womanthology miniseries:
• In his “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed that Carol Danvers, long known as Ms. Marvel, will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy. He also announced that, spinning out of his Astonishing X-Men run, Greg Pak will team with Stephen Segovia for X-Treme X-Men, which includes Dazzler in its lineup. “You have no idea how hard I’ve fallen for this woman,” Pak told Newsarama. “She’s so much fun to write — she’s funny and real and wry; she’s a survivor who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale; and she will save your life with rock and roll.”
• Dark Horse will bring motion comics featuring such characters as Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy to Felicia Day’s new YouTube Channel Geek & Sundry, beginning April 2.
• IDW Publishing will follow Womanthology: Heroic, the Kickstarter-funded graphic novel anthology showcase for female creators, with a five-issue miniseries titled Womanthology: Space.
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.”
Ben McCool (Pigs, Memoir) and Mario Guevara (Solomon Kane, Victorian Undead) will adapt Sergei Eisenstein’s 1938 film Alexander Nevsky into comics form. Titled Nevsky, IDW will publish the 110-page graphic novel in Spring 2012.
Set in the 13th century, the film and graphic novel tell the story of Alexander Nevsky, a 13th century Russian leader who led his soldiers to victory over the invading Teutonic Knights.
“Nevsky was as much a leader as he was a warrior,” McCool said in a press release. “His story isn’t just a page of little known history; it’s an inspiring tale full of strategy and battles and the fight for freedom.”
“Nevsky has a compelling story by Ben McCool and breathtaking art by Mario Guevara,” said IDW Senior Editor, Special Projects Scott Dunbier. “But the big picture here is Nevsky himself, a larger than life figure from Russian history who literally reaches out from the page and pulls you headfirst into the story–if you liked 300, you’ll love this!”
You can find the complete press release after the jump. You can find more information on the project at its official website.
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 start with Demon Knights #1 ($2.99) and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #1 ($2.99). I’m excited about a lot of the DC Dark corner of the New 52; especially these two. Frankenstein is a continuation of the only Flashpoint series I stuck with and features one of my two favorite characters from Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory. I wasn’t that interested in Demon Knights at first, but I was impressed by Paul Cornell’s chasing down a female fan after a panel at San Diego to pitch the series to her as something that people who are looking for great, female characters will enjoy. And I’ve been wanting to dig deeper into Cornell’s work anyway. On the Marvel side, I’m still thrilled about how well Alpha Flight is doing (creatively, I mean, but I guess it must be doing okay in sales too), so #4 ($2.99) is a must-buy for me. And I can’t wait to see how Mystery Men ends with #5 ($2.99). That’s been one of the high points of my summer, comics-wise. Finally, I’d grab X-Men Legacy #255 ($2.99) to dip my toe a little deeper into the X-Men world after being away from it for a while.
This week’s interview with Rus Wooton in one sense is long overdue, given that the last time I interviewed a comics letterer at Robot 6 (Todd Klein) was more than two years ago. But in another sense, the timing is perfect, considering that Wooton recently (and amicably) left Chris Eliopoulos’ Virtual Calligraphy (VC) lettering company in order to be free for his own creative projects–writing and drawing. One example of his new projects is his new webcomic project, Siblings, set to launch in July. My thanks to Nate Cosby for helping make this interview happen–and thanks to Wooton some insightful perspective on his craft. In addition to learning how he came to be a letterer in the first place, Wooton also was happy to discuss his ongoing lettering assignments for Robert Kirkman (among many other creators) as well as upcoming Cosby projects.
Tim O’Shea: You became a quadriplegic at the age of 20, were you already training to become a letterer prior to then, or did your pursuit of that career occur after then?
Rus Wooton: That’s a great question that might need a long-winded answer, but I’ll do my best to keep it brief. I’d never planned on being a letterer, but I’d always planned on working in comics in some way, at least since I was a kid in the late ’70s. I had been drawing for as long as I could remember, and I was also into graphic design from a young age, influenced by my Dad who was an Art Director and Creative Director at an advertising agency. He actually designed the CNN logo while working at Sheehey-Dudgeon in Louisville in 1980, and he’d occasionally take me or my brothers to the office evenings and weekends when he was working overtime on a project.
In this nicely produced video, part of WPB Labs’ RADAR series, collaborators Ben McCool and Nikki Cook discuss the creation of Memoir, their upcoming sci-fi thriller from Image Comics about an entire town with no memory. McCool spoke with Comic Book Resources about the miniseries just last week. Memoir #1 arrives in stores on Jan. 19.
- AdHouse will distribute 3X4, by Scott Morse, Lou Romano, Don Shank and Nate Wragg, the guys behind Sex and Science and The Ancient Book of Myth and War. AdHouse describes the book as “a unique collection of paintings built around the simple aesthetic of the numbers 3 and 4. Be it shape, line, texture, or color, this collection dares to boldly add a new perspective to modern art.”
- Per Ross Campbell, the sixth edition of his popular Wet Moon series of graphic novels from Oni Press is now slated to come out next year. “I’ll be finished with the book on the same schedule, but Oni has restructured their workflow a bit so their turnaround/build time is longer now, making WM6 most likely a February 2011 release,” he wrote.
- Heidi at the Beat points out that this preview of the London Book Fair by Publishers Weekly reveals that Ben McCool and Billy Tucci are working on a graphic novel adaptation of the film Alexander Nevsky by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein.
- Jim Rugg will debut a new Rambo minicomic at this weekend’s SPACE event.
- Meathaus has scans of a Charles Burns minicomic called Free Shit “with preview art from an upcoming project of his.”
- Rami Efal has self-published Never Forget, Never Forgive, which was originally serialized on the webcomics collective site ACT-I-VATE. “It is a tragedy taking place in 16th century Japan and is a cross between Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Sophocles’ Antigone, and Lone Wolf and Cub,” according to the author.