EXCLUSIVE: Warren Ellis Brings "Genius Storytelling" to Dynamite's "James Bond 007"
Although he’s long since departed this mortal plane, author H.P. Lovecraft left an indelible mark on people — Ben Templesmith among them.
A noted horror writer and artist in his own right, Templesmith is tackling a graphic novel adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s earliest published works. Just four days after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, he’s already raised more than five times his $14,800 goal. In the wake of such overwhelming success, Templesmith has expanded the graphic novel’s size from 48 to 72 pages, and added in a Lovecraft portrait print with any book order.
When DC Comics relaunched its superhero line in 2011 with the New 52, there was an unmistakable sameness to the aesthetic of many of the titles. Sure, there have been some eye-catching exceptions, but for the most part, the Jim Lee-led character redesigns have exerted great influence over the DC Universe for the past three years.
If you’re a fan of Jim Lee, that’s pretty awesome. If you’re a fan of a lot of artists and styles, that’s less awesome and has made the New 52 sometimes frustrating and occasionally baffling. There are more than 75 years’ worth of characters bursting with the imagination of hundreds of creators. Why filter all that down to such a narrow experience for readers? I love Oreo cookies, but can I ever have chocolate chip cookie?
But then, along comes new Batman Group Editor Mark Doyle, who moved from Vertigo in February. Suddenly, there’s a new creative team, a new costume and a new outlook, for Batgirl, followed by announcements of Gotham Academy, Arkham Manor and, just Tuesday, Gotham By Midnight, demonstrating that Batman and his world are a resilient and powerful corner of the DC Universe. It’s one where offering different aesthetics adds a richness to the entire line while (possibly) attracting the eye of those looking for something different in their reading experience.
Essentially, Doyle just installed a snack bar. So let’s go eat!
Even as DC Comics announces another intriguing addition to its Batman line, the horror title Gotham By Midnight, artist Karl Kerschl has unveiled the first look at colored panel from Gotham Academy #1, offering a hint at what readers can expect from the October-debuting series. He has also posted a few black-and-white panels on his blog.
Written by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, with art by Kerschl and colorist Romain Gaschet, Gotham Academy is a teen drama set in the city’s most prestigious school (or, as the official description reads, “set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City”).
It’s been just five hours since the Kickstarter campaign launched for his 108-page graphic novel The Squidder, and already Ben Templesmith has pushed past his initial $18,000 goal. That may owe a little something to the squid ink.
You see, people who pledge $130 or more will receive a slipcased Kraken edition, with an original sketch done in squid ink; 21 people have already snatched those up.
The limited-run hardcover, written and illustrated by Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Fell, Welcome to Hoxford), is described as Mad Max meets Chthulhu, exploring “themes of a changing world, propaganda, and the nature of control via the main character. We’ll follow this journey of unfinished business through a world now alien and destroyed by a war which humanity lost generations ago against the almighty squid.”
Everyone who pledges money to The Squidder will have their name included in the book, and get a first look at a nine-page prelude. Beyond the Kraken edition with squid-ink sketches, incentives include a T-shirt, original art pages, and an appearance in the book.
Ahead of the launch of its website on Tuesday, Fried Comics has provided ROBOT 6 with the exclusive first look at Ben Templesmith’s cover for Deadskins!, an upcoming digital-first serialized graphic novel characterized by the publisher as a “zombie Western comedy.”
Created and written by Clay Adams and Alexandre O. Philippe, director of the acclaimed documentary The People Vs. George Lucas and the upcoming Doc of the Dead, and illustrated by Leila Del Duca, Deadskins! follows “a Harvard-educated dandy and his blind drunk companion,” who are all that stand between the West and “a zombie Indian apocalypse”: “This is the true story of Custer’s Last Stand … whatever they taught you in school is bullshit.” It will feature a second cover by Afro Samurai writer/artist Takashi Okazaki.
Fried Comics will debut two digital-first series next week, with a third to be announced in 2014. Free content will be available each weekday, providing visitors with a look at the process from initial sketch to finished comics page. Full issues will be available for download for 99 cents per issue; print editions will be available “in the near future.” Continue Reading »
Dead Pig Collector, the ebook by Warren Ellis that sports a wonderful Ben Templesmith cover, won’t be released June 18 as planned following the author’s split with his publisher.
“Due to continuing issues, I have today terminated my relationship with Mulholland Books,” Ellis announced Wednesday on his email list, which is also provided by the publisher and thus is being turned off. “Dead Pig Collector is cancelled (for now).”
The 99-cent short story was being offered for preorder on the publisher’s website and was about a character named Mr. Sun. “As far as Mr. Sun is concerned, the heart is just a pump. It’s an anatomical fact he knows quite intimately, and a key component of the knowledge base essential to his particularly devious line of work: murder for hire and body disposal<” the description on the page read. “Certain jobs, however, make it hard to keep this in mind. Like the one that’s brought him from cold, dreary London to sun-soaked Los Angeles, and connects Mr. Sun with a beautiful and perpetually curious woman who has to know everything about Mr. Sun’s methods.”
Mulholland published Ellis’ most recent novel, Gun Machine, in January. Hopefully, Dead Pig Collector will find another publisher soon.
Warren Ellis has a new ebook debuting June
15 18 called Dead Pig Collector, and Sunday, via his Machine Vision email list, he revealed the book’s cover, by his Fell collaborator Ben Templesmith.
Dead Pig Collector, Ellis says, is “a love story. It is also about killing people and effectively disposing of their bodies.” Check out the complete cover after the jump.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our look at what comics and other things we’ve been perusing lately. Today our special guests are Caleb Goellner, Buster Moody and Ryan Hill, the creative team of Task Force Rad Squad, the hot new comic find of 2013. Especially if you were ever a Power Rangers fan. Or even if you weren’t, as Moody and Hill’s art is just kind of wonderful on its own. Our old friend and former colleague Graeme says it “pretty much does for Power Rangers what Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots does for Transformers,” and that’s a very apt description. You can download it yourself here, and pay whatever you think is fair.
And to see what Task Force Rad Squad + the Robot 6 Irregulars are reading, click below …
Last year, Denver Comic Con teamed with Breckendridge Brewery to create Fantastic Pour, an American-style wheat beer that was served during the event and at several area establishments. This year, the two collaborated on a Belgian Wit brewed with Buddha’s hand fruit, and then launched a contest for fans to come up with a name to rival last year’s.
The winner, the Denver Post reports, is “The Caped Brewsader,” submitted by Nathan Bowker. For his effort, he wins a year’s supply of beer, four collector-edition Denver Comic Con Brewsader pint glasses, a Breckenridge beer-tap handle of the Brewsader, and some other swag.Bowker’s entry somehow beat out Joshua Bray’s “Kal Ale” — yes, that’s a Superman reference — which rightfully won the fan vote, and “Fin Fang Foam,” which should have won everything. Seriously: Fin Fang Foam!Ben Templesmith will design the label, pint glass and tap-handle art for The Caped Brewsader. Denver Comic Con will be held May 31-June 2.
Halo 8 Entertainment has released a trailer for Ghostface Killah’s Twelve Reasons to Die, the upcoming comic series from the rapper and his fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, who’s serving as producer.
Debuting May 29 from Black Mask Studios, following the release of the album by the same name, Twelve Reasons to Die blends horror and crime for “a brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.”
What’s impressive, though, is the lineup of cover and interior artists: Tim Seeley (Revival, Hack/Slash), Paolo Rivera (Daredevil), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle, Detective Comics), Ramon Perez (Tale of Sand), Ben Templesmith (30 Days Of Night), Riley Rossmo (Bedlam), Garry Brown (The Massive), Jim Mahfood (Tank Girl), Kyle Strahm (Haunt), Toby Cypress (Blue Estate), Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D.), Joe Infurnari (Mush!), Breno Tamura (Pigs), Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole), Gus Storms (Space Creep), Chris Mitten (30 Days of Night) and Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats).
Twelve Reasons to Die was co-created by Ghostface Killer and Adrian Younge, and written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon.
J. Michael Straczynski’s Joe’s Comics imprint has released a trailer for the first issue Ten Grand, the supernatural crime thriller that teams the writer with artist Ben Templesmith.
Debuting May 1 from Image Comics, Ten Grand follows Joe Fitzgerald, a mob enforcer who, after being fatally wounded during that one last job, is given an opportunity by an angelic force to be reunited with the woman he loves. However, there’s a significant catch. You can see a 10-page preview of the first issue on Comic Book Resources.
Publishing | J. Michael Straczynski discusses the revival of Joe’s Comics, which returns in May with the Image Comics release of Ten Grand, illustrated by Ben Templesmith. Top Cow was home to the imprint from 1999 to 2004, publishing such series as Delicate Creatures, Midnight Nation and Rising Stars. A preview of Ten Grant will be available in April at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. [MTV Geek]
Creators | Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics and the writer for the Adventure Time comic, talks about his work habits. [Lifehacker]
Creators | Penny Arcade co-creator Mike Krahulik talks about Strip Search, the reality TV-style webseries they will launch on Friday. [IGN]
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
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 catch up on Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz’ Hell Yeah with the first trade, Vol. 1: Last Days On Earth (Image, $9.99). I admit to dropping off after the second issue, but it’s always something I wanted to get back to; and reading Keatinge’s interviews on the more recent issues has pushed me over the top. If nothing else, $9.99 for five issues is a good deal. After that I’d get Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 (Marvel, $4.99). Of all the group-written issues, Jason Aaron’s seems to have been the most organized and engaging, so I’m glad they opted to have him do the finale. Seeing Adam Kubert on this is surprising, as his previous issues of Avengers Vs. X-Men felt rushed – but previews of this issue show him more measured and confident, like his Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine work, also with Aaron.
If I had $30, I’d double back and gleefully grab Thomas Herpich’s White Clay (AdHouse, $4.95). When I first heard about this the onus of Adventure Time was heavy given the cartoonist works on that show, but after seeing the previews and hearing Chris Pitzer talk about this book I’m in for it. I’d also get the debut issue of Andy Diggle’s Doctor Who #1 (IDW, $3.99) with artist Mark Buckingham. Bucky’s a real treat here, and I’m interested to see what he does with Diggle’s words – and what exactly Diggle does. I’m okay if it’s not Lenny Zero – but that would be nice too. Finally, I’d get Uncanny X-Force #32 (Marvel, $3.99). At one time this was my favorite book coming from the Big Two, but it seems to have grown long in the tooth; I’m not confident enough to say Rick and crew are doing something wrong, as maybe it’s just me. But the first 18 issues had a special kind of magic, and that doesn’t seem to remain here in these issues. But still, I’m in ’til the end.
If I could splurge, I’d get The Nao of Brown (SelfMadeHero, $24.95) by Glyn Dillon. I admit I already received an advance review copy of this book, but if I didn’t I’d surely have it on pre-order. A read a review where they compared to this to Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese, but I think that’s a mere surface examination. After reading this (and flipping through it a dozen times since), this is just a pure coming-of-age story that reminds me more of Hope Larson or a very chatty Adrian Tomine. Very great, very great.
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.