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Food or Comics? | Duck or Doctor Who

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Doctor Who #1

Chris Arrant

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.

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Ben Templesmith paints with Guinness at Comic-Con

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.

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Threadless debuts Gaiman tees by Cassaday, Templesmith & more

Nearly lost in the hustle and bustle of Comic-Con International was the release of the sixth installment of Threadless’ Comics-On Tees, which features Neil Gaiman’s poem “The Day the Saucers Came” as interpreted in four T-shirt designs by John Cassaday, Brandon Graham, Ben Templesmith, and Estudio Verso (the winner of the website’s Comic Book Legal Defense Fund challenge). A quarter of the sales generated from Estudio Verso’s design all four designs will be donated to the CBLDF.

You can check out all four designs below.

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Ben Templesmith draws on breasts for cancer awareness

Signing and drawing on body parts isn’t unheard of at comic conventions (breasts being one of the most popular parts), but Ben Templesmith has joined artists from many different fields to draw, paint and sculpt on breasts (or casts of them, anyway) for an excellent cause.

To launch its branch in Japan, the Keep a Breast Foundation breast cancer awareness group is hosting The Tokyo Love Show, an exhibit that brings together the largest collection so far of the foundation’s breast casts. Templesmith and more than 100 other artists from around the world have decorated the casts, with “love” as a unifying theme. The castees are also an international group, illustrating the need for global awareness about breast cancer.

Templesmith’s project is above (cast from a woman named Starina Johnson) and is priced at $1,100. You can see the entire gallery at the Tokyo Love Show page.

DC’s digital-first Batman comic launches Thursday

Legends of the Dark Knight, by Ethan Van Sciver

On the eve of the debut of its digital-first Batman comic, DC Comics has revealed the line-up for the first six chapters of Legends of the Dark Knight, along with art from Ethan Van Sciver.

Announced in April at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo as part of an expansion of the publisher’s digital-first slate — Ame-Comi Girls launched May 28 — the out-of-continuity series features standalone stories by different creative teams chronicling some of Batman’s cases.

The first chapter, by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Animal Man), premieres Thursday and takes place early in the Dark Knight’s career when, as Lindelof recently told Comic Book Resources, Batman is “still working out the kinks, as it were.” “One of the things that I really like about Jeff’s writing that not a lot of people are doing right now in the industry is that it’s funny. It’s fun,” he said. “It’s not funny like a wink outside the panel where it’s broad humor. There is just a sense of amusement about everything.”

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Boston Comic Con | Highlights of the Creator-Owned Comics Panel

From left: Brian LeTendre, Ben Templesmith, Becky Cloonan, Joe Benitez, Geof Darrow, Jeremy Bastian

The Creator-Owned Comics panel at Boston Comic-Con drew together five creators with a range of experiences to discuss the fine points of making and marketing their own comics. The panelists were Ben Templesmith (Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse), Becky Cloonan (Wolves), Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika), Geof Darrow (Shaolin Cowboy), and Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl). The moderator was Brian LeTendre of the Secret Identity podcast.

The panel began with a discussion of how the comics landscape has changed over the years. “It’s changed completely,” said Ben Templesmith. “Every small publisher in the comics media, they have all now pretty much been swallowed up by bigger fish. Everyone in the main media is getting involved in comics and buying up small publishers.”

Cloonan, on the other hand, doesn’t see much difference in the way she sells her self-published comics. ” When I first started doing mini-comics, it was almost exactly the way I do them now,” she said. “I go to conventions and I bring my suitcase filled with comics; I just sell more. It’s funny how much social media and the industry has changed, but I still handle it and approach it much the same way I did in college.”

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First look at Ben Templesmith’s Batman for DC digital-first series

Ben Templesmith tweeted this sneak peek of his version of Batman featured in DC Comics’ digital-first Batman anthology series. B Clay Moore is writing the story. Now you’ll have to excuse me so I can go buy an iPad.

C2E2 2012 | Saturday Photodiary

Typically, I’ll spend most of Saturday in panels, but the first one I was interested in wasn’t until later in the morning, so I killed time taking in some of the more offbeat exhibitors, like Ben the Bubble Guy, a businessman who hires himself out for birthday parties, corporate events, funerals. Okay, maybe not funerals.

When it was time, I headed up to the fourth floor for the AV Club‘s panel on the Future of Superheroes.

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C2E2 | DC Comics to add more digital-first content

Ame-Comi Girls, by Amanda Conner

Following the release of the digital Smallville: Season 11 series today, USA Today reports that DC Comics has added two more titles to its upcoming slate of digital-first releases.

Joining Smallville, Justice League Beyond, Batman Beyond, Superman Beyond and Batman: Arkham Unhinged will be Ame-Comi Girls, based on the DC Collectibles line of Japanese manga-style statues, and an out-of-continuity Batman series.

Brian Truitt nails the lede here, saying “DC Comics aims to make every day a new comics day.” Ame-Comi Girls, written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, will come out on Mondays, while Batman–which will feature tales of the Dark Knight by Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles, B. Clay Moore, Nicola Scott, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire, among others–will come out on Thursdays. So the weekly line-up of digital-first series from DC looks like this:

Monday: Ame-Comi Girls
Tuesday: Batman: Arkham Unhinged
Wednesday: The Beyond comics
Thursday: Batman
Friday: Smallville: Season 11

“Our goal has always been from the very beginning to have something for everyone. The opportunities that digital opens up, it really allows us to go for as wide an audience as possible,” Hank Kanalz, DC’s senior vice president for digital, told USA Today. “The Lindelof thing will really appeal to tons of fans who don’t read regular comics, obviously. Hopefully when they come, they’ll see what an amazing medium this is and stay.”

Update: Via press release, DC has announced more details on the Ame-Comi Girls series. “AME-COMI GIRLS, launching in May, is based on the best-selling product line from DC Collectibles that brings the distinct Japanese influence of anime and manga to DC Comics’ female heroines and their foes. In the new series, the heroines must unite to stop an invasion by the female Braniac, who is aided by a group of ‘bad girl’ super villains. Initially, there will be five individual character arcs with multiple chapters, leading up to united, Ame-Comi girl series. All stories are written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with Wonder Woman art by Amanda Conner and Tony Akins, Batgirl art by Sanford Greene, Duela Dent art by Ted Naifeh, Power Girl art by Mike Bowden and Supergirl art by Santi Casas.”

They also announced the creative pairings for the Batman digital comics: “BATMAN digital, launching in June, will take place outside of DC Comics – The New 52 continuity and feature a series of stand-alone stories by various creators that chronicle different cases handled by The Dark Knight. Confirmed creative teams include Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire; Jonathan Larsen and JG Jones; Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott; Ales Kot and Ryan Sook; B. Clay Moore and Ben Templesmith; Steve Niles and Trevor Hairsine; Joe Harris and Jason Masters; TJ Fixman and Christopher Mitten; Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman; Joshua Hale Fialkov and Phil Hester; David Tischman and Chris Sprouse; and many more!”

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Food or Comics? | Sharknife shish kebab

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Sharknife, Volume 2: Double Z

Chris Arrant

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.

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Watch Ben Templesmith draw a page from Fell

This is an hour-and-a-half long, but dang it’s cool. I’m not sure which is more awesome: that Ben Templesmith draws a comic book page before your very eyes, or that it’s a page from the next issue of Fell.

It took place at the Noise Pop music festival in San Francisco last year, put together by comics retailer extraordinaire James Sime and hosted at his Isotope Comics Lounge. According to Sime:

I took over [Noise Pop] last year with all sorts of cool live comic art content. The highlight was definitely bringing in Ben Templesmith, putting him on stage in front of a packed house with one of the SF Bay Area’s best DJs and having him start drawing the next issue of Fell!

DJ SamSupa loves Ben’s work so the set is definitely tailored for him, there’s even a Doctor Who theme moment that had the live audience cheering. Here’s the footage of what we projected up on the big screen for the audience, and the sound mix pulled directly from the soundboard.

Ben is fucking hilarious, twittering to the crowd and writing inking lessons on a spare piece of paper for the fans. And he even INKS WITH BEER.

Cyber Monday sales-o-rama

Just like we did with Black Friday, we’ve rounded up various deals on comics and comic-related stuff that you can get on Cyber Monday. And since at least one of the deals kicks off at midnight Pacific time, I thought I’d go ahead and post the list now instead of waiting for tomorrow morning. I’ll add any additional deals I discover throughout the day.

Also, if you did check out our Black Friday list, some of these are repeats from it, as several places have deals that have been running all weekend and go through Monday. I’ve put the new stuff up top, after the deal that starts at midnight …

Dark Horse Comics has another digital deal set up for Cyber Monday: the first 500 customers through Dark Horse Digital will get a 50 percent discount. There’s a $20 minimum, and the deal runs for 24 hours beginning at midnight Pacific Time on Nov. 28; you’ll also need a coupon code: dhcyber. You can find more details here.

And if you buy $100 worth of stuff from Things from Another World on Monday, they’ll give you $10 worth of digital Dark Horse Comics.

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SDCC ’11 | Ben Templesmith’s art for The Darkest Hour

From Ben Templesmith's cover art for "The Darkest Hour"

Even as Summit Entertainment was touting the Timur Bekmambetov-produced The Darkest Hour this afternoon in Hall H, was unveiling Ben Templesmith’s cover for a comic/art book inspired by the alien-invasion film.

Set to be released later this year by Oni Press, the book features art from 13 creators — Brian Churilla, Tom Fowler, Nathan Fox, Jeremy Haun and Brian Hurtt among them — who were inspired by the action-thriller, which follows five young people stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack.

A limited-edition poster of the cover is available at Templesmith’s booth (#4500) at Comic-Con International. See the full image after the break. The Darkest Hour, which stars Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman and Max Minghella, opens on Dec. 23.

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IDW’s 30 Days Of Night coming every 30 days in new ongoing series

After years of horror, mischief and mayhem, the long running series-of-miniseries 30 Days Of Night is pulling out the stops and becoming a full-fledged ongoing series. IDW has announced co-creator Steve Niles is returning to write the series and is joined by epic illustrator Sam Kieth, as they take the original story of Alaskan vampires into the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles.

According to the press releases, the ongoing begins when a cryptic letter carrying a postmark from Barrow, Alaska lands in the mailbox of a curious woman who begins delving into the vampire mystery.

“I’ve been wanting to get back into the 30 Days of Night universe and shake things up for awhile now,” said Niles in a press release. “I’ve just been waiting for the right moment and the right artist. I have the right artist in Sam Kieth, and the time is now.”

Best known for his work on The Maxx and various projects for Marvel and DC, Sam Kieth is no stranger to the 30 Days of Night universe; the artist illustrated the recent 30 Days of Night: Night, Again miniseries and has been doing a flurry of work both in the indies and at the Big Two.

Although he’s the writer and co-creator of the series, Niles has been in and out of the 30 Days of Night world, which is co-owned by him, IDW and artist Ben Templesmith. There’s no word on Templesmith’s involvement in the series as of yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he popped up with a variant cover down the road.

Comics invade San Francisco’s Noise Pop this weekend

Noise Pop

Noise Pop, a music, culture and arts festival that’s kinda like Austin’s South by Southwest, kicked off in San Francisco this week, and this weekend many comic book folks will join in on the fun. And at the center of it all is Isotope Comics, as owner James Sime is serving as “Comics Curator” for the event.

So what have they got planned?

  • The Eisner-Award nominated duo of Matt Silady (The Homeless Channel) and Justin Hall (Glamazonia), both of whom teach at the California College of the Arts, will host a workshop on Saturday on comics creation.
  • Courtney Crumrin & The Night Things creator Ted Naifeh will host Courtney Crumin Live, “presented in traditional olde tyme radio play fashion,” on Sunday.
  • 30 Days of Night, Choker and Fell co-creator Ben Templesmith and DJ Samsupa will present a “cutting edge live-art demo,” which will be available to watch via webcast.
  • All this week they’ll have “sequential reporters” reporting form the show, including both Silady and Hall, as well as Jamaica Dyer, Greg Hinkle and many more.
  • Vinyl Dreams: a gallery of comic art on record sleeves. Sleeves to draw on are available at Isotope through Feb. 25.

You can find more details on the comic events at the Isotope website, and more on Noise Pop at its official website. Let’s just hope it doesn’t snow.

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