Best of 7 Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Welcome back to Priest & Bright’s Quantum & Woody

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Really I toyed with the idea of merely posting: “Christopher J. Priest and M.D. Bright are together again: what more needs to be written?” But the return of these two creators to comics in particular deserves more discussion than just one sentence. This week marked the release of the first installment in the five-issue miniseries, Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody #1.

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‘Astro City’ gives an old ‘Wish’ new life

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Ever since its return under the Vertigo banner, Astro City (from Kurt Busiek, Brent Eric Anderson, and company) has been pretty great on a consistent basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been a highlight of my pull list; but the current run has really been something special. Last month’s issue #15 — concluding the story of a sweet little old robotics genius and the supervillain who sought to ruin her — was particularly heartwarming. (What’s that? Something in my eye? No, I’m just tired….)

Then, however, I read this week’s issue #16. Readers looking for familiar pastiches will be rewarded immediately, since the broad strokes of the story are deliberately reminiscent of Silver Age Superboy and Lex Luthor. (The energy-headed hero Starbright also looks a bit like Firestorm, but that’s more incidental.) It’s a tale of awkward friendship, super-powered rivalry, and an act of simple kindness which literally transforms a life. As Busiek reveals on the letters page, the middle part of the story comes from his unpublished eight-page script for an installment of the backup feature “Superman: The In-Between Years.” In hindsight it’s easy to see how that script would have worked as a look into the developing dynamics between the Collegian of Steel and his former friend — but as usual, Astro City has taken those elements in undreamt-of directions.

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Eleanor Davis holds 17-hour fundraiser for friend’s wheelchair van

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On Friday, How to Be Happy creator Eleanor Davis embarked on a 17-hour drawing marathon to raise money for her friend Kyle Coldwell (“a 23-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, resident with a severe congenital condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy [SMA]“), who is the midst of a $10,000 GoFundMe campaign for funds to repair or replace his wheelchair van.

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Its big reveal already spoiled, ‘Captain America #25′ still surprises

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Much like Sam Wilson said himself, the new Captain America wasn’t much of a surprise. We have known the Falcon was going to take Cap’s position since July, so the cover of Captain America #25 is kind of a misnomer. However, as Rick Remender wraps up his current storyline and starts the next chapter, I was plenty surprised to see an enormous roster of Avengers gathered on the page.

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Henson and Langridge’s ‘Musical Monsters’ are delightful

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow is a charming children’s story with clearly defined heroes and villains, plus music-making Muppet monsters from outer space, all lovingly adapted into comics form by Roger Langridge. It has a classic feel that will please adults but is fresh enough for children to enjoy, and Langridge does a particularly nice job of rendering music into visual form, something that is often a challenge for creators.

The book is adapted from a script that Jim Henson and collaborator Jerry Juhl wrote for a children’s television special, and the story is pretty straightforward. The protagonist, Timmy, lives with his Aunt Clytemnestra, who has an other-worldly feel to her, and his older sister Ann, who is more of a hippie type (the story is set in 1968). Ann and Timmy like to go out to an isolated area of their property to practice playing guitar, but they get chased off by their mean neighbor Mister Sump, who wants the land for himself.

Timmy is out practicing one day when the monsters arrive and accompany him with strange musical sounds of their own. Soon Timmy is friends with the monsters, but you know in a story like this that the bad guy is going to cause trouble, and that’s exactly what happens. Turkey Hollow has more turkeys than people, and suddenly the turkeys are all gone and the monsters are found sleeping in a heap with bones scattered all around. The sheriff reluctantly rounds the monsters up and puts them in jail, but Timmy is pretty sure they are being framed, and he sets off to prove it.

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Banned Books Week brings out the rebel in all of us

jhill-BBW-2014This year’s pairing of Banned Books Week and comics, with considerable input from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, was pure genius. While it is sponsored by a number of organizations, Banned Books Week is heavily supported by libraries, and librarians have been among the most ardent boosters of graphic novels in the last ten years.

In fact, Banned Books Week is really all about libraries, and to a lesser extent, schools. The days of government censorship in the form of prohibiting publication, import, or sale of a book for offensive content are long gone. Nowadays, “banned books” really refers to books that someone wants to remove from a public library or a school. Often, those attempts are unsuccessful because the library in question has a solid acquisition policy and a process for handling challenges, which is how it should be. Libraries buy books for a reason, and they shouldn’t take them off the shelves without a better reason.

Many public library challenges have a similar narrative: Kid checks a book out of the library, mom finds the book and freaks out, mom goes to the library, or the press, and demands the book and all others like it be removed from circulation. When the proper process is followed, a committee of professionals reviews the book and makes a decision, and you and I seldom hear about it; it’s when someone goes to a public meeting and starts yelling and waving a book that things go haywire. That’s what happened in South Carolina, where the a mother let her daughter check out Alan Moore’s Neonomicon, which the library had correctly shelved as an adult book, then was shocked to discover it had sex in it. In this case, the library review committee recommended that the book remain on the shelves but the library director overruled them.

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WWE: Comic haters need not apply

John Cena: Fake Geek Guy?

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It’s been some time since WWE Superstar Darren Young came out publicly as WWE’s first openly gay superstar, a huge accomplishment considering how the company had depicted gay characters in the past. With the divide between public acceptance and macho stereotypes, former superstar Brodus Clay was asked during an interview with Kayfabe Commentaries about the real behind-the-scenes reaction and concerns surrounding Young’s announcement, and what I learned may shock you.

“In terms of the locker room, it wasn’t a big deal. … We weren’t like, “oh my what?” We’re past that. Our locker room is very accepting of that. Honestly, we’re probably more angry if someone’s not reading comic books than whether they’re gay or straight.”

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‘Gotham’ introduces an ice-cold killer

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Superheroes are all the rage these days. They’ve already conquered the multiplex, and now they’re poised to conquer the small screen. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. A lot of fans are already a bit wary these days, what with The Flash and Constantine joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow as TV shows based on comic properties. And that’s not even counting the upcoming Agent Carter, the online streaming projects and the potential Supergirl show. It’s cause for both much excitement and much anxiety.

Perhaps nothing carried a bigger bull’s eye on its back than FOX’s Gotham. Pitched as a look at Gotham before there was a Batman, the show already faced several significant hurdles. There was the fact that it was coming right off the very successful Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. There were the stories of extensive retooling of the pilot to shoehorn even more villains-before-they-were-villains cameos (Edward Nygma, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, specifically). And there were the fans who’d been looking forward to a Gotham Central show, but were becoming increasingly disheartened when it became more and more apparent that the show wasn’t going to do that.

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The New Yorker profiles ‘The Last Amazon’

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Anyone seeking an antidote to recent Wonder Woman-related idiocy need look no farther than Jill Lepore’s story “The Last Amazon” in the Sept. 22 issue of The New Yorker.

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Seth Kushner goes home

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Since his Myeloid Acute Leukemia diagnosis in April, I have been following Seth Kushner’s arduous medical journey. The various rounds of chemotherapy did not seem to be the hardest part of the experience for the photographer/comics writer. For him, the biggest hardship (other than the fight for his life, of course) was the fact that his frequent bouts of hospitalization for treatments kept him away from his home with his wife, Terra, and their young son.

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Married with Sea Monsters brings ‘Face It Tiger’ to life

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

As Tim mentioned earlier today, the “Spider-Gwen” character that debuted in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 last week has resonated with fans in a way we haven’t seen since … well, since the recent redesign of Batgirl. Writer Jason Latour was sharing fan art of the character on his Tumblr long before she debuted last “Gwensday,” as people really got into Robbi Rodriguez’s design of the alternate universe Spider-Woman.

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It’s great to have a new George Pérez comic to read

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Any week there is a new George Pérez comic to read calls for a celebration.  What pleases me is that this story is not rooted in corporate comics continuity; rather the esteemed writer/artist has jumped head first into stories with his own new characters–something he clearly relishes. What also pleases me so is that the man still hungers to tell new tales, rather than spend his free time (post recent eye surgery) pursuing his love of theater/acting or just basking in the glow of an incredible career. As he noted in a recent CBR interview: “I will never regret any of my time working for DC and Marvel, especially in light of the fact that, especially with DC, I have been earning considerable money in royalties that allows me the option of not drawing comics at all if I were crazy enough to consider that.”

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‘The Private Eye’ tops six figures in downloads, sales

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The release of a new issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s excellent and, given recent news, timely The Private Eye is always enough to warrant a “Best of 7″ post. But the icing on the cake is that Vaughan revealed some sales data last week for the series thus far — and business has been good for the talented team.

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The eyes are the jackpot on the new Spider-Gwen costume

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As a huge Jason Latour fan I give him credit on the marketing front; he successfully pumped many folks (including myself) to be quite enthused about  Edge of Spider-Verse #2 featuring another universe’s Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman.

But when I finally got the issue, what surprised me is the aspect I loved most about the series. Despite the fact it is a universe where Gwen’s father is very much alive (and many other engaging narrative aspects–including a potentially very different kind of Matt Murdock)–it is the eyes of the Spider-Woman costume that really proved to be my favorite part. This may surprise, but let me explain.

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Yang, Simone and the triumph of ‘Saga’

saga15-cover[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

In some ways, this is the best of times and the worst of times for those who are interested in bringing comics to a broader audience. As the hubbub died down over Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman cover, another story went viral, about a comic shop where an employee allegedly made a crude joke about a “rape room” and then fired a trainee who complained about it. While debate continues to rage over what exactly happened there (the store owner denies it), Bloomberg did a big story on how the number of women comics readers is growing and becoming an ever more important sector of the industry.

With this in mind, I want to call out three things that happened this week.

The first is Gene Luen Yang’s speech at the National Book Festival. First of all, it’s impressive that a comics creator is given such a prominent platform at an event that isn’t actually focused on comics. What Yang had to say was even more impressive. He spoke about the African-American creator Dwayne McDuffie, whose love of comics first caught fire when he encountered the Black Panther, a black character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Black Panther wasn’t perfect, but, Yang said,

All of these flaws were lost on Dwayne McDuffie when he first encountered the Black Panther in 1973, at the age of 11. What struck him was the character’s commanding sense of dignity. The Black Panther wasn’t anyone’s sidekick. He wasn’t an angry thug. He wasn’t a victim. He was his own hero, his own man. As Dwayne describes it, “In the space of 15 pages, black people moved from invisible to inevitable.”

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