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Comics A.M. | Belgian court won’t ban Tintin in the Congo

Tintin in the Congo

Legal | A Belgian court has rejected a five-year-old bid by a Congolese student to have the 1946 edition of Herge’s Tintin in the Congo banned because of its racist depictions. “It is clear that neither the story, nor the fact that it has been put on sale, has a goal to … create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment,” the court said in its judgment. Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, who launched the campaign in 2007 to ban the book, plans to appeal. [The Guardian]

Publishing| John Rood, DC’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development, discusses the results of the New 52 readership survey, noting right of the bat that it’s “not indicative of the actual system wide performance,” which makes you wonder what it’s good for. He has some interesting things to say about bringing back lapsed readers and the demographics of DC readers in general, though. [Publishers Weekly]

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Bill Sienkiewicz covers Godzilla for Criterion

Like all giant monster fans, I’ve been excited about the Criterion release of the original Godzilla, but I somehow missed that Bill Sienkiewicz painted the cover for it. Apparently there’s been some controversy about his depiction’s being more 2002 than 1954, but Criterion responded that while “we can see why some viewers consider it to be more akin to the 2002 incarnation of Godzilla because the back plates seem more sharp-pointed and jagged than the curved tips of the ‘54 original, for example, or the tail tapers more to a point,” the design isn’t actually all that much like the more recent version either and ultimately, simply reflects Sienkiewicz’ “personal [though Toho-approved] vision of the creature.”

According to Trouble With Comics, Sienkiewicz also provided black-and-white illustrations for the Blu-Ray booklet.

(via The Comics Reporter)

The day indie rock defeated Alan Moore: Al Columbia reveals what happened to Big Numbers #4

Is this the only Big Numbers #4 art you'll ever see?

Is this the only Big Numbers #4 art you'll ever see?

It’s one of comics’ greatest mysteries, and Inkstuds interviewer extraordinaire Robin McConnell just solved it. And the answer involves…’90s indie-rock icons Sebadoh?

McConnell covers a lot of incredibly fascinating ground in his astonishingly candid and in-depth interview with cartoonist Al Columbia — do not say “tl;dl” to the two-hour podcast — but he also cuts right to the chase, asking the mercurial artist what, exactly, happened to the artwork he created for Watchmen demigod Alan Moore’s great lost comic Big Numbers #4. As you might recall from our post on Columbia’s one-time mentor Bill Sienkiewicz’s recent words on the subject, Big Numbers was intended to be Moore’s magnum opus.

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Bill Sienkiewicz reveals his side of Alan Moore’s Big Numbers saga

from Big Numbers #3 by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz

from Big Numbers #3 by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz

It is perhaps the greatest comic never published. Intended to be a 12-issue miniseries ambitious and complex enough to make Watchmen look like Wizard of Id on an off day, Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz’s Big Numbers was a Joycean look at life in a small English town as a big-box retailer prepared to set up shop. But this grand fiction-as-fractal-geometry experiment only managed to produce two published issues in 1990 before hitting a massive delay during work on issue #3, losing Sienkiewicz, moving from Moore’s Mad Love publishing imprint to Kevin Eastman’s Tundra, tapping Sienkiewicz’s then-teenaged assistant (and current reclusive Pim & Francie creator and alt-horror superstar) Al Columbia to take over, losing Columbia and all the pages he’d completed, and finally shuddering to a halt.

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What Are You Reading?

Deadpool Team-Up #886

Hello and welcome to a special “birthday bash” edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature, where the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently. Usually we invite a special guest to share what they’ve been reading, but since today isn’t just an ordinary day for us, we thought we’d invite a whole bunch of special guests to help us out — our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources, Spinoff and Comics Should Be Good!

To see what everyone has been reading, click below …

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Talking Comics with Tim | Kody Chamberlain

Sweets 4Later this month will see the release of Sweets 4, the second to last in the five-issue Image Comics miniseries written and illustrated by Kody Chamberlain. As Chamblerlain explained in a May 2010 interview with CBR: “Sweets is about a New Orleans homicide detective named Curt Delatte. He’s hunting a psychotic spree killer who’s terrorizing the city days before Hurricane Katrina makes landfall. This detective just buried his only daughter and he’s on the verge of divorce. He’s in bad shape. Everyone with a badge is trying to catch this killer and put an end to the slaughter, but the bodies just keep piling up. Curt has to pull himself together and join the hunt. He’s got no choice. It won’t be long until his city and his evidence get washed away – a true ticking time bomb scenario.” My thanks to Chamberlain for this new email interview where we delve into his approach to storytelling, color and character development as well as two of the best convention moments he’s ever had.

Tim O’Shea: You been working on this script for years, can you single out a phase of the script development where you felt like you got the story where you wanted it to be?

Kody Chamberlain: The time spent on the script was mostly a result of being a full-time artist. Creating artwork for comics is extremely time-consuming, especially since I usually ink and color my own work. So that means I have to steal time here and there for my writing and that slows down the process. I didn’t mean to imply I’ve been writing the script nonstop all this time, I’m not a full time writer, so that can’t happen. Writing Sweets was a slow process for me because I wanted it to be a solid script before I picked up my pencil, and that takes longer when you’re a full-time artist. But from the start, I committed to nailing down a solid script before drawing anything, and that’s taken a while.

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SDCC ’10 | Bill Sienkiewicz illustrates Dexter webseries

Dexter Morgan, by Bill Sienkiewicz

Dexter Morgan, by Bill Sienkiewicz

Award-winning illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz, best known for comics like New Mutants, Elektra: Assassin and Stray Toasters, will take a stab at serial killer Dexter Morgan with an animated webseries — or is it a motion comic? — based on the acclaimed Showtime drama.

Debuting online in October, Dexter Early Cuts: Dark Echo will follow the character as he’s challenged by a copy-cat killer who doesn’t follow a code. The six chapters are written by Tim Schlattmann, Dexter co-executive producer and staff writer, and voiced by series star Michael C. Hall.

According to IGN.com, Dark Echo opens immediately after the death of Dexter’s father Harry, with a young Dexter enrolled in medical school, studying to improve his craft. During a kill, he realizes another student has been spying on him, leading to a clash between the two.

Based on a series of novels by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter premiered on Showtime in October 2006. The fifth season begins on Sept. 26. The show was featured this afternoon in two panels at Comic-Con International.

Watch the trailer for Dark Echo after the break.

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Straight for the art | Bill Sienkiewicz’s Friendly Dictators trading cards

General Francisco Franco, President of Spain, by Bill Sienkiewicz

General Francisco Franco, President of Spain, by Bill Sienkiewicz

Man, they made trading cards out of everything in the ’90s, didn’t they? Case in point: Written by Dennis Bernstein and Laura Slydell and illustrated by Elektra: Assassin genius Bill Sienkiewicz, the Friendly Dictators Trading Cards set from 1990 represented a rogues’ gallery of tyrants who were on good terms with the good ol’ U.S. of A. Okay, so Hitler’s a bit of a stretch. But from Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti to Augusto Pinochet in Chile to Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam, there’s no shortage of creeps, goons, and outright monsters with whom America traded the occasional Christmas card and/or oodles of military and monetary aid, and Sienkiewicz brings them all to ghoulish life. I particularly appreciate the “CANCELLED” stamp applied to the autocrats who eventually fell out of our favor. Poor Manuel Noriega, he never saw it coming.

(Via John Barber)

SDCC ’09 | Bill Sienkiewicz’s sketchbook & lithograph

Batman and Elektra

Batman and Elektra

Legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz will have both a limited edition lithograph and sketchbook at the San Diego Comic Con this week. Above is the lithograph, which costs $40 and can be found at booth 2449. The sketchbook will cost $20.

Talking Comics with Tim: Nate Powell

Swallow Me Whole

Swallow Me Whole

Nate Powell‘s Swallow Me Whole is a graphic novel that demands and warrants repeated readings. Released by Top Shelf last year, the publisher describes it as “a love story carried by rolling fog, terminal illness, hallucination, apophenia, insect armies, secrets held, unshakeable faith, and the search for a master pattern to make sense of one’s unraveling.” My thanks to Powell for this email interview and his level of candor.

Tim O’Shea: What motivated you to start self-publishing mini-comics at the age of 14?

Nate Powell: Well, I’d been drawing comics with a few friends for a couple of years already. We had many issues of a comic series mapped out, and a friend’s uncle suggested that we finish up each issue and self-publish it. We didn’t really know what that entailed, but soon discovered a few neglected copy machines around town and in my dad’s office. We made 100 copies of the first comic, and they all sold in about two months; we’d never anticipated recovering our expenses, or anyone actually BUYING the books, to be honest. We just wanted to have a comic too, and found the most accessible way to make them. At this time I was already into the punk subculture and had been exposed to people who made zines and released records in much the same manner, but it was not until a few years later when I started writing zines and putting out records that I saw the inherent connections between these two realms of DIY entrepreneurship.

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