Wilfred Santiago, the creator of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, is working on a new biography: Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade. Details are sparse, but according to the Fantagraphics blog, “frenetic panels and art from Santiago’s new book are online and updated regularly until its release in late 2013.” If the images are any indication, Santiago is busting out from the limited palette he used for the Clemente book to full, brilliant color, applied in a bold, painterly style.
But wait! There’s more! It turns out these two comics are actually part of a trilogy. The third volume, Thunderbolt, is a bit of an odd man out: It’s a bio of the famed abolitionist John Brown, and according to its website, it will run as a free webcomic, serialized weekly, beginning in July 2013. Maybe it’s because I’m more of a history buff than a sports fan, but I think this one looks the most interesting of the three; the sample art is darker and sparser than the Jordan art, and the topic is certainly fascinating. There’s one image below, and more at the book’s official Facebook page.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Kevin Colden, whose comic work includes Fishtown, I Rule the Night, Vertigo’s Strange Adventures and Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, among others. He’s also the drummer for the band Heads Up Display.
To see what Kevin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …
While biographies are becoming more and more common these days, sports comics remain a bit of an anomaly (indeed, up till now James Sturm seemed to have had the market cornered). Let’s hope Wilfred Santiago’s latest book, 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, starts to fill in that genre hole a little bit. Particuarly if they’re as visually dynamic and playful as this book is. Chronicling Clemente’s life from his early years in Puerto Rico to his untimely death in 1972, Santiago avoids the traditional traps of being too staid, didactic or reverential, creating a book that show us what made the Pittsburgh Pirates member so special without feeling like a history lesson. It’s a book that’s both fun as well as informative.
I talked to Santiago from his home in Chicago about the new book and what it took to get it into print.
Why Clemente? What was it about him that made you want to tell the story of his life?
I really wanted to do a biography. It’s something I wanted to do since my last project [2004's My Darkest Hour] and I had a list of different [potential] subjects. There were a number of factors as to why I chose Clemente in particular. I think it’s a compelling story to write about. The material was somewhat familiar [to me] and I like baseball .
Remember a few weeks back when we noted that former California governor and Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger was hinting that he was working on a comic? Well, it’s true, and none other than Stan Lee is going to be a part of the creative team.
It’s not clear exactly what role Lee will play in the comic, but he had plenty to say to Entertainment Weekly, as did Schwarzenegger himself. The character will be a superhero named The Governator, and Lee refers to him as a “semi-fictional” character, which makes one wonder. Is there a real Arnold Cave somewhere, perhaps in an undisclosed location? Or is it just that the cast will include Schwarzenegger’s real-life wife (Maria Shriver) and kids?
Along with the Arnold Cave, the Governator will have a fleet of super vehicles at his disposal, a closet full of “Super Suits” that allow him to fly and perform other super stunts, and a team of colorful sidekicks, such as Zeke Muckerberg, the precocious 13-year-old computer whiz who acts as the Governator’s cybersecurity expert. Naturally, there will also be recurring supervillains — including an evil organization called Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-cons (or G.I.R.L.I.E. Men, for short). For Schwarzenegger, the cartoon is obviously the next best thing to being President. “I love the idea of a control center below my house with a path so that boats and submarines can go right into the ocean,” he tells EW. “In the cartoon, my house is much closer to the beach than where we live, but, you know, it’s a cartoon.”
Oh, so that’s the fictional part—the house is closer to the beach.
But has anyone told them about this? Or will it be terminated with extreme prejudice?
That was quick … via press release, Bluewater Productions has announced a “special collector’s edition” biography comic book of Michael Jackson, who passed away last Thursday. The book will feature a wraparound cover and foreword by Giuseppe Mazzola, a friend of Jackson’s
The book is scheduled for October. The complete press release and an image of a second cover can be found after the jump.
The art book publisher Abrams came out of the gate running this year with their new Comicarts imprint, which featured titles like Craig Yoe’s discovery of naughty Joe Schuster art, Secret Identity. What delights will the offer for the second half of the year? How about a new book by Alan Moore? Yes, it’s true; click on the link to find out more.
* Dan Nadel reviews the Dave Stevens bio Brush With Greatness and in the process comments on Stevens’ work as well: “Stevens made a conscious choice to marginalize himself, to live within the bubble of fandom. He was a willful anachronism, frustrated by his chosen intellectual and artistic world but unable or unwilling to see beyond it.”
* A la Casey Kasem, Tom Spurgeon counts down (or really, up) the top 10 best comic series of all time. Quick, before you click on the link: can you guess what number one is based on this quote? “Three generations of American adults not only read some excellent comics in this magazine, they saw a great deal of an age-stratified pop culture through its lenses.”
* Speaking on Radio Canada International, novelist Miguel Syjuco offered an early (and, I think, first) review of Seth’s new book, George Sprott (click on the first part of the program link. It’s around the 12-minute mark).
* Steve Duin (who really, you should be reading regularly) has some nice things to say about Fantagraphics’ new collection of Nell Brinkley cartoons.
* Graeme McMillan eviscerates that second half of Neil Gaiman’s two-part Batman story.
* Shaenon K. Garrity writers about her trip to Japan and how exactly she ended up there.
* Rob Clough reviews Miss Lasko-Gross’ A Mess of Everything.
* Derik Badman continues his look at Tezuka’s Phoenix series with a look at Volume 8.
* Kinukitty gets global with her yaoi coverage by looking at In the End, a German-made manga.