Blank Slate Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Comics A.M. | More on JFK comic art that surfaced at auction

From "Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy”

From “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy”

Creators | Newsday picks up the story of Al Plastino’s original art for the John F. Kennedy comic that was canceled when the president was assassinated, and then published a few months later at the request of the Johnson administration. Plastino, now 91, had been told the artwork would be donated to the Kennedy Library, but last month at New York Comic Con he learned that a private individual had the art and was planning to sell it through Heritage Auctions, which now says it won’t move forward until the ownership question is resolved. Copyright lawyer Dale Cendall, former DC Comics President Paul Levitz and artist Neal Adams weigh in on the case. [Newsday]

Kickstarter | In the wake of the successful Fantagraphics Kickstarter campaign, Rob Salkowitz looks at the evolution of the crowdfunding platform from a way for individual creators to connect with their audiences to a pre-sale mechanism that eliminates a lot of the risk for smaller publishers. [ICv2]

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Blank Slate’s Kenny Penman on going digital with Panel Nine

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Today Panel Nine launches Sequential, a storefront app that will make available digital editions of several publishers from the current U.K. renaissance in graphic novel publishing, including Blank Slate, Knockabout and Myriad Editions, with others set to follow.

I always think of Blank Slate Publisher Kenny Penman as one of the great patrons of the comic arts. One of the world’s most successful comics retailers, his love of the medium has led him into also becoming one of its most innovative publishers. He’s also not shy with his opinions. Recalling some distinctly anti-digital comments from him on Twitter, I asked him about his change of heart, and how going digital can only help spread the word about the great work coming out of the United Kingdom.

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Exclusive first look at Creature Couture from Blank Slate

Blank Slate books, one of the leading publishers of the U.K. graphic novel renaissance, is publishing its first art book: Creature Couture by by Felt Mistress, aka Louise Evans. She produces amazing work, recreating the art of Jonathan Edwards and other illustrators and cartoonists (including Luke Pearson, Pete Fowler and others) as soft toys and puppets. To quote the press release:

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Across the Pond | A roundup of U.K. comics news

First, a heads-up on the British Invasion of Toronto: This weekend, Toronto Comics Art Festival will host a number of creators from the United Kingdom, including Sean Azzopardi (Necessary Monsters), Darryl Cunningham (Psychiatric Tales), Joe Decie (Accidental Salad), Tom Gauld (Goliath), Lizz Lunney (Depressed Cat: Nine Miserable Lives) and Luke Pearson (Hilda and the Midnight Giant). Publishers Blank Slate, Nobrow Press and SelfMadeHero will also be in attendance. I ran into some other British creators at MoCCA this weekend; you’ll be hearing about that shortly.

Comics | Gary Northfield shows off some of the art from his comic Gary’s Garden, which runs in the weekly children’s comic The Phoenix:

Part autobiography, part made-up nonsense (well, mainly completely made-up nonsense to be fair), Gary’s Garden delves into my favourite thing ever – me spying on the comings and goings of all the little dudes and dudettes who dwell in my garden.

This makes me wish more fervently than ever that The Phoenix would get an app or somehow make itself available outside the UK, digitally or on paper. Adding to my pain: Jim Medway offers a peek at his new comic Chip Charlton & Mr. Woofles of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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Food or Comics? | Pete and mirliton

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.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Hooky

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d first snap up a book I’ve been trying to track down for years: Amazing Spider-Man: Hooky (Marvel, $4.99). This 1986 lost classic features Bernie Wrightson drawing a webhead story featuring monsters and alternate worlds – looks like a real gem. Now to convince Marvel to republish John Paul Leon’s Logan: Path of the Warlord… Next up would be Secret Service #1 (Marvel/Icon, $2.99). I’ll buy pretty much anything Dave Gibbons puts out these days, and seeing him with Mark Millar is bound to be a unique experience. Next up is Saga #2 (Image, $2.99); Brian K. Vaughn is really setting up a world – like a sci-fi sitcom here, with loads of direction to go in. Lastly I’d get Conan the Barbarian #3 (Dark Horse, $3.50). Can I admit I might like this more than Northlanders? Brian Wood’s definitely expanding how people think of him with this story, and Becky Cloonan is making a lot of editors look foolish for not putting her on these kinds of books sooner.

If I had $30, I’d start out with Secret #1 (Image, $3.50). Manhattan Projects seems more up my alley than this story, but Jonathan Hickman’s built up some credit in me to try anything new he puts out even if I’m not too interested. Next up would be Northlanders #50 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), which I’m sad to see go. I think this will be one of those series that achieves more popularity after it’s over, and it’s a shame DC can’t find a way to continue it. After that it would be Glory #25 (Image, $2.99). I was a bit shaky on the story after Joe Keatinge’s first issue, but everything after has really put the pieces into place and Ross Campbell seems to be finding his footing to really land the superheroics of this story. Last up would be Secret Avengers #25 (Marvel, $3.99); Rick Remender’s clearly put his own spin to this series, so much I’m surprised Marvel didn’t use this as a chance to renumber the series… but I’m glad they didn’t.

If I could splurge, I’d throw money at my comic retailer for Pete and Miriam (Boom!, $14.99). Big fan of Rich Tommaso, and he seems to be honing his craft like a knife, creating more pointed and poignant stories here. And Miriam, she’s a real gem.

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Comics A.M. | Bidding for Superman check pushes past $31,000

Action Comics #1

Auctions | Bids for the $412 check from Detective Comics to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that includes a $130 line item for the rights to Superman have already surpassed $31,000 in less than three days at auction on ComicConnect.com. The auction ends April 16. [ABC News, The New York Times]

Creators | Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo is working on a new series that will run in a Japanese shonen (boys’) magazine. [Anime News Network]

Comic strips | Richard Thompson is back on the job at Cul de Sac, with some help from Stacy Curtis, who will be inking the strip. [Cul de Sac]

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Food or Comics? | Raspberry RASL

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.

Dark Horse Presents #9

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d start out with Prophet #22 (Image, $2.99) by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; it’s an Old West pioneering comic set on an alien world. Next up would be my favorite comic from Marvel these days, Uncanny X-Force #22 (Marvel, $3.99). Remender was raised on Claremont-era X-Men, and this is excavating the intricacies of Captain Briton and late ’80s Excalibur comics for Otherworld, Jamie Braddock and a swashbuckling Nightcrawler. Last up with my $15 bounty would be A Long Day Of Mr. James – Teacher (Blank Slate, $7.99). A great looking piece of cartooning from an artist, Harvey James, I’m looking to learn more about.

If I had $30, I’d double back and first pick up Dark Horse Presents #9 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Seriously, this is the comic that some fans were hoping for several years back: one book containing new stories from Paul Pope, Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson… and pin-ups by Geoff Darrow? Seriously, I second-guess any comics fan I meet who isn’t buying this. Next up would be Wolverine and The X-Men #6 (Marvel, $3.99) by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. Seeing Wolverine and Kid Omega going to an outer space casino sounds like everything the X-Men haven’t been in over two decades, but I’m liking it. I can only hope they run into Lila Cheney. Lastly, I’d pick up Jeff Smith’s RASL #13 (Cartoon Books, $3.50). The last issue was history-heavy focusing on Tesla, so I hope this one is bit more kinetic.

If I could splurge, I’d go back for a second Blank Slate book—Hector Umbra (Blank Slate, $26.99). I’ve heard nothing about cartoonist Uli Oesterle, but after seeing the preview on Blank Slate’s website I’m kicking myself. Long story short, DJ kidnapped during his set (at Robot Mitchum nightclub no less, best club name ever), and his friend Hector Umbra, an artist-turned-detective, goes after him. Some people compare Oesterle’s art to Mignola,but I see some Paul Grist in there as well.

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Blank Slate will collect Nick Abadzis’ long-lost Hugo Tate strips

Abadzis' rough cover concept for the "Hugo Tate" Colection

Although cartoonist Nick Abadzis might be known to most American audiences solely for his graphic novel Laika, the Swedish-born artist has been busy making comics since the mid-80s. And now, enterprising UK art-house publisher Blank Slate is bringing back Abadzis’ first major comics work, which made him a name to his European fans.  Hugo Tate is the story of a man living his life and soaking up the eccentricities that normal people like you and I exhibit. Although the characters are little more than stick-figure men, Abadzis gave them a lushly drawn world and some true-to-life character moments that couldn’t be done anywhere except in comics.

“Over the years, I have been asked for this collection, many, many times,” Abadzis said in a message posted on Forbidden Planet’s blog. “It’s taken a long time to get together, for which I apologise to all those patient readers and fans of Deadline out there. I’ve been working on it, on and off, for years, digitizing and restoring the artwork. (Note to self: never use zip-a-tone again. It shrinks with age.) But this is to let the faithful out there know that the Hugo Tate book really is on its way. It’s going to be published by Blank Slate, an imprint whose output I’ve been really enjoying in the past couple of years. ”

Originally published from 1988 to 1994 inside Deadline magazine as a companion series to Tank Girl, the sole previous collection — a partial collection in 1993 called Hugo Tate: O, America – has been out of print for over a decade.Abadzis’ has posted some of his favorite strips on his blog, including the excellent “Bread & Liver” strip which you should definitely read.

Although Deadline is most fondly remembered for introducing the word to Jamie Hewlett & Alan Martin’s Tank Girl, works like Hugo Tate have largely fallen between the cracks and are just now seeing the light of day. Next on my wish list is Philip Bond’s Wired World.

Notes from across the pond

The U.K. comics scene has been heating up of late, and we can only hope that 2012 will see a British Invasion of the comics variety. The BBC has coverage of the latest development: The launch of The Phoenix, a weekly children’s comic published by David Fickling (whose David Fickling Books is an imprint of Random House). The name is apt: The Phoenix is a reprise of an earlier attempt, The DFC, which garnered a lot of praise but shut down after 43 issues. The Phoenix is launching with a nice lineup of stories and talent, including Neill Cameron, Simone Lia, Gary Northfield and Jamie Smart (who draws Desperate Dan for the long-running weekly The Dandy). Unfortunately, it’s print-only and not available digitally, so most U.S. readers won’t get to see it just yet.

Meanwhile, Strip Magazine, a monthly comic dedicated to serialized action tales, has released its second issue. Unlike The Phoenix, Strip is available digitally as an iPad app, which means we Yanks can read it, too. (I think the high point of my year was learning that The Beano and The Dandy are now available as iPad apps.)

If you’re not quite ready to let go of Christmas yet (hey, it’s supposed to be 12 days!), check out the classic British Christmas comics that Lew Stringer (another talented artist) has posted at his blog. It’s a fascinating look back in time. Dandy artist Andy Fanton posts a more modern Christmas comic (very much in the Dandy style) at his blog.

And finally, we had the U.S. release last week of Nelson, the collaborative graphic novel by 54 creators, each of whom contributed a chapter about one day in the life of a young woman. The contributors include Roger Langridge, Duncan Fegredo, Warren Pleece, Posy Simmonds and Darryl Cunningham, and publisher Blank Slate is donating the proceeds from the sale of the book to the homelessness charity Shelter.

Food or Comics? | Jason Conquers Amaretto

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.

Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes

Graeme McMillan

As we head into Christmas, I’m saving my pennies for last-minute presents. That said, if I had $15 to spend, I’d run towards Memorial #1 (IDW, $3.99), the debut of the new fantasy series by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis. I admit to having sneaked a peak at this particular present, and I really enjoyed the tone, which is somewhere between Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who and some of Neil Gaiman’s work. I’d also grab Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 (DC, $6.99), the collection of what was supposed to be the final issues of Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman, Inc. series before the relaunch; I’d enjoyed Batman Incorporated a lot, and am ready for more of the weird, retro-but-somehow-off series again, especially with lovely Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham artwork.

If I had $30, I’d also grab Fantagraphics’ Jason Conquers America ($4.99), a collection of some of the cartoonist’s work that’s so far gone unseen in the US, along with pin-up tributes from fans like Mike Allred and Rich Tommaso. My nostalgia would then compel me to grab Defenders: Coming of the Defenders #1 (Marvel, $5.99), a reprint of the original stories that launched the fondly remembered (and just relaunched) non-team. Hulk groove on old comics.

Were I to ask Santa for something to splurge on, I might go completely left-field and ask for John Byrne’s much-maligned Spider-Man: Chapter One TP (Marvel, $34.99), which I’ve never actually read, but have a strange fascination with. Would that make me naughty or nice?

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Post-manga artist Harveyjames tells his story of teaching overseas

There’s a mountain of new comics coming out every year that may never reach your local comic shop, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Indie publisher Blank Slate just released an evocative new work by by a new name, Harveyjames.

A Long Day of Mr. James-Teacher is a 28-page story chronicle a day in the life of the cartoonist’s time teaching English to elementary school students in South Korea. For the few people that know of Harveyjames’ post-manga work, this is a bit of a departure but shows the same sense of story despite it being a more autobiographical story. Here’s a seven-page sample to get you interested:

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Incoming: Nelson, a collaborative graphic novel

A Nelson sampler

I happened across this because Roger Langridge was showing off a bit of art from it: Nelson is a collaborative graphic novel with an impressive lineup of 54 contributors, including Jamie Smart, Sarah McIntyre, Darryl Cunningham, Posy Simmonds, Duncan Fegredo, Warren Pleece, Andi Watson, Garen Ewing — a veritable who’s who of U.K. comics creators, representing children’s comics (including several members of the kids-comics collaborative The DFC), newspaper strips, even 2000AD.

The 250-page graphic novel, to be published by Blank Slate next month, follows the life of Nel Baker, born in London in 1968. Each chapter depicts a single day in her life, running from her birth to the present. The idea was cooked up by Rob Davis, who co-edited the book with Woodrow Phoenix. It looks like it will be available in the U.S., because Amazon has a listing, although there is no price yet. UPDATE: Blank Slate publicist Martin Steenton just e-mailed me to say it’s in the current Previews for a December release in the U.S.


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