Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Although Image Comics has staked out territory as both the premier publisher for creator-owned work and a proving ground for fledgling writers and artists, it was another 1990s company that served as an entry point for many of today’s top talent: Caliber Comics.
Launched in 1989 by retailer Gary Reed, Caliber Comics was a harbinger of the coming wave of creator-owned titles. Launching with two flagship books — Deadworld and The Realm — Reed quickly expanded the line with his in-house anthology book Caliber Presents and a entire sub-line of illustrated books similar to Classics Illustrated. But perhaps its enduring contribution was as a doorway into the comics industry for writers and artists who are today marquee names
The list of A-list creators whose comics debuts were made possibly by Caliber is mind-boggling: Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Michael Lark, James O’Barr, Brandon Peterson, Dean Haspiel, Georges Jeanty and Jason Lutes all made their comics debuts here. In addition, Caliber also was where many budding creators made their first recognizable work; it was at there that Mike Allred created Madman, and Guy Davis blossomed with Baker Street.
Baltimore Comic-Con, being held Sept. 7-8, sports an impressive guest list of comic book creators. This year it welcomes Joe Hill, Neal Adams, Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Brian Bolland, Amanda Conner, David Petersen, George Perez, Walt Simonson, Louise Simonson, Mike Mignola, Keith Giffen, David Finch, Adam Hughes and many more.
One guest is particularly notable: Stan Sakai, whose signature creation, Usagi Yojimbo, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. To help celebrate Usagi and his creator, the convention will offer a special yearbook featuring the long-eared samurai as drawn by a variety of creators who are attending the show.
The cast of Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows is ready for Comic-Con International in typical cheesecake fashion, as the crew sports the outfits of a certain popular science-fiction franchise from the 1960s.
“It was interesting to see all the details on the costumes and the props while studying the reference photos,” Cho wrote on his blog. “I couldn’t believe how simple and crude the captain’s chair was. I just cracked up looking at all the 1960’s beehive hair-dos on the female cast. Talk about walking down memory lane. Despite the shoe-string budget and the dated look, Star Trek still told great emotional and entertaining stories. And this print is my nod to that great classic show. Live Long and Prosper.”
Colored by Brandon Peterson, the print is limited to 250 copies and costs $20. It’s available at booth #4907, the Big Wow Art booth.
After years of only producing covers and pin-ups for Marvel and other publishers, long-time comics artist Brandon Peterson announced on his website that he’s just initiated work on a new series he is penciling. Although no specific title has been announced, Peterson says on his blog he’s working on something “for the X-Men books” and drawing interiors. Those could be one and the same, or two separate projects.
Peterson came to prominence in the early nineties through his work at Marvel and DC, and really struck it big when Marc Silvestri tapped him to be the artist of the CyberForce spin-off series Codename: StrykeForce. He continued working at Top Cow for several years, producing his own creator-owned series Arcanum. In 1999 he left to become a freelancer, but was quickly snapped up by the then-new comics company CrossGen as its art director. Peterson penciled a variety of work including Mystic and the under-rated Chimera series. After the collapse of CrossGen, Peterson was one of a host of artist Marvel snapped up, and Peterson ended up drawing Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Vision and Doctor Strange revamp (simply called Strange) before switching up to being a cover artist.
For those looking for new Peterson art, Peterson recently released a 2011 edition of his artbook series Illuminations which you order online at Stuart Ng Books and Bud Plant Books, or get it at one of Peterson’s frequent con stops.
Red Giant Entertainment has recruited several top names in the comics industry to contribute to Japan Needs Heroes, a graphic novel that aims to raise money for the Japan Society, a non-profit organization that has created a special disaster relief fund to aid victims of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan.
A press release that went out today from comiXology, which will distribute the book digitally when it is released, listed Stan Lee (who will provide the forward), Peter David, Ron Marz, Mike Deodato, Larry Hama, Jimmy Palmiotti, Elaine Lee, Amanda Conner, Howard Mackie and Brandon Peterson as contributors. You can find a list of additional creators on the book’s Kickstarter page, which Red Giant is using to fund the printing.
“My wife is from Japan,” said Benny R. Powell, CEO of Red Giant, “and her family still lives there. We hear daily reports of the fear and uncertainty they face. I realized we had to do something. Comics have a power to reach massive audiences and that’s a powerful thing. As more and more creators join our cause I believe we can raise a lot of money to help. This transcends any genre, medium, or publisher. This need is bigger than anything our world has ever faced, and we truly believe that together we can make a difference.”