Good news for fans of the lesser-spotted psychedelic comics legend Brendan McCarthy. This Wednesday will see the release of IDW Publishing’s The Zaucer of Zilk #1 in the United States, and in the United Kingdom, the new issue of The Judge Dredd Megazine (#329) comes festooned in a wraparound image of Judge Anderson. This cover is something of a warm-up for McCarthy, as he has an Anderson back-up strip in Issue 2 of IDW’s upcoming Judge Dredd comic, written by Duane Swierczynski. Images from both below.
Anyone who missed the U.K. publication of The Zaucer of Zilk is in for a real treat. McCarthy says the work has “been described as Harry Potter meets Yellow Submarine. .. Mix a bit of David Lynch in there and I’ll go along with that.” I’d throw in a recommendation for fans of Dr. Strange (it’s a massive Ditko fan doing a story about a dimension’s Sorcerer Supreme, after all), and McCarthy’s previous cynical hipster superheroes, like Paradax, Zenith and Rogan Gosh.
Simon Bisley’s return to 2000AD after 22 years absence comes in the form of the cover to the upcoming Prog 1800. It’s already dividing opinion. I’ve never blamed Bisley for the worst excesses of his copyists, and this image has its high points — the Judge Death and Mean Machine figures, drawn in Bisley’s mature style, are particularly good — but it is hard to see past the great big unnecessary arse in the middle of this composition (via Comics Alliance).
Much more below, including the Beatles, Shaky Kane, Brendan McCarthy, Jamie Hewlett and Duncan Fegredo.
I’ve described some artists here as having “escaped” comics for the rarified air of the fine art world. I get the feeling Glenn Barr would deny that description, I remember seeing him describe his work before as “low brow art”. Anyway, I love it. There’s an interview with him over at the 1XRun blog, discussing the latest limited-edition print he’s produced for them, The Alien Bride.
Lots more art below, including Sergio Aragones, Jon Haward, Dan McDaid and Brendan McCarthy. Continue Reading »
By the time Mad Max 4: Fury Road is released, there will have been a gap of nearly 30 years between it and its predecessor, 1985′s Beyond Thunderdome. Fury Road has had a long and complicated gestation, to say the least. Twelve years had already passed since the third Mad Max movie when its visionary director/producer George Miller first spoke informally to U.K. comics legend Brendan McCarthy of his desire to make a sequel. A year later McCarthy moved to Sydney, Australia, handpicked by Miller to reboot the Mad Max franchise and co-write the first draft of Fury Road‘s while developing storyboards and the core designs.
That takes us up to about 2003. Money troubles then affected the production, as the estimated $100 million budget proved hard to finance for what is essentially an Australian indie movie. When the funding was finally secured, the production was shelved, as the scouted locations in Namibia were deemed a security risk in the wake of the Iraq War. By 2009, it was being rumored the script would be produced as an Akira-influenced R-rated animation, which seemed all the likelier as Miller’s animation-producing credentials were proven by the Happy Feet franchise. The Dr D studio Miller established as a digital production facility had also started concurrent development of a Mad Max video game, overseen by Miller and God of War II‘s Cary Barlog. But just as those rumors spread, the story took another turn. Locations were being scouted in the production’s native Australia, cast members were being speculated upon and then confirmed. Work was about to start when unexpected levels of rainfall turned Broken Hill in New South Wales from a suitably post-apocalyptic-looking desert into a verdant oasis reportedly covered in a lush blanket of wildflowers.
The needle skips again, and primary photography finally, officially, kicked off in its original Namibian locations in July 2012. And the set there is as leaky as a sieve. As photographs of vehicles being transported to the set hit the Internet, Kennedy Miller Mitchell productions sought to control the flow of information with a press release that included the film’s first official plot synopsis:
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our guest today is writer and artist Jimmy Palmiotti, who you know from All-Star Western, Monolith, Phantom Lady, Unknown Soldier, Creator-Owned Heroes, Queen Crab and countless more.
To see what Jimmy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. Michael, Graeme, and Chris Arrant have each picked the five new comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 15 of the best new comics coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
The Golden Age of DC Comics: 1935-1956 HC (Taschen, $59.95): If you were as jealous of everyone who could afford the mammoth 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Myth-Making from a couple of years ago as I was, here’s some great news; Taschen is reissuing the material in a series of different (cheaper) volumes, reworked and expanded with new art and commentary by Paul Levitz. The next in the series, covering the Silver Age, is the one I’ll really covet, but you know that this will be awesome.
Julio’s Day HC (Fantagraphics Books, $19.99): Continuing my education in all things Love and Rockets, this never-collected Gilbert Hernandez strip from the second series of L&R is one of those things that goes on my “Want” list almost as soon as I discovered it existed.
Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (of 4) (Image Comics, $3.99): I’ve been waiting for more Multiple Warheads since Oni Press put out the first issue a few years back. Now that I know it’s 48 pages for just $3.99 and in color, it seems worth the wait. Brandon Graham is an amazing talent.
Sailor Twain HC (First Second, $24.99): I dropped off Mark Siegel’s amazing webcomic online fairly early, promising myself that I’d get the inevitable collected edition when it was all done and read it in one sitting. I’m glad it’s finally here.
The Zaucer of Zilk #1 (of 2) (IDW Publishing, $3.99): Without doubt, my favorite superhero comic in years – I read it in its 2000AD incarnation – I am overjoyed to see this get a US release like this. Hopefully, everyone will read it and realize just how great Brendan McCarthy and Al Ewing are, leading to all manner of zequels (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
In the U.K. in 1987, right at the height of the Reagan/Thatcher era of populist conservatism, a group of former members of the left-wing think tank Big Flame somehow decided it was a good time to launch a new, staunchly socialist, tabloid Sunday newspaper. The mistakes made at The News on Sunday may have gone down in legend among Britain’s journalists, but history will give them credit for one thing: Somebody there had great taste in comics.
The paper featured two strips by two creative teams from two classic runs in 2000AD, producing work that was almost identical in nature to what was being commissioned by that era’s Tharg, Steve MacManus. Fresh from their work on Slaine, Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry originated the strip “Scatha,” another Celtic-themed slice of sword and sorcery (the strip was featured by the Bear Alley blog way back in 2008). Pete Milligan and Brendan McCarthy, just off 2000AD‘s “Sooner or Later,” came up with “Summer of Love,” a similar mix of social commentary, puns, quips and surrealism.
The greatest comics of all time don’t appear on bestseller charts or canon lists or big-box bookstore shelves. They are the property of the back issue bins and thrift store crates and convention hawkers of America, living like the medium itself in the unseen crags and pockets of publishing history…
Paradax! Remix, drawn by Brendan McCarthy, colored by Frankie Stein and McCarthy, scripted by Peter Milligan. Cover-dated August 1987. Published by Vortex Comics.
How acquired: As a major proponent of old-school analog back issue hunting, it pains me to admit that everything leading to my ownership of this comic happened online. Brendan McCarthy is one of a very few great cartoonists whose complete works can be feasibly tracked down by normal dudes with rent to make and girlfriends’ acting classes to pay for, and having decided to become one such dude, I used the unofficial guide that can be pieced together from this Comics Comics Magazine comments thread as a road map for a shopping spree at an online back issue retailer. Two weeks later a box of McCarthy comics, including this one, showed up.
“Pop!” one-page strip in Solo #12 (2006). Brendan McCarthy.
At times the things that can be achieved by comics’ usual mode of sequencing — strings of single panels after single panels — can seem almost limitless. Looking at it from the inside out, as a comics-literate reader who can see the vast differences in approach to sequence that distinguish a Ware from a Kirby from an Eisner, it’s easy to get lost in just how diverse the pages can get. But take a step back and look at comics as one visual medium among many, a vehicle for creating information to be absorbed through the eyes, and the methods of sequencing used by its artists begin to look surprisingly limited.
Think about it — or better yet, get out a bunch of your comics, all genres, all drawing styles, as diverse and differentiated a selection as you can find, and give them all a flip-though. While comics have no shortage of different colors on their pages and different methods of mark-making swimming through their panels, a ridiculously large majority of them stick to that one typical mode of sequencing — boxed panels following boxed panels, groups of them fit more or less perfectly together like puzzle pieces, jammed snugly into the rectangle of the page. The grid, as wonderful and variable a sequencing tool as it is, possesses a downright tyrannical stranglehold on the comics form.
Now I don’t know about you, but personally I like reading comics better than I like reading prose chiefly because their pages don’t all look the same. And it’s frustrating to see how many comics lock themselves into prose’s side-scrolling, line-above-line sequencing pattern to put their information across. Try to think about a page of comics as a painter or a sculptor would and it’s almost laughable. Why does everyone stay in those safe little boxes all the time? A page of comics is a canvas, a big pure space that can contain anything, and yet for over a century now, its artists have jailed their pictures in panel borders rather than exploring the possibilities of setting them free on the page, leading readers’ eyes along lines that aren’t straight and short and easy.
Brigid did a round-up yesterday of various holiday gift-giving suggestions, so I thought I’d follow suit with some that I’ve seen lately.
• The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is auctioning off original art by Paul Pope, Eric Powell, Gabriel Hardman, Tom Fowler, Dan Paosian and many more, as well as lunch with Chew writer John Layman in New York next week.
• I remember shoveling a whole bunch of quarters into the X-Men arcade game back in the day; my friend Mike and I beat the game as Nightcrawler and Wolverine. If you have an Xbox fan in your life, they too can fight the Blob, Magneto and more in side-scrolling action, as the game will be available on Xbox Live Arcade Dec. 15.
The PlayStation Network, unfortunately, won’t get it until February, so you’ll have to find something else this holiday season for the PS3 fan in your life. Joy to the world! The game will hit the PlayStation Network Dec. 14!
• Comics creator Ben Towle has a 20 percent off sale going in his web store, where you can purchase original art from books like Midnight Sun, signed copies of Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean and superhero commissions.
If you’re a fan of Brendan McCarthy or the short-lived DC series Solo, do I have the post for you … The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy has posted two sketchbook ideas “generated when Brendan was working out material for his issue of DC Comics’ SOLO,” both featuring redesigns of the Flash.
And if that’s not enough, they’ve also posted info and images on a new Judge Dredd story that will appear in 2000AD Prog 1712, which goes on sale this week in the U.K. “In a new story called Dr. WHAT? Judge Dredd tracks down a time-travelling Doctor who rides a Mega-City Portaloo along the timewaves, altering history and changing the future in a potentially catastrophic way,” the blog says.
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Today our special guest is Bill Reed, who contributes to our sister blog Comics Should Be Good!. To see what Bill and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below.
Publishing | Marvel reportedly has issued a round of Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices to Google in an effort targeting Blogger sites that serve as clearinghouses for links to pirated comics. (Blogger was purchased by Google in 2003.) One such blog, Comics Invasion, already has been shut down. [Bleeding Cool]
Passings | Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad passed away Saturday of natural causes. He was 86. The winner of three Pulitzers, an achievement matched by just two other cartoonists in the post-World War II era, Conrad worked for the Los Angeles Times for nearly 30 years, and earned a place on President Nixon’s infamous “enemies list.” [Los Angeles Times, Comic Riffs]
And it needs a home. Any takers?
Warning: People who use the phrase “playing the race card” need not apply to the following post. I guess that rules out, y’know, our entire political class, but oh well. Anyway, a trio of recent pieces have taken on the issue of race in contemporary superhero comics and movies.
Perhaps the most high-profile of the three pieces is Chris Sims’s essay on “the racial politics of regressive storytelling” for Comics Alliance. Sims argues that DC Comics’ current penchant for restoring the Silver Age versions of Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom, the Legion of Super-Heroes and so on has the unintentional but regrettable effect of pushing their successors — in many cases, non-white characters created to replace their slain or off-stage white predecessors — to the sidelines. While he’s quite clear that he doesn’t believe Geoff Johns or any of the other writers or editors involved are motivated by racial animus, he laments the way in which several decades’ worth of minority characters are now becoming “footnotes” in the race to create comics that evoke the creators’ and readers’ memories of their childhood favorites. I’m sympathetic to the obvious truth in Sims’s argument — replacing Ryan Choi with Ray Palmer, for example, does indeed “whiten” the Atom concept once again. But as I wrote in an essay on my own blog, I think the blame lies not with Johns and his Rebirths and Brightest Day and so on, but with the creators who, instead of creating strong non-white characters out of whole cloth like Luke Cage or Storm or Black Panther, simply put new guys in the old guys’ outfits, thus all but inviting readers to think of them as substitutes and pine for their original favorites.