Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
The Fictory has released production art and a short clip from Atomic Robo: Last Stand, the animated short the studio is making based on Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s popular comic. There’s no concrete release date yet, as the project was delayed when the studio chose to start over after completing an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign. The goal was just $12,000, but the project raised more than $72,000, so rather than forge ahead with the film they started on no budget, the animators rebuilt from scratch.
“We knew that if we were going to do things right, we needed to start on solid, consistent ground,” writes Creative Director Joseph Krzemienski. “This meant a lot more work, but we knew it was the right call.”
Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger has revealed some of the plans around his and Scott Wegener’s (and Nikola Tesla’s) robot for the coming year, and there’s some really cool stuff. In addition to the next miniseries (Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur), the previously announced role-playing game, and an animated short, there are also plans for another volume of Real Science Adventures.
Unlike the more random, first volume of RSA, this one will be six issues featuring the Centurions of Science, sort of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of the Atomic-Roboverse, including historical figures like Tesla, Annie Oakley and Harry Houdini. According to Clevinger, “The first three issues are one shots focusing on different parts of the team as they encounter what appears to be an ever more vast conspiracy. The last three issues unite the Centurions against the full force of a threat that looms over the entire United States.”
There’s also another Free Comic Book Day issue coming, some more merchandise, and — if everything goes smoothly — a third Real Science Adventures volume and the start of the ninth, full miniseries, Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle.
After launching its Long Box skateboard line last month with an Erik Larsen-illustrated Savage Dragon deck, Freak Show has announced the addition of an Atomic Robo design by co-creator Scott Wegener. They’ll ship in mid-September, with the company offering a limited number of decks signed by Wegener and his Atomic Robo collaborator Brian Clevinger.
Unsigned Savage Dragon decks sell for $59.99, plus $5 shipping; presumably it’s the same price for Atomic Robo.
… I think mistaking someone’s identity usually involves surprise on the part of at least one of the parties. To the second, I’d like to put forward the perhaps radical idea that an uncharted South Pacific island full of women AWOL from WW2 is actually unusual. We’ve seen Robo immediately doubt unusual things when he first encounters them for six volumes. His reaction here is no different, and it’s not out of proportion to other unusual events he’s come across.
– Brian Clevinger, responding to accusations that Atomic Robo may be sexist in “The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific.”
I’ve read the issue and didn’t think Robo’s reaction to the all-female team of air pirates was unreasonable, but I’m hardly unbiased being a) a man and just privileged enough to not always notice that kind of thing, and b) enough a Robo fan to give him (and his creators) the benefit of the doubt. It’s worth pointing out though that Clevinger’s already gone on record as saying that he goes out of the way to make Atomic Robo as inclusive as possible, so maybe a little doubt-benefiting is in order?
If you’ve read the issue, what do you think?
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.
If I had $15, I’d walk out of the comic store with one book this week Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me (Image, $14.99). I fell off this book after the first issue, preferring to read in trades, and now that time has come. I’m looking forward to being surprised at what Brubaker and Phillips have done in this first arc as the debut issue was very promising.
If I had $30, I’d load up at Image with Manhattan Projects #4 (Image, $3.50), Prophet #26 (Image, $2.99) and Hell Yeah #4 (Image, $2.99). Prophet is becoming my favorite Image book because it unites my comic heroes of childhood (Prophet!) and one of the top cartoonists out there (Brandon Graham) with a surprising introduction of BD-style science fiction. Hell Yeah is a fun romp reimagining the staples of ’80s and ’90s comics as if John Hughes were the eighth Image founder. Last up I’d get Wolverine and the X-Men #12 (Marvel, $3.99). I was worried this series would get derailed by Avengers Vs. X-Men, but Aaron and Co. have managed to keep it on point as best as conceivably possible. It’s an ideal opening to bring Rachel Summers to the forefront, and the smirking Kid Gladiator on the cover is full of win.
If I could splurge, I’d get Michel Rabagliati’s Song of Roland hardcover (Conundrum Press, $20). I’ll always admire Free Comic Book Day, because it was there that a little Drawn and Quarterly one-shot introduced me to Rabagliati’s work. I’m surprised to see this new volume of his work not published by D&Q, instead published by Canadian house Conundrum. Anyway, this book appears to deal with the death of the father-in-law of the lead character, Paul. It’s been extremely engaging to see Paul grow through the series, and having him deal with events like this as I myself grow up and experience similar events is really touching.
Conventions | Creative director Rico Renzi discusses HeroesCon, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend with a three-day event that’s experienced a spike in advance ticket sales: “Stan Lee’s attendance to this year’s show has definitely caused a spike in advance ticket sales from what I can tell. I honestly like the show at just the size it is; it’s just right. I used to hop on a bus from Baltimore to go the NYCC and I loved it for the first couple years. It just got too big for me too enjoy it, you couldn’t walk around without rubbing up against strangers. It’s a great alternative to San Diego now I guess. If you’re looking for a pure comic book show though, HeroesCon is where it’s at.” In addition to Lee, this year’s guests include Neal Adams, Mark Bagley, Cliff Chiang, Frank Cho, Becky Cloonan, Geof Darrow, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Evan Dorkin, Tommy Lee Edwards, Matt Fraction, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez, Dave Johnson, Jeff Lemire, Paul Levitz, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, Scott Snyder and Bernie Wrightson. [The Comics Reporter]
“One ‘defense’ for not making the effort to be inclusive is, ‘Aw, but man, I don’t want to have to think about this stuff, I just want to read/write stories.’ And, y’know what? We’re sympathetic to that. Thinking about it can be really taxing, confusing, and depressing. Imagine if you had to think about that stuff all the time. Perhaps due to being not white? Or not male? Or not straight?”
– Brian Clevinger, explaining why Atomic Robo is specifically designed to be as inclusive as possible, while still telling awesome stories
We used to handle these things with short stories in the backs of our issues, but we weren’t satisfied with that model. The artists who drew those stories did so in their own free time. Call it fan art that just happened to be based on a Robo script they found. In their inbox. Sent by me.
We loved being able to pack a little more content in our issues, but we came to hate that it got there by exploiting our friends. Sure, they came to us, in some cases they begged. But if these guys are going to take the time to draw comics for us, they should get paid for the effort.
-Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger, explaining the ethical component of creating an anthology series about the dinosaur-slinging robot and his team of Action Scientists.
In a industry where so many creators are willing to work for “exposure” (and so many publishers are willing to exploit that), this is really damn cool. Those back-up stories have always added so much to the various Atomic Robo comics that Real Science Adventures was always an exciting idea for a series. This makes it even better.
An animated version of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo, subtitled “Last Stop,” went into production some time ago. Now The Fictory, the animation studio that’s been working on it, needs about $12,000 to finish it.
“The Fictory, a small animation studio, is running a Kickstarter to raise funds that would allow them to complete work on a short Atomic Robo animated film,” Wegener told us over email. “No one involved is actually getting anything out of this. This is a total labor of love. But love needs to pay the electricity bill and eat every now and
again. Hence the Kickstarter.”
The project page has a list of all the rewards they’re offering, including DVDs of the project once it is completed, T-shirts, art books and animation cels, among others. Check out the trailer for the project after the jump.
She-Devils was supposed to be Volume 2. And then 3. Also 4 through 6. We kept finding reasons to push it back, but the truth was simply that we weren’t yet good enough to pull it off … Which means that, yes, a multi-generational time travel story that eschews traveling through time was a less intimidating story to us than She-Devils … [W]hat happens in it is hard as hell to pull off on a craft level. Moreover, I think Scott and I sensed that this had the potential to be one of those stories, a synthesis of everything that is an Atomic Robo tale. Hopefully we’re nearly good enough now that we won’t screw that up.
Click the link for his full comments as well as Scott Wegener’s thoughts and research on the She-Devils, pictured above.
Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger announced that he and artist Scott Wegener have joined forces with Evil Hat Productions to create a role-playing game based on everyone’s favorite Tesla robot.
Clevinger writes, “It’s probably a sad statement about our business savvy that most creators can talk about their projects in terms of the movie deals they’re bound to get. Scott and I? Even before the first issue came out, all we wanted was a tabletop roleplaying game. Y’know, because comics just wasn’t niche enough.”
The game will use a variation on the FATE system, modified by game designer Mike Olson. MTV Geek offers a couple more details, stating that this is an early announcement and that the game is still in development. It will likely be released later this year or early in 2013.
There are several cool quotes in this post by Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger, especially in the letter from a mom whose 6-year-old son is now reading at a fifth-grade level thanks entirely to his love of comics, specifically Atomic Robo and other Red 5 comics. In fact, he loves them so much that he took an issue of Atomic Robo to school to read to his classmates. You can see whether they loved it from the photo.
The part that really got my attention, though, is in Clevinger’s comments at the end:
I would just like to point out that Volume 6, Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X, is the darkest story we’ve told. Yet it’s still appropriate for children.
It’s no secret there are still comics that are appropriate for kids. Marvel and DC are even making a couple themselves. But after a week or so of focusing on the comics that aren’t appropriate for children, it’s refreshing to see a story about one that’s not only kid-friendly, but as Clevinger points out, “universally praised by adults” as well.
Before the New 52 created the need for an all-new Firestorm, Atomic Robo-writer Brian Clevinger was going to pick up the character where Brightest Day had left him. At the Atomic Robo blog, Clevinger talks about being approached by DC and working with them to come up with an initial six-issue story outline. He extensively covers not only his approach to the character, but an issue-by-issue look at the outline.
I don’t mention this in a “Boo Hoo! Why couldn’t we have had this?!” kind of way. In fact. Clevinger expresses nothing but well-wishes for Firestorm’s new creative team of Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar. But it is a fascinating look at the creative process and a fun peek at what might have been.
[Ronnie and Jason] are two guys who share something incredible. Something that can help to make the world a better place. But it’s something that would never exist without both of them. And they don’t necessarily agree on how to use it. They didn’t grow up together, they didn’t come into this as friends, it was pure random chance that it takes these two guys to make something amazing happen. I mean, maybe this is just me turning every conversation into something about Robo, but this sounds a lot like Scott Wegener, me, and Atomic Robo.
(Image via It’s a Dan’s World)
1. For Batman and Green Lantern, if it ain’t broke, DC’s not fixing it. In 2010, you had to go all the way down to the Direct Markets #109 bestelling title, the debut of J. Michael Straczynski’s abortive tenure on Superman, before hitting a DC book that wasn’t part of the Batman line, the Green Lantern line, or the Green Lantern-spawned Blackest Night and Brightest Day events. DC has rewarded the creators behind these franchises’ success by keeping them more or less in place, albeit with some title-swapping and artist-shuffling. Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, and Peter J. Tomasi are still writing the three main Green Lantern series (along with the previously announced Peter Milligan on Red Lantern), while Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, David Finch, and Tomasi are still handling the books with “Batman” in the title (with long-time Gotham Citizens like J.H Williams III, Gail Simone, and Judd Winick filling out the line).
2. DC’s rolling the dice big-time on an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Vertigo-verse. Today’s big announcement of new “dark” titles features such Vertigo characters as Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, as written by such Vertigo creators Peter Milligan (Hellblazer), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), and Scott Snyder (American Vampire). That’s quite a vote of confidence in Vertigo’s taste in creators, characters, and tone, especially given that many industry observers saw the line as an afterthought for the new regime. Of course, how this will impact Vertigo itself has yet to be seen. It’s also worth considering that Vertigo’s biggest and most durable hits over the past decade or so have tended to be creator-owned titles existing in their own worlds and straying pretty far from the imprint’s horror-magic roots, so launching eight shared-universe horror-magic books — over one-sixth of the new DC Universe line — is a gamble in and of itself.