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Brian Clevinger reveals his Firestorm story that will never be

Firestorm from Brightest Day

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)


DC D-Day Plus 7: What we know (and don’t) about the DC relaunch right now

Green Lantern #1, by Dave Johnson

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.

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Comics A.M. | Kodansha International closing; Blizzard ending Tokyopop deal?

Kodansha

Publishing | Kodansha Ltd., Japan’s largest publisher, will close its 48-year-old Kodansha International subsidiary by the end of April. The division is a separate company from the New York-based Kodansha USA, which Kodansha Ltd. established in 2008. Kodansha International specialized in English-language translations of Japanese books and original English-language books on Japanese topics, and published the occasional few manga-related title. At the February press conference at which incoming Kodansha Ltd. President Yoshinobu Noma announced the publisher’s 46.7 percent stake in Vertical Inc., he revealed the company would increase its focus on digital publishing and overseas markets. [The Japan Times, Anime News Network]

Publishing | Video game developer Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind World of Warcraft and Starcraft, is rumored to be ending its licensing agreements with troubled U.S. manga publisher Tokyopop. Although the report comes on the heels of Tokyopop’s latest round of layoffs — Troy Lewter edited many of the current Blizzard titles — the two events are apparently unrelated. [Lore Hound, via Joystiq]

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Finder: Voice

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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 what we call our “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Chris Arrant

$15:

This week is a busy week for me -– I count 13 single issues I’d buy if I was a rich man, but with only $15 I’d narrow it down to four things. DMZ #62 (DC/Vertigo $2.99) looks to be really amping up the series for it’s final year. I’ve enjoyed this series’ long run, and the way he’s built up this world only to tear it down seems amazing. Second in my bag would be the closest thing to a modern Moebius at Marvel, Shield #6 (Marvel $2.99). This secret history of the Marvel U has been really eye-opening, and Hickman’s bold reach really takes some big brass ones. This in line would be Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force #5 (Marvel $3.99). Remender’s done some solid modern-work while trying to not be outshone by Jerome Opena’s star-turn, but in this issue it’s got guest art by Esad Ribic. Ribic’s work has always carried this sense of gravitas without being stuffy like some painters, and I’m interested to see how he does these visceral heroes. Last up would be Brightest Day #20. On paper, a book with a league of b-list heroes seems like a non-starter, but I really like what the team have done on this, especially the Martian Manhunter and Firestorm threads.

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Marvel’s Taco Bell comics sport beefy creative teams

Uncanny X-Men First Class #5

Apparently at Taco Bell you don’t have to decide between food or comics (insert your own beefy lawsuit joke here). The fast food chain has teamed up with Marvel to provide four different comics with its kids meals.

According to Marvel, each book includes an 11-page story with a one-page Mini-Marvels backup story. Each cover is a reprint from an existing Marvel title. Looking at who’s doing the comics, it may be worth a run to the border; I’d brave a burrito for the team behind Atomic Robo‘s take on Iron Man vs. MODOK alone. (Speaking of which, colorist Chad Fidler posted some pages from the Iron Man comic online).

Here are the details:

X-Men

11-page story:
· Writer: Alex Zalben
· Artist: Tom Grummett
1-page backup by Colleen Coover
Cover by Roger Cruz, a reprint from Uncanny X-Men First Class #5

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Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs | Getting to know Brian Clevinger

Not necessarily Brian Clevinger

Brian Clevinger first came to my attention with Atomic Robo and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Anyone who writes dialogue like “I beat them with my violence” is aces with me.

Of course, by the time Atomic Robo came to town, Clevinger was already a familiar name to fans of his award-winning webcomic 8-Bit Theater. And he’s becoming known to even more folks with his Marvel work. He wrote the back-up stories for World War Hulks: Wolverine vs. Captain America as well as the mini-series that features a space trucker and the line, “Doom does not mop”: Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet. And starting next month, he’ll be writing the WWII adventures of Captain America in Captain America: The Fighting Avenger.

Let’s get to know him:

Q: Who’s your personal hero?

A: My grandfather is an obvious choice. My parents too. They’re good people.

Q: What’s your morning routine?

A: First Charlie wakes me up 10 seconds before my alarm goes off. It looks like this. Then my alarm goes off. Then I feed the damn cats, start some coffee, check my email, skim Twitter, poke at a couple websites, and get to work.

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