It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff 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.
G.I. Joe #1: As if G.I. Joe wasn’t entirely in my guilty pleasure wheelhouse already, IDW Publishing relaunches the title with Fred Van Lente as writer and the tease of social and media commentary as the team is forced to go public in its fight against Cobra. Seriously, that’s just unfair, people. (IDW, $3.99)
Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon TP: One of the best-looking comics around, thanks to David Aja (and Javier Pulido, on a couple of the issues contained herein), and something that I suspect I’m going to want in a collected edition to give to friends wanting some fun, fast-moving action stuff to read. Best thing Matt Fraction’s done in a long time, too. (Marvel, $16.99)
New Tales of Old Palomar HC: Continuing my Love and Rockets education, a chance for me to pick up Gilbert Hernandez’ return to Palomar in this new collected edition of his Ignatz series. This is definitely my favorite of Beto’s work, so I’m happy to see more. (Fantagraphics, $22.99).
The Sixth Gun: Sons of The Gun #1: A new spin-off series from Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s spectacular horror western? Why, I really don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. For added benefit, having Brian Churilla show up for art duties is pretty sweet, as well. (Oni Press, $3.99)
Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1: Even if I’m feeling less than enthused about the majority of DC’s superhero line lately, I have to admit, the idea of a Valentine’s Day special one-off is just far too tempting for me to ignore. (DC Comics, $7.99).
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 get Remake 3xtra, the latest comic in Lamar Abrams’ occasional superhero/manga satire. I’d also get Batman Inc. #5 to get another glimpse into the Gotham City of the future, where Damian has taken on his father’s superhero role.
If I had $30, I’d check out Dante’s Inferno, Kevin Jackson and Hunt Emerson’s adaptation of the classic poem. The British Emerson has been around since the days of the underground, but he hasn’t gotten much attention, at least on these shores, which seems odd given what a funny and facile cartoonist he is. He tends to fire on all cylinders when riffing on classic literature, too, so I imagine this will be a pretty great book.
Splurge: I don’t own the hardcover edition, so the new paperback collection of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes seems like a no-brainer to me. On the other hand, Humanoids is releasing the Technopriests Supreme Collection, an omnibus, epic sci-fi story that is yet another spin off of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ Incal. This particular series features art by Zoran Janjetov.
Comics | Ohio drivers moved a little closer to getting their Superman specialty license plate Wednesday as the proposal was outlined for a state Senate committee. The bill, which already passed the state House, is on track to go to the full Senate for a vote before the end of the year. The Siegel & Shuster Society launched the campaign for the plates in July 2011 to honor the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel in 2013; the character, which debuted in 1938, was created six years earlier in Cleveland by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The original plan for the plates to include the slogan “Birthplace of Superman,” that met with objections from Warner Bros., which insisted he was born on Krypton. The legend will now read, “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” [Plain Dealer]
Manga | Tony Yao summarizes a recent article from The Nikkei Shimbun that analyzes the readership of Shonen Jump, which is 50 percent female despite the magazine being targeted to boys (“shonen” means “boy” in Japanese). They break down the popularity of series by gender and discuss how the female audience affects editorial decisions. [Manga Therapy]
Crogans Adventures creator Chris Schweizer has been having some fun lately making paper figures that you can cut out and stand up; last week he did a very ambitious 55-piece set of the entire Harry Potter cast.
This week, it’s something completely different: He has made cutouts of The Sixth Gun creators Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn. Does that seem strange? Schweizer addresses that question head-on:
Now you may just be asking yourself “who are these guys? Why didn’t Chris put up characters from The Sea Hawk or Scrubs or something?”
To which I say, “how in the world have you read MY comics and not THEIRS? That’s like saying ‘Oh, I really dig Alexander Kent” but you’ve never read Patrick O’Brian or C.S. Forrester.’” Not that there’s any real equation there, just that it’d be surprising if you knew the former but not the others, which is how surprised I’d be if you’d read Crogan and not Sixth Gun. Read it. Seriously. I can’t tell you how not disappointed you’ll be.
What these paper figures lack, of course, is Hurtt and Bunn’s banter, which has always make the Oni Press panels at comics conventions so entertaining. But with convention season over, we’ll take what we can get. Maybe Chris can come up with some more creator figures for us to collect and trade during the long winter months.
To see what Ethan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
After a late afternoon opening to the general public on Thursday, the New York Comic Con kicked into high gear today with panels, announcements and the usual con craziness we’ve come to expect from big shows. Here’s a round-up of comic-related news and announcements coming out of Friday. If you missed anything from Thursday, I’ve also got your back. I’d also point you to Brigid Alverson’s rundown of the ICv2 sessions before NYCC that go deep on comic sales in 2011 and 2012 thus far, if you’re into that.
• Keith Giffen returns to the stars next year with Threshold, a new DC Comics series that features Blue Beetle, Space Ranger, Star Hawkins, the original Starfire and other space heroes, with a Larfleeze back-up. Giffen also seemingly confirmed that the current Blue Beetle series is coming to an end.
• Vertigo announced several new projects today, including The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, Trillium by Jeff Lemire and an Unwrtten/Fables event that will see the Unwritten characters wander into the Fables comic. Snyder said that American Vampire will go on hiatus after issue #34 so he and artist Rafael Albuquerque can catch up on it. When it returns, it’ll jump ahead to the 1960s.
Oni Press brought guns, war and webcomics to New York Comic Con today, announcing a new graphic novel from Joe Harris and Adam Pollina, a Sixth Gun spinoff miniseries and the transformation of their website from “a marketing resource for its print titles into a full-fledged content hub with comic updates five days a week.”
Here’s a rundown of the announcements ….
Wars in Toyland by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina
From the Slingers (hey, remember Slingers?) team comes an oversized graphic novel “darkly inspired” by Babes in Toyland. Per the press release, “this new book looks at the once wondrous and beautiful Toyland after the rise of the teddy dictator, Roxbury. After Matthew’s brother and playmate, Alex, disappears, young Matthew finds himself carried into Toyland by his own loyal toy soldiers. Only Matthew soon learns that Alex has been here, too – and is now being held captive by Roxbury. Leading an attack on the teddy bear’s fortress, Matthew never considers that his brother might be beyond saving.”
For many readers who grew up in the 1980s, Marvel’s G.I. Joe #21 stands out as one of those rare comics that changed, or informed, the way they viewed the medium — or, at the very least, made them say, “Wait, you can do that?” (Alternately, “Wait, is this a printing error?”) Titled “Silent Interlude,” the 1984 issue by Larry Hama is notable not only for introducing the ninja Storm Shadow but for telling the story of Snake-Eyes’ infiltration of Destro’s castle without using a single word balloon, sound effect or caption. Hence, “Silent Interlude.”
Now, nearly three decades later, The Sixth Gun collaborators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt are paying tribute to Hama’s modern classic with a silent issue of their supernatural Western from Oni Press.
“And here’s the strange part … the kismet, if you will. We knew we were going to do this issue at this point in the story,” Bunn writes on his blog. “What we weren’t sure is how the issues would break down. And neither of us had the numbering for that great issue of G.I. Joe in mind. Awhile back, we were signing at a comic book shop. We mentioned our plans for a silent issue to the manager. He quickly replied, ‘Is it gonna be issue 21? You know, like G.I. Joe?’ Brian and I quickly started doing the math in our heads and realized that, yes, Becky’s invasion of the stronghold of the Knights of Solomon would be happening around that point. It was a pleasant surprise for both of us. How’s that for unintentional awesomeness?”
You can check out a preview of the issue on Bunn’s website. The Sixth Gun #21 goes on sale next week.
Thinking about some of the news from SDCC this year — specifically, the Sixth Gun news, about it being made into a television series by the Syfy network — it struck me: Indie comics are the small-screen Marvel. And I’m not quite sure what that’s going to mean for their future.
Nominees were selected by a panel of judges — Michael Allred, Brandon Graham, Laura Hudson, Michael Ring and Jason Leivian — from among the entries submitted earlier this year. Winners were determined by an online vote.
The winners are:
Best Artist: Emily Carroll, His Face All Red
Best Writer: Aaron Renier, The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Best Cartoonist: Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour
Best Letterer: Johnny Ryan, Prison Pit #2
Best Colorist: Emily Carroll, His Face All Red
Best Publication Design: Michael DeForge, Spotting Deer
Best Anthology: Studygroup 12 #4, edited by Zack Soto
Best Small Press: I Want You #2 by Lisa Hanawalt
Best New Talent: Michael DeForge
Reader’s Choice: Pang, the Wandering Shaolin Monk by Ben Costa
Director’s Choice: The Sixth Gun, by Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn, published by Oni Press
Many who have been following this blog know I’m a fan of both Image’s Skullkickers and Oni’s The Sixth Gun. So when I saw that the two creator-owned books were having a mini-crossover of sorts — or, to be more specific, an ad swap — I thought it might be fun to see if Skullkickers writer Jim “Zub” Zubkavich and The Sixth Gun‘ writer Cullen Bunn might be up for interviewing each other.
So the duo hit Skype and had a long conversation that covered many different topics — how they pitched their books, their writing process, how they work with their artists, finding time to write and much more. My thanks to both Cullen and Jim for doing this, with an extra tip of the hat to Jim for transcribing it. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of the interview.
Zub: So, let’s start right off with the big news. Did I hear correctly that you’re now writing full time? You quit your day job?
Cullen: I did. This is my third week as a full-time writer.
Zub: Awesome. What were you doing before that?
Retailing | The picture keeps looking worse for Borders Group: Even as news surfaced Wednesday that Diamond Book Distributors has stopped shipping to the troubled retail chain a report circulated that Borders will close its LaVergne, Tenn., distribution center in mid-July, resulting in the elimination of 310 jobs. That follows more than 200 layoffs made at the center since 2009. [WKRN.com, via GalleyCat]
Publishing | The remaining licensed Muppets and Pixar titles from BOOM! Studios have been listed as “canceled by Previews.” In response to inquiries, the publisher pointed to the teaser for “BOOM! Kids 2.0,” the relaunch of its kids imprint announced in September. Rumors that BOOM! had lost the Muppets/Pixar licenses began swirling in late November, following Roger Langridge’s announcement that he would no longer be drawing The Muppet Show. The publisher’s relaunched kids line will include such Disney licenses as Darkwing Duck, and reprints of Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. [Comics Worth Reading]
A few days ago I posted a teaser for a new Cullen Bunn project coming from Evileye … and now Cullen has revealed more details about it on his blog. Crooked Hills is a new series of prose books for kids that “blends mystery and adventure to weave a fun an unforgettable story of will, friendship and family bonds,” according to the press release.
“Crooked Hills, Missouri, is a combination of many of the small towns in which I grew up,” Bunn said, “from Newton Grove, North Carolina, to Thayer, Missouri. (Thayer in particular helped to form a template for Crooked Hills.) Those towns were rich with interesting people and even more interesting urban legends and ghost stories. With CROOKED HILLS, I imagined sitting in the heart of a dark forest around a campfire, telling kids those kinds of spine-tingling ghost stories. So it seemed to me that having a witch come back to life to kidnap kids and be eaten by a hell hound would scare the living daylights out of almost anybody. But in that nightmare, I also saw a chance to explore what happens when kids face their fears; to overcome them can be incredibly liberating and empowering.”
And as someone pointed out in the comments section of the teaser image, the promo artwork is indeed by Bunn’s The Sixth Gun co-conspirator Brain Hurtt.
Over on his blog artist Brian Hurtt has been sharing “spoiler free” panels from The Sixth Gun, his upcoming comic with writer Cullen Bunn.
“Really wanted to share something from THE SIXTH GUN with you but I’m a little limited in my options right now,” he wrote on his blog. “My main worry is sharing anything that has any kind of spoilers in it. I’ve found a handful of images from the first issue that are spoiler-free and I’ll be sharing those here on the blog over the next couple weeks.”
Tomorrow, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt‘s holiday prose/sequential art tale, The Sixth Gun Short Story, Them What Ails Ya: A Christmas Yarn, reaches its final installment at the Oni Press blog. As described when initially announced: “A tale of medicine shows, magic tonics, outlaws, cannibals, and bona fide Christmas miracles will run every Tuesday beginning December 1st and ending December 22nd on the Oni Press blog. Each segment will feature another chapter of Cullen Bunn’s prose short accompanied by a Brian Hurtt illustration and an original comic-strip will bookend the story.” My thanks to Bunn and Hurtt for their time.
Tim O’Shea: In what ways has your collaborative style evolved–comparing your present day work with the experience of creating The Damned?
Cullen Bunn: Over the years, I think Brian and I have gotten more comfortable working with other. We really have a good feel for how we work best. We’ve thrown ideas for collaborations around for years, but I don’t think we realized how often we were “on the same page” until we started working on The Damned and The Sixth Gun. I can’t tell you how many times one of us has come up with a “brilliant idea” only to learn that the other had a similar or complementary thought. We’ve also gotten a lot more comfortable letting each other know when we’re traveling down the wrong path. With the Sixth Gun, we spent a lot more time at a white board, thumbnailing, outlining, and even scripting certain scenes. It’s a different approach for both of us, but it has been successful. We’ll probably do more of this with future projects.