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Caanan Grall put his webcomic Max Overacts on hiatus, and canceled his Patreon, at the end of last year due to a health problems, which was revealed earlier this month to be a brain tumor. With Grall facing surgery next month to remove the tumor, his sister-in-law has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the creator and his family through the post-operative period.
Concluding our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” we asked creators and other industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015, and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this final installment, we hear from Joey Weiser, Jim Gibbons, Caanan Grall, Ethan Young, Sean Izaakse, Buster Moody and Marguerite Bennett!
It’s almost that time again — time for ROBOT 6’s annual takeover of the Comic Book Resources home page to celebrate our anniversary. With this year bringing our big fifth anniversary, we thought we’d get a head start with one of our annual features, “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” where we ask comics folks what they liked in 2013, what they’re looking forward to in 2014 and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this post, you’ll hear from Jimmy Palmiotti, Brandon Montclare, Joe Keatinge, Caanan Grall, Rafer Roberts, Josh Hechinger, Jim Gibbons, Scott Fogg, Evan “Doc” Shaner and Kyle Stevens from Kirby Krackle! Then come back later today and on Tuesday to read from more of your favorite creators.
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
Ho-ho-hopefully you’ve gotten the chance to check out the previous three installments. If not, it isn’t too late:
Part 1: Jim McCann, Matt Kindt, Daryl Gregory, Jim “Zub” Zubkavich, Jamie S. Rich, Ryan Cody
Part 2: Jeff Parker, Tim Seeley, Ross Campbell, Kody Chamberlain, Ian Brill, Jamaica Dyer
Part 3: Mike Carey, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kagan McLeod, Kevin Colden, Thom Zahler, Van Jensen
And here is today’s round-up …
1. For the kids (or kids-at-heart): Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos – One of my favorite books of the year. Each page is crammed to the brim with kinetic artwork and fun comics!
For the art lover: “Behold! The Dinosaurs!” print by Dustin Harbin – Absolutely gorgeous print featuring one of my favorite subjects: Dinosaurs!
For the comic strip enthusiast: Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson – Super engaging strips that are full of life and very funny. I’m very glad that Fantagraphics is publishing these.
For the manga reader: Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi – A recent series that I’ve been infatuated with after having it recommended to me by several friends. A manga with a very welcoming atmosphere and tons of heart.
For the indie-minded: A few comics from Blank Slate Books: Dinopopolous by Nick Edwards and The Survivalist by Box Brown – Two great-looking books from a publisher that might be off some folks’ radars at the moment. I haven’t even read these yet, and I feel confident recommending them!
2. Well, my dad has a long-standing tradition of giving me a volume of the Complete Peanuts collections for birthdays and holidays, so I’ve got that covered. Let’s see…
I suppose there are a few Japanese imported books that would make the top of my list of things I’ve had my eye on, but haven’t had the chance/extra cash to buy for myself. These fall under the category of “Things That I’m Not Likely to Stumble Across In-Person and Say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to get that!’” Two that come to mind are One Piece Green, a “databook” which contains a treasure-trove of sketches and notes from Eiichiro Oda from the years leading up to and during his epic manga series One Piece. I’ve also been eyeing some Shigeru Mizuki (Gegege No Kitaro, Onward Towards Our Noble Death) yokai encyclopedias that pop up on eBay. Those look Beautiful with a capital B!
Publishing | DC Comics joins the Kia Soul, Goldfish, My Little Pony and several others on Advertising Age’s annual list of America’s Hottest Brands: “With decades of stories under their capes and utility belts, Superman — and other DC characters, including Aquaman and the Flash — had ossified. Though relaunching its entire cast and making their adventures available to print and electronic audiences might alienate some hard-core DC fans, it might also gain plenty of new ones. Making DC characters more popular is crucial for its parent company. While the comic-book business is way down from its heyday, its characters fuel big-ticket Hollywood movies that can generate millions of dollars in revenue and licensing. The pressure may be on DC because rival Marvel, now owned by Disney, has churned out superhero film properties on a regular basis for years.” [Advertising Age]
Broadway | Producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark have changed their tune on the $75 million musical; previously they predicted they wouldn’t make back the money invested in the show without franchising it in other cities and countries, but now they predict they’ll make it back entirely from the Broadway run. They also are considering adding in new scenes and a new musical number to the production every year, “making it akin to a new comic book edition, and then urging the show’s fans to buy tickets again.” [The New York Times]
I’ve been a big fan of Caanan Grall‘s webcomics Max Overacts for awhile now, so I was happy to see that he’s now raising funds through IndieGoGo to release the first print collection of Max’s adventures.
On IndieGoGo, Grall details his plans for the book:
My initial quote (Which is almost the entire fundraising goal, plus some to allow for postage) is for 3000 copies of a 164 page full colour book at 8 x 10 inches. That’s only slightly smaller than the original artwork so the details will shine through! If we only make it halfway to the goal, that’s still good enough for 1000 copies, so everyone will get their orders. Please don’t be afraid of that huge goal! I’m not!
The book will collect the first 142 strips plus 12 exclusive strips not seen on the web, focusing on Max’s sister, Andromeda. See Andi at work, meet some of Andi’s band mates, and even witness the moment Jacob fell for her and she didn’t even notice him.
Plus, there will be an extra two strips if some daring fans step up to the 500 dollar plate, to have themselves put into an actual strip in this book itself, interacting with Max, Janet, Andi, Klaus, etc. Two awesome readers will be immortalized in book form for the ages! YOU will be on people’s shelves. In libraries! Beside home lavatories! YOU, yes YOU, may eventually be… in a dollar bin! *gasp* Plus… you’ll get to hang the original in your house.
Tim spoke to him recently about the strip, and I’ve already donated because I’d love to see the book on my shelf, so if you’re interested, head over there and check out the various rewards Grall’s offering for donating.
Longtime readers of Robot 6 know there is much love among the gang for Max Overacts, the popular Eisner-nominated webcomic by Caanan Grall. The webcomic came off of a brief hiatus in June 2011. Here’s the basic premise of Max Overacts: “The strip is about Max’s unbridled optimism, and his quest to be the next greatest thespian. He wears his heart on his sleeve for his self-proclaimed leading lady, Janet, and lords his ‘planned’ status over his ‘accidental’ older sister, Andromeda. His best friend is Klaus, when his ventriloquist doll, Curio, isn’t around.” In addition to discussing the strip, we also talk about his recent Muppet Thor mashup.
Tim O’Shea: How much of an effort was it to design the relatively large cast of Max Overacts? How long was it in the development stage before you found Max’s voice?
Caanan Grall: Most of the characters were pretty easy to figure out. I tried tons of different looks for Max, but inevitably ended up back at the very first one I sketched. The funny thing is, when you make up characters, and the name and character traits come first, it’s almost instinctual that the first design you do is the right one. Max’s parents probably went through the most changes, because at first, the characters weren’t defined enough. They began life on the sketchbook page as the standard harried parents, always struggling to stay one step ahead of the bank, and two steps ahead of their kids. Now, they’re still like that, but they’re fine with it. They’re not rich, but they’re happy, positive people.
For his 24-Hour Comics Day challenge, Caanan Grall came up with a brilliant mashup: Muppet Thor, in which the Muppets discover the mighty hammer Mjolnir and the Thunder God himself makes a surprise appearance with Miss Piggy. Grall does a nice job drawing the Muppets, and the story has some clever twists.
If you can’t get enough of Muppet mash-ups, head over to our sister blog Comics Should Be Good for a few more.
Caanan Grall’s Eisner-nominated Max Overacts is officially on hiatus, but Grall has interrupted the break with a special Max strip to talk about awards and validation. In the same post he also shares his thoughts on his fellow Best Digital Comic nominees, proving that he’s every bit as classy as the Abominable Charles Christopher’s suit in the drawing above.
To see what Caanan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Darwyn Cooke is auctioning off 12 pieces of artwork, starting with a page from Parker: The Outfit, to benefit The Hero Initiative. There’s a certain type of person (me) who would be thrilled to find a Darwyn Cooke original under the tree.
For those with more esoteric tastes, though, how about one of Edward Gorey’s fur coats? J.L. Bell fills us in on this odd little story: Apparently fur coats were a big part of the Amphigorey creator’s personal style statement until the 1980s, when he got involved in animal rights and put the coats in storage. Some of the proceeds of this sale will go to the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust to benefit animal welfare.
If you’re going to be in the Cotswolds next week, check out the auction of vintage eponymous superhero comics. The first issue of Superman, Amazing Spider-Man, etc. Also on the block is the 1939 issue of Detective Comics in which Batman first made his appearance. Proceeds from the sale will go to the collector and the auction house—no good causes here.
Broke? You can still get into the holiday spirit with these Max Overacts Christmas cards. Print ‘em out and send ‘em to your friends; if you can’t give them a fur coat, a good laugh is the next best thing.