Awards | Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton and illustrated by Greg Chapman, won the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a graphic novel, presented over the weekend by the Horror Writers Association. Winners with a comic-book connection in other categories include Caitlin R. Kiernan (novel, The Drowning Girl), Jonathan Maberry (young-adult novel, Flesh & Bone), and Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (screenplay, The Cabin in the Woods). [Horror Writers Association]
Graphic novels | Heidi MacDonald looks at Dark Horse’s plans to expand its Originals line of creator-owned graphic novels this year; upcoming releases include print editions of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Bandette and Cameron Stewart’s Sin Titulo, as well as a new graphic novel, Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. [Publishers Weekly]
Do we need to start worrying about Cameron Stewart? Sure, he’s young, good-looking and incredibly talented, but he’s posted some autobiographical comics that suggest he’s heading rapidly toward a quarter-life crisis. They’re getting a lot of reblogs on Tumblr: predictably enough, the home of the “selfie” is going mad for a strip taking the mick out of the phenomena. As Stewart has drolly noted in his Twitter feed, “… so rewarding when the thing you draw mindlessly in 10 minutes is 1000 times more popular than anything you sweated over.”
Stewart will be at this weekend’s 2D Festival in Derry, Northern Ireland: Perhaps everybody there should give him a reassuring pat on the back, buy him a drink, and tell him it’s all going to be all right. Meanwhile, check out more of Stewart’s recent autobiographical comics binge below.
Eisner Award-winning artist Cameron Stewart (Batman & Robin, Sin Titulo) has announced his digital-first fantasy NIRO with a 19-page preview that delivers a gun-wielding black-clad cleric, menacing masked attackers and a spunky girl in danger, all against a beautifully rendered landscape.
Stewart plans to debut the first digital chapter in early 2013, with readers paying what they want (a 99-cent minimum) to download each installment in DRM-free formats. After several chapters are serialized, he’ll collect them in a print edition.
Here’s his description for NIRO: “Inspired by the works of Moebius, Hayao Miyazaki, Sergio Leone and Alejandro Jodorowski, NIRO is the story of a gunslinger cleric and a young girl who becomes his unlikely companion as they search for The Nomad — a roaming fortress that may hold both the girl’s captive family, and answers to NIRO’s mysterious past.”
Dark Horse will publish a hardcover collection of Cameron Stewart’s Eisner Award-winning webcomic Sin Titulo next year. The neo-noir mystery thriller, which debuted in 2007 as part of the Transmission X comics collective, concluded just last week.
“Many people have opined that I should have gone through Kickstarter rather than a publisher, but I actually agreed to publish through Dark Horse a couple of years ago, before Kickstarter had shown itself to be a viable means of funding,” Stewart explained on the comic’s website. “From my conversations with Dark Horse it’s clear that they really love the story and will do their utmost to produce a beautiful, high quality book. I think Kickstarter is for the most part a great means of funding projects, and I may still use it in the future for another comic, but for now I am very comfortable and confident that Dark Horse is the best home for Sin Titulo.”
He noted that he’ll make revisions for the landscape-format edition, “mainly tidying up lettering and colour, so that it looks its best in print.” The cover price hasn’t been determined.
If you didn’t have the massive ticket price for MorrisonCon last weekend, perhaps this is more your speed: the fifth annual Dundee Comics Day at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Much of the day’s event sounds like a redux of the program for Morrison’s high-end Sin City shindig, sans the pop magick angle:
The Dundee Comics day once again welcomes a stellar line-up of top industry talent, this time to celebrate the comics of award-winning Scottish writer Grant Morrison (MBE). Grant will be discussing his approach to writing comics, his thoughts about superheroes, as expressed in his recent book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero, and his experience of working with some of the best comics artists in the industry.
This exploration of the comics of Grant Morrison is timely given his recent award of an MBE, but also because the University of Dundee is currently leading the way in the emerging field of Comics Studies with modules on comics at Undergraduate and postgraduate level, including the UK’s first MLitt in Comics Studies in the School of Humanities, launched in September 2011. DJCAD has also launched very successful modules on creating comics. The University of Dundee is therefore delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the huge success of one of Scotland’s most influential and successful authors. The Comics Day talks are designed to appeal to everyone with an interest in comics, and will be accompanied by an exhibition of comic art work.
A raft of Morrison’s past collaborators will be joining him in Dundee, including Cameron Stewart (Seaguy, The Guardian), Frazer Irving (Klarion The Witch Boy, Batman), Frank Quitely (Flex Mentallo, New X-Men, WE3, All Star Superman, Batman & Robin, Multiversity), Rian Hughes (Dare) and Jill Thompson (The Invisibles). Two days prior, the college’s cinema is hosting a showing of Talking to Gods, the seldom-screened documentary on Morrison’s life and career.
Plenty of comic art blogs getting interesting updates recently. The Art of Simon Bisley fansite has a gallery of covers and concept work from Lost Angeles, recently announced by IDW Publishing as migrating there from Heavy Metal. This series will feature Kevin Eastman’s long-overdue return to drawing longform comics.
• Eric Canete has been posting loads of recently commissioned sketches on his blog since Friday, and a lot of them have been a tad NSFW, so let’s insert a break here.
Happy Father’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Today’s guests are two of the contributors to Skullkickers #18, which features several “Tavern Tales” short stories by different creative teams. Joining us today are Charles Soule of 27, Strange Attractors and Strongman fame, and Aubrey Sitterson, winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’s also the writer of Gear Monkey for Double Feature Comics and community manager for WWE Games.
To see what Charles, Aubrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
This past Wednesday saw the return of something I didn’t expect to see quite so soon or even ever again–the pre-reboot DC Universe. DC Comics released Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes! #1 by writer Grant Morrison, artists Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham, and colorist Nathan Fairbairn, which collects what would have been issues #9 and #10 of the well-regarded series.
“See the last hurrah of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, in a sinister school for suicide spy girls! Find out what caused the Batman and Robin team to split! And witness the unmasking of Leviathan in a shocking final page twist that sets up 2012’s Batman: Leviathan, the epic concluding act of a Batman story six years in the making!” Morrison said on DC’s The Source blog. While you can never say never when it comes to comics, this could be the final glimpse into the DCU of old.
So what are folks saying about the big finale? Here’s a sampling of opinions on the comic:
Chad Nevett, Comic Book Resources: “Ostensibly Batman, Incorporated issues #9 and #10, Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes! #1 ends the first ‘season’ of the title and sets the stage for next year’s return and conclusion to Grant Morrison’s tenure on the Batbooks. The wait for this comic may have been long, but with Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham providing the art, it was well worth it. Morrison delivers both an entertaining ‘done in one’ style adventure spotlighting Stephanie Brown and an ambitious issue that pushes the story about as far as it can go before it breaks. It ends with the big reveal of who is behind Leviathan, the criminal organization that Batman has created Batman, Incorporated to fight. It’s the sort of issue that arrives just in time to remind critics that, maybe, they left Batman, Incorporated off their top ten of 2011 lists and that, obviously, was a mistake.”
Comics | While going through a box in his attic, a Grange Park, Illinois, man discovered a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, that he had bought as a kid. While other copies of the comic have fetched as much as $1.2 million, Chimera’s Comics is selling it for $12,000 due to its condition. [LaGrange Patch]
Comics | Brian Truitt profiles Marvel’s Fantastic Four, talking to Mark Waid, Tom Brevoort and Tom DeFalco about the long-running comic. [USA Today]
Publishing | Janna Morishima, formerly of Scholastic and Diamond Comic Distributors, has joined Papercutz as its first marketing director. [Papercutz]
Following the teaser they sent out last week, Dark Horse Comics has announced five new B.P.R.D. titles that’ll be released next year and will “shake the organization to its very core.”
Here’s the line-up:
- First up, in February comes B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Long Death, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, with art by James Harren (Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest, Heralds). A team is sent to the deadly woods from New World to investigate a new series of disappearances, but they discover more than just the monster responsible, as loyalties are questioned and tensions mount!
- March will see the release of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror, written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, with art by Jason Latour (Wolverine, Scalped) and an all-new cover by Becky Cloonan. This chilling two-issue series brings a B.P.R.D. crew into the grips of a backwoods vampire clan hiding out in a Gothic southern home.
- Next, in May comes B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Transformation of J. H. O’Donnell, pairing Mike Mignola with Scott Allie again for the discovery of what drove the Bureau’s expert on ancient foes to near madness after a mission with Hellboy 24 years earlier. This supernatural thrill ride features art by B.P.R.D. newcomer Max Fiumara (Amazing Spider-Man) and a cover by Becky Cloonan.
- That same month features the return of the regular B.P.R.D. team of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Tyler Crook, with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine. The Zinco Corporation again rears its ugly head after a devastating earthquake, pitting Devon and Fenix in an uneasy alliance against bat-faced monsters and the evil empire’s other mad-science experiments! Additionally, this new series will feature covers by former Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo.
- Finally, Cameron Stewart returns to the B.P.R.D. universe in June with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism. In this story we learn more about Ashley Strode’s evolution as an agent after she meets up with a familiar face for a series of exorcisms in a rural Indiana town. Mike Mignola and Cameron Stewart team up to share writing duties, with pencils by Cameron and covers by Viktor Kalvachev.
“Let’s break some stuff that can’t be fixed. Let’s turn some corners where there’s no going back,” said Mike Mignola in a press release. “In both Hellboy and B.P.R.D., we’re saying, ‘Well, once we do this—once we round this corner—that’s it!’ It’s not like, ‘Oh, Batman, different costume.’ We’re doing stuff where there’s no way to fix it. That is the new reality in our world. You’re REALLY going to see that in 2012.”
Cameron Stewart has been on a roll as of late, becoming one of the key artists in Grant Morrison’s Batman stories as well as a go-to guy for licensed titles like IDW’s Suicide Girls and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed graphic novel. Between all that, however, Stewart has found some free time to recommit to his Eisner-winning webcomic Sin Titulo.
With one reviewer describing Sin Titulo as “out-Lynching David Lynch,” the enterprising series is a study in pacing and mood that is good in daily installments or saved up for marathon reading sessions every couple months (that’s me, at least). Stewart has already posted two new pages this week, with a plan to do three or four each week until the end of the series. Stewart has plans to release Sin Titulo as a print book in 2012, so even if you’re not the type to read comics online then you’ve got reasons to look out for Cameron Stewart.
Artist Cameron Stewart shares a pin-up he created for a deluxe edition of Mnemovore, the Vertigo comic by Ray Fawkes, Hans Rodionoff and Mike Huddleston. Head over to Stewart’s blog to see the image in its various stages of creation. Stewart says the hardcover will be released by IDW Publishing in August.
The six-issue miniseries Mnemovore was originally published by Vertigo in 2005. The story revolves around a snowboarder who loses part of her memory after an accident and ends up battling a monster called the Mnemovore that eats memories. Rodionoff screened a sample reel for a proposed feature film adaptation of it at the 2007 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.
Creators | Michael Cavna talks with cartoonist Art Spiegelman about being only the third American to receive the Grand Prix from the Angoulême International Comics Festival. As recipient of the honor, the 62-year-old artist will help plan next year’s festival. “I don’t know whether you should say ‘congratulations’ or ‘condolences,’ ” he says. [The Washington Post]
Legal | A Michigan judge on Monday ordered the DNA of former retailer Michael George to be compared with a hair found on the body of his wife when she was shot to death in 1990 in their comic book store. George, 50, was found guilty in March 2008 of first-degree murder, but that conviction was set aside because of prosecutorial misconduct and the possibility of new evidence. [The Detroit News]
Publishing | The 60th volume of Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga One Piece sold more than 2 million copies in its first four days of release. It’s the first book to move more than 2 million copies in its first week of sales since the Japanese market survey company Oricon began reporting its charts in 2008. As we reported last week, this volume’s 3.4 million-copy first printing set a record, and propelled the series past the 200 million-copy mark. [Anime News Network]
Editorial cartoons | Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Davies has been laid off by the Gannett-owned Journal News in White Plains, N.Y. [Comic Riffs]
Publishing | Abrams has made three comics-related promotions: Susan Van Metre to senior vice president and publisher, overseeing all comic arts books as well as Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books; Charles Kochman to editorial director of Abrams ComicArts; and Chad W. Beckerman to creative director, overseeing design for all comic arts books as well as Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books. [Abrams]
One of the more unique aspects of comics conventions in the United States is the general amount of creativity bursting at the seems. One of the biggest signs of this is the generosity that most artists have for doing rough sketches to attendees.
Generally artists will do these for free, or for a small fee, but if you can get your hands on one it’s well worth the effort. I’ve been collecting sketches for several years at cons, and I thought myself the norm until I first glimpsed the themed sketchbook of Oni Press Editor-in-Chief James Lucas Jones.
In 2002, Jones began having artists and friends in the industry contribute to an ongoing sketchbook centered on the characters from the 2001 Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, and it’s probably filled to the brim and Jones moved on to other themes. But it always sticks in my mind as one of the first themed con sketchbooks and one of the best. Here’s a sample: