When you go to your local store (or digital provider) you’ll find that nearly all of the comics are lettered using a computer. That’s obvious, right? But there are a relative few creators who still prefer, and advocate, hand-lettering to digital methods, and one of those is Image Comics co-founder and Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen.
With very few exceptions, every issue of his Savage Dragon series for the past 20 years has been hand-lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, Tom Orzechowski or Larsen himself. But recently on Twitter, Larsen began talking about a switch to digital lettering — and for those attuned to the craft, that’s something major. So we asked him for more information.
“In this case it was simply timing,” Larsen told ROBOT 6. “Tom Orzechowski was booked.”
While that might seem trivial, the central point Larsen had is that the time involved — inked pages are shipped to the letterer and then shipped back once lettering is complete — was adding a significant wrinkle to Savage Dragon‘s production schedule. With digital inking, you can send the files to the letterer in a matter of minutes (depending on your scanner and Internet bandwidth), with the production time for a letterer drastically reduced by the use of a computer.
Happy Presidents Day weekend, America, and happy Sunday to everyone else. Welcome to a very presidential What Are You Reading?, which really isn’t that different than a regular one, but you can imagine every entry being written by Daniel Day-Lewis if you’d like.
Today our special guest is Chris Smits, publisher of Aw Yeah Comics Publishing! and blogger at Creator-Owned Comics. Aw Yeah Comics, of course, is the all-ages comics series being created by Art Baltazar and Franco, with help from folks like Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Jason Aaron and many others … including Chris. If you’d like to get your hands on the adventures of Awesome Bear, Daring Dog, Polar Cycle, Marquaid, Action Cat and more, then let me point you to their Kickstarter campaign, which has hit its goal but you can still get in on the fun (and the comics!)
And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Marvel NOW! is, well, now, with the launch of the you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter comic Uncanny Avengers last Wednesday. The first issue, by Rick Remender, John Cassaday, Laura Martin and Chris Eliopoulos, follows up on the conclusion of Avengers vs. X-Men as Captain America forms a new team that brings together members from those previously competing rivals.
Is the mix-and-match strategy oil and water, or a yummy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? Here are a few thoughts from around the web:
Alex Evans, Weekly Comic Book Review: “For those familiar with Rick Remender’s work, this title is very different from anything we’ve seen from him prior. With John Cassaday’s slick, polished artwork, this is the big, flagship Marvel Comic sort of book. Rest assured, however, that Remender nonetheless nails it, giving us an issue that almost feels like an issue from an event. That said, while Remender’s usual weirdness takes a backseat, it’s still very much there, giving the book a real edge to it.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is artist Ivan Anaya, one of the winners of the winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’ll join the other winner, writer Aubrey Sitterson, on a story for Skullkickers #18.
To see what Ivan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Shopping online is a beautiful thing if you know exactly what you’re looking for, but there are drawbacks to buying comics that way. One of the many advantages to shopping at a physical location is the ability to pick up comics and flip through them. Better than any five-page preview, the flip-through gives readers the chance to quickly look at the entire book to see if it catches their interests.
Archaia has launched a YouTube channel that allows online shoppers do that virtually. As you can see when you watch the video for Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos’ Cow Boy below, it’s a simple concept: A pair of hands picks up an Arachaia book, looks it over, then flips through it, occasionally stopping on pages for a closer inspection. It goes all the way through the book, including the back matter and the back cover.
The project is still in an experimental phase, but the company’s already thinking about adding music or possibly narration. Hopefully it will catch on enough not only to encourage Archaia to post its entire catalog, but to nudge other publishers toward doing something similar.
Updated: As a commenter points out below, Fantagraphics has been doing this for a while now and has hundreds of titles available for flipping through.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Today is Free Comic Book Day, and here’s a rundown of some of the comics that caught my interest. If you want to check ‘em out before you go, CBR has previews of many of the FCBD titles. (My FCBD comics came from my favorite Boston comics shop, Comicopia.)
Hands down, the one comic everybody wants is Archaia’s hardback anthology, which includes brand-new stories from six of their titles: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, Return of the Dapper Men, Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, and Cow Boy. The stories stand on their own but also tie in to the books in clever ways; the Mouse Guard story is a puppet show, and the Rust story features a boy writing a letter to his father (as his older brother does in the book). This book is a keeper; it even has a nameplate inside the front cover. Here’s a list of where Archaia creators will be doing book signings this FCBD.
BOOM! Studios has a nice flipbook with several Adventure Time comics on one side and Peanuts on the other. The Peanuts comics are mildly funny, but the Adventure Time side is edgier and features extra stories by Lucy Knisley and Michael DeForge. The stories are colorful and lively, and DeForge’s contribution, about a bacon ecosystem that supports tiny breakfast organisms, is downright surreal.
Awards | The Guy Davis short story “The Phototaker” has been removed from the 2012 Eisner Awards ballot after it was determined to be ineligible. “The ‘Phototaker’ Eisner nomination was a mix up,” Davis wrote on Twitter. ” Jackie Estrada messaged me after I posted asking about the original English version, which came out in Metal Hurlant #9 (2003). So it’s not eligible for the 2012 Eisner nomination and has been removed. Thanks for all the congratulations yesterday, but I’m happy to clear this up and have it removed from the running.” [Eisner Awards]
Publishing | DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham respond to March’s direct-market sales estimates, which saw Marvel claim three of the Top 10 spots after a February shutout. “We are pleased that we gained share, and we never expected that we would hold ten out of ten at the top of the chart for ever,” Wayne said. “I think it is better for the business if everybody is firing on all cylinders, that our competitors are doing interesting things, and we are doing interesting things. It keeps everybody on their toes and it keeps enthusiasm in the readership. The retailers remain involved wanting to make sure that they have enough of everything. I think it’s a good thing all around.” [ICv2.com]
Conventions | Comic-Con International spokesman David Glanzer addresses problems with the badge-buying process: “After the two aborted events last year, we learned that each person had a multitude of browsers open. That’s going to create a bottleneck no matter what you do. Were there issues? Are we trying to work on them? Yes, we are. I think people’s anger is understandable, when all they’re trying to do is pay someone for a badge to attend an event and they can’t do that. We do test after test, and lo and behold something will happen. But (selling out in) an hour 20 minutes shows us we’re getting a handle on it.” [U-T San Diego]
Comic strips | Darren Bell talks about having Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watch member, appear in his comic strip Candorville: ” I decided to incorporate him into Candorville as soon as I saw one of my Facebook ‘friends’ post a photo of Trayvon [that turned out to not be this Trayvon], flipping off his webcam. Even if that had been the real Trayvon Martin, it wouldn’t have mattered. … What this told me was people were starting to dehumanize Trayvon, so they could rationalize what happened and insulate their own belief about ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, about race, about concealed carry laws, etc., from any fallout.” [Comic Riffs]
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, 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.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
Digital | Retailer Brian Hibbs responds to recent comments around the price of digital comics, commenting on how “channel migration” could effect comic retailers: “The concern of the comics retailer isn’t that there IS digital — fuck, I’m totally all for a mechanism to drive a potentially wide segment of customers to the medium of comics itself. How can that NOT help me? But, rather, that enough customers will ‘change channels’ (of purchase), so as to make segments of work unprofitible to carry. I’ve been pretty straight with you — most periodicals are but marginally profitible; most books are largely unprofitible. That we have stellar, break out, oh-my-god-it’s-like-printing-money successes like WALKING DEAD or BONE or SANDMAN doesn’t mean that this is the way all books can follow. Quite the opposite in fact! So what this means is that even losing a TINY portion of the readership through Channel Migration could potentially have dire effects. Seriously, if I lost just 10% of my customers, I’m done. And what we also know is that when physical stores close, most of that readership for comics UTTERLY VANISHES. The gist of this is that losing 10% of sales to migration could mean that the other 80% of that stores’ sales are COMPLETELY LOST.” [The Savage Critics]
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.
Let’s give all credit to IDW for their sense of timing. I’m so psyched up in advance of this Saturday’s return of Doctor Who to my television screen that this Wednesday’s release of Doctor Who Annual 2011 (IDW, $7.99) seems like the ideal way to prepare myself. If I had $15, I’d happily spend more than half of it on that particular anthology. The rest would go towards closing out the current incarnation of the DCU, as I’d be grabbing both Action Comics #904 and Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 (Both DC, $2.99).
The Astro Smurf (Papercutz) Despite mild—or should I say morbid?—curiosity, I’ve decided to hold off on seeing the new Smurfs movie until it’s on DVD. Or has been on DVD for a few years. Mostly because I’m afraid that seeing it will make it that much harder for me to enjoy Papercutz’ repackaged reprints of Peyo’s original Smurfs comics, which, even in the seventh volume, remain a surprising amount of fun.
The Astro Smurf features the unnamed Smurf whose defining characteristic is to be the first Smurf to fly into outer space and visit another planet. Papa Smurf and the rest of the village go to great (bordering on insane) lengths to make the little Smurf’s dream come true, even if it’s not technically possible for Smurf technology to send a Smurf into outer space. It’s paired with another story of Smurf tech, as a pair of Smurfs invents a submarine, and Gargamel builds his own sub to destroy it (That one’s titled “The Smurf Submarine,” not “The Hunt For Blue October”).
As with previous volumes, there are some less-than-perfect packaging decisions and questionable translation choices, but they’re more glitches than mortal wounds—The Smurfs trades remain one of the better amount of quality comics to price of comics values on the stands.
Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements
• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.
• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.
• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.
Archaia announced this morning it will publish Cow Boy, an all-ages title created by Nate Cosby (Pigs, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller) and Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards, Pet Avengers).
Boasting the tagline “Justice ain’t got no age,” Cow Boy is the tale of Boyd, a 10-year-old bounty hunter determined to round up his entire outlaw family. The comic will include short stories by the likes of Roger Langridge, David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener, Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin and others.