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What Are You Reading? with David Harper

Saga #3

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.

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ECCC | A round-up of announcements from the convention

Revival

The Emerald City Comicon wrapped up yesterday in Seattle, with plenty of announcements from attending publishers. Here’s a round-up of news from the show:

• Image Comics officially announced Revival by Tim Seeley ad Mike Norton, the title we teased all last week. Seeley described the book as “rural noir,” and it is set in his home state of Wisconsin: “Both Mike and I grew up in small towns, he in Tennessee, me in Wisconsin. We both hated the towns we were from as teenagers and young adults and got the hell out,” Seeley told CBR. “But, now that we’re both older, we can look on those towns with more understanding and affection. Central Wisconsin is a really interesting place. It’s like concentrated America. It has all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses. All of the good stuff, and all of the conflicts on a more intimate scale. We thought it’d be the perfect setting for our story of a cop charged with policing the dead.”

• James Stokoe will write and draw Godzilla: Half Century War, which arrives from IDW in August. The miniseries is set in a different continuity than the Godzilla ongoing series by Duane Swierczyski and Simon Gane.

• Writer Christos Gage will team with artist Jorge Lucas for Sunset, an original graphic novel from Top Cow’s Minotaur Press. The story revolves around a retired Vegas mob enforcer.

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What Are You Reading? with Andy Khouri

Wet Moon

Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.

Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.

To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Robot 6 Holiday Gift-Giving Guide, Part 4

And a partridge in a pear tree … we wrap up our Holiday Gift-Giving Guide today with even more gift suggestions from comic pros. Like the previous days, we asked them:

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 …

Joey Weiser

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!

Joey Weiser is the creator of Cavemen in Space, Monster Isle, The Ride Home and Mermin. He also writes the Spongebob Squarepants comic.

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What Are You Reading? with Thom Zahler

Hiya kids, it’s time for What Are You Reading?, a weekly look into what the Robot 6 crew has been reading lately. Today’s special guest is Thom Zahler, creator of the delightful superhero/romantic comedy comic Love and Capes.

To find out what Thom and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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Comics A.M. | The Power Within creators land on Out’s ‘Out 100′ list

Charles Christensen and Mark Brill

Creators | Out magazine has included writer Charles “Zan” Christensen and artist Mark Brill in its 17th annual “Out 100″ list highlighting the 100 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of the year. Christensen and Brill are the creators of The Power Within, an anti-bullying comic book published by Northwest Press. “Inspired, or rather upset, by Tyler Clementi’s tragic death last year, the pair set out to create an empowering story of an eighth-grader picked on for being gay,” the magazine writes. Northwest Press has distributed over 700 free copies of the book to more than 50 gay-straight alliances, schools, churches, community centers and other youth organizations. [Out]

Creators | Uncanny X-Men writer Kieron Gillen considers the accessibility of the relaunched comic in light of reviews he’s read around the web, particularly the fact that some people were thrown by the X-Men living in San Francisco: “Of course, I can see the reason why it’s thrown the people … they know the X-Men live in a mansion in Westchester. That they’re not living in Westchester is the problem. It’s not about giving the information to read the story that’s there. It’s about correcting pre-existing assumptions. In other words, it’s not a problem about being accessible to new readers – because a genuinely new reader would accept the fact the X-Men live on Utopia in the same way that they except that Bilbo lives in the Shire – but rather a problem with the readers being old readers. They feel lost not because of the story on the page, but the gap between the old story in their heads and the story on the page, and wanting to know what connects the two.” [Kieron Gillen]

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What Are You Reading? with Nate Powell

Big Questions

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where every week we talk about the comics, books and other stuff we’ve been reading lately.

Our special guest this week is musician and comic creator Nate Powell, who you might know from his most recent graphic novel, Any Empire, or the Ignatz and Eisner Award-winning Swallow Me Whole. When he’s not creating comics, he’s hanging out at the United Nations with the likes of R.L. Stine, Ann M. Martin and other teen-fiction writers in support of What You Wish For, a collection of young adult stories and poems. Proceeds from the book will be used to fund libraries in Darfuri refugee camps in Chad.

To see what Nate and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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What Are You Reading?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Ross Campbell, creator of Shadoweyes and its recent sequel, Shadoweyes in Love, as well as Wet Moon, Water Baby, The Abandoned and “Refuse,” a short story in the recent Strange Adventures anthology from Vertigo.

To see what Ross and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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What Are You Reading?

Mysterius the Unfathomable

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics and other stuff we’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guests this week are Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Serenity Rose, Fables) and Drew Rausch (Sullengrey, The Dark Goodbye, Cthulhu Tales), the creative team behind the horror/comedy comic Eldritch!

To see what Aaron, Drew and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …

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What Are You Reading?

Lost Girls

Hello and welcome to Wha Are You Reading? Today our special guest is illustrator, photographer, writer, filmmaker and jazz musician Dave McKean, whose works include Cages, Mr. Punch, Signal to Noise, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Violent Cases, Coraline and many, many more. He has a new book with writer Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, coming out in October, as well as a graphic novel called Celluloid coming out from Fantagraphics in June. Special thanks to Chris Mautner for asking him to participate this week.

To see what Dave and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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What Are You Reading?

A God Somewhere

Happy Easter and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look back at the comics and other stuff we’ve checked out recently.

Today our special guest is Chris Schweizer, creator of the Crogan Adventures series published by Oni Press and a professor of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click the link below.

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The Fifth Color | Avengers Academy in three panels

Avengers Academy #12

This book has a dinosaur. Your argument is invalid.

The average comic is around 21 to 24 pages of story. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but in all, we can agree that there’s some breathing room in comparison to your standard Sunday comic strip. In those 21 to 24 pages, there is space to tell a story or, in our current state of affairs, part of one. Despite the shaken fists to the sky and grumbles from the masses, there are comic book writers who write for the trade paperback, making each issue a piece of a much larger puzzle. Your monthly comic would then hold a clue or a twist that would add to the readers’ understanding of the over-arcing plot, causing them to come back for more in search of the final resolution.

This creates an audience. Wondering what comes next or “whodunnit” keeps readers turning pages and the writer with some steady income as they bring the story to life in their allotted time and space once a month. It’s hard work these days to keep the public’s attention, so taking a story of significant impact and drawing it out over a few months has a beneficial side if you’re thinking fiscally. This practice can leave a lot of people in the cold, especially those who come in at the middle of the story rather than its start. Let’s say someone wanted to pick up an issue of Amazing Spider-Man, just to see where Peter Parker had gotten himself to lately. Considering he’s working in a high-tech science lab rather than the life of the common Joe might be a little confusing for some, but add to that his side jobs with the Avengers or, more importantly, the Future Foundation, and you have a lot of explaining to do about why he took those jobs and what the heck a Future Foundation is.

To help usher in the new reader and perhaps give long-term readers a little space between major arcs, Marvel released Point One issues: single issues of story to explain a little about the character and where he’s at. Something that began and ended within that book. For the Invincible Iron Man, it was a character study about who Tony Stark was then and who he is now. For Wolverine, it was a well-meant birthday party with his supporting cast and a dust up with some bad guys. Some times more, some times less, these Point One issues were created to communicate the concept of the book, storyline or even just the character in 21 to 24 pages.

But! What if I told you that you (yes you!) could introduce someone to a book, storyline and character in just three panels! Sound amazing? Let me show you how!

(WARNING: this Fifth Color will contain spoilers for Avenges Academy #12. Three panels worth to be exact. If you haven’t read it yet then run, don’t walk, to you local comic shop and ask for it by name! You could also take a car if it’s a long walk.)

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What Are You Reading?

Smile

Happy holidays and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Caanan Grall, creator of the webcomic Max Overacts and the Zuda strip Celadore.

To see what Caanan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Talking Comics with Tim | Christos Gage

Avengers Academy 7

A few weeks back, while I was in the midst of finalizing this email interview with Marvel exclusive writer Christos Gage, Marvel was kind enough to share preview pages from Gage’s Avengers Academy 7 (set for release this Wednesday, December 15). I contacted Gage to discuss the appeal of going exclusive with Marvel, his work on Avengers Academy;  his collaborations with Mario Alberti; the Invaders Now miniseries; and his love of letters columns–as well as juggling myriad assignments along with his video game writing.

Tim O’Shea: In terms of the life of a freelancer, how less stressful is it when you gain an exclusive contract as you currently have with Marvel?

Christos Gage: Well, as any freelancer will tell you, a big part of your job is lining up future work. So knowing that I am guaranteed work from Marvel is a load off my mind, allowing me to focus less on nailing down that next job and more on making the stories I’m writing the best they can be.

O’Shea: With Avengers Academy–while the students are the core of the series, it’s the instructors that offer almost as much interest for me. For example, I love your use of Quicksilver. Was it your idea to have him in the cast, or how did he get added? Are there certain eras of Quicksilver history that appeal to you and fuel your approach to the character?

Gage: I asked for Quicksilver because I thought he fit in perfectly with the theme of the instructors being Avengers who have flawed, checkered pasts. Avengers Academy is meant to be a place of redemption for student and teacher alike. Just as the best counselors for people trying to stay off drugs are recovered addicts, the Avengers Academy teachers are people who’ve been down some tough roads and come back. Quicksilver was a teen villain, then a teen hero. He was raised to be a terrorist and grew to be an Avenger. My favorite point in Quicksilver history is when he first joined the Avengers…he did this incredibly heroic thing in terms of breaking from Magneto, and putting himself out there in front of a world that hates and fears mutants…but the whole time he was constantly backseat driving and second-guessing Captain America, of all people! Now that’s what I call cojones. Quicksilver is so much fun to write because he gets to say all the snarky things I want to say to people who irritate me, but don’t want to get smacked in the mouth for.

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Comics A.M. | Kirby/Marvel copyright fight continues, John D’Agostino dies

Jack Kirby

Legal | New York federal judge Colleen McMahon made several decisions last week in the case of Jack Kirby’s heirs attempting to terminate Marvel’s copyright of his works. The judge agreed with Marvel that it would be premature to make an accounting of how much money is at stake, but rejected a bid by Marvel to throw out the Kirby estate’s main counterclaim. She also ruled that the Kirby estate’s attempt to reclaim original art is barred by the statute of limitations, counterclaims of breach-of-contract and violation of the Lanham Act were tossed, and Disney will be part of the case, even though Marvel said it shouldn’t be.

“In sum, the judge has narrowed the case to its most crucial issue. Both sides disagree about Kirby’s working environment in the 1950s and 1960s when he, along with Stan Lee, conceived many of Marvel’s most popular characters. The judge will soon be tasked with looking at Kirby’s work history and some of the loose contracts and oral agreements that guided his efforts in those years,” wrote Eriq Gardner. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | Artist, letterer and colorist John D’Agostino died Nov. 29. D’Agostino started his career as a colorist for Timely Comics and was head of their coloring department for several years. He also worked for Archie Comics, Charlton Comics and Marvel Comics, and lettered the first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man in the 1960s. Tom Spurgeon offers an obituary. [Mark Evanier]

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