SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
With the new year arrives the first trailer for Deathface, the homage to 1980s action heroes by Ivan Brandon, Chuck BB and Ryan Browne. The project is part of the first wave of releases from Offset Comics, which Brandon (Viking, NYC Mech) has described as a “giant, amorphous experiment” that approaches storytelling from a “100 percent creative declination.”
Also on the Offset slate is Destroyer, by Brandon and Eric Canete, and Doublecross, by Daniel Krall.
After quietly announcing Offset Comics in July, Viking and NYC Mech writer Ivan Brandon further introduced the project at New York Comic Con, describing it to The Associated Press as a “giant, amorphous experiment” that approaches storytelling from a “100 percent creative declination.” That doesn’t exactly clear up the mystery, does it?
“I’m calling Offset a lab,” he tells Comics Alliance. “And what that means to me, anyway, is that it’s a series of experiments intended to try completely new routes in terms of story and in terms of who’s entertained by it. Comics has been for all of my life and most of its life defined by some very specific logistical parameters: pages are 6.875 inches by 10.437 inches based on bulk paper costs. Margins and trims are determined by the potential for printer error. Comics are expressed in eight-page increments, and so on. Offset is among other things an attempt to discard logistical motivation and be 100% creatively motivated. Not worrying what markets will support a thing or what demographic it speaks to or how economical anything is. The first experiment people will see from us is, obviously, a form of comics.”
The first three Offset projects are Brandon and Eric Canete’s Destroyer, exploring what happens after the end of the world, Daniel Krall’s Doublecross, about a man who held the shadows at bay until the shadows made him a better offer, and Brandon, Chuck BB and Ryan Browne’s Deathface, an homage to 1980s action heroes.
Simon Bisley’s return to 2000AD after 22 years absence comes in the form of the cover to the upcoming Prog 1800. It’s already dividing opinion. I’ve never blamed Bisley for the worst excesses of his copyists, and this image has its high points — the Judge Death and Mean Machine figures, drawn in Bisley’s mature style, are particularly good — but it is hard to see past the great big unnecessary arse in the middle of this composition (via Comics Alliance).
Much more below, including the Beatles, Shaky Kane, Brendan McCarthy, Jamie Hewlett and Duncan Fegredo.
Nearly lost amid the hubbub of Comic-Con International was the stealth launch of Offset Comics, a mysterious project by Ivan Brandon, writer of such titles as Men of War, Viking and NYC Mech, and editor of 24Seven.
Just how stealthy was the announcement? It was buried in Brandon’s biography line at the end of an article he wrote for The Awl about comic-book movies, and not spotted until nearly two weeks later by The Beat and others. So far details are slim, with a placeholder website promising “Coming Soon,” and a Twitter account teasing “you’ll see.”
Curiously that Twitter account has been active for more than a month, offering glimpses of artwork, most recently — and most completely — a pair of character designs, one by Black Metal artist Chuck BB and the other by … I’m not quite sure (see them below).
It’s probably safe to presume Offset Comics is a new imprint, but whether it will be print or digital is another matter.
If you’re like me, instead of heading out to the mall to face the hectic Black Friday crowds (some of whom are apparently armed with pepper spray), you’re sitting at home nursing a turkey hangover and looking for good deals on the internet. Here are a few places you may want to check out for your gift-giving or personal shopping needs, and if you’re up for adventuring outdoors, Bleeding Cool has a great roundup of shops holding sales today.
ComiXology has a bunch of digital comics for 99 cents today. DC Comics is holding a Blackest Friday sale, allowing you to buy each issue of the Blackest Night crossover for 99 cents each. Marvel has Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four issues on sale for 99 cents, while IDW has their Star Trek comics on sale.
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 first grab hold of my favorite of DC’s New 52, Batwoman #2 (DC, $2.99). J.H. Williams III has successfully kept up to the immense expectations he accumulated following his run with Greg Rucka, and the artwork seems to benefit even more by J.H.’s input into the story as co-writer. Next I’d dig down for two of my regular pulls, Northlanders #45 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #16 (Marvel, $3.99). For my final pick, I’d have to miss a bunch of other titles for the chance to get the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 #4 (Image, $4.99). I love the anthology format, and having that plus the good cause plus the a-list talent makes it a must get; seriously, can you imagine one comic book containing new work by Frank Quitely, Williams, Mark Waid, J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Wagner AND Craig Thompson? BELIEVE IT!
Black Metal, Book 1
Written by Rick Spears; Illustrated by Chuck BB
As someone who’s not a fan of Black Metal the Music Genre, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Black Metal the Graphic Novel. I hoped I’d like it. I love Chuck BB’s (Secret Skull) art for one thing. I’ve also heard great things about Rick Spears’ Teenagers from Mars. Mostly though, while I don’t dig a lot of the music, I’m very entertained by the trappings of Metal: the skulls, the demon lords…the Vikings. If Spears and BB were able to just tell an awesome story with all that stuff, Black Metal would succeed.
Undoubtedly, readers will find more enjoyment in it the closer they relate to the music and the culture that Black Metal celebrates. There’s no false advertising in that title. Shawn and Sam Stronghand are an orphaned pair of junior high twins who’ve been shuffled from school to school and foster home to foster home. They also – as the book says – have “a penchant for the darkest of metal.” When they play an album by a hardcore band called Frost Axe, they hear the legend of a war in Hell between two Barons: a huge, horned bruiser called the Roth and the sinister demon named Von Char who defeated the Roth through trickery. Playing the record backwards, the twins are pulled to Hell where they recover the Roth’s Sword of Atoll and return to Earth with it.
Von Char doesn’t like this of course and sends minions to kill the boys. As the Stronghands (and their gross little foster brother) try to survive, they encounter a band of ancient warriors (action!), Norse gods (adventure!), and cute girls (romance!) only one of whom is human.
Artist Chuck BB (Black Metal) has been sharing a series of “6 x6″ drawings on his blog of various characters, from Batman and Kick-Ass to Mumm-Ra and Beta Ray Bill. You can see all the ones he’s posted so far here.
The Kids of Widney High are a group of students with developmental and physical challenges from J. P. Widney High School, a special education center in Los Angeles, Calif., who write and perform original songs, appear in movies like The Ringer and, according to a press release I received today, also write comics.
Per the release, The Kids of Widney High: Beyond the Sky’s the Limit is written entirely by members of the band and illustrated by Chuck B.B., Jim Mahfood, Rafael Navarro, Rikki Niehaus, Neal Von Flue, Robbi Rodriguez and Chris Brandt.
“The comic book medium provided a new way for the members of the band to not only communicate some of their challenges and frustrations, but many of their triumphs and fantasies as well,” said editor/publisher Mike Wellman. “All of the dialogue spoken by the characters in the book was drawn directly from quotes recorded during story sessions and really captures the spirit of the band. It was a very unique way to tie a story together!”
The book’s in the current issue of Diamond’s Previews catalog and will be published by Atomic Basement Entertainment. Kids of Widney High member Tony Whitfield proudly says that the comic is “the music that will rock your eyes!”
Black Metal artist Chuck BB has entered the ongoing contest that the T-shirt site Threadless holds, and you can help his design become a T-shirt that’s sold on the site by voting for it. Click the image below to head over to the site and cast your vote: