Former Vertigo editor Casey Seijas has a story he wants to tell — a story about Jamaican gangsters, Rastafarian ghost stories and the dark summer of 1978 in Kingston.
In the upcoming graphic novel Duppy ’78, by Seijas and artist Amancay Nahuelpan, a group of Jamaican crime lords are fighting to control ancient and malevolent Rastafarian spirits known as the Duppy. When one of the crime lords is killed over control of these spirits, the Kingston underworld erupts as the remaining players vie for control over the Duppy and the young mystics who are said to be able to control them. Mixing Jamaican history and Rastafarian religious ideas, Duppy ’78 looks to meld two distinct genres into something that could be surprises.
Like some sort of urban Tale of Two Cities, this book shows an enterprising group of graffiti taggers trying to instigate a war between their fellow working-class residents and the greedy, corporate land barons eager to turn their disheveled homes into dollar signs. At the center of it is a convict named Alfredo, who is trying to find a way to make a life for himself and ends up being the face of a working-class revolution.
Monster Myths’ creator John Lupo Avanti is barreling into the world of comics on a unique trajectory. Hailing from the world of animation, Avanti has reoriented to doing freelance illustration from fine arts to murals, tattoos and, as you guessed, comics.
Avanti’s Monster Myths is the latest in a line of books the British publishing house Com.X. has brought forth into the world. Although it struggled with growing pains in its first years, Com.X re-emerged in the past two years as a more regimented and mature outlet for unique voices in comics.
Monster Myths is scheduled for a June 2012 release, and is currently available for pre-order in the current issue of Diamond’s Previews catalog.
After some bumps on the road after their launch in 2000, the British comics publisher Com.X Comics is quickly turning into a publisher to watch. It became best known for the hero series Cla$$war, which took the idea of superheroes in a more realistic and brutal direction, not unlike contemporaries such as The Authority did at the time. But the aforementioned bumps on the road — scheduling, loss of artists — saw Com.X fail to follow through immediately on their first hints of success. But all that is changing.
In 2008 Com.X reorganized and recommitted itself as a publisher, organizing a new slate of titles that’s coming out in 2011. Ross Mackintosh’s Seeds offers a touching autobiographical story of a man dealing with his father’s death from cancer, and the faux-journalism coverage of a super-hero universe with 2010′s Forty-Five opened the door for an entire line of titles beginning with the upcoming Blue Spear. Their next big title is Babble, a project by Lee Robson and Bryan Coyle concerning a secret universal language and why it’s been shrouded from the public for centuries.
And Com.X’s eye for talent continues with the use of phenomenal artists like Cosmo White. During its early years they showed a remarkable eye for talent by being among the first to note uber-talented artists like Joshua Middleton, Steve McNiven, Cary Nord, Trevor Hairsine, Ben Oliver, Travel Foreman and Neil Googe. Those talents quickly found work at Marvel and DC, but Com.X continues to find the next big things before the big publishers do.
Artist Joshua Middleton, who most recently provided covers for DC’s Supergirl, has announced he’s finished with mainstream comics work, at least “for the foreseeable future.”
“I have plenty of other stuff to keep me busy, and I want to dedicate every minute of my free time to personal work only,” Middleton writes on his bog, “so the comic book covers had to go, bringing to an end, with a whimper, ten years of mainstream comic book work-for-hire.”
The news leaves open the possibility that Middleton could return to Sky Between Branches, his creator-owned “illustrated fairy tale” that saw just one issue from Com.x in 2002.
Middleton, who’s known in recent years primarily for his cover illustrations, began his comics career in 2000 on CrossGen’s Meridian. At Marvel, he drew the first four issues of NYX, as well as covers for New Mutants, before signing with DC Comics in 2004. There, he provided covers for American Virgin, Vixen: Return of the Lion and Supergirl, and drew the 2005-2006 miniseries Superman/Shazam: First Thunder and the 2007 one-shot Outsiders: Five of a Kind #4.
If you found out your kid was possibly going to be born with super powers, you’d probably want to do a little research into what exactly that meant. For fictional journalist James Stanley, that means conducting 45 different interviews about super powers and how they’ve changed the lives of the people who have them.
This December Com.X is publishing an illustrated book that collects those 45 interviews called, naturally Forty-Five. Written by Andi Ewington, each interview includes an accompanying page of art illustrated by a different artist, with no “predetermined brief” given — just the written page as guidance. Artists for the project include Jock, Fiona Staples, Liam Sharp, Dan Brereton and many more.
My thanks to Andi, who was kind enough to share some additional details on the book.
Legal | Twin brothers in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, have been sentenced to three months in jail for possessing anime- and manga-style images depicting children in sexual situations.
David Scott Hammond and James Cory Hammond, 20, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography after police discovered the images downloaded on their home computer last November. Although David Hammond’s attorney said his client didn’t realize it was illegal to download cartoon pornographic images of children, the prosecutor asserted that, “Every one of these images involves the victimization of children. The victimization wouldn’t happen in the first place if there weren’t people there to look at this material.”
Earlier this month, lawmakers in Alaska began considering a bill that would expand the state’s child-pornography laws to include cartoons. And in June a U.S. appeals court upheld the conviction of a Virginia man who was prosecuted, in part, under a 2003 federal statute outlawing possession of cartoon images depicting the sexual abuse of children. [The Chronicle Herald]
Publishing | The San Francisco headquarters of Viz Media was closed for two days this week after an unexpected downpour on Monday caused storm drains to overflow, flooding parts of the city. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Just last week we were reporting that Villard had acquired the rights to Fated, a graphic novel written by Michael Jackson and Gotham Chopra. Now comes word that the Random House imprint paid $800,000 for it. Illustrated by Mukesh Singh, artist of Virgin Comics titles Gamekeeper, Devi and Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter, the black-and-white book is due out in June. [Crain's New York Business]