Registration has opened for the fourth annual 30 Characters Challenge, the month-long event that encourages writers and artists to create 30 characters in 30 days. That’s one new character for every day of November.
Why? As the event’s website states, “Because the world needs new characters. And more importantly, it needs YOUR new characters. Sometimes all it takes is a little challenge to get those creative juices flowing.” According to organizers, more than 1,000 have participated in the challenge since 2009; of those, about 100 were able to complete it.
You can learn all the details, including how to register and where to upload characters, on the challenge’s website. You can also browse the gallery of last year’s character contributions. Registration ends Oct. 31; the 30 Characters Challenge begins Nov. 1.
Living legend Bruce Timm quietly joined Twitter back in July, but only in the last couple of weeks has his activity there started to speed up. Never an ardent self-publicist, once upon a time, you had to wait for his art dealer to post his newest sketches and commissions, or else trawl Google Images. Now there’s a direct source, and it’s flowing quickly. Plenty more examples below.
UPDATE: Apparently this Twitter account isn’t actually Timm’s. Still, the art is nice.
Creators | Following last week’s news that Stan Lee has canceled his sold-out Thursday engagement at a Toledo library event due to “a very serious circumstance,” Wizard World has announced the 89-year-old writer won’t be appearing as scheduled at this weekend’s Ohio Comic Con in Columbus. Responding to a blog post titled, “Is Stan Lee OK?” the administrator of the Stan Lee’s Comikaze Facebook page wrote, “It sucks Stan had to cancel [the Toledo event], but you know the man doesn’t just do conventions. he puts in a hard days work creating. Its really sad that the Toledo Blade had to go spread nonsense. If you want to be up to date on stan then follow us, cuz he kinda owns our company. Its sad that a some blogs are scaring fans. not really nice.” [The Beat]
Creators | Artist Molly Crabapple, who was arrested Sept. 17 in New York City during a protests marking the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, writes about the experience and her involvement with the movement. [CNN.com]
Sal Abbinanti has provided Robot 6 with the first look at Alex Ross’ new poster image for “Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross,” the upcoming exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. See the full painting below.
Opening Nov. 10, the exhibit features more than 130 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures from the personal collection of Ross, who’s often characterized as “the Norman Rockwell of the comics world.” According to the museum, the pieces range from a crayon drawing of Spider-Man that the artist drew at age 4 to paintings for Marvels, Kingdom Come, Green Hornet and Flash Gordon (you can view some of the pieces on the exhibition’s website). Ross himself will appear at the opening celebration for the first museum exhibition of his work.
Legal | The Bombay High Court had sharp words for the Mumbai Police regarding the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on a sedition charge. “How can you (police) arrest people on frivolous grounds? You arrest a cartoonist and breach his liberty of freedom of speech and expression,” said justices DY Chandrachud and Amjad Sayyed during a hearing in the case. The court will issue guidelines for the application of the sedition law, said the justices, who called the arrest of Trivedi “arbitrary.” “We have one Aseem Trivedi who was courageous enough to raise his voice and stand against this, but what about several others whose voices are shut by police.” [The Economic Times]
Creators | Grant Morrison talks about the guy who (literally) ate a copy of Supergods, why he is moving away from superheroes, and his upcoming Pax Americana, which is based on the same Charlton characters as Watchmen: “It’s so not like Watchmen. In the places where it is like Watchmen people will laugh because it’s really quite … it’s really faithful and respectful but at the same time satiric. I don’t think people will be upset by it, in the way that they’ve been upset by Before Watchmen which even though it’s good does ultimately seem redundant … This one is its own thing but it deliberately quotes the kind of narrative techniques used in Watchmen and does something new with them.” [New Statesman]
At the Behance Network, Davide De Cubellis has posted an impressive gallery of his cover art for the Italian comic John Doe. De Cubellis’s approach to the series changes, with each cover clearly influenced by a different modern classic artist. I think I can spot tributes to the styles of Duncan Fegredo, James Jean, Tony Harris, J.H. Williams III, Massimo Carnevale, Lee Bermejo, Javier Pulido and others. De Cubellis has a desktop wallpaper of the complete set on his blog. You can see much more below.
If the only comic artists print house Nakatomi Inc. works with are Shaky Kane and Paul Pope, well then, in my book they’re two for two. The company has announced a new print and T-shirt combo by Kane, King of the Wild Frontier and Dial Z For Zombie. The last tee Nakatomi and Kane did together proved popular in certain circles — a flurry of U.K. comics folks tweeted/Facebooked photos of themselves wearing it. Continue Reading »
ArtInfo spotlights a satirical poster campaign by Oakland artist Neil Rivas that uses superhero illustrations by the likes of Jack Kirby, Alex Ross, Jae Lee and John Byrne (completed with trademarked logos) to address the hot-button political issue of illegal immigration. Titled simply “Illegal Superheroes,” the posters feature such characters as Wolverine, Superman, Black Widow, Wonder Woman and Optimus Prime, whose presence in the United States would likely violate federal law.
Purporting to be from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the posters caution, “Super heroes who enter this country without proper authorization are breaking the law, plain and simple. These ‘illegal super heroes’ are subject to deportation at any time. Their very presence is in direct violation of federal law.” The customized hotline numbers at the bottom of each flyer provides the caller with details about each of the undocumented heroes (for instance, “The ThunderCats, a family of cat-like humanoid aliens from the planet Thundera, are known to have entered the U.S. illegally when they saved the world with Superman from Mumm-Ra and his Mutants in a 2004 DC crossover”). ArtInfo has the full breakdown of the messages explaining each character’s illegal status.
Alongside the requisite vintage-style travel posters for Themyscira, Coast City, Kandor and The Flash Museum are images spotlighting the Court of Owls, the Green Lantern Oath, Talon and Haley’s Circus, among others. Some of the prints were offered earlier this year at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, but the selection has been expanded for sale online.
You can see some of the posters below, and even more at the DC Collectibles website, where they can be purchased for prices ranging from $19.95 to $34.95.
It must be hard work keeping these group sketch blogs going. While some keep ticking along like clockwork (Eclectic Micks, Scotch Corner), some other favorites have been on lengthy, near catatonic, hiatuses (What Not, Comic Twart). David LaFuente has posted an announcement on The Sindiecate that, after one year of regularly promoting indie comics through character sketches, they’ve decided to call it a day:
Lafuente here with a final report.
THE SINDIECATE is closing down its doors. This month marks the first year of the collective authors and initiative to pay tribute to independent comics. And it’s a good moment to call it a day.
Thanks to Jorge Muñoz, James Harren, Mike Choi, Ryan Ottley, Colleen Coover, Matteo Scalera for joining me on this project. It’s great to look back on that idea I had for the website and see what has become thanks to them.
And thanks to the people who liked our homages, helped spread the word and maybe make some new readers for the indie authors behind the books.
Adios! : )
Perhaps their mission has been accomplished: certainly, Indie comics do seem to be in a healthier state now than even a year ago. High profile writers and artists seem to be flocking back in that direction, and with the massive sales numbers of The Walking Dead #100, the zeitgeist’s pendulum seems to swung further to the side of creator-owned than anytime since the early 1990s.
In May 2011, Ryan Ballard began a quest to create the perfect birthday gift for his father, a comics fan with whom he shares a love of Preacher, the acclaimed Vertigo series by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon and Glenn Fabry. So Ryan bought a copper album embossed with Fabry’s cover art for Issue #56 and set off to fill the book filled with sketches of Preacher characters from a range of artists. More than a year later, Ryan finally presented his father with the finished album, complete with art from the likes of Dillon, Fabry, Jim Mahfood, Rufus Dayglo, Ryan Kelly, Leigh Gallagher and Duncan Fegredo.
Ryan’s appreciative father thanked all of the artists who contributed, passing along this message: “This is a heads up to all the fantastic faces who invested their time, effort and skill in Ryan’s quest. My sincere and deepest thank you, it would be true to say that I learned to read from comics but your visuals opened my eyes and imagination.”
For his part, Ryan merely reminds his father he has a herculean task ahead of him: My birthday is in August, no pressure Dad …” See some of the sketches below, and visit the Preacher Project to see many more.
(hat tip to Leigh Gallagher)
Like the sound of a gasoline-chugging motorcycle drawing through a sleepy New England hamlet, Sean Murphy has steadily risen up the ladder from small independent comics to critical acclaim with works like Joe the Barbarian and American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest. And with the debut of his creator-owned series Punk Rock Jesus earlier this month, it seems like Murphy is aiming to make a statement.
This Brooklyn-based artist has become well known for his sinewy and striking artwork, and is one f the few remaining artists in comics whose finished work (sans lettering) is done entirely by hand. With the black-and-white publication of Punk Rock Jesus, Murphy’s entire story is done by hand with pencil and brush on his drawing board. That makes the debut of his original art online even more special and attention-getting, even if you don’t have the wallet to afford the pages. Murphy just released the original artwork from the first issue of Punk Rock Jesus for sale at his art dealer Essential Sequential.
I can’t be the only one who’ll look on this showcase as a chance to pour over Murphy’s pages here and over at his DeviantArt site, to really see the intricacies and honest-to-god ink put on these pages. Take a minute — or 10 — and sink in and blow these pages up hi-rez on your computer screen while we wait for issue 2 to come out on August 8.
Auctions | Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 sold at auction Thursday for $657,250, shattering the record for a single piece of American comics art set last year by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125). However, the price falls well short of the $1.6 million shell out last month for the original cover art for Tintin in America. A 9.8 graded copy of X-Men #1 was also sold by Heritage Auctions for $492,937.50, more than twice the previous record for that comic. [ICv2]
Publishing | Lily Rothman takes a look at iVerse’s newly announced comics-only crowdfunding platform Comics Accelerator, which will allow immediate delivery of digital rewards in a more sophisticated format than an e-mailed PDF and cap its share of the take at $2,500. As Laura Morley of Womanthology points out, it can go both ways: Being on Kickstarter, a trusted platform with wide visibility, helped boost the project, but on the other hand, “Any site that’s able to take advantage of the fact that comics online already work as a big community, as a place where people talk to their friends and promote things they’re interested in, is likely to do well.” [Time]
Polish graphic designer Grzegorz Domaradzki has illustrated a series of snowboards for Endeavor designs that playfully use all kinds of comic book, manga, cartoon and pop-art imagery. I’m often lairy of other artforms appropriating comic artists’ styles without giving much credit to their sources, and I’ve as much interest in sliding down a snowy hill on my arse as the next working-class Irishman, but these would look great mounted over the fireplace of your favorite bar. While you stay warm and dry inside. Anyway, great shots of these designs, including lots of close-ups (where you can play spot the homage/swipe), can be seen at Gregorz’s Behance portfolio.
Not every comics artist is at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week; some are at home updating their blogs. Like Paul Pope (above). For this I’ll forgive his minor part in the Before Watchmen farrago.
Dan McDaid is home in Scotland posting an Easter egg-laden image from an upcoming issue of Doctor Who Magazine.