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Grumpy Old Fan | In October, DC wants trinities of win

Two Guys, A Girl, And Apocalypse

Two Guys, A Girl, And Apocalypse

Some months the solicitations don’t inspire much in the way of analysis. The superhero serials just sort of chug along, and maybe there’ll be an unusual creative team or an idiosyncratic collection to enliven things. Not so with DC’s October solicitations, which include a number of new series, storylines, and creative changes.

This next bit will sound conspiratorial, but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable supposition. I believe — or at least I would not be surprised to learn — that all these debuts and changes are starting in October because that will give them at least six issues to resolve themselves before the big springtime move to the West Coast. For example, six issues is pretty much the minimum for a collection, so if any of the new series just drop immediately into the sales cellar (I’m looking at you, Klarion; say hi to GI Zombie), DC can still have enough for a trade paperback. That’s not to say a reboot is inevitable next spring — notwithstanding one panel in Robin Rising that should jump-start such talk — but I could see a good bit of the superhero line taking a potential victory lap over the fall and winter.  (Apparently I am not alone in thinking this.)

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‘Quantum and Woody,’ ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘Saga’ lead Harvey ballot

quantum-woody1Quantum and Woody leads the final ballot for the 2014 Harvey Awards with nominations in six categories, including best new series, edging out Hawkeye with five and Saga with four. Quantum and Woody‘s James Asmus also received nods for best writer, most promising new talent and the special award for humor.

Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, the cartoonist and founding editor of MAD magazine, the awards are selected entirely by creators. Online voting is open now through Aug. 18. The winners will be presented Sept. 6 in a ceremony held in conjunction with Baltimore Comic-Con.

The full list of nominees can be found below:

Best Writer
James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Matt Fraction, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics
Brian K. Vaughan, SAGA, Image Comics
Mark Waid, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

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True Believers Comic Awards announce 2014 winners

true believers logoHawkeye and its writer Matt Fraction and Saga and its artist Fiona Staples led the inaugural True Believers Comic Awards, winning in a combined 10 categories. Hawkeye colorist Matt Hollingsworth also won in his division.

Presented Saturday in conjunction with London Film and Comic Con, the True Believers Comic Awards are a successor to the long-running Eagle Awards. Established by Eagle co-founder Mike Conroy and his daughter Cassandra, the awards were selected through online nominations and voting.

IDW Publishing was voted Best Publisher, while Gail Simone was named to the Roll of Honor. Comic Book Resources was selected as Favorite Comics-Related Website. The full list of winners can be found below in bold.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Friday programming schedule

Comic-Con InternationalComic-Con International organizers have rolled out the programming schedule for Friday, July 25, the second full day of the show.

And what a full day it is, with comics adaptations like AMC’s The Walking Dead, The CW’s Arrow and iZombie, and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter all taking the stage. However, that’s not to say actual comic books are being slighted: There are panels devoted to Image Comics, DC Comics’ Batman, The Multiversity and more, Marvel’s Spider-Verse and The Avengers, Top Shelf Productions, IDW Publishing’s 15th anniversary and its Hasbro titles, Milestone at 21, gender in comics, LGBT comics for young readers and the (gulp) 30th anniversary of Power Pack.

Plenty of creators step into the spotlight, too, with panels dedicated to the likes of Neal Adams, Mark Brooks, Francesco Francavilla, Jae Lee, Mike Mignola, Terry Moore, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan. To top it all off, there’s the Eisner Awards ceremony.

Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule.

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ISIS calls for the death of ‘The 99′ creator

Cover-of-the-first-issue-001-214x300The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadist group better known by the acronym ISIS, has put out a call for the assassination of Nayef Al-Mutawa, creator of the superhero comic The 99.

The Kuwait Times reports that in a series of tweets, the group accused Al-Mutawa of mocking the 99 names of Allah, and offered a reward for his death. “Who can kill Nayef Al- Mutawa who makes fun of Allah’s names?” was posted by one ISIS account while another said, “Whoever finds him, kill him, and he will be rewarded.”

Growing out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has since disavowed the group, ISIS has of course been in the news for its military gains in Syria and Iraq, where it seeks to establish an Islamic emirate. BBC News has a solid primer on the extremist organization.

Al-Mutawa, who said he will take legal action against those behind the account, defended himself on his own Twitter, writing, “My work has glorified Islam from the U.S. to China for the past ten years. I really do not believe in ISIL and Qaeda … I don’t care about them.”

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Grayson’: A spy ring to what?

Another legacy: bad hair

Another legacy: bad hair

(Note: Post title is taken brazenly from a Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff on the serial The Phantom Creeps.)

When DC announced Grayson in April, I wrote about the dangers of separating Dickie G. first from his mentor, and then from his friends in the Titans. Because Grayson is predicated on removing Dick from the superhero realm entirely, I’ve been ambivalent (at best) about this book. Even after reading the first issue — which was a good introduction to the series, and which stood on its own nicely — I still have some concerns. Most of these come from a desire (perhaps unwarranted) to judge a series in a larger context. Therefore, today we’ll talk both about the debut issue of Grayson (written by Tim Seeley and Tom King, drawn by Mikel Janín, and colored by Jeromy Cox), and whether that sort of big-picture evaluation is fair to it.

* * *

First let’s get some of the obligatory historical perspective out of the way. Dick Grayson has been around for almost 75 years, longer than just about all of DC’s A-listers, including The Flash, Hawkman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Moreover, Dick/Robin has been adapted for various non-comics venues for almost as long, starting with radio and movie serials in the 1940s and continuing right through to today’s Teen Titans Go! Many of these more recent adaptations either alluded to, or showed directly, Dick’s transition to the Nightwing identity; and collectively they speak to the general public’s awareness of the character and his particular dramatic functions.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Thursday programming schedule

comic-conThe days of easing into Comic-Con International are but a distant memory, as the schedule for the first event’s official day, Thursday, July 27, oh so helpfully reminds us.

As we’ve come to expect, the Thursday programming is a mix of comic books, television, toys and video games, with a smattering of film, plus several Batman panels tied to the Caped Crusader’s 75th anniversary (including a spotlight on co-creator Bill Finger, “DC Comics: Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight” and “Batman in the ’70s”).

Comics programming includes panels from 2000 AD, Avatar Press, Bongo Comics, BOOM! Studios, DC Digital, Image Comics, IDW’s Artists Editions, Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: AXIS, Monkeybrain Comics, Skybound’s The Walking Dead and Vertigo. But that only scratches the surface, as there are also creator spotlights on the likes of Dan Slott, and Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, a conversation between Gene Luen Yang and Scott McCloud, a look at the creative processes of Lee Bermejo, John Romita Jr. and Nicola Scott, and an examination of the intersection of hip hop and comics.

Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule.

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‘Modern Polaxis’ travels through time, augmented reality

modern polaxis

If your standard comics-reading experience, whether in print or online, has gotten a bit humdrum, perhaps Modern Polaxis is the solution.

The brainchild of Australian artist Sutu, it’s the story of a paranoid time traveler, presented as his private journal, brought to life in an augmented reality comic book. Polaxis hides all of his secrets and conspiracy theories within its pages — in the “augmented reality layer” — which can be discovered by readers with an iPhone or an iPad and a free app (a beta version is available from the iTunes store).

Sutu has finished about 20 pages of illustrations and animation, and now he’s turning to Kickstarter to help complete the project.

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Taschen and Roy Thomas chronicle ’75 Years of Marvel’

75-Years-of-Marvel-cropped

To celebrate Marvel’s 75th anniversary, this fall Taschen will publish 75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen, a mammoth inside look at the company written by its former editor-in-chief Roy Thomas.

Edited by Josh Baker, who worked with Paul Levitz on 75 Years of DC Comics, the 720-page hardcover spotlights not only Marvel’s most famous characters, but also many of the writers and artists who gave them life — focusing largely on the creators from the 1960s’ “Marvel Age of Comics,” like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Jim Steranko, Marie Severin, John Romita, John Buscema and Gene Colan.

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After a 20-year hiatus, check out one fan’s return to collecting

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Happy belated Independence Day, America, and happy Saturday to everyone else. And oh — welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at collections as submitted by fans around the world.

Today’s collection comes from John in Parts Unknown, who shows us his collection of comics, toys and more. If you’d like to see your collection featured here on ROBOT 6, just check out the instructions at the end of this post.

And now here’s John …

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Grumpy Old Fan | How Wonder Woman’s past can help the Finches

To coin a phrase

To coin a phrase

After three years, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are wrapping up their Wonder Woman run. Starting with November’s Issue 36, the new creative team will be writer Meredith Finch and her husband, artist David Finch.

While it would be silly to pass judgment completely on the Finches four months before their debut, I have to say my initial reaction wasn’t entirely positive. Consider the creative teams on the four main books of Diana’s Trinitarian brothers. Although detoured by the “Doomed” crossover, Action Comics’ team of writer Greg Pak and artist Aaron Kuder has been well-received. Superman just kicked off the Geoff Johns/John Romita Jr. era. Detective Comics picked up Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato after their stylish success on The Flash; and Batman features the unstoppable Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. For that matter, Azzarello/Chiang was one of several distinct creative teams that debuted as part of the initial New 52 relaunch and set itself apart instantly from any DC house style. Besides Snyder/Capullo on Batman and Manapul/Buccellato on Flash, there were Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman on Animal Man, J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman on Batwoman, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino on I Vampire, Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen on OMAC, and Snyder and Yanick Paquette on Swamp Thing. Accordingly, Azzarello and Chiang have seemed right at home helming Wonder Woman.

By contrast, as a writing/drawing team the Finches are an unknown quantity. Meredith Finch has written a few one-shots; and since coming to DC from Marvel, David Finch’s projects have been plagued by delays.

Now, these may all turn out to be moot points. The Finches may have the perfect take on Wonder Woman. They are certainly very enthusiastic, even if he has been a bit tone-deaf. We won’t know for sure how their Wonder Woman will read until this fall — but I can still offer some historical perspective, and maybe a little advice.
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Amazon selects best comics & graphic novels of the year, so far

Afterlife With Archie

Afterlife With Archie

If you’re searching for some summer reading, Amazon’s Best Books of the Year So Far For 2014 is a pretty good place to start.

Led by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie: Escape From Riverdale, the Comics & Graphic Novels division is as diverse as you’d probably expect, with entries ranging from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta’s East of West to Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer to Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

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Washed-up heroes get another shot in ‘Lark and Eagle’

lark-eagle

Lark and Eagle are two down-on-their-luck heroes just looking for a break — and they find one in Hero Overhaul, a TV reality show that upgrades their powers and spruces up their public images. Now they have an opportunity to redeem themselves for a prime-time audience.

That’s the premise of Lark and Eagle, the superhero comic created and written by Steve Johnson, who’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the first issue a reality. He’s joined by Toro Diego (pencils), Mickey Clausen (inks), Matt Webb (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters) and J.K. Woodward (cover).

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One man’s ‘man cave’ is his wife’s ‘nerd room’

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, your weekly invitation into one fan’s life. Today’s collection comes from Blaine in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — a graphic designer, comic book collector and toy collector “for many years.” He shared his comics, toys, metal signs, Pez dispensers and more.

If you’d like to see your collection here on Robot 6, you can find submission details at the end of this post.

And now here is Blaine …

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CBLDF debuts ‘Banned Books Week Handbook’

cbldf handbookAhead of Banned Books Week, which this year will focus on comics and graphic novels, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has unveiled its first Banned Books Week Handbook, featuring a cover by Jeff Smith, whose critically acclaimed fantasy adventure Bone was listed among the most frequently challenged titles of 2013.

Debuting today at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas, the free guide provides an overview frequently challenged comics, and offers tips for readers on how to report and fight censorship and suggestions for librarians, retailers and educators for planning Banned Books Week celebrations.

A PDF of the handbook can be downloaded here; bundles of the printed edition can be ordered on the CBLDF website or through Diamond Comic Distributors.

The organization has also released the first of its discussion guides, designed to begin conversations, and address concerns and misconceptions, about specific comics, including Fun Home, Persepolis and Watchmen.

Banned Books Week is scheduled for Sept. 21-27.

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