The new Christmas-themed Sixth Gun strip by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree concludes today on ROBOT 6, conveniently coinciding with the release of the collected edition of The Sixth Gun: Sons of a Gun, which delves into the backstories of General Hume’s horsemen.
You can read the first two parts of the serial here and here, along with our interview with Bunn and Hurtt. We hope you enjoyed the story; we want to thank Cullen, Brian and Bill for creating it, and Oni Press and John Schork for arranging everything.
With the release this week of the 12th issue, writer Cullen Bunn says goodbye to Marvel’s canceled Fearless Defenders with a post that should be of interest to both fans of the series and those interested in a look at the comic-book process.
“We were (according to many) over-sexualized, pandering, a long shot, a sleeper hit, too silly, too cruel, too compressed, too decompressed, and a host of other contradictions … which works for the spirit of the book, I think,” Bunn writes on his website. “But there were a lot of folks who REALLY loved this book … even when they were really mad at us. And that means a lot to me. Those folks made it all worthwhile … and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing them online and at conventions for years to come.”
We’re taking a break from ROBOT 6’s exclusive new serialized Sixth Gun tale for a brief chat with creators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt about, among other topics, the release last week of the oversized-hardcover collection of their Oni Press supernatural Western.
Given that the book includes the Christmas short story “Them’s What Ails Ya!” and the strip on ROBOT 6 takes place during the holiday, I was curious to learn what draws them to that setting. Sixth Gun fans will also be happy to learn there’s a new limited series planned, and, more immediately, The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun trade paperback arrives next week.
Even as The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1, oversized hardcover arrives today in stores, creators Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree return to ROBOT 6 with the second part of an exclusive new serialized tale set between issues 35 and 36 of the supernatural Western. Last week’s debut installment can be read here.
Published by Oni Press, the hardcover edition collects the first 11 issues of the series, complete with a cover gallery, never-before-seen pitch artwork, and the previously online-exclusive Christmas story “Them’s What Ails Ya!” For those following along on a monthly basis, The Sixth Gun #36 arrives Dec. 11.
Fans of The Sixth Gun, the supernatural Western by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree, know the set-up well: In the darkest days of the Civil War, some wicked cutthroats came to possess six pistols of unimaginable power. But then the most dangerous of all the weapons, the Sixth Gun, vanished, only to resurface in the hands of an innocent girl, reawakening dark forces. And when men long thought dead set out to retrieve the pistol and kill the girl, only shadowy gunfighter Drake Sinclair stands in their way.
Newcomers will have a chance to acquaint themselves with the story next week, when Oni Press releases The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1, an oversized hardcover edition collecting the first 11 issues of the series (there’s plenty for longtime fans, too, including a cover gallery, never-before-seen pitch artwork, and the previously online-exclusive Christmas story “Them’s What Ails Ya!”).
To mark the premiere of the deluxe edition, ROBOT 6 is exclusively serializing a brand-new Sixth Gun story by Bunn, Hurtt and Crabtree over the next few weeks. Read the first installment below, and check back next Wednesday for the second.
Lion Forge Comics, which just two weeks ago launched digital titles based on the 1980s television dramas Air Wolf and Knight Rider, is expanding into horror with a series written by The Sixth Gun co-creator Cullen Bunn.
Described as an homage to slasher films of the ’80s and ’90s, Night Trap (which shares its name with the 1992 interactive horror video game) centers on a group of college students who rent a lake house in hopes of a weekend of fun and relaxation, only to encounter a murderous madman. “What follows is a gory maze of blood and pain,” the publisher explains, “with death as the likely escape.”
Fearless Defenders writer Cullen Bunn confirmed on Tumblr what many fans of the series feared when the book didn’t show up in Marvel’s January solicitations — December’s #12 is indeed the final issue of the series.
“I can’t really describe how much this book… and these characters… meant to me,” Bunn said in his post. “THE DEFENDERS have always been special for me. I just connected with the non-team and I’ve always wanted to write them. (In fact, I think it is common knowledge that one of my first Marvel minis, FEAR ITSELF: THE DEEP was originally titled FEAR ITSELF: THE DEFENDERS.) Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to love Valkyrie as more than just a really bad ass girl with a sword. And this book was the first concept I brought to Marvel… or at least the first concept I brought to them that they jumped on.”
The book spun out of another Valkyrie-starring and Bunn-written miniseries: Fear Itself: The Fearless, which ended with Valkyrie deciding to recruit a new group of Valkyrior on Earth. Her first recruit was Misty Knight, formerly of Heroes for Hire, who knows a thing or two about recruiting heroes herself. Featuring art by Will Sliney, the comic kept the Defenders “non-team” concept and featured a ton of guest stars from around the Marvel Universe, with New Mutant Dani Moonstar, Elsa Bloodstone, Hippolyta and a new character, Annabelle Riggs, serving as series regulars. Bunn and Sliney really hit home with a lot of fans when Riggs was supposedly killed off at the end of the first storyline. It also featured some pretty awesome covers.
Although this was mentioned Tuesday in the rundown of Oni Press’ New York Comic Con exclusives and debuts, the publisher has now released full details, and a larger image, for The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1: Gunslinger Edition.
Debuting this week at the convention, the gorgeously designed collection of the supernatural Western by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree packages the first 11 issues with a new dust jacket and cover … inside a coffin slipcase. It also comes with three art prints and tip-in print signed by the creative team. It’s priced at $120, but, hey, the holidays are right around the corner — treat yo self.
There is a catch, though: The set is limited to just 1,000 copies, and only 40 will be sold at the convention. The remainder will be available exclusively on OniPress.com beginning Dec. 4. So you may want to get to the Oni Press booth (#1844). Bunn and Hurtt will be there signing Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
As we inch that much closer to New York Comic Con, which opens Thursday, Oni Press has revealed its full rundown of convention exclusives and premieres, ranging from color editions of the fourth volumes of Scott Pilgrim and Courtney Crumrin to the debut of Letter 44.
NYCC will be held through Sunday at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Oni Press can be found at Booth #1844.
Death really seems like the end, doesn’t it? Aside from the very literal definition, fiction tends to end when your protagonist completes his journey. What bigger way can you end the “ultimate journey” than by dying? Sure, another character can pick up the plot and the story can continue, but where our dead character coughs his last breath is where that story ends. Characters die when their story purpose is served and there is simply nothing else to say about them.
Or at least that’s what you’d assume. Comic books, however, have a really odd relationship with death. It’s an eye-rolling trope that no one really stays dead anymore; in fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of something that can really and truly end a comic book character’s life. At best, death temporarily shelves the character in question, pulling them out of the game to grab some Gatorade and cool off on the bench before the coach sends them back in. At worst, it’s a cheap marketing trick to garner rubber necking sales and speculation. Death can be a change in status or design for a long-running character gone stale, or the cliched motivation for all the other characters around them to grieve or avenge their death. No matter what shape death takes in comics, it’s pretty much a given that death is nothing more than a transitional state and that the character never really leaves us for very long.
So why do we fall for it every time? When a character dies in a comic, there’s this big collective gasp from the readers as if someone actually died despite our cynical nature and regular readership. It’s no surprise that eventually Peter Parker will return to the pages of a Spider-Man comic when the current status quo has run its purpose, but there is still an angry undercurrent from the Spidey fanbase about his demise. On one hand, I feel like we’re the hapless victim of a playground gag, forever interested in a Hertz Donut or a nice Hawaiian Punch and falling for a gag that most of us should be calloused toward by now. On the other hand, isn’t that just a sign of great writing? To take a well-worn trope and achieve fan outrage by using it constructively should be a heralded accomplishment, a difficult trick that puts us in the story despite knowing better.
Fearless Defenders pulled this trick on us with a one-two punch that must have been so hard to keep under wraps. The shock and drama from one issue was fed into the next for a unique solution, but it took 21 days for that plot point to resolve itself, long enough for a fan reaction, proclaiming to cancel their subscriptions and write angry letters online. It’s hard to know what to do when you fall for the ol’ Death trick one more time, especially with such a short turnaround. Let’s talk abut Fearless Defenders #6 and #7 this week, and figure out if Cullen Bunn is a genius or just a jerk for pulling Death’s wool over our eyes one more time.
WARNING: Yep, spoilers for Fearless Defenders #6 and #7, but since the issues have been out for at least a week, I hope they’re not too spoilery. In any case, grab your copies and read along!
Legal | Palestinian cartoonist Mohammed Saba’aneh was released from an Israeli prison on Monday, as scheduled. Saba’aneh, who was originally held without charges and eventually sentenced to five months for “contacts with a hostile organization,” drew several cartoons while he was in prison and plans to do a show of his prison drawings, focusing on Palestinian prisoners who, he says, are in prison “just because they are Palestinians.” [PRI's The World]
Manga | In a major coup for a manga publisher, Digital Manga (which, contrary to its name, also published print manga) announced at Anime Expo that it has signed a deal with Tezuka Productions to publish all of Osamu Tezuka’s works in North America. While the details aren’t entirely clear, it sounds like Digital is working on some new licenses and will have digital rights to books released here in print by other publishers. [Anime News Network]
Graphic novels | The top-selling graphic novel in bookstores in February was the 60th volume of Naruto, according to Nielsen BookScan; four other manga made the chart as well. Actually, it’s an interestingly eclectic mix, with eight volumes of The Walking Dead, the first volume of Saga, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Chris Ware’s Building Stories making the list, as well as The Book of Revelation from religious publisher Zondervan. Marvel was entirely absent, but two of DC’s New 52 collections appearing. [ICv2]
Comics | Former DC Comics President Paul Levitz talks about the new edition of 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Myth-Making, which has been broken out into five volumes and expanded to include more art and an additional creator interview in every volume; the first volume, The Golden Age of DC Comics, is out now. Levitz also touches on the history of the company, the importance of characters, and the impact of young readers on the early comics: “It wasn’t adults tending to what they wanted their child to read or libraries selecting. It was the kids of America who said I love Uncle Scrooge as its done by Carl Barks, I love the Superman comics that are coming from Mort Weisinger’s team at DC, I love the Marvel comics that Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko are creating. And they really got to choose those things that became trendsetters in the culture and ultimately leading to the massive success of the superhero movies in more recent years.” [Complex Art + Design]
The Marvel NOW! roll-out continued this week with the release of The Fearless Defenders #1, a new take on the “non-team” concept that spins out of last year’s The Fearless miniseries. Like that series, Fearless Defenders is written by Cullen Bunn (of The Sixth Gun and Wolverine fame), who is joined by artist Will Sliney and colorist Veronica Gandini.
Readers of The Fearless will remember that it ended with Valkyrie, that book’s star, deciding to recruit a new group of Valkyrior on Earth. Her first recruit is Misty Knight, formerly of Heroes for Hire, who knows a thing or two about recruiting heroes herself. Is it a match made in Valhalla? Here are a few opinions from around the web:
Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “The ‘how’ of those characters teaming up is the charm of this comic book, leading to a most unlikely and sometimes comical pairing of two long-time favorite Marvel Comics’ ladies, thanks to Cullen Bunn. Unintimidated by the immortal aspect of Valkyrie, Bunn uses that character as the reader’s introduction to this new series, providing caption boxes filled with her thoughts and to open and close the issue. Bunn’s method for bringing the characters together is standard-issue comic book threat, but it works with these characters and this situation, opening the door wide for continued shared adventures. I’m certain those adventures will lead to the gathering of more allies as the heroines’ journey progresses. Bunn seems quite comfortable writing both of the leads and a third ally in ‘Fearless Defenders’ #1.” (3/5)
Legal | In the aftermath of last month’s ruling that DC Comics retains full rights to Superman, the heirs of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are urging federal judge to dismiss claims that their lawyer interfered with the publisher’s copyright to the character. DC sued attorney Marc Toberoff in May 2010, accusing him impeding a 1992 copyright agreement with the heirs by striking overriding deals with them in 2001 and 2003. The families insist the publisher filed its claims two years too late, as the statute of limitations expired in 2008. [Law360]
Webcomics | Malicious hackers hit the Blind Ferret servers last week, and they didn’t just wipe out the websites that host Least I Could Do, Girls with Slingshots and other high-profile webcomics — they also wiped out the backups. Gary Tyrell has the story and advises creators to have multiple backups in multiple locations. [Fleen]
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.
It’s a busy week at the store for me, it seems. If I had $15 this week, I’d pick up Harbinger #0 (Valiant, $3.99), the one-shot revealing the backstory of the surprisingly compelling relaunch/reboot of the 1990s series, as well as the first issues of Fearless Defenders (Marvel, $2.99) and Snapshot (Image, $2.99). The latter, I’ve already read in its Judge Dredd Megazine serialization, but I’m really curious to see if it reads differently in longer chapters; the former, I’m just hopeful for, given the high concept and involvement of Cullen Bunn.
If I had $30, I’d add the reissued 7 Miles A Second HC (Fantagraphics, $19.99) to my pile. I remember reading the original Vertigo version of this in the 1990s, and am definitely curious to see what this recolored edition, with pages restored after being cut from the Vertigo edition, is like.
Splurging, I find myself drawn to IDW’s Doctor Who Omnibus, Vol. 1 ($29.99). I blame the lack of new Doctor Who on the television right now. That month-and-a-bit is far too long to wait …!