"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
The always-busy writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are back with a Kickstarter campaign for Denver, a 72-page original graphic novel for mature readers illustrated by Pier Brito. As with most things involving Palmiotti, there is an interesting angle to this particular project (his sixth Kickstarter) in that the creators have added a soundtrack to the story, written and composed by Hans Karl. Denver comes equipped with a direct story pitch: “… one man going against all odds to get back the woman he loves, all set in the not-too-distant future.” With 15 days left on the campaign, Palmiotti was happy to discuss this latest Kickstarter.
For this year’s Christmas card, DC Entertainment turned to Eisner Award-winning artist Dave Johnson for a holiday-themed illustration of the man of the year, the Man of Steel (after all, this is the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut).
Johnson, who frequently draws more angular faces, here opts for a softer approach, delivering a more youthful Kal-El. However, the highlight has to be the enormous snowflake composed of the logos of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.
Loath as I am to go back to the well that is Dave Johnson’s social-media output so soon again after last week, he’s been celebrating reaching 10,000 followers on Twitter by sharing art from an undeveloped Micronauts animated television series, and it’s pretty special work.
Of course, anyone producing any sort of Micronauts license these days does so without the characters originated for the 1979 Marvel comic, which is why that line-up above doesn’t feature Bug or Marionette. The Bug role went to a new character called Dit-Dat (third from left, the most Ben 10-ish looking design there). The solution to losing Princess Mari was to make the Time Traveler female.
Even before Vertigo was Vertigo, it had a distinct policy of signing great cover artists for the long haul for ongoing titles. I fondly remember Dave McKean on The Sandman and Hellblazer, Simon Bisley on Doom Patrol, Brian Bolland on Animal Man and Brendan McCarthy on Shade, the Changing Man. This is a policy that has continued on to the present day: Yuko Shimizu has produced amazing covers for The Unwritten since its debut; king of the good girl artists Adam Hughes has been providing Fairest with the best work of his career so far; and Fables had a long outstanding run by James Jean, before he ceded the job to Joao Ruas. As much as I love the work of J.H. Williams III, it was seeing McKean’s cover for The Sandman: Overture #1 that made the project feel real.
In terms of total commitment to a book, however, no one can match Dave Johnson on 100 Bullets. He drew covers to all 100 issues, shifting styles for each story arc. He drew the covers to all 13 trade paperbacks, and now he’s providing the ones for the eight-issue sequel-of-sorts Brother Lono. On Tuesday he posted this image to his assorted social media feeds: the covers to the five omnibus editions, which together create an extended frieze.
Sure, there was plenty of news released by just about every comic publisher over the weekend at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (as rounded up right here), but the most exciting thing I noticed about the convention was Dave Johnson’s Instagram feed going ballistic. If he produced a sketch for you at the event, chances are he recorded it for posterity on his phone and has posted it already. And if you’re really lucky, Eric Canete has logged in and made a daft gag about it, too.
Also below: the sexiest Death ever.
Image Comics has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Dave Johnson’s variant cover for the debut issue of Jupiter’s Legacy, the Wagnerian superhero saga from Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
Announced in January 2012 as Jupiter’s Children, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
Sixteen heroes enter, one hero leaves in Avengers Arena, the new Marvel NOW! series by Dennis Hopeless, Kev Walker and Allesandro Vitti. At least that’s the plan of the diabolical Arcade, who drops such young Marvel characters as X-23, Reptil, Nico, Chase, and Juston and his Sentinel into Murderworld for a twisted kill-or-be-killed reality-show scenario.
Marvel has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive preview of Avengers Arena #4, by Hopeless and Vitti, which the solicitation text teases pits the Runaways against Avengers Academy. The issue goes on sale Feb. 13.
Last week Marvel unveiled Dave Johnson’s terrific homage to the Battle Royale movie poster with his cover for the first issue of Avengers Arena, a series launching as part of Marvel NOW! in which 16 young heroes are pitted against each other for entertainment by Arcade. Continuing the brutal theme of child versus child, The Beat now has the first look at Chris Bachalo’s cover for Issue 2, a clever ode to Baron Storrey’s illustration for the 1980 Perigree edition of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.
Maybe we should’ve expected more homages when editor Bill Rosemann dropped a handful of allusions in a Q&A last week at Marvel.com: “Avengers Arena gives a high concept itch a superhuman scratch. Throughout history, societies have sent their young adults against one another in competition, whether that’s in war, sports or American Idol. Likewise, art has examined this phenomenon of the older generation sacrificing the younger generation—and also of young warring gangs wanting to prove who’s #1—in everything from the myth of Theseus vs. the Minotaur to Lord of the Flies to Battle Royale to Starship Troopers to Survivor to Hunger Games. Teen vs. teen competition is as old as storytelling—but now it’s time to give it the Marvel twist.”
Perhaps then we should look for those Starship Troopers and Hunger Games (ahem) tributes with issues 3 and 4. Avengers Arena, by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, debuts in December.
Following Dave Johnson on Twitter is always good value (he’s a funny guy), but especially these last few days, as he posted the sketches and commissions he’d done at Dragon*Con over the Labor Day weekend. Plenty more can be found below, including one that’s maybe a little NSFW.
I’ve always been fascinated with projects that could have been but got nixed before they finished (and sometimes before they even got started). The latest in that pantheon of would-be projects is a series of Captain America posters by Cliff Chiang. Although he’s been working under a DC exclusive for years that prevents him from working on Marvel Comics, he recently blogged about a project where he’d draw Captain America in a series of propaganda posters on behalf of an un-named marketing firm lobbying to do work for the movie.
Although it never got past the pitch stage, my art-lovin’ mind salivates at that idea. Here’s the roughs Cliff did for the project:
And get this — Chiang planned on bringing in Jock and Dave Johnson to do some covers too. Shame it never got greenlit. Maybe Captain America 2?
The internet is a beautiful thing. Before, things created by your favorite artists might remain under lock and key in the vault’s of a collector, but now we all get to see it. For example, this piece of art by Dave Johnson.
Inspired by Dave’s work on Superman: Red Son, this piece was commissioned by a collector named Chris Caira who has been working on a gallery of comic villains and their trophy wall. Click over to his website to see Brian Bolland doing Joker’s trophy wall, Green Goblin’s trophy wall by John Romita Jr. and Sr. and more! Someone needs to offer this guy a gallery exhibit to show these off!
T-shirt website Threadless has released another round of “Comics-On Tees,” this time featuring the artwork of Eduardo Risso, Lee Bermejo, Matheus Lopes and Dave Johnson. The four shirts tell a story that was written by Brian Azzarello, called “Sorry Babe…”
You can find all four shirts on the Threadless site.
The graphic novel adaptation of Fist Stick Knife Gun took home three Glyph Comics Awards this weekend, while Vertigo’s canceled Unknown Soldier took home two more in the annual awards that “recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year.”
Based on the memoir by Geoffrey Canada, Fist Stick Knife Gun was adapted into a graphic novel by Jamar Nicholas. The adaptation won story of the year and best male character, while Nicholas received the rising star award. Unknown Soldier appeared on the list for its third year, with Joshua Dysart winning for best writer and Dave Johnson winning the best cover award for Unknown Soldier #15. Keith Knight’s The K Chronicles won in the best comic strip or webcomic category for a record fifth time.
The awards were presented at The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia Friday night. Here’s the complete list of winners:
Story of the Year: Fist Stick Knife Gun; Geoffrey Canada, writer, Jamar Nicholas, artist
Best Writer: Joshua Dysart, Unknown Soldier
Best Artist: Richard Koslowski, BB Wolf and the 3 LPs
Best Male Character: Geoff, Fist Stick Knife Gun; Geoffrey Canada, writer, Jamar Nicholas, artist; based on the life of Geoffrey Canada
Best Female Character: Selena, 28 Days Later; Michael Alan Nelson, writer; Declan Shalvey & Marek Oleksicki, artists; based on the character created by Alex Garland for the motion picture 28 Days Later
Rising Star Award: Jamar Nicholas, Fist Stick Knife Gun
Best Reprint Publication: Superman vs. Muhammad Ali Deluxe HC, DC Comics
Best Cover: Unknown Soldier #15, Dave Johnson, illustrator
Best Comic Strip or Webcomic: The K Chronicles, Keith Knight, writer and artist
Fan Award for Best Comic: Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers; Reginald Hudlin, writer, Denys Cowan, artist
Chairman’s Award: Black Comix: African American Independent Comics Art and Culture, by Damian Duffy and John Jennings
Editor’s Note: With the recent discussions going on around the comics community about creator-owned comics, we’re pleased to welcome one of the voices in those discussions, 30 Days of Night and Mystery Society creator Steve Niles, to Robot 6 for a series of columns on creator-owned comics.
by Steve Niles
Second column and I’m already late! Here’s a creator tip I can’t seem to get through my thick skull: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. That said, here I am again and happy to be here talking about my favorite creator-owned books and creators.
This week I’m going to talk about a creator who dominates the modern creator-owned scene with both his work and his relentless support of other creators.
I wanted to talk about Ellis for many reasons: his talent, his persistence and his vision. Warren Ellis approaches his work with the strategy of a learned zombie killer. Don’t run into the stinky crowd swinging and shooting like a crazy person, find a place to settle in and let them come to you.
Warren Ellis has not only created worlds within his work, but also a world for himself online where you can follow his daily work routine, check out what he’s reading/watching himself, or meet and discuss his and other people’s work on the various forums he’s overseen. He has created a perfect fort for all of us Ellis zombies to swarm.
Iconic cover artist Dave Johnson has announced that he’s joining the online group Comic Twart. Spun out of online camaraderie on Twitter among a group of comic artists, Comic Twart is a site where those artists draw a new piece based on a theme each week. Johnson joins a murderer’s row of comic artists that include Francesco Francavilla, Mike Hawthorne, Mitch Breitweiser, Dan Panosian, Chris Samnee and Evan Shaner.
This week’s theme over on Comic Twart is Doom Patrol, and Dave’s submission on the left is the first of the bunch. Go to the site to see what the others turn in!