Dave Stevens Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

When Hello Kitty’s Sanrio tried to ‘take over’ comics

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We’ve all seen Hello Kitty grow from a quirky Japanese import into a household name, but do you remember the time its corporate owner set out to “conquer comics”? Me neither, but I learned a lot from reading comic/animation historian Fred Patten’s excellent post on Cartoon Research called “Sanrio And Me.”

In 1978, Sanrio held a series of press conferences in the United States trumpeting its goal to, as Patten says, “take over the American comic book industry and the moribund theatrical animation industry.” With an office in Santa Monica, California, the means for doing that was a slick manga anthology publication called Lyrica (which it had already launched in Japan) and a full-length animated feature called Metamorpheses, which executives promised as their Fantasia, referring to the Disney feature that had been reissued the year before. Metamorpheses had a trial run in the Japanese edition of Lyrica as a comic strip by American animation artist Dan Morgan, who did double-duty in the movie’s art department.

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Comics A.M. | Comic-Con countdown (unofficially) begins

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Comic-Con International in San Diego is about six weeks away, so it’s time for Tom Spurgeon to post his massive list of tips for those planning to attend: “It helps to remember that the hassle of going to Comic-Con is mostly an accident of our recent cultural history — All those spectacle movies! All those fantasy franchise books! Marvel’s post-bankruptcy comeback! All those graphic novels! The toy explosion! The rise of manga and anime! — rather than something the convention itself enjoys or endorses or requires or was ever shooting for. I honestly don’t have any more fun going now than I did in ’96 or ’01, back when it was so much easier to attend the con that the worst-case scenario was registering on-site and staying in a $65 hotel ten blocks away. It wasn’t that long ago!  But I also can’t stress this enough. I still have fun.” [The Comics Reporter]

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Alternative movie poster artist James White’s ultra-rare Rocketeer variant

It seems good art attracts good art. That’s my thinking at least when I learned that noted poster artist James White (aka SignalNoise) has created an ultra-rare variant cover for the first issue of IDW Publishing’s The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror. The book, which debuts Feb. 27, is written by Roger Langridge and illustrated by J. Bone, with standard covers by Walter Simonson.

Although this is White’s first published comic book work, he’s been prolific online, contributing illustrations and designs for the burgeoning alternative movie poster industry.

White’s variant cover is so rare that you’ll only be able to find it at three comic stores: the Strange Adventures chain in Canada. IDW have been at the forefront of producing retailer-specific variant covers in recent years, and Strange Adventures owner Cal Johnson chose White to create the cover for his shop’s edition.

In a blog post about this impending release, White reveals he’s working on a screen-printed poster edition of this cover.  Here’s the image in full:

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Food or Comics? | Stelle or Steed and Peel

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Showcase Presents Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld, Volume 1

Graeme McMillan

It’s an odd one for me this week; if I had $15, I’d probably just grab two of DC’s Zero Month books (Batman Incorporated and Flash, both $2.99) and then skip straight to the $30 portion of the week so that I could pick up the Showcase Presents Amethyst, Vol. 1 collection (DC, $19.99), if only to reassure me that the original series was good after last week’s revival.

If I were to splurge, I’d step outside of DC’s purview and go for IDW’s Joe Kubert Tarzan Artist Edition. I was one of the many people who didn’t really “get” Kubert as a kid, but his linework won me over as I got older, and the chance to see some of his best-looking art in ”real size” is something that I’d love to be able to embrace.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I’d get Batman Incorporated #0, probably the only DC zero book I’ll get, and Vol. 11 of Yotsuba&!, because I could use some irrepressibly cute manga about an adorable green-haired girl right about now.

If I had $30, I’d put away Yotsuba&! and get Barbara, Osamu Tezuka’s manga about a would-be artist who takes in a lovely but strange homeless woman, only to become convinced that she is his personal muse. I know there was a bit of grumbling that DMP went the Kickstarter route in getting this published, but honestly, I’m just happy to have more Tezuka in print.

What constitutes a splurge purchase? How about six, hardcover, slipcased volumes of Robert Crumb’s sketchbook work, priced at about $1,600, courtesy of the fine folks at Taschen? Yeah, I think buying that would be a “splurge purchase.” It would also constitute sheer madness and a one-way trip to the poorhouse, but at least you’d have all those nice Crumb books to keep you company. I’m sure they’d make a fine pillow.

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Food or Comics? | Roquette or Rocketeer

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1

Graeme McMillan

For once, I’m doing this in semi-reverse order. Or, at least, I’m starting with my would’ve-should’ve splurge, anyway, because if I had the money to spare, I’d definitely pick up the Invisibles Omnibus HC (DC/Vertigo, $150). Yes, I’ve read the comics before, and yes, I own all the trades. And yet … I really, really wish I could own this book. In another world, I am rich enough for that to happen.

Back in the real world, my first $15 pic is very easy: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1 (IDW Publishing, $3.99); both creators are at the top of their games these days, as demonstrated in Daredevil on a regular basis, and so seeing them both take on Dave Stevens’ classic character feels like the kind of thing I will happily sign onto. Similarly, the first issue of the new Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike spin-off (Dark Horse, $2.99) automatically gets a pick-up, based on the quality of both the core Buffy and spin-off Angel and Faith books alone.

If I had $30, I’d add Prophet Vol. 1: Remission TP (Image Comics, $9.99) to my pile. I dropped off the single issues for this early on, because I wasn’t digging it as much as I wanted to, but enough people have told me that I’m wrong that I’m coming back to check out the collection — especially because (a) Brandon Graham and (b) that price point. I am continually a sucker for the $9.99 collection; publishers, you should remember this for me and people like me in future.

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Is it round or is it flat? What bugs me about comics coloring

Jones, one of the Jones Boys, was complaining about the recoloring of Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer the other day, and looking at the original and recolored art side by side made me realize what I find so off-putting about a lot of comics art these days: The use of gradients alongside heavy black lines.

Back when I was studying art, I was taught never to do that. The reason: Lines are flat, while shading implies three-dimensionality, and the two compete with one another. That’s an oversimplification, of course — you can create a three-dimensional space with purely linear art, but that’s very different from the smoother, modeled effect you get by using light and shade.

The clash isn’t too bad in the cover that Jones picked out, but the re-colored splash page he reproduces (a bit too sexy to lead this post) is tough for me to look at; the colorist has added a lot of shadows and modeling, and it’s way too busy. The fact is that comics in that era were designed for flat colors, and the gradients that are possible with new technology are doing them no favors. And conversely, if you’re going to paint a comic, don’t run black lines around all the shapes. I think this is one of the reasons I find some modern superhero comics hard to “read” visually. (There are other reasons as well, but you don’t have all day.)

Take a look at Jones’ post and see if you don’t agree.

WonderCon | Mark Waid, Chris Samnee team for Rocketeer series

Rocketeer art by Chris Samnee

Writer Mark Waid and artist Chis Samnee will team up for a four-issue Rocketeer adventure from IDW Publishing that finds Dave Stevens’ classic hero Cliff Secord drawn into action when a ship arrives in Los Angeles with a mysterious cargo.

“As the Rocketeer, Cliff’s dealing with two arch-nemeses set to strike the West Coast with a cargo of terror they’ve crated in from a place quite familiar to movie historians,” Waid tells Newsarama. “While this is going on, Cliff has another set of problems to deal with. The end of the 1930s saw the beginnings of the Federal Aviation Administration and the start of a great deal more regulation of free-wheeling airmen like Cliff–who, if he doesn’t learn to control his temper, may find himself permanently grounded in red tape.”

Check back with Comic Book Resources and Robot 6 throughout the weekend for more details on this project and other announcements from WonderCon.

SDCC ’11 | A round-up of Wednesday’s news

Orchid

Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements

• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.

• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.

• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.

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SDCC Wishlist | IDW brings Anne Rice, Ashley Wood, Thor and more

Anne Rice Servant of the Bones

IDW Publishing has released a list of the items they’ll be selling at their booth at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, many of which are available for pre-order. The list includes advanced copies of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones #1, several Ashley Wood books, Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Baja ashcans, Locke & Key keys and much more. Check out the list below:

Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones

• Visitors to Comic-Con can purchase an exclusive advance copy of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones #1 with a variant cover; only 400 copies of this exclusive issue will be available.
• Beginning in August, the first issue of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones will tell of the demon Azriel, who sets out to find the murderer of a beautiful young woman in the streets of New York City, only to discover a far more sinister plot that could end the world. Once a human in ancient Babylon, Azriel is a spirit of rage and terror that gradually rediscovers his humanity through holy vengeance and spiritual love.
• Anne Rice will be signing at the IDW booth #2643 on Thursday July 21, 2011 during Comic-Con. With the purchase of a SERVANT OF THE BONES #1, fans will be able to have one additional item signed.
• ANNE RICE’S SERVANT OF THE BONES #1 (Comic-Con Edition $5.00, 32 pages, full color) will be available at the IDW booth #2643 during Comic-Con, while supplies last.
• ANNE RICE’S SERVANT OF THE BONES #1 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in comic stores in August 2011.

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What Are You Reading? with Tom Scioli

Batman Inc. #7

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest if artist Tom Scioli, artist on Godland and creator of American Barbarian.

To see what Tom and the Robot 6 crew have been read, click the link below.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Alpha Flight

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Michael May

Even if I didn’t have any money at all, I’d stand on the street corner and beg until I collected three bucks to buy Alpha Flight #0.1 ($2.99). I’ve never not bought an issue of Alpha Flight and I’m not breaking that streak this week. Fortunately I have $15 and can afford to get not only that, but also Rocketeer Adventures #1 ($3.99), which I’m only slightly less excited about. And since I’ve still got some money I’d add Drums #1 ($2.99) – because it’s been a while since I’ve read a voodoo story and this looks like a good one – and Snake Eyes #1 ($3.99). I’m not a GI Joe fan, but ninjas are cool and expect that I’d be entertained by a comic about one who fights an evil spy organization.

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Thin wallets, fat bookshelves | A publishing news roundup

Batman and Robin by Jim Lee

Batman and Robin by Jim Lee

This is a special “WonderCon + more” edition of Thin Wallets, as we round up publishing news from last weekend’s con, plus a few other items of note …

  • DC Comics announced that they are replacing the long-delayed All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder with Dark Knight: Boy Wonder. The book will still be by the creative team of Frank Miller and Jim Lee, and is due in February 2011.
  • IDW has picked up the license to make comics based on HBO’s southern vampire show True Blood. The show’s creator, Alan Ball, is helping to develop the stories.
  • IDW will also release another version of their Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer collection — Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist Edition. The oversized hardcover will be printed as the same size as Stevens’ original art, approximately 11 by 16 inches. “You’ll be able to see his beautiful blue pencil work, you’ll be able to see the stats, all of it,” Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier said. “It’ll be the closest thing you ever get to Dave Stevens original art.”
  • Judd Winick announced that he is writing a new Barry Ween book. “Thankfully, after, like, an eight-year hiatus, I’m actually – swear to God – I’m actually doing more ‘Barry Ween.’ I’m writing it now,” he said at his spotlight panel. Barry Ween is heading into space in the new story.
  • Image Comics is collecting The Crusades, by Steven T. Seagle and Kelley Jones, into a hardcover. The series was originally published by Vertigo. Seagle is also teaming up with artist Marco Cinello for a children’s book called Frankie Stein.
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