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More book awards: Check out the Bram Stoker nominees

Here’s an even more eclectic list than the Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominees: The graphic novel contenders for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award:

Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Locke & Key, Volume 4, by Joe Hill (artist: Gabriel Rodriguez) (IDW)
Green River Killer, by Jeff Jensen (artist: Jonathan Case) (Dark Horse)
Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine, by Jonathan Maberry (penciler: Laurence Campbell) (Marvel)
Baltimore: The Plague Ships, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (artist: Ben Stenbeck; colorist: Dave Stewart) (Dark Horse)
Neonomicon, by Alan Moore (artist: Jacen Burrows) (Avatar Press)

I added in the artists because apparently the Stoker folks were only thinking about writers. I’m impressed with how broad the selection of books is, given that they all qualify as “horror” to someone: Anya’s Ghost, while genuinely scary, is a teenage ghost story, Green River Killer is true crime, Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine is a superhero story, admittedly with something that sounds a lot like a zombie twist. The other three are closer to what I think of when I think of “horror,” but they are all still quite different from one another.

What Are You Reading? with Simon Monk

The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.

To see what Simon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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What Are You Reading? with Thom Zahler

Hiya kids, it’s time for What Are You Reading?, a weekly look into what the Robot 6 crew has been reading lately. Today’s special guest is Thom Zahler, creator of the delightful superhero/romantic comedy comic Love and Capes.

To find out what Thom and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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Robot Reviews | Chimichanga

Chimichanga
Written and illustrated by Eric Powell
Colors by Dave Stewart
Dark Horse

This comic is an all-ages story written as only Eric Powell (creator of The Goon) could write it. It’s basically the classic formula of a little girl and her pet monster, with a couple of hard twists thrown in, starting with one that is obvious on the cover: The little girl, Lula, has a beard and mustache.

That’s a daring choice all right, and Powell adds to it by giving Lula blank black eyes, so at first, actually, I thought she was wearing a V for Vendetta mask. But no, it’s all her, and it quickly becomes clear that far from being a caprice to make the book outrageous, Lula’s beard is an important part of the story.

Lula’s grandfather runs an unimpressive little circus featuring acts like Randy, The Man With the Strength of a Slightly Larger Man and an amazing two-eyed goat, and it’s not doing very well. There’s also a boy-faced fish that has a tendency to freak out.

The action starts with Lula getting a delicious chimichanga from a food stand. As she walks back to the circus, a witch beckons to her. “Whoa, Nelly!” Lula responds, “I’m not going into that house! It looks like Vietnam!” Then the witch farts. That’s pretty much how the whole book works, with Powell trotting out cliches from children’s literature and subverting them with snappy dialogue and fart jokes, which is why Chimichanga is one of those rare books that works for both children and adults (well, adults who can tolerate fart jokes, anyway). There’s not a bad word in the entire book (“Raspberries!!” is Lula’s biggest swear) yet it’s sharply written from an adult sensibility.

Lula trades the hairs for what she thinks is a shiny rock, but a few minutes later, the rock cracks and a monster climbs out—and eats her chimichanga. The monster, whom Lula promptly dubs Chimichanga, is big and hairy but not particularly fierce, so he is a perfect asset to her grandfather’s circus, although the other performers don’t like upstaged.

Spoilers after the cut.

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What Are You Reading?

Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Shannon Wheeler, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Eisner Award-winning comic book Too Much Coffee Man, Oil & Water, the Eisner-nominated I Thought You Would Be Funnier and the upcoming Grandpa Won’t Wake Up.

To see what Shannon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Comics A.M. | Fatal fire spares $1M collection; comic store bomb threat

The Amazing Spider-Man #1

Comics | A July house fire in Minneapolis that killed homeowner Gary Dahlberg spared his meticulously preserved comic-book collection, which experts say could be worth $1 million. The comics, which includes first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Daredevil, will be sold at auction on May 5 by Heritage Auction Galleries, with the money going to Dahlberg’s estate. “To go for the really big money they have to be really perfect, and that what these are,” says Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auction Galleries. “The comics look like they just rolled off the printing press and nobody’s ever touched them.” [KSTP TV, with video]

Crime | A 17-year-old boy accused of attempting to rob Fun 4 All Comics & Games in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Monday has been arraigned on charges of assault with attempt to rob while armed and attempted larceny. Police say the teen, wearing a blond wig, bandanna and dark glasses, gave an employee a list of merchandise — “most, if not all, of it Yu-Gi-Oh! cards” — then opened his coat to reveal what appeared to be an improvised explosive device. The boy allegedly threatened to detonate the bomb if he wasn’t given the merchandise. When the employee yelled for the owner to call police, then teen said he was only joking, then bought some inexpensive items and left the store. The sheriff’s department later arrested the teen in his car in a Burger King parking lot. The Michigan State Police bomb squad responded, and determined the potential explosive device was inert. [AnnArbor.com]

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Six Seven by 6 | Seven great moments from Guy Davis’ B.P.R.D. run

It’s the end of an era. B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods #3 hits stores today, the final issue of the long-running Hellboy spinoff’s latest miniseries — and with it, the tenure of Guy Davis as the series’ regular artist draws to a close. Davis will be returning for the occasional project in Mike Mignola’s unique horror-adventure universe, and everyone involved gives his replacement, near-overnight success story Tyler Crook, their vote of confidence; given Mignola and company’s track record in selecting artists, from Davis to Duncan Fegredo to Richard Corben, I’m inclined to take them at their word. Even so, as I wrote at length the other day, Davis’ work on B.P.R.D with Mignola, lead writer John Arcudi, and colorist Dave Stewart (not to mention letterer Clem Robins and editor Scott Allie) has been one of the past decade’s absolute high-water marks for superhero (or supernatural action, if you prefer) comics. From sadness to spectacle, horror to humor, stunning creature designs to quiet character moments, there was pretty much nothing the guy couldn’t do.

In honor of Davis, Arcudi, Mignola, and Stewart’s remarkable achievement, I’ve selected a suite of my favorite moments from the Guy Davis era of B.P.R.D.. And in honor of the Ogdru Jahad, the Seven-Who-Are-One dark gods whose rise the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is battling (perhaps in vain) to stop, I’ve expanded the list past our usual “Six by 6″ format to include seven stunning scenes. My hope is that they showcase the range, subtlety, sophistication, and power of one of the best artists working in genre comics — arguably in all of comics — today, and highlight just how well he and his collaborators worked together. Just be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD.

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Robot 6 anniversary card #2: Robot 6 by Guy Davis and Dave Stewart

Robot 6 and Friends by Guy Davis and Dave Stewart

Robot 6 and Friends by Guy Davis and Dave Stewart

Earlier I shared some anniversary greetings from AppleGeek artist Hawk and Dark Horse, and now here’s a second piece of artwork that Dark Horse sent over. This one has left several Robot 6 posters drooling. It’s by Guy Davis (The Marquis, B.P.R.D., Sandman Mystery Theatre, Baker Street) and Dave Stewart (Hellboy, Umbrella Academy, B.P.R.D., Conan, DC: The New Frontier) and it looks absolutely fantastic.

Does this mean we’re part of the Hellboy universe now? Because that would be pretty cool. Special thanks to Guy, Dave and Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for making our first anniversary just a little more special.

BONUS: Check out Guy’s preliminary pencils and inks of the piece after the jump …

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Talking Comics with Tim: Phil Hester

The Anchor

The Anchor

Writer Phil Hester is clearly enthused about his new creator-owned collaboration with artist Brian Churilla on BOOM’s The Anchor. Not all creators are game to discuss the mechanics of the craft, and I was pleased when Hester was game. In addition to mechanics, we get to discuss the series ([Pre-Order at Your Local Comic Shop by August 25, 2009 {Today}; Diamond order code: AUG090716] set to launch in October).  As detailed at the BOOM! site: “THE ANCHOR. Holy warrior, unholy war. Freak of nature, beast of burden, hulking outcast, medieval prize fighter, Viking raider… God’s leg-breaker. One thousand years ago a hulking outcast sought refuge in the crumbling ruins of an ancient monastery and offered in return the one thing he had to give – his fists. Transformed into an immortal warrior monk standing at the gates of Hell itself to keep our world free from its invading armies, The Anchor is mysteriously tricked into centuries of slumber. But today, this holy warrior rises to battle all the unholy monsters unleashed during his slumber.” Be sure to also check out this preview of issue 1.

Tim O’Shea: What attracted you to working with BOOM! on this project, as opposed to pitching it to other companies?

Phil Hester: In all honesty, we pitched it a lot of places at once, and though other publishers made us offers BOOM! was the only place that saw our pitch and said “yes” without reservations. Also, they have a good reputation with retailers and fans, and among pros they’re known as a publisher that will hustle their collective ass off to get your book in front of eyes.

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