Why The Russos Are The Best Thing to Happen to the MCU Since Joss Whedon
All-New Doop (Marvel): It’s perfectly appropriate for any series starring peripheral X-Men character Doop to be a weird one, however, the miniseries collected in this trade paperback is weird in a weird way.
Doop was created by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred for their iconoclastic (and somewhat -controversial) 2001 X-Force run, which was then relaunched under the name The X-Statix. The premise involved a group of celebrity-wannabe mutants who used their powers for fame and fortune by starring in a reality show; holding the camera was a mysterious, gross, floating, potato-shaped green creature that spoke its own, indecipherable language and answered to the name Doop.
Milligan imagined a dramatic behind-the-scenes life for the character in a two-part, 2003 Wolverine/Doop miniseries, and writer Jason Aaron ran with the joke, including Doop as a member of the faculty at the Jean Grey School during his Wolverine and The X-Men run. For the most part, Doop functioned as a background joke, one more signifier of the zany environment of the new school for young mutants, though Aaron did pair with Doop’s co-creator Allred for a one-issue story that focused on the character as a behind-the-scenes, floating potato-thing-of-all-trades.
Milligan returns to the character for this miniseries, in which Allred only provides the covers, while David LaFuente draws the majority of the art. Milligan takes Doop’s behind-the-scenes portfolio to an extreme, marking him as a character capable of traveling through “The Marginalia,” entering and exiting the comic-book tales in order to influence their outcome.
The story Doop influences here is “Battle of the Atom,” the Brian Michael Bendis-helmed X-Men crossover that involved Cyclops’ X-Men team, Wolverine’s X-Men team and an X-Men team from the future engaged in a fight over what to do with the teenage original X-Men plucked out of the Silver Age and currently hanging around the present.
Courtesy of Neil Gaiman, we’re treated to an all-too-brief preview, with the covers, of P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of The Graveyard Book, the author’s award-winning 2008 children’s novel.
Russell, a longtime Gaiman collaborator, is joined on the two-volume graphic novel by an impressive roster of artists, each illustrating one chapter: Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson and Stephen B. Scott on the first book, and David Lafuente, Hampton, Nowlan and Showman on the second.
The first volume will be released on July 29, followed by the second on Sept. 30.
Epic artist P. Craig Russell has become well known for his collaborations with author Neil Gaiman over the past couple of decades, and in recent years he’s adapted several of the author’s short stories and prose novels into comics form. But now for his next hat trick, he’s enlisted a Magnificent
Seven Nine-esque group of artists to illustrate individual chapters for his adaptation of Gaiman’s celebrated 2008 children’s fantasy novel The Graveyard Book, announced in June.
As Russell told Comic Book Resources in a weekend interview, he’s writing the script and doing the layouts for the 352-page book, with a murderer’s row of artists coming in behind him to illustrate it. Joining Russell is Michael Golden, David LaFuente, Jill Thompson, Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Galen Showman and Scott Hampton. Russell said Hampton’s contribution will be about 100 pages, and that Nowlan is drawing the first story.
Note: Due to some unforeseen transcription issues, the Steve Rude interview promised for this week won’t be published until next Friday.
Spanish artist David Lafuente is one of those creators who burst into the American comics scene like a shooting star, first glimmering with 2008’s Patsy Walker: Hellcat and then shining with blinding amount talent in 2009’s Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. After his run on that title ended in late 2010, Lafuente followed that with covers for various Marvel series and a brief run on a group of characters close to his heart, the New Mutants. Since then, new work released by this artist has primarily been online on his blog and his recently ended art blog group the Sindiecate. What has he been working on in this down time? Creator-owned comics.
When I reached out to Lafuente to do this interview, I hoped to find out more about his upcoming series Home Run with Jonathan Ross, but what I ended up with was that — and a whole lot more.
In what ended up being David’s most extensive interview ever, we talked about not one but three new creator-owned series he’s working on, as well as his reflections on his heady rise to fame at Marvel and how he isn’t done yet with the House of Ideas.
It must be hard work keeping these group sketch blogs going. While some keep ticking along like clockwork (Eclectic Micks, Scotch Corner), some other favorites have been on lengthy, near catatonic, hiatuses (What Not, Comic Twart). David LaFuente has posted an announcement on The Sindiecate that, after one year of regularly promoting indie comics through character sketches, they’ve decided to call it a day:
Lafuente here with a final report.
THE SINDIECATE is closing down its doors. This month marks the first year of the collective authors and initiative to pay tribute to independent comics. And it’s a good moment to call it a day.
Thanks to Jorge Muñoz, James Harren, Mike Choi, Ryan Ottley, Colleen Coover, Matteo Scalera for joining me on this project. It’s great to look back on that idea I had for the website and see what has become thanks to them.
And thanks to the people who liked our homages, helped spread the word and maybe make some new readers for the indie authors behind the books.
Adios! : )
Perhaps their mission has been accomplished: certainly, Indie comics do seem to be in a healthier state now than even a year ago. High profile writers and artists seem to be flocking back in that direction, and with the massive sales numbers of The Walking Dead #100, the zeitgeist’s pendulum seems to swung further to the side of creator-owned than anytime since the early 1990s.
If there’s anything that comic readers know, it’s that there’s nothing better than a good team-up. And now five artists — Mike Choi, David LaFuente, Ryan Ottley, Jorge F. Munoz and James Harren — combine their forces like some sort of drawing version of Captain Planet to form the web collective known as the Sindiecate.
Carrying on in the tradition of other group sketchblogs like Comic Twart and SkottieScott, this quintet of artists are banding together to tackle a different topic each week. For this fivesome, they’re focusing on independent comic books and authors with their inaugural week to cover Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo’s Tellos.
Seeing the art already on display, it’s creating fond memories for Tellos and Wieringo, and dreaming up what these five guys could cover next. Might I suggest Xenozoic Tales?