Graphic novels | A musical based on Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home will open the fall season of the Public Lab series of the Public Theater in New York City. Featuring music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony nominee Lisa Kron, the show is scheduled to run from Oct. 17 through Nov. 4 at the Shiva Theater. [The New York Times, The Public Theater]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez guests on the comiXologist podcast to talk about Love and Rockets and what he has been reading lately. [comiXology]
Creators | Brian Wood and Ming Doyle talk about their new comic Mara, which will debut from Image Comics in December and features a volleyball player with superpowers in a world where sports and warfare are no longer so far apart. While Wood is not really a sports fan, he is fascinated by the portrayal of athletes in popular culture: “‘This is tied into the superhero thing, recognizing parallels between the two,’ Wood says. ‘I think there’s a lot to talk about there and part of me feels I’ll need more than one comic series to do it in. We’ll see.’” [USA Today]
I only just discovered the blog of Mouse Guard creator David Petersen, and it’s a great read if you like behind-the-scenes details. He recently posted a detailed account of the small model he made for the Matriarch’s Room, which appeared in Black Axe #5; it’s amazing to see how much care and thought he put into it. And now he has a new post, detailing the cover he drew for the Baltimore Comic Con program, from initial concept to finished art. It’s a treat for process junkies and some nice eye candy for the rest of us as well.
Did you read encyclopedias for fun as a kid? Do you like comics? If so, then “Calamity” Jon Morris has just the project for you. Paying homage (with a side of classy art) to the epic Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Morris has gathered a group of non-traditional artists to reinvent the portraits that graced the original encyclopedia series in what he’s calling The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe –Reduxe Edition.
“I’ve recruited literally hundreds of artists to redraw the almost-1,000 entries of the original 1980’s Official Handbook Deluxe Edition! What madness!,” Morris says on his Tumblr page. “It starts with Uatu, with new entries by Joel Carroll, Thomas DiSpigna and Erica Henderson coming later today, check it out!”
This madness (as Morris puts it) started just two days ago with his portrait of Uatu the Watcher, but Thursday’s new entry takes the cake. Mouse Guard creator David Petersen tackling Rocket Raccoon:
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Publishing | Continuing its domination of the graphic novel sales in bookstores, The Walking Dead laid claim to seven of the Top 10 spots on BookScan’s April chart. The series, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, took the first four positions. What’s more, 12 of the Top 20 graphic novels were volumes of The Walking Dead. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks to Right Stuf director of marketing and communications Alison Roberts about that company’s announcement earlier this week that it will be publishing the first three volumes Hetalia: Axis Powers as a print-on-demand books. The series was originally licensed by Tokyopop, which is co-branding the books with Right Stuf. [MTV Geek]
Creators | Daniel Kalder looks at the state of French comics tradition following the death last month of Jean Giraud, the influential artist widely known as Moebius, and finds it’s in the capable hands of David B (“one of the most sophisticated cartoonists in the world”) and Nicolas de Crecy (“the ‘mad genius’ of French comics”). [The Guardian]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon talks to Michael Cho about what sounds like a really interesting project, his book Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes: “Because I don’t have an affinity for drawing a pastoral landscape. [laughs] You know what I mean? I’ve never lived in that environment, so I can’t draw that thing with confidence. When I close my eyes I don’t visualize that with any confidence. But a city is something I’m surrounded with constantly. With alleyways and lane ways and how light poles connect up to transformer towers which have extra leads leading down to the basement apartment. I can see that when I close my eyes, you know?” [The Comics Reporter]
Sunday was a great day. It started off awesomely with a marriage proposal. A young man named Matthew had hired my friend Grant to draw a picture of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for his girlfriend, Lisa, a Buffy fan. When they picked up the commission, Lisa read the word balloons, “Hi, Lisa. Matthew tells me he loves you very much and he has a very important question to ask…”
Although the Mouse Guard series is David Petersen’s sandbox, he has been known to let others in to play with his toys. For instance, the first Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard series featured stories by Ted Naifeh, Gene Ha, Jeremy Bastian and many others.
We know that a second volume of the anthology series is in the works, and it looks like one of the contributors will be Stan Sakai, who shares one of his pages on his LiveJournal. Sakai of course has been doing Usagi Yojimbo for decades now, so it isn’t surprising to see him drawing anthropomorphic characters, but it is a rare treat to see his work in color (beyond the Usagi covers, of course, and the occasional graphic novel or anthology submission).
Although the Muppets and the gang at Sesame Street might be puppets, they’ve made their way into comics on multiple occasions, and with the 10th anniversary of the Jim Henson-centric fansite Tough Pigs coming around this year, a number of artists have chipped in to celebrate the occasion.
For this event, Tough Pigs reached out to a variety of artists, including those from the Muppets and Fraggle Rock comics, the Sesame Street storybook illustrators and even fan artists to celebrate the event and the impact of Henson’s creations. One of the standouts of the bunch is the illustration at right by Mouse Guard creator David Petersen, who also contributed covers to to both BOOM! Studios Muppets titles and Archaia’s Fraggle Rock series.
Head over to the Tough Pigs site to see all of the artwork they’ve assembled, and look into the archives for other original art collected related to Jim Henson.
Graphic.ly is a late entry to the iPad digital comics race, but they are doing their best to catch up. This week, they are offering the first issue of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 for free, which is pretty sweet. It’s not a new comic — it came out in 2007 — but the single issues are hard to find now, and it’s a very nice read.
While it works a bit differently than comiXology and Comics+, Graphic.ly is an interesting choice if you’re interested in alternative comics. They carry Marvel and Archie, sure, but their publisher list also includes a lot of little-known indy and self-published comics. This makes for a lot of variation in quality, frankly, but there are also some gems: If you want to read Caryn A. Tate‘s Red Plains: Range War (illustrated by Noel Tuazon, the artist for Tumor and The Broadcast), it’s there for free. And Graphic.ly seems to be the only iPad app that carries comics by Archaia, the publisher of Mouse Guard and the Fraggle Rock comics. If you’re interested in the long tail of comics, Graphic.ly is not a bad place to start.
Like most comics apps, Graphic.ly is not restricted to the iPhone and iPad; they have versions available for Adobe Air and Windows 7. (I talked to CEO Micah Baldwin about the app last September.)
We’ve all seen the limitless press announcements from every comics publisher there is about sold out books. After a while, they lose meaning. Did the publisher not print very many? Did retailers under-order? Do people just really love the book? Seldom do we get answers to those questions.
So when Archaia recently sold out of both Return of the Dapper Men and the Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard collection at the same time, there seemed to be an opportunity to dig into this phenomenon a bit. At C2E2 last year, I learned that Archaia is remarkably forthcoming about their business strategies, so their double sell out seemed like a great time to find out not only what that event means to a small publisher, but also to learn about the work that went into creating the situation in the first place. I asked Archaia’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy, Mouse Guard’s creator David Petersen, and Return of the Dapper Men’s Jim McCann and Janet Lee to help me understand. They not only did that; they also gave me a unique look at how Archaia perceives itself and what sets the company apart from other publishers.
Michael May: Stephen, can you talk about the print runs of Return of the Dapper Men and Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard? How do they compare to Archaia’s typical numbers?
Stephen Christy: They were both larger than a standard Archaia print run. Mouse Guard is our bestselling title, so we knew we had to print heavy and Dapper Men had enough preorders to justify a run of 10,000 copies. It wasn’t until preorders jumped on both titles a week or two before release that we started to get a feeling that we could get hit with a sell out.
It’s been 20 years since The Muppet Show creator Jim Henson passed away, and ToughPigs.com paid tribute to him by asking several artists — including David Petersen (above), Amy Mebberson, and Roger Langridge, among others — to contribute original illustrations honoring the visionary creator. Go take a look.
I apologize for not having this up earlier, but we left Chicago right after the show and didn’t arrive home until the wee hours of this morning. I was too pooped to post, but I’m sufficiently awake now to give it a shot.
My intention for Sunday was to see some more panels and do some shopping, but it ended up being lower key than that. I skipped the panels, which is usual behavior from me on convention Sundays after being overloaded on Saturday. Attendance was down from Saturday and that also helped make it more laid back, but there was still a nice crowd, many of whom had come out just for the day. And there were tons of kids.
I babysat Grant Gould’s table while he and Katie Cook conducted a panel for kids on drawing Star Wars characters. I’m sorry I missed it because Grant said it went really well. There were kids sitting on the floor in front of the stage and drawing as he and Katie instructed and cracked jokes.
Kids vs Grown-Ups, shopping, and I meet my own heroes after the break.
David Peterson was signing copies of his Mouse Guard hardbacks—and giving away the floppies for free, as promotional attractions. The Mouse Guard anthology series launches in May, with single issues out each month through August, followed by a hardcover colection.
Mouse Guard creator David Petersen shares two pieces of art he traded to artist Craig Rousseau, featuring Harry Potter‘s Dumbledore and Voldemort fighting. Click on over to his site to see his Voldemort.