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What Are You Reading? with Brendan Tobin and Pedro Delgado

AllStarWestern-tease

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at all the comics and other stuff we’ve been reading lately. Our special guests today are Brendan Tobin and Pedro Delgado, who run the March MODOK Madness site. And with this being March, the madness is in full swing, so head over there to check out a lot of fun art featuring everyone’s favorite big-headed villain.

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

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David Petersen and Paolo Rivera among Spectrum finalists

captain america1-rivera

The gold and silver finalists were selected over the weekend for the 20th Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual, which honors the best in fantasy, science fiction and horror art.

Tor.com has the complete rundown of the nominees in all the categories, ranging from advertising to books to concept art — readers will recognize such names as Shaun Tan, Charles Vess, Dan Dos Santos and Greg Ruth — but what we’re really interested in are the comics finalists. You’ll find those below, with their art.

The winners will be announced at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, held May 17-19 in Kansas City, Missouri.

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More Cyber Monday deals: Avengers, IDW, Mouse Guard & more

Mouse Guard "Peacock Print"

Although we compiled a list of Cyber Monday sales on Sunday, it looks like the comics-related savings don’t end there. Here are some more deals for you to take advantage of today (and in one case, beyond):

In addition to its continued “Blackest Friday” sale, comiXology today is offering 99-cent digital editions of Marvel’s Avengers titles, 50 percent off select IDW Publishing comics, and up to 80 percent off select Dynamite Entertainment collections.

NBM Publishing is giving 20 percent off all orders of $20 or more from its web store (enter code “112″).

The DC Entertainment web store is touting “Cyber Monday Madness,” with savings of up to 85 percent on collectibles, DVDs, jewelry and more.

David Petersen is looking well beyond Cyber Monday with a 10-percent discount on orders from the Mouse Guard online store through the end of the year (enter code “mouseguard”).

And don’t forget that some of the sales we mentioned last weekBOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, notably — continue through the end of the day.

Comics A.M. | Buried Under Comics gets new name, new owner

Buried Under Comics

Retailing | The Manchester, Connecticut, comics store Buried Under Comics will reopen with a new name, A Hero’s Journey, and a new owner, April Kenney. A friend of previous owner Brian Kozicki, who died unexpectedly last month, Kenney arranged to purchase the store from Kozicki’s family. [Patch.com]

Retailing | Toronto retailer Silver Snail has moved from its longtime location on Queen Street to Yonge Street. [CityNews]

Publishing | Brian Smith, the DC Comics associate editor publicly ridiculed by Rob Liefeld last month, has announced his departure from the company, apparently under amicable circumstances. Nonetheless, Liefeld took a parting shot on Twitter. [Blog@Newsarama]

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Skelton Crew to produce Mouse Guard replicas

Archaia Entertainment struck a deal with Skelton Crew Studio to produce prop replicas based on David Petersen’s award-winning fantasy series Mouse Guard. The line of pewter collectible swords, shields and other armament will debut in time for Christmas with the Black Axe (you can see the design at right).

Launching in 2006, Mouse Guard centers on an elite group of warriors charged with protecting their fellow mice from the elements, predators and other dangers. The series has won Eisner Awards for best anthology, best graphic album and best publication for kids.

Owned by Israel Skelton, the Maine-based Skelton Crew crafted the collectible keys based on IDW Publishing’s Locke & Key and is creating replicas from Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

“I’m thrilled about getting these into the hands of my fans,” Petersen said in a statement. “Israel has done amazing work bringing the Locke & Key keys to the real world, and I love working with him on the intricacies of all of the mouse weapons and arms so that he can work his magic with them. He’s a true craftsman who cares about the details as much as my fans do.”

Comics A.M. | Fun Home musical to open in New York City

From "Fun Home"

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]

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David Petersen shows process for Baltimore Comic-Con program

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.

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Indie artists reinvent Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe

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:

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What Are You Reading? with David Harper

Saga #3

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.

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Comics A.M. | The Walking Dead continues bookstore domination

The Walking Dead, Compendium One

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]

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Comics A.M. | The state of the French comics tradition, post-Moebius

Froom "The Celestial Bibendum," by Nicolas de Crecy

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]

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C2E2 2012 | Sunday Photodiary

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…”

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Stan Sakai participating in next Mouse Guard Legends anthology

Mouse Guard by Stan Sakai

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).

Jim Henson fansite celebrates 10 years with artist-led cavalcade

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 offers Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #1 for free

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.)


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