Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Sure, there was plenty of news released by just about every comic publisher over the weekend at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (as rounded up right here), but the most exciting thing I noticed about the convention was Dave Johnson’s Instagram feed going ballistic. If he produced a sketch for you at the event, chances are he recorded it for posterity on his phone and has posted it already. And if you’re really lucky, Eric Canete has logged in and made a daft gag about it, too.
Also below: the sexiest Death ever.
I can’t say I know much about the French comic artist Bengal — I wasn’t even sure of his gender until I looked up his Lambiek entry. As far as memory serves, none of the series he’s worked on in France have been translated into English. My only exposure to his work is an anglophone edition was the sizable gallery of his art in the second issue of Ashley Wood’s defunct art-mag Swallow from 2006. Lately he’s been blogging commissions of characters from U.S. comics and media. In lesser hands, the drawings would be more typical cheesecake. Bengal’s poses tend to be more interesting than that, expertly using body language to suggest characterization and narrative. Even his version of that stereotypical nerd fantasy, the slave-girl Leia, avoids a straightforward charge of exploitation by concentrating the viewer’s gaze on her indignant, accusatory stare.
The operative word for Mattel’s San Diego exclusives this year would be “cute,” if the three DC Comics items they posted on their MattyCollector site today are any indication. As you can see above, they’ll be offering a set of Tiny Titans collectible figures with a display base. And if that’s not enough of a cute overload for you, click below to see the Death figure and the Polly Pocket Comics Villains set, featuring a trio of Bat villains, labeled “A” for “Adorable.”
They also announced some Masters of the Universe and Ghostbusters exclusives as well, so click on over if you want to check those out.
Gene Gonzales has been posting a series of drawings lately that feature DC characters re-imagined in 1968 fashions. So far he’s done Catwoman, Death, and The Riddler, but I’m hoping there’s a lot more to come, because these are fantastic.
Hell, now I want a DC ’68 mini-series almost as much as I want someone to start an art blog of Death in period-appropriate dress throughout the history of the world.
DC Comics unveiled their plans for collections, trades and original graphic novels yesterday for late 2012, both for the DC line (which included the Amethyst news) and for Vertigo. In addition to collections of ongoing titles like The Unwritten and the upcoming Saucer Country, the Vertigo list included a few items of note:
Fox has released images and an official synopsis for this week’s episode of The Simpsons, which features a guest appearance by Neil Gaiman. In addition, Gaiman posted a clip from the show which, as you can see from the above screenshot, includes a glimpse of a bookstore display showcasing the author’s work, including The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1, and The Absolute Death. Clearly they’re not in the Springfield Barnes & Noble.
Here’s how Fox describes the episode, called “The Book Job”: “Lisa becomes disheartened when she learns the shocking truth behind the ‘tween lit’ industry and her beloved fantasy novel characters. But Homer decides to cash in on the craze and forms a team to group-write the next ‘tween lit’ hit, with the king of fantasy, Neil Gaiman (guest-voicing as himself), lending his expertise to the effort. After catching the eye of a slick industry publisher (guest-voice Andy Garcia) at the Springfield Book Fair, the team gets an advanced copy of their work and discovers that the corporate lit business is a bigger operation than they imagined.”
Gaiman previously appeared in animated for in a 2010 episode of Arthur. Check out the clip and images from “The Book Job” below. The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from Big Two stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — although in this case not specifically for his comic work: Neil Gaiman.
We know Gaiman best for his comics work, but it’s arguably his prose work that made his name for the mainstream public-at-large and the Hollywood types that have hired him for jobs. While none of his comics work has been adapted to the screen, his prose and prose/art hybrids have come to life in the movies for Stardust and Coraline, and the BBC series Neverwhere. He’s been brought in to write episodes of Doctor Who and Babylon 5, and has written original screenplays for movies like Beowulf, Mirrormask and several unreleased projects. Be that as it may, people have attempted film adaptations of his comics work in the past, including an adaptation of Death: The High Cost of Living several years back.
But with Gaiman’s stock in people’s minds continuing to ride high, I’d bet money on more of Gaiman’s comic work making it to the screen. Here’s a crib sheet for the Hollywood-types on what they should do and how they should do it. Take note, I chose to leave out the variety of prose work that would be natural fits for adaptation, even the prose work that’s later been adapted to comics.
Artist Joëlle Jones (You Have Killed Me, Spell Checkers) shares a wonderful commission she recently did, featuring Madame Xanadu and Death playing cards outside Xanadu’s brownstone. If I learned anything from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, it’s to never let Death win …
Jones is taking orders for additional commissions for the upcoming Stumptown convention in Portland. Click on the link above for details.
This was a good week for Marvel.
There were so many books to read, so many fantastic stories, turning points, fancy new covers (Honestly, how the heck is anyone going to be able to file that new Invincible Iron Man cover design? Comics don’t go horizontally into comic boxes!), that I could sit here and wax poetic to you all night about how rad the House of Ideas was last Wednesday.
Mind you, I could also grumble about why the heck the final issue of Siege isn’t here, but eh. The ending isn’t going to shock us silly or anything like that. Let’s focus on the positive.
I know, hard to do in comics ‘journalism.’ People like to hear the negative, it’s easier to get angry about the declining state of the industry, etc. etc. but really. This is not the end. Sometimes the worst things that you could gnash your teeth at or start that letter writing campaign over turn out to be great ideas in the long run.
So let me state it bluntly: Death is Awesome.
WARNING: Someone totally died this week in X-Force #26. Not shocked or horrified? Morbid curiosity got you curious as to who it was? Read on!
The holidays are a time for family, food, fun and, of course, the spirit of giving. I thought I’d check in with the members of the Robot 6 crew to see what comic-related gifts they received this year, along with any they gave as presents. Feel free to share anything comic-related you gave or got this year as well.
Tom Bondurant: I got The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics (Abrams Comicarts), selected and edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly. A good bit of Carl Barks Duck work, from what I can tell. My parents gave it to me.