Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Joining us today is Jim Zub, writer of Skullkickers, Pathfinder, Makeshift Miracle and IDW’s upcoming Samurai Jack, among others.
Now let’s get to it …
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15: Whoah, another tough week to narrow things down. Is every Brian Wood-written title required to come out the same week of each month? Do Dark Horse and Marvel get together and plan it that way, so that people who only buy Wood comics only have to go to the store once a month? I think more than half the DC titles I buy come out this time every month, too. So yeah, lots to pick from …
Anyway, I’d start with one of those Brian Wood comics, Conan the Barbarian #8 (Dark Horse, $3.50), which features Vasilis Lolos on art. Lolos drew one of my favorite issues of Northlanders, “The Viking Art of Single Combat,” so it’s cool to see the two of them working together again. I’d also get a comic I’m sure will be popular with a few of my colleagues, the first issue of the new Stumptown miniseries by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth (Oni Press, $3.99). Next I’d get Manhattan Projects #6 (Image, $3.50); this issue turns the focus from America’s secret science program to Russia’s secret science program. Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra are having a lot of fun with this one. Finally, I’d get Uncanny X-Force #31 (Marvel, $3.99), which really picked things up last issue … and this is a comic that’s usually running on twice as many cylinders anyway.
If I had $30, I’d also grab two finales from DC Comics — Shade #12 and Resurrection Man #0 (both $2.99). Honestly, I never expected to see a Resurrection Man comic again, much less by the guys who wrote the original, so the fact that we got a good run of 13 issues is a pleasant surprise. Shade, of course, was planned as 12 issues from the beginning, and was a nice return to the Starman-verse by writer James Robinson. That leaves me room for three more $2.99 comics, which means I’m going to bypass X-Men, The Massive and Avengers Assemble this week (let’s assume that I’ll one day spend my splurge money on the trades) and instead go with Chew #28 (Image, $2.99), It Girl and the Atomics #2 (Image, $2.99) and Demon Knights #0 (DC Comics, $2.99).
Splurge: Assuming I wouldn’t spend my unlimited gift card on single issues, I’d be looking at the first Bucko collection from Dark Horse ($19.99) and Fantagraphics’ Is That All There Is? trade ($25).
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is John Jackson Miller, writer of Star Wars: Knight Errant and Mass Effect comics for Dark Horse and various Star Wars prose novels. He’s also the curator of The Comics Chronicles research website. His next comics series, Star Wars: Knight Errant, Deluge, starts in August.
To see what John and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below.
Mighty Fine T-shirts, makers of the Squirrel Girl shirts I linked to last month, have a few groovy additions to their Marvel line. Inspired by “fantasy-tinged black light posters” that were popular in the 1970s, the shirts feature Galactus, Thor and Doctor Strange … as well as rainbows, a Pegasus and a heavy metal album skull.
While the real ones don’t glow in the dark, the ones in my head do. Check out Dr. Strange and Thor after the jump.
One of the biggest problems with comics these days is that Brendan McCarthy simply isn’t making enough of them.
The UK artist, known mainly for his inspired and frequently surreal collaborations with writer Peter Milligan during the 1980s and 90s, (most notably Skin and Rogan Gosh) hasn’t produced any sequential art since his mind-bending issue of Solo (fittingly the last issue in that late, lamented series) six years ago, a comic which in itself marked a lengthy hiatus. In between those periods, McCarthy has opted instead to mostly work on various television and movie projects like Reboot, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies and most recently a potential fourth Mad Max sequel.
Thankfully Marvel is about to change all that. The company that Disney bought has enlisted McCarthy to write and draw Spider-Man: Fever, a three-issue limited series starring the wall-crawler and Dr. Strange that will arrive in stores this April (or at least the first issue will).
I talked to McCarthy over email about the new series and the challenges it offered.
Comics Alliance scored themselves an exclusive preview of writer-artist Brendan McCarthy’s upcoming Spider-Man/Doctor Strange miniseries/voyage into prime Ditko psychedelia, Spider-Man: Fever. I hear that if you press play on The Dark Side of the Moon when you open the cover, it syncs up perfectly.
You can breathe, breathe in the air from Doc’s Sanctum Sanctorum when the book hits this April.
(Via Douglas Wolk)
For several months, there’s been a great amount of interest in Sean Murphy‘s work on Joe the Barbarian (the artist’s latest project/eight-issue miniseries with writer Grant Morrison, the first issue of which goes on sale this Wednesday, January 20). I was looking forward to meeting Murphy at the late October 2009 SCAD event (covered here). After talking about his craft with him (and seeing his work first hand), I am genuinely enthused to see the release of the first issue. I truly relish Murphy’s candor, as evidenced in this interview, and appreciate him giving me the opportunity to discuss Joe the Barbarian (as well as other topics).
Tim O’Shea: How did you come to be involved with Joe the Barbarian?
Sean Murphy: I’ve had a rough ride with DC for many years it seems. After Batman/Scarecrow: Year One I couldn’t get work there. My editor apparently pushed hard for me but the people in charge didn’t like my stuff and blacklisted me from the DCU. I’ve got a Teen Titans story that was never published because of how I reinvented Cyborg (shame on me for bringing him out of the 90s).
Then one day Karen Berger calls from Vertigo. She wanted me to work on this book they were doing with Neil Young called Greendale. Needing cash, I of course agreed. But there were a lot of delays for about a year. At one point I passed on Spider Man 1602 because I thought Greendale was almost ready. In the end Neil opted to go with another artist, so I started talking to Marvel about working there. When they offered me Dr. Strange, Karen countered with a Morrison book called Warcop. Soon they were both talking exclusives.
It was a rush. I remember thinking that I must have given the lord of comics a hand job in a past life or something.
Mark Kardwell shares with us an “idea sketch for a ‘Coming Soon” type of advert” for Fever, the upcoming Dr. Strange/Spider-Man miniseries written and drawn by Brendan McCarthy. This Marvel Knights series is due in April, McCarthy told Kaldwell.
No doubt inspired by his arrival to Comic-Con, Tom Spurgeon has made up a list of what he feels are 10 properties that should be fast-tracked into movies or TV shows. No. 1 on the list is Dr. Strange, and Tom has an interesting suggestion as to who should don the Eye of Agamotto:
While some folks reading that original post thought I was hinting at Johnny Depp being best suited for the role, the actor I was thinking of was actually Leonardo DiCaprio. A number of you probably just vomited, but DiCaprio is already 34, he can act, he’s as believable as Downey Jr. — albeit in a different way — as someone who once had a glamorous career, lost it and has seen tough times since, he’s a major motion picture star, he has considerable onscreen charisma it’s fun to see him embrace rather than flee and he’s adept at playing romance. But so many actors would do.
Go check out the whole list. There are some interesting and eclectic choices found there.
Is it Sunday again already? Time for another What Are You Reading then. Our guest this week is blogger and Bleach fanatic John Jakala. Has John been reading Bleach this week? Click on the link to find out. Oh, and don’t forget to tell us what you are reading in the comments section below.
This past weekend Philadelphia welcomed Wizard World, while Charlotte hosted HeroesCon. Two East Coast conventions, separated by more than 500 miles and a couple of states. If you were away from your computer, then you may have missed some of the announcements that sprang from both venues:
• For years people have been asking for an “iTunes for comics.” Well, it looks like we might actually get one. Rantz Hoseley’s Longbox will be a free download available later this year for PC, Macs and Linux. Comics can be download for a suggested price point of $.99 per issue, with the potential for block and subscription pricing. BOOM! and Top Cow have already signed on.
• Marvel had a lot of announcements at the show. Spinning out of the Uncanny X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover that kicks off any day now will be a series of one-shots that fall under the heading of Dark Reign: The List. Basically Norman Osbourn starts making a list of everyone standing in his way who he needs to do dirty, nasty things to.
The eight one shots and the creators working on them are:
Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil by Andy Diggle and Billy Tan
Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
Dark Reign: The List – Hulk by Greg Pak and Ben Oliver
Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert
Dark Reign: The List – Avengers by Brian Bendis and Marko Djurdjevic
Dark Reign: The List – Uncanny X-Men by Matt Fraction and Alan Davis
Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors by Jonathan Hickman and Ed McGuiness
Dark Reign: The List – Punisher by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.
The project was announced at around the same time both in Philadelphia and in Charlotte. For more info, check out CBR’s interviews with Bendis, Fraction and Remender, as well as Pak, Hickman and Aaron. Also, Aaron talks a little bit about his Wolverine one-shot on his blog; it will feature both Marvel Boy and Fantomex, as well as a new Weapon XVI.
I always knew it would take a Brian Bendis story (do I use his middle name anymore? It’s like John Cougar, isn’t it?) to really get me back in the fight again.
Okay, New Avengers #51 has put a battered Stephen Strange at our feet and in that last image, I had the sinking feeling that he was asking for OUR help. A character who had sadly been taken to the sidelines and given the worst possible albatross-title of ‘Deux ex Machina,’ Doctor Strange literally sat out Civil War and was shoehorned into the
New Avengers as Swiss Army Knife and Guy Who’s Place We Hang Out At, and this is where the problem started. Using such an amazing character to house the Avengers and toss out a couple illusions was a waste and started a habit of looking at the Sorcerer Supreme as a disposable entity. Who doesn’t have a holo-emitter in the MU? Plus, Iron Fist buying them a new home after Strange takes off makes the Sanctum Sanctorum and mastering the mystic arts kinda… meh.
The very issue we find out he got the boot from being Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange tells a young Billy Kaplan that the job of the Sorcerer Supreme is to see the forest for the trees, the greater, grander picture that all these alien invasions and crises fit into. It’s not that these Big Tent Events get in the way of someone who’s Mystic Arts Inclined, it’s that they are only drops of water in a ginormus pond mere mortals can’t fathom. It’s why everyone with a mask doesn’t act as protector of our plane of existence and why that job solely remains with the Big Sorcerer Cheese. In the back of Stan Lee Meets Doctor Strange (hey, work with me here), there’s a reprint of Marvel Premiere #3 and what caught my eye (aside from the stellar Barry Windsor-Smith art) is that in this story, Strange feels something out of tune with the universe. He goes through the story, crossing dimensions, pouring through mystical energies, looking under rocks, and not only does he not find it, but I AM SO ENTHRALLED BY THIS HUNT. What kind of story just says “Well… something’s weird” and then entertains you for pages on end? A tale of a man who’s entire sphere of influence is just incomprehensible. Where seeing the world through his eyes is a treat for the imagination.
Although you’ve probably already seen Brendan McCarthy’s ” script doodles” on an old Doom Patrol script from Grant Morrison, as Rich included them in his column last week, McCarthy shares them and some news on his Dr. Strange/Spider-Man project on his site:
“My Spider-Man/Dr Strange story is now at the half way point. It’s a three issue mini-series that will appear under the Marvel Knights banner, probably in the early summer. It’s been great fun drawing and writing the series, and Marvel seem to love what I’m creating so far. I’m coloring the book with Steve Cook, who designed the SWIMINI PURPOSE book for me a few years ago.
If Fantagraphics can’t have Dr. Strange, as Eric Reynolds suggested in August, this is equally as awesome.
McCarthy says he can’t show any art from the book yet, but he does share this piece, proclaiming he’s from the lineage of Ditko: