Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
For a dead guy, Dracula sure gets around a lot.
All jokes aside (for now), a comics gem recently popped up on Kickstarter with the official launch of writer Mark Sable and artist Salgood Sam‘s long-hinted-at graphic novel Dracula: Son of the Dragon. Set in the 15th century, it’s one part historical and one part horror, and while it might be shelved next to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this story isn’t a pop culture mash-up. It’s s an origin story that ties together the historical Vlad the Impaler with the fictional Dracula, beginning with Vlad’s childhood and how he was inducted into the dark arts.
In progress for more than a year now, Sable and Sam are using Kickstarter to raise funds to finance the production of Dracula: Son of the Dragon ‘s 60-page first volume, both in a standard edition and a series of limited edition versions. In addition to various editions offered to people who pledge for the fundraising campaign, the duo are offering original artwork, appearances in the book, and even a script review by Sable himself.
“Pop surrealist” painter Isabel Samaras‘ solo exhibit “Making a Better Yesterday Today” opened Saturday at San Francisco’s Varnish Fine Art. The show features her interpretations of classic art with pop culture characters like Batman, Wonder Woman and the Planet of the Apes. She talks about it a bit on her blog where she describes how the exhibit uses QR technology to offer guests an artist’s commentary on the show:
If you have a smartphone with a QR (Quick Response) Reader App, you can listen to me yap a bit about each of the new paintings. Just scan the code on the wall by each piece and you’ll hear real actual thoughts that came out of my real actual head via my mouth.
Hit the jump to see a few samples of the paintings, then visit Varnish Fine Art’s site to see even more before joining me in lamenting that you don’t live in San Francisco. Unless of course you do live in San Francisco, in which case – by all means – rub it in.
Next month will see the release of the final installment in Van Jensen‘s and Dusty Higgins‘ Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of books, Of Wood and Blood, Part Two. To mark this milestone as well as find out what creative projects he intends to pursue in the future, I cajoled longtime friend of the blog Jensen to do an interview. I was pleased to learn that while Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer is coming to a close, Joe Pimienta is illustrating Jensen’s upcoming graphic novel, The Leg. More immediately, Jensen will be busy this upcoming weekend in Atlanta–as he will be at Dragon*Con, so be sure to visit him if you are there.
Tim O’Shea: You’re ending Pinocchio on a high note, while the project seems to still be doing well. Why step away — and how hard was it to do?
Van Jensen: When Dusty and I were working on the first volume, I came up with this notion of how to explain where Pinocchio came from (the original story has him as a sentient piece of wood that is carved into a puppet, not a puppet that’s magically brought to life) and tie that into the origin of the vampires. We realized it would make a perfect contained storyline; the question was always whether the book would sell enough for us to explore the whole story.
If you’ve never read Bram Stoker’s Dracula–or even if you have–here’s some news that should warm your blood: Harper Design has released a new edition featuring illustrations by Demo artist Becky Cloonan. She shows off a few of the 50 illustrations she did for the book over on her blog. The book came out today, so look for it in finer bookstores everywhere.
Just like we did with Black Friday, we’ve rounded up various deals on comics and comic-related stuff that you can get on Cyber Monday. And since at least one of the deals kicks off at midnight Pacific time, I thought I’d go ahead and post the list now instead of waiting for tomorrow morning. I’ll add any additional deals I discover throughout the day.
Also, if you did check out our Black Friday list, some of these are repeats from it, as several places have deals that have been running all weekend and go through Monday. I’ve put the new stuff up top, after the deal that starts at midnight …
Dark Horse Comics has another digital deal set up for Cyber Monday: the first 500 customers through Dark Horse Digital will get a 50 percent discount. There’s a $20 minimum, and the deal runs for 24 hours beginning at midnight Pacific Time on Nov. 28; you’ll also need a coupon code: dhcyber. You can find more details here.
And if you buy $100 worth of stuff from Things from Another World on Monday, they’ll give you $10 worth of digital Dark Horse Comics.
Hiya kids, it’s time for What Are You Reading?, a weekly look into what the Robot 6 crew has been reading lately. Today’s special guest is Thom Zahler, creator of the delightful superhero/romantic comedy comic Love and Capes.
To find out what Thom and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
With the announcement this week that Dynamite Entertainment has acquired the rights to do comic books starring the Shadow, the New Jersey comics company has become the home for a majority of pulp heroes in comics. Although an argument could have been made that DC Comics held that title when it was publishing its now-canceled “First Wave” line, with this latest announcement the Shadow joins other proto-comic heroes like Zorro, the Phantom, Dracula, the Lone Ranger, Sherlock Holmes, Buck Rogers, the Green Hornet and others in Dynamite’s line.
While this isn’t the first time that multiple pulp icons have been under one comic publisher’s roof, it’s by far the most concentrated in some time. Although most weren’t created in comics, pulp characters have a long history bouncing around from numerous publishers over the years. The Shadow, for instance has been published by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Archie and even a newspaper strip that’s run off and on through the years — and his pulp brethren can claim similar paths over time.
The notable absences to Dynamite’s de facto pulp line are tied up — or have been until recently — by other publishers. DC’s rights to Doc Savage, the Avenger and Rima The Jungle Girl are currently unknown, while Tarzan resides at Dark Horse, and Moonstone, another pulp-inspired comics publisher, publishes stories about the Spider and the Domino Lady.
But with the potency of Dynamite’s line-up so far, it casts a potentially long shadow (no pun intended) on the comics industry and what’s possible. Imagine a pulp line firing on all cylinders, perhaps even a crossover at some point or even a Justice Society-style team-up.
Update: And today Dynamite announced they’ll be making comics starring another pulp hero, The Spider.
The Sherlock Holmes/Dracula miniseries Scarlet in Gaslight, written by Martin Powell and illustrated by Seppo Makinen, was published in 1988 and nominated for an Eisner Award the following year. It has been out of print recently, but last month Powell announced that Pulp 2.0 will publish four of his graphic novels. In addition to Scarlet in Gaslight, they include A Case of Blind Fear, which pits Sherlock Holmes against the Invisible Man; Ghosts of Dracula, in which Dr. Van Helsing and Harry Houdini battle the Lord of the Undead; and a straight-up adaptation of Frankenstein. All the books are written by Powell and illustrated by Makinen, except for Frankenstein, which was illustrated by Patrick Olliffe.
Pulp 2.0 initiated a graphic novel line late last year, launching it with the 1980s series The Miracle Squad and The Twilight Avenger, both by writer John Wooley and artist Terry Tidwell. It looks like they will be released as graphic novels, both digital and in print, with cleaned-up graphics and bonus features.
Powell talks a bit about his comics work at Jazma Online, focusing on more recent works like his resurrection of The Spider for Moonstone.
(Via Comics 411)
Becky Cloonan’s “Sluts of Dracula” post hinted that this might be on the way, and behold, it’s a thing of beauty: Historical and literary gag cartoonist extraordinaire Kate Beaton takes on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Victorian classic of horror and sex (and horror of sex). She nails it. Or drives a stake through it, whichever. Read the whole thing.
“Sluts of Dracula” is totally today’s phrase that pays. Seriously, if I were a publisher I’d greenlight a book called Sluts of Dracula sight unseen. Of course, since the phrase was coined by cartoonist Becky Cloonan — who then provided ample, gorgeous, gloriously NSFW illustrations of the concept — it really wouldn’t be that much of a risk.
Back when I interviewed novelist Daryl Gregory in February for my pop culture blog (TalkingwithTim) I found myself thinking: “I bet it’s not long before Gregory’s writing comics”. But to find out a few months later that he was teaming with one of my favorite comics writer, Kurt Busiek, still took me by surprise (in a positive way, promise). On August 25 (next Wednesday), BOOM! Studios will release the first issue of Busiek and Gregory’s Dracula: The Company Of Monsters #1. Back on August 9, CBR offered a preview of the first issue. As described there, the concept of the ongoing series is “A powerful, predatory corporation acquires a valuable asset…Dracula! They think they own him, but no one can own the Son of the Dragon. There’s a monster in their midst that puts Hannibal Lecter to shame–and he plans to gain his freedom in blood. It’s bloodsuckers vs. bloodsucker, as Busiek brings an incredibly modern spin to the Dracula mythos.” In addition to the preview, once you’ve read this interview with Gregory, be sure to enjoy CBR’s July 29 interview with Busiek about the project. All combined, with this info you’ll hopefully find a number of reasons to be on the lookout for the first issue next Wednesday.
Tim O’Shea: Did BOOM or Busiek contact you to join the project?
Daryl Gregory: Matt Gagnon from BOOM! contacted me. Chris Roberson, a friend of mine and a fantastic writer who’s doing a book for them (DUST TO DUST, the officially sanctioned prequel to DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRONIC SHEEP), basically forced my first novel into Matt’s hands. Kurt had pitched them his idea for Dracula but didn’t have room on his schedule to write it, and fortunately, something in Matt’s head went “ding!” When he asked me if I’d like to co-write a comic with Kurt Busiek, I thought about it for perhaps 2 nanoseconds. I’ve been a fan of Kurt’s since THUNDERBOLTS, and MARVELS was a huge influence on me.
Before being printed, purchased by fans and read, comics and graphic novels start off as ideas that eventually become pitches that creators try and sell to publishers. Or, as Vito Delsante, writer of FCHS, puts it, “That’s the hard part.”
Delsante and artist Andrés Vera Martínez are currently collaborating on one such pitch, for a book called Fist of Dracula that shows us what the famed vampire was up to in the 1930s. Although the book doesn’t have a home yet, they agreed to talk to me about the creative and pitching processes, as well as share some pages from the books.
JK: How did the two of you meet?
Vito: Purely by chance. I had written a kids graphic novel for Simon and Schuster (Before They Were Famous: Babe Ruth) and the artist couldn’t come through, so they (S&S) hunted down a new artist, and that artist was Andrés.
Andrés: That’s about right.
Vito: Even after that, we didn’t actually meet until Andrés was done with the book. I like to work with people I know, if only so I can see the art process, but I had to let this one go until the end. I think we kept missing each other, too…like, we’d try to meet each other at Jim Hanley’s or elsewhere, and we’d be off by a few minutes.
Astro City writer Kurt Busiek and novelist Daryl Gregory are teaming up on a new Dracula title, Dracula: The Company Of Monsters — coming from BOOM! Studios in August.
“So. I’m creating and co-writing a new series about a very, very old character, thrust into a modern world unfamiliar to him in a lot of surface ways, but very familiar underneath,” Busiek wrote on his blog this morning.
The book features art by Scott Godlewski and will “take you through the dark corridors of the corporate American boardroom and show you vampires aren’t the only kinds of bloodsuckers!” according to the press release.
“Dracula’s a character who’s always fascinated me,” Busiek said, “and getting a chance to build something firmly rooted in Dracula’s real-world (and Stoker-novel) history, but with a very modern edge, is the kind of creative challenge I love. It’s the world’s greatest vampire against the corporate world — and there’s no easy way to tell who’s the real villain, and who’s the hero. I’m thrilled to be working with Daryl, Scott and BOOM! on this. Putting it together feels like the early days of working on Conan, and I think the results are going to be a real treat for readers.”
Busiek has written everything from Avengers to Thunderbolts to Conan to DC’s Trinity series, as well as the creator-owned Astro City and an upcoming series from Wildstorm that used to be called American Gothic.
This monthly look at three months ahead in the Marvel Universe was going to show the cover to the all new Gorilla-Man #1, but instead I went for the image you see on your right. Please click to embiggen and let’s all try to figure out what’s going on.
Yep, that’s Emma Frost … tonguing a forkful of pancakes while sitting on Scott Summers’ back. There’s a lot of things that boggle me in this picture (When did Emma’s hair get crazy long? Is Scott happy to be sway-backed under the weight of Emma’s California king-sized rump? What expression is that? Where did the Leno chin come from? Is this a repurposed Batman and Robin cover from the Distinguished Competitors?) but really, this all comes down to those shoes. Those human head-sized shoes on those twiggy ankles.
Where did she get those shoes?
In (somewhat) more sensible news, let’s go look at what Marvel has in store for us in the month of July. Women of Marvel seems to be rolling right along, there’s always the collector’s delight of the brand-new #1, and the start of some blood-drinking, non-sparkling threats to our heroes and pals…
P.S.: Thanks for bearing with our technical difficulties. Just like those ankles, my WordPress skills broke under the weight of my own thoughts! I still don’t know what Scott Summers thinks of all this.
All-Action Classics, Volume 1: Dracula
Written by Michael Mucci; Illustrated by Ben Caldwell
Adapting classic literature for a younger audience is tricky business. I mean, any kind of adaptation has its challenges, but taking a novel intended for adults of a century or two ago and making it exciting for modern kids has to be daunting as hell. Especially when that novel is Dracula, which has a difficult narrative style with all those journal entries and spends a lot of time building dread by prolonging events. It’s also violent and bloody.
I’m curious to see how Dynamite’s Complete Dracula handles the slower parts of the story. And how much use they’ll make of captions as opposed to letting dialogue and images tell the story. That’s got to be a hard job and Dynamite has the advantage of targeting an adult audience with presumably longer attention spans. Plus, lots of blood will be welcomed by grown-up vampire fans.
Not that younger readers don’t also appreciate lots of blood, but I imagine that some of their parents aren’t quite as excited about their being exposed to it. Michael Mucci and Ben Caldwell had some hard choices to make. Fortunately, they made all the right decisions and have created an adaptation that’s perfect for their audience – including grown-ups in the mood for a fast-paced, exciting version of Bram Stoker’s story.