INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Diamond has released its Silver Sponsor comics for Free Comic Book Day, meaning that the full array of FCBD comics is now before us. There’s quite a variety: Judge Dredd, Buffy, Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season, Smurfs, Donald Duck, Voltron, My Favorite Martian. There’s an anthology of Middle Eastern comics and a (censored) Howard Cruse comic. Over at The Beat, commenter Torsten Adair points out that BOOM! Studios is putting out a Dune comic that hasn’t been announced anywhere else—although the solicit text makes it clear that this is just the first of a series: “a must-have precursor to the epic launch of the adaptation of Dune books from BOOM! starting in July!” And Marble Season was only announced on Thursday. On the other side of the news cycle, the Oni Press selection, Bad Medicine, was first announced in 2008 and is just now coming to the surface—it isn’t even on Oni’s website. The writers are the extremely busy team of Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, and the art is by Christopher Mitten.
A few other observations: The Gossamyr comic from Th3rd World Studios features art by “talented newcomer Sarah Ellerton.” I don’t know who let that by, but Ellerton is anything but a newcomer; she has been making webcomics (Inverloch, The Phoenix Requiem) for close to a decade now, although it’s clear from the cover that her art has matured quite a bit. Viz is back in the FCBD game but not with their Shonen Jump samplers of years gone by; this year they are all about Voltron Force, and they were pretty excited about these graphic novels at NYCC this year. Yen Press is highlighting their adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices, which was announced at NYCC.
…and in so doing makes my head damn near explode with her talent. Emily Carroll, as you may recall, was the cartoonist between the Halloween sensation “His Face All Red,” a chillingly subtle horror comic that took the comics Internet by storm around All Hallows Eve. Her latest post is a gallery of fan art for a variety of nerd-beloved franchises: Zombies from Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare and Fallout: New Vegas, the “Fear is the mindkiller” speech from Dune, and more — even a pin-up from Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski’s berserk conquistador classic Aguirre: The Wrath of God (see below). It’s always exciting to watch someone go from unknown to must-read (or must-gawk-at, in this case) overnight.
Cartoonist and Heroes Con creative director Dustin Harbin is obviously a comics guy. But even for sequential-art partisans, every once in a while the literary spice must flow. Thus Harbin has created the Dune book club, a weekly discussion of the original science-fiction classic by author Frank Herbert, hosted on Harbin’s blog. In addition to thought-provoking posts and comment-thread chats about the book, which Harbin calls “probably my favorite novel ever,” the book club is also something of an art club, with Harbin, Paul Pope, Patrick Keck, Peter Lazarski, Pen Ward, Thomas “Smo” Smolenski, and Evan Dahm all providing luscious comics and stand-alone illustrations based on the book. (Pope, another big-time Dune devotee, had already drawn a scene from the book in the style of a Wednesday Comics page.) Personally, I’m waiting for someone to take a crack at a sandworm.
Kevin J. Anderson‘s latest novel, Enemies & Allies, will be released tomorrow by William Morrow/HarperCollins. The prose novel is set in the 1950s and tells of the first meeting between Batman and Superman. As detailed by the publisher: “As America and the Soviet Union race to build their nuclear stockpiles, two extraordinary heroes must form an uneasy alliance. These studies in opposites—shadow and light—must overcome their distrust of each other to battle evil and injustice.” The publisher’s website offers consumers a chance to watch a brief video interview with Anderson, as well as a chance to browse inside the book. As detailed by the publisher: “Kevin J. Anderson is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Dune prequels (coauthored with Brian Herbert), and has carved an indisputable niche with science fiction epics, including his own successful Saga of Seven Suns series and The Last Days of Krypton.” In addition to discussing this new novel in this email interview, I also found out about his upcoming epic nautical fantasy series (part novel/part musical CD), Terra Incognita. My thanks to Anderson for his time.
Tim O’Shea: How much did you try to draw from the real world politics of the 1950s in writing Enemies and Allies?
Kevin J. Anderson: I wanted to capture a vivid setting for the novel, to make the backdrop of the 1950s an integral part to the story. I did add certain real-word political events into the story, but I was more concerned with setting the stage than giving a history lesson. After all, we didn’t really have a Superman and a Batman in our version of the world, so the newspaper headlines would have to be different.