The above is a pipin’ hot new strip from cartoonist Dustin Harbin. Harbin, who recently left his job working for Sheldon Drum’s Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find comic store and companion comic convention HeroesCon, has embarked on a full-time career in comics writing, drawing and lettering — the latter seen in the pages of the Marvel/Icon edition of Casanova. I hope this lands him a stint on Superman — seriously.
“I can’t BELIEVE MoCCA’s table prices. They are drinking the same hubris Kool-Aid as SPX. Why are the charity shows always the cheekiest? I saw it and I was like *slaps head*. Although to be fair, I’ve never exhibited there, just been a crowded hot attendee. (I read some interviews with them after the super hot year, they were all like ‘hey listen, it’s summer, it gets hot.’) Not to mention how expensive NYC is in general! Just makes it easier to skip. Also today I got my acceptance letter (???) for APE, after applying 3 months ago. Due date for payment: 1 week from now. I had always heard about how well-run HeroesCon is from guests, but now I see why. Indie shows are organized like block parties. Except the kind of block parties where they charge you like $50 to come in, then charge you for beer too. ‘Dude it’s for charity!’ SPX is pretty fun, but TCAF is the best one easily–plus Toronto = my favorite city! Wait, please exclude TCAF from that mini-rant. TCAF is a dream, a dreammmm. Other shows take note! Okay back to lettering, sorry.”
—Cartoonist, Casanova letterer, and “nicest guy in comics” candidate Dustin Harbin has an uncharacteristically grumpy moment on Twitter over the prices that the MoCCA Art Festival is charging exhibitors, and the administration of indie/alt-comics shows generally (except TCAF, of course). It’s hard out there for a minicomics creator.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Our guest this week is Van Jensen, writer of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. To see what Van and the rest of the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below.
Over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them one simple question: What are you excited about for 2010? We asked them to mention something they were anticipating, as a fan, and also something they were working on (if, of course, it wasn’t top secret). So we’re ending today with the first of three of these round-ups; watch for the other two to be posted sometime tomorrow.
I’m excited by a NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL from Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover that is coming out from Top Shelf this year, that I don’t think I can name because they haven’t formally announced it yet. But really, those two names and a full length work should be all you need to hear to know I’m right.
What I’m most excited about that I’m involved with comes out in just a few weeks, it’s AVENGERS VS. ATLAS from Marvel, where I think my collaborators Gabriel Hardman, Elizabeth Breitweiser and I have really gelled. Even if you’ve never read an Agents of Atlas story, I bet you’ll enjoy seeing the original lineup of The Avengers back on the scene.
Or you’ll at least want in for the LAVA MEN.
Jeff Parker writes a whole bunch of great comics for Marvel, including all the Agents of Atlas projects and Thunderbolts. He also helped us out last year with our Robot Love posts at Valentine’s, in a post titled I ♥ learning from comics. Tim O’Shea also interviewed him about Underground earlier this year, along with artist Steve Lieber.
Brian Michael Bendis! At least according to Samuel Rules of Are You a Serious Comic Book Reader? In a post stuffed with evidentiary linkage, Sammy proclaims “No one used Twitter better in 2009 than Bendis,” citing the Siege writer’s honesty and humor, as well as the “little insights into his life” he provided. “I used to talk a lot of trash on him,” Sammy recalls — “Upon discovering his Twitter, however, I started to understand him as a person, and then kinda wanted to hang out with him.”
Which got me thinking: Who would I proclaim comics’ Twitter-er…Twit…uh, Tweeter of the year?
Would I stick with Bendis, for his informative Q&A alone?
Michael Kupperman, for a consistently hilarious feed that’s like reading Tales Designed to Thrizzle in pictureless 140-character snippets?
Paul Pope, for his philosophical musings?
Ryan “Agent M” Penagos, for having more followers than the rest of the comics industry combined?
But then I remembered the one man whose Twitter account impacted my life, or at least the blogging side of it, more than anyone else. For my money, no one tops the ever-interesting, refreshingly candid Tom Brevoort. Why, just the other day he took to his feed to breathe a sigh of relief about Captain America: Reborn finishing before The Flash: Rebirth as he predicted, size up his chances regarding Siege finishing before Blackest Night, criticize Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver for drawing convention commissions while his book is delayed, and defend Reborn artist Bryan Hitch from accusations of habitual lateness. Can you imagine if everyone in comics were that forthright? I can, and it looks like heaven from here. Tweetin’ Tom Brevoort, we salute you!
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.
A few months back when I interviewed Dustin Harbin regarding this year’s HeroesCon, I made a mental note to follow-up with Harbin in another interview, where we could just discuss his creative projects/process. This interview was conducted via email several weeks back. Late last week, Harbin let me know that while he’s remaining as Creative Director at Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find and Heroes Convention, he will be reducing his hours at the store and has “gone full-time with cartooning”. My thanks to Harbin for another interview, I’m happy to say this one was even more fun than the last.
Tim O’Shea: How much are you paying Tom Spurgeon to pimp your work? Seriously, Spurgeon praises many talented storytellers, but he seems to be your number one fan. Did you buy him a lot of meals when he came to HeroesCon in 2008 or what?
Dustin Harbin: I remember having to argue with Tom just to be able to bring him a water: I tried hard to buy him a drink at the hotel bar, but he was leery of my seductive ways. I think Tom is like a lot of us–he’s a passionate advocate for people he thinks deserve wider recognition. I’m not basing this just on the very VERY kind attention he’s showed my comics so far, but he’s the reason I discovered Richard Thompson’s work, who you’ll agree Tom is an even more vociferous a supporter of. I don’t know what attracted Tom’s good feelings, but I’m incredibly grateful for them.