Philadelphia comic shop Locust Moon has had an ambitious year with a relocation and an anthology published by Dark Horse, but it’s not done yet. On Dec. 16, the three-year-old store is organizing a one-day comics convention in West Philadelphia’s Rotunda called, appropriately enough, the Locust Moon Comic Festival.
“There are plenty of comic conventions in Philly, but we want to do something that’s not about video games and Star Trek and professional wrestling and geek culture,” store owner Josh O’Neill said in a statement. “[Locust Moon Comics Festival] is about the fierce creativity of cartoonists and writers and illustrators who follow their own paths and speak from the heart. We want to exalt the infinite possibilities of the medium and acknowledge the intrepid talents that restlessly explore and expand its edges.”
The festival lineup includes its poster artist Farel Dalrymple, Jim Rugg, Box Brown, Brandon Graham and David Mack. As part of the festival weekend, Locust Moon will host a gallery show at its store location that weekend and an “all-star” Drink & Draw the day before the festival.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where every week we talk about the comics, books and other stuff topping our reading list. Our special guest today is Rafer Roberts, creator of Plastic Farm–”The strange, terrifying, and hilarious story of Chester Carter’s messianic journey through madness and self-loathing.” Roberts is currently raising money for the second volume on Kickstarter.
To see what he’s been reading, along with the Robot 6 crew, click below …
This week Image Comics released the first trade paperback for Glory, on the heels of the collection of Prophet, two parts of one of the publisher’s more interesting ventures this year: the revival of older, Rob Liefeld-created characters and properties by some of comics’ most creative and individual voices, artists whose style couldn’t be further from Liefeld’s (although, like Liefeld’s, are perhaps just as instantly recognizable) .
The Liefeld-by-others aspect was pushed by the publisher as something of a Marvel-esque gimmick with these books (and their companion titles Supreme and Youngblood), numbering the first issues not with #1′s, but by picking up the numbering wherever it left off, so that the first issue of the new Prophet, for example, was Prophet #21, and the new Glory began with Glory #23.
In a sign of just how successful the books have been (creatively, if not financially; I ‘m only speaking to the former and ignoring the latter in this column), it’s worth noting that these trades are titled Prophet Vol. 1: Remission and Glory Vol. 1: The Once and Future Destroyer. That is, now Image is selling them as their own stories with their own beginnings, and have moved past the gimmick.
The Once Upon a Time Machine anthology (featuring futuristic versions of classic fairy tales and legends) made our picks for what we’re most looking forward to in August, so it’s exciting to see some preview art start to appear. That’s Farel Dalrymple’s wraparound cover above. Below is a sample of Marian Churchland and Brandon Graham’s version of “The Little Mermaid” (courtesy of Graham). The anthology also has a Facebook page where other contributors are sharing snippets of their work.
UPDATE: Once Upon a Time Machine editor Andrew Carl sent us the final art for the anthology’s cover and we’ve updated the image. As Andrew explains, “It’s really only the painted details/colors that are different (and improved), but if nothing else it would certainly make Farel happier to see the complete piece that he’s proud of online.” We’re happy to oblige. The high res image is stunning and lets you see Dalrymple’s painting in close-up detail. Incidentally, this is the first time the final cover has been shared in public.
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, this ever-lovin’ comics fan would first pick out Dark Horse Presents #12 (Dark Horse, $7.99). First off: John Layman and Sam Kieth doing an Aliens story, can you believe that? That debut, coupled with the return of Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus, makes this another DHP worth buying. After that, I’d jump into Prophet #25 (Image, $2.99) to see Brandon Graham’s rollicking story with special guest artist Farel Dalrymple. The creators lined up on this Extreme Comics revival continue to impress me, and I’m excited to see new work by Dalrymple here. Third up would be Secret Avengers #27 (Marvel, $3.99), and I’m all hyped up to see how Rick Remender handles the touchy subject of Marvel’s original Captain Marvel. As for the artist, I’m still waiting for Renato Guedes to wow me the way he did before he jumped from DC to Marvel; the previews for this show some promise, so I’m excited to see the entire package.
If I had $30, I’d double back to get the return of Batman Incorporated #1 (DC, $2.99). Grant Morrison’s schedule, along with the New 52, seemed to harpoon this title last year, but I’m hoping this is some attempt to right that ship. Next up would be Fantastic Four #606 (Marvel, $2.99), seeing Jonathan Hickman come full circle as his run nears conclusion by going back to where the FF started: with four people in space suits. Ron Garney is an interesting choice to draw this one, and his take on the Thing is right up there with Stuart Immonen’s. Last up would be Irredeemable #37 (BOOM! Studios, $3.99). I admit I switched to trades a couple issues ago, but I’m jumping back in — spoilers be damned — to find out the end to this story. I’m a little bit morose that artist Peter Krause isn’t the one drawing the finale given all he put into this, but Diego Barretto is an able artist to draw what Waid has set out for this final issue. Oh, hey, I’ve got $5.06 left so I’ll live up to the the title of this Robot 6 feature and get some food: a hot dog from Voodoo Dogs in Tallahassee. Have you seen their new commercial?
If I could splurge, I’d finish eating my hot dog and pick up Comic Book History of Comics (IDW Publishing, $21.99). I’ve failed at life when I couldn’t track down all six of these issues on my own, but IDW offering it all up in one package saves me from that level of hell. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey have put on a master class here in doing bio comics, especially bio comics about comics, and as a journalist, comics fan and would be comics writer myself this hits all the right spots for an engrossing read.
Earlier this month as a part of our big birthday bash celebration, Sean T. Collins spoke to the Press Gang–Jason Leivian, Zack Soto and François Vigneault–about their upcoming projects, including a new webcomics portal that we were able to preview some of the artwork from in the interview.
And as of this past week, the portal has gone live, featuring a bunch of new webcomics, including:
- Danger Country by Levon Jihanian
- The Mourning Star: Klive’s Story by Kazimir Strzepek
- The Yankee by Jason Leivian and Ian MacEwan
- The Lone Wolf by Jennifer Parks
- Titan by Francois Vigneault
- It Will All Hurt by Farel Dalrymple
According to a post on their blog, this is just the start–Michael Deforge will contribute complete short stories every six weeks or so, Zack Soto’s Secret Voice starts Feb. 3, and yet-to-be-announced contributions are coming from Malachi Ward, Tom Neely and more.
(Please note: Clicking on just about any of the links in this post will take you directly to spoilers for Fantastic Four #600.)
This week saw Marvel revert back to the original numbering for their flagship title, Fantastic Four, as they released the 600th issue of the “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine.” The $7.99, 96-page comic contains five stories, all written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by a variety of artists, including Steve Epting, Rick Magyar, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ming Doyle, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Farel Dalrymple.
And just like they’ve done in the past, Marvel spoiled one of the plot points from the book in order to get mainstream media attention. One of the plot points, anyway; when Hickman was asked on Twitter about a particular article that contained a major spoiler, he replied, “… I haven’t read that article, so I’m not sure ‘which’ spoiler is being spoiled.” Yep, this comic book is just packed.
Here’s a sampling of what folks have been saying about Fantastic Four #600:
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
Over at ComicsAlliance, Laura Hudson has a real treat for those of you who like your superhero comics with an alternative twist: 50-plus pages of sketches, thumbnails, pencils, inks, color studies and more from the Strange Tales II hardcover, which debuted this week. Click on over and get a glimpse at the creative process behind contributions from Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Farel Dalrymple, Rafael Grampa, Dean Haspiel, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier, Benjamin Marra, Edu Medeiros, Harvey Pekar, Frank Santoro, and Paul Vella. That’s hella Strange!
For his contribution to the alt.superhero anthology Strange Tales II, artist Farel Dalrymple copied a page by John Buscema from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way — adding in his own words and integrating it into his Spider-man/Silver Surfer story. Over on his blog, the artist puts the two pages side by side, so you can see how they line up. Be sure to check out the really nice commissions he added to that post as well.
I’ve been collecting David Bowie sketches from comics artists at shows and cons since MoCCA 2007. What can I say? He’s my favorite superhero. In that time I’ve amassed drawings of the chameleonic musician from 97 different artists, and adding to the collection is always a high priority for me at every show. I had exceptionally good luck at this year’s MoCCA — you better hang on to yourself as we flip through this year’s haul!
Niklas Asker (above): Oh man, look at that, just look at it. How can a sketch be shiny? Niklas Asker pulled it off with maybe the most elegant and sexy Bowie of the batch–no surprise, if you’ve seen his graphic novel Second Thoughts.