Francesco Francavilla has been showing us his pulp character the Black Beetle for awhile on his blog, and earlier this year the Beetle made the jump from the screen to print with a three-part tale in the Dark Horse Presents anthology. That story was re-released this past week as its own comic, Black Beetle #0, the precursor to a four-issue miniseries.
Not bad for a character that Francavilla re-discovered while “diggin through my things” back in 2009. Francavilla started creating stories about the Beetle after an informal poll on his blog asked his readers which character he should do more with–Black Beetle or a “sci-fi pulp noir” character named Max Malone. Maybe one day Malone will find his way into Dark Horse Presents.
In any event, if you like pulp heroes or Francavilla’s awesome artwork, this might be the book for you … and here are a few reviews from around the web if you still need help making up your mind:
Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: “The story is straight forward, as such a self-professed ‘mystery novelette’ should be for a zero issue. A special Nazi command has descended upon Colt City to steal an ancient artifact. The Black Beetle works to protect the item and the lady who currently curates it. The tale whizzes by with action set pieces for the Beetle to do his thing and then slower moments to expound character and plot. It is interesting watching Francavilla, as both writer and artist, structure pages. He isn’t afraid to drop plenty of six-panel, over-ten-caption pages while people stand still if it affords him a few breakout moments elsewhere to splash his art out for show. There are four splash pages and two dynamic, scattered double page spreads, where Francailla allows the mood and science of this story to cut loose. He obviously knows how to pace his story and gives himself room to make very pretty art.”
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.
It’s beginning to look a lot like the final Wednesday before Christmas (and the final full one of the year), so with my $15, I’d get some gifts for myself that I know I’ll enjoy: the second issue of Chris Roberson (and now, Dennis Calero)’s Masks (Dynamite, $3.99), the third issue of Brandon Graham’s Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity (Image, $2.99) and Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 (Dark Horse, $2.99). Also, I suspect that I’ll be unable to resist the first part of Vertigo’s adaptation of Django Unchained (DC/Vertigo, $3.99), too.
If I had $30, I’d add another pile of favorites to that list: Judge Dredd #2 (IDW, $3.99), the by-now-amazingly-late-but-still-enjoyable Bionic Woman #6 (Dynamite, $3.99), Hawkeye #6 (Marvel Comics, $2.99), and the latest issue of the always-wonderful Saga (Image, $2.99).
When it comes to splurging, however, then I’m going to be playing it relatively cheaply: That Star Trek 100-Page Winter Spectacular (IDW, $7.99) feels like it might offer just the kind of space-age cheer I’ll be grateful for by mid-week … Happy Warpspeed Holidays, all.
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are the creative team behind the upcoming self-distributed indie comic LP, Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos. You can read more about the comic in the interview Tim O’Shea did with Curt earlier this week.
And to see what they’ve been reading lately, click below.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of his Pulp Sunday blog, Francesco Francavilla announced that his pulp-inspired original character Black Beetle will receive his own Dark Horse miniseries beginning in January.
He also debuted the cover for December’s The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0, which collects the three-part story from Dark Horse Presents #11-13 and includes some extra content.
“I am hugely influenced by pulp stories of the ‘30s and ‘40s, and wanted to develop a series that used that influence as a jumping-off point to explore some modern storytelling with fun twists,” Francavilla explained last December, when the serial was announced. “I think this will be a great introduction to readers who are new to this character and universe, but will also be an exciting new adventure for those who’ve been reading the online stories over the years.”
You can find out more about the character on the Black Beetle blog.
This turned up recently on Andrew Ross MacLean’s Tumblr: Hellboy versus Anung Un Rama. I was unfamiliar with MacLean’s work, but a little poking round his portfolio shows an artist with a really likeable style, one which nicely fuses all the influences he cites, such as Mike Mignola, Gabriel Bá, Rafael Grampa, James Harren, Paul Pope and Paul Maybury (all of whose work he regularly reblogs).
More below: X-Men! Dredd! Spider-Man! Zombie East-Anglian Kings!. Continue Reading »
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our guest today is writer and artist Jimmy Palmiotti, who you know from All-Star Western, Monolith, Phantom Lady, Unknown Soldier, Creator-Owned Heroes, Queen Crab and countless more.
To see what Jimmy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Having recently begun watching Breaking Bad, artist Francesco Francavilla was inspired to create minimalist posters for each episode of the acclaimed AMC drama, “time permitting.” So far he’s tackled the first four episodes, leaving just 42 more — and counting! — to go. You can see two of his posters below; visit Francavilla’s blog to see more.
Breaking Bad returns for its 16-episode final season (alas, split into two parts) on July 15.
The Black Beetle artist Francesco Francavilla has a blog where he shares all sorts of cool pulp-inspired artwork each Sunday, and yesterday he happened to chose to pulp-ify a certain super-team that’s been making headlines all weekend. He’s got three pieces up featuring Hulk the Druid, Captain Amerigo, Thor and Iron Man — two that he did and one by artist Steve Gordon. Go check’em out.
To see what Jessica and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
As I mentioned last week, the T-shirt site Threadless has unveiled the four designs for the fourth round of their “Comics-On Tees” series, this time with a theme of “Monkey Around.” The comics are written by Chris Roberson and feature artwork from Colleen Coover, Mike Allred, Chris Samnee and Francesco Francavilla.
Check out all four designs after the jump, which you can buy individually or as a set for $79.
The folks the social T-shirt site Threadless are gearing up for a fourth volume of their “Comics-On Tees” line, where they ask a writer and four artists to design shirts that tell a story. Although they won’t be officially announced until Jan. 30, they did reveal the creator involved and teased some artwork from the shirts. And based on what they’ve shown so far, it looks like the theme this time revolves around monkeys.
Volume 4 is written by Chris Roberson of iZombie and Superman fame, with designs by artists Mike Allred, Colleen Coover, Chris Samnee and Francesco Francavilla. You can see some of Allred’s artwork above, and Francavilla’s after the jump.
Last week Dark Horse announced that work-horse comics artist Francesco Francavilla was joining the all-star line-up of creators contributing to the revived Dark Horse Presents anthology with a story he’s writing and drawing. Based around a pulp-noir character Francavilla created called the Black Beetle, and definitely looks exciting–and also positions Francavilla as perhaps the next big artist to segue into a writer/artist.
In recent years, artists turned writer/artists have been in vogue, especially at DC with artists like J.H. Williams 3, Francis Manapul and David Finch. Marvel has gotten in the act as well with Oz artist Skottie Young branching out to write the X-Men mini Magneto: Not A Hero. Seeing Francavilla being able to do that on a big stage is heartening, for his talent but also his work ethic.
In 2010 and 2011, Francavilla balanced drawing issues of Detective Comics, Black Panther: Man Without Fear and currently doing Captain America & Bucky while also being a frequent cover artist for Dynamite’s licensed titles. I’m excited to see Francavilla get this chance, and for us readers to get this chance to see more of him — just don’t be surprised if Marvel or DC snaps him up into an exclusive any day now.
Holy hand grenade, it’s been a week of nasty cancellations over at the House of Ideas! Yesterday it seemed like it wouldn’t stop as smaller titles were stripped away seemingly far too soon. Ghost Rider feels like it only just got here, but that’s now ending with issue #8. X-23, a successful breakout character in her own right (and currently on my TV screen in Ultimate X-Men vs. Capcom 3) is gone with Kssue 20. We’ll also be saying goodbye to a personal favorite: Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive is ending as of #529. 2012 does not seem to be a good year for new ideas as, while I can’t say that a Kirby-created character and two male-derivative heroines are all that new, we’re losing some of the more fringe books while our core titles seem to be bringing up old fan favorites.
Then, while PunisherMAX is coming to a conclusion rather than a short and final stop, there’s a quote from a Marvel representative saying that “A big change is coming to the MAX universe and nobody can miss what we’ve got coming.” Couldn’t tell you why, perhaps it’s the littered canceled titles scattered before them, maybe it’s the fact that the MAX titles are a struggle to publish and promote, but this statement doesn’t rest any fears.
The marketplace is vast; I mean, have you seen a Diamond catalog? While I think it’s a little thinner that usual these days, that doesn’t mean it’s not a PHONE BOOK OF COMICS AND COMICS ACCESSORIES produced monthly. Sure, maybe a little more white pages than yellow, but that’s still a lot of published titles you may honestly never see. Or perhaps want to see, as the range and scope of subject matter extends far beyond super-heroes. Marvel itself publishes Halo and Sense and Sensibility comics, and then everything in between. And while I might think Jane Austen is a bore, someone reading right now might be willing to club me with a shoe for maligning the great Jane’s name (please don’t hit me with a shoe). One reader’s Gravity is another reader’s Sammi the Fish Boy. While every comic may have a fan, they might not always have an audience.
Marvel has canceled books before they hit the shelves, before retailers have had a change to order them, and I’m sure there’s even books pitched right now that might never see the light of day. What do we do? What can we do as readers to change such a system, and how do we keep the hope alive? Here are a few thoughts.
Even as Comic Book Resources reports the cancellation of Ghost Rider, a preview of Marvel’s February solicitations reveals Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive will end with Issue 529.
Spinning out of the publisher’s “Shadowland” event, the title launched in December 2010 as Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, picking up the issue numbering of the ending Daredevil as T’Challa became the new guardian of Hell’s Kitchen. The series was written by award-winning mystery author David Liss (A Conspiracy of Paper, The Ethical Assassin), joined by such artists as Francesco Francavilla, Shawn Martinbrough and Michael Avon Oeming.
The solicitation text for Issue 529 teases, “Kingpin vs. T’Challa in this status-quo changing series finale,” raising the possibility that Black Panther could relaunch, or revert to a previous title and numbering. However, October sales estimates place the series at about 18,000 copies, below Marvel’s traditional line of death, and less than the just-canceled X-23 and Ghost Rider.
Those titles join a rapidly growing list of recent Marvel cancellations that includes Alpha Flight, Victor Von Doom, Destroyers, Iron Man 2.0 and All-Winners Squad. In addition, PunisherMAX concludes in February with Issue 22.
Update (1:12 p.m. PT): Liss has commented on Twitter, writing, “Sadly the news is true. Our Black Panther run ends in February with #529. But keep reading until the end. It’s going to be a wild ride!”