Francis Manapul Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Comics A.M. | Police search for man who robbed store employee

Police sketch of the robbery suspect

Police sketch of the robbery suspect

Crime | Police in St. Charles, Missouri, are looking for a man who accosted an employee of the Fantasy Shop outside the comic store Monday morning and demanded she hand over a bank bag. The suspect, who indicated he had a gun, then fled with an undisclosed amount of money, leading to five local schools being put on lockdown for about 90 minutes. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Creators | Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato discuss taking over as the creative team of Detective Comics with Issue 30. “We just want to carve out a small space in the Bat-world and craft stories that resonate with the legions of fans out there,” Buccalleto says. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this legacy.” [USA Today]

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Francis Manapul dives into his cover process for ‘Detective’ #32

detective32b-cropped

On his blog, Francis Manapul pulls back the curtain on his process for the cover of Detective Comics #32, from initial concept sketches to finished piece.

“I had a lot of fun coloring this piece, specially since I got to play around with the logo,” he wrote. “Its placement was integral to the composition and selling the idea of Batman getting pulled under water.”

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Francis Manapul making surprise appearance in ‘Batwoman’ #27

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Readers of DC’s Batwoman have had their fair share of surprises, but this month’s Batwoman #27 has another — but it’s a good one.

Former Flash co-writer/artist Francis Manapul is making a surprise appearance in this month’s issue, and it’s no simple fill-in. It all began as some last-minute help during the holidays but turned into something unique for everyone involved.

“Just before the holidays I got a call from one of my editors asking me for a favor,” Manapul writes on his website. “Now usually that’s followed up by a last-minute cover request with a quick turn-around time. Instead, she opened by telling me her request was rather unconventional. With the holiday season shortening many of the deadlines, regular Batwoman artist Jeremy Haun came up with a neat solution to that problem.”

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Grumpy Old Fan | DC wants January’s comics to keep you warm

Superman vs. giant monsters on Aaron Kuder's cover for January's Action Comics

Superman vs. giant monsters on Aaron Kuder’s cover for January’s Action Comics

The Forever Evil and “Gothtopia” crossovers don’t exactly dominate DC Comics’ January solicitations, but compared to the more mundane goings-on in the other series, they tend to stand out. For that matter, Forever Evil doesn’t sound like it’s promising much more than a lot of clenched jaws, dark humor and grim spectacle.

Still, if it has to happen sometime, it might as well be in January. I don’t mind January so much; it’s the darkest month of the year, but after a hectic holiday season it’s a chance to catch one’s breath. Going back to work after New Year’s Day and realizing there’s not much more to do but look forward to spring is like waking up at the crack of dawn and surveying a wide, flat, featureless plain — gray from the winter cold and just barely lit by the first rays of the distant sun — and realizing that if you’re going to make it across that plain, you’d better start walking.

Sometimes you just have to get through January, is what I’m saying — but sometimes getting through it isn’t so bad.

Whew! How was that for an intro? Weren’t we talking about comics?
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Comics A.M. | ‘Pickles’ creator on rejection and success

Pickles

Pickles

Creators | Pickles creator Brian Crane, who was recently named Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year by the National Cartoonist Society, talks about how he was ready to give up on his dream of being a cartoonist after his pitches were rejected by three syndicates, but his wife wanted him to keep going: “To prove her wrong, I sent it to The Washington Post Writers Group. She proved to be right. Since then, I’ve learned: She’s almost never wrong.” [Comic Riffs]

Comics | Chicago City Council recently passed an ordinance, which takes effect in July, regarding wage theft, and Interfaith Worker Justice, a Chicago organization, has put together a 32-page comic explaining workers’ legal rights and what recourse they have if their employers illegally withhold their wages. [Crain's Chicago Business]

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What Are You Reading? with Brandon Thomas

Uncanny X-Force #1 J. Scott Campbell variant

Happy Easter and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we review the stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we are joined by Miranda Mercury and Voltron writer Brandon Thomas, whose collection of original art and other stuff we featured in Shelf Porn yesterday.

To see what Brandon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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A look at Francis Manapul’s sketches and layouts for The Flash

The first collected volume of the New 52 era of The Flash has hit shelves, and on its blog, DC Comics is showcasing rough layouts by artist and co-writer Francis Manapul. And they’re gorgeous.

In comic stores now (and in bookstores later this month), The Flash, Vol. 1: Move Forward collects the first eight issues of the run by Manapul and co-writer/colorist Brian Buccellato and doesn’t spare on the the extra features, with an inside look at layouts and sketches done by Manapul — some of which are being rolled out on DC’s blog (and below).

In the new wave of creators and runs from the New 52 relaunch, Manapul’s work on The Flash has been a standout for both its art and writing. As most of DC’s marketing is geared toward writers and story developments, it’s a welcome change to see the publisher leaning so heavily on the artistic component.

After years in the industry, Manapul seemed to come of age at DC, first with his work on the Superboy story inside Adventure Comics with writer Geoff Johns, then on the Flash title with Johns, and now on the New 52 Flash title. Much in the way Scott Snyder has become one of DC’s top writers, Manapul is emerging as one of the publisher’s leading artists.

Getting back to the subject of these excellent layouts, DC promises to post more on its blog later this week.

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What Are You Reading? with Tim Seeley

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Tim Seeley, whose work you may know from Hack/Slash, Bloodstrike, Witchblade, Colt Noble, the upcoming Ex Sanguine and Revival, and much more.

To see what Tim has been reading lately, click below.

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Comics A.M. | Order of the Stick and the $1 million Kickstarter model

The Order of the Stick

Publishing | Three million-dollar Kickstarter drives, including Rich Burlew’s $1.2 million campaign for The Order of the Stick, make the fund-raising site look like a pot of gold to some folks, but it’s not that easy: Suw Charman-Anderson, who;s contemplating a Kickstarter drive herself, looks at the factors that make the big money-makers so successful. [Forbes]

Editorial cartoons | The New York Times has responded to Daryl Cagle’s criticism of its hiring policy and fees for editorial cartoonists, saying the newspaper will delay bringing political cartoons back to its Sunday review section until editors have had time to revisit their policies. [The Cagle Post]

Editorial cartoons | For those who want a look at the bigger picture, Columbia Journalism Review surveys the landscape of editorial cartooning and in particular, the economics of syndication. [Columbia Journalism Review]

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Grumpy Old Fan | All Flash has to do is act naturally

"First Season Episode Guide" -- so (sniff) optimistic--!

The Dark Knight Rises is on its way. Man of Steel is filming. The costume from that David E. Kelley Wonder Woman show will finally get some air time. I wouldn’t even bet against Green Lantern 2.

So today, I’m here to talk about adapting The Flash.

Apparently a Flash movie has been in development for several years, at least since Green Lantern went into production (and from a few of the same folks). I don’t know the basics — which by now may well have changed — but I suspect many of us fans would start from the same points: which Flash, which Rogue(s), etc. After so many superhero-comic adaptations, we can derive certain formulae from the things.

However, to me The Flash is different.

The idea of super-speed is ideal for the comics medium, because time basically slows down for everyone but the speedster, and comics excel at playing with the reader’s perception of time. Ironically, though, in a moving-picture setting, the real effect of super-speed is trickier to pull off. Sometimes it works to show everyone else slowing down, as in The Matrix’s “bullet time,” the bionic running of The Six Million Dollar Man, or the tray-catching scene of the first Spider-Man. (Naturally, the last always seemed to be an homage to Barry Allen discovering his powers in Showcase #4.)

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Food or Comics? | A pre-Thanksgiving four-color feast

Wolverine and the X-Men

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d get one from almost every box–Image’s Invincible #85 ($2.99), DC’s DMZ #71 ($2.99), Marvel’s Wolverine and The X-Men #2 ($3.99) and independent title RASL #12 ($3.50). Not much to say about any of these I haven’t already said, except anytime Cory Walker draws a book I’d pay twice cover price.

If I had $30, I’d sneak out of Thanksgiving preparations to first get a book I was surprised I liked as much as I did, despite the last issue’s ending: Shade #2 (DC, $2.99). One thing I wasn’t amped to see was Deathstroke, but given James Robinson and Cully Hammer’s track record I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Next up would be the epic (in my mind, at least) team-up of Warren Ellis and Michael Lark on Secret Avengers #19 (Marvel, $3.99). Seeing Ellis boil down the concept into “Run the mission. Don’t get seen. Save the world.” Hits me right between the eyes, and this new issue’s preview has be salivating over it. Last up, I’d pay the giant size price tag for Fantastic Four #600 (Marvel, $7.99) although my patience has worn a little thin with ending the series then bringing it back for #600.

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Comics A.M. | Other publishers benefit from DC’s New 52 bump

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Publishing | IDW’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein attributes a bump in the company’s September sales to several factors, including DC’s big relaunch: “The reality is the DC New 52 brought some people into comic book stores that hadn’t been in comic stores for a while, and we had the opportunity to sell them some of our books as well as the other books that are available to them. But clearly, people who had not been focused on comics came out of the woodwork a bit.” It didn’t hurt that IDW had its own launches of properties familiar to those outside of comics, including the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, an ongoing Star Trek series and the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover. [ICv2]

Legal | A Belgian judicial adviser has recommended that the nation’s courts reject a four-year-old bid by a Congolese student to have Herge’s 1931 Tintin in the Congo banned, or at least restricted, because of its racist depictions. The recommendation is being viewed as a major setback for the case, as the opinion of the Procureur du Roi (Senior Crown prosecutor) is requested and typically followed by the court. [The Guardian]

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Future doesn’t look bright for Wally West

Art by Joshua Middleton

Peppered with questions over the past few months about the status of Wally West in DC’s New 52, The Flash collaborators Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have professed a fondness for the character, and even teased that he would crop up at some point.

But in a just-posted interview with Comic Book Resources, the co-writers revealed they’ve submitted a Wally proposal to DC. The problem is, the publisher doesn’t seem to be in a rush to reintroduce the former Kid Flash turned Fastest Man Alive.

“The pitch is on Dan [DiDio's] desk,” a laughing Manapul tells CBR. “Let’s see if he finds it! That’s really all there is to say!”

However, when contacted by CBR, a DC representative said there are no plans for Wally West at this time.

Buccellato addressed the Wally Question on his blog in August, shortly before the relaunch: “We often get asked that very fair question, and we wish we had an answer that would satisfy. But the simple truth is we don’t. Our book is about Barry. We are focusing on Barry. And there is nothing we can say to put Wally fans at peace. Sorry, guys. I really am. And we are not bothered when we are asked about Wally. It’s okay to ask us … I’m glad there are people out that that feel so strongly about The Flash. Unfortunately, there is no new information to impart. I can’t tell you why there is no Wally.”

He did offer some speculation, though, centering on Wally’s origin being dependent on Barry Allen, and Warner Bros.’ interest in a Flash movie featuring the latter version.

Check out the CBR interview with Manapul and Buccellato for details of their plans for The Flash.

Comics A.M. | DC, Marvel tease big announcements as NYCC looms

New York Comic Con

Conventions | The New York Post previews this week’s New York Comic Con in a pair of articles, the second of which focuses on announcements from Marvel and DC. Marvel’s “Cup O’ Joe” panel will reveal how Fear Itself, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade and X-Men: Schism tie together, while DC plans to reveal “the surprising origin of a longtime member of the Justice League” and more creators who will work on their New 52 books, in addition to Andy Kubert. Update: Presumably the Justice League member with the surprising origin is Wonder Woman. [New York Post article #1, article #2]

Comics | Not surprisingly, DC saw double-digit increases in September compared to the year before, but the overall market was down a touch as graphic novel sales, lacking this year’s equivalent of Scott Pilgrim, were down. [The Comichron]

Business | Disney CEO Robert Iger, who oversaw the company’s purchase of both Marvel Entertainment and Pixar, will step down as CEO in March 2015. [Bloomberg]

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Official: Barry Allen/Iris West marriage falls victim to DC relaunch

Although this won’t raise the pop-culture alarms that news of the end of the marriage of Clark Kent and Lois Lane did, DC Comics has confirmed that another, much older union will bite the dust in the publisher’s line-wide relaunch: that of Barry Allen and Iris West.

The word comes this afternoon from editor Brian Cunningham, who writes at The Source that Barry, like Clark, is a single man who’s never been married. “I’ll give you all a few seconds to take that in and digest it,” Cunningham says.

That’s right, as with Clark and Lois, post-Flashpoint the nearly 45-year-old marriage of Barry Allen and Iris West never happened. It’s probably not a huge surprise, considering the push to make  superheroes younger and/or more relevant tends to involve the jettisoning of spouses (see also: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson).

But in the New 52, Iris and Barry aren’t dating, either. No, like Lois, The Flash is seeing somebody else — in his case, his longtime lab assistant Patty Spivot, who was introduced back in 1977, when Barry and Iris had only been married for 11 years. Surely the Central City Police Department has rules about relationships in the workplace …

“If that upsets you, sorry about that,” Cunningham writes. “But I make no apologies for opening up a traditional storytelling avenue with our hero’s romantic life, something that’s been shut closed for a very long time now. This is no indictment of marriage. I’m a married man and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But in the realm of fiction, I feel strongly that this change to Barry opens up fresh, new creative directions and exciting new storylines.”

He assures Iris fans that she’ll remain a part of The Flash‘s supporting cast, writing a blog for the Central City Citizen’s website.

The Flash #1, by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, arrives in stores Sept. 28.


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