Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
It’s a good time to be Art Baltazar and Franco. The success of the original Tiny Titans series (2008-12) earned them an Eisner Award, and led to the tiny-fication of features as diverse as Hellboy, Battlestar Galactica and Captain Action. Back at DC, their follow-up Superman Family Adventures only lasted 12 issues, and their New 52 Green Team series (drawn by Ig Guara and aimed at the regular superhero audience) went for only eight. In that regard, wile a six-issue miniseries might seem like an even shorter commitment, I like to think it’s another chance for the duo to show their stuff.
Dark Horse took a rather novel approach with its holiday card this year, turning to Art Baltazar and Franco of Tiny Titans and Itty Bitty Hellboy fame to create not just a card but an unfolding comic, with cameos ranging from Darth Vader and Battlepug to the Mask and Publisher Mike Richardson.
See the rest of the card/comic below.
“We sit at home and make comics and we don’t really see the impact until we go to a comic show or we get letters. I get letters just about every day. I either get a letter or a tweet. I get physical letters mailed to my P.O. Box still, which is cool. That’s how you know you’re doing it — you’re doing it right — because when I’m at home, I am making comics and throwing out the garbage. But when we’re at a convention, we’re like rock stars. [Laughs] And if we get recognized at the grocery store or a comic book shop, that’s pretty cool too.”
— Art Baltazar, about introducing children to reading through comics, in an interview with CBR about the return of Tiny Titans
Longtime collaborators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani have been on a roll recently, partnering their Aw Yeah Comics store with Alter Ego Comics, tackling Itty Bitty Hellboy at Dark Horse, which will also collect their Aw Yeah Comics series, and bringing the “Li’l” treatment to several Dynamite Entertainment titles.
However, they’re not finished yet: Aureliani announced over the weekend on Twitter, “Big news out of DC comics and @dandidio1 says so: can you say: Tiny Titans?,” followed by, “Yes! It’s true! New Tiny Titans coming soon!” Although there’s been no official announcement, DC Comics Co-Published Dan DiDio re-tweeted the second message.
The Eisner Award-winning all-ages series, which ran for 50 issues from April 2008 to May 2012, depicts the lighthearted adventures of child versions of DC heroes (primarily the Teen Titans) at Sidekick City Elementary, where Deathstroke is principal and Darkseid is the lunch lady.
There’s no word yet on when, or in what format, fans should expect the return of Tiny Titans.
Have you ever received an unexpected gift that made you instantly happy? That’s how I felt in late April when Dark Horse announced Itty Bitty Hellboy, a five-issue all-ages miniseries by Art Baltazar and Franco (known for their Eisner Award-winning run on DC’s Tiny Titans and, more recently, Superman Family Adventures). Ahead of the comic’s debut on Wednesday, I spoke with Art and Franco about their fun-loving Aw Yeah-ification of the Mike Mignola/Hellboy universe.
Tim O’Shea: How hard was it to settle on the Itty Bitty Hellboy title?
Franco: That was pretty easy. Artie takes all the credit for that one. What title would best encapsulate what we wanted to do with the character than make him itty bitty!
Art Baltazar: Yes! We went through a few different adjectives before “Itty Bitty” won our hearts.
If money is power, can a superlative amount of money be a super-power?
I don’t mean here in the real world, where the answer to that question is a rather obvious yes, provided we’re using the word “super-power” metaphorically, and referring to things like saving lives and effecting positive change in general. No, I mean in a fantasy world where super-powers are real, like the DC Universe, the setting of The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires, a new series that seems to be positioning itself to explore the question.
Certainly simply being very, very rich has been a key part of plenty of superhero origins, but Bruce Wayne still had to do an awful lot of studying and training to become Batman, even after buying all those gadgets and vehicles, and Tony Stark still needed to be a super-genius to invent and maintain his very expensive suits of armor.
At least one member of the new Green Team seems to be interested in buying his way into the life of superheroics, a potentially interesting angle for the new series and probably a necessary one, given the state of the comics market and DC’s place in it.
Happy Presidents Day weekend, America, and happy Sunday to everyone else. Welcome to a very presidential What Are You Reading?, which really isn’t that different than a regular one, but you can imagine every entry being written by Daniel Day-Lewis if you’d like.
Today our special guest is Chris Smits, publisher of Aw Yeah Comics Publishing! and blogger at Creator-Owned Comics. Aw Yeah Comics, of course, is the all-ages comics series being created by Art Baltazar and Franco, with help from folks like Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Jason Aaron and many others … including Chris. If you’d like to get your hands on the adventures of Awesome Bear, Daring Dog, Polar Cycle, Marquaid, Action Cat and more, then let me point you to their Kickstarter campaign, which has hit its goal but you can still get in on the fun (and the comics!)
And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
So this is what happens when you praise Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run …
Let’s be clear: I do not generally have violent mood swings. My sense of well-being does not depend on the fortunes of DC Comics. I don’t pretend to have any special insight into the publisher’s inner workings, and I’m sure the reverse is equally true. However, after saying many nice things about Green Lantern a couple of weeks ago, and then eviscerating the humorless “WTF Certified” last week, it was pretty surprising to see the May solicitations address both topics.
NEXT, RAFALCA JOINS THE LEGION OF SUPER-PETS
The Green Team may have been a group of entitled, self-satisfied jerks with an abnormal need for validation, but if anyone can make them lovable — or, alternatively, entertainingly clueless — it’s Art Baltazar and Franco. I don’t see this book as DC scraping the bottom of the character barrel. Rather, I take it as a good-faith attempt to update a (perhaps misguided) concept for the sensibilities of our time. Not quite “at least they’re trying,” but … at least it’s not another big-name spinoff, you know? (Although a new Steel series is always welcome.) Regardless, the over/under for this book has to be somewhere around 6 issues.
If the cancellation of DC Comics’ Superman Family Adventures has left you a little deflated, take heart: Longtime collaborators Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar are turning to Kickstarter to launch their Aw Yeah Comics!, an “all-reader friendly” series with contributions from established and new talents alike, including Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Chris Roberson and Jason Aaron. The series was originally announced in July.
The comic, which stars Baltazar and Franco’s Action Cat and Adventure Bug, is designed to appeal to children and adults alike: “Our hope is to present a comic book that has just as much to offer a little girl as it does a little boy, and leave absolutely no one out of the fun. Because fun is important. Fun is a good thing for a comic book to have, and we want to add a little bit more of it to what’s out there now.”
Aw Yeah Comics!, which shares its name with the duo’s Skokie, Illinois, store, will debut in April with Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. According to the Kickstarter page, work on the first three issues is about 80 percent complete, while issues four through six are at about 60 percent. To help reach their $15,000 goal, they’re offering pledge incentives like an exclusive digital comic, an original mini-painting by Baltazar, a guest appearance by a donor’s own character, and a cover by Franco for a donor’s comic book.
The Kickstarter campaign ends March 7.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Mark Sable, the writer and co-creator of Image’s Graveyard of Empires with Paul Azaceta and the upcoming Duplicate from Kickstart Comics with Andy MacDonald. You can find his work and thoughts at marksable.com and contact him @marksable on the Twitter.
To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave, writers of Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, which was released last week by Monkeybrain Comics.
To see what Adam, D.J. and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Holiday or no, it’s a busy week for new comics announcements. The latest is from the Tiny Titans team of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, who chose Independence Day to announce Aw Yeah Comics, a new independent comic series featuring their mascots Action Cat and Adventure Bug, along with, we are promised, “a wide cast of crazy characters.” Each issue will feature different writers and artists, both veterans and newcomers. The monthly comics will be available, in print form, at conventions and at the Aw Yeah Comics store in Skokie, Illinois, as well as by mail order. No word of any digital release.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that when I read that DC Comics was canceling Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans series, I collapsed to my knees, raised my eyes to the heavens and let out a long, low “Nooo!” I would have torn out my hair, if I had any hair to tear out, and I did try to rend my garments. However, I quickly discovered that either I am too weak to rend garments, or my garments were simply too well-made to be easily rend-able.
Tiny Titans quite gradually had become my favorite comic book-format comic; I picked up the first issue out of a mixture of curiosity and cynical disbelief that you could do a mass-appeal kids comic based on DC’s Titans franchise (after all, DC seems to have had trouble doing a narrow-appeal grown-up comic based on the franchise over the decades, if you see how many times its been canceled, relaunched and given new directions and new creators since Marv Wolfman stopped writing it). But I never dropped it, as Baltazar and Franco had decided to do an old-school (like, John Stanley old-school) gag comic featuring kid characters for kid readers, and do it in Baltazar’s own super-cute style, and fill it full of DC trivia and ephemera.
The silver lining of its cancellation was the announcement of Superman Family Adventures, which uses a name most recently used by DC for their Showcase Presents collections combining stories from Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. The new comic was to be by the exact same creative team, which preview art suggested would be told in a similar style. Well, the first issue hit the stands yesterday, and I have some thoughts about it.