Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
For the past few months, Frank Cho has talked in semi-veiled fashion about his plans to return to creator-owned comics, and earlier this week he put a name to it. On his website ApesandBabes.com, the artist announced two series he plans to launch 2015, as well as eight additional projects he’ll roll out over the next four years.
Cho’s formal return to creator-owned comics is targeted to begin next spring with World of Payne, which the artist has described as a “quirky adventure story with heavy doses of comedy and horror.” Cho created this series with Thomas E. Sniegoski, and previously revealed his designs for the book’s unique reptilian monsters.
Frank Cho has been off in the jungle, and what he’s returned with is both familiar and new.
Earlier this week the artist formally announced his next major creator-owned series, The Jungle Queen. Alluded to previously in interviews and blog posts, The Jungle Queen sees Cho return to the subgenre he visited in Marvel’s Shanna The She-Devil and in the indie series Cavewoman by Bud Root. While the story of The Jungle Queen is still shrouded in mystery, if you like Cho’s memorable drawings of women, dinosaurs and women with dinosaurs, this looks like the book for you.
Frank Cho hates Superman. Don’t take my word for it; just ask him. But after years of friendly queries by an art-collector friend, Cho bit the bullet and took on a rare commission of Superman — but only if he could do it his way.
“One day the impossible happened, I was bored and I had some free time and Hawaiian Dave gave me a big wad of cash. On top of that, he told me that I can draw whatever I desire as long as Batman and Superman is in it …,” Cho explains on his blog. “Since I hated Superman so much, the only logical conclusion was to do the scene in the Frank Miller’s masterpiece The Dark Knight Returns, where the old Batman comes out of retirement and beat the shit out of Superman. And off I went.”
Just when it seemed the debate had cooled surrounding Lobo’s “new look,” Frank Cho stepped into the fray with a classic interpretation of the character, accompanied by a word balloon that read, “Who’s the ass that changed the costume and made me look like a ponce?”
Now Ben Oliver, who drew Justice League #23.3: Lobo, has poked back with an illustration of his own, sporting just one word: “Wah.”
Last Wednesday saw the release of Battle of the Atom #1, the first part of a 10-part crossover through the various X-Men titles. The first issue is written by Brian Michael Bendis, current scribe of two of the four X-titles it’ll run through, with art by Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia, and a cover by Art Adams to give it that “big X-Men event” feel.
So how promising was the first issue? Here are a few reviews from around the web:
There’s only one problem worse than too much work: not enough. And Frank Cho is trying to juggle an overflowing work schedule while letting off a little steam on his artblog.
Cho, who’s drawing Marvel’s new event X-Men: Battle of the Atom, describes himself as at a “crossroads” in his career. He’s been Marvel-exclusive since 2002, working on everything from Spider-Man to the Avengers and the recent debut arc of Savage Wolverine. But in that time, Cho has been steadily amassing the ideas, and in his spare time, the art, for a variety of creator-owned projects — projects that, while he’s able to spend some time on them, he can’t devote his full energies to complete.
Creators | Stan Lee, characterized by CNN as “the Godfather of comic book heroes,” is modest about his own achievements in a new interview: “If my publisher hadn’t said ‘let’s do superhero stories’ I’d probably still be doing A Kid Called Outlaw, The Two Gun Kid or Millie the Model or whatever I was doing at the time.” He reflects on the increased female audience for comics and discusses some new projects, including a new superhero, The Annihilator, created specifically for a Chinese audience. [CNN]
Comics| Chris Huntington reflects on the importance of Miles Morales for children of color, like his son: “… To see Spider-Man pulling his mask over a tiny brown chin – to see a boy with short curly hair sticking to the ceiling of his bedroom— well, something happened. Dagim has been Spider-Man for two Halloweens in a row. He takes a bath with his Spider-Man and a toy killer whale. He has Spider-Man toothpaste and a Spider-Man toothbrush. If Spider-Man offered medical coverage, I think he would want that, too. My son somehow understands that there is a Peter Parker Spider-Man, who is vaguely grown-up and my age, and a younger Spider-Man, closer to his age. That’s just how Dagim likes it. He even understands that Peter Parker — like Superman, like Batman – wasn’t raised by his birth parents. The best superheroes were all adopted like him.” [The New York Times]
Before heading off to Charlotte, North Carolina, for this weekend’s HeroesCon, Frank Cho offers a tantalizing clue to his secret follow-up to Marvel’s Savage Wolverine in the form of a cover detail that clearly shows Emma Frost (in full below), along with what may be Angel in his classic X-Men costume. Those other elements are anybody’s guess.
“Now, people have asked me what’s coming up after my Savage Wolverine run,” Cho writes. “Well, gang, Marvel will announce it soon. In fact, I’ve just received the full script this week and just started drawing it. It’s a doozy.”
This weekend he’ll be at Artists Alley table AA-1503, where maybe you can pry a few more clues from him.
Although Frank Cho has earned acclaim for work ranging from Liberty Meadows to Shanna the She-Devil to Mighty Avengers, his often-racy pinups frequently garner the most notice.
However, that attention isn’t always positive. Such is the case on Facebook, which apparently blocked Cho’s account for about half of Tuesday.
Artist Gene Ha passed along the news last night from Cho, who wrote, “Someone took offense to my artwork and got me BANNED from Facebook. My account is completely locked out. This is my third offense. The first two times, I was suspended. But this time I can’t even login. The screen goes white. At this point, I just want to know which image got me banned.”
But shortly thereafter, the matter appeared to have been resolved, with Cho again having access to his Facebook account.
After 14 hours of hell, my Facebook account is working again with no explanation,” the artist wrote. “Every time I login, my screen went completely white. I tried login on 3 separate computers and all 3 went blank. My tech buddy, Brandon Peterson, figured out that it was not a physical problem but someone from Facebook admin just put a block on my account. Now they just lifted my block without a reason or explanation.”
While Cho is back on Facebook, for now, which image triggered the apparent ban remains a mystery.
Although he’s now wowing readers with his work on Marvel’s Savage Wolverine, Frank Cho can’t help but hint at a return to creator-owned projects. Between process posts on his blog, Cho has teased not one but three creator-owned books he has in the works. And that’s not counting the ones he’s discussed before.
“2013 is shaping up to be one of my most creative and productive year,” Cho writes. “I have several creator-owned projects in various stages of completion.” This would be a return for Cho, who made his name doing creator-owned work like Liberty Meadows and made some selective returns with Zombie King and 50-Girls-50, looks to be thinking about a return while working on pages for Marvel.
Let’s see if we can count them off for you:
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, I’d start with Black Beetle #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99), Francesco Francavilla’s pulp action hero who jumps into his own miniseries after a run in Dark Horse Presents. I’d also grab Threshold #1 (DC Comics, $2.99), which continues the story from last week’s New Guardians annual, featuring a new Green Lantern and a whole bunch of cosmic DC characters. I’d also grab Comeback #3 (Image, $3.50), as I just got around to reading the first issue and really enjoyed it. They’re doing some fun stuff with time travel that should make for a cool series. That leaves room for one more, which is a hard choice … but let’s go with Indestructible Hulk #3 (Marvel, $3.99), because I love the new direction and take on the character and his status quo.
If I had $30, I’d also pick up Saga #9 (Image, $2.99) and Daredevil #22 ($2.99), because, well, Saga and Daredevil. I’m also really digging what Kelly Sue Deconnick is doing with the Avengers, so next I’d get Avengers Assemble #11 (Marvel, $3.99). Lastly, I’d grab Captain America #3 (Marvel, $3.99), as I’m really worried about Cap and the kid, and hope they come out of Zola’s world OK.
Finally, for my spulrge, I’d go with the big Paul Pope book from Image, One Trick Rip-Off ($29.99).
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we welcome special guest Joshua Williamson, writer of Masks and Mobsters, Captain Midnight (which has been running in Dark Horse Presents), Uncharted, Voodoo and much more.
To see what Joshua and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Although he refers to it as “my secret Marvel project,” Frank Cho labeled this image as “Shanna cover art progress.” Could Marvel be adding a third, female-starring series to its roster alongside Captain Marvel and Red She-Hulk? Cho’s already done two Shanna miniseries for Marvel (in 2005 and 2007), so this is likely another one of those, but how cool would it be if it’s something longer?
As for the cover itself, Cho drew the entire thing with a BIC ball-point pen in about five days. He also states that “the final cover has been ‘editorially tweaked’ and will not exactly look like this art.”
The cast of Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows is ready for Comic-Con International in typical cheesecake fashion, as the crew sports the outfits of a certain popular science-fiction franchise from the 1960s.
“It was interesting to see all the details on the costumes and the props while studying the reference photos,” Cho wrote on his blog. “I couldn’t believe how simple and crude the captain’s chair was. I just cracked up looking at all the 1960’s beehive hair-dos on the female cast. Talk about walking down memory lane. Despite the shoe-string budget and the dated look, Star Trek still told great emotional and entertaining stories. And this print is my nod to that great classic show. Live Long and Prosper.”
Colored by Brandon Peterson, the print is limited to 250 copies and costs $20. It’s available at booth #4907, the Big Wow Art booth.
Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron, two of the five writers of Marvel’s upcoming crossover series Avengers vs. X-Men, gave folks a taste of what’s to come this week with the release of the crossover’s zero issue. Each writer told the story of a pivotal character from their respective franchise, both drawn by Frank Cho, as Aaron focused on Hope Summers and Bendis turned his attention back to the Scarlet Witch for the first time in many years.
There has been a lot of hype and some pretty big expectations from this series so far, so how did this first taste do in the “whet my appetite” department? Here’s a round-up of opinions:
James Hunt, Comic Book Resources: “Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 contains two stories: one starring the Scarlet Witch with the other starring Hope Summers. Both are used to succinctly introduce the characters forming the center of the crossover, explaining who they are and their current status quos. Rather than being simple recaps, these stories also move their stars forward, offering a piece of new information or new development in their lives you can’t get anywhere else. Whether you’re a fresh reader or an existing fan, you should feel equally satisfied with this issue.”