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Talking Comics with Tim | Joe Keatinge

Hell Yeah

I’ve been friendly with Joe Keatinge dating back to his days managing PR & marketing for Image Comics. When it was revealed back in October that Extreme Studios was relaunching the line–with Keatinge writing Glory (with Ross Campbell on art), I started generating questions for an interview. In addition to discussing Glory (which relaunches with Glory #23 on February 15, 2012), Keatinge opens up about Hell Yeah (Image), his creator-owned collaboration with artist/co-creator Andre Szymanowicz that premieres on March 7, 2012, as well as another upcoming 2012 project, Brutal, in collaboration with artist Frank Cho. My thanks to Keatinge for this email interview. After reading this piece, be sure to check out CBR’s Joe Keatinge coverage for more insight into the busy writer’s upcoming work.

Tim O’Shea: Did Rob Liefeld approach you to work on the Glory relaunch? Was Ross Campbell already committed to the project when you joined?

Joe Keatinge: While Rob was certainly involved with the process, I was actually approached by Image Comics Publisher and Extreme Editor, Eric Stephenson, almost a year ago now. At the time they had nailed down the idea of the line and I believe a couple of the other books may have had writers, but it was still in the very early stages. After that was the process of giving a quick pitch, which was virtually instantaneous to Eric asking if I wanted to do it, to developing a longer pitch, to Eric and I bringing Brandon Graham on board for Prophet, to discussing Glory with Brandon, to Brandon suggesting Ross Campbell, to seeing Ross’ amazing work and me asking him if he wanted to come on board. He did a few samples which blew away both Eric and Rob. We’ve been working on it ever since.

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Frank Cho reveals the rest of the cover for Avengers vs. X-Men #0

Avengers vs. X-Men #0

Earlier this week Marvel sent out the cover to Avengers vs. X-Men #0, which kicks off their big round-robin crossover by Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Jason Aaron and a slew of other big-name creators.

The cover they sent out by Frank Cho has a fairly large “A vs. X” logo covering up some of Cho’s artwork, so if you’re curious to see what — and who — is under the logo, Cho has shared the logo-less artwork on his blog. Hey look, it’s Ultron!

The #0 issue by Bendis, Aaron and Cho comes out in March.

Previews: What Looks Good for November

The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Dark Horse Presents is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.

Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Ape

Puss in Boots Movie Prequel – I don’t care for movie prequel comics as a rule, but swashbuckling cats are awesome in any incarnation. As long as these are fresh gags and not just ones warmed up from Shrek, I expect to enjoy this.

Archaia

Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Book 1 - I just introduced my son to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth a couple of weeks ago, so this is great timing. He had the same questions about The Dark Crystal‘s world that I always do, so I’m looking forward to seeing Archaia’s take on answering those. Totally feel like the world’s in good hands with this publisher and these creators.

The Sigh - If Archaia’s snagging Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis, Chicken With Plums) new book has been reported already, I missed it. I’m surprised that wasn’t bigger news.

Siegfried, Volume 1 – I’ve been meaning to read P Craig Russell’s Ring of the Nibelung adaptation for years, so I think this might be what pushes me to finally do it. It would be fun to read Russell’s and compare it to this version by Alex Alice.

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Comics A.M. | Keatinge, Cho sign with Delcourt; comiXology rolls out affiliate program

Brutal

Publishing| Joe Keatinge and Frank Cho have signed a three-book deal with Delcourt, a comics publisher in France. The first book of theirs Delcourt will publish will be the first volume of Brutal, which will debut at the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angouleme 2013. Delcourt publishes many American comics in France, including Walking Dead, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Invincible, Rocketeer, Hellboy, The Goon, Haunt and many more, as well as many manga titles.

“On a personal level, French comics have had a huge influence on me. Working within that industry is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I wanted a career in comics at all. Being an author with a book debuting at Angouleme is a goal I thought was many a year away, so this has taken things to a whole new level much sooner than anticipated. While I do plan on going back in 2012, this still gives me a year to work on my awful command of the language before I have to do a signing. Being in the good hands of Delcourt makes me think it’s a good start,” Keatinge said. [Joe Keatinge]

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Frank Cho working on X-Men miniseries

Frank Cho draws the X-Men

Frank Cho, who is busy working on two upcoming series for Image, Guns & Dinos and Brutal, noted on his blog this weekend that he’s working on an X-Men miniseries. Cho notes that he’ll both write and draw the series. “I can’t say too much right now but this miniseries will have three of the hottest women in the Marvel Universe,” he said. As you can see above, Cho is familiar with the X-Men and Women, having drawn the covers for Schism.

Cho also noted he’s working on “pet project” called Jungle Queen, which he will watercolor and paint. “At this point, it will only be published in France where there’s no censorship against nudity like here in America,” he said, adding that it would come out in the next 2-3 years.

SDCC ’11 | A roundup of Saturday’s announcements

Saga

Three down, one to go … here’s a list of the major comics-related announcements made at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday:

• A number of new projects were announced or promoted at Image’s Creator-Owned Comics panel, not the least of which is the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comic books. Vaughan will write a book called Saga, which is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples. Vaughan told CBR that the book is “an epic drama chronicling the life and times of one young family fighting to survive a never-ending war. 100 percent creator-owned. Ongoing. Monthly. Fiona and I are banking issues now.”

• Image also announced that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is collaborating with Charlie Adlard on a new series of graphic novels called Album. The books will be released roughly 18 months apart, 60 pages long, with different themes each year, with the first being Passenger. It’s co-published with Delcourt in France and will be available simultaneously in English and France.

• Jonathan Hickman and Nicky Pitarra will team up for The Manhattan Projects at Image. Hickman is also doing a book called Secret with artist Ryan Godenheim.

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Frank Cho to bring back Liberty Meadows

Good news for Liberty Meadows fans: Frank Cho is working on the long-awaited issue #38, after dropping plans (for now) to make it into an animated cartoon.

Liberty Meadows was originally a newspaper strip, but Cho’s art and sense of humor kept bumping up against editorial standards, and he ended syndication in 2001; “I got tired of the censorship and the low pay,” he told CBR in a 2006 interview, adding that his weakest strips were rush jobs done to fill in for strips that editors refused to run. Cho moved to a comic book format, first self-published, then through Image, but he put Liberty Meadows on hiatus in 2004, after issue #36. Issue #37 came out in 2009.

Cho let loose on his blog about his frustrations with Sony, which acquired the rights to create a downloadable Liberty Meadows cartoon for their Sony Digital division. Here’s his account of how that went:

I wrote the original pilot episode but it was rejected for being too “risque”. So other writers were brought in to tone it down and make it more kid friendly. Once I read the rewrite, I thought it completely missed the point of Liberty Meadows. So I rewrote the rewrite, and this went back and forth couple of times until we reached a compromised script. We turned that script into an traditional 2D animated pilot episode.

Enter Sony Television division. They saw the pilot episode and liked it. Liberty Meadows get bumped up to their television division and a TV series is planned. However there is one request, Sony Television people wanted Liberty Meadows to be more “risque” with adult humor like the “Family Guy”. This is the point where I rip my hair out in frustration.

Then the recession hit and all the executives involved with the project left the company. Fortunately, Cho’s contract had an inactivity clause (something the Tokyopop creators could have benefited from) so the rights have now reverted back to him.

His plan for now is to simply go back to drawing the strip, although he doesn’t rule out another movie or TV deal “if the right offer comes along.”

Frank Cho debuts first image from Guns and Dinos

The Beatles and Jay-Z. Cowboys and Aliens. Now Guns and Dinos?

Guns And Dinos is the name of an upcoming comic series by Frank Cho, and the first image just saw the light of day over on his blog. Cho describes the story as an “action adventure time travel story” where a military base is plopped down in the dinosaur era. The cartoonist promises “tons of violence and gore,” as U.S. Armed Forces go muzzle-to-snout with T. Rexes and their friends.

This is the latest in a volley of creator-owned work Cho has been lobbing to comic audiences; his new Image series 50 Girls 50 is set for release in June, and he’s already announced a harsh super-hero title called Brutal with Joe Keatinge. Although he might be best known as an artist on Marvel titles like the recent New Ultimates, Cho has spent most of his adult life as writer-and-artist on Liberty Meadows, University2 and the much-talked about Shanna The She-Devil series for Marvel.

As readers of that last title can attest, Cho knows dinos — and I can’t wait to read the book!

Cho knows super-heroes

Artist Frank Cho is a busy man. Between illustrating Marvel’s New Ultimates, working on his  upcoming Image series 50-Girls-50 and continuing his newspaper strip Liberty Meadows on his website, he’s just announced a new creator-owned project. Talk all we want, but this released art will tell you more than we ever could:

According to Cho’s blog, the working title of this series is Brutal and is being done in collaboration with Popgun impresario Joe Keatinge. More to come, we’re sure!

Marvel goes bananas for Hitman Monkey

Jason Pearson's Deadpool #20 cover, featuring Hitman Monkey

Jason Pearson's Deadpool #20 cover, featuring Hitman Monkey

The teaser image set the monkey-loving section of the comics Internet on fire — and let’s face it, that’s a pretty big section of the comics Internet. Now the truth about Frank Cho’s gun-toting mystery monkey has been revealed: He’s Hitman Monkey, a new character swinging his way into the Marvel Universe. Editor Axel Alonso tells Marvel.com this simian assassin (technically a Japanese macaque) will first appear in a two-part Marvel Digital Comic Exclusive by Daniel Way and Dalibor Talijic — featuring Cho’s cover — before wreaking havoc in February’s Deadpool #20. Here’s hoping for an eventual crossover with Gorilla Man from Agents of Atlas.

Marvel’s monkey business

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Who is this monkey? Why is he two-fisting handguns? Who’s his tailor? I have no clue what the answers to these questions are — all I know is he’s drawn by simian specialist Frank Cho and being teased on Marvel.com as “Marvel’s hottest new character.” If there’s one thing for sure about comics fans, it’s that we’re monkey whores, so I am therefore passing this on to you our readers.

Tune into Marvel.com on Monday for the big reveal, whatever the heck that might be. And check out Cho’s blog for a sketch version of the piece labeled “Hitman Monkey.” Are there two more glorious words in the English language?


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