“I don’t get to decide what gets made into a tv series or film. I cannot, I’m afraid, cause people to give me money for things by magic or force of will. Because, let’s face it, if I could, you’d be part of the slave army building my hundred-mile-high golden revolving statue right now.”
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 dutifully pick up Dark Horse Presents #17 (Dark Horse, $7.99). With all the stories and the variety of genres, this is a comics haul all under one roof. This month’s issue has a great looking Carla Speed McNeil cover, and inside’s star looks to be Richard Corben adapting an Edgar Allan Poe story. Beat that, comics! After that I’d do an Image two-fer with Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (Image, $3.99) and Invincible #96 (Image, $2.99). On the Multiple Warheads front, I’ve been salivating over this ever since it was announced – I bought the premature version of this back when it was published by Oni, and it’s built up in my mind as potentially greater than King City … and I loved King City. In terms of Invincible, I feel this book has the best artists working in superhero comics – and the writing’s not to shabby either. They’re doing a lot of world-building here, and having Cory Walker join with Ryan Ottley on this essentially split book makes it the highpoint of the series so far.
If I had $30, I’d double back to Image and get Prophet #30 (Image, $3.99). Of all the prophets, I love Old Man Prophet the best – and this issue looks like a mind-bender. After that I’d get Ghost #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99). Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto look like a dream team and Dark Horse really scored a coup by getting them together on this book. I was a big fan of the original series (Adam Hughes!) so I’m excited to see if this new duo can make it work in a modern context. Third up would be Secret Avengers #33 (Marvel, $3.99). Make no mistake, I love that Rick Remender is so popular now that he’s graduated to the upper echelon of books, but I’m remorseful he’s having to leave his great runs on this, Uncanny X-Force and Venom. This Descendents arc is really picking up steam. Lastly, I’d get National Comics: Madame X #1 (DC, $3.99). I’m a fair-to-middling fan of Madame Xanadu, but the creators here – Rob Williams and Trevor Hairsine – mean it’s a Cla$$war reunion! Love that book, love these guys, and love my expectations here.
If I could splurge, I’d splurge all over Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine (Dark Horse, $15.99). Can DH do two excellent anthologies? We’ll see… but fortunately they’ve got Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy to lead the way in this pulpy throwback. Shine on, you crazy super-detailed diamond, shine on.
Since its founding in 1992, Image Comics has become a bastion for creator-owned comics — printed creator-owned comics, that is. Its 20th anniversary is a banner year for Image, with a multitude of prominent new series as well as stalwarts like Spawn and The Walking Dead reaching some milestones. However, the publisher has stayed completely out of the webcomics game. Yes, Image releases some of its books digitally the same day as print, and Top Cow is partnering with digital portal Thrillbent for the new Pilot Season titles — but in terms of Image Central titles debuting original material first and building a creator-owned frontier online, nada.
In the more than 25 years since the advent of online comics, the medium has steadily built up steam and has become a major part of the broader comics industry — but its largely been separate from “comic books” the way comic strips and political cartoons are. But that division is breaking down every day, with DC and Marvel experimenting with digital-first comic books, and print heavyweights like Mark Waid, Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen creating comics for the web with any print considerations held off until later. In print comic books the majority of the titles are company-owned, but in the free range of webcomics that is practically flipped in favor of creator-owned comics.
Digital comics | George Gene Gustines takes a quick trip through the landscape of digital comics, dropping in on Mark Waid, comiXology’s David Steinberger and Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men Infinite Comic. Much of this is familiar territory to regular readers of this blog, but hey, it’s The New York Times noticing digital comics! [The New York Times]
Digital comics | FreakAngels writer Warren Ellis looks at three recent digital comics, noting how they all limit themselves to “two-tier storytelling”: “Accepting and exploiting new limitations is always part of a new format. These three projects, though, can’t produce even a full-page spread without some serious scheming and dancing.” [Warren Ellis]
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
After over three years and six volumes of comics, Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield‘s Freakangels became one of the highest-profile webcomics to come from a traditional comics industry creator. But while Ellis was an established veteran, artist Paul Duffield was a newcomer who took to the project with aplomb. Now that the series reached its conclusion earlier this year, news of what the artist would do next has been something conspicuously absent… until now.
Duffield is returning to the field of webcomics with his own series, The Firelight Isle,which follows two teens (and lifelong friends) who live in a fantastical world of magic and mythology. Unlike FreakAngels which was financed by Avatar Press, The Firelight Isle is a labor of love for Duffield, and he’s set-up a fundraising campaign for it at IndieGoGo.
The artist plans to commit one day a week to produce the comic, resulting in a weekly update but not of the size of the work-for-hire FreakAngels output of six pages per week. Duffield isn’t formally launching the project for several months, but has set up a development blog to follow his process.
Publishing | Sales of comic books and graphic novels in July fell 6.17 percent versus July 2010, with dollar sales of comic books sold through Diamond Comic Distributors falling 4.27 percent and graphic novels falling 10.10 percent year-over-year. Unit sales for comics were only down slightly, at .52 percent, which ICv2 points out “indicates that comic book cover prices have in fact declined. The problem is that circulation numbers have not risen enough to make up for the decline in revenue from lower cover prices.” Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man #666, which kicked off the “Spider-Island” event, was the best-selling comic of the month, while League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III Century #2 from Top Shelf topped the graphic novel chart. John Jackson Miller has commentary.
Marvel saw a slight increase in its dollar market share for July when compared to June, while DC’s jumped from 28.03 percent in June to 30.55 percent in July. IDW, the No. 5 publisher in terms of dollar share in June, moved to the No. 3 position in July. The top seven publishers were rounded out by Image, Dark Horse, Dynamite and BOOM! [ICv2]
As we noted a week ago, Sam Humphries and Steven Sanders self-published a science fiction comic called Our Love Is Real, which subsequently sold out in print in nine hours. A second print is on the way (that’s the cover you see to the right) and it’s still available digitally through their website or comiXology.
Humphries, a former Robot 6 guest contributor and my fellow panel member in San Diego next week, agreed to share a list of what he considers to be some of the great science fiction comics. Note that he chose not to use the words “best” or “favorite” to describe the list. “‘Favorite’ or ‘best’ implies more commitment than I’m ready to give,” he said.
So without further ado …
Six great science fiction comics, by Sam Humphries
1. AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo
A giant of science fiction, often imitated, never surpassed. At its heart is a tale of a bromance gone wrong, two best friends who carve their years of brotherhood and resentment across Tokyo, Japan, and the Moon. The anime adaptation is superlative, but the manga, sprawled across six thick volumes of meticulously drawn, hi-octane pages, is a true monumental achievement. I’ll be gunning for this No. 1 spot ’til I die. G.O.A.T.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from “big two” stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, though, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — and one writer in-particular has more to offer than anyone else: Warren Ellis.
Warren Ellis emerged in the late 1990s as the foremost sf writer working in comics. Starting with the seminal DC/Vertigo series Transmetropolitan and moving into his re-invention of the superhero genre with The Authority, Planetary and later Nextwave, Ellis became a rare thing — a successful writer in both the creator-owned field as well as the super-hero dominated work-for-hire mainstream. Along the way he became a prolific writer, with seemingly more graphic novels and trade paperbacks on shelves than any other comic creator. He’s produced more than 40 creator-owned series, with the recent film REDderived from the three-issue series he did with Cully Hamner. Ellis himself is no stranger to Hollywood — he’s worked on animated films for G.I. Joe, Castlevania and the upcoming anime based on Marvel’s Iron Man and Wolverine.
With such a broad and intelligent ouvre of work, Hollywood’s already lined up several more Ellis works they’d like to put on the big screen — but here are some ideas they may have not thought of (yet).