George O'Connor Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Comics A.M. | Books-A-Million sees growth in manga sales

Books-A-Million

Books-A-Million

Retailing | The Books-A-Million retail chain reported significant growth in the last quarter, due in part to strong sales of manga and strategy games. “Sales in the graphic novel category … grew nicely on the strength of a significant resurgence in the interest in several manga series, particularly Attack on Titan,” CEO Terry Finley said in an earnings call. The chain’s sales increased 1.2 percent, and same-store sales were up 1.8 percent last quarter compared to the same quarter last year; by contrast, fiscal year 2013 sales were down by 9.4 percent from the previous year. [ICv2]

Creators | Jeff Lemire talks about his new graphic novel Teen Titans: Earth One, which reflects his love of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s The New Teen Titans: “I wanted a fresh and clean take on a teen super-team without having to rely on other heroes or continuity. So I gravitated to these unique teen characters Marv and George had created, and re-envisioned them through my own sensibilities along with artist Terry Dodson, who really helped them come to life.” [The Kindle Post]

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Comics A.M. | This weekend, WonderCon returns to Anaheim

WonderCon

WonderCon

Conventions | The Orange County Register previews WonderCon, which returns this weekend to Anaheim, California, and selects some of the highlights from the programming schedule, including panels dedicated to “Batman: The Zero Year,” The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. [Orange County Register]

Conventions | The Los Angeles Times wraps up last weekend’s Fabletown and Beyond. [Hero Complex]

Conventions | The Detroit News runs down the upcoming slate of Michigan conventions dedicated to comics, anime, fantasy/sci-fi, horror and collectibles, ranging from Shuto Con to Kids Read Comics! to Detroit FanFare. [The Detroit News]

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Previews: What Looks Good for March

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

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

Comic Book Creator #1

Graeme McMillan

Comic Book Creator #1 (TwoMorrows, $8.95): I still fondly remember the now-defunct Comic Book Artist magazine from years ago, and now the creator of that magazine, Jon Cooke returns with a new 80-page offering to take its place. With a first issue filled with Jack Kirby, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, this is a must-read for me.

Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #1 (Dynamite, $3.99): Waid has been having a career renaissance, in terms of recognition at least, and that led to getting his name on the title of this new revamp of Dynamite’s Green Hornet line (art is by Daniel Indero). I dig the creator, I dig the character, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when the two collide.

The Secret History of Marvel Comics HC (Fantagraphics, $35.00): I’ve been looking forward to this one since I first heard about it. Blake Bell looks at the non-comics material being published by the company that would one day become Marvel Comics, including pulp and girlie mag work by Jack Kirby, Bill Everett and Dan DeCarlo. It’s like the perfect companion for Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story!

Star Wars: Legacy — Prisoner of the Floating World #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99): As if the Brian Wood series wasn’t enough to get me back into Star Wars comics, now we get a new series from the Planet of the Apes team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman? If these are the final days of Dark Horse’s Star Wars license as many are rumoring, then they’re definitely going out with a bang.

Wake Up, Percy Gloom HC (Fantagraphics, $24.99): I fell madly in love with Cathy Malkasian’s beautiful Percy Gloom graphic novel a few years back, which was as beautiful as it was unexpected, so there is little to no way that I am not eagerly anticipating this follow-up. For those who like gorgeously-illustrated, melancholy and touching books: This is for you.

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Exclusive Preview | George O’Connor’s Poseidon: Earth Shaker

I’ve gone on at some length about how awesome George O’Connor’s Olympians series is. His most recent volume even made my Top 10 comics of the year. I’m also on record as digging Aquaman and other ocean-based characters, so it’s exciting that these interests are coming together in March with Olympians, Volume 5: Poseidon — Earth Shaker.

As is typical for the series, O’Connor won’t just tell the story of everyone’s favorite sea god, but will also include the myths around associated characters. In this case: Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus and Polyphemos, and the founding of Athens.

Publisher First Second provided ROBOT 6 with the following exclusive preview:

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Across the Pond | A roundup of U.K. comics news

The long-lived children’s comic The Beano has a new look (and a new subtitle: The Beano starring Dennis the Menace and Gnasher). Comics artist Lew Stringer takes a look inside at some of the changes. Nigel Parkinson takes over on Dennis the Menace, who will start to be menacing again; his character was watered down a while ago, but apparently the editors have started listening to 8-year-old boys, which is a good thing in this case. And several of the long-lived comics have had art changes. Only 19 of this issue’s 36 pages are comics, though.

• Stringer also reviews a history of The Dandy, which has the same parentage as The Beano but in recent years has become the edgier of the two (i.e. more fart jokes). It looks like The Beano may be evening things out a bit in that regard. John Freeman posts a lengthier review of the book at Down the Tubes.

• Jeremy Briggs talks to the organizers of Carlisle Mega-Con, a new convention taking place next weekend. As the organizers are also staffers at the local Waterstone’s, they have some insight into local tastes; interestingly, manga and superhero comics are both popular, but customers really prefer “genre books with a dark edge to them such as Vertigo.”

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What Are You Reading? with David Harper

Saga #3

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.

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

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First look at George O’Connor’s Poseidon

George O’Connor has posted some preview art from Poseidon, the fifth volume in his Olympians series for First Second. He also reveals that the book’s subtitle will be Earth-Shaker.

Comics A.M. | Rich Burlew on his $1.25M Kickstarter campaign

The Order of the Stick

Creators | Rich Burlew discusses the staggering $1.25 million Kickstarter campaign for reprints of collected editions of his Order of the Stick webcomic, and reveals initial postage for the five waves of shipments is estimated at $350,000. He also delves into how much time he devoted to the fundraising drive, and his strategy for reinvestment. [Publishers Weekly]

Conventions | Table space for September’s Small Press Expo has sold out: “The hardest part about producing SPX each year is not being able to accommodate all of the awesome talented folks who would like to exhibit at the show. Even with our largest show floor ever we’ve sold through all of our available table space in record time.” [SPX]

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Food or Comics? | Hades or haddock

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.

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man

Graeme McMillan

It had to happen; I’m so uninspired by this week’s offerings, I’d skip the $15 altogether and go straight for the $30 option, which I’d spend on the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Premiere Edition Vol. 1 HC (Marvel, $24.99); I ended up skipping out on the single issues after #3 because of the price, but I enjoyed it enough that I’d happily pick up the collection.

If I were looking to splurge even more than that, there’s also the Spider-Man: Spider-Island Companion HC (Marvel, $39.99), which gives me a chance to catch up on the peripheral titles from the recent event; I picked up the Spider-Girl series, but missed out on the well-reviewed Cloak and Dagger and other books.

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes

Brigid Alverson

You know who is getting a lot of my money this week? Abrams, that’s who: I’m going two for two on their releases this week.

If I had $15, I’d keep it all-ages, with their Explorer: Mystery Box anthology, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, who was also responsible for the Flight anthologies, so you know the talent lineup will be stellar. At $10.95, the paperback edition won’t break the bank, and it’s a good deal for 128 pages of full-color comics. That leaves just enough for issue #5 of Roger Langridge’s Snarked ($3.99).

If I had $30, I’d put Snarked back on the shelf and pick up another Abrams book with a more adult subject: My Friend Dahmer ($17.95 for the paperback). Derf Backderf went to school with Jeffrey Dahmer; one grew up to be a cartoonist, one became a serial killer. I’m always interested in how people evolve, and by all accounts, Backder’s story of the young Dahmer is fascinating.

Splurge: A big pile of manga! This is Viz’s big release week for comics stores, and they have a lot of worthy titles: Vol. 19 of Naoki Urasawa’s outstanding 20th Century Boys, vol. 6 of the lovely pseudo-historical shoujo drama The Story of Saiunkoku ($9.99), vol. 9 of the I-want-to-be-a-mangaka drama Bakuman ($9.99), and the first volume of a new series about a sassy girl in a new school, The Devil and Her Love Song ($9.99). There are some weeks when I can barely figure out how to spend any money at all, but between Abrams and Viz and BOOM!, this week really does bring an embarrassment of riches.

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Robot Review | Olympians: Hera – The Goddess and Her Glory

Olympians, Volume 3: Hera - The Goddess and Her Glory

Olympians, Volume 3: Hera – The Goddess and Her Glory
Written and Illustrated by George O’Connor
First Second; $9.99

I used to hate Hera. Still do, most of the time; the way she’s portrayed. I mean, even in the Greek mythology I read as a kid, Hera was always picking on Hercules; sneaking snakes into his crib; getting him to kill his own kids. And I liked Hercules. I grew up reading comics about him and catching the occasional Steve Reeves movie on Saturday afternoon TV. How could you not like a guy who killed an invulnerable lion and then wore its skin as armor? And none of those stories – right up to and including the ones with Kevin Sorbo – had anything good to say about Hera. Not until George O’Connor.

O’Connor’s been teasing his interpretation of the Queen of the Gods since the first volume of Olympians. That one was about Zeus, whom O’Connor presented as a hero, but one who couldn’t control his own libido. He’s not defined by his sex addiction, but it certainly influences his choices and makes life miserable for the women in his life. When Zeus first notices Hera in that volume, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her. She’s just minding her own business, talking with a friend, and Zeus appreciates her from afar. “Oh, no,” I thought, knowing where that story would eventually end up.

This third volume of Olympians is where it ends up. Over the last couple of installments – and in interviews and on his blog – O’Connor’s been saying that Hera is his favorite goddess. He explains it again in the Author’s Notes to this book. “Part of it,” he writes, “is because she’s the one person that Zeus well and truly fears.” But the reason for that – and the reason she has the reputation that she does as a shrewish, jealous wife – is because Zeus is a terrible husband. The emphasis is O’Connor’s. So, though Hera’s always been my least favorite goddess, I’ve been eagerly awaiting O’Connor’s stab at changing my mind. His first two volumes, Zeus and Athena were so excellent that I had high expectations for Hera. If anyone could turn her into a hero, it was O’Connor.

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Food or Comics? | The League of Spontaneous Olympians

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.

Spontaneous #1

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, the first thing I’d grab would be a complete nostalgia-buy: DC Retroactive: Justice League of America – The 70s #1 (DC, $4.99), because I am a complete and utter sucker for JLA stories, and grew up reading old back issues of the title I found at used bookstores. This would be worth it for the reprint at the back alone, never mind the new story by Cary Bates that looks like it’s playing around with the multiverse one more time. To accompany that, I’d also pick up the first two issues of Joe Harris and Brett Weldele’s Spontaneous (both $3.99), because – even though I missed the Free Comic Book Day release of the debut – I’m a fan of Harris’ Ghost Projekt and Weldele’s work on The Surrogates, and curious to see just where a book about spontaneous human combustion can actually go.

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What Are You Reading? with George O’Connor

The Incal

Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. JK Parkin is off in San Diego trying to get that Elvis Stormtrooper’s autograph, so I’ll be your host today. Our special guest this week is George O’Connor.

O’Connor is probably best known as the author of the ongoing Olympians series of graphic novels, which attempt to retell classic Greek myths (the latest, Hera, just came out from First Second). He’s also the author of such books as Journey Into Mowhawk Country and the children’s picture book Kapow, as well as the artist of Ball Peen Hammer, which was written by Adam Rapp.

To see what George and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading …

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Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs: Zeus, King of the Gods

Olympians: Zeus, King of the Gods

Olympians: Zeus, King of the Gods

Olympians: Zeus, King of the Gods
Written and Illustrated by George O’Connor
First Second; $9.99

When I was putting together my picks for What Looks Good for April last week, I left out a book. I probably left out a bunch of them – that’s the nature of that kind of column – but one that I know I left out was First Second’s Olympians, Athena: The Grey-Eyed Goddess. I hadn’t started reading Zeus, King of the Gods yet and didn’t know what to expect from the sequel. Should’ve known, because it’s First Second and I’ve never disliked anything they’ve published, but I erred on the side of caution and left it out. And err I did. Having read Zeus now, I can’t wait for Athena.

At the end of last year, I talked about how Demons of Sherwood revived my love for medieval adventure. There’ve been a few projects like that lately that have reminded me why I used to love something as a kid. George O’Connor’s Zeus has done that for Greek Mythology. It perfectly walks the microbe-thin line between faithfully retelling the myths and embellishing them for the sake of entertainment. As much as I appreciate books like Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, they’re pretty dry accounts of these stories and rely on the inherent adventure in the tales for most of the excitement. At the other end of the spectrum are countless books and movies that just take the characters and tell new stories with them without any regard for the originals. Those are fun, but they’re not mythology, you know?

Taking most of its material from Hesiod’s Theogony, O’Connor’s account tells the story of Zeus up to his overthrow of his father Kronos and the foundation of the Pantheon on Olympus. Zeus actually begins much earlier than that though, starting with the creation of Gaea, the world, and following her creation of her mate, Ouranos, the sky, and the birth of their children, the Titans, including Kronos. I’ve always glossed over this story in my readings of the Greek myths. It’s too big; too epic. The characters – the earth, sky, and time itself – are too inhuman. I always skipped ahead to Zeus’ arrival. A lightning-hurling, shape-changing king of all the gods … that I was interested in.

The redemption of Time and Cyclops after the break.

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