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Looking Forward, Looking Back | Creators weigh in on 2012 and 2013 (Part 1)

Five Weapons

It’s become an annual tradition here during our birthday bash: No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we’ve done in past years, we asked a cross-section of comics folks what they liked in 2012 and what they’re excited about for 2013. We received so many this year that we’ve broken it down into two posts; watch for another one Tuesday.

But for now, check out all the great stuff people shared with us, including hints at new projects and even some outright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded. Also, thanks to Tim O’Shea, Michael May and Chris Arrant, who helped collect responses.

JIMMIE ROBINSON (Bomb Queen, Five Weapons)

What was your favorite comic of 2012?

Image’s Saga, Fatale, Hawkeye‘s reinvention is fresh and exciting, Peter Panzerfaust, Enormous by Tim Daniel. It’s hard to pin down just one because there is SO much good work coming out nowadays — from many publishers across the board.

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Food or Comics | 20th Century Boysenberries

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.

Sakuran, Volume 1

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, the third issue of Batman Inc. would be a must for me this week [after Chris turned in his picks, DC announced that the issue will be delayed until next month], especially since it features the return of Matches Malone, a character I wasn’t even aware I missed until now. I might also spring for the first issue of Axe Cop: President of the World, a new limited series featuring the hatchet-swinging lawman.

I read very little manga by Moyoco Anno, but what I have read has impressed me and what I’ve read about her has made me want to seek more of her work out. So with $30, I’d almost certainly nab Sakuran, Vol. 1, about a high-priced courtesan/geisha looking to escape her gilded cage.

If I really, really wanted to splurge, I’d plunk $125 down for the second printing of the Wally Wood EC Stories Artist Edition from IDW, of which I’ve only heard wonderful things. If my splurging had to be a little budget-friendly, and I was in a more academic mood, I’d at least flip through Cerebus: The Barbarian Messiah, a collection of critical essays on Dave Sim’s controversial opus.

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Northstar wedding ‘was in the works’ in Alpha Flight, Eaglesham says [Updated]

Nearly lost amid all the media attention over the upcoming wedding of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #51, and the response by One Million Moms, is the revelation that the event was originally planned for another Marvel series — albeit one canceled almost five months ago.

Responding on his message board to news of the impending nuptials, former Alpha Flight artist Dale Eaglesham wrote, “This drives me absolutely crazy: Greg [Pak], Fred [Van Lente] and I do all the work of bringing the series back and they cancel it on us. Why didn’t they let US do the wedding ‘event’ which is clearly garnering attention, to stimulate readership [and] perhaps keep Alpha Flight going? This pisses me off. Oh no, let the ‘X’ books do it, as if they don’t get enough attention. Sigh. … This wedding was in the works on AF.”

Marvel has not yet responded to Robot 6′s request for comment.

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WonderCon | A round-up of announcements from Saturday

The second day of WonderCon in Anaheim, California, featured announcements ranging from Marvel’s new Captain Marvel series to Dark Horse’s new motion-comics venture to IDW Publishing’s Womanthology miniseries:

• In his “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed that Carol Danvers, long known as Ms. Marvel, will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy. He also announced that, spinning out of his Astonishing X-Men run, Greg Pak will team with Stephen Segovia for X-Treme X-Men, which includes Dazzler in its lineup. “You have no idea how hard I’ve fallen for this woman,” Pak told Newsarama. “She’s so much fun to write — she’s funny and real and wry; she’s a survivor who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale; and she will save your life with rock and roll.”

• Dark Horse will bring motion comics featuring such characters as Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy to Felicia Day’s new YouTube Channel Geek & Sundry, beginning April 2.

• IDW Publishing will follow Womanthology: Heroic, the Kickstarter-funded graphic novel anthology showcase for female creators, with a five-issue miniseries titled Womanthology: Space.

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WonderCon | X-Treme X-Men: ‘If you liked Exiles, you’ll like this’

X-Treme X-Men

Just as they promised, Marvel announced the return of X-Treme X-Men at Wondercon today. But if you were looking forward to the return of Slipstream, Lifeguard or any of the other characters who starred in the series that ran from 2001 to 2004, you might be a tad disappointed. However, if you were an Exiles fan, like myself, you’ll probably be pretty happy.

Announced during Marvel Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort’s Talk to the Hat panel at WonderCon, X-Treme X-Men will spin out of Greg Pak’s recent run on Astonishing X-Men and will feature some of the alternate reality X-Men he introduced. The art for the series is by Steve Segovia.

“Dazzler is the Marvel Universe character in it,” said Marvel’s Arune Singh. “There is a threat in existence but they have to stop a threat to reality. It’s Greg and that crazy ‘Planet Hulk’ mind of his. If you liked Exiles, you’ll like this.”

Exiles ran for 100 issues and featured the work of Judd Winick, Mike McKone, Chuck Austen, Jim Calafiore, Tony Bedard and several others, but it’s those first issues written by Winick that were really great. The team included alternate reality versions of various X-characters over the course of its run, like the Age of Apocalypse Blink and Sabretooth; Nocturne, the daughter of Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch; a female Sunfire and the shape-changing Morph. It remains to be seen how this series will be set up, but if Pak can capture the fun of those early Exiles issues, I’m on board.

What Are You Reading? with Simon Monk

The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.

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

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Comics A.M. | Artist Brett Ewins injured in struggle with police

The Art of Brett Ewins

Creators | Former Judge Dredd artist Brett Ewins suffered serious head injuries Saturday after he allegedly stabbed a police officer who responded to complaints about a man shouting throughout the night. Police say when they arrived the 56-year-old Ewins attacked them with a knife. One of the officers received minor wounds during the struggle, but Ewins was hospitalized, where he remains in serious condition. The newspaper report asserts the artist, best known for his work on Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper for 2000AD, has a history of mental-health problems. [Ealing Gazette]

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What are you excited about for 2012?

[Note: this post was assembled by both Tim O'Shea and JK Parkin]

This is our final post for our big birthday bash, and what a post it is. No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they are excited about for 2012 in comics–something they aren’t working on and something they are.

There’s a lot of great stuff here–hints at new projects and even some downright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded!

Jason Latour

Loose Ends 4

I’m most anticipating the 30th Anniversary of HEROES CON (June 22-24, Charlotte, NC) . For any convention 30 years is an amazing run, but the fact that Shelton Drum and his extended family have put this show together every year with nothing but blood, sweat and tears is flat out super heroic.

On the personal front, the challenging and exhilarating ride that’s been Loose Ends will come to a close with issue 4. It’ll be bittersweet to send our child off to into the real world but I can’t wait for you guys to see the work Brunner & Renzi are doing.

I’m also super excited to dip my own toes into the Mignola-verse with the BPRD: The Pickens County Horror [March 28, 2012] and to read the end of Jason Aaron & RM Guera’s Scalped, which is my favorite series in years.

Jason Latour is a writer/artist, most recently the writer of Loose Ends. He spoke with Tim O’Shea about the miniseries in July.

Patrick Zircher

This sounds politic, but it’s genuine: what excites me about comics in 2012 is what’s exciting every year, the work of the talent.  Seeing what the best are up to and how the up-n-comers have grown as artists and writers.  In the new year, I’m also excited about illustrating several books and covers that feature my favorite Avengers.

Patrick Zircher is an artist, who explored the 1920s/1930s era of the Marvel universe in 2011 with the five-issue miniseries, Mystery Men. He spoke with Tim O’Shea about the miniseries in May.

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What Are You Reading? with Andy Burns

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Andy Burns, editor-in-chief of the pop culture site Biff Bam Pop!, which is doing a holiday gift guide with giveaways through Dec. 24. You can follow them on Twitter for more information.

To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Talking Comics with Tim | Greg Pak on Bill Mantlo

Greg Pak's first Bill Mantlo comic

Greg Pak‘s Afterword tribute to Bill Mantlo in the final issue of his Hulk run (The Incredible Hulks 635) genuinely gave me pause (and as I said as much in that week’s WAYR). Then last week when Kevin Melrose made us aware of LifeHealthPro/Bill Coffin‘s devastating profile of Bill Mantlo’s life since 1992, which clearly struck a chord with many Robot 6 readers. Once I saw Pak’s comment in the thread, I realized I wanted to talk to Pak about Mantlo. While I have long respected Pak as a writer, his decision to set up a donations page for Bill Mantlo’s care is the reason why I admire him. My thanks to Pak for the interview and for scanning the cover to the actual copy of his first Bill Mantlo comic (Micronauts 3), which we get to discuss also.

Tim O’Shea: At what point in your run on the Hulk did you realize that you wanted to write the Afterword, partially about Bill Mantlo?

Greg Pak: I’d cited Bill Mantlo as a big influence many times over the years in press and publicity for my various Hulk storylines. So it was a natural for me to focus on him in the afterward to Incredible Hulks #635. And it was a huge pleasure to be able to formally dedicate the run to Mantlo on that final page.

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Comics A.M. | $15,000 comic goes missing; donations for Bill Mantlo

Amazing Fantasy #15

Crime | A man in Lincoln, Nebraska, told police that a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, valued at $15,000, disappeared from his home sometime between Oct. 27 and Monday morning. The 1962 issue was kept with other comics, but the man claims several people had been in and out of his home since he last saw it. A near-mint copy of the comic, which features the first appearance of Spider-Man, sold at auction in March for $1.1 million. [Lincoln Journal Star]

Creators | Writer Greg Pak has set up a page to take donations for former comics writer Bill Mantlo, whose tragic situation was detailed in an article last week. “Bill Mantlo has had a huge influence on me as a writer and reader,” Pak said. “His Micronauts stories blew my mind as a kid and his Incredible Hulk run laid the groundwork for the themes I explored my five-and-a-half year run with the character.” Money donated through the site goes directly to Mike Mantlo, Bill’s brother, for Bill’s ongoing care. [Greg Pak]

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What Are You Reading? with Brian Ralph

Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics, graphic novels, books and what-have-you we’ve been reading lately. This week our special guest is Brian Ralph, creator of Daybreak, Cave-In and Reggie 12.

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

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Marvel cancels Alpha Flight with January’s Issue 8

Alpha Flight #8

Less than two months after announcing the title had been upgraded from an eight-issue miniseries to an ongoing, Marvel has canceled Alpha Flight — with Issue 8.

The blow was delivered this afternoon in Marvel’s January 2012 solicitations, where the publisher labels “the big showdown between Alpha Flight and the Master of the World,” somewhat uncharacteristically, as “THE FINAL ISSUE!” (Marvel tends not to telegraph a title’s cancellation.)

“Fans and friends, I’m sorry to confirm that #AlphaFlight will indeed end with issue #8,” co-writer Greg Pak said on Twitter, “but the book was originally conceived as an 8 issue mini, so we’re still telling the big, fun story we intended from the start. THANK YOU, #AlphaFlight fans — you guys are the best and have provided us huge amounts of fun and inspiration. And have no fear … the story’s heading for a huge, satisfying ending that @fredvanlente and I have been champing at the bit to unleash for months.”

Featuring the creative team of Pak, his Incredible Herc collaborator Fred Van Lente and artist Dale Eaglesham, Alpha Flight had a strong debut in June, selling an estimated 45,850 copies and claiming the 20th spot on Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 300 for the month. Sales dropped off dramatically with the second issue, to 26,860; by September’s Issue 4, that number had fallen to about 23,400, barely hovering above Marvel’s traditional line of death.

The cancellation, however, seems par for the course for Alpha Flight, a property that’s had a difficult time finding its footing, and an audience, since the end of its original 130-issue run in 1994 (some might argue since creator John Byrne left in 1985 after 28 issues). The four subsequent revivals were short-lived, with the longest lasting just 20 issues.

The Fifth Color | This Banner…This Hulk!

A Marvel Riddle for the agesApologies for my absence, but I think it all worked out in the end, because this week we celebrate the end of Greg Pak’s six-year run on the Incredible Hulk. And we do so by talking about someone else’s comic.

Fantastic Four #51 is titled “This Man… This Monster.”  It’s one of those inspiring cover blurbs like “Spider-Man No More!” and “This Issue: Everybody Dies!”  Phrases which catch the eye and demand you read the book.  “This Man…This Monster!” is about the struggle of man… versus also man; our darker parts or outer appearance versus who we really are, inside.  You’ll notice there is nothing between the man and the monster, just an ellipsis.  It’s not “This Man AND This Monster,” which would suggest two different people, nor is it “This Man, This Monster” suggesting they are one and the same.  Three little dots almost let the reader decide as to what exactly the inner struggle is.  And that’s kinda what I’ve been doing with the Incredible Hulk throughout my adoration of the book.

No matter who he fought, the internal battle is key.  It’s tortured scientist Bruce Banner versus his raging alter-ego in a never-ending stalemate over who gets to be human.  I can’t say this is always the thrust of an issue or storyline, but it IS the thrust of the really good ones. The ones that make you think, and linger with you long after you’ve put the book away.  We come for the “Hulk smash,” but stay for the “Hulk think.”  And then Incredible Hulks #635 came along and blew my freakin’ mind.

Because after six years, the struggle is over. (A few SPOILERS after the jump!)

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First day of school for CBLDF Comics College

Cully Hamner's Flash, one of the drawings in the CBLDF auction

Here’s an opportunity to do good by doing something awesome: The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is launching Comics College, a series of “Master Sessions” on the craft and business of comics, led by well-known professionals. The campus is the CBLDF offices in New York; the first class is on Saturday, Sept. 17, and will feature Fred Van Lente (Action Philosophers, Incredible Hercules) and Greg Pak (Incredible Hercules, Incredible Hulk) discussing the ins and outs of self-publishing.

Can’t make it to NYC? You can still kick in and support the CBLDF by bidding on some of the pieces in their eBay auction, which ends on Sunday.

Or you could, you know, just give them some cash. But this is more fun.


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