Among the nominees announced earlier this week for the 41st annual Annie Awards is none other than Guy Davis, creator of The Marquis and longtime artist of B.P.R.D., for his contribution to the opening titles of The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” He shares the nod for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production with director Guillermo del Toro and storyboard artist Ralph Sosa.
Davis, who provided the monster designs for del Toro’s Pacific Rim, has been described by the director as “one of the best monster designers alive right now!” Their collaborations go beyond those two projects, however: Davis is a concept artist for FX’s upcoming vampire thriller The Strain, based on the horror novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan (the filmmaker co-wrote and directed the pilot, and serves as an executive producer), and on the long-discussed feature adaptation of Pinocchio.
The Simpsons couch gag, which you can watch below, is an epic homage to some of the director’s own works as well as horror classics, filled to the brim with references to Ray Harryhausen, Alfred Hitchcock, H.P. Lovecraft and more.
The winners of the Annie Awards, which recognize excellence in animation, will be announced Feb. 1.
Although Image Comics has staked out territory as both the premier publisher for creator-owned work and a proving ground for fledgling writers and artists, it was another 1990s company that served as an entry point for many of today’s top talent: Caliber Comics.
Launched in 1989 by retailer Gary Reed, Caliber Comics was a harbinger of the coming wave of creator-owned titles. Launching with two flagship books — Deadworld and The Realm — Reed quickly expanded the line with his in-house anthology book Caliber Presents and a entire sub-line of illustrated books similar to Classics Illustrated. But perhaps its enduring contribution was as a doorway into the comics industry for writers and artists who are today marquee names
The list of A-list creators whose comics debuts were made possibly by Caliber is mind-boggling: Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Michael Lark, James O’Barr, Brandon Peterson, Dean Haspiel, Georges Jeanty and Jason Lutes all made their comics debuts here. In addition, Caliber also was where many budding creators made their first recognizable work; it was at there that Mike Allred created Madman, and Guy Davis blossomed with Baker Street.
It’s tough to imagine a better way to celebrate two horror movies by writer and director Guillermo del Toro than with art by Mike Mignola, Guy Davis and Dave Stewart.
As part of its collaboration with The Criterion Collection, Mondo has commissioned stunning new artwork for the filmmaker’s 1993 feature debut Cronos from Mignola and Stewart, and for 2001′s The Devil’s Backbone, from Davis. Del Toro of course has a history with the two illustrators: He worked with Mignola on Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, while Davis provided monster designs for Pacific Rim.
Limited-edition, hand-numbered screen prints of each piece will go on sale Wednesday for $45 each. As usual, you must follow Mondo’s Twitter account to learn the times of the sale. You can see details of the prints on the Mondo blog.
I don’t if there’s ever been an movie that’s divided the voices in my social media feeds so thoroughly as Pacific Rim. Over the past couple of weeks, its been roughly a 50/50 split between “this is the best movie this summer” and “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” I won’t write off a movie I won’t watch until it hits the rental market — this sounds like a great premise for a kid’s movie, and I’m kind of sick of seeing adult commentators depositing both too much expectation and critical acclaim on popcorn flicks aimed at young audiences.
No one can deny the visual flair Guillermo del Toro heaps upon his films, and he’s done exactly what any other comic book lover would have done when charged with making a monster movie. Ask any comic reader which artist designs the most original, scariest, freakiest creatures out there, and they’ll likely say Guy Davis. So del Toro did the howlingly obvious thing and hired him as a concept artist for Pacific Rim. As usual with big blockbuster movies of this type, there’s a glossy hardcover “Art of …” book out there accompanying its release (In this case, Pacific Rim: Men, Machines & Monsters by David S Cohen), and this is the place to go to see Davis’ work on the film.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our guest this week is writer and letterer Ed Brisson, whose comic Comeback with artist Michael Walsh arrives in November. He’s also the writer of Murder Book and Black River.
To see what Ed and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Happy Memorial Day, Americans, and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Mark Andrew Smith, writer of Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors, Amazing Joy Buzzards, The New Brighton Archeological Society and Sullivan’s Sluggers, which is currently available to order via Kickstarter.
To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
If you’re a fan of BPRD, you know that the above image is from that comic and not Guillermo del Toro’s giant-monster film, Pacific Rim. You also know that Guy Davis is pretty great at designing giant monsters.
What you may not know is that Davis is the concept artist for Pacific Rim. No concept art has been shared yet, so this completely slipped by most of us. The other thing you may not know is that he’s been working on the film for almost a year, but is now done with his part of it. The movie doesn’t come out until next year, but seeing it is suddenly even more exciting; something I didn’t think possible in a project involving del Toro and giant monsters.
Awards | The Guy Davis short story “The Phototaker” has been removed from the 2012 Eisner Awards ballot after it was determined to be ineligible. “The ‘Phototaker’ Eisner nomination was a mix up,” Davis wrote on Twitter. ” Jackie Estrada messaged me after I posted asking about the original English version, which came out in Metal Hurlant #9 (2003). So it’s not eligible for the 2012 Eisner nomination and has been removed. Thanks for all the congratulations yesterday, but I’m happy to clear this up and have it removed from the running.” [Eisner Awards]
Publishing | DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham respond to March’s direct-market sales estimates, which saw Marvel claim three of the Top 10 spots after a February shutout. “We are pleased that we gained share, and we never expected that we would hold ten out of ten at the top of the chart for ever,” Wayne said. “I think it is better for the business if everybody is firing on all cylinders, that our competitors are doing interesting things, and we are doing interesting things. It keeps everybody on their toes and it keeps enthusiasm in the readership. The retailers remain involved wanting to make sure that they have enough of everything. I think it’s a good thing all around.” [ICv2.com]
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 first get the third issue of my favorite New 52 title, Batwoman #3 (DC, $2.99). Seriously, J.H. Williams III is hitting a home run on every outing here when it comes to my tastes. Although the writing isn’t up to the level of Greg Rucka’s time on the book, it’s close and only bound to get better. Next up I’d get Point One #1 (Marvel, $5.99). I think this format–an extra-size preview book for what’s coming next–is an interesting experiment, and I’m intrigued most by the Nova story, but also interested to see what the others do. Third would be Uncanny X-Force #17 (Marvel, $3.99), to get the one-two punch of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. Iceman as a bad guy? I dig this.
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, “Jeff Lemire’s Frankenstein 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.
The Grave Doug Freshley – A lot of publishers are doing Weird Western comics lately and that’s just fine with me.
Spera, Volume 1 – I like the sound of this fairy tale in which a couple of princesses combine efforts to save their kingdoms. It’s not that I’m anti-prince, but that’s a cool, new way to do that story.
Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island – Warren Ellis doing Steampunk sounds thrilling, but really all they had to say was “pirates.” I bet this is still really good though, even if you’re pickier than I am.
Roger Langridge’s Snarked #1 – After a well-loved zero-issue, Langridge’s version of Wonderland gets its real, official start.
Next month (August 3 to be exact) marks the release of writer Philip Gelatt and artist Tyler Crook‘s original graphic novel (published by Oni Press), Petrograd. To mark the upcoming release, Crook was kind enough to do an email interview with me. You might also recognize Crook’s name and work, given the fact he started his high profile role as Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D. artist this month. We discuss both projects. But before the interview begins, here’s Oni’s description of Petrograd: “During the height of the first World War, a reluctant British spy stationed in the heart of the Russian empire is handed the most difficult assignment of his career: orchestrate the death of the mad monk, the Tsarina’s most trusted adviser and the surrogate ruler of the nation. From the slums of the working class into the opulent houses of the super rich, he’ll have to negotiate dangerous ties with the secret police, navigate the halls of power, and come to terms with own revolutionary leanings, all while simply trying to survive.” Once you’ve read the interview, be sure to also visit CBR’s Petrograd preview.
Tim O’Shea: Were you interested in Russian history at all before tackling Petrograd? Once you got involved with the project, how much research did you have to do, on a variety of subjects, including the British Secret Service?
Tyler Crook: I was only interested in Russian history a little bit before this project. But mostly I’ve been interested in Russian Literature. Mostly Gogol and Dostoyevsky. Reading that stuff requires a little bit of history knowledge but I only ever figured out enough to get by. Phil Gelatt, the writer, did most of the heavy lifting when it came to doing the research. I read a couple books about the Soviet Revolution and scoured my local libraries for book with photos of Russia during the time period. I tried to use Google sparingly. The hardest part was finding photos of regular people doing regular things.
Conventions | Although final figures aren’t yet available, WonderCon organizers confirm attendance likely surpassed the 39,000 fans who came to last year’s convention. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | On his always-interesting new blog, Jim Shooter reminisces about the genesis of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars: “We went through a number of ideas for names for the toy line and series. Mattel’s focus group tests indicated that kids reacted positively to the words ‘wars’ and ‘secret.’ Okay.” [Jim Shooter]
Publishing | Longtime print broker Chikara Entertainment, which also offered book packaging and consulting services, has closed. [ICv2.com]
Retailing | Sarah Cohen provides a snapshot of South Florida comic stores struggling amid a weak economy and a changing marketplace. Some retailers have changed their strategies by diversifying their merchandise, holding events and reaching out to customers via the Internet. Others, however, prefer to do business the way they always have. “Making events and using social networking is pushy,” says Jorge Perez, owner of A&M Comics and Books in Miami. “It might help business, but then you would be on the computer all day doing stuff like that.” A&M, the oldest comic store in Florida one of the oldest in the nation, has seen business drop by about 40 percent since 2008. [Miami Herald]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Ryan Cody, creator of Icarus and illustrator of Villains and Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun. You’ll be seeing more of Icarus around these parts starting very soon …
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Comics | A July house fire in Minneapolis that killed homeowner Gary Dahlberg spared his meticulously preserved comic-book collection, which experts say could be worth $1 million. The comics, which includes first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Daredevil, will be sold at auction on May 5 by Heritage Auction Galleries, with the money going to Dahlberg’s estate. “To go for the really big money they have to be really perfect, and that what these are,” says Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auction Galleries. “The comics look like they just rolled off the printing press and nobody’s ever touched them.” [KSTP TV, with video]
Crime | A 17-year-old boy accused of attempting to rob Fun 4 All Comics & Games in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Monday has been arraigned on charges of assault with attempt to rob while armed and attempted larceny. Police say the teen, wearing a blond wig, bandanna and dark glasses, gave an employee a list of merchandise — “most, if not all, of it Yu-Gi-Oh! cards” — then opened his coat to reveal what appeared to be an improvised explosive device. The boy allegedly threatened to detonate the bomb if he wasn’t given the merchandise. When the employee yelled for the owner to call police, then teen said he was only joking, then bought some inexpensive items and left the store. The sheriff’s department later arrested the teen in his car in a Burger King parking lot. The Michigan State Police bomb squad responded, and determined the potential explosive device was inert. [AnnArbor.com]
It’s the end of an era. B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods #3 hits stores today, the final issue of the long-running Hellboy spinoff’s latest miniseries — and with it, the tenure of Guy Davis as the series’ regular artist draws to a close. Davis will be returning for the occasional project in Mike Mignola’s unique horror-adventure universe, and everyone involved gives his replacement, near-overnight success story Tyler Crook, their vote of confidence; given Mignola and company’s track record in selecting artists, from Davis to Duncan Fegredo to Richard Corben, I’m inclined to take them at their word. Even so, as I wrote at length the other day, Davis’ work on B.P.R.D with Mignola, lead writer John Arcudi, and colorist Dave Stewart (not to mention letterer Clem Robins and editor Scott Allie) has been one of the past decade’s absolute high-water marks for superhero (or supernatural action, if you prefer) comics. From sadness to spectacle, horror to humor, stunning creature designs to quiet character moments, there was pretty much nothing the guy couldn’t do.
In honor of Davis, Arcudi, Mignola, and Stewart’s remarkable achievement, I’ve selected a suite of my favorite moments from the Guy Davis era of B.P.R.D.. And in honor of the Ogdru Jahad, the Seven-Who-Are-One dark gods whose rise the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is battling (perhaps in vain) to stop, I’ve expanded the list past our usual “Six by 6″ format to include seven stunning scenes. My hope is that they showcase the range, subtlety, sophistication, and power of one of the best artists working in genre comics — arguably in all of comics — today, and highlight just how well he and his collaborators worked together. Just be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD.