Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Now that the New Horizons mission has provided NASA with the most detailed images yet of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, it’s time for scientists to put names to the previously unknown surface features. And things have gotten pretty nerdy.
Maps the New Horizons team will submit to the International Astronomical Union for approval include nods to mythology, naturally. But there are also shout-outs to Star Trek, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Firefly, Alien and H.P. Lovecraft.
Although he’s long since departed this mortal plane, author H.P. Lovecraft left an indelible mark on people — Ben Templesmith among them.
A noted horror writer and artist in his own right, Templesmith is tackling a graphic novel adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s earliest published works. Just four days after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, he’s already raised more than five times his $14,800 goal. In the wake of such overwhelming success, Templesmith has expanded the graphic novel’s size from 48 to 72 pages, and added in a Lovecraft portrait print with any book order.
After revisiting Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell’s 2002 collaboration last year with a new edition of Murder Mysteries, Dark Horse plans to return to the material — and so much more — with a gallery edition designed to fully showcase the illustrator’s work.
Set for release in October, P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mysteries and Other Stories: Gallery Edition will feature high-quality scans of his original art, printed at art-board size.
Retailing | Books-A-Million had a good second quarter, and CEO Terry Finley gives at least part of the credit to graphic novels: “We also saw strong growth in the graphic novel category, with continued success with titles related to AMC’s The Walking Dead series and a renewed interest in several manga series [that] drove sales increases.” And to boost that, the retail chain, which operates more than 250 stores nationwide, is planning Marvel promotions throughout September. [ICv2]
Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Dan Farr is trying to measure how much money attendees are spending. In terms of hotel beds, at least, the convention seems to be dwarfed by trade shows, but with people coming to Salt Lake City from 48 states for the recent spinoff event FanXperience, that may be changing. Still, even in San Diego, attendees spend only about $600 per person; if Salt Lake attendees are similarly thrifty, the convention may not be a significant player in the Salt Lake City convention scene. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Conventions | Brian Howe looks at the rivalry between Comic Book City Con, which debuted two weekends ago in Greensboro, North Carolina, and NC Comicon, which returns Saturday in Durham. The latter, which is now co-owned by artist Tommy Lee Edwards, drew 4,000 attendees last year (its first at the Durham Convention Center), and this year doubled its exhibit space and ramped up its programming. The conflict, which manifested in a flier for Comic Book City Con that one party considers playful but the other calls “bullying,” seems to be rooted in the proximity of the dates and a perceived lack of communication. However, it’s not simply a rivalry between nearby conventions; it’s one between retailers: Durham’s Ultimate Comics organizes NC Comicon, while Greensboro’s Acme Comics operates Comic Book City Con. [Indy Week]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Salgood Sam, who has just relaunched his independent personal anthology series Revolver. He is also completing the last chapter of a graphic novel called Dream Life after a successful Indiegogo funding drive to finance it. He also publishes the Canadian-centric comics blog Sequential. As he told me, he “usually has too many projects going on and does not get enough sleep.”
To see what Salgood Sam and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Artist Murray Groat (aka Muz, aka Muzski) has a fondness for the dementing elder gods of H.P. Lovecraft, but lucky for us, he also digs Tintin. The result is a series of fake covers pitting Hergé’s boy adventurer against C’thulhu and his kind. I can’t help but feel bad for the hero, but I’m sure Snowy will figure out how to take those demons down. Geek Art has the entire portfolio.
Conventions | A group of 21 events companies, including New York Comic Con and BookExpo America organizer Reed Exhibitions, are opposing a plan by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tear down the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. In a letter to the governor that was also distributed to 600 other officials, the Friends of Javits said they would not patronize the much larger venue that’s to be built in Ozone Park, Queens, primarily because of its distance from Manhattan. [Crain’s New York Business, via ICv2]
Conventions | Comic-Con International is just six weeks away, and you know it’s coming when Tom Spurgeon posts his annual list of tips for enjoying the convention. It’s a wealth of information, compiled over 17 years of con-going, so go, learn. [The Comics Reporter]
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.
This is one of those tough weeks when the floppies aren’t doing it for me, so I want graphic novels, and graphic novels aren’t cheap. At the $15 level, I’ll pick up vol. 1 of Soulless ($12.99), Yen Press’s manga-style adaptation of the first volume of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. With a sharp-witted heroine pitted against vampires and werewolves, and detailed yet dynamic art by the talented rem, it is a solid and entertaining read.
My first choice of the week has to wait until I have $30, though, because Faith Erin Hicks’s Friends With Boys is priced at $15.99. Worth it! Hicks is another talented storyteller and her tale of a home-schooled girl starting high school with three brothers looming over her—but without her mother, who has recently left—is funny and sweet and very heartfelt. So when I’m done with the vampire-killings, this is the book I want to read.
For my splurge, I’ll start with the thick second volume of Archie: The Married Life ($19.99), which collects the second six issues of Life With Archie magazine. The “Archie Marries” stories are fast-moving soap operas, and this comic is one of my guilty pleasures. And then I’ll add the first volume of the Girl Genius hardcover omnibus ($34.99), which is truly a splurge as it’s a free webcomic, but I’d love to have this one in print, for keeps.
Written by Bruce Brown and Dwight L MacPherson
Art by Thomas Boatwright
As I mentioned in last week’s What Are You Reading? (where I incorrectly referred to it as Howard Lovecraft and the Ice Kingdom), I didn’t care for Bruce Brown and Renzo Podesta’s Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom. I liked Podesta’s art for the most part, but some of his choices bothered me. Like, when a character sees a city of ice for the first time and marvels at how glorious and beautiful it is, maybe the audience should be able to see it too instead of just taking the character’s word for it. The greater problem though was that it was that it was too clunky about the way it tried to balance Lovecraftian horror with a kids comics sensibility.
There were some cool, creepy moments, but they were ruined by simplistic characterization and actions that just didn’t feel real. That’s most clearly illustrated in the scene where young Howard Lovecraft meets C’thulhu for the first time. I’m not a Lovecraft scholar (hell, I’m barely even a fan), but I know that the elder gods are supposed to be huge and terrifying; that just looking at them drives people insane. But when Howard meets this monster, he runs away and beats the Deep One by stopping short at a cliff so that the pursuing Wile E. C’thulhu flies right over. Howard then saves the repentant beast and names him “Spot,” a nickname the elder god gratefully accepts from his new master. The whole scene struck me as ridiculous and I wasn’t sure how anyone could salvage Frozen Kingdom to make a better second volume. But Brown (with the help of new co-writer Dwight MacPherson) does.
Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom picks up where Frozen Kingdom leaves off in the story, but the tone is all different. This is a flawed comparison, but I kept thinking of Edward Gorey as I read it. Frozen Kingdom tried to be all-ages by throwing in things for both adults and kids, but failed because it was too easy to draw circles around its parts and say, “This is for kids” and “This is for grownups.” Undersea’s approach is the kind that Neil Gaiman’s always advocating for: that it’s okay to tell a story for children and make it good and scary. Kids will recognize themselves in Howard Lovecraft and think it’s pretty cool that he has a monster for a friend (Howard doesn’t treat him like a puppy in Undersea), a humorously loony dad (who was genuinely disturbing in the first book), and a dauntlessly resourceful cop as a mentor (a new and very welcome character). There’s also a pretty awesome cat. And while readers are enjoying all that, they’re encouraged to be good and creeped out by the world.
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.
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 we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, 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.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
In advance of this week’s New York Comic Con, IDW Publishing announced a sequel to last year’s Infestation crossover that will run from January through April.
Infestation 2, like its predecessor, will feature a supernatural threat that spreads into several different “universes” inhabited by IDW properties. Instead of zombies, this time around the threat is the “Old Ones” from horror writer H.P Lovercraft’s stories. Duane Swierczynski (Birds of Prey, Cable) and David Messina, who drew the original Infestation series, are the creative team on the two-issue Infestation 2 series, while other creative teams will tackle the related books featuring Transformers, G.I. Joe, 30 Days of Night and more. Here’s a breakdown of the event:
Every issue of the event will feature a connected cover by artist Livio Ramondelli, and IDW will produce special incentive temporary tattoos with each issue. IDW will also release promotional ashcans in November with interviews and artwork.
Update: Comic Book Resources talks to Ryall about the project. He confirms that J. Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl will be a part of the event, although she won’t have her own series or one-shot tie-in. IDW will publish a new Danger Girl series next spring.
Back in April of 2010, writer Aaron Alexovich and artist Drew Rausch’s Eldritch! battled nine other webcomics to win the monthly competition held by DC Comics’ Zuda imprint. It was a hard-fought battle, and Eldritch! would ultimately earn the distinction of becoming the last Zuda winner, as DC shut down the competitions and ultimately the entire imprint soon after.
Eldritch! never had the opportunity to begin its run on the Zuda site, but that didn’t stop Rausch and Alexovich from pushing forward. A little more than a year after their victory, their comic is finally being released by the duo in various digital formats, including through Graphicly, comiXology and via the comic’s website.
The duo was kind enough to answer a few questions about and share some artwork from the new book. You can see even a longer preview on their site.
JK: Let’s start with a question about how this project initially came together. What made you guys decide to enter the monthly Zuda contest? And how did you guys know each other before all of this?
Drew: I was aware of Aaron’s existence from reading Serenity Rose way back when it was in single issues. I remember thinking “Man, this guy can write!” Seriously, each issue was a sequential novel. And I liked that. It had substance, wit and charm what with the “spooky” cute art. Eventually, I ended up asking Aaron to do a pin up for the second volume of my creator book Sullengrey. He and I just started chatting after that and found we both had a lot of similar tastes.
Last year Drew Rausch and Aaron Alexovich’s Eldritch! was the winner of the final Zuda webcomics competition, but before the strip could begin its run, DC Comics shut down the site and imprint.
That might have slowed Rausch and Alexovich down, but it certainly didn’t stop them, as they plan to release Eldritch! “to every digital device known to God, Man, and Shoggoth alike, including your desktop, iPad/iPod/iPhone, Android, Nook, Kindle, and eNecronomicon (pending).” That includes Graphicly and comiXology, as well as directly from their website as a PDF.
The comic will debut on June 15 for 99 cents, and the first nine pages are available to preview now ontheir website.
You can find the press release, which is kind of a fun one as far as press releases go, after the jump.