Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
Creators | Cartoonist Roz Chast talks about her memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? landing on the 2014 longlist for 2014 National Book Award. It’s the first time a graphic novel has been nominated in that category, and Chast is the only woman on this year’s list. When The Wall Street Journal noted that, between this nomination and Alison Bechdel’s MacArthur “genius grant,” “it’s a good day to be a female cartoonist,” Chast replied, “I totally agree. Actually my first thought was just it’s good for cartoons, for the graphic form.” [Speakeasy]
Creators | Alex de Campi talks about her pioneering digital comic Valentine, widely regarded as the first long-form comic to make extensive use of digital techniques. She doesn’t think the medium has come too far since then: “We’re all still in the shallow end, congratulating each other for getting our feet wet. There’s been no significant innovation since us. The DC and Marvel stuff is still based on half-page increments so it can go to print. The Madefire stuff I have seen (not a lot, maybe it’s gotten better) is just embarrassing motion comics. It pisses me off because there is so much more to be done. And I want to do it. But it would take an investor, or a very daring multi-media entertainment company. And big entertainment companies are many things, but daring is not one of them.” [Digital Spy]
Hawkeye #19 featured the Marvel hero during his period of hearing loss, which writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja used as an opportunity to tell a story through American Sign Language. The issue’s title page included the dedication “For Leah,” and as it turns out, “Leah” is 17-year-old Utah resident Leah Coleman, KSL.com reports.
Her mother Rachel Coleman worked with Fraction on the issue. The two met through a concert held by Rachel Coleman’s Signing Time television series in 2012, when Fraction related how much he loved ASL due to its visual nature. He later contacted her for assistance in bringing ASL to Hawkeye #19.
Political cartoons | “I think it might be pretty risky to go back home,” says Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who’s on Japan in a business trip and is thinking about staying there. “If I go back, they might use my cartoons as an excuse to detain me.” Liming, whose pen name is Biantai Lajiao (Perverted Chili Pepper), was arrested and briefly detained in 2013 on charges of “rumor-mongering,” stemming from a post on the microblog site Weibo. This time, an anonymous commenter on a state-owned discussion board called Liming a “traitor” because of a cartoon he posted online that showed mainland Chinese being sent to Hong Kong to oppose the Occupy Central pro-democracy campaign and demonstrate how to kowtow to the government. “That post is written like something out of the Cultural Revolution,” Liming said, calling it a “smear campaign.” He has 500,000 followers on Weibo and another 340,000 on Sina Weibo, and he says he is losing income because his accounts have been shut down. [Radio Free Asia]
“The new design is entitled ‘H Signs,’ and it is inspired by the plot of the latest issue of Fraction and David Aja’s critically acclaimed Hawkeye series,” wrote WeLoveFine’s Nicole Campos. “Each shirt is $25. In keeping with the sign language theme of the issue, Matt will be donating his curation commission for this particular style to the Signing Time Foundation, a charity whose efforts are dedicated toward making sign language fun and accessible to deaf children around the world.”
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
I think by now we can all agree that diversity in comics is a great thing. Not only does it welcome in people who might feel ostracized by convention and provide a positive reflection of themselves in the pages of a comic, but it teaches readers and challenges us to go beyond comfort zones and understand the world around us.
The biggest comics news Thursday out of Comic-Con International was undoubtedly that, after years of debate, comiXology has introduced DRM-free backups of titles purchased from its storefront, with Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions and Zenescope Entertainment signing on to the program.
An email went out last night notifying customers that books they’ve purchased can be downloaded and stored as PDF or CBZ files, and pointing them to an FAQ on the subject.
“This has been an oft-requested feature,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said during the company’s Comic-Con panel. “It’s a real backup file — it’s a fairly plain PDF or CBZ. They are high resolution, not a lot of bells and whistles, and my feeling is that people will continue to use the cloud-based reader to do their reading.”
The other big announcement was that Marvel will publish Avengers: Age of Ultron, an in-continuity graphic novel by the Uncanny X-Force team of Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña and Dean White scheduled to arrive in April 2015, ahead of the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Leave it to Stephen Colbert to draw on Tony Stark for his lead-in to an interview with French economist Thomas Piketty, whose bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century examines wealth and income inequality in the United States and Europe since the 18th century. An important topic, sure, but not exactly the stuff of superhero comics.
But in last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert found a way to liven up a potentially dry topic with the help of Iron Man … and his new goatee, of course. Or is it a Vandyke? Whatever.
One of the best things about comic conventions is the opportunity to meet the many talented artists on hand, see their original work and even commission pieces from them. Skottie Young is a familiar face in artist’s alleys across the United States, and over the weekend he set up at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, where he turned out amazing original art for some lucky fans.
Young offered custom sketches on colored paper of a character of fans’ choosing. Many took him up on that, and Young has posted some of his favorite on his website. If after seeing these you’re interested in commissioning one of your own (I am!), Young will be attending four more conventions this summer: Motor City in Detroit in May, HeroesCon in Charlotte in June, Boston Comicon in August and Cincy Comicon in September. Keep an eye on his website, as he normally posts details before each convention.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
This week is all about the new releases, including Batman, Hawkeye, Beasts of Burden and more. So let’s get to it …
I listen to a lot of podcasts because I don’t sleep very well, and if they’re especially enrapturing or I just can’t drift off, their topics float around with me through the day. How Did This Get Made did the former when it discussed the movie A Winter’s Tale and the idea of magical realism.
Magic realism is “a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment” (thanks, Wikipedia!), a concept we’re accustomed to as comic readers. There’s a lot that goes unsaid about New York City’s alien-invasion rate, and we’re fine with that.
Marvel is big on making its universe “our universe,” and while DC Comics keeps its distance with completely fictional cities like Metropolis and Gotham, Marvel is proud to have its heroes interact with New York City. While audiences (or at least the marketing departments) clamor for more “gritty” reboots and realism in their comic movies, do remember that Gotham was threatened by mass hysteria in Batman Begins and a giant nuke in The Dark Knight Rises. We crave dark grit but still want those fantastic elements that challenge the hero and raise the stakes.
So is it reality we crave or is it something else?
OK, it’s the last weekend before Christmas. This is it: Time to gird your loins and brave those last-minute gifts for friends and family you’re just not sure about. Or heck, maybe you were invited some place and you feel like you should bring a gift along. A Secret Santa deadline? Unexpected company who doesn’t have anything under the tree? Did you just get something practical and want to supplement it so you’re not just the Sock Giver? Don’t worry, comics are here to help!
“But Carla,” you cry, “not everyone likes comics! I want to be cool and hip, not just the nerd who foists other nerd stuff on people!” “Well,” I reply, “comics are for everyone, even those who have no interest in the medium.” There are just so much comic influence in the media right now, from TV and movies to games and other visual aesthetics, it’s hard to escape comic culture entirely. Trust me, even those who have never picked up a comic in their lives and have sworn off the idea of ever looking at words and pictures together in a sequence have a little bit of comics in their lives somewhere and, this Christmas is a good time to capitalize on it.
If you can, please try and make it in to your friendly neighborhood comic shop for some of these goodies. They’ll be glad you did! Otherwise, Amazon has their last minute shipping dates here. All right, let’s do this …
In addition to launching All-New Ghost Rider in March with writer Felipe Smith, Luther Strode artist Tradd Moore supplies the cover for Secret Avengers #1. But first he knocked out some incredible character sketches of Nick Fury Jr., Black Widow, Spider-Woman and M.O.D.O.K., who are all featured in the illustration. Needless to say, they’re pretty awesome.
Check out the cover, and his Black Widow sketch, below. You can find the others on the artist’s blog.
Black Friday has come and gone, and whether you were one of those who waited in line or simply scoffed at those who did, you’ll surely get a kick out of this great one-off comic strip by a storyboard artist known online as Sairobee. In this one-page strip, titlted “Happy Belated Black Friday, Y’All!”, the Los Angeles-based artist depicts an engaging and imaginative scenario: What if the Avengers went to Black Friday?
Hawkeye, Vol. 1, by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Javier Pulido, and Saga, Vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, are among the 35 official selections for the 41st annual Angoulême International Comics Festival, to be held Jan. 30-Feb. 2.
Other titles familiar to North American audiences include: Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert; Attack on Titan, Vol. 1, by Hajime Isayama; Are You My Mother?, by Alison Bechdel; Goliath, by Tom Gauld; My Friend Dahmer, by Derf; and The Property, by Rudu Modan.
In addition, the French-language editions of Paul Pope’s Battling Boy and Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl are among the nominees for the Sélection Jeunesse (books for young readers), while the eighth volume of Scalped, by Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera, Jason Latour, David Furno, received a nod for Prix Polar (crime). The reprints category also has several books readers should recognize.
The full list can be found on the Angoulême website.
In recent years, depictions of archery in comic books, movies and television series have come under more scrutiny for everything from the way the bow is held to the odds of hitting a target from so far away. As such, it must be a particularly tough time to be writing and drawing Hawkeye and Green Arrow.
But before you groan at that next shot taken from the back of a car, or the rapid-fire arrows that pin an opponent to the fall, take a look at these two videos featuring Danish archer Lars Anderson, who very well may be a superhero. The first effectively pits him against Legolas from The Lord of the Rings, using an ancient technique to hit seven targets in 4.9 seconds (actually faster than the fictional Elf), while the second may be even cooler, as Anderson shoots (and scores) from the back of a Harley.
Of course, there’s no word yet as to how he’d fare with a boomerang arrow … or a boxing-glove arrow.