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Joe Keatinge on Euro comics, collaboration and ending ‘Glory’

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Have you ever worked with someone who loves what they do so much that it’s infectious? That’s a solid description of Joe Keatinge, who writes Marvel’s Morbius: The Living Vampire, along with Glory and Hell Yeah at Image. He’s also someone with a restless love for comics in all of its forms.

Keatinge has been involved in the business for going on nine years, breaking in as a colorist before segueing to a staff position at Image. which took him from managing the publisher’s inventory to marketing its books. After overseeing the successful PopGun anthology, he  shifted into writing comics himself with the double-barreled successes of Hell Yeah and Glory. It’s his work on the latter series that brought him to the attention of Marvel and DC, who enlisted him for Morbius and issues of DC Universe Presents. Through it all, Keatinge has been an outspoken advocate for the medium.

In our interview, Keatinge talks about his place in the industry as well as his far-ranging interests, delving into his creator-owned work (including collaborations with Frank Cho and James Harvey) and breaking down the perceived walls between different areas of comics.

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Food or Comics? | Duck or Doctor Who

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.

Doctor Who #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d catch up on Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz’ Hell Yeah with the first trade, Vol. 1: Last Days On Earth (Image, $9.99). I admit to dropping off after the second issue, but it’s always something I wanted to get back to; and reading Keatinge’s interviews on the more recent issues has pushed me over the top. If nothing else, $9.99 for five issues is a good deal. After that I’d get Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 (Marvel, $4.99). Of all the group-written issues, Jason Aaron’s seems to have been the most organized and engaging, so I’m glad they opted to have him do the finale. Seeing Adam Kubert on this is surprising, as his previous issues of Avengers Vs. X-Men felt rushed – but previews of this issue show him more measured and confident, like his Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine work, also with Aaron.

If I had $30, I’d double back and gleefully grab Thomas Herpich’s White Clay (AdHouse, $4.95). When I first heard about this the onus of Adventure Time was heavy given the cartoonist works on that show, but after seeing the previews and hearing Chris Pitzer talk about this book I’m in for it. I’d also get the debut issue of Andy Diggle’s Doctor Who #1 (IDW, $3.99) with artist Mark Buckingham. Bucky’s a real treat here, and I’m interested to see what he does with Diggle’s words – and what exactly Diggle does. I’m okay if it’s not Lenny Zero – but that would be nice too. Finally, I’d get Uncanny X-Force #32 (Marvel, $3.99). At one time this was my favorite book coming from the Big Two, but it seems to have grown long in the tooth; I’m not confident enough to say Rick and crew are doing something wrong, as maybe it’s just me. But the first 18 issues had a special kind of magic, and that doesn’t seem to remain here in these issues. But still, I’m in ’til the end.

If I could splurge, I’d get The Nao of Brown (SelfMadeHero, $24.95) by Glyn Dillon. I admit I already received an advance review copy of this book, but if I didn’t I’d surely have it on pre-order. A read a review where they compared to this to Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese, but I think that’s a mere surface examination. After reading this (and flipping through it a dozen times since), this is just a pure coming-of-age story that reminds me more of Hope Larson or a very chatty Adrian Tomine. Very great, very great.

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Robot Roulette | Joe Keatinge

Welcome to the very first edition of Robot Roulette, a new interview feature where creators spin the virtual roulette wheel to find out what questions they’ll be answering. With a little help from my friends, I’ve come up with 36 possible questions that any creator could answer, on topics ranging from their careers to their personal lives to their tastes in music. Each week I will randomly select which of those questions they get to tackle.

The first pro to step up to the wheel is Joe Keatinge. Formerly Image Comics’ publicity guy and co-editor of the award-winning Popgun anthology, Joe’s now the writer of Glory and Hell Yeah from Image, and the upcoming Morbius ongoing series for Marvel. He talks about all of these things (and more) regularly on his Tumblr, and Comic Book Resources recently posted a lengthy interview with him on Glory, Hell Yeah and lots more. But nowhere did they address his pet peeves or what instrument he wished he could play. But don’t worry; I’ve got your back.

Joe was one of several pros I sent an email about this wacky feature idea before it existed, and I appreciate his willingness to be one of my first victims guinea pigs. Now on with the show …

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Comics A.M. | This weekend, it’s Stan Lee’s Comikaze

Stan Lee's Comickaze

Conventions | Coming up this weekend: Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles, featuring special guests Todd McFarlane, Neal Adams and Marv Wolfman. Attendance is expected to reach 60,000, which is a pretty big number for such a convention that’s only in its second year. [Hero Complex]

Conventions | James Sime, owner of Isotope Comics and one of the organizers of MorrisonCon, talks about, well, Isotope Comics and MorrisonCon, and what it was like translating the world of writer Grant Morrison into a comics event: “The *promise* of MorrisonCon is this crazy, life-altering weekend where you’re plugged directly into this swirling world of brilliant ideas, offbeat interests, mad obsessions, and personalities who fire Grant’s creativity. We had to make that promise real, to translate as many improbable concepts and even random off the cuff Morrison riffs as possible into the tangible world. To render all that into nightclubs and hotel rooms and meeting space chairs and places for awesome humans to meet and mingle. We all agreed, it just wasn’t worth doing unless we could live up to that promise, to truly make something worthy of the name MorrisonCon… and go far beyond it.” [Three If By Space]

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Food or Comics | Ziti or Zeroes

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.

Aya: Life in Yop City

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I’d buy Boys #70 (only two issues until the big finale) and Classic Popeye #2, IDW Publishing’s ongoing series of reprints devoted to Bud Sagendorf comics from the 1940s, as the first issue was much more fun than I expected it to be.

If I had $30, I’d put those comics back, but would be stuck between a couple of books. The first would be Aya: Life in Yop City, which collects the three previous Aya books by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie in one volume. These are great, funny comics, full of life and observation regarding a culture — in this case African culture — most Westerners know nothing about.

There’s also A Chinese Life, a massive doorstop of a memoir by Chinese artist Li Kunwu (with help from writer Philippe Otie) chronicling his life and times. Kunwu lives through some of modern China’s most tumultuous periods, including the Cultural Revolution, and hopefully his book will, like Aya, humanize a time and culture that for many is just a few lines in their history book.

Finally, there’s Message to Adolph, Vol. 1, one of Tezuka’s final works, set during World War II, about three people named Adolph, one a Jew, the other a German boy living in Japan, and the third the fuhrer himself. Originally published by Viz about two decades ago, Vertical has taken it upon themselves to put out a newly translated version which is great news for those that missed this great manga the first time around.

Is there a greater splurge purchase this week that Dal Tokyo, the collected version of Gary Panter’s off-kilter comic strip? I plugged this book last week, but it deserves another one. I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile.

For the scholarly comics type, the splurge of the week might be Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, a look at the creator of Barnaby and Harold and the Purple Crayon and his wife, a children’s author with whom he frequently collaborated.

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Food or Comics? | GloriAnaheim chiles

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.

Fatale, Volume 1: Death Chases Me

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d walk out of the comic store with one book this week Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me (Image, $14.99). I fell off this book after the first issue, preferring to read in trades, and now that time has come. I’m looking forward to being surprised at what Brubaker and Phillips have done in this first arc as the debut issue was very promising.

If I had $30, I’d load up at Image with Manhattan Projects #4 (Image, $3.50), Prophet #26 (Image, $2.99) and Hell Yeah #4 (Image, $2.99). Prophet is becoming my favorite Image book because it unites my comic heroes of childhood (Prophet!) and one of the top cartoonists out there (Brandon Graham) with a surprising introduction of BD-style science fiction. Hell Yeah is a fun romp reimagining the staples of ’80s and ’90s comics as if John Hughes were the eighth Image founder. Last up I’d get Wolverine and the X-Men #12 (Marvel, $3.99). I was worried this series would get derailed by Avengers Vs. X-Men, but Aaron and Co. have managed to keep it on point as best as conceivably possible. It’s an ideal opening to bring Rachel Summers to the forefront, and the smirking Kid Gladiator on the cover is full of win.

If I could splurge, I’d get Michel Rabagliati’s Song of Roland hardcover (Conundrum Press, $20). I’ll always admire Free Comic Book Day, because it was there that a little Drawn and Quarterly one-shot introduced me to Rabagliati’s work. I’m surprised to see this new volume of his work not published by D&Q, instead published by Canadian house Conundrum. Anyway, this book appears to deal with the death of the father-in-law of the lead character, Paul. It’s been extremely engaging to see Paul grow through the series, and having him deal with events like this as I myself grow up and experience similar events is really touching.

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What Are You Reading? with Ryan Ferrier

Hell Yeah #3

Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Ryan Ferrier, who I spoke to a couple of weeks ago about his comic Tiger Lawyer and recently kicked off an Indie GoGo project to fund the second issue.

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

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Ryan Ferrier brings ‘Rawr’-der to the court with Tiger Lawyer

Tiger Lawyer

“… we could use more books with talking tigers, am I right?”
– Joe Keatinge

If, like Joe, you think comics could use more talking tigers, then Ryan Ferrier has the comic for you. Tiger Lawyer, his self-published comic, is now available through his Big Cartel site as either a print or digital comic, and very soon, it’ll start appearing in Keatinge’s Hell Yeah comic.

Ferrier was kind enough to answer a few questions about Tiger Lawyer and his subpoena into the pages of Hell Yeah.

JK Parkin: I’m sure you’ve been asked about this a million times already, but the title, Tiger Lawyer, is the kind that elicits a chuckle and makes you wonder where the idea came from. So, where did the initial idea come from?

Ryan Ferrier: I really wish I had a cool story for this question, but alas it was one of those things that I’ve completely forgotten, though I’m fairly certain it stemmed from something I posted on Twitter last December, something silly. It was a tweet along the lines of Tiger Lawyer being my next comic, made entirely with sarcasm. I do remember gearing up to tackle a different script, and decided to actually write Tiger Lawyer–the script that would become the first short–one afternoon. I immediately posted the script online, and surprisingly, people dug it enough for me to actually make it.

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‘Baby Girl,’ ‘Tiger Lawyer’ join the Hell Yeah team

Tiger Lawyer

You can take the guy out of the anthology, but you can’t take the anthology out of the guy … or something like that.

Before writing Hell Yeah and Glory, Joe Keatinge not only worked for Image Comics as their PR guy, but also co-edited (with Mark Andrew Smith) the anthology series PopGun.

“Working at Image Comics, I got exposed to a huge amount of amazing new talent,” Keatinge said on his blog. “PopGun was born out of wanting to give this talent a place to start. From there, editing and project management became something of an itch I loved to scratch.”

In order to keep scratching that itch, Keatinge is adding back-up features to Hell Yeah, starting with a comic called “Baby Girl” by artist David Hahn and written by The ThreeOneFive collective. “This is an invite-only series of creator-owned shorts by cartoonists, artists and writers I think either are or will someday be a way big deal,” Keatinge said. “I’ve been lucky to have a good amount of success in comics, in good part because of help I’ve had along the way, and I think it’s really, really important and essential to pay that forward.”

In addition, Keatinge says he’ll start running one-page “Tiger Lawyer” comics by Ryan Ferrier. “I got to read the comic and was really impressed by how unique, hilarious and interesting it was. Good times. I immediately asked writer Ryan Ferrier if he was cool with doing one-pagers. I was very happy when he said yes,” Keatinge said.

“Baby Girl” will run through Hell Yeah #3-5, while the Tiger Lawyer one-pagers debut in Hell Yeah #4.

Food or Comics? | Flex Mentaleggio

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.

Hulk #50

Graeme McMillan

It’s a week of familiar faces for me this time around. If I had $15, it’d go on Action Comics #8 (DC, $3.99), which completes Grant Morrison’s first story arc on the title — even though we’ve already had the second one; thanks, fill-ins! — as well as Supreme #63 (Image, $2.99), with Erik Larsen illustrating the final Alan Moore script for Rob Liefeld’s Superman knock-off (I’d love to see a well-done collection of all of these issues one day, now that the Moore run is completed). Also on tap, the final issue of OMAC (#8, DC, $2.99) and the long-awaited return of Busiek, Ross and Herbert’s Kirby: Genesis (#6, Dynamite, $3.99), because a man needs as much well-done Jack Kirby-inspired comics as possible, goshdarnit.

If I had $30, I’d add Hulk #50 (Marvel, $3.99) to once again celebrate what Jeff Parker had managed to do with a book and concept that, by all rights, should’ve disappeared a long time ago. (In all honesty, I much prefer the Red Hulk to the classic version these days, and it’s all Parker’s doing, along with his various artistic compatriots on the title.) Everyone who isn’t reading it: This is a jumping-on point issue! Try it and see if you don’t love it, too. And, despite the unevenness of earlier issues, Matt Fraction’s Casanova: Avarita #3 (Marvel, $4.99) is also a must-read; I really didn’t like the first issue, but loved the second. We’ll see where the book goes next.

Should I be splurging, then this week the splurge is on Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery Deluxe HC (DC/Vertigo, $22.99). One of my favorite comics of all time, I’m likely going to end up getting this over-sized, recolored reprint just because I genuinely can’t resist the optimistic, hopeful tone of the book and its love of superheroes.

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What Are You Reading? with Beth Scorzato

Hell Yeah

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Beth Scorzato, managing editor of the excellent comics news and commentary site Spandexless.

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

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Comics A.M. | Heavy rains damage comics at Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum

ToonSeum

Comics | Heavy rains and a leaky roof led to the loss of between $20,000 and $25,000 worth of comics and books that Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum was storing temporarily in a warehouse. “I guess the best way to put it, the warehouse was where we kept things that did not individually have high value, but put together [were] worth a large amount,” said Executive director Joe Wos, who believes that most of the material can be replaced eventually. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Publishing | The digital comics distributor comiXology has hired Marc Goldberg as its chief technology officer. Goldberg formerly served as CTO for the Viacom-owned “multiplatform premium entertainment channel” EPIX. [comiXology Blog]

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Food or Comics? | Friends With 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.

Friends With Boys

Brigid Alverson

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.

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Exclusive Preview | Hell Yeah #1

As noted in my interview earlier today with Eric Stephenson, Image Comics has several new titles hitting in early 2012 by some big-name creators–folks like Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Jonathan Hickman. Also arriving in early 2012 is a new book by two rising stars, writer Joe Keatinge and artist Andre Szymanowicz. Keatinge, who used to work for Image in a marketing role but left to pursue a writing career, and Szymanowicz, who has worked on Elephantman and Popgun, have teamed up to create Hell Yeah, the first issue of which comes out in March.

Keatinge spoke to our own Tim O’Shea about the concept not long ago: “The universe of Hell Yeah has been percolating in my head for a while. One of the first thing I thought of was superheroes being treated and named more like bands than typical super-teams. The first team name I thought was ‘The All-New All-Differents’, the second was ‘Hell Yeah For Justice.’ It struck me then that the name was the perfect embodiment of the book, especially since Hell Yeah For Justice is the group the series’ main character, Ben Day, will be hanging out with. So it was more organic, less market strategy. However, I will admit it makes for a pretty rad logo.”

Courtesy of Keatinge, we’re pleased to present an exclusive preview of Hell Yeah #1. You can see a different preview of it in Chew #23. Check it out after the jump.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Joe Keatinge

Hell Yeah

I’ve been friendly with Joe Keatinge dating back to his days managing PR & marketing for Image Comics. When it was revealed back in October that Extreme Studios was relaunching the line–with Keatinge writing Glory (with Ross Campbell on art), I started generating questions for an interview. In addition to discussing Glory (which relaunches with Glory #23 on February 15, 2012), Keatinge opens up about Hell Yeah (Image), his creator-owned collaboration with artist/co-creator Andre Szymanowicz that premieres on March 7, 2012, as well as another upcoming 2012 project, Brutal, in collaboration with artist Frank Cho. My thanks to Keatinge for this email interview. After reading this piece, be sure to check out CBR’s Joe Keatinge coverage for more insight into the busy writer’s upcoming work.

Tim O’Shea: Did Rob Liefeld approach you to work on the Glory relaunch? Was Ross Campbell already committed to the project when you joined?

Joe Keatinge: While Rob was certainly involved with the process, I was actually approached by Image Comics Publisher and Extreme Editor, Eric Stephenson, almost a year ago now. At the time they had nailed down the idea of the line and I believe a couple of the other books may have had writers, but it was still in the very early stages. After that was the process of giving a quick pitch, which was virtually instantaneous to Eric asking if I wanted to do it, to developing a longer pitch, to Eric and I bringing Brandon Graham on board for Prophet, to discussing Glory with Brandon, to Brandon suggesting Ross Campbell, to seeing Ross’ amazing work and me asking him if he wanted to come on board. He did a few samples which blew away both Eric and Rob. We’ve been working on it ever since.

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