Hope Larson Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Comics A.M. | Artist Geneviève Castrée passes away

Geneviève Castrée

Passings | Illustrator Geneviève Castrée, whose debut graphic novel “Susceptible” was published in 2013 by Drawn & Quarterly, passed away Saturday from pancreatic cancer. She was 35. “She was truly driven to work and stay living right up to the last minute, insisting on getting up and going to work in her studio way beyond when many would have surrendered to rest,” Castrée’s husband, musician/songwriter Phil Elverum, wrote on her GoFundMe page. “Last night and this morning she declined quickly and receded into her own eyes as her body vetoed her wishes, her lungs filling with fluid. She died at home with me and her parents holding her, hopefully having reached some last minute peace.” Castrée was diagnosed with cancer in May 2015, just four months after giving birth to their daughter. [GoFundMe]

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BOOM! teases ‘Goldie Vance’ with brochure for fictional hotel

goldie-social

Goldie Vance, the upcoming teen-detective series by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams, follows the adventures of 16-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance, who spends her spare time solving mysteries at her father’s luxury hotel.

The Crossed Palms Resort plays such a central role to the comic that BOOM! Studios even created a brochure to promote the lavish, St. Pascal, Florida, hotel and its amenities. The publisher provided ROBOT 6 with a look at the brochure, below.

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Comics A.M. | Mile High to hold auction for family of teen driver

Chuck Rozanski

Chuck Rozanski

Retailing | The driver killed early Sunday when her car crashed into the Mile High Comics store in Denver, Colorado, has been identified as 17-year-old Karen Lopez. There were no passengers in the car, and no one was in the store at the time. Mile High Comics will hold an auction to benefit Lopez’s family; in an earlier news report, owner Chuck Rozanski described what happened and said, “When someone suffers a violent death like this within your space, I mean this is my building, I love this building and I love being here every day and now to know someone died here it’s going to alter my perception forever.” [KDVR]

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Creators weigh in on 2014 and 2015 (Part 3)

Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back” feature, we asked some creators and other industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015, and what projects they have planned for the coming year.

In this installment, hear from Hope Larson, Jason Latour, Jess Fink, Sophie Goldstein, Chris Schweizer, Shawn Crystal, Dean Haspiel, Andrew MacLean, Stephanie Cooke, Nolan T. Jones, Erica Schultz and Fred Van Lente!

Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2, and don’t forget to come back this afternoon for more.

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Hope Larson launches new webcomic ‘Solo’

solo 1

Award-winning cartoonist Hope Larson (Mercury, A Wrinkle in Time) has debuted a new webcomic, Solo, which won’t be updated on a regular schedule. Rather, she explains, “I’ll be drawing the pages and slapping them up online the moment the ink’s dry, raw and fresh and full of mistakes. And full of swear words — the subject matter is fairly tame, but it’s not a kids’ comic.”

Larson adds on Twitter, “I don’t have an RSS feed and you can’t make me. Maybe I want people to forget about my comic for 6 months and stumble back to a whole bunch of pages. Or NEVER stumble back.”

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Comics A.M. | IDW’s ‘My Little Pony’ comics hit 1 million in sales

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

Publishing | Sales of IDW Publishing’s My Little Pony comics, in single-issue and graphic novel format but not counting digital, have topped 1 million copies. (It does really well in the iBookstore — there are multiple issues in the Top 10 every week — although it seldom registers on the other digital comics platforms.) IDW’s Ted Adams says this is because it’s such a great comic, but shrewd marketing such as offering a special Scholastic Book Fair edition with a bonus pony figure probably helped a lot. [ICv2]

Digital comics | The motion-comics platform Madefire has secured $5.2 million in funding. In July it announced agreements with four comics publishers — IDW, BOOM! Studios, Top Cow and iTV — and the first IDW comics came out in August. Madefire also has a partnership with DeviantArt. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Overstock doubles down in graphic novel price war

Overstock.com

Overstock.com

Retailing | Following a price war during which it lost $11,000 a day, Overstock.com has vowed to match Amazon’s price on books, including graphic novels, going forward. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne thinks he can get better prices from publishers who want to boost competition for Amazon. However, as ICv2 points out, Overstock’s graphic novel selection is smaller than Amazon’s, and prices overall have risen since their recent price war. [ICv2]

Creators | Todd McFarlane recently claimed no work that was “trying to get across a message” has succeeded as a comic, but Laura Sneddon finds proof to the contrary at the Stripped festival in Edinburgh, where she talked to Joe Sacco, Paul Cornell, Stephen Collins and Grant Morrison about the ideas that drive their comics. [New Statesman]

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Watch Hope Larson’s debut short film ‘Bitter Orange’

bitter-orange2

On June 14, the New Beverly Cinemas played host to the premiere of Bitter Orange, written and directed by acclaimed cartoonist Hope Larson (Chiggers, Mercury, A Wrinkle in Time), and now, just days later, it’s available for viewing online.

Starring Brie Larson (United States of Tara, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), Brendan Hines (Lie to Me, Scandal) and James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros., The Office), the short is set in the 1920s and follows Myrtle, a career girl who, while in the company of the bootlegger Jack, is forced to choose between a legitimate career and success at any cost.

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This weekend, it’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival

TCAF 2013 poster

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival celebrates its 10th birthday this weekend with a truly stellar lineup of guests and an amazing array of events. The list of creators who will be there is impressive in both its quality and its breadth: Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, David B., Taiyo Matsumoto, Rutu Modan, Frederik Peeters, Paul Pope, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Hope Larson, Faith Erin Hicks, Derf Backderf, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, a roll call that goes from living legends to plucky creators making their own comics zines by hand.

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Previews: What Looks Good for April

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, 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.

Crater XV

Graeme McMillan

Crater XV HC (Top Shelf, $19.95): I’ve been following (and loving) the serialization of Kevin Cannon’s follow-up to Far Arden in the digital pages of Double Barrel, but I know that I’ll be picking up this hardcover collection of the further adventures of sea dog Rusty Shanks nonetheless. The Canadian space program deserves no less.

In The Days of the Mob HC (DC Comics, $39.99): To say that Kirby’s 1970s take on the organized-crime world of the 1930s is something I’ve been longing to read since I first discovered its existence would be an understatement, so I’m definitely looking forward to this deluxe reprint, complete with material that wasn’t in the original edition.

Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse TP (Rebellion/2000AD, $24.99): John Smith’s cosmic authorities are one of comics’ most secret treasures, I think, especially when he’s paired with an artist like Edmund Bagwell, who brings a wonderful Euro-Kirby influence to the stories in this collection. Really looking forward to this one.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen GN (First Second, $17.99): As a sucker for good autobiographical comics and also good food writing, the idea of Lucy Knisley creating a food-centric memoir — complete with recipes! — is far too good to ignore. I love that publishers like First Second are publishing work like this.

Solo Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics, $49.99): Even though I own most of these issues from their original appearance, the oversized hardcover format is waaaay too tempting when you consider some of the material this book has up its 500+ page sleeve: Paul Pope covering Kirby! Brendan McCarthy channeling Ditko as only he could! The amazing Darwyn Cooke issue! The only thing that could make this better would be if it included work completed on follow-up issues before the plug had been pulled … But maybe that can appear in a second volume, one day…

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What Are You Reading? with Ethan Young

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today we’re joined by special guest Ethan Young, creator of the webcomic-turned-print collection Tails.

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

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Comics A.M. | Comics sales dip in September, graphic novels rise

Thanos Quest #1

Publishing| Comics sales in the direct market were down in September relative to last year, but that may be because the launch of DC’s New 52 pushed sales unusually high in September 2011. Graphic novels were up by 14.4 percent, making for a slight uptick in the overall market. Year-to-date and third-quarter sales were also up by a goodly amount from last year. [ICv2]

Editorial cartooning | The position of editorial cartoonist as a staff job on a newspaper is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, but attendees at the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists meeting in Washington, D.C., don’t seem too downhearted; new opportunities are opening up, and this year’s presidential campaign is presenting them with plenty of material. “Times are tough for the old idea of cartoonists, but all kinds of other things have opened up,” said cartoonist Chip Bok, “And editorial cartoons, all cartoons, are more popular than ever. You see them all over the Internet. The problem now is figuring out how to get paid.” [Voice of America]

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Comics A.M. | Sailor Moon leads September bookstore sales

Sailor Moon, Vol. 7

Graphic novels | The seventh volume of Sailor Moon was the top-selling graphic novel in bookstores in September, according to BookScan, followed by Naruto,Vol. 58,  an Avengers character guide, the third volume of Batman: Knightfall, and vol. 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise. ICv2 notes that, the Avengers book aside (and it is published by DK Publishing), Marvel is completely absent from the top ten, although DC makes a strong showing. [ICv2]

Creators | Hope Larson, who adapted Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time into graphic novel form, chats with Margaret Ferguson, her editor on the project. [Publishers Weekly]

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Reviewing graphic novels | The view from the keyboard

Apparently, I'm the only person on earth who hated this book

Last weekend I was supposed to speak at the Kidlit Blogger conference in New York, but I had to bow out shortly beforehand because of scheduling problems. However, in preparing for the panel, I pulled together some notes on reviewing graphic novels that I thought might be of interest to writers, and maybe to readers as well. And because a good writer wastes nothing, here you go!

Types of reviews: Most of my reviews are written for the mildly interested reader, a group that could include casual readers, fans of any genre and librarians, and the aim of the review is to help that reader determine whether he or she would like that book. That’s different from me liking the book. There’s always a large measure of taste involved in any review, and if a book is solid but somehow done in a style or genre I don’t care for, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it. Having had the experience of totally trashing a book that other people love, and loving a book most people hated, I don’t even try to believe that my taste is universal.

So, in this type of review I give an indication of what the story is about, who the characters are, what the art is like, and how the story is told, then discuss what worked particularly well or don’t work at all. If I have a physical copy of the book, I might note the presentation, particularly if the production values are especially good (or especially bad). I seldom do an entirely positive or entirely negative review of a book, because most books have flaws and high points. I generally avoid spoilers in those types of reviews.

Occasionally a book is so bad I just pull out the sledgehammer and trash it. The book has to be spectacularly, offensively bad for me to do that—if it’s merely boring, the muse won’t come. So that doesn’t happen too often. Actually, my favorite kind of review is the one where I think a book is going go to be awful and I am pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be good.

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Comics A.M. | Belgian comics revival? Craig Thompson in Jordan

From "Garden Raiders," by Juliette Etrivert

Publishing | Belgium, birthplace of Tintin and the Smurfs, is beginning to see its government-funded efforts to revive the country’s once-thriving comics scene pay off, with small publishing houses, self-publishers and digital comics portals springing up. [Deutsche Welle]

Creators | Habibi creator Craig Thompson posts an account of his recent trip to Jordan, which coincided with the troubles in Libya. Disconcertingly, he learned that Habibi is banned there, but his experiences in the schools and studios he visited stand in stark contrast to what the rest of us were watching—and even what he experienced while traveling from place to place. (Craig also gives a shout-out to a couple who got engaged while waiting in line to see him at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC; the groom-to-be concealed the ring in a hollowed-out copy of Blankets.) [Craig Thompson]

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