"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Thanks to the pop culture ubiquity of The Walking Dead, series artist Charlie Adlard has become a horror franchise all his own. So it’s no surprise he was tapped to draw the U.S. poster for the latest installment of Spain’s popular [REC] film series.
The LA Times debuted the image which uses the monochromatic feel of Adlard’s Image Comics work to present [REC] 4: Apocalypse actress Manuela Velasco amidst the viral video-style undead at the series’ core. The film, directed by Jaume Balaguero, arrives in the U.S. via VOD this month. See the full poster after the jump.
Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods is currently making the rounds on various year-end “Best of” lists and no doubt will be under a few trees later this week. But if you want a little horror in your holidays before you get to the unwrapping, the webcomics creator has posted a brand new holiday-themed horror tale titled “All Along the Wall” on her website.
So grab some eggnog, curl up with your favorite electronic device and beware the monster in the corner …
Combining his love for horror with a pretty scary event from his own past, writer Jason McNamara (The Martian Confederacy, First Moon, Continuity) has teamed with artist Greg Hinkle (the upcoming Airboy) to tell the story of The Rattler. A campaign to bring their self-published graphic novel to the printed page began this morning on Kickstarter.
According to The Rattler Kickstarter page, “10 years have passed since Stephen Thorn’s fiancée vanished without a trace, and he has grown into a prominent, if bitter, victim’s rights crusader. Despite the cold trail and lack of leads, he stubbornly refuses to give up the search. And then … he begins to hear her voice in the strangest of places.”
I spoke with both McNamara and Hinkle about the project, their favorite horror comics and what “dinner” at the MacNamara house (one of the Kickstarter prizes) consists of (here’s a hint).
It’s a cause for celebration any time Greg Rucka launches a new series, as he does Wednesday with Veil, the story of a girl who awakens with amnesia in an abandoned subway station. Teaming with Rucka on this new Dark Horse ongoing is artist Toni Fejzula. I challenge you not to read Veil once you see the eyes of the lead character as drawn by Fejzula — that and so much more about his art instantly caught my attention to the series. With this interview, I aimed to gain insight into Fejzula’s passion and approach for this new collaborative project. It’s an added bonus to learn he might be listening to Rock Lobster while drawing Veil …
To help promote the fourth season of The Walking Dead, Fox Germany opted for an approach that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek — or, rather, finger in cheek.
Electronic billboards in select Berlin subway stations advertise what appears to be a makeup remover called “Good Night Cleansing Program,” and show a model demonstrating the product. But as pedestrians walk by, the image changes to reveal a zombie (below), accompanied by information about when and where to watch the hit comic-book adaptation.
The ad was created by German agency Saint Elmo’s, which was inspired by the realization that horror genre is as popular with women as it is with men.
As Creative Managing Director Dennis Pfisterer explained in a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter, “We drastically countered the outdated cliche that all horror fans are male by using a cliched image in the style of a beauty product ad, so that we could appeal above all to female horror fans, alongside male fans, with this concept of a ‘makeup removal program for good TV nights.'”
The campaign, which debuted earlier this month, ends Monday, but Fox Germany indicates it could expand beyond Berlin to other major cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
While the Scott Pilgrim-themed proposal scavenger hunt and the Bat-themed wedding were fun and imaginative, here’s something that may give them a run for their money: typically dull engagement photos presented as a horror comic.
Photographer Laszlo Bodnar on the Hungary-based ElevenPhoto tells The Huffington Post that the future bride and groom, who are fans of horror movies, suggested a Texas Chainsaw-themed setting. So Bodnar took the idea and ran with it, transforming the photos into a comic.
See part of the comic below, and the rest at The Huffington Post.
Legal | The final chapter of The Oatmeal vs. Charles Carreon has been completed (we hope), and it’s not a shining moment for Carreon: A judge has ordered him to pay $46,000 in attorney’s fees to the creator of a Satirical Charles Carreon website, whom he threatened with legal action. Carreon eventually dropped his suit, but the whole dispute escalated anyway, and the judge cited his “malicious conduct” in awarding the fees. [Ars Technica]
Digital comics | Amazon has quietly launched Kindle Comic Creator, which allows creators to upload various types of files and make them into e-books to be sold in the Kindle store; the software has its own system for creating panel-by-panel view, and the finished product can be read on a wide variety of Kindles and Kindle apps. [Good E-Reader]
A few years ago, Viz Media published Inio Asano’s manga Solanin and What a Wonderful World to great critical acclaim. Set in present-day Tokyo, they show the lives of twentysomethings trying to navigate their place in the world.
Now Fantagraphics Books has announced it will publish another Asano manga, Nijigahara Holograph, but it’s not a slice-of-life manga; it’s a horror story. Matt Thorn, who has translated the other Fantagraphics manga titles, including Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories and Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son, will translate this one as well. The story is complete in a single, 200-page hardcover volume, which will retail for $26.99. Here’s what Fantagraphics President and Co-Publisher Gary Groth has to say about the book:
Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph is both a departure from and entirely consistent with our growing line of manga graphic novels. It is considerably and consistently darker than either Moto Hagio’s or Shimura Takako’s work, using a much more deliberately involuted literary structure, but it’s also in keeping with our editorial imperative to publish unique artistic voices. We’re proud to make this landmark work available to an American readership.
As it happens, Shaenon Garrity just wrote a column about Asano’s manga; here’s her take on Nijigahara Holograph:
Asano blends character studies of directionless young adults with shocking violence, supernatural horror, time travel, and the end of the world, creating a work that’s sort of half Magnolia, half Donnie Darko, with a splash of Stephen King.
Solicitation text and sample artwork can be found below:
The online retail giant Amazon, which already has a publishing arm of its own, has added digital comics to its portfolio with the release of Blackburn Burrow, a comic that is — they make no bones about it — a movie pitch. In fact, the comic originated as a screenplay in Amazon Studios, which is a sort of crowdsourcing commons where people can upload scripts, videos and other projects, and those with the best feedback rise to the top of the heap, apparently. Amazon has a number of projects from Amazon Studios in development, although none are in actual production yet, but it’s early days for them.
Blackburn Burrow was produced by 12 Gauge Comics, an actual comics publisher, and the creative team of writer Ron Marz and artist Matthew Dow Smith has some serious comics cred. I actually read the comic: It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really rise above its genre. It’s a horror comic set during the Civil War, featuring a blind ex-soldier who starts off killing some kind of a witch and then gets sent by the War Department to investigate mysterious doings in a small Georgia town. The art is serviceable — honestly, it looks like it was done in a hurry, but Smith has a deft style and it’s very readable. A lot of horror comics load up the panels with details and gore, but his restrained hand suggests he is going for story over effects. So far, the comic hasn’t broken any new ground, but it’s entertaining enough.
At the end of the comic (which is hosted on Graphicly and can also be read on the Kindle) there’s a link to an online survey, and if you complete the survey, Amazon will send you a $5 gift card. The survey is pretty painless, but there are a lot of questions about the comic so don’t try to cheat and skip the required reading.
Happy Father’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Today’s guests are two of the contributors to Skullkickers #18, which features several “Tavern Tales” short stories by different creative teams. Joining us today are Charles Soule of 27, Strange Attractors and Strongman fame, and Aubrey Sitterson, winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’s also the writer of Gear Monkey for Double Feature Comics and community manager for WWE Games.
To see what Charles, Aubrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Following up the teaser we received earlier this week, former BOOM! Studios editor and Darkwing Duck writer Ian Brill has revealed the details behind Dracula World Order, a self-published one-shot that will be available next Wednesday at select retailers and digitally through comiXology.
Joining Brill in creating the comic are four different artists — Tonci Zonjic, Rahsan Ekedal, Declan Shalvey and Gabriel Hardman. The comic is broken into four chapters, each drawn by a different artist, with a cover by Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The story revolves around Dracula’s son Alexandru leading a rebellion against his father and the one-percent “vampire elite.”
From a publishing/distribution standpoint, Brill seems to be following the model that worked very well for Sam Humphries last year with his self-published comics Our Love is Real and Sacrifice (Brill even mentioned Humphries in his press release). The one-shot has a print run of 300 copies, creating a collectible item, but it’s also available digitally so anyone with a mobile device or web connection can read it through comiXology. (If you’re interested in more about Humphries’ approach, he spoke extensively about it at Comic-Con last year at a panel we were both on, which is available for your listening pleasure here).
You can find some preview artwork and a list of shops selling the comic below. I have some questions out to Brill about it, so watch for an interview soon.
Sam Costello’s Split Lip horror comic has been popular with reviewers and readers alike for a couple of years, so it was a surprise when Costello announced earlier this week that he is ending the comic, which is written by him and illustrated by different artists. We checked in to see what happened—and what will happen next.
Robot 6: When you first started Split Lip, what were you hoping to accomplish?
Sam Costello: There’s a big answer and a small one. The small one is that I just wanted to make comics, to write stories that would let me express some of the things inside me and demonstrate that perhaps I could be a writer of good comics. That’s not the interesting answer, though. The interesting answer is the big one: I wanted to make a different kind of horror comics.
This may seem like an odd thing to say about a comics market crowded full of titles filed under horror, but I think there are actually vanishingly few true horror comics. There are lots of comics with horror elements or themes, but many of them are actually something else: action with horror in them, romance with horror in them, adventure with horror in them. In my analysis, there are relatively few true horror comics, comics that peel away the social niceties and shared delusions we use to make the basic horror of existence (that we live in an indifferent universe, that’s there’s no meaning to life other than what we instill it with, how fraught and confused and misunderstood our relationships with others can be) bearable.
Legal | Comics reviewer and journalist Don MacPherson was notified by his web-hosting service of a complaint accusing him of violating the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. According to MacPherson, the complaint was filed by Scott Courrier, owner of Geeks Galore Computer Center in Marmora, Ontario, who lost a copyright-infringement lawsuit in 2009 after using one of cartoonist Rich Koslowski’s 3 Geeks images without permission. MacPherson wrote about the original judgment; he also posted a follow-up noting Koslowski hadn’t been paid and that the computer center was still using his artwork about a year later. In his complaint to the web-hosting service, Courrier accuses MacPherson of infringing on his copyright by “using my personal name and business information in a negative way without consent.” MacPherson’s hosting company briefly took down his site, but has since restored it, saying it won’t pull it down again unless ordered to do so by a court. MacPherson also followed up with Koslowski, who said the computer center is still using his artwork and hasn’t paid him the court-ordered monetary award from his case. [Eye on Comics]
Passings | Jan Berenstain, who with her husband Stan created the popular children’s book characters the Berenstain Bears, passed away Friday at a hospital near her home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Berenstain, 88, had suffered a stroke earlier in the week. Since the release of The Big Honey Hunt in 1962, the Berenstain Bears series has grown to more than 300 books and sold about 260 million copies worldwide, inspiring animated television specials and series, museum exhibits and a stage show. Stan Berenstain passed away in 2005 at age 82. [The Washington Post]
Events | This year’s 24-Hour Comics Day will be held Oct. 20. [ComicsPro]
Comics | Here’s a variation on the comics-aren’t-for-kids-anymore theme, with reasonable parents who know they need to check what their kids are reading, and a retailer who gets it. [WNYT.com]
Joëlle Jones mentioned the other day that she was working on a new horror comic for Oni Press with Cullen Bunn, writer of The Sixth Gun, and that piqued our interest. The folks at Broken Frontier were interested, too, and they got a few more details. “[The project] is currently planned as a limited series,” Bunn said. “It’s definitely one of the darkest things I’ve written so far – a kind of horror mash-up that I’m pretty excited about it.”
While Bunn has been busy with The Sixth Gun, Wolverine and his upcoming stint on Venom: Savage Six, Jones has brought her lively, slightly retro style to a stack of teen and young adult books, including Dark Horse adaptations of PC Cast’s House of Night and Janet and Alex Evanovich’s Troublemaker, and a new adaptation of O.T. Nelson’s The Girl Who Owned a City. These two are a killer combination, and I for one can’t wait to see what they have brewing.