Finn Wields a Lightsaber in New "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Footage
“As soon as I started getting an allowance, it was for comics. I would just go [to the store]. I didn’t really have a concept of new comic day, I just thought they showed up at any given random time at Golden Apple in LA. I would just show up and was like, ‘Ooh, WildC.A.T.S.!’ It was all that — WildC.A.T.S., Spawn, Cyberforce. I got into it too late to even know that these creators worked on Spider-Man and the X-Men. I just knew that they created the friggin’ Violator. It was huge for me. It got me into comics, straight-up. I think I liked those comics more than I liked X-Men. I just remember being at my friend’s house and he was like, ‘You gotta read this Spawn,’ and I loved it.”
— Say Anything frontman Max Bemis, talking with Comic Book Resources about the ’90s Image comics that inspired his new BOOM! Studios series Oh, Killstrike
Creatively, this will be a satisfying week for Invisible Republic creators Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, as the first issue of their ambitious sci-fi adventure — “Breaking Bad meets Blade Runner” — arrives from Image Comics.
Bechko and Hardman initially started Invisible Republic around 2009, only to set aside in order to collaborate on other projects. When the creators picked it up again, Hardman chose to rework his art to a certain extent. Fortunately for ROBOT 6, Hardman notes, “I drew the entire first issue years ago before we reworked it into its current form and we haven’t shown these original versions of the pages anywhere else.”
The black-and-white pages are the original versions, while the final versions are in color (courtesy of series colorist Jordan Boyd).
Three factors interest me after reading the first issue of Southern Cross, the Image Comics mystery–set on a futuristic tanker spaceship–by writer Becky Cloonan, artist Andy Belanger and color artist Lee Loughridge. Something about the way the cast is introduced as the series lead Alex Braith boards the tanker flight to Titan (a refinery moon) plays out in a manner that is reminiscent of a 1970s murder mystery movie set on a train. Secondly, the cinematic scale of some of Belanger’s establishing shots, particularly of the tanker itself. But most of all, I find myself taken by the troubled and somewhat internally conflicted character of Braith herself.
Comics are art, and sometimes art is comics. The print collective Secret Panel, which ROBOT 6 wrote about last fall, has released two new limited-edition prints by Becky Cloonan and Matt Taylor focusing on Sex Criminals, the acclaimed Image Comics series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (now being developed for television).
This is the fourth release for Secret Panel since its launch in October, following prints based on Nameless, Hotline Miami and Revival. Here are Taylor and Cloonan’s prints, the latter of which isn’t exactly safe for work:
Lumbering into Toys”R”Us stores next month, the new assortment of Walking Dead Minimates from Diamond Select Toys will feature characters from the “All Out War” story arc of the acclaimed comic series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard.
Inspired by Adlard’s artwork, each 2-inch minifigure features 14 points of articulation, interchangeable parts and character-specific accessories. The assortment features four two-packs, each with a human paired with a walker. Here’s the character lineup:
The writing team of Brian Joines and Jay Faerber along with the artistic combo of Ilias Kyriazis and Charlie Kirchoff have created the Front Line, a quirky Canadian-based team with far more interesting personal lives than their heroic pursuits, as neatly laid out in the first issue of the Image Comics series, Secret Identities.
Next week will be big for Thief of Thieves artist Shawn Martinbrough on two fronts, as not only does Thief of Thieves #26 go on sale Feb. 25, but on the following day he’ll discuss his career and his noir-influenced approach to storytelling as part of the Society of Illustrators’ celebration of Black History Month. He’ll be joined in the conversation by comics writer and historian Danny Fingeroth.
In conjunction with the release of Thief of Thieves #26, ROBOT 6 asked Martinbrough to rank his 10 favorite covers, and reveal a bit about the creative process for each one:
Since the late 1970s, on a weekly basis, I always have eagerly anticipated the day new comics were released. This week was faced with the greatest amount of anticipation, because of events in my personal life. In the early hours of this past Tuesday morning, a seizure of unknown origin rendered me temporarily unable to speak and unexpectedly hospitalized for a few days. One immediate change due to my hospitatlization, state law prohibits me from driving for the next six months. Fortunately, my wife was kind enough to drive me to the comic book store the day after my release from the hospital.
This week, due to my health scare, I was just a smidge more appreciative than normal to see the release of the first issue for Jimmie Robinson’s new Image Comics creator-owned series, The Empty.
“It’s a little bit of me trying to say out loud, the reason that Spawn looks and feels the way that it does, which is slightly different than some of the better-selling books right now at Image, is because it was started in 1992, and those trappings were put in there intentionally at that time. I can’t undo the blueprint. It’s a superhero book, and it’s always been a superhero book. That’s what it is. It’s not that I can’t do non-superhero books, or I couldn’t do a comedy book, or a true romance book, I just have chosen during that time not to. It’s not for lack of ideas or skill, I’ve just chosen not to. If people like it, some people may say, ‘Oh, it’s a change of pace for Todd. I didn’t know you could do all of this stuff.’ To me, it’s not really different than saying, ‘Draw a circle or draw a square.’ They’re both different shapes. I can do both of them, I just have been drawing a circle for so long. But it didn’t mean I couldn’t draw a square any day of the last 20 years. I could have. That’s not what Marvel and DC did, and when we left, that wasn’t what we did. We did our thing, and people then could say, ‘Well, you could have done it in the last 20 years,’ and the answer is not really, because that really wasn’t the footprint and the identity of what Image was at that point.”
– Todd McFarlane, discussing his upcoming Image Comics miniseries Savior
Last month when writer Grant Morrison hyped Nameless, his newest Image Comics collaboration with artist Chris Burnham, by name-dropping concepts such as “nihilistic philosophy,” I found myself thinking “Christ on a crutch, that sounds dreadful.” Years ago I made my peace with how to appreciate Morrison. I do not dislike Morrison–I count his Animal Man and Doom Patrol runs among among my top 10 favorite comics series that I have read.
Legal | Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered an investigation into a cartoon he claims depicts the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoonist, Mohammed Sabaaneh, denied that on his Facebook, saying, “The intention was not to represent the prophet. [It was to] symbolise Islam and its role of disseminating light and love on the human race.” It was a reaction to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, not an attempt to imitate them: “My point was to defend religion in the face of attempts to distort it, by using the same means: a caricature,” he said. The newspaper that ran the cartoon, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, apologized and stated that the cartoon was not supposed to be an image of Muhammad. Sabaaneh, who spent several months in an Israeli prison on charges of “contacts with a hostile organization,” has been summoned by the Palestinian Authority for questioning. [Middle East Eye]
Todd McFarlane has unveiled a glimpse of a planned Spawn/Batman crossover that never saw the light of day. In what the Image Comics co-founder characterizes as “a bit of fate,” the project was to have been drawn by current Batman artist, and longtime McFarlane collaborator, Greg Capullo.
“Years ago there was a deal for DC Comics and myself to do a cool Batman/Spawn cross-over book (for those not hip to comic lingo, that’s a book in which both characters are in the same issue),” McFarlane writes in a Facebook post accompanying the long-lost cover. “I [was] to have written and inked it, while a talented penciller, Greg Capullo, was going to draw it. For a variety of reasons (mostly on my shoulders) the book never got off the ground, but a few pages and promo pieces were done for it. Below is one such piece drawn by Greg and inked by myself.”
Publishing | Portland, Oregon, will be the home base for Heavy Metal’s new line of comics, which was announced in October, following the company’s sale to David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz. “I think it’s being closer to the talent,” Krelitz said. “If you wanted to be a painter in the early 20th century, you went to Paris. The comics line launches in March with the second season of Michael Moreci and Steve Seely’s Hoax Hunters. The company plans to be publishing eight original series by the end of this year and another 12 next year, building up to 50 in five years. “We’re positioning to be a premier publisher,” Krelitz said. [The Oregonian]
Passings | Editorial cartoonist R.K. Laxman, who maintained a running commentary on Indian politics for almost 60 years, has died at age 93. The younger brother of novelist R. K. Narayan, Laxman got his start illustrating his brother’s work as well as doing drawings for local newspapers. He became an editorial cartoonist for the Times of India around 1947, about the time India became an independent country, and stayed there until 2010. Laxman’s most famous creation was the Common Man, a character that stood in for the average Indian. As the official obituary in the Times of India said, “His Common Man, created in 1957, was the symbol of India’s ordinary people, their trials and tribulations, their little joys and sorrows, and the mess they found themselves in thanks to the political class and bureaucracy. But despite the sobering reality of this, there was never any rancour in Laxman’s cartoons. His humour was always delightful, and no one could hold a candle to his brushstrokes.” [Times of India]
Legal | A 16-year-old in Nantes, France, was arrested last week for posting a cartoon on Facebook that mocks the Charlie Hebdo killings; the charge is “advocating terrorism.” The cartoon shows someone holding a copy of Charlie Hebdo and being struck by bullets. Electronic Intifada posts what is most likely the offending cartoon (it had been shared widely on social media), a takeoff on one of the more notorious Charlie Hebdo covers, accompanied by the text, “Charlie Hebdo is shit. It doesn’t stop bullets.” The original cover featured a cartoon of an Egyptian protestor holding the Koran, with text that read, “The Quran is shit, it doesn’t stop bullets.” [France 3]
Publishing | Sales were down in 2014 for Diamond Book Distributors, even though the industry overall had an up year. The reason: DBD lost a key client, Dark Horse, to Random House. Nonetheless, Vice President Kuo-Yu Liang sees good things in store for 2015, including strong sales of indie graphic novels, expanding international sales, and the much-anticipated March: Book Two, which was released this week. [Publishers Weekly]
Although Southern Cross, the sci-fi horror series from Becky Cloonan, Andy Belanger and Lee Loughridge, doesn’t debut from Image Comics until March, its production blog has already proved itself a must-read. Or a must-view, in any case.
The series follows Alex Braith as she boards the oil tanker Southern Cross en route to Saturn’s moon Titan to collect her sister’s remains, retrace her steps and uncover answers about her death.
On the blog, the creators have posted everything from character designs to logo treatments for the comic’s galactic oil company to — best of all for anyone who ever spent hours poring over schematics of Titans Tower or the U.S.S. Enterprise — a top-down blueprint of the Southern Cross itself.