Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Earlier this year writer Sam Humphries and artist Steven Saunders had a cool little success story with their science fiction comic Our Love is Real. It was released digitally, sold via their website and a few select comic shops, and eventually went into multiple printings before finally being picked up by Image Comics. (Sam spoke at length about his efforts to market and distribute the book during a panel we were both on at the San Diego Comic Con).
It worked out so well for him the first time that Humphries is trying it again. He’s teamed up with artist Dalton Rose for Sacrifice, a full-color, self-published, self-distributed, six-issue mini-series that debuts Dec. 14. It’s about Hector, a time traveler/Joy Division fan who finds himself in the middle of the Aztec empire.
And courtesy of Sam and Dalton, we’re pleased to bring you a look at the comic, which you can find after the jump, along with the book’s many variant covers. The comic will be available for digital download through comiXology and Graphicly, or you can buy it in print from several comic shops or through online retailer Things from Another World.
Addition: If you are in L.A., Collector’s Paradise will host a release party on Dec. 14 for the book, and you can also purchase their exclusive edition from their website. The cover for the “Shadow Edition” they have can be found after the jump.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where you’ll hopefully find something to add to your summer reading list. Our guest this week is Chris Arrant, who you may know from his comic book journalism work for Newsarama, Comic Book Resources and various print magazines for Marvel Comics, or from his comic book writing, which includes Female Force: Princess Diana, Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo and 24Seven Vol. 2.
To see what Chris and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below …
A few years ago a crossover project called War of the Independents was announced, featuring a wide variety of comic book characters from different publishers, including the Savage Dragon, Madman, Cerebus, ShadowHawk, Shi and many more (you can find a longer list here). Spearheaded by Dave Ryan, the project at one time was originally supposed to come out from Arcana in 2008.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen anything on the ambitious project, but it is still be alive — Ryan has started a Kickstarter page to raise money for it. The page also reveals that the six-issue full-color comic is now being published by Red Anvil Comics and will debut at New York Comic Con in October.
You can check out more art from the series by visiting Ryan’s Facebook page.
“I was forced to let go of the dedicated employees who had worked so tirelessly for so little money in order to create art that we all believed in,” Buenaventura posted on Blog Flume earlier today. “This meant that I had to abandon all current and future projects and discontinue sales and distribution. I deeply regret having to take these actions, but the press experienced a devastating financial blow that made it impossible to continue. (I will release more details about this problem in the future.)”
Robot 6’s Sean T. Collins reached out to Buenaventura today, and he added that the situation comes down to a single problem that is legal in nature.
Buenaventura Press published many independent comics, high-end anthologies, graphic novels and prints by creators like Ron Rege Jr, Ted May, Kevin Huizenga, Eric Haven, Lisa Hanawalt and Matt Furie. Back in 2008 they received a lot of attention when they published the massive Kramers Ergot 7, an “olympic-sized” anthology that included contributions from Matt Groening, Daniel Clowes, Seth, Gabrielle Bell and many more. They also published Comic Art Magazine.
Digital | Sean Kleefeld points out the launch of Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels, “the first ever scholarly, primary source database focusing on adult comic books and graphic novels,” the site’s home page says.
The site currently hosts 24,000 pages of comics and a small number of The Comics Journal issues — all with the permission of the copyright holders — with plans to eventually expand to 100,000 pages of materials. The site’s advisers and partners include Fantagraphics’ Gary Groth and Kitchen Sink Press’ Denis Kitchen. Access to the site is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access or as an annual subscription. [Underground and Independent Comics]
Welcome once again to What are you reading? Today our special guest is comics retailer James Sime, owner of the world-famous Isotope Comics in San Francisco. As a retailer, James has the opportunity to read a lot of comics, and his submission this week reflects the diversity of great stuff you’ll find in his shop.
Click below to see what he’s been reading lately, as well as what the rest of the Robot 6 crew has had on their reading lists this week ….
With the convention season wrapping up, I’m taking a break from longer graphic novels this week to finish up some shorter works that I’ve picked up at recent cons.
Written by Brian Azzarello; Illustrated by Benito Gallego
Based on characters created by Joseph Finder
One of the few highlights of this year’s WizardWorld Chicago Comic-Con was Crimespree Magazine’s booth and the focus on crime comics that it brought to the show. On one of my many trips to the booth I got handed a superhero mini-comic called The Cowl that was written by Brian Azzarello. The connection to crime fiction – other than Azarrello – is that it’s a tie-in to Joseph Finder’s most recent thriller, Vanished. Not an adaptation of Vanished, but a real version of a fictional comic created by one of the novel’s characters.
It’s only eight pages and mostly a teaser, so it’s tough to review, but it serves it’s function as a teaser very well. In some of the material that came with the comic, Finder talks about how he came up with the idea and asked a friend at DC for artist recommendations. After describing the style of art he wanted, Finder learned that he was looking for a modern-day John Buscema and was directed towards Benito Gallego. It was a good lead. I don’t know if Gallego’s intentionally trying to evoke Buscema for this project or if that’s his usual style, but he does a fine job in the way he draws anatomy, poses his characters, and delivers action.
Even though the comic is essentially an ad for Vanished, Azzarello isn’t wasted on it. The Cowl could have been – probably should have been, by all rights – a disposable superhero cliché. Certainly his costume is uninspired. But Azzarello gives him a couple of moments that are so cool – and a villain who’s so immediately wicked and horrifying – that you can’t help but hope to see him succeed. Only that’s when you hit the cliffhanger and realize you’re gonna have to read the novel. Nicely done.
Super Maxi-Pad Girl and Rooster Jack await you after the break.
Time again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for interesting new adventure comics.
Albatross Exploding Funny Book
Chimichanga #1 – First of all, the title makes me hungry. Second of all, it’s by Eric Powell. Third of all, it has a little bearded girl on the cover and she’s holding the enormous, clawed hand of some kind of monster. I don’t know why Dark Horse isn’t publishing this; I’m just glad it exists.
Adam Wreck and the Kalosian Space Pirates – Yeah, they pretty much had me with “space pirates.” But I’ll also take “shipwrecked on a strange planet filled with stranger alien creatures.”
The Swiss Family Robinson – Speaking of shipwrecks, I’m not sure how well this story will translate into comic form, but the pages from this preview are promising. The island looks inviting and I’m already jealous of the treehouse from just the little I can see on the front cover. And as everyone knows, the primary goal of any Swiss Family Robinson adaptation should be to make you jealous of the treehouse.
A Christmas Carol – The art’s a little less even on this one, but I quite like the way Naresh Kumar draws the three spirits. Looks better than the Robert Zemeckis adaptation anyway. Ultimately though, my curiosity about it is related to an unnatural fascination with Dickens’ original story and the choices people make when adapting it.
Martians, dinosaurs, talking gorillas, and more space pirates after the break.
This was hard. Screw that, it was really hard.
When I first started thinking about this list I figured that I’d find maybe a couple of interesting topic-focused panels and then have to pad the rest of the list with booth visits and a few publisher panels. After all, with San Diego’s increasingly becoming a Pop Media Con, how much room is still left for talking about comics? Well, quite a bit actually.
So much so that I’ve had to leave out a lot of good stuff in order to get this list down to six things. In fact, my original plan was to make a more comprehensive list that divided a lot more stuff into six general categories. The result was extremely busy though and some of the things I was most excited by got lost in the crowd. This then, is the really, really good stuff.
1) Attend a panel on crime comics. Max Allan Collins, Darwyn Cooke, Greg Rucka, and Steve Lieber will be talking about the resurrection of the crime genre in comics on Thursday from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Room 5AB). If they’d also gotten Ed Brubaker and Brian Azzarello, my head would’ve exploded.
2) Welcome Mike Mignola back to Hellboy. Mike Mignola’s Hellboy panels have been fairly movie-focused the last few years, but with no new film in sight and especially with Mignola’s returning to art duties on the series next year, Saturday’s panel (4:30 – 5:30 pm in Room 4) with editor Scott Allie should be the most exciting for comics fans that these have been in a long time.
All-Action Classics, Volume 1: Dracula
Written by Michael Mucci; Illustrated by Ben Caldwell
Adapting classic literature for a younger audience is tricky business. I mean, any kind of adaptation has its challenges, but taking a novel intended for adults of a century or two ago and making it exciting for modern kids has to be daunting as hell. Especially when that novel is Dracula, which has a difficult narrative style with all those journal entries and spends a lot of time building dread by prolonging events. It’s also violent and bloody.
I’m curious to see how Dynamite’s Complete Dracula handles the slower parts of the story. And how much use they’ll make of captions as opposed to letting dialogue and images tell the story. That’s got to be a hard job and Dynamite has the advantage of targeting an adult audience with presumably longer attention spans. Plus, lots of blood will be welcomed by grown-up vampire fans.
Not that younger readers don’t also appreciate lots of blood, but I imagine that some of their parents aren’t quite as excited about their being exposed to it. Michael Mucci and Ben Caldwell had some hard choices to make. Fortunately, they made all the right decisions and have created an adaptation that’s perfect for their audience – including grown-ups in the mood for a fast-paced, exciting version of Bram Stoker’s story.
Chicken with Plums
Written and Illustrated by Marjane Satrapi
Chicken with Plums is a misleading title for a murder mystery, but it’s especially appropriate for the one Marjane Satrapi has created. Chicken with Death or Murder with Plums: then you know what you’re getting into. Satrapi sneaks up on you though. You think you’re reading a slice-of-life story about her great-uncle and then you realize that he’s about to die and you’ve got no idea why. The twist that he’s going to kill himself makes it that much more intriguing.
Nasser Ali Khan is a great musician in Iran, but when his wife destroys his tar in the latest of a series of escalating arguments, his efforts to replace the beloved instrument are fruitless. In despair, he takes to his bed and gives up on life, declaring that he’s going to die in a week, presumably from starvation since he won’t eat. He won’t even take his favorite meal (you only get one guess as to what that is), which I guess represents the joy of life that Nasser Ali Khan has now turned his back on.
It’s such an implausible scenario, but Satrapi pulls the reader along with a strong characters, a delightful voice, and subtle clues that there’s more to Nasser Ali Khan’s anguish than a broken frickin tar. Why is he really killing himself? There’s the mystery.
Age of Bronze, Volume 2: Sacrifice
Written and Illustrated by Eric Shanower
The second installment of Age of Bronze wasn’t at all what I expected. Volume One ended with a thousand (or so) Grecian ships sailing towards Troy, so I fully anticipated the battle to begin in Volume Two. Not so. But rather than allowing me to become frustrated at the delay, Eric Shanower used his 200-plus pages to build tension, keeping me completely immersed in the story the whole time. More so even than in the first collection.
Sacrifice begins with Agamemnon’s fleet headed toward Troy with young Achilles and his warriors leading the way. But things go horribly wrong when Achilles spots shore too early, over-eagerly lands the fleet, and attacks Troy’s southern neighbor Mysia by mistake. The people of Mysia, thinking they’re being menaced by pirates, fight back and are no slouches. Even one of the King’s wives is a former warrior-princess and pirate-fighter. Though – in true comic book fashion – both sides eventually realize that they’re not actually enemies, they also both experience massive casualties. The Greeks are hit hard enough that they’re forced to return home for reinforcements. And with winter coming, they won’t be able to start for Troy again for at least another year.
I have to admit I was disappointed when Agamemnon decided to lead his fleet back home, but Shanower keeps things moving in a variety of ways. One of the best things about a story this epic is that there are multiple plots to bounce between, so while the Greeks are sailing Shanower can cut to Troy and let us see how Helen – just arrived with her new husband Paris – is being received.
Xena, horror, and more of that brat Achilles below the jump.
Matthew Shepherd, Michael Shoyket and David Hedgecock rework a few pages from Captain Blood to address the problems independent comics have with distribution, ultimately asking readers to “demand more from comics.” And, in one panel, not to download comics … which seemed very unpirate-like.