Infinite Kung Fu
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Alex Dueben, who you probably know from his interviews for the main site, Comic Book Resources, as well as for sites like Suicide Girls.
To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
I’ll be the first to admit I am covering Kagan McLeod‘s Infinite Kung Fu a tad bit later than most, considering it was released in the middle of last year, and already included in numerous best of lists for 2011 (including our anniversary edition of What Are You Reading). But considering that the 464-page action/adventure romp took 10 years to complete, I think McLeod demands some coverage longer than the average book release. To get an idea of the scale and ambition of the story, his publisher, Top Shelf, was kind enough to offer sample pages of the book over at Top Shelf 2.0. McLeod is a unique creator, and his work is worth considering from several different angles. So once you’re done with this interview, please be sure to check out his own website, as well as Alex Deuben’s June 2011 CBR interview with McLeod. Back to this interview, though, his final answer requests audience participation, so please be sure to contribute in the comments section.
Tim O’Shea: The Toronto launch party for your book was a mixture of book discussion and music. Did you listen to music while you work, or is that too distracting for you?
Kagan McLeod: No, I always listen to music or audiobooks while working. Not during planning stages, but after I know what I have to do, I can just sail through it while listening to something. It’s the constant urge to check emails which is distracting.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we share what comics, books and other good stuff we’ve been checking out lately. This week our special guest is Thomas Hall, writer of the science fiction/fantasy comic Robot 13.
To see what Thomas and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Back in 2010, when Thomas Scioli started bolstering his online presence and entered the realm of webcomics with American Barbarian, I was curious to see how things would play out (as may or may not have been obvious in my June 2010 interview of him). I’ll be honest and admit that now, more than a year later (and with far more of the project online to read), American Barbarian far exceeds what I expected. As much as I have always enjoyed and respected his Kirby-influenced approach to visual storytelling, after reading this double post Apocalyptic tale, I am far more impressed with Scioli’s funky ear for dialogue. It’s like reading a 1970s comic written by a minimalist version of David Mamet. Doubting my quirky endorsement of the work? Then realize AdHouse is collecting the webcomic for a 256-page/6 ” x 9 ” /hardcover release early this year. If you don’t trust my tastes, then you should definitely trust AdHouse publisher Chris Pitzer. To mark the upcoming release, Scioli and I did another of our quick email interviews. Before diving into the interview, let me take a second to agree with JK Parkin’s sentiment in this post, back in June, that DC Comics should have considered Scioli for one of the New 52 titles that it launched back in September. So I was surprised to learn (as you can read in this interview) that DC did not contact Scioli when assembling the creative team for the new OMAC title. As I edited this interview I realized it was hard to find my favorite part of our discussion, but it may be the revelation that the look for Two-Tank Omen came to Scioli in a dream. A close second was learning a bit about his next webcomic, Final Frontier. Feel free to chime in with your favorite part of this interview and/or Scioli’s work in the comments section, please.
Tim O’Shea: As an independent creator, the job of marketing your work falls to you. Do you think over the years, you have gotten more comfortable marketing yourself? On a related note, how did you decide upon doing this one minute trailer for American Barbarian?
Thomas Scioli: Even the largest comics publishers don’t seem to have a budget for promotion, so I’d say any creator, independent or mainstream, can benefit from doing their own promotion. It’s something that I’ve never been comfortable with, but do out of necessity. I think I have gotten better about it, because in the beginning, it would give me crippling anxiety, now it’s just mild trepidation. The idea for doing a trailer came from having seen other people do it. AdHouse’s own Afrodisiac trailer and [Top Shelf's] Infinite Kung-Fu [trailer] are two that made an impression on me when they made the rounds. It got me excited about those two works, so I wanted to do the same. I’d been dabbling with animation, back when I started AmBarb so it was a natural outgrowth of that, too. Once you start doing a webcomic it isn’t long before you realize, hey, why not just do a cartoon?
Hello and welcome to a special birthday bash edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature. Typically the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently, but since it’s our anniversary, we thought we’d invite all our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources and Comics Should Be Good! to join in the fun.
To see what everyone has been reading, click below …
Kagan McLeod‘s Infinite Kung Fu collection arrives from Top Shelf at the San Diego Comic Con next week, and to promote it Top Shelf has tipped us off to this fun little trailer that Kagan and his brother Sean put together. Take a gander, and if you like it, you can read the first 250 pages of the book over on Top Shelf’s website.
Top Shelf will debut three new books at the San Diego Comic-Con later this month, including the new Nate Powell book, new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Infinite Kung Fu. In addition, James Kochalka will at their booth with his entire family signing a special family portrait print, and Craig Thompson will sign the new hardcover and softcover editions of Blankets.
Check out the debuts below.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #2 – 1969
by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is back! Our merry metafictional marauders continue their bestselling adventures through the 20th century! In this volume, the League must battle dark cultists amid the sit-ins, sitars, and psychedelics of 1960s swinging London.
Kagan McLeod began publishing single issues of his martial arts/horror extravaganza Infinite Kung Fu way back in 2000, but as he told JK Parkin in an interview last summer, he hasn’t given up on it. He’s been hard at work and all 464 pages of the epic are coming out from Top Shelf in July.
For anyone who read those single issues, this is great news. But what’s even better is that Top Shelf 2.0 has more than half the book posted right now for free. Whether you’re already a fan or yet to be converted, that’s a hell of a lot of awesome.
No doubt you and probably everyone you know have seen Kagan McLeod‘s illustrations. His art has appeared in seemingly every major magazine being published today — Time, Entertainment Weekly, BusinessWeek, Maxim, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Money, Wired and many more, as well as newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. When he isn’t drawing illustrations for his clients or winning awards, he’s self-publishing his own comic, Infinite Kung Fu. You can also find chapters of it on Top Shelf’s website.
At Comic-Con International today, Top Shelf announced they will collect the series into one graphic novel next year. The collection will include all seven of McLeod’s self-published comics, plus about 200 as-yet-unpublished pages. McLeod was kind enough to answer my questions about the book, kung fu, self-publishing and more.
JK: When did you start self-publishing Infinite Kung Fu, and what led you to start doing it on your own?
Kagan: I guess it was 2000 or 2001. It was my first trip to an Artist’s Alley at a comic convention that made me want to do it on my own. I had never even thought of showing it to a publisher. The thought of getting tables at shows and getting the books into local comic shops was very appealing, though after a few years it kicked in that making money in $3 increments is tough, especially when you factor in all the expense that goes with it.