Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
IDW Publishing will release print collections of titles from Thrillbent, the digital comics site founded by Mark Waid and John Rogers, beginning in the spring with Empire Volume Two and Insufferable. Under the partnership, IDW will also publish a new edition of the sold-out Empire Volume One.
Founded in 2012, Thrillbent is “an experiment in new-media publishing” whose lineup also includes The House in the Wall, Moth City, Everstar and Valentine.
The sequel to the series created in 2000 by Waid and Barry Kitson, Empire Volume Two continues the saga of Golgoth, the evil armored despot who defeated all of Earth’s heroes and conquered the planet. Insufferable, which Waid created with Peter Krause, explores what happens when a hero’s sidekick grows up and goes to war against his mentor, and what it would take to bring them back together for one final adventure.
Hard to believe, but this month marks four years since I first interviewed artist Peter Krause about his return to comics. More immediately, today marks the return of Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s Insufferable at Thrillbent 2.0 with a new arc, “On the Road.” Through Thrillbent 2.0, Insuffereable: On The Road is free to view and download or embed — there are plenty of ways to enjoy the somewhat reconciled father-son team of Nocturnus and Galahad (seemingly led by the smarter than both of them, Meg). In addition, there are bundled editions of the first Insufferable arc (with extras) for sale at comiXology.com.
Tim O’Shea: How did Mark Waid convince you to try working in a then-relatively new medium like digital comics on Insufferable?
Peter Krause: The main attraction was that I’d get to keep working with Mark. I really valued the time we’d spent on Irredeemable for BOOM! I stepped away from that book because of time constraints — I was doing non-comics work that was making it harder to bring an “A” game to Irredeemable.
Created by Waid and his Irredeemable collaborators Peter Krause and Nolan Woodward, Insufferable debuted in May 2012 on Thrillbent, where it continues to be serialized for free. The series centers on an estranged crime-fighting duo, the dedicated hero Nocturnus and his egotistical former sidekick Galahad, who are forced to reunite for a new case.
A veteran writer for DC Comic and Marvel, Waid is the creator of the alt-superhero series Incorruptible and Irredeemable, former editor-in-chief and chief creative officer of BOOM! Studios, and the winner of three Eisner Awards this year for his work on Daredevil. In other words, he knows his comics. But with Thrillbent, Waid struck out into the unknown, creating a digital-comics site and using it to host his newest comic Insufferable.
The end of the year seemed like a good time to touch base and see what Waid has learned so far and what he plans to do next with Thrillbent.
Robot 6: What has been the hardest part of all this so far?
Mark Waid: Besides working for free on my own end of it, the hardest part by far has been making the jump from print to digital in terms of story construction. When I started out with this idea over a year ago, I still had in the back of my head that we would be doing print comics out of digital comics fairly easily. I wanted to do comics in a 4/3 ratio so we could stack one on another and make a comics page. Trying not to do in digital what I can’t do in print was such a bad mistake. If you’re going to do it, do it right, go all in, is what I learned. That was a hard leap to make, but once I made it, it was very liberating. It made me a lot less cautious, and it narrowed my focus so I no longer had to feel that I was serving both masters, print and digital. Then being able to use different techniques like rack focus, repeating panels, pop-up dialogue, that you can’t do in print becomes a reality, and it made us all the more adventuresome—I don’t mean just me, I mean my collaborators. I made the mandate fairly early on: Don’t worry about print; we’ll figure it out later.
Continuing its busy week, comiXology has announced a deal with Andrews McMeel Publishing to bring Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury, Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate and Scott Adams’ Dilbert and other comic strips to the growing digital platform beginning today. Additional AMP releases will be available in later months.
“We are thrilled to bring our cutting-edge, world-renowned comics and best-selling humor books to comiXology’s global audience,” Kirsty Melville, publisher and president of Andrews McMeel’s books division, said in a statement. “Andrews McMeel prides itself on publishing exceptional and innovative content, and making it available to consumers wherever and however they choose to read. This digital engagement with comiXology, through their innovative buying and reading experience, provides a perfect way for new audiences to discover our titles.”
ComiXology kicked off the week with news that Comics by comiXology was the third-highest grossing iPad app in 2012, up from No. 10 the previous year. That was followed Wednesday by the debut of Continue, a continuous-bookmarking feature that permits users to pick up reading on one device where they left off on another, and the announcement this morning that Mark Waid’s Thrillbent imprint has signed a distribution deal that begins with the digital debut of Insufferable by Waid and Peter Krause.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. To see what the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Mark Sable, the writer and co-creator of Image’s Graveyard of Empires with Paul Azaceta and the upcoming Duplicate from Kickstart Comics with Andy MacDonald. You can find his work and thoughts at marksable.com and contact him @marksable on the Twitter.
To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Longtime readers of this column know that I relish the chance to interview beyond the typical creative interview dynamic of writers and artists periodically. So soon after I found out SCAD Atlanta Adjunct Professor and Professional Colorist Nolan Woodard was part of the Thrillbent’s Insufferable creative team (along with writer Mark Waid, artist Peter Krause and Letterer Troy Peteri), I reached out to him for an interview. We also delve into his BOOM! Studios work (including Incorruptible, Irredeemable, Planet of the Apes) and other aspects of his creative pursuits
Tim O’Shea: How early in life did you realize you wanted to be a colorist?
Nolan Woodard: I never really sought to specifically be a colorist but it’s been no surprise to anyone who knows me. When I was twelve or so I’d use Windows 3.1 Paintbrush to make digital drawings, lots of Aliens and Terminators. Then in college where I was introduced to Photoshop 3, I ate up the digital courses. By the time I graduated and landed a job in advertising at Wieden+Kennedy, I was learning Photoshop on a scale I previously didn’t know existed, doing retouching and color correction on their Nike, EA and Starbucks accounts. When the time came for me to follow my heart and get back into comics, coloring was a no-brainer.
Mark Waid has really put his money where his mouth is: After preaching the gospel of the “culture of sharing” for a couple of years now, he’s making his comic Insufferable available for anyone to download and share.
Although the comic is available for free from his Thrillbent website, he found that within 24 hours the first chapter had been copied and uploaded to torrent and file-sharing sites. “The only thing that startled me was that it took 24 hours,” he said, and sure enough, the next two chapters were uploaded even faster. And he’s happy about it:
If the first day of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo was dominated by announcements from Dark Horse and DC Comics, then the second day belonged to Marvel, which followed through on its teaser for a new series, revealed an Icon relaunch, and shuffled some creators. Here are some of the highlights from Saturday (along with a couple of holdovers from Friday):
• As usual, the “Cup O’ Joe” panel was where Marvel rolled out its biggest publishing announcements, beginning with confirmation that the teaser released last week is indeed for a Hawkeye ongoing series reuniting The Immortal Iron Fist collaborators Matt Fraction and David Aja. In the title, which debuts in August, Clinton Barton will be accompanied by fan-favorite Young Avenger Kate Bishop as he fights organized crime in New York City. “It’s very Avengers, by which I mean John Steed and Emma Peel. There’s a whole healthy person between the two of them,” Fraction told Comic Book Resources. “There’s a line in Rocky where he says, ‘I got bumps. You got bumps. Together we fit,’ or something like that — the two of them fit together. Each one has what the other doesn’t, which means they work very well together. She’s young, incredibly gifted, incredibly cultured, and incredibly headstrong. She doesn’t suffer his crap and also wants to be someone worthwhile, but she’s trying to figure out how to make that possible. She follows him not because of his abilities, but his accomplishments. So they work together quite well. It’s an apprentice and master style relationship.”
Daredevil and Irredeemable writer Mark Waid has been gearing up for the launch of a new digital comics imprint, and this weekend we learned not only the name of this new imprint, Thrillbent, but also the first project–Insufferable, with artist Peter Krause and colorist Nolan Woodard.
“The project itself is going to be amazing but this entire endeavor goes beyond just the entertainment value. Mark and his fellow trailblazers are sharing everything we learn from successes to mistakes online. He’s re-purposed his website MarkWaid.com as an educational tool for the world to learn right alongside us. That is what I call giving back and then some!” Woodard said on his blog. “Since the beginning I’ve been excited to make this announcement to the world. Waid and Krause are wonderful collaborators and make me, a colorist, feel like I matter, really matter, in a world where colorists often don’t even get credit let alone recognition.”