As if confirmation that Phonogram collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are reteaming for the Marvel NOW! launch of Young Avengers (followed by CBR’s exclusive first look) weren’t enough cause for celebration, Marvel has provided Newsarama with variant cover for the debut issue by none other than Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley.
“I basically dance like Loki from that young avenger cover, btw,” Gillen offered on Twitter.
The series, which premieres in January, features a lineup that mixes a little of the old with a little of the new: Hulkling, Wiccan, Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Marvel Boy, Miss America and that dancing machine Loki — at least for starters.
More proof that Paul Pope’s Battling Boy may actually be about to see the light of day emerges arrives courtesy Mark Siegel’s diary for The Comics Journal. And, providing corroborating evidence that Pope can finish a job as well as start it, he has got a short story, “Treasure Lost,” coming up in Vertigo’s Halloween special Ghosts. Some lovely sci-fi/fantasy art going on in that ‘un, reminding me of those Dune pages he used to do for fun. Check that out, and lots more by Jamie McKelvie, Yuko Shimizu, Jason Shawn Alexander and others below.
I feel like I’m being a bad fan by not being too upset by the news that the third series of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Phonogram is going to be delayed until sometime in 2013. Originally quasi-announced in February for a November release, “life happened” as Gillen put it, and now it’s been pushed to an unclear point next year.
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, wrapped up Sunday, and while there weren’t nearly as many announcements made on Sunday as there were Friday and Saturday, there were a few more tidbits from Marvel and a fun one from BOOM!:
• At the Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel, the company revealed the creative team for the new Gambit ongoing series they started teasing before the show. Writer James Asmus and artist Clay Mann will have the X-Men’s favorite thief stealing items across the Marvel universe, literally, as Asmus promised to send him into space and to “places with Kirby monsters.”
• The Next Big Thing panel also brought the news that Jamie McKelvie will begin drawing Defenders with issue #8.
• Marvel’s Mighty Thor and Journey Into Mystery will crossover later this year in an event called “Everything Burns.” It’ll feature the villain Surtur. “It stretches the whole nine realms. It threatens every pantheon and planet in all creation. When we say ‘everything burns,’ we mean everything. Everything you’ve seen, anything you’ve cared about, anything at all… cinders, dust. It’s big,” JiM writer Kieron Gillen told Newsarama.
Following Saturday’s announcement at WonderCon in Anaheim, California, that Carol Danvers will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy, Jamie McKelvie has offered a little insight into his design for the character’s new costume, writing, “Our idea was to give her a kind of swash-buckling costume that invoked a sense of her history as an Air Force officer. Her hair is slicked back at the sides when in costume — so her Kree-style helmet can form when she needs it.”
Check out McKelvie’s character design below, and be sure to read DeConnick’s interview with Comic Book Resources about the new title.
The first Image Expo kicked off Friday in Oakland, California, with a keynote speech from Publisher Eric Stephenson that emphasized creator relationships as the company’s foundation, and laid out more than a half-dozen titles that will be announced this weekend for release later this year:
• Happy!, by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, a mysterious title the writer says is “in a genre I’ve never really tackled before — but with a bizarre twist, of course.” It’s the first of several potential Image projects from Morrison. [iFanboy]
• Confirmation of a third volume of Phonogram, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, called The Immaterial Girl. Gillen says the six-issue miniseries, which will likely debut in November, is “primarily about the war between coven queen witch Emily Aster and the half of her personality she sold to whatever lies on the other side of the screen. It’s about identity, eighties music videos and further explorations of Phonogram’s core ‘Music = Magic’ thesis. There is horror. There are jokes. There are emotions. There may even be a fight sequence. It also takes A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ with far too much seriousness – which, for us, is the correct amount of seriousness.” [Kieron Gillen's Workblog]
• Chin Music, by Steve Niles and Tony Harris, described by the artist as “a 1930′s Noir, Gangster, horror story.” [Tony Harris]
They’re getting the band back together. That’s the story hinted at with this teaser image (at right) that debuted this morning on iFanboy. Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson came into the public eye in 2007 with Phonogram from Image, and over the course of two limited series rose from their U.K. indie-comics roots to be notable figures in the comic scene. The comic also paved the way for all three to become in-demand creators at Marvel.
This mysterious teaser promising “One More Time” — that’s also the title of a 2000 Daft Punk song — doesn’t indicate whether that’s the name of a series or merely a tagline for something else. Many presume this heralds a third Phonogram series, especially since this weekend’s Image Expo is expected to have a host of new series announcements … but I’m not so sure. In a 2010 interview with ComicsAlliance, Gillen shot down the idea of a third Phonogram series pretty soundly due to low sales of the previous volumes.
“I feel frustrated. Enormously lucky, sure, but frustrated,” the writer admitted. “We’ve done this wonderful thing we’re crazy-proud about. But if the whole economic system was just a couple of degrees to the left, everything would have been different. I mean, just to give you an idea about narrow the margins are between what we are and what we could be, if we were selling 6K instead of 4K, we could have done those 44 issues. The difference between breaking even and actually being able to do it in comics is insane. It’s like being kept under ice, clawing. I feel like a bonsai plant.”
Have things changed since spring 2010 that could make a Phonogram project feasible? The comics market as a whole hasn’t gotten any better, but with Gillen entrenched as the writer of Uncanny X-Men and McKelvie coming off his X-Men: Season One book, they’re both at the height of their still-young careers. Maybe their experience and added sales draw makes them believe numbers would be different. Or maybe it’s something besides Phonogram completely.
Libraries | A committee recommended Monday that Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age, an anthology of comics about middle school edited by Ariel Schrag, should remain in the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School library in Dixfield, Maine, after the mother of a student challenged its appropriateness because of “objectionable sexual and language references.” The local school board will make a final ruling in January. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom sent a letter of support for the book prior to the hearing. A school board in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pulled the graphic novel from middle-school libraries in November 2009, but allowed teachers to continue to use it in class. [Sun Journal]
Digital | Charlie Sorrel looks at the iPad comic reader called, appropriately enough, Comic Reader. [Wired]
Marvel has released previews of Daredevil: Season One and X-Men: Season One, part of the first wave of its recently announced line of graphic novels the features modern creators retelling classic superhero stories.
“We’re hoping to introduce folks who have never read any of these characters to these characters in this format, and also provide an interesting and illuminating story for people who have read a lot of Fantastic Four and Daredevil,” Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, said last month. “If you want to dip your toe in the water and find out the essence of what Marvel is all about, here is a nice place for you to start in big, sizable, meaty chunks.”
X-Men: Season One, by Dennis Hopeless and Jamie McKelvie, will debut in March, followed by Daredevil: Season One, by Antony Johnston and Wellington Alves, in April. Check out a page from each graphic novel below, and visit Comic Book Resources for the full previews of Daredevil: Season One and X-Men: Season One.
I’ve known Kieron Gillen for years. I’ve had the opportunity to interview him multiple times, from his early beginnings in the British indie-comics scene to his first formative pro work Phonogram and on to his growing resume at Marvel, which includes Thor, Ares, S.W.O.R.D., Generation Hope and his recently announced gig co-writing Uncanny X-Men with Matt Fraction. Prior to comics he was a video-games journalist, carving out a niche for himself in print magazines — and one that he continues with his website Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
This interview was conducted before news of his Uncanny X-Men gig was announced, so that’s not discussed; I’d like to think even if I knew about it I’d avoid mentioning it just for laughs.
Chris Arrant: Let’s start with an easy one — what are you working on today?
Kieron Gillen: It’s Saturday! I’m slacking.
Well … not just slacking. I’m basically letting my subconscious – and semiconscious — chew on something that hasn’t been announced yet.
I’ll probably write some of that down later. Alternatively, I’ll polish the basically done third issue of Generation Hope, which is going splendidly.
[Editor's note: This was emailed later by Kieron about his day] I scrawled out masses of notes from my subconscious in the evening, while watching a fairly middling film. See, the process: It works.
With news last week that DC Entertainment is shuttering the WildStorm imprint and mothballing its characters for a while, fans came out of the woodwork to extol their favorite issues, series and characters. Artists joined in, too, with renditions of popular WS characters, but I think this is my favorite so far: