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Food or Comics? | Yogurt or Young Avengers

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Young Avengers #1

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, it’d be all first issues, all the time. Being a Trek fan, I couldn’t resist IDW’s Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 ($3.99), offering some glimpses into the new movie for the first time outside of the trailer, for one thing. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers #1 (Marvel, $2.99) looks to be equally unmissable judging from both the previews and interviews heralding its launch, and also Gillen’s performance on Iron Man and other titles recently, so that’d make it in there, too. Finally, I’d grab The Answer #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99), Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton’s new superhero/mystery series. I’ve been back and forth about Hopeless in the past (loved his X-Men: Season One; hate his Avengers Arena), but the hook for this one looks pretty solid and Norton’s work is always nice to gaze at.

Should I suddenly find myself with an additional $15, I’d add some current favorites to the pile: Chris Roberson and Dennis Calero’s pulp dystopia Masks #3 (Dynamite, $3.99), Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena’s Avengers #3 (Marvel, $3.99, and less a “favorite” than an “undecided about, but was surprised by how much I appreciated that second issue”) and Greg Rucka and Matt Southworth’s Stumptown #5 (Oni, $3.99). After the fourth issue of Stumptown, I’d pick that last one up even if Rucka had accidentally forgotten to write any dialogue in there. Did you see that last issue? Man …

Were I to splurge, it’d almost feel greedy after this week of bounty. Nonetheless, I’d grab The Spider, Vol. 1: Terror of The Zombie Queen (Dynamite, $19.99), the collected edition of the first storyline from David Liss’ revival of the pulp hero that I loved based on the first issue but somehow fell off of before the end of that first arc for reasons that escape me. Definitely curious to revisit it.

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Quote of the Day | ‘On any scale I care about, Bowie is a superhero’

Noh-Varr, from "Young Avengers" #1, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

“The main characters are Wiccan and Hulkling, a young gay couple who have inspired a lot of love and a lot of NSFW Tumblr art. There’s also Kid Loki from my last book, Miss America and a female Hawkeye. Plus there’s Noh-Varr, who’s sort of an alien hipster. The way some kids are obsessed with Japan, he’s obsessed with Earth. David Bowie was the primary influence on Noh-Varr, specifically The Man Who Fell to Earth, a splash of Ziggy and a lot of lithe sexuality. Now Bowie’s back too. On any scale I care about, Bowie is a superhero.”

– writer Kieron Gillen, explaining Marvel’s new Young Avengers to readers of The Guardian

McKelvie’s Captain Marvel, fake elements and more

This week sees the release of Captain Marvel #9 , which boasts a cover by Young Avengers/Phonogram artist Jamie McKelvie … and now you can sport that cover on a T-shirt, available from WeLoveFine.com in both a men’s and women’s versions.

Speaking of WeLoveFine …

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Exclusive Preview | Young Avengers #2

From Young Avengers #2

We’re probably as excited about Young Avengers as we are about any of the titles launching as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. Not only does the series reunite Phonogram collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, it teams Young Avengers mainstays like Hulking, Wiccan and Kate Bishop with Miss America, Marvel Boy and fan favorite Kid Loki — at least for starters.

“… What I want to do in Young Avengers is build a kind of larger metastructure that you can use to explore any part of the teen-leaning Marvel Universe outside the traditional doctrines of the larger government side heroes,” Gillen told Comic Book Resources in October. “I have a real strong vision for 12 issues. I have no idea if I’ll be staying on after that or going, but I have 12 definitive, brilliant issues, or maybe 13. After that Young Avengers will be set up as a device where you can go to any of the Marvel Universe locales where teen heroes live and work like the West Coast with the Runaways or the Jean Grey School. It’s a very wide ranging book in that way. For me it’s super heroism as a metaphor for talent and deciding what you want to do with it. There’s a line in my original proposal for this that the original Young Avengers book was kind of about being 16. This book is about being 18.”

Although we still have to wait a few weeks for the debut of Young Avengers — Jan. 23, to be exact — Marvel has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Issue 2, due to arrive Feb. 27:

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Previews: What Looks Good for January

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1

Graeme McMillan

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 (of 12): I’m a sucker for Doctor Who, I think I’ve said that before, right …? No surprise, then, that I’m very much looking forward to this year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BBC science-fiction show, with each issue spotlighting a different incarnation of the character. That Simon Fraser is providing art helps a lot, too; I’ve been a big fan of his “Nikolai Dante” work for 2000AD for a while. (IDW Publishing, $3.99)

One Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts hardcover: Speaking of things that I’m a big fan of, Paul Pope easily fits that bill, so this enhanced reprint of his Dark Horse graphic novel — with more than 150 pages of rare and unseen work from the same period, including his Supertrouble manga — is far too tempting to pass up. (Image Comics, $29.99)

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 (of 4): I was very impressed with Star Trek: Countdown back in 2009, and the way it teased the then-upcoming J.J. Abrams reboot without giving too much away, so I’m looking forward to see if this prologue to this summer’s sequel is just as fun. (IDW, $3.99)

Star Wars #1: Brian Wood and Star Wars feel like an odd pairing in my head, but everything I’ve read about this new ongoing series set after the first movie (which is to say, Episode IV these days) seems completely up my alley, and the 5-year-old within me is completely sold on the chance to see more stories set in the “true” Star Wars era. (Dark Horse, $3.50)

Young Avengers #1: Kieron GIllen and Jamie McKelvie pairing on anything is pretty much a must-read for me, but seeing them let loose on Marvel’s teen characters and seemingly determined to make them actually seem like teenagers. … Yeah, this looks like it may be one of my favorite superhero books in quite some time, I suspect. (Marvel, $2.99)

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Food or Comics? | Havarti or The Hive

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

The Hive

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d make up for lost time and get the first collection of Mind the Gap (Image, $9.99). Rodin Esquejo is an absolute gem in my opinion, and Jim McCann looks to have crafted a story with some definite suspenseful power. After that I’d get James Stokoe’s Godzilla: Half Century War #3 (IDW, $3.99). This has become one of my favorite serials to come out, which for a work-for-hire book is tough. Instead of doing a story in service of the concept, it uses the concept to create a great story – and Stokoe really loves Godzilla and puts a face to those humans who oppose him. Finally, I’d get the free Cyber Force #1 (Image/Top Cow, $0) because, well, it’s free. I have an unabashed love for the original Cyber Force, and previous reboots haven’t really gelled the way I wanted to. I’m excited to see what Matt Hawkins brings to this, and I’m glad Silvestri is involved even if only on covers and designs.

If I had $30, I’d first stop for Glory #29 (Image, $3.99). I tend to read this series in built-up bursts, and I’m overdue to catch up. I like the monstrous rage Ross Campbell brings to this, and seeing Joe Keatinge capitalize on the artist he has to create a broader story is thrilling. After that I’d get a Marvel three-pack in Hawkeye #3 (Marvel, $2.99), Daredevil #19 (Marvel, $2.99) and AvX Consequences #2 (Marvel, $3.99). I’d buy David Aja illustrating a phone book – seeing him getting a great story is icing on the cake.

If I could splurge, I’d lash onto Charles Burns’ The Hive (Pantheon, $21.95). I’m reluctantly late to the game when it comes to Charles Burns, but X’ed Out clued me into his awesome cartooning power. After devouring his previous work, I’m excited to read The Hive as it first comes out. I don’t quite know what to expect, but after finally coming around to Burn’s skill I’m up for pretty much anything. Continue Reading »

Bryan Lee O’Malley covers Young Avengers #1

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.

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Art Barrage | The return of Paul Pope, among other matters

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.

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The Middle Ground #123 | Being bad

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.

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C2E2 | A round-up of news from Sunday

Gambit

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.

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WonderCon | Jamie McKelvie on Captain Marvel’s costume design

Captain Marvel, by Jamie McKelvie

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.

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Image Expo | Grant Morrison, new Phonogram and much more [Updated]

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl

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]

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‘One More Time’: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie reunite

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.

Comics A.M. | Stuck in the Middle to remain in school library

Stuck in the Middle

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]

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Sneak peek at Daredevil: Season One and X-Men: Season One

Daredevil: Season One

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.

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