DC Comics' "Rebirth" Character Designs for Batman, Wonder Woman and More
Comics | The Dundee, Scotland, city council has approved a proposal by publisher DC Thomson to name a street in the city’s west end to honor the Bash Street Kids, stars of the long-running comic strip in The Beano. Dundee already has statues honoring comic characters Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx. [BBC News]
Comics | Laura Sneddon continues the New Statesmen’s week-long series on comics with a look at children’s comics in the U.K., including the digital relaunch of The Dandy, the continuing popularity of The Beano (which sells a respectable 30,000 copies per week) and the new kid on the block, The Phoenix. [New Statesman]
In the back of It Girl and the Atomics #1, Jamie S. Rich talks about how he went from editing Mike Allred’s Atomics to writing this spin-off; sort of the BPRD to Madman’s Hellboy. He talks about Allred’s adoration of Silver Age superhero comics and reading that, it hit me why Madman has always been so much fun, yet simultaneously so frustrating for me.
I grew up in the ‘70s – the Bronze Age, if you like – so my childhood comics were Savage Sword of Conan, Ghost Rider and Master of Kung Fu. At DC, Batman wasn’t fighting aliens and other-dimensional imps anymore, he was going on globe-trotting adventures against Ra’as al Ghul and spy organizations. Those were fun comics, but Marvel had made its mark even on DC, and there was weight to those stories. The heroes felt like real characters.
Going back and reading DC Silver Age comics as an adult, I have a hard time with them. They’re zany and imaginative, but they were also short on characterization. To be a fan of a DC superhero in the ‘60s was mostly about being fond of his powers or costume or something equally superficial. It was hard to connect to the characters as actual people. That’s my problem with Madman and It Girl, too.
Writer Jamie S. Rich has been a staple of the independent comics scene for more than 20 years, first as a frequent writer to letters columns (sometimes called a letter hack), and then as an editor at Dark Horse and Oni Press. Since 2004 he’s made his living as a freelancer, creating comics like It Girl & The Atomics and You Have Killed Me, and writing about film for several Portland, Oregon, newspapers.
But that’s not why I reached out to interview him. Yes, we talked about his comics work, but what I was most interested in is his recent prose novella Bobby Pins & Mary Janes, a story about a young woman trying to carve out a life while working as a comics editor. Although far from a comic industry tell-all, it’s unique for providing an honest perspective on the editorial role in comics while also serving as a convincing slice-of-life story.
We also discuss his recently announced webcomic at OniPress.com called A Boy And A Girl, his penchant for collaborating with artists in person, living in the comics hub of Portland, and his recent endeavor to do a writer’s version of off-hand sketches for fans.
Oni Press brought guns, war and webcomics to New York Comic Con today, announcing a new graphic novel from Joe Harris and Adam Pollina, a Sixth Gun spinoff miniseries and the transformation of their website from “a marketing resource for its print titles into a full-fledged content hub with comic updates five days a week.”
Here’s a rundown of the announcements ….
Wars in Toyland by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina
From the Slingers (hey, remember Slingers?) team comes an oversized graphic novel “darkly inspired” by Babes in Toyland. Per the press release, “this new book looks at the once wondrous and beautiful Toyland after the rise of the teddy dictator, Roxbury. After Matthew’s brother and playmate, Alex, disappears, young Matthew finds himself carried into Toyland by his own loyal toy soldiers. Only Matthew soon learns that Alex has been here, too – and is now being held captive by Roxbury. Leading an attack on the teddy bear’s fortress, Matthew never considers that his brother might be beyond saving.”
This was another of those weeks where I ahd a hard time picking just one comic to focus on this week, so I thought I’d do another round-up post. Four first issues from four different publishers arrived on Wednesday, so let’s see what’s in today’s mystery basket …
Archer and Armstrong #1
Story by Fred Van Lente
Art by Clayton Henry and Matt Milla
Published by Valiant
Todd Allen, The Beat: “When the teasers for Archer and Armstrong #1 came out, there was a little bit of noise from the political parts of the web about what an awful liberal smear job the book was because of some villains billing themselves as the 1%. I’d gotten a good laugh out of villains calling themselves the 1% and wearing golden masks of bulls and bears (an obvious stock market joke) and I figured the usual noisy political types might be over-reacting. Come to find out, Archer and Armstrong is a much more political book than I was expecting. It’s also utterly hilarious. Unless you’re a dogmatic Republican with limited-to-no sense of humor. If you’re one of those, stay FAR away from this comic. It will set you off.”
Comic creators are known to sometimes hold release parties in support of their books, but writer Jamie S. Rich is doing three — and doing them all in one day, and all in one town.
Coinciding with today’s debut of his new series It Girl & The Atomics, Rich is holding signings at three Portland, Oregon-area comic shops: From 2 to 7 p.m. (and possibly a little bit later), he’ll criss-cross PDX for events at Floating World Comics, Bridge City Comics and Cosmic Monkey Comics.
“I wanted to do something different,” Rich said in a press release. “I could have picked one store and had a standard release party, but instead I decided to go more guerrilla. I chose three shops in different parts of town and mapped out a way to hit them all before closing time.”
Portland has become a de facto comics mecca, second only to New York City as a hotbed of American comic creators and publishers. Rich himself is a long-time resident, having worked as an editor at two area comic publishers, Dark Horse and Oni Press.
Years into a full-time writing career, Rich has become a staple in the comics community in the Rose City. If you’re interested in crossing paths with Rich today at one of the three comic stores he’s attending, contact the stories for approximate times.
Creators | Alan Moore will make a rare convention appearance in September — his first in 25 years, according to this article — at the inaugural Northants International Comics Expo in Northamptonshire, England. To attend Moore’s hour-long talk on writing comics or the hour-long question-and-answer session, convention-goers are required to donate graphic novels to the Northamptonshire Libraries, which will have a table at the event. [Stumptown Trade Review]
Creators | Mark Waid gets the NPR treatment, as Noah J. Nelson interviews him about his digital comics initiatives. “I got news for you: I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and this is the hardest writing I’ve ever had to do,” Waid says of creating digital comics. [NPR]
Publishing | Abrams ComicArts editorial director Charles Kochman discusses the publisher’s spring lineup, which will include William Stout’s Legends of the Blues, Darryl Cunningham’s What the Frack, a history of Bazooka Joe comics, and a Will Eisner artbook written by Paul Levitz. [ICv2]
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.
If I had $15, it’d be an eclectic bunch featuring Jesus clones, retired spec-ops workers, environmentalists and Batman. First up would be Punk Rock Jesus #2 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), following Sean Murphy’s big-time foray into writing and drawing. Murphy’s delivering the art of his career, and while the story might not be as great as the art, it still has a synchronicity to the art that few other mainstream books have these days. After that I’d get Dancer #4 (Image, $3.50); Nathan Edmondson seemingly made his name on writing the spy thriller Who Is Jake Ellis?, and this one takes a very different view of the spy game – like a Luc Besson movie, perhaps – and Nic Klein is fast climbing up my list of favorite artists. After that I’d get Massive #3 (Dark Horse, $3.50), with what is disheartedly looking to be the final issue of artist Kristian Donaldson. No word on the reason for the departure, but with a great a story he and Brian Wood have developed I hope future artists can live up to the all-too-brief legacy he developed. Delving into superhero waters, the next book I’d get is Batman #12 (DC, $3.99), which has become DC’s consistently best book out of New 52 era. Finally, I’d get Anti #1 (12 Guage, $1). Cool cover, interesting concept, and only a buck. Can’t beat that.
If I had $30, I’d jump and get Creator-Owned Heroes #3 (Image, $3.99); man, when Phil Noto is “on” he’s “ON!” After that I’d get Conan te Barbarian #7 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I’ve been buying and reading this in singles, but last weekend I had the chance to re-read them all in one sitting and I’m legitimately blown away. The creators have developed something that is arguably better than what Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord started in 2003 and shoulder-to-shoulder with the great stories out of the ’70s. This new issue looks to be right up my alley, as Conan takes his pirate queen Belit back to his frigid homeland in search of a man masquerading as Conan. Hmm, $7 left. Any other Food or Comic-ers want to grab some grub?
If I could splurge, I’d excuse myself from the table dining with my fellow FoCers and get Eyes of the Cat HC (Humanoids, $34.95). I feel remiss in never owning this, so finally getting my hands on the first collaboration between Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky seems like a long time coming. I’m told its more an illustrated storybook than comic book, but I’m content with full page Moebius work wherever I can get it.
I look forward to a day when there’s no substantial imbalance between the number of successful male characters/creators and successful female characters/creators in comics. When I get a chance to talk about a book with a female lead, I make sure to discuss that very aspect. I was clearly not thinking of who I was asking when I interviewed Jamie S. Rich, writer of the new Image ongoing series launching Wednesday, It Girl & the Atomics. As Rich was quick to remind me, earlier in his comics career as an editor he consistently “hired women all the time and published comics that showcased their point of view”. An equally interesting aspect of the project we discuss is being the writer who crafts Mike Allred/Madman universe tales (without Madman) but with Allred’s support and trust (a hell of a compliment/endorsement in and of itself). In addition to reading this interview, please be sure to garner additional insight from CBR’s TJ Dietsch’s July interview with Rich.
To mark this Wednesday’s launch of the series, Rich will be visiting three different hometown comic book stores to sign comics and chat with customers. The three shops where he will be sign It Girl & the Atomics 1 ($2.99) are Floating World Comics (from approximately 2 pm to 3:30 pm) at 400 NW Couch, Bridge City Comics (4 pm to 5 pm) at 3725 N. Mississippi, and Cosmic Monkey Comics (from 6 pm to 7 pm) at 5335 NE Sandy.
Tim O’Shea: It Girl and the Atomics is a book that captures the Madman universe (without Madman, as he left the world for space at the end of his own series). How well does it speak of Mike Allred’s world-building/writing skills that you are able to create a series in Madman’s world, but without Madman?
Jamie S. Rich: That was really the experiment. Madman has such a gravitational pull, particularly for Mike as an artist, that he really has a tendency to dominate. Yet, the Atomics are a team, and in any successful team, all the players are there for a reason. So, when it’s their turn in the spotlight, they are just as capable, they are ready to take that stage.
Oni Press announced Friday at Comic-Con International that it will publish print collections of popular webcomics Diesel Sweeties and Double Fine Action Comics, and teased new online projects by Jamie S. Rich and Natalie Nourigat, and Ananth Panagariya and Tessa Stone.
In April, Scott C’s long-running Double Fine Action Comics, which follows the adventures of the Two-Headed Baby, Knight and Muscleman, will receive a new edition of its scarce 2008 volume, followed by new-to-print volumes 2 and 3. “I am getting super pumped about Oni Press, you guys,” Scott C. said in a statement. “I think Oni Press and the Double Fine Action Comics will make an incredibly powerful team worthy of any battle against anything.”
The publisher also will collect R. Stevens’ beloved Diesel Sweeties in a series of volumes based not on when they appeared during the comic’s 12-year run, but rather by subject matter and sensibilities. The first themed collection will debut next summer.
Conventions | Despite the $500-plus price tag, the least-expensive tickets for MorrisonCon, the Grant Morrison-focused convention being held in September in Las Vegas, are already sold out. Remaining tickets cost between $699 and $1,099. Morrison says the high-priced event combines “visionary ideas, occult ritual, music and spoken word performances, art workshops, experimental films, DJ sets and in-depth discussions inspired by the comics.” [Hero Complex]
Publishing | Industry veteran Jim “Ski” Sokolowski, who was let go in October as Marvel’s chief operating officer ahead of a round of layoffs, has been hired by Archie Comics as senior vice president-sales and business development. The publisher also promoted Harold Buchholz from executive director of publishing and operations to senior vice president-publishing and operations, Paul Kaminski from editor to executive director of editorial, and Alex Segura from executive director of publicity and marketing to vice president-publicity and marketing. [Archie Comics]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Jamie S. Rich has held editorial positions at Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press, written comics like You Have Killed Me and the upcoming It Girl and the Atomics, and written novels like The Everlasting and Cut My Hair. All of those experiences are converging into Bobby Pins and Mary Janes, his fictional “tell all” novel set within the world of indie comics. Rich began serializing the novel on the web today.
“The world of comic books is one I know well,” Rich said in a press release. “I began as an editorial assistant at Dark Horse Comics when I was 21, and I spent six years as editor-in-chief at Oni Press. I’ve written my fair share of funnybooks, as well.”
The story centers on Parker Reid, a 20-something working in the comics industry and having an affair with her employer’s top creator. His comics series, Valerie Flames, is about a young girl whose adventures “cross the mysteries of Nancy Drew with the escapades of Tintin.” Character designs for Valerie Flames and her cohorts were drawn by Joëlle Jones.
The first chapter is available for your reading pleasure now.
As information on Image Comics’ Free Comic Book Day offering continues to come out, so do their plans for future series. Joining Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s Revival and G-Man by Chris Giarrusso will be previews of Guarding the Globe, an ongoing series announced by Robert Kirkman’s Skybound earlier this week, and It Girl and the Atomics by Jamie S. Rich and Mike Norton.
“It’s true. Launching in July, and straight out of the pages of Madman, comes a new ongoing series starring everyone’s favorite Atomic: It Girl,” Rich wrote on his blog. He added the book will be lettered by Crank! and colored by Allen Passalaqua, with covers by Mike and Laura Allred.
The Atomics previously appeared in their own series that was published by creator Mike Allred under his AAA Pop imprint. Since then, they’ve appeared as supporting characters in Allred’s Madman comics and in various one-shots.
Hat tip: Multiversity Comics
[Note: this post was assembled by both Tim O’Shea and JK Parkin]
This is our final post for our big birthday bash, and what a post it is. No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they are excited about for 2012 in comics–something they aren’t working on and something they are.
There’s a lot of great stuff here–hints at new projects and even some downright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded!
I’m most anticipating the 30th Anniversary of HEROES CON (June 22-24, Charlotte, NC) . For any convention 30 years is an amazing run, but the fact that Shelton Drum and his extended family have put this show together every year with nothing but blood, sweat and tears is flat out super heroic.
On the personal front, the challenging and exhilarating ride that’s been Loose Ends will come to a close with issue 4. It’ll be bittersweet to send our child off to into the real world but I can’t wait for you guys to see the work Brunner & Renzi are doing.
I’m also super excited to dip my own toes into the Mignola-verse with the BPRD: The Pickens County Horror [March 28, 2012] and to read the end of Jason Aaron & RM Guera’s Scalped, which is my favorite series in years.
This sounds politic, but it’s genuine: what excites me about comics in 2012 is what’s exciting every year, the work of the talent. Seeing what the best are up to and how the up-n-comers have grown as artists and writers. In the new year, I’m also excited about illustrating several books and covers that feature my favorite Avengers.