This weekend, I made my way up to Charlotte, N.C., to catch up with my pals Johanna Draper Carlson and KC Carlson, who also drove down to attend the 35th Anniversary of the Charlotte MiniCon. I enjoyed attending the Minicon (seeing folks like the always photogenic and hilarious Dustin Harbin [yeah, I had to photograph him...again], as well as Jason Latour, Matt Wilson, Bridgit Scheide and Rich Barrett). Yet as I was in the middle of having fun, I realized I wanted to enjoy it as a consumer, not cover it as a journalist. So if you are looking for coverage of the Minicon, I highly recommend Johanna’s coverage over at Comics Worth Reading.
[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.
Following the teaser they sent out last week, Dark Horse Comics has announced five new B.P.R.D. titles that’ll be released next year and will “shake the organization to its very core.”
Here’s the line-up:
- First up, in February comes B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Long Death, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, with art by James Harren (Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest, Heralds). A team is sent to the deadly woods from New World to investigate a new series of disappearances, but they discover more than just the monster responsible, as loyalties are questioned and tensions mount!
- March will see the release of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror, written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, with art by Jason Latour (Wolverine, Scalped) and an all-new cover by Becky Cloonan. This chilling two-issue series brings a B.P.R.D. crew into the grips of a backwoods vampire clan hiding out in a Gothic southern home.
- Next, in May comes B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Transformation of J. H. O’Donnell, pairing Mike Mignola with Scott Allie again for the discovery of what drove the Bureau’s expert on ancient foes to near madness after a mission with Hellboy 24 years earlier. This supernatural thrill ride features art by B.P.R.D. newcomer Max Fiumara (Amazing Spider-Man) and a cover by Becky Cloonan.
- That same month features the return of the regular B.P.R.D. team of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Tyler Crook, with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine. The Zinco Corporation again rears its ugly head after a devastating earthquake, pitting Devon and Fenix in an uneasy alliance against bat-faced monsters and the evil empire’s other mad-science experiments! Additionally, this new series will feature covers by former Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo.
- Finally, Cameron Stewart returns to the B.P.R.D. universe in June with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism. In this story we learn more about Ashley Strode’s evolution as an agent after she meets up with a familiar face for a series of exorcisms in a rural Indiana town. Mike Mignola and Cameron Stewart team up to share writing duties, with pencils by Cameron and covers by Viktor Kalvachev.
“Let’s break some stuff that can’t be fixed. Let’s turn some corners where there’s no going back,” said Mike Mignola in a press release. “In both Hellboy and B.P.R.D., we’re saying, ‘Well, once we do this—once we round this corner—that’s it!’ It’s not like, ‘Oh, Batman, different costume.’ We’re doing stuff where there’s no way to fix it. That is the new reality in our world. You’re REALLY going to see that in 2012.”
“I can tell you for a matter of fact that when I draw work-for-hire stuff, I get into the idea that I’m drawing Wolverine, the guy from the stories I love. I’m continuing his tale. I don’t think that I’m drawing the dude on the underwear. I legitimately love Wolverine as a character. [...] I heard Ed Brubaker say that he treats all of his stuff like it’s creator owned stuff. That’s the only way I can do it. I feel like I’m wasting my life otherwise. Listen, I have seen Wolverine juice boxes. I know that ridiculous thing exists. But the fact that it does, in some way, makes me feel like I’m getting away with something. Like knowing the depraved person I am and that I put all of my energy into drawing this Wolverine story, and then I turn around and see some kid with a Wolverine toy, and that seems subversive to me. I slipped some possibly bad, possibly raunchy art, into that kid’s life. You just get caught up in it while you’re working on it. If you care, it’s really hard to think of it as underwear. And sure, it’s overwhelming and sickening to walk into a Walmart and see nothing but Spider-Man bed sheets. Sometimes, under the right light, that’s kinda cool, though.”
One of the perks of working with Robot 6 is often getting to see a glimpse at a new project before it is available for purchase. This past week (thanks to the project’s colorist, Rico Renzi) I was able to read the first issue of Loose Ends, a four-issue southern crime romance miniseries by writer Jason Latour and artist Chris Brunner, which goes on sale this Wednesday, July 13. As a native of the South, it is not often I get to read comics set there–so the comics caught my attention purely on that level at first. But then, when I started reading the issue, I realized it reminded me on some level of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal. That’s not to say Latour and company have done a wannabe story, far from it, as the creators have their own distinctive voices/styles, that mesh quite well. If the remaining three issues are as strong as this first one, I expect it will land on a few best of 2011 lists (at least mine, for sure). Latour and I discuss the first issue and other aspects of the series in this email interview. If you want a preview of the miniseries, be sure to enjoy the one CBR posted a couple of months back.
Tim O’Shea: The opening page of the first issue is all art, no narrative boxes or dialogue. Was the script always that way, or was that a creative choice you made after seeing Chris Brunner’s art for that page?
Jason Latour: Well as an artist myself I’ve worked on a few stories where I was dying to stretch a moment or let something play out visually and it just wasn’t possible. So from the start there was always an allowance for some organic growth in this script. The simplest reason for that is because I trust Chris. We’re collaborating. His point of view is equally important as mine is. If I’m doing my job then I’m inspiring him, not fencing him in. The medium itself, the page limit already does that. I tried to give him a script that communicated the tone, the pace and specific details needed to tell the story within that space. From there it’s on us as a team to communicate. If he has an idea, I listen. If he nails a scene and I’m in the way… I try to move. If he needs me to pick him up, hopefully I’m ready and able.
It looks like Marvel’s wind-up to the July premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger will include a collaboration between artist Jason Latour and The Sixth Gun writer Cullen Bunn.
On his blog, Latour, who illustrated the well-received Silver Samurai back-up story in September’s Wolverine #1, posted a color test for Captain America to accompany the announcement of his “next short Marvel gig.” “This time I’ll be collaborating with my buddy Cullen Bunn (The Damned, The Sixth Gun),” he wrote. “Rico Renzi will also be back helping me tag team the colors. Chances are high this character is involved.”
“I’ve always kind of loved Cap,” Latour continued, “in part because at face value he’s such a seemingly nonsensical character. He really works or fails based on the sum of little considerations. That’s a real challenge, but when he does work I like him as much as any superhero around. So, fingers crossed.”
No further details were revealed, so it’s unknown whether the project will be a back-up story or one of several one-shots or miniseries the publisher tends to roll out before the release of a movie. Update: We’ve been told by Marvel that Bunn, Latour and Renzi are collaborating on a story for March’s Captain America #616, a 104-page comic marking the character’s 70th anniversary.
Latour’s other recent work includes Daredevil: Black and White, I Am an Avenger #1, Scalped #43 and, out this week, Wolverine #5. Noche Roja, his graphic-novel collaboration with Simon Oliver, will be released by Vertigo next month. Bunn, the co-creator of The Damned, The Sixth Gun and The Tooth, wrote Immortal Weapons #2: Bride of Nine Spiders and Deadpool
Team-Up #888 for Marvel.
This week was marked by the debut of a new Wolverine series — it’s at least the seventh, by Douglas Wolk’s reckoning — in which the hirsute mutant goes, quite literally, to hell. Or at least his soul does. His body, meanwhile, is on Earth, possessed by demons who have nefarious plans for the fleshy vessel.
The premise undoubtedly leads more than a few readers to cringe, at least until they consider the creators behind the storyline: writer Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine: Weapon X) — it’s based in part on an idea he pitched for Hellblazer — and artist Renato Guedes (Superman, Supergirl).
“It’s my ‘Heroic Age’ story of sending Wolverine to hell and watching him grapple with this sense of hope and faith and what’s really more scary to him: more of the same old dark, pessimistic Logan he’s always been, or him actually thinking that there is a chance things can get better and wonder where he fits into that,” Aaron tells USA Today.
Here’s just a sampling of what people are saying about Wolverine #1:
Top-of-the-line DVD house the Criterion Collection is no stranger to comics. In addition to employing the likes of Adrian Tomine and Jaime Hernandez to draw covers for classic films from around the globe, they’ve also recently received rave reviews for their deluxe rerelease of Terry Zwigoff’s stranger-than-fiction documentary Crumb.
Shawn Crystal is a SCAD Atlanta professor I met back in October (as documented in this story). In addition to his role educating storytellers, Crystal is a professional artist equally busy building a name for himself in the comics industry. Tomorrow (February 3) will feature the release of his latest effort, Deadpool Team-Up 896 (written by Stuart Moore). As previewed last week by CBR and detailed here: “Get ready to hit the road with U.S. ACE, Marvel’s truckin’ hero! He’s back behind the wheels of a big rig with an unlikely partner — DEADPOOL — and together they’re puttin’ the hammer down, ridin’ the open road, and decapitatin’ giant killer raccoons. Good times…if they don’t kill each other first! Featuring the working-class villainy of THE HIGHWAYMAN, and the world premiere of the chart-toppin’ “Ballad of U.S. Ace,” composed and performed by Wade Wilson. What part of ‘Collector’s Item’ don’t you understand?” I was pleased to get an opportunity to talk to Crystal about this issue and creators he respects (as well as find out his David Lapham news). After enjoying this email exchange, be sure to check out Crystal’s blog as well as his deviantART page.
Tim O’Shea: The first question I have to ask–what reference does an artist use when drawing giant killer raccoons?
Shawn Crystal: There is a very popular book many artists have in their studio, and cherish like the arc of the covenant. It’s called “Homicidal Animals: A reference manual for the aspiring cartoonist.” Unfortunately, I do not own this book, so I had to resort to some more traditional methods. I started with the obvious, books on raccoons that were peppered with glamour shots of these little buggers. I also spent some time seeing how other artists had handled raccoons, mainly animators. There was some decent stuff in “Disney’s: The art of Pocahontas.” I also talked to a buddy of mine, Brad Walker who draws Guardians of the Galaxy, which has Rocket Raccoon as a team member. Researching raccoons was fairly easy; creating the chopper gang was a ton of fun. I needed to design a gang of Uzi wielding raccoons on motorcycles. The first thing I needed to find was a thread, something to make this gang seem like a team. Working for Marvel affords me the luxury of using their library, so I chose the X-Men. Well, the kid in me did. I started designing raccoons based on the themes and shapes of some of the X-Men and their costumes. I also wanted to give this biker gang a Hells Angel’s feel, ol skool choppers and leather. I didn’t want to go with the more current crotch rocket trend. I have an affinity of the art of Von Dutch, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Robert Williams. I pulled out the books I have on these guys and started drawing. X Men + Hells Angels + Racoons = Crazy fun designing.