Joe Casey, comic book veteran and one-quarter of the Man of Action animation-writing team, joins some impressive company in this month’s Playboy, an issue celebrating the 60th anniversary of the long-running men’s magazine. Casey’s one of several notable names, both living and dead, advertised on the magazine’s cover, along with Truman Capote, Ben Affleck, Erica Jong, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Patton Oswalt and David Mamet.
Casey’s contribution to the issue is a Playboy-exclusive comic about a 1950s romance comic character in the 2013 dating world; it’s written by Casey, illustrated by his Haunt collaborator Nathan Fox, colored by Brad Simpson and lettered by Rus Wooton. Casey was featured in Playboy earlier this year, discussing his thematically appropriate Image Comics series Sex in the magazine’s March issue.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the writer — last week saw the release of the first Sex collection plus the Gødland Finale, wrapping up the Casey-written series that started in 2005. The 60th-anniversary Playboy, headlined by supermodel Kate Moss, is on sale digitally now, with a print edition available Friday.
Steve Rude is a comics legend, both for his artwork and for his over-sized personality. But as I was reminiscing about his work while waiting for him to release something new, I came across a mysterious blind spot in my memory of the Dude: the time he drew the X-Men.
In 1999, Marvel put together Rude and writer Joe Casey for a throwback three-issue miniseries titled X-Men: Children of the Atom, which documented the recruitment of the original X-men by Charles Xavier. Out of print since 2001, this diamond in the rough is especially poignant now given the return of that era’s X-Men in All-New X-Men … but more generally because, well, Rude’s art is great.
Above is a commission Rude drew of the original team, and I’ve pulled together some of the covers from this forgotten (at least by me) miniseries, as well as some illustrations the artist has created with the team in the time since.
I still remember Comics’ Greatest World, a shared universe superhero concept launched by Dark Horse back in the 1990s. I was particularly a fan of the comics that took place in Golden City — Catalyst: Agents of Change and Agents of Law among them — so I was interested when Dark Horse announced Catalyst Comix. Writer Joe Casey pitched the new book as a “decidedly unconventional” take on super-hero comics, according to Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson, and Casey’s working with artists Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, Ulises Farinas and Brad Simpson to bring this “New Wave superhero anthology title” to life.
So how are the three stories that make up the first issue? Here are few thoughts from around the web:
Dark Horse’s Catalyst Comix, a title I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced in October at New York Comic Con, at last debuts today. Joe Casey is a writer who starts every project with a manifesto, and this one is no different: Relaunching a relatively unmourned line of comics in his own image, he’s seeking to create a superhero book that’s an antidote to “the overly conservative nature of Marvel and DC.” I can appreciate that ambition, but what really sold me is the sheer depth of the pool of artistic talent assembled to bring Casey’s scripts to life: Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas and Paul Maybury drawing the three strips that make up each issue. Rafael Grampa, Paul Pope and Brendan McCarthy are rotating as cover artists.
I spoke to Dan McDaid on the eve of the book’s launch to discuss working within this all-star team of creators, and he shared his process on creating a typically powerful, apocalyptic-looking sequence of his strip, starring Frank Wells, the hero formerly known as Titan, from Will to Power.
This week saw the release of The Bounce by Joe Casey, David Messina, Giovanna Niro and Rus Wooton into comic shops. The Image Comics series stars Jasper Jenkins, a pot-smoking slacker who’s also a superhero.
“The Bounce is a full-blown, 21st-century superhero in all the ways that just … feel … so … right,” Casey told Comic Book Resources. “Underneath the mask, Jasper Jenkins is a typical twenty-something who likes to hang out with his pals, get his smoke on big time, put on a costume and jump out to do the hero thing. And the world needs him — it’s a dark place out there. But a more pressing personal problem is that his brother just happens to be the assistant DA, recently charged with rounding up the community of costumed freaks that Jasper is now a part of. A classic comic book dilemma! So, along with trying to keep his secret from his brother, the Bounce has to deal with a colorful and twisted rogues gallery which includes creeps like the Crunch, the Fog, the Vamp and the Horror. Clearly, we’re trying to put the ‘fun’ back in funny books, with full-on, four-color superheroics exploding off the pages …!”
So how fun and explode-y is it? Here are a few thoughts on the first issue from around the web:
To the average comics reader, Joe Casey is the writer behind idiosyncratic creator-owned books like Gødland and Sex and the stellar re-imaginings of corporate-owned superheroes like Wildcats, Superman and the X-Men. But to the pre-teen set, he’s the co-creator of one of the hit kid-friendly animated series Ben 10 and a co-writer of Ultimate Spider-Man and the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. With two radically different profiles, the question becomes this: Which is the real Joe Casey? I’d argue it’s both, and more.
Casey got his start in the shifting sands that was Marvel in the late 1990s in the years, filling in on a Wolverine miniseries before quickly stepping in to take over Cable. Much in the same way that character moves back and forth in the time stream, Casey has hopped among titles, genres and companies.
Digital comics | Vertical Inc. becomes the latest manga publisher to take the plunge into digital, beginning with the release of three series: Twin Spica, Drops of God and 7 Billion Needles for Kindle, Nook and iBooks. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Fables creator Bill Willingham is the host of this weekend’s Fabletown and Beyond convention in Rochester, Minnesota, focusing on “mythic fiction.” He and organizer Stacy Sinner give a preview of what is to come. “I’m the host of the event, which means I get a lot of people to do the actual hard work, while I sit back imperiously on my throne and say ‘Yes,’ to this, and, ‘No,’ to that,” Willingham said. “The downside is, of course, I also have to write the checks.” [Rochester Post-Bulletin]
Viz Media has been busy snapping up licenses for its VizKids imprint, and now has announced a new one: a series of Ben 10 Omniverse graphic novels that will tie in with the Cartoon Network show.
Ben 10 Omniverse is the fourth iteration of the Ben 10 cartoon created by four comics writers (Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle), beginning as the story of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who changes into different types of aliens with the help of a device called the Omnnitrix. In Ben 10 Omniverse, Ben is now 15 and has a new Omnitrix that transforms him into different creatures. His Grandpa Max pairs him up with a rookie plumber named Rook (who’s “highly skilled with his Proto-Tool, but lacks any field experience,” according to the press release) to explore an alien city and stay one step ahead of the bad guys who are in hot pursuit. If this is making you feel a little lost, here’s some good news: Cartoon Network is having a “Ben 10 Bootcamp” this weekend, with 17 hours of Ben 10 programming so everyone can catch up.
In “By the Numbers,” ROBOT 6 takes a look back at the events of the past five days … in numbers. Our starting point this week is Wednesday’s announcement that retailers ordered a record-breaking number of comics for Free Comic Book Day, an international event that will draw millions of customers into specialty shops on May 4.
However, there was another figure that’s almost as impressive: the print run for the latest volume of the hit manga One Piece.
A few U.S. and U.K. (and Brazilian) comics folks have made it back from the Angoulême International Comics Festival and blogged about their time there, but few American artists would have gotten home faster than Mike Huddleston, who now lives in France.
The Ankama Editions/619 Label version of his and Joe Casey’s Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker seems to be going great guns there, and Huddleston seems to have made it his mission to sketch in every single copy of the book. Fortunately for us living in the age of the smartphone, he’s also recording these sketches for posterity. Below are some examples for your delectation. Few artists could do so much in so little time, armed with just four Sharpies and a bottle of Wite-Out. Careful now, as there’s slight potential for a NSFW tattoo on some of these characters offending your boss. The prude.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew shares their picks for the Royal Rumble … I mean, talks about what comics we’ve read recently. Today our special guest is Landry Walker, writer of Danger Club, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Little Gloomy, Tron and more.
To smell what Landry and the Robot 6 crew are cookin’, click below.
With Butcher Baker in the rear-view mirror and Godland about to wrap up, you might be wondering what Joe Casey has planned for 2013. The answer is Sex – lots and lots of Sex.
Announced last summer at Comic-Con International, Sex follows a retired superhero as he tries to adjust to a “normal” life. The monthly series, drawn by Piotr Kowalski, kicks off in March from Image Comics. I spoke with Casey about the new series, superheroes and sexuality, and what else he has planned for 2013.
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, I’d start out with Legend of Luther Strode #1 (Image, $3.50). I was behind the times on the first series, but now I will raise my fist to the air and decree “NO MORE!” (to the stunned silence of my local comic shop owner). Justin Jordan really brought a different take on this story, but for me the sizzle on this is Tradd Moore’s art. It reminds me of Sam Keith’s middle-period during his Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine run, and that’s nothing but a good thing. After that I’d get Stumptown #4 (Oni Press, $3.99). Some might compare Dex’s journey to that of Jessica Jones in Marvel’s Alias, but it’s anything but. Greg Rucka really knows how to make a story feel more than just mere fiction. My third pick this week would be Invincible #98 (Image, $2.99), seeing Mark Grayson get his powers back – just in time to be stomped into the ground, from the looks of it. Reading this series since the first issue, I’m noticing the colorist change more and more here; John Rauch definitely is a step removed from FCO Plascencia, and I’m still getting used to it. Kirkman and Ottley are delivering here so well that Domino’s should be jealous. (ba-dum CHING!) Last up in my Wednesday haul would be Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ve noticed in doing Food or Comics for as long as I have how I’ll routinely follow writers but when they manage to get an artist I particularly like I’ll fall over myself trying to get to it. Case in point, this book, with Jonathan Hickman joining forces with Jerome Opeña to kick off a new era for Marvel’s flagship book. I’m all for “Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers,” but I’m even more excited to see Opeña’s take on this.
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are the creative team behind the upcoming self-distributed indie comic LP, Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos. You can read more about the comic in the interview Tim O’Shea did with Curt earlier this week.
And to see what they’ve been reading lately, click below.