SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
As television shows go, Jem and the Holograms and Miami Vice couldn’t possibly be more different. The former, which aired from 1985 to 1988, was a children’s carton that also functioned as an extended ad campaign for an accompanying toy line, while the latter, which ran from 1984 to 1989, was an hour-long adult police drama.
Other than their medium and the decade in which they were produced — and, perhaps, how readily they embraced and celebrated the pop culture of that era — a viewer would have trouble finding a whole lot of similarities between the two.
Now, more than 25 years after both shows ended, they have something new in common: They’re being adapted as comic books released by IDW Publishing.
Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda’s sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can’t be considered to “[hail] Japanese imperialism” simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it’s mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Legal | A Tunisian court denied cartoonist Jabeur Mejri’s appeal of an eight-month sentence on charges of insulting a public official. Mejri was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 2012 for drawing cartoons that insulted the Prophet Mohammed, but was pardoned by President Moncef Marzouki earlier this year. Before he was released, however, news leaked that he had also been charged with embezzlement stemming from his time working for the Tunisian railway. Mejri was released from prison in March, but six weeks later he was arrested again, this time on charges of insulting a court official. His support committee said Mejri is being subjected to “judicial harassment” and released a statement saying “It’s clear … that there is a desire not to accept the presidential pardon and to keep Jabeur in prison at all costs, to make him pay dearly for his freedom of expression and deter him from any further attempts.” [Naharnet]
New comics come out every week, by the dozens. Add that up by the month or the year, and it’s virtually impossible to keep track. Certain runs on some titles rise to the top by a mixture of critical acclaim, proper marketing and the right timing, but if all of those factors aren’t perfectly aligned, good comics fall by the wayside.
In this edition of ROBOT 6’s “Six by 6,” we look at six noteworthy creative runs on superhero comics worth a second look, even if that means a trip to the back-issue bin.
Publishing | Variety speaks with Madrigall President Antoine Gallimard about how the French publishing giant and its holdings (Gallimard, Casterman, Flammarion and Futuropolis, among them) handle the film rights to their many graphic novels, and the popularity of comics as source material: “I think that the French publishing and film industries feed on, complement, and ultimately do help each other. The number of films adapted from books that are produced every year in France is eloquent testimony to this.” Noting that, “In recent years, there’s a real feeding-frenzy for graphic novels, comic books,” Gaillimard says, “Comedy, in all its variants, is the most popular of adapted materials.” [Variety]
Legal | An Algerian judge has made a preliminary recommendation of 18 months’ imprisonment for cartoonist Djamel Ghanem for drawing a cartoon, which was never published, that government officials deemed offensive. In an odd twist, Ghanem was sued by his own newspaper, La Voix de l’Oranie, which tends to favor the current administration, and as a result, he has been blackballed by the Algerian media. The cartoon is critical of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fourth term but doesn’t even depict the president — it shows two people in conversation, comparing the fourth term to baby diapers — Ghanem said the point was that Algerians were treated like children. Pressed by the district attorney to admit the cartoon was insulting to the Bouteflika, Ghanem insisted that wasn’t his intention. [Global Voices Online]
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out on Wednesday.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
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.