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Nominees announced for 2012 Hugo Awards

Finalists have been announced for the 2011 Hugo Awards, which recognize the best in science fiction and fantasy. Presented annually since 1955 by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo is among science fiction’s most prestigious awards.

This year’s winners will be presented Sept. 2 in Chicago during Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention.

The nominees for best graphic story are:

Digger, by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)
Fables, Vol. 15: Rose Red, by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo)
Locke & Key, Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom, written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW Publishing)
Schlock Mercenary: Force Multiplication, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (The Tayler Corporation)
The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan, created by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, written by Mike Carey, illustrated by Peter Gross (Vertigo)

This is the fourth year for the graphic story category. Girl Genius, which won the first three years, was not included on the ballot at the request of creators Phil and Kaja Foglio.

Nominees of note in other categories include Dan dos Santos for best professional artist, xkcd creator Randall Munroe for best fan artist, and Captain America: The First Avenger and Hugo for best dramatic presentation-long form. See the full list of nominees on the Hugo Awards website.

Six by 6 | Six superhero series Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez could do

During an exclusive interview with CBR TV at WonderCon in Anaheim, bestselling author Joe Hill revealed that he’s working with his Locke & Key collaborator Gabriel Rodriguez on a “established superhero title” for DC Comics or Marvel. While he’s best known for comic creations that don’t wear a cape or cowl, Hill is no stranger to superheroes: He’s producing The Cape for IDW Publishing, and he made his comics debut in 2005 in Marvel’s Spider-Man Unlimited #8. Although news of what character (or characters), what universe, or even what format their superhero story will be, we have a few suggestions:

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Quote of the day | Joe Hill on the fall, and rise, of thought balloons

“My dad did his script for American Vampire, and he showed it to me, and I didn’t have a lot to tell him, but the one thing I did have to say was, ‘Dad, they don’t use thought balloons any more.’ And he was shocked, he was scandalized, he couldn’t understand why you don’t use thought balloons. And I’m like, ‘I don’t know, it just doesn’t look cool any more.’ [...] But I don’t know, maybe it’s time for thought balloons to come back. If surf rock can rise again, surely there’s room for thought balloons. [...] The problem is thought balloons have always been used expositionally. It’s always like, ‘My God, if I don’t turn off the tractor beam, the alien Zurg …’ or whatever it is, and it’s just like, ‘Uh, no one thinks this.’ If the thought balloons were like, Reed Richards, like, looking at Dark Phoenix and she’s in the Dark Phoenix thong or whatever and the thought balloon was like, ‘Man, I’d like to do her,’ that would be fresh.”

Locke & Key writer Joe Hill, bestselling author and son of Stephen King,
talking with CBR TV  at WonderCon about, well, thought balloons

WonderCon | A round-up of announcements from Saturday

The second day of WonderCon in Anaheim, California, featured announcements ranging from Marvel’s new Captain Marvel series to Dark Horse’s new motion-comics venture to IDW Publishing’s Womanthology miniseries:

• In his “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed that Carol Danvers, long known as Ms. Marvel, will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy. He also announced that, spinning out of his Astonishing X-Men run, Greg Pak will team with Stephen Segovia for X-Treme X-Men, which includes Dazzler in its lineup. “You have no idea how hard I’ve fallen for this woman,” Pak told Newsarama. “She’s so much fun to write — she’s funny and real and wry; she’s a survivor who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale; and she will save your life with rock and roll.”

• Dark Horse will bring motion comics featuring such characters as Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy to Felicia Day’s new YouTube Channel Geek & Sundry, beginning April 2.

• IDW Publishing will follow Womanthology: Heroic, the Kickstarter-funded graphic novel anthology showcase for female creators, with a five-issue miniseries titled Womanthology: Space.

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More book awards: Check out the Bram Stoker nominees

Here’s an even more eclectic list than the Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominees: The graphic novel contenders for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award:

Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Locke & Key, Volume 4, by Joe Hill (artist: Gabriel Rodriguez) (IDW)
Green River Killer, by Jeff Jensen (artist: Jonathan Case) (Dark Horse)
Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine, by Jonathan Maberry (penciler: Laurence Campbell) (Marvel)
Baltimore: The Plague Ships, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (artist: Ben Stenbeck; colorist: Dave Stewart) (Dark Horse)
Neonomicon, by Alan Moore (artist: Jacen Burrows) (Avatar Press)

I added in the artists because apparently the Stoker folks were only thinking about writers. I’m impressed with how broad the selection of books is, given that they all qualify as “horror” to someone: Anya’s Ghost, while genuinely scary, is a teenage ghost story, Green River Killer is true crime, Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine is a superhero story, admittedly with something that sounds a lot like a zombie twist. The other three are closer to what I think of when I think of “horror,” but they are all still quite different from one another.

NYCC | A round-up of news from Thursday (and before)

Green Arrow

The New York Comic Con officially opened its doors this afternoon, but comics publishers and distributors have been releasing announcements leading up to it all this week. Here’s a round-up of news from today, as well as some that hit earlier this week.

• DC Comics, who were having a pretty good week already, announced two creative team changes for the New 52. Ann Nocenti of Daredevil and Longshot fame will write Green Arrow starting with issue #7. She spoke to Comic Book Resources about her approach to the series: “I have a particular way of writing a comic. Comics are short. They are only twenty pages, so you can take a year of comics and that can be your opera, and the opera can have a lot of different passages in it. I kind of believe every issue should be a single story, just a complete story. But there is a momentum that forms like triptychs over it, and then it forms your big overtures, and then the whole thing ends up kind of operatic. I also want a beginning, middle and end, a classic short story approach to every single comic. What I do is I try to figure out, what is the kick in this comic, what is the main feeling I want to get, and everything in the comic has to serve that.”

• And Marc Bernardin (Monster Attack Network, The Highwaymen, The Authority) will take over the writing duties on Static Shock beginning with issue #7. “As a fan and as a writer, one of the great things about Static isn’t just that he’s a new hero, it’s also that he’s a young hero,” Bernardin told CBR. “He will make the mistakes of youth and, even though the New 52 is resetting a lot of heroes to their early days as do-gooders, there’s nothing quite like the fumblings of a teenager.”

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Five talents I’d like to see on projects for Marvel and DC

Although mainstream comic publishing is built on characters and brand names, the importance of creators has been one of the keys to its success. Since the early 1990s, talented creators have served as fonts of ideas as well as big draws for sales. And with the competition between DC and Marvel reaching to new heights in the build-up to “The New 52,” comic creators are being snapped up left and right into exclusive agreements and put to work. But amidst all of this, there remains a number of talents that haven’t been drafted. They might simply prefer to work on their own outside the Big Two or are just waiting for the right offer. I’m going to list creators who could make a big difference if they chose to go to Marvel or DC.

Let me preface this to say that I’m avoiding mentioning some creators due to the fact that they’re generally considered as not looking for work from Marvel or DC. I’m talking about creators like Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughn, Robert Kirkman, Mike Mignola, Joss Whedon and the like.

Joe Hill: Joe Hill is many things to many people. For comics readers he’s the co-creator of the IDW epic Locke & Key; for novel readers he’s the writer of Horns and Heart-Shaped Box; for Stephen King, he’s his son. With all of that, Joe Hill could be a potent force if DC or Marvel would choose to go the lengths to get him on board. Hill is no stranger to super-heroes; he wrote a story for Marvel’s Spider-Man Unlimited years ago, and did the recent series The Cape for IDW. Imagine him in the city limits of Gotham or perhaps showing up in Marvel’s version of Hell’s Kitchen.

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SDCC Wishlist | IDW brings Anne Rice, Ashley Wood, Thor and more

Anne Rice Servant of the Bones

IDW Publishing has released a list of the items they’ll be selling at their booth at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, many of which are available for pre-order. The list includes advanced copies of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones #1, several Ashley Wood books, Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Baja ashcans, Locke & Key keys and much more. Check out the list below:

Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones

• Visitors to Comic-Con can purchase an exclusive advance copy of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones #1 with a variant cover; only 400 copies of this exclusive issue will be available.
• Beginning in August, the first issue of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones will tell of the demon Azriel, who sets out to find the murderer of a beautiful young woman in the streets of New York City, only to discover a far more sinister plot that could end the world. Once a human in ancient Babylon, Azriel is a spirit of rage and terror that gradually rediscovers his humanity through holy vengeance and spiritual love.
• Anne Rice will be signing at the IDW booth #2643 on Thursday July 21, 2011 during Comic-Con. With the purchase of a SERVANT OF THE BONES #1, fans will be able to have one additional item signed.
• ANNE RICE’S SERVANT OF THE BONES #1 (Comic-Con Edition $5.00, 32 pages, full color) will be available at the IDW booth #2643 during Comic-Con, while supplies last.
• ANNE RICE’S SERVANT OF THE BONES #1 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in comic stores in August 2011.

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What Are You Reading?

Mysterius the Unfathomable

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics and other stuff we’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guests this week are Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Serenity Rose, Fables) and Drew Rausch (Sullengrey, The Dark Goodbye, Cthulhu Tales), the creative team behind the horror/comedy comic Eldritch!

To see what Aaron, Drew and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …

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Comics A.M. | Spider-Man producer fires back; more from Gareb Shamus

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Broadway | Michael Coehl, lead producer of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has responded to the thrashing the $65-million production received this week from some of the country’s top theater critics. The Julie Taymor-directed show, which finally opens on March 15,  was labeled by The New York Times and The Washington post as one of the worst musicals in Broadway history. “Any of the people who review the show and say it has no redeeming value are just not legitimate reviewers, period,” Coehl told Entertainment Weekly. [PopWatch]

Publishing | Wizard World CEO Gareb Shamus gives another interview about the abrupt closing of Wizard and ToyFare magazines, his expanding stable of regional conventions, plans for a weekly online magazine, and the state of the industry: “The market’s changed. When I started 20 years ago, I was pioneering in the publishing world in terms of creating a product that got people excited about being involved in the comic book and toy and other markets, and we could do a lot of really cool and innovative things. Unfortunately right now being involved in the print world is very stifling, in terms of being able to leverage your content and your media and your access to the world out there.” Meanwhile, Tom Spurgeon and Martin Wisse comment on Shamus’ previous interview, which is pretty much the same as the new one. [ICv2.com]

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Do comics sell short stories short?

From Warren Ellis & Colleen Doran's 'Superidol'

In recent years there has been a resurgence of anthologies in comics, and with good reason. Anthologies offer a taste of numerous styles through varied creators telling a concise story. Even if one story is lackluster, there’s several other stories in the anthology that should outweigh that to offer an interesting package.

Anthologies are a common trend in the wider publishing medium, especially when it comes to fantasy and sci-fi — genres that are spiritual brethren to the comics medium by and large. But one thing that hasn’t crossed over is short-story collections. Short-story collections are — what else — collections of short story with one unifying point — the author. Just look at Joe Hill, prose author and comics writer of the IDW series Locke & Key. His first book was a collection of his short stories called 20th Century Ghosts.

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