An "X-Force" To Be Reckoned With - Marvel's Mutant Militia Turns 25
Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” we asked creators and other industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015, and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this installment, we hear from Joe Keatinge, Sarah Glidden, Dustin Weaver, Jesse Jacobs, Rachel Deering, Will Sliney, Jess Smart Smiley, Neil Kleid, Tim Seeley and Van Jensen!
Legal | The saga of Hi Score Girl continues this week, with the Osaka Prefectural Police charging creator Rensuke Oshihiri and 15 employees of publisher Square Enix with copyright infringement. Game publisher SNK Playmore originally filed criminal charges against Square Enix over the summer, claiming that Hi Score Girl, a comedy about gamers, used its characters without permission. Square Enix has recalled the published volumes of the series and halted serialization in its Monthly Big Gangan magazine. [Anime News Network]
Passings | Political cartoonist and collector Art Wood, a founding member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, died Nov. 4 at age 87. He donated more than 40,000 pieces of original cartoon art to the Library of Congress for its bicentennial, and the library published a book, Cartoon America, based on the collection. [The Daily Cartoonist]
I was sad to see the month of October end, as it also meant Inktober drew to a close. Inktober, launched by Jake Parker in 2009, started as a challenge to “improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.”
In recognition of Inktober wrapping up, I decided to select some of my favorite Inktober pieces.
DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint has been releasing one-shot anthologies on a fairly regular basis, using them to dust off old titles like Strange Adventures, The Witching Hour and Mystery in Space, which gives contributors a general theme, and likely helps the publisher maintain trademarks.
Despite once being as common as mutant superheroes are today, anthologies of any kind haven’t been readily embraced in the modern marketplace, and one imagines the ever-increasing costs of comics doesn’t help. These Vertigo titles, featuring short, generally forgettable, riff-like stories from a multitude of creators — which the law of averages suggests will include some stories a reader won’t like — will run you $7.99, just two bucks shy of an ad-free, spine-having trade paperback collection of Image Comics’ Pretty Deadly … or Vertigo’s own FPB: Federal Physics Bureau.
This year the imprint is trying something slightly different: It’s still publishing $8 anthologies, with a variety of creative teams riffing on a theme, but rather than raiding long-faded DC titles (sorry if you were waiting for a revival of More Fun Comics or Adventures of Bob Hope),Vertigo is going with a sort of printing theme. Four anthologies, published on a quarterly basis, each using one of the four basic colors of traditional printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK. If nothing else, this will make repackaging and reselling these stories in a trade format a little easier, as the theme will be consistent between a series of anthologies.
The cyan issue debuted this week; it’s a very strikingly designed comic. The cover by designer Jared K. Fletcher is simple and understated, and it pops off the comics rack and begs for special attention. Even the two-page table of contents, in which each story is given a paint swathe-like panel of cyan/different shades of blue, is lovely (I feel tempted to make a joke about combining the thrill of reading a table of contents with the thrill of picking out a paint color, but I can’t; I genuinely dug those pages on an aesthetic level).
So the idea is rather inspired, as is the design — but how are the stories? Par for the course, I suppose. Some good, some bad, some mediocre; some clever uses of the theme, some that seem to ignore it all together. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Following the debut today of Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK, a four-issue anthology series from the DC Comics imprint, writer Joe Keatinge was quick to speak out about his collaboration in the first issue with artist Ken Garing, which he says was substantially rewritten by editorial without any consultation with him.
“The issue is advertised as featuring a collaboration between Ken Garing and me, with me on story and Ken on art, but there’s an issue with this and I felt the need to make it clear,” Keatinge wrote on his blog. “The story as published does not entirely reflect what we conceived and I originally wrote. I’m going to make this as quick possible as there’s a lot going on in the world that actually matters, but I felt like, after the warm reception to Shutter and Planetoid, some people reading this might buy comics with our names on them and thought it was unfair to them to not say something.”
He explained that he was approached to contribute a story to Vertigo Quarterly, and he looped in Garing, with whom he’s working on an upcoming series. Vertigo editor Mark Doyle was “very accommodating,” Keatinge said, but upon receiving a mock-up of the completed story the writer discovered it had been changed significantly — without consultation or an opportunity for him to address the issues Vertigo sought to address.
If you bought Shutter #1 this week by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca — and you should, if you haven’t yet — then you probably noticed the return of a certain orange-and-black-stripped attorney — Tiger Lawyer!
Created by Ryan Ferrier, Tiger Lawyer has starred in a couple of self-published comics and also ran as a back-up in a previous Joe Keatinge comic, Hell Yeah. Ferrier created the character with the idea that he could use him all sorts of different situations and genres, and work with a variety of artists.
Comics | Tammy Oler considers the roles of Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel within a growing movement to make superhero comics more diverse: “The devoted fans in the Carol Corps and Kamala Korps view themselves as part of a movement for a bigger and more diverse comic book universe, and it seems like publishers might finally be starting to pay attention. Both Ms. Marvel and the rebooted Captain Marvel are part of Marvel NOW!, an effort by the publisher to attract new readers by providing a lot of accessible places for new readers to jump on board with ongoing series. (DC Comics has done something similar with its New 52 initiative.) Marvel and DC have also taken some steps to address their lack of superhero diversity, in part by launching some new female solo titles, including Black Widow, She-Hulk, and Elektra. Of course, there’s a whole world of mainstream and indie publishers beyond Marvel and DC, but the big two still matter the most because they create the pantheon of superheroes that make it into movie theatres and onto the racks of Halloween costumes at Target.” [Slate.com]
Legal | Signe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, has been named in a defamation lawsuit filed against the newspapers by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and his wife Lise Rapaport. The judge and his wife accuse the two papers of running a smear campaign against them, and the suit specifically mentions a Wilkinson cartoon satirizing their marital and work relationship (it’s complicated). Blogger Alan Gardner adds that he hasn’t been able to find a case in which a cartoonist was successfully sued for defamation, although in this case the newspapers’ reporting is part of the issue as well. [Philadelphia, The Daily Cartoonist]
DC Comics has announced a new lineup for its digital-first series Adventures of Superman that includes a collaboration between veterans Jerry Ordway and Steve Rude.
No stranger to the Man of Steel, Ordway was a staple of DC in the 1980s and ’90s known for his runs as artist, writer-artist and then writer of The Adventures of Superman and writer-artist of Superman. And while mostly closely associated with his own Nexus, Rude also has a past with the Last Son of Krypton: He illustrated the 1990 miniseries World’s Finest and the 1999 crossover The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman.
Ordway and Rude’s story, “Seed of Destruction,” appears April 14.
The other creators in the March and April lineup are: Joe Keatinge, Ming Doyle and Brent Schoonover with “Strange Visitor,” Part 1; Keatinge, Doyle, David Williams and Al Gordon with “Strange Visitor,” Part 2; Keatinge, Tula Lotay and Jason Shawn Alexander with “Strange Visitor,” Part 3; Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro with the one-part “Mystery Box”; and Steve Niles and Matthew Dow Smith with the one-part “Ghosts of Krypton.”
New chapters of Adventures of Superman are available each Monday at DC Digital First.
Creators | A memorial service for Morrie Turner, pioneering creator of the Wee Pals comic strip, will be held Sunday at the Grand Ballroom at the Claremont Hotel Club and Spa in Berkeley, California. It’s open to the public. The family plans to hold a private service in February in Sacramento. [Contra Costa Times]
It’s almost that time again — time for ROBOT 6’s annual takeover of the Comic Book Resources home page to celebrate our anniversary. With this year bringing our big fifth anniversary, we thought we’d get a head start with one of our annual features, “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” where we ask comics folks what they liked in 2013, what they’re looking forward to in 2014 and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this post, you’ll hear from Jimmy Palmiotti, Brandon Montclare, Joe Keatinge, Caanan Grall, Rafer Roberts, Josh Hechinger, Jim Gibbons, Scott Fogg, Evan “Doc” Shaner and Kyle Stevens from Kirby Krackle! Then come back later today and on Tuesday to read from more of your favorite creators.
Subscriptions have long been a part of the comic book industry; paying your money in advance, and getting the titles by mail every month can be comforting. But a new service called Pullist is offering a very different type of subscription: one where you don’t know what you’re going to get.
Described as a “curated comic book service,” Pullist sends to subscribers a surprise graphic novel each month. For its first month, Pullist enlisted Glory writer Joe Keatinge to make the pick.
Writer Jeremy Holt sure got people talking—er, tweeting—on Wednesday when he tweeted “…I don’t believe in upfront pay when producing creator-owned comics. Corrodes the team.” Holt does believe in sharing revenues with the artist, but he is quite vehemently opposed to just paying the artists for their work. Here’s more:
From my experience, artists mostly interested in pay don’t truly care about the project.
It’s not that I refuse to pay artists. I can’t. If they want to work on spec, that’s their prerogative.
Paying collaborators have never yielded the results I want.
Last time I did I was left with an incomplete project after spending $2500 as the artist went MIA. Paychecks can’t be the goal.
Artists I’ve worked with that only want $$$ never spent the time to discuss/collaborate on the project.
They more often than not were juggling other paying gigs to make more $$, and our work suffered.
you’re a good dude, but if an artist getting paid is killing their interest in your work, maybe the problem’s with your work
Although Grant Morrison is drawing down the curtain on Batman Incorporated with July’s Issue 13, DC Comics will give the series a final hoorah in August with a special one-shot anthology.
Ahead of the release of August’s solicitations, the publisher has announced Batman Incorporated Special #1, featuring stories about Man-of-Bats, Red Raven, Jiro, Knight, El Gaucho and other characters by the likes of Chris Burnham, Ethan Van Sciver, Dan DiDio and Joe Keatinge.
A few years back, to celebrate the WWE’s annual Wrestlemania event, I reached out to several comic folks who I knew were wrestling fans to get their predictions on how the matches would go. It was a lot of fun; so much fun that apparently I let three years go by before doing it again (in my defense, I had a baby somewhere in those three years, so … yeah).
In any event, this year I got my act together enough to reach out to some of my Robot 6 colleagues, as well as several members of the comics community, to once against ask: Rock or Cena? Brock or Triple H? Undertaker or Punk? Scholars or Funk? Our panel shared their thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams for tomorrow’s big pay-per-view event.