You Have Killed Me and Spell Checkers artist Joëlle Jones has been sharing vintage ad parodies on her blog recently, and now she’s announced she’ll have prints of six of them in San Diego this week. Each print is limited to 25 and is hand numbered. You can find her in Artist’s Alley at table #HH13
The second volume, which reunites Rich and Jones with artist Nicolas Hitori de, is subtitled “Sons of a Preacher Man” and is due in September. Here’s the solicitation text:
There are two new kids at school. Twin brothers–one straight-laced and buttoned-up, the other a rebel in a leather jacket–and they’ve transferred in with trouble for the Spell Checkers. Jesse finds romance, but for Cynthia, it’s rivalry. She and the good brother compete for student body president, while Kimmie tries to find out who murdered the last one. Dark magic is afoot, as well as dark humor, in the second mystical volume of Oni’s latest hit series.
Artist Joëlle Jones (You Have Killed Me, Spell Checkers) shares a wonderful commission she recently did, featuring Madame Xanadu and Death playing cards outside Xanadu’s brownstone. If I learned anything from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, it’s to never let Death win …
Jones is taking orders for additional commissions for the upcoming Stumptown convention in Portland. Click on the link above for details.
The Portland Opera is currently putting on performances of Turandot, and for a dress rehearsal on Jan. 31 they invited several local comic artists to watch the performance and “draw whatever struck our fancy,” according to artist Mike Russell.
Russell not only drew some artwork you can find on the Portland Opera’s website, but also created a “live comic adaptation” you can find on his site. Other artists who participated include Barry Deutsch, Aaron McConnell, Ron Randall and Joëlle Jones, among others.
You can check out all the images on the Portland Opera’s website.
Book 2 of Troublemaker, the graphic novel penned by mystery writers Janet and Alex Evanovich, is out at the end of this month, and Dark Horse is celebrating by posting some of artist Joelle Jones’s sketches for the book. I happen to think Jones’s art is the best thing about Troublemaker, so this is an extra treat.
(Via Comics Worth Reading.)
Yesterday we took a tour of Marvel’s Timely era, courtesy of writer B. Clay Moore, and now we turn to one of the icons of the silver screen: Audrey Hepburn.
Portland-based writer and editor Jamie S. Rich has one of the most popular and unique sketchbooks I’ve ran across, documenting the various looks and personae of actress Audrey Hepburn. Here’s what he had to say about it:
One of the big trends of the past five years or so has been adapting prose works into graphic novels. It’s the sort of thing that seems like it can’t fail, since you pick up both graphic novel fans and the audience for the original work, but it has two major pitfalls with these books; one is publishers who rely too much on the writing and hire mediocre artists for the illustration, and the other is fans of the author who order the book online, not realizing it’s a graphic novel, and then complain about it.
Dark Horse’s Troublemaker, written by Janet and Alex Evanovich and illustrated by Joelle Jones, suffers from the latter but not the former. By all accounts, the book is doing well; it is getting good reviews, and it has been the number-one book on the New York Times graphic books best-seller list for the second week in a row. It’s not doing so well on Amazon, though, where the average customer rating is one and a half stars.
What gives? This excerpt from a one-star review, currently rated “most helpful,” pretty much sums it up:
Here’s another item you’ll be able to pick up at the Oni Press booth, if you are so inclined … a T-shirt featuring the three stars of Jamie S. Rich, Joelle Jones and Nicolas Hitori De’s Spell Checkers graphic novel. Gotta give points for a Bradbury reference, y’know?
One of the graphic novels I’m most looking forward to this month is Troublemaker, written by mystery writer Janet Evanovich (creator of the Stephanie Plum series) and her daughter Alex, and illustrated by Joelle Jones (Token, Spell Checkers). It was supposed to be out last week but is now looking like a July 20 release.
In the meantime, Dark Horse has a nice promotional piece up on their site, The Making of a Comic, that shows the different steps in the creation of the graphic novel: script, thumbnails, pencils, inks, coloring, and lettering for six different pages. It’s formatted nicely in such a way that you can look at the scripts from page to page or move through all the steps for a single page. My one complaint is that the Flash-based reader loads a bit slow on my computer—at first I thought some of the pages were blank—but that quibble aside, it’s well worth a look.
Troublemaker is a unique opportunity for Dark Horse, in which Janet Evanovich continues her best-selling Barnaby series (as first chronicled in the prose novels, Metro Girl and Motor Mouth) with her first graphic novel [co-written by Evanovich with her daughter, Alex]. Troublemaker is a two-part series–the first book comes out in July and the second book is due out in November. I recently email-interviewed the editor of the project, Sierra Hahn, as well as one of the series’ artist, Joëlle Jones. Dark Horse describes the book as follows: “Alex Barnaby and Sam Hooker are back together and fighting crime the only way they know how — by leaving a trail of chaos, panic, and disorder. Alex, an auto mechanic and spotter for racecar driver Sam Hooker, is drawn to trouble like a giant palmetto bug to a day-old taco. Unfortunately, she’s also drawn to Hooker in the same fashion. There’s no steering clear of trouble or Hooker when friends Rosa and Felicia call for help. A man has gone missing, and in order to find him Barnaby and Hooker will have to go deep into the underbelly of Miami and southern Florida, surviving Petro Voodoo, explosions, gift-wrapped body parts, a deadly swamp chase, and Hooker’s mom.” My thanks to Hahn and Jones for the interview and Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for his assistance.
Tim O’Shea: When did Dark Horse first approach Janet Evanovich about the possibility of a graphic novel–how much were you involved?
Sierra Hahn: I’ve been assisting on Buffy Season Eight going on three years now, and one day discovered that Janet Evanovich had done an incredibly thoughtful review of Season Eight for Time magazine. After that, Dark Horse reached out to her not only to say thanks, but to see if she had any interest in making comics herself. I wasn’t involved with the initial outreach to Janet, and came on board after a project was decided on.
Soon after friend of the blog and writer Jamie S. Rich sent me an advance PDF of his latest Oni graphic novel, Spell Checkers (set to be released by Oni this Wednesday), he also offered me the opportunity to interview artist, Nicolas Hitori de. Getting to email interview Hitori de about his collaboration (with Rich and the project’s other artist, Joëlle Jones) was a chance I could not decline. Here’s publisher Oni Press’ official description of the book: “Three teenaged witches use their power for popularity, good grades, and the good life. When nasty graffiti starts showing up about them at their school, they first suspect one another. But when they start losing their powers, and their magical fetishes disappear, they realize this is an attack from outside their circle, and they must join hands (and wits) to defeat the usurper and her demon companion!” After reading the interview, please avail yourself of the 22-page preview from Oni.
Artist Joëlle Jones recently completed a two-issue run on Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu series, the second of which goes on sale this week. She’s selling the art, and as a result you can see her pencils for issue #19 in all their magnificent glory on Flickr. She said she plans to post pages from issue #20 in a few days, “once people have had a chance to read the issue.”
In addition, as the flyer says above, she and Madame Xanadu writer Matt Wagner will appear at Floating World Comics in Portland, Ore. on March 4, where her artwork will also be on display.
Back in late July/early August, Robot 6 was fortunate enough to feature independent comics industry veteran writer Jamie S. Rich guest-blogging with the group–partially in promotion of his and artist Joëlle Jones‘ You Have Killed Me, the 184-page hardboiled crime graphic novel released by Oni Press in mid-July. Rich, an established writer of prose and comics, recently ran circles (in a good way) around some questions I shot his way recently about his latest book. Enjoy, hopefully as much as I did.
Tim O’Shea: Back in 2006 in an interview with Tom Spurgeon you told him (about You Have Killed Me) “12 Reasons was going so well, I think we had only been working on it a couple of months, but I didn’t want to lose her to anyone else, so I asked her if she would work with me again and what she would want to do, I’d write her anything. She said she wanted to do hardboiled crime, and since I had the same passion for it she did, I jumped at it, even though it scared me because it was so different from what I’m known for. She’s challenging me in incredible ways I would never challenge myself.” Can you discuss what ways this story challenged you?
Jamie S. Rich: Well, most immediately, it required some real plotting. Relationship stories like what I had previously been known for don’t require as much careful planning, they have a natural flow, peaks and valleys that are tied to the rhythm of real life. It’s often unpredictable, less structured, and there is no definite resolution beyond whether or not these people stay together. In a crime story, you have something that happened, and the discovery of how it happened has to be detailed and lead to the revelation of the truth or the punishment of the criminal. You can’t just have a random stranger suddenly emerge and say, “Oh, yeah, this homeless drifter did it.” I mean, you could, but a lot of people would call you out for cheating, that’s not a good story. For You Have Killed Me, I had to concoct a trail for Antonio Mercer, the private detective, to folloq, and each step had to kick up new dirt and I had to keep all of that dirt ordered, even when false or a red herring. There are expectations of that kind of plot. Just as Chekhov said if there is a gun in the first act, it will go off in the third, if you need a gun to go off in the third, you might have to think about having it show up in the first. There is far less left to chance.