Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Whoa. These are pretty much the last official promotional items I ever expected to see, but man am I ever glad I’m seeing them: Alternative-comics creators Jordan Crane, Lisa Hanawalt, Johnny Ryan, and Jon Vermilyea have each created a Walking Dead print. Made to look like shooting-range practice targets, the prints tie in with Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (and Tony Moore)’s series, the television adaptation of which will make its debut on AMC this Halloween. Each print is signed by the artist and by Kirkman himself, emblazoned with the “Grant County, Georgia Law Enforcement and Public Safety” logo, limited to a run of 100, and priced to sell at $40. Best of all, each artist worked in his or her own inimitable style: Crane’s features linework so impeccable it actually becomes somewhat menacing itself, Ryan’s is spectacularly gross and upsetting, Vermilyea’s is a riot of squiggly detail, and Hanawalt’s has a cat’s head instead of a human’s.
The prints were curated by L.A.’s Secret Headquarters. Click here to see them all and buy them, but remember: If you end up using them for target practice, headshots only!
(Hat tip: David Paggi)
Origin story time: Back when I worked at Wizard, I was introduced to the concept of a themed sketchbook by coworkers like Ben Morse and David Paggi, whose Nova and Lockjaw sketchbooks celebrated their favorite obscure superheroes through the generous contributions of comics artists. My problem? I don’t have a favorite obscure superhero. The only hero I really love is Batman, and the problem there is that I’m sure most superhero artists doing sketches at cons are sick of drawing him, while most alternative artists doing sketches at cons are sick of thinking about him. Who could I choose that would fit the bill?
Then it came to me: David Bowie. He’s my favorite musician, and it’s fair to say his outlook and approach to art literally changed my life. Plus, with all those alter egos and ch-ch-ch-changes, he’s like a superhero anyway, right? And thus, at MoCCA 2007, the David Bowie Sketchbook was born.
I’ve since collected sketches of Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, the Goblin King, Major Tom, or whatever else you care to call the former David Jones from 80 artists and illustrators. Below are the latest batches, from this year’s Small Press Expo in September and Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival last weekend. How must the others see the faker?
He’s done comics with Frank Santoro, made videos with Animal Collective, and forever redefined the way we look at Kool-Aid and breakfast foods in his buoyantly bizarre comics for MOME, but now cartoonist Jon Vermilyea is tackling something near and dear to the hearts of nerds everywhere: The Masters of the Universe!
Behold He-Man and the 13 Trials of Eternia, a gorgeous silkscreened 11″ X 8″ booklet featuring the Herculean labors of the hero also known as Prince Adam and illustrated in Vermilyea’s inimitable day-glo style. Only 21 copies of the book were produced, and by god I’m getting my hands on one of them if I have to sell my soul to Skeletor.
(Via Sean Belcher.)
For a title that was originally rejected for inclusion in the Previews catalog by Diamond on the grounds that its format was “unpopular with collectors and retailers,” Frank Santoro and Ben Jones’s psychedelic sci-fi action-adventure teen-angst punk-rock extravaganza Cold Heat sure is generating enough prequels, sequels and spin-offs to satisfy even the most dedicated fan of front-of-Previews mega-events.
At the Cold Heat Comics blog, co-creator Frank Santoro reveals that the upcoming Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, will see the release of three new CH titles, featuring the continuing adventures of sword-wielding teenage heroine Castle, resurrected rock god Joel Cannon, and their cosmic alien allies and evil government enemies. First up is Cold Heat 7/8, an omnibus edition of the PictureBox-published series’ next two issues. Next is Fantagraphics’ ongoing anthology series Mome Vol. 16, which like Vol. 14 will include a Cold Heat prequel story — two, actually, one of them featuring art by Jon Vermilyea. (A preview of the Santoro/BJ contribution, and the rest of the issue, can be found here.) And finally, another Cold Heat Special is on the way, the latest in a series of limited-run comics made by Santoro in collaboration with such artists as Dash Shaw, Jim Rugg, Lane Milburn, and Ryan Cecil Smith.
Cold Heat has been at the crest a new wave of unabashed alternative genre comics, including C.F.’s Powr Mastrs, Kazimir Strzepek’s The Mourning Star, Brian Ralph’s Daybreak, and Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit. Readers who like their science-fiction slugfests thought-provoking as well as pulse-pounding would do well to check it out.
I somehow missed this in Tucker Stone’s report from MoCCA last week, but luckily Heidi over at the Beat caught it — Stone spoke with John Kerschbaum about his future projects, and the creator revealed that he’s working on this year’s Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror book for Bongo Comics.
Kerschbaum isn’t the only one working on the book, though; as you can see below in the solicitation copy that Bongo was kind enough to send us, they’ve recruited a Murderer’s Row of creators, including Jeffrey Brown, Kevin Huizenga, Matthew Thurber and many more, and it’s edited by Sammy Harkham of Kramers Ergot fame:
Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #15
Edited by Sammy Harkham
48 pages/standard format/color/humor
UPC: 01511 (7-98342-02851-5)
Guest edited by Sammy Harkham, the award-winning creator of the popular Kramers Ergot anthology, this year’s issue is a jam-packed with some of the most idiosyncratic (and weirdest) takes on “The Simpsons” universe ever. Among Halloween-inspired short strips by such visionary cartoonists as Jordan Crane (Uptight), C.F. (Powr Mastrs), Will Sweeney (Tales from Greenfuzz), Tim Hensley (MOME), and John Kerschbaum (Petey & Pussy), are four featured tales of inspired Simpsons lunacy: heralded artists Kevin Huizenga (Ganges, Or Else) and Matthew Thurber (1-800 Mice, Kramers Ergot) collaborate on a weird and wild story equal parts Lovecraftian eco-horror and Philip K. Dick identity comedy. Jeffrey Brown (Incredible Change-Bots, Clumsy) does a creepy and suitably pathetic story featuring Milhouse in a “Bad Ronald”-inspired tale of murder and crawl space living. Harkham and Ted May (INJURY) pull out all the stops for a tragic monster tale of unrequited love, bad karaoke, and body snatching at Moe’s Bar. Ben Jones (Paper Rad) does the comic of his life with an epic tale of how bootleg candy being sold at the Kwik-E-Mart rapidly spirals out of control into an Invasion of The Body Snatchers-like nightmare of a Springfield filled with cheap bootleg versions of familiar characters. And nobody does squishy, sweaty, and gross like up and coming cartoonist Jon Vermilyea (MOME), who outdoes himself with “C.H.U.M.M.,” a C.H.U.D.-inspired parody featuring everybody’s favorite senior citizen, Hans Moleman!
With a cover by Dan Zettwoch, Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #15 is like nothing you’ve ever seen, and is sure to be one of the most talked about comics of the year by alternative comic readers and Simpsons fans of all ages!
This goes on my “must buy” list.