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Every Wednesday evening for the past few months, I’d visit my local comic shop, scan the little piles of Secret Wars tie-ins stacked on the counter and flip through many of the more appealing-looking ones before ultimately setting them down, knowing I’ll get to them eventually, when they’re collected. Due to the price of almost all of Marvel’s comics, I’ve given up on reading them as they’re released, and instead wait to read them in trade.
Now I have read a handful of Secret Wars comics that I found at my friend’s apartment — the first issues of A-Force, The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Secret Wars Journal, X-Men ’92 – so I understand the general premise of the tie-ins, if not what’s going on in the main book. The downside of reading trades instead of single issues is that you’re always one event series behind everyone else. (How about that Axis, huh?)
I mention my own buying habits here only because this week I encountered a Secret Wars tie-in that looked so good, and looked even better the more I flipped through it, that I simply couldn’t resist buying it, despite its fairly substantial $4.99 price: Secret Wars: Secret Love #1, a one-shot anthology featuring five romantic stories set in various corners of the “patchwork world” of Secret Wars. And the fact that I did break down and buy it is kind of a review in and of itself.
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Ahead of New York Comic Con, Action Lab Entertainment has announced it will publish Katie Cook’s popular webcomic Gronk: A Monster’s Story.
Debuting in 2010, Gronk centers on a young monster who turns her back on monster-kind (primarily because she’s too adorable to scare anyone) and moves in with her human friend Dale and her pets Kitty and Harli.
A Harvey Award nominee, Cook is widely known for her work on licensed properties like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and IDW Publishing’s popular My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic comic series.
“I’ve been approached before about taking my self-published books to another publishing ‘level,'” Cook said in a statement, “but it’s ALE that, in the end, I trust to do it. It’s a team that is made up of some of the nicest people I’ve gotten to know in comics and they really are trying to put together something special. I am thrilled to put Gronk (and myself) in their lineup.”
Cook will exhibit as NYCC in Artists Alley (table C-1o), and will sign a limited-edition issue of Gronk Friday and Sunday at the Action Lab Entertainment booth (#3044).
There’s no better time than this weekend to remember your mom. (You … did remember it’s Mother’s Day, right? Don’t be an ungrateful punk. Pick of the phone and call her.) It’s a good time to recall all the things she’s done for you, like patching up your boo-boos, cleaning up after your messes, and all the other stuff chronicled on the pressed cardboard pulp of Hallmark cards.
It’s a tough and often thankless job … but it could be worse: Take, for instance, Katie Cook’s Gronk, which follows the adventures of a young mother whose child is a monster. A literal monster.
Dale is a young woman who lives in an isolated cabin deep in the woods of British Columbia. She loves her nerdy pursuits, and she works from home, but from what we can see she doesn’t socialize much. Everything changes when she encounters a young runaway chasing a kitten.
Gronk is a tiny green-skinned monster with blonde hair who doesn’t fit in with her kind: She’s too sweet and polite, and she’s terrible at being scary. She does, however, have a big imagination. After a monster rips up her beloved plushie, Gronk runs off … to the magical, far-off land of Canada.
At comic conventions, a company like comiXology has to get creative in order to draw traffic to its booth; after all the digital distributor doesn’t have anything physical to sell, and it’s not like you can line up a bunch of creators to sign iPads. (I mean, you could, but why?) At New York Comic Con, however, comiXology is getting physical — by offering limited edition art cards during artist signings.
These limited-edition art cards will be signed and handed out during creator appearances at the comiXology booth, where you can meet Nick Dragotta (East of West), Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (Lazarus), Katie Cook (My Little Pony), Sara Richard (My Little Pony) and Doug Braithwaite (Unity #1). You can also meet Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari, creators of the wonderful The Bunker. They’ll be signing sketch cards that’ll have a code to get the first issue of The Bunker for free.
The comics literacy non-profit, Reading With Pictures is dedicated to getting comics into classrooms. In addition to cultivating research on the role of comics in education, the mostly volunteer organization seeks to produce its own comics for schools to use and would like your help for their second publication. I say “mostly volunteer,” but that doesn’t include the creators of the new book. They’ll be paid for their contributions and that – plus the large print run – is a major reason Reading With Pictures needs $65,000 to complete the project.
The first Reading With Pictures comic was the Harvey-nominated Reading With Pictures Anthology that featured work by Jill Thompson, Fred Van Lente, Raina Telgemeier, Chris Giarrusso, and others. The new compilation, The Graphic Textbook will include Ben Caldwell, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, Chris Schweizer, Russell Lissau, Marvin Mann, Amy Reeder, Janet Lee, Katie Cook, Roger Langridge, Josh Elder, Dean Trippe, and others.
The collection will contain 12 short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) that are appropriate for grades 3-6 and include a variety of subjects from Social Studies and Math to Language and Science. There will also be a Teacher’s Guide with “lesson plans customized to each story, research-based justifications for using comics in the classroom, a guide to establishing best classroom practices and a comprehensive listing of additional educational resources.”
It’s a great cause with some great creators and some nifty rewards ranging from copies of the book and original art to being drawn into one of the stories.
One of the things a lot of pros like about C2E2 is the late start on Friday. It doesn’t open to the public until 1:00 pm, so creators can sleep in and recover from their trips if they want. Or, if they want to go early to set up or just walk around and visit with each other, they can do that too. It’s also helpful for press jerks taking lots of pictures. Lots. Of pictures.
One of the unique parts of a comic convention is the chance to get sketches and fully-rendered art commissions from some of the medium’s top artists. They could draw the characters they’re known for best, or even something off-the-wall like the Swedish Chef that colorist Justin Ponsor did for me once. But a recent posting on artist Tony Moore’s blog shows just how crazy things can get when you get two artists to collaborate, or ‘jam,’ on a single piece
Behold the might and the meowjesty of Katie Cook and Chris Eliopoulos‘s Marvel cats. So far the pair has done Catlactus (Devourer of Yarn), Cat-man America, Spider-Kitty, Doop Kitty, and M.O.D.O.C. (Mental Organism Designed Only for Cuteness). Nerd Internet, I think you’re done for the day. See them all on Agent M’s tumblr.