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Comics A.M. | ‘Stroker McGurk’ creator Tom Medley passes away

Stroker McGurk

Stroker McGurk

Passings | Tom Medley, creator of the comic Stroker McGurk, which ran in Hot Rod magazine for many years, died on March 2 at the age of 93. Medley was a hot-rodder himself, which is how he got his big break: He used to post his cartoons at a local hot-rod builder, and the publisher of Hot Rod, which was just getting off the ground at the time, spotted them and hired Medley as his comics and humor editor. Medley’s son Gary said his father’s humor sometimes foreshadowed reality: “Stroker’s — or Medley’s — inspired genius came up with a host of crazy ideas that appeared impractical at first, but were later adopted by everyday car builders and racers. Multi-engine dragsters, wheelie bars, and drag chutes all sprung from Stroker’s fertile mind before they were embraced in the real world.” [AutoWeek]

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‘Templar’ creators offer free ‘Making of’ ebook

templar

Writer Jordan Mechner and artists LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland are celebrating the recent release of their graphic novel Templar by giving away a free ebook chronicling its production. The Making of Templar includes lots of sketches and discussion between the three creators about what went into the book. Topics include historical research, character design, collaboration, the process of writing and storyboarding action sequences, and the differences between writing comics and writing for film and video games (Mechner is also the creator of Prince of Persia).

The 87-page PDF can be downloaded from Mechner’s website.

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Preview | Jordan Mechner’s Templar

One of my favorite books from First Second in recent years was Solomon’s Thieves by Jordan Mechner (Prince of Persia) and the fantastic art team of LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland. I reviewed it for Robot 6, and talked about how much I was looking forward to the following two parts of the trilogy. In Dumas-like fashion, Mechner added swashbuckling flourishes to historical fact to create an exciting story about the rank-and-file knights of the Templar order who found themselves, as Mechner describes them, “pawns in a political chess game their simple ideals of chivalry and brotherhood hadn’t equipped them for.”

For fans of Solomon’s Thieves, the wait is finally over, and not just for the second volume. Rather than publish the last two parts of the trilogy as separate books, First Second is releasing the entire epic as a single volume called Templar, to debut in July.

First Second provided ROBOT 6 with the following preview:

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First Second’s spring line-up includes new Kindt, Seagle and more

Genius

First Second sent out its latest catalog earlier this week, highlighting all the graphic novels it will release next spring. The bad news is, there’s still no Battling Boy on the schedule, nor do the Box Brown Andre the Giant or as-yet-unrevealed Becky Cloonan books appear. But the good news is there are projects featuring the likes of Faith Erin Hicks, Matt Kindt, Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, Dave Roman and many more.

Here’s the rundown:

Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon.  “A heartwarming tale of the perils and pleasures of friendship featuring two ducks who are both a bit odd.” Varon has done several graphic novels for First Second, including Bake Sale and Robot Dreams, while Castellucci wrote the Plain Janes books for DC’s Minx line, as well as several Young Adult novels.

Primates, by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks.  A new science book from Jim Ottaviani, the author of thwe well-received Feynman, “with Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas and all sorts of primates.” Wicks, meanwhile, has a fun blog where you can check out her work, which includes several kids titles like Spongebob and Adventure Time.

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