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Before he started working on those red-hot My Little Pony comics from IDW, Thom Zahler created Love and Capes, the charming and funny story of mild-mannered bookstore owner Abby and Mark, accountant by day and superhero by night. Through four miniseries, we saw them fall in love, get married and eventually have a baby — and deal with super villains, Amazonian ex’s and other zany superhero stuff. If you missed it the first time, you’re in luck — IDW will collect all three miniseries in The Complete Love and Capes, due out June 18.
Zahler told me that in addition to the previously published material, there’s also a back section full of extras that haven’t been collected before.
“The T-shirt designs, the drinking glasses, the pins and all the prints I do of the Love and Capes characters in the cities that I visit for conventions,” Zahler said. “There’s also the one-page print I did with Just Jenn Recipes where we homage the old Hostess ads. That’s the only story to take place after the last issue of ‘What to Expect.’ And there’s a wonderful introduction written by Paul Levitz, too.”
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d spend the first $3.99 on the first issue of 47 Ronin, a retelling of a Japanese legend written by Mike Richardson and illustrated by Stan Sakai. I saw a preview of this and it looks phenomenal. Next up is my favorite soap opera, Life With Archie #24 ($3.99), in which Moose contemplates running for the Senate and The Archies reunite. This comic is consistently well written and the stories really drag me in. I’ll slap down another $3.99 for Popeye #7, because I’m a Roger Langridge fan. And because I love a bargain, I’ll finish up with Freelancers #1, a new series from BOOM! Studios that looks kinda fun — and hey, there’s a variant cover by Felipe Smith, one of my favorite manga artists.
If I had $30, I’d revert to my childhood and pick up the Doctor Who Annual ($12.99) from Penguin. When I was a kid, the British comics annuals were the high point of the holidays, and I’m pretty sure I have a vintage Doctor Who one tucked away somewhere. It’s probably aimed at kids but that just means I can share it with my nephew and nieces.
The splurge item to get this week is the new box set of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. This is Miyazaki’s longest manga by far, and the story continues after the movie ends. It’s going to be the same large format as Viz’s earlier box set, but the seven volumes are being bound as two this time. It’s $60, but I noticed Amazon is offering a steep discount, so I’ll add another splurge: Nickolai Dante: Sympathy for the Devil ($29.99), a story that ran in 2000AD. I saw artist Simon Fraser describe it at NYCC this way: “Nikolai Dante is a swashbuckling hero from the far, far future, the year 2666, where he is alternately working for and against the czar, and for his own family and against his family, and in the meantime trying to get as drunk and screw as many women as he possibly can.” Sold!
If I had $15, I’d buy Boys #70 (only two issues until the big finale) and Classic Popeye #2, IDW Publishing’s ongoing series of reprints devoted to Bud Sagendorf comics from the 1940s, as the first issue was much more fun than I expected it to be.
If I had $30, I’d put those comics back, but would be stuck between a couple of books. The first would be Aya: Life in Yop City, which collects the three previous Aya books by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie in one volume. These are great, funny comics, full of life and observation regarding a culture — in this case African culture — most Westerners know nothing about.
There’s also A Chinese Life, a massive doorstop of a memoir by Chinese artist Li Kunwu (with help from writer Philippe Otie) chronicling his life and times. Kunwu lives through some of modern China’s most tumultuous periods, including the Cultural Revolution, and hopefully his book will, like Aya, humanize a time and culture that for many is just a few lines in their history book.
Finally, there’s Message to Adolph, Vol. 1, one of Tezuka’s final works, set during World War II, about three people named Adolph, one a Jew, the other a German boy living in Japan, and the third the fuhrer himself. Originally published by Viz about two decades ago, Vertical has taken it upon themselves to put out a newly translated version which is great news for those that missed this great manga the first time around.
Is there a greater splurge purchase this week that Dal Tokyo, the collected version of Gary Panter’s off-kilter comic strip? I plugged this book last week, but it deserves another one. I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile.
For the scholarly comics type, the splurge of the week might be Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, a look at the creator of Barnaby and Harold and the Purple Crayon and his wife, a children’s author with whom he frequently collaborated.
Comics | Last week a building fire destroyed the negatives for Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society, but George Peter Gatsis reports that more than half the 500 pages already had been scanned for the audio/visual digital edition (covering issues 26-50). For the other pages, Sim will be getting the best possible printed material and, hopefully, high-res scans. [Bleeding Cool]
Comics | Food writer Jon Watson addresses “the rise of foodie comics,” singling out Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory: “It helps that the book is extremely well written, but I’m interested in a well-executed crossover of foodie culture into pop culture. It’s not often that happens when it doesn’t elicit a groan or feel forced. I think that, as food culture has grown of the last few decades, it is organically inspiring other art forms rather than feeling like an attempt at commercialization.” [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
If I had $15, I’d start things off with Hawkeye #1 (Marvel, $2.99). David Aja’s built up a great track record from his run on Iron Fist to his various one-off issues in and around the Marvel Universe, so seeing him re-team withIron Fist co-writer Matt Fraction is something special. Without creators like these I’d probably balk at a Hawkeye series, but they make this a must-buy. After that I’d get another first issue, Image’s Harvest #1 (Image, $3.50). AJ Lieberman’s quietly written a number of great stories, and this one seems pretty inventive. I might’ve waited for the trade on this, but newcomer Colin Lorimer’s art on it makes me think he’s going to be a big deal and I need to know about it. For the bronze in my $15 pile, it’s Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 (Marvel, $3.99). This week, Jason Aaron and Andy Kubert take point, re-teaming from their great but under-appreciated Astonishing Wolverine and Spider-Man series from a while back. Lastly, I’d get Daredevil #16 (Marvel, $2.99) because Waid is bringing his A-game, and the recent addition of Chris Samnee only makes it even more impressive. The previews for this issue shows guest appearances by Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Iron Man, so it’ll be interesting to see how Waid factors them into Matt’s world.
If I had $30, I’d get Thief of Thieves #7 (Image, $2.99), which is becoming one of my favorite Image books and Nick Spencer’s finest at the moment. Having Shawn Martinbrough draw it only helps. After that, I’d get Earth 2 #4 (DC, $2.99). James Robinson is really living up to the “New 52” moniker by giving us one of the most imaginative and different takes on the DCU, and Nicola Scott is drawing up a storm here. After that, I’d tie things up with RASL #15 ($4.99). Jeff, you get my money sight unseen.
If I could splurge, I’d take a chance and order Absalom: Ghosts of London (2000 AD, $17.99) because it looks pretty great. British cops governing over an ages-old pact between the English government and hell? Hell yeah.
The most recent Love and Capes miniseries ended with the two main characters, newlyweds Abby and Mark, finding out that they were expecting. I remember it pretty well because I read it the same week I got to see the sonogram that told us we were having a boy, therefore I say with all the sappiness implied in such a statement that it’ll always be one of those comics I remember when and where I read it, and I will treasure it forever because of it.
So the subject of Thom Zahler‘s next Love and Capes, subtitled “What to Expect,” is one that I can really identify with, as the characters go through the process of trying to pick a name. (Actually, once we knew we were having a boy, the name came really easy).
“I’m thrilled to be able to tell another chapter in Mark and Abby’s adventures. And there’s no greater adventure than parenthood,” Zahler said. “Except, of course, for a fight for existence itself against an all-consuming galactic threat, and this book isn’t about that. Well, probably not. Fifty-fifty, tops.”
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
Ho-ho-hopefully you’ve gotten the chance to check out the previous three installments. If not, it isn’t too late:
Part 1: Jim McCann, Matt Kindt, Daryl Gregory, Jim “Zub” Zubkavich, Jamie S. Rich, Ryan Cody
Part 2: Jeff Parker, Tim Seeley, Ross Campbell, Kody Chamberlain, Ian Brill, Jamaica Dyer
Part 3: Mike Carey, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kagan McLeod, Kevin Colden, Thom Zahler, Van Jensen
And here is today’s round-up …
1. For the kids (or kids-at-heart): Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos – One of my favorite books of the year. Each page is crammed to the brim with kinetic artwork and fun comics!
For the art lover: “Behold! The Dinosaurs!” print by Dustin Harbin – Absolutely gorgeous print featuring one of my favorite subjects: Dinosaurs!
For the comic strip enthusiast: Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson – Super engaging strips that are full of life and very funny. I’m very glad that Fantagraphics is publishing these.
For the manga reader: Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi – A recent series that I’ve been infatuated with after having it recommended to me by several friends. A manga with a very welcoming atmosphere and tons of heart.
For the indie-minded: A few comics from Blank Slate Books: Dinopopolous by Nick Edwards and The Survivalist by Box Brown – Two great-looking books from a publisher that might be off some folks’ radars at the moment. I haven’t even read these yet, and I feel confident recommending them!
2. Well, my dad has a long-standing tradition of giving me a volume of the Complete Peanuts collections for birthdays and holidays, so I’ve got that covered. Let’s see…
I suppose there are a few Japanese imported books that would make the top of my list of things I’ve had my eye on, but haven’t had the chance/extra cash to buy for myself. These fall under the category of “Things That I’m Not Likely to Stumble Across In-Person and Say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to get that!’” Two that come to mind are One Piece Green, a “databook” which contains a treasure-trove of sketches and notes from Eiichiro Oda from the years leading up to and during his epic manga series One Piece. I’ve also been eyeing some Shigeru Mizuki (Gegege No Kitaro, Onward Towards Our Noble Death) yokai encyclopedias that pop up on eBay. Those look Beautiful with a capital B!
While riding the bus back to my hotel yesterday, we passed the world famous Kansas City Barbeque, where several heroes and one villain had just finished dining.
Kansas City Barbeque is well known as the setting for the famous bar scene in the 1980s Tom Cruise movie Top Gun, but as you’ll see in the image below, it’s also the favorite BBQ joint of super heroes from every publisher — including Crusader and Darkblade from Love and Capes, who are on the poster behind Cap:
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d surround myself with good-humored, good-natured comics. Sometimes you just gotta do that. My stack would include Veronica #207 ($2.99), which launches the new Kevin Keller miniseries; Donald Duck #367 ($3.99), with a rework of a classic Carl Barks story; Space Warped ($3.99), kaboom’s new Star Wars parody comic (I probably won’t get half the jokes, but it looks like it’s worth checking out); and Love and Capes Ever After #5 ($3.99), just because Love and Capes is such a charming comic. I may be poor, but at least I’ll be happy.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15 this week, I’d immediately go for Flashpoint #1 (DC Comics, $3.99) – I am very, very unsure about the number of tie-ins DC are pushing out for the new crossover event, but with Geoff Johns in charge, I’m suspecting that the main book will be worth a look at least. I’d also grab the relaunched GI Joe #1 (IDW, $3.99), if only to follow up on the “Cobra Civil War” storyline that I admit has completely caught my attention unexpectedly. Curiosity would also get me to pick up both Moriarty #1 (Image, $2.99) and Total Recall #1 (Dynamite, $1.99), two new launches that will hopefully take familiar ideas and characters in directions I wouldn’t expect…
I’m looking forward to the return of Thom Zahler’s Love and Capes next February, when IDW will begin publishing the previously self-published comic. And I guess one of the advantages to moving to a bigger publisher is that you have stable mates like Darwyn Cooke, who provides the cover to issue #3 of the new mini-series, Love and Capes: Ever After. IDW Publsiher Chris Ryall posted the cover on his blog, and notes that Tom Beland and Chris Bailey will provide covers for the five-issue series as well.
No matter how long I cover the comic book industry, there are always one or two moments in the year when I am reminded how incredibly hard it is to be an independent creator. My email interview with Love and Capes creator Thom Zahler is the latest reminder. As tough as it is, Zahler’s hard work is paying off. This week he’s doubling up his participation in Free Comic Book Day with both Love and Capes #13 (Maerkle Press) and Captains Comics: Baseball Beyond The Stars (1,000 copies to be distributed at a Lake County Captains baseball game [as detailed by Robot 6 a couple of weeks back]). But in even better news, as revealed exclusively in this interview, Love and Capes is moving to IDW at the end of 2010. Read the interview to find out the details. My thanks to Zahler for his time and congrats to the move to IDW.
Here are a couple of follow-up items to something we published this weekend … as you saw on Saturday, Love and Capes creator Thom Zahler said that IDW will publish the second Love and Capes trade later this year. Yesterday IDW publisher Chris Ryall followed up on his blog with some additional details on the trade — he posted the cover to it, which you’ll see to the right, and he said the trade would come out in the summer.
Also in the interview, Thom talked about the possibility of holding a contest on Twitter related to a song he had in his head when he drew one of the pages in issue #12. He’s followed through on that; you can find the details here, and you can follow Thom on Twitter here.
Thom Zahler kicked off his self-published series Love and Capes almost four years ago, and since then has published 12 issues, participated in two Free Comic Book Days, had a trade paperback released by IDW Publishing and married off his two lead characters. With the recent publication of the wedding issue and the announcement that he’ll again be a part of FCBD, I spoke with Thom about the series and his future plans for it.
Also check out the first five pages from issue #13, which you’ll be able to pick up for free on May 1.
JK: So real quick, in case folks are reading who aren’t familiar with your work … what is Love and Capes?
Thom: Love and Capes is a romantic comedy sitcom-ish comic book about the world’s most powerful hero, the Crusader, and his normal girlfriend Abby. It’s the conflict between the heroic life and the mundane life that drives the series and the humor.
So there are things like “What do you get your girlfriend for Christmas when she knows you can crush coal into diamonds?” and “Is there ever a good time to tell your girlfriend you have X-Ray Vision?”
If I’m doing it right, it’s funny and sweet and you’ll like it a lot.
Since 2006 Thom Zahler has been chronicling the romance of Mark and Abby, a.k.a. The Crusader and, um, Abby in the self-published book Love and Capes. As a part of Robot Love week here at Robot 6, Zahler shares a little bit about the couple, romance, the future of the book and a special promotion for fans that ties into the couple’s big day.
JK: What I love about Love and Capes is that the relationship between Abby and Mark is the kind everyone wants, the kind to root for. What kind of relationship advice do you think Mark and Abby would offer somebody less lucky at love than they’ve been?
Thom: Abby would say that you have to kiss a lot of frogs. She was a little unsure of dating Mark when they first met. She took a chance on him after a lot of bad dates with other guys, and wound up being surprised with this quiet guy. We’ll see how, too, because in an upcoming issue, we’ll see their first date.
She’d tell you to be confident, too. Your vision of yourself and how you really are don’t always mesh. Abby dating a superhero is very much like a grade-school teacher dating a rock star. You do kind of look and say “What does the rock star see in that little common person when they hang out with supermodels and actors all the time.” What the other person is looking for is something only they know, so don’t be surprised when they find it in you.
Abby’s very much Mark’s rock in a way Amazonia never could be. Some people think, “Oh, she’d NEVER go for me” or “I’m not good enough for her.” You’ve got to trust that the other person knows what they want.
And she’d also say, “Watch out for the ex.”