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Meet your 2013 Guardians of the Galaxy

guardiansAs unlikely as it may seem, the Guardians of the Galaxy are poised to be the next Marvel team to get a tent-pole movie, following The Avengers (me, I was hoping for a Champions movie, as all but Hercules have been previously introduced in movies*).

The publisher has turned to Avengers-rehabilitation expert Brian Michael Bendis to write a new Guardians of the Galaxy series, and after teasing them in the first arc of Avengers Assemble, the comic featuring the cast from the Avengers movie, the writer is all set to launch a new Guardians monthly, penciled by Civil War artist Steve McNiven.

The title kicked off Wednesday with its first issue, Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (market research apparently revealed that comics buyers are more attracted to decimal points than either the number 1 or even 0), and it isn’t a bad read at all.

It’s the origin of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, and while the story is essentially one character telling another his history, Bendis, McNiven & Co. depict it as a regular comic, rather than a long, dull conversation, as Bendis is often in the habit of doing. The last two pages reveal the cast.

And who, exactly, is this cast, and where did they come from? Based on the sales of the previous volume of Guardians of the Galaxy vs. sales of your average Bendis or McNiven comic, I imagine a lot of folks will be reading the new series without knowing much of that. And, as always, I think it’s worth keeping in mind who created these characters and how long ago (none of them are any newer than 1976, if you’re wondering).

So let’s take a look at your new Guardians of the Galaxy, shall we?

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Comics A.M. | National Cartoonists Society splits webcomics award

National Cartoonists Society

Awards | The National Cartoonists Society initiated a webcomics award last year, and this year the organization is splitting it in two, one for short-form works and one for long-form. The challenge with including webcomics, says NCS President Tom Richardson, is that to be eligible, creators must make the majority of their money from cartooning. “That isn’t an easy thing to quantify anymore. With online comics, we need to take into account site traffic, professionalism in consistent and regular publication, online community activity and other factors that are the hallmark of professional online work,” he says. “In some cases, it’s pretty obvious the creator is making a career out of cartooning. In some, it’s not so obvious.” [Comic Riffs]

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Exclusive sneak peek at Hellboy: The Midnight Circus


Cast your mind back to when you first heard Mike Mignola was giving up art duties on Hellboy to allow the title to come out with more frequency. Remember that feeling.  Now remember how surprisingly conflicted you felt when you heard he was coming back to drawing the comic, after his substitute Duncan Fegredo had illustrated it so ably for five years, during what proved to be among the greatest sequence of stories in the character’s history.

Now, of course, we have the best of both worlds: Mignola is guiding his signature creation through the lands of his origin in Hellboy in Hell, and Duncan Fegredo is working on an original graphic novel, The Midnight Circus, featuring a young Hellboy when he was a pancake-guzzling lad living on an Air Force base in New Mexico, in the care of Professor Trevor Bruttenholm. The book is due “in the later half of 2013″ after some delays (Fegredo reports “the book would have been completed ages back but I had the opportunity to storyboard an unnamed movie”).

He sent to ROBOT 6 some “cryptic edits” of the boisterous lil’ hellion in action. It looks typically great: Here’s an early glimpse at what will probably prove to be many people’s book of 2013.

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Exclusive | Mignola & Allie team for Abe Sapien: The Dark and Terrible

EXCLUSIVE: Cover art for Abe Sapien: The Dark and the Terrible #1

Abe Sapien had a rough 2012, having spent much of the year in a coma. But 2013 doesn’t look to be any easier for the B.P.R.D. agent — as it’s set to be both dark and terrible.

“He’d spent some time out of action as a field agent, and then got back involved in time to see Liz Sherman ignite the center of the world, releasing monsters and all sorts of other problems across the surface of the earth,” Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie said about Abe’s activities pre-coma. “He and the rest of the B.P.R.D. crew launched into action, fighting monsters all over, and eventually Abe was taken out by a young psychic girl during a mission in Texas. Since Abe’s been in the coma, in a life-support cocoon, his body has been changing …”

His story will continue with Abe Sapien: The Dark and Terrible, a new series written by Mike Mignola and Allie and illustrated by Sebastian Fiumara (Loki, Mystery in Space). Debuting April 3, the comic is the first issue of a “maxi-series” that will follow Abe as he travels across America, on the run from the B.P.R.D., as monsters continue to wreak havoc on the country — and as his own body continues to change in frightening ways.

I spoke with co-writer Allie about this new chapter in Abe’s story, and what it’s like to collaborate with Mignola.

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology is third-highest grossing iPad app of 2012 [UPDATED]

comiXology

Digital comics | Comics by comiXology was the third-highest grossing app on the iPad in 2012. Last year Comics made No. 10 on the charts, and two other comiXology apps, their Marvel and DC apps, also made the Top 20. [Inside Mobile Apps]

Manga | Black Lagoon creator Rei Hiroe has announced that after a nearly two-year hiatus, he’ll resume his hit manga in January or February. The violent action/black comedy series, which centers on a team of pirates/mercenaries, is published in North America by Viz Media. [Crunchyroll]

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Food or Comics? | Avocados or Avengers

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Avengers #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d start out with Legend of Luther Strode #1 (Image, $3.50). I was behind the times on the first series, but now I will raise my fist to the air and decree “NO MORE!” (to the stunned silence of my local comic shop owner). Justin Jordan really brought a different take on this story, but for me the sizzle on this is Tradd Moore’s art. It reminds me of Sam Keith’s middle-period during his Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine run, and that’s nothing but a good thing. After that I’d get Stumptown #4 (Oni Press, $3.99). Some might compare Dex’s journey to that of Jessica Jones in Marvel’s Alias, but it’s anything but. Greg Rucka really knows how to make a story feel more than just mere fiction. My third pick this week would be Invincible #98 (Image, $2.99), seeing Mark Grayson get his powers back – just in time to be stomped into the ground, from the looks of it. Reading this series since the first issue, I’m noticing the colorist change more and more here; John Rauch definitely is a step removed from FCO Plascencia, and I’m still getting used to it. Kirkman and Ottley are delivering here so well that Domino’s should be jealous. (ba-dum CHING!) Last up in my Wednesday haul would be Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ve noticed in doing Food or Comics for as long as I have how I’ll routinely follow writers but when they manage to get an artist I particularly like I’ll fall over myself trying to get to it. Case in point, this book, with Jonathan Hickman joining forces with Jerome Opeña to kick off a new era for Marvel’s flagship book. I’m all for “Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers,” but I’m even more excited to see Opeña’s take on this.

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Mike Mignola’s Skeleton-Head gets his own wine

Mike Mignola completists (and wine enthusiasts), does the Mortal Vitner have something for you: a 2010 Skeleton-Head Syrah, complete with a label drawn by Mignola himself.

The Dayton, Washington-based company, which also has wines like Veillantif, Ghost and Flying Corpse, will make offer Skeleton-Head for pre-sale beginning next week; it will be released in time for Christmas, with the bottles signed by Mignola and winemaker Reggie Mace. An announcement will be made on the Mortal Vitner’s Facebook page when the online store goes live.

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Comics artists love Frankenstein’s Bride

Arthur Adams

Saturday was the birthday of actress Elsa Lanchester, so to celebrate, John Rozum posted an amazing gallery of art inspired by her most famous role, the Bride of Frankenstein. A ton of comics artists are included and you can see many of them below the break. Be sure to visit Rozum’s site for even more, including additional pieces by Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan and Bruce Timm, as well as art by Basil Gogos, William Stout, and Mike McKone. Continue Reading »

Comics A.M. | Penguin Group to launch kids’ graphic novel line

Penguin Group

Publishing | The Penguin Group plans to wade into the market for children’s graphic novels with a new line aimed at middle-grade and young-adult readers. “Clearly it’s a huge, growing market, the kid’s graphic novel market,” Penguin’s Rich Johnson told ICv2 at New York Comic Con. “You see those titles making the bestsellers list all the time. So we are looking to do work in that area to get more kids reading comics.” [ICv2]

Creators | Feisty as ever, Stan Lee talks about his World of Heroes YouTube channel and breaks up the camera crew a couple of times in an interview shot New York Comic Con. [MTV Geek]

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What Are You Reading? with Ron Marz

Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where today we welcome special guest Ron Marz. Marz has written everything from Green Lantern to Witchblade, and you can currently find him working on comics like Artifacts, Prophecy, Blackburn Burrow and The Ride: Southern Gothic. He also writes the column Shelf Life for Comic Book Resources and can be found on Twitter.

To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Van Jensen

Covers for Of Wood and Blood, Part One & Part Two

Next month will see the release of the final installment in Van Jensen‘s and Dusty Higgins‘ Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of books, Of Wood and Blood, Part Two. To mark this milestone as well as find out what creative projects he intends to pursue in the future, I cajoled longtime friend of the blog Jensen to do an interview. I was pleased to learn that while Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer is coming to a close, Joe Pimienta is illustrating Jensen’s upcoming graphic novel, The Leg. More immediately, Jensen will be busy this upcoming weekend in Atlanta–as he will be at Dragon*Con, so be sure to visit him if you are there.

Tim O’Shea: You’re ending Pinocchio on a high note, while the project seems to still be doing well. Why step away — and how hard was it to do?

Van Jensen: When Dusty and I were working on the first volume, I came up with this notion of how to explain where Pinocchio came from (the original story has him as a sentient piece of wood that is carved into a puppet, not a puppet that’s magically brought to life) and tie that into the origin of the vampires. We realized it would make a perfect contained storyline; the question was always whether the book would sell enough for us to explore the whole story.

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Richard Sala’s Peculia: The Cartoon

There’s little I enjoy more than an animated adaptation of a comic that’s done in the exact style of that comic. I understand and appreciate Mike Mignola’s opinion (especially because he’s uniquely qualified to judge how well the copy imitates the original) that he’d rather see a different version animated. As a fan, though, I tend to imagine motion when I read comics anyway, so to see that brought to life is pretty thrilling. Especially when the comic being adapted is one by Richard Sala.

The Peculia short is on Sala’s website, so if he didn’t do it himself, it’s certainly got his blessing. I hope there’s more coming, because I keep re-watching it and can’t seem to get enough.

What Are You Reading? with Alex Zalben

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Alex Zalben, who blogs about comics for MTV Geek and has written a few himself–including the webcomic Detective Honeybear.

To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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Mike Mignola, DC Comics join Aurora Rise benefit

Aurora Rise, the Aug. 25-26 benefit organized by All C’s Collectibles in Aurora, Colo., to raise money for the victims of the July 20 theater shootings, announced this week that Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will join Matt Fraction, Steve Niles and Tim Daniel at the event.

They also announced that DC Comics will provide support as well. The company joins a long list of supporters providing silent auction items and filling other needs for the event:

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What Are You Reading? with Mark Sable

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Mark Sable, the writer and co-creator of Image’s Graveyard of Empires with Paul Azaceta and the upcoming Duplicate from Kickstart Comics with Andy MacDonald. You can find his work and thoughts at marksable.com and contact him @marksable on the Twitter.

To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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