X-POSITION: Bennett Talks "Years Of Future Past's" Teenage Mutant Savior Heroes
Crime | The Wow Cool Alternative Comics store in Cupertino, California, has been burglarized for the second time in two months, and it looks as if it was the same crew both times. The thieves took cash and pretty much every minicomic and digest in the store, as well as a box of Marvel and DC comics. [Wow Cool Comics]
Political cartoons | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, who’s facing sedition charges in his home country, has been invited to speak at a United Nations forum next month in Geneva, Switzerland, titled “Defending Artistic Expression — Time for the UN to Act.” “In my speech, I will reaffirm my stand that freedom of expression for artistes including cartoonists is paramount and cannot be compromised,” he said, and he will also criticize the UN’s lack of commitment to the issue, which has “given more power to corrupt regimes and extremist bigots to be more repressive toward artists.” [The Rakyat Post]
Since his Myeloid Acute Leukemia diagnosis in April, I have been following Seth Kushner’s arduous medical journey. The various rounds of chemotherapy did not seem to be the hardest part of the experience for the photographer/comics writer. For him, the biggest hardship (other than the fight for his life, of course) was the fact that his frequent bouts of hospitalization for treatments kept him away from his home with his wife, Terra, and their young son.
Publishing | Retail news and analysis website ICv2 breaks down November’s comics sales to the direct market and finds year-to-date sales up 9.33 percent over last year, with an 11.09 percent increase in comics and 5.55 percent in graphic novels. Batman #25 topped the comics chart with more than 125,000 copies, followed at No. 2 by Harley Quinn #0 with about 114,000. In the graphic novel category, the latest volume of The Walking Dead led with about 25,000 copies sold in November. ICv2 also lists the top 300 comics and graphic novels for November. [ICv2]
Creators | Molly Crabapple talks to Art Spiegelman, and draws his portrait as well. [Vice]
Three years ago, the folks at Act-i-vate kicked off Panels for Primates, a webcomic anthology in which various writers and artists created comics about monkeys, apes and other primates. The comic was free, but readers were encouraged to donate to the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholsville, Kentucky. The roster of contributors to the comic is impressive, with such creators as David Petersen, Rick Geary and Fred Van Lente involved.
Now the comics have been collected into a digital anthology on comiXology, published, appropriately, by Monkeybrain. Actually, two anthologies: Panels for Primates Junior is suitable for all ages, while Panels for Primates is rated 15+. The kids’ version looks very cute and has some good creators on board, including Rich Clabaugh, Mike Maihack, and J. Bone, but the lineup for the 15+ version is irresistible: Stan Lee, Paul Kupperberg (writer of Life with Archie and a former writer for the tabloid Weekly World News), Faith Erin Hicks, Colleen Coover, Molly Crabapple and ROBOT 6 contributor Michael May — just imagine what these people can do with monkeys!
The kids’ book is $8.99 and the adult anthology is $9.99, and once again, proceeds from both will go to the Primate Rescue Center.
(via Pop Candy)
Wired has the exclusive on David Lloyd’s cover for the second issue of Occupy Comics, which shows a figure in the Guy Fawkes mask that Lloyd and Alan Moore brought to the world in V for Vendetta taunting a bull.
The second issue of the Occupy Comics anthology was released Monday, the first anniversary of the movement; besides Lloyd, the contributors include cartoonist Matt Bors, activist Bill Ayer, and artist Molly Crabapple, who lives near the Occupy site and was arrested at the first-anniversary event. (And check out the Occupy illustrations that Crabapple did for The Nation — before becoming part of the story herself.)
Editor Matt Pizzolo says the emphasis of the anthology has shifted in this second issue:
Artist Molly Crabapple was among the more than 100 people arrested this morning in New York City during protests marking the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. She documented her arrest of Twitter, where the hashtag freemollycrabapple quickly appeared.
“Can’t wait to draw this,” Crabapple tweeted, followed shortly by, “Everyone in this police van is wicked smart and funny except for the driver.”
Neil Gaiman dubbed her police-van tweeting “Art arrest,” while Warren Ellis observed, “Somewhere in NYC, a cop is listening to an angry short artist in heels spewing obscenities in four different languages.” Ellis went into a little more detail on his website, noting, “apparently they don’t take your phones off you when you’re arrested, now?”
Shirts For A Cure, a project started by the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment to raise money in their efforts to provide financial assistance to underprivileged women who cannot afford breast cancer medicine and therapy, sells exclusive shirts for various bands and musical artists on their site. And they’ll be at the New York Comic Con this weekend selling shirts created by artists like Mike Cavallaro (his design is shown above), Molly Crabapple and Brian Ewing.
And even if you can’t attend the con, go check out their site … they’ve got some cool shirts for a great cause.
South by Southwest kicks off today, and one of the premiums for attendees is a nice, big tote bag sporting a design by Molly Crabapple. Which is in itself pretty cool, because they could have just slapped a logo on it like a lot of shows we know.
Organizers also posted a nice, juicy interview with Crabapple on the SXSW site, which includes the news that she and John Leavitt are collaborating again:
We just sold a new graphic novel, Unwanted Carnival, to First Second Books. First Second does beautiful books that win awards. We kind of wonder why they’re hanging with a pair of guttersnipes like us. Me and John are probably going to spend most of 2011 and 2012 hunched over a drafting table scribbling comics and devolving into a sibling troll language.
The two previously worked together on Scarlett Takes Manhattan and The Puppet Makers.
Comic Book Resources also spoke with Crabapple this week about Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School and a recent Transmetropolitan-themed event to raise money for a Transmetropolitan art book that will benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Hero Initiative.
Comics | A July house fire in Minneapolis that killed homeowner Gary Dahlberg spared his meticulously preserved comic-book collection, which experts say could be worth $1 million. The comics, which includes first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Daredevil, will be sold at auction on May 5 by Heritage Auction Galleries, with the money going to Dahlberg’s estate. “To go for the really big money they have to be really perfect, and that what these are,” says Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auction Galleries. “The comics look like they just rolled off the printing press and nobody’s ever touched them.” [KSTP TV, with video]
Crime | A 17-year-old boy accused of attempting to rob Fun 4 All Comics & Games in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Monday has been arraigned on charges of assault with attempt to rob while armed and attempted larceny. Police say the teen, wearing a blond wig, bandanna and dark glasses, gave an employee a list of merchandise — “most, if not all, of it Yu-Gi-Oh! cards” — then opened his coat to reveal what appeared to be an improvised explosive device. The boy allegedly threatened to detonate the bomb if he wasn’t given the merchandise. When the employee yelled for the owner to call police, then teen said he was only joking, then bought some inexpensive items and left the store. The sheriff’s department later arrested the teen in his car in a Burger King parking lot. The Michigan State Police bomb squad responded, and determined the potential explosive device was inert. [AnnArbor.com]
Back in mid-May, Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt launched their latest project, Puppet Makers, at Zuda Comics. When Crabapple gave me the head-up about the project a few weeks back, I immediately recalled our enjoyable last interview (August 24, 2009), and decided to go for another round of questions. Here’s the official synopsis on the project: “Versailles 1685, France has industrialized centuries before her neighbors but focuses on creating exquisitely ornate robotic shells for the aristocracy called, DOLLIES. Towering, lavishly expensive, and run on electricity provided by damming the Seine. Only the court elite wears Dollies, but their upkeep is beginning to bankrupt France. During the king’s birthday party, his Dolly explodes but is found to be empty. Rumors fly, blaming THE SMASHERS, a ring of Luddite terrorists who may lurk within the palace. The church’s cardinal sends a neophyte priest, JEAN JAQUES, to uncover Smashers at court. Amidst the contrary, conniving and self-indulgent upper class, Jean is thwarted at every turn. As he begins to uncover the truth behind the king’s disappearance, he finds that decadence and deceit may be a greater threat to the throne of France and his own life than her missing monarch.”
Tim O’Shea: What is the core appeal of steampunk fiction for you as a creator?
Molly Crabapple: I started drawing steampunk pictures in college. A teacher assigned me to design a skateboard deck, and, rebellious thing that I was, I thought it would be hilarious to imagine kateboarding as the sport of trussed Victorian ladies. I drew a board titled “Lady Etheldrina’s Wheeled Conveyance”, which shows a bouffant haired aristocrat on a skateboard, which is then being hauled by her maid.
The series, described as everything from a “Rococo steampunk murder mystery” to “Blade Runner meets The Other Boleyn Girl,” is one of those rare instant winners in the Zuda competition, joining the likes of Jeremy Love’s Bayou, Dean Haspiel’s Street-Code and Kevin Colden’s I Rule the Night.
Update: io9.com now has the official description for The Puppet Makers:
Dangerous Liaisons meets Blade Runner. The Puppet Makers is a mystery set in an alternate historical Versailles. Versailles is run by clockwork and aristocrats wear robotic suits, or Dollies, to go through the elaborate rituals that proscribe daily life. When the king’s Dolly explodes, it is revealed that he’s long since vanished. A young monk’s investigations into the king’s disappearance draw him into the dark secrets of the court.
No debut date has been given.
As I mentioned yesterday, over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them what they are excited about for 2010. We asked them to mention something they were anticipating as a fan and also something they were working on, if they could talk about it. Here’s round two; we’ll have round three up later today.
I am personally excited about what changes are coming at both DC COMICS and MARVEL COMICS. Most people look at change as a negative thing, but looking at the projects coming from both companies and the amount of multi-media projects coming our way, I cant help become excited to what the future holds. I think all these changes will help bring brand new readers to our industry and deliver some exciting projects to the loyal fans as well. see? a lot of positive vibes…there really is no reason to fear change. I believe in embracing it.
As far as what I have coming up… well , that would take a while, but the first thing that is coming to mind is the Image Comics one shot Justin Gray and I have in the works for this spring called Splatterman. Originally we were going to make this a few issues , but decided to go the graphic novel way and put it out as one book. It features beautiful artwork by Giancarlo Caracuzzo and Paul Mounts with a stunning cover by award winning artist, Tim Bradstreet. It’s the story of two comic creators [not us, lol] that create the ultimate horror comic character that comes back to haunt them. It’s crazy adult comics the way they were meant to be told. Anyone that enjoyed our Friday the 13th series and The Last Resort will understand what i mean.
Harvey Pekar, the irascible, inimitable observational writer whose slice-of-life series American Splendor has been a cornerstone of alternative comics for decades now, turned 70 yesterday. (That’s right, he’s only seemed like a lovably grumpy old man until now.) To celebrate Pekar’s big Seven-Oh, SMITH Magazine–already the home of Harvey’s current comics outlet, The Pekar Project–has commissioned over 90 artists and counting to draw Pekar portraits for its Harvey Heads gallery. Contributors so far include Jeff Smith, Jim Mahfood, Jeffrey Brown, Alison Bechdel, Renee French, Molly Crabapple, Bryan Talbot, Bob Sikoryak, Peter Kuper, Josh Neufeld, Joshua W. Cotter, The Quitter‘s Dean Haspiel, longtime American Splendor artist Gary Dumm and many, many, many more. Click the link and soak up the splendor.
Molly Crabapple is a successful entrepreneur (as the founder of the Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School) and storyteller. After a recent book tour to support her new Fugu Press book, Scarlett Takes Manhattan, she indulged me in a quick email interview. Her graphic novel is described (on the book’s back cover) as “A young woman orphaned in tragic circumstances (by a pair of copulating circus elephants) rises to become the foremost burlesque performer of her era: Scarlett O’Herring.”
Tim O’Shea: How did the book land at Fugu Press?
Molly Crabapple: Years ago, I did a catalog cover for a company owned by Christophe (big cheese at Fugu). When he decided to found a comics publishing company, he asked if I had any ideas for graphic novels. The rest, history…
O’Shea: You clearly love to explore the art of sexuality through your work. In those terms, what was the most enjoyable or challenging scene to convey in Scarlett Takes Manhattan?
Crabapple: I actually loved the scene where Scarlett is working as a dock prostitute and is able to avoid an unpleasant client with the help of a watermelon. Sadly, a watermelon was worth more than a blowjob in 1884.
Multiple cities | Watchmen returns to theaters with additional footage for a limited run in Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas and Minneapolis. Details can be found here.
Baltimore | Geppi’s Entertainment Museum hosts Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology editor Keith Chow, art director Jerry Ma, artist Alex Tarampi and writer Larry Hama from noon to 4p.m. for a presentation, discussion and signing.
Portland | Cosmic Monkey Comics hosts a 24-hour zine challenge beginning at 10 a.m. and ending, naturally, at 10 a.m. the next day.
Puyallup, Wash. | Comic Evolution will host a March of Dimes benefit that includes a silent auction and several artists doing sketches for donations, including Paul Gulacy, Clayton Crain and many more.
San Francisco | Isotope Comics hosts a signing and party for Geoff Johns, writer of Blackest Night, Green Lantern and various other titles. They’ll have free buttons and a selection of Lantern Corps. cocktails. The signing begins at 4 p.m. and the 21+ party begins at 7 p.m.