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Skelton Crew Studio, which produced the Chog plush from Chew, will begin taking preorders Wednesday for the first two items in a new line of plush toys based on David Petersen’s acclaimed Mouse Guard series.
“Israel Skelton of Skelton Crew Studios and I were chatting after the release of his Chog plush from the comic Chew,” Petersen writes on his blog. “I mentioned how I really liked how that piece turned out and lamented that the plush of Lieam that was released in 2007 from Diamond Select toys was the only one they made before dropping the license. We decided to add new Plush Mouse Guard items to the Skelton Crew line!”
The artist teamed with Luke Crane (The Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game) to develop a two-player strategy game based on the one from the comics. And now that it’s been play-tested, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to make Mouse Guard: Swords & Strongholds a reality.
“The game is played on a board with a grid,” Petersen explains on his blog. “Mouse pawns reside on the grid intersections (mostly) and are moved in conjunction with cards: Swords, Diplomacy, and Strongholds. Each card allows the mouse you are moving an ability beyond it’s normal movement. We came up with something that is a 2 player light strategy game that is pretty easy to learn and can scale in difficulty with the skill levels of the players.”
The Kickstarter set will feature a wooden board, eight plastic pawns, 30 cards (drawn by Petersen) and illustrated rules sheet, in a cardboard box. A deluxe set, produced by Skelton Crew Studios, will include an oversized board and box, both made of cherry wood, and eight plated pewter mouse pawns.A day into the campaign, and it’s already raised more than $7,900 of its $18,000 goal, which likely means the June Alley Inn will be filled with the sounds Swords & Strongholds before long. Pledge incentives include signed games, original card art, original box-cover art (already gone), and the deluxe version of the game.
For those who didn’t get a chance to pick up Archaia’s Free Comic Book Day offering, Mouse Guard creator David Petersen has posted his contribution to the hardcover special, “Black Axe: The Tale of the Axe Trio.”
“This is the 5th year I’ve done a FCBD story and the 4th in a row of this type,” he writes on his blog. After my first offering, I started the tradition of opening each story with a younger version of a Mouse Guard character being told a morality tale which shows the audience a bit of insight into how that character became who they are as an adult mouse. This year’s story is being told to Rand, and it deals with some mythic lore about the history of the Black Axe: The Tale of the Axe Trio.”
Check out some of the story below, and visit Petersen’s blog for the entire tale.
Mouse Guard creator David Petersen is no stranger to Rocket Raccoon, having drawn him a couple of years ago for the online Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe REDUXE Edition; he’ll do so again for the variant cover of Marvel’s Rocket Raccoon #1, arriving in July. However, he also tackled the fan-favorite character in a pair of commissions for Emerald City Comicon, to predictably fantastic results.
He shares his process for both pieces on his blog, alongside Mouse Guard and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles illustrations.
History | Michael Dooley celebrates Banned Books Week with a look at the comics singled out by Dr. Fredric Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent as particularly corrupting of our youth; Dooley juxtaposes scans of the pages with Werthem’s commentary. [Print]
Creators | Lynda Barry is now an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) as well as the UW-Madison Department of Art; she was an artist in residence at the university last year. [University of Wisconsin-Madison News]
Creators | Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell talk about their involvement in the graphic novel March. [Free Comic Book Day]
Awards | Gilbert Hernandez is the recipient of the 2013 PEN Center USA award for outstanding body of work in graphic literature. Drawn and Quarterly announced the honor along with news that it will publish Hernandez’s next graphic novel, Bumperhead. [The Comics Reporter]
Conventions | “SPX is all about the hugs,” says Heidi MacDonald, who relegates her business piece on the Small Press Expo to Publishers Weekly and turns to her blog to discuss not only her impressions but what folks were saying on social media. [The Beat]
Archaia has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive look at David Petersen’s cover for the second volume of the anthology Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard. The book will be solicited in the new Previews catalog (out Friday), but this is the first time anyone who wasn’t at the Mouse Guard panel at Comic-Con will get to see the cover.
The first volume of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard was nominated for an Eisner Award, and this volume is just as strong, with short stories set in the Mouse Guard universe by an impressive array of creators, including Stan Sakai, Bill Willingham, Rick Geary and Christian Slade, all told around the fireplace at the June Alley Inn. It’s due out in November.
Click below for a larger look at the cover.
With the announcement at Comic-Con International of Mouse Guard: The Weasel War of 1149, Archaia gave the panel attendees an exclusive print that creator David Petersen now reveals was “technically” the first artwork he produced for the acclaimed fantasy series.
“The Weasel War of 1149 is the earliest story I had ever thought of for Mouse Guard,” he explains on his blog. “In fact, at that time, the title of the project was 1149 and the Mouse Guard was simply the name of the group of heroic mice in the story. The three characters I wanted to focus on were Kenzie (leader, blue cloak, name means wise), Saxon (aggressive, red cloak, name means sword), and Rand (defensive, yellow cloak, name means shield) in the heat of an unevenly matched war against the weasels of Darkheather. […] A lot of what I wrote down back in 1996 for that story is now junk. But the idea of it, some character interactions, and the way it resolves, are still alive and well in the mental draft I have going for the next Mouse Guard book. Plus after having three other Mouse Guard books of mine published since then, I have to incorporate what Mouse Guard has become into this forthcoming volume.”
Although the prequel is forthcoming, Petersen says he doesn’t have a start date or a completion date yet. “I have a few side projects I want to take some time to work on and publish before I dive into another Mouse Guard hardcover,” he writes. “I’ll update on all of that through Twitter and this blog, when I’m ready to share more info. And do not worry about my return to Mouse Guard, this is simply a short vacation. … Mouse Guard will be the project I work on for the rest of my life.”
Comics | Could the competition to become the 2017 U.K. City of Culture hinge on … Desperate Dan, the pie-eating Wild West strongman from the long-running children’s comic The Dandy? Hull Daily Mail columnist Angus Young thinks the character could give Dundee the edge over fellow finalists Leicester, Swansea Bay and, yes, Hull. Dundee, Scotland, is home to The Dandy and The Beano publisher DC Thomson, and features statues of Desperate Dan and Beano character Minnie the Minx in its city center. “Having your picture taken next to the barrel-chested grizzly-chinned hero is apparently one of the top-ten things to do when visiting Dundee,” Young writes. “[…] This a bloke who thinks nothing of eating several cow pies in one sitting. A cowboy so tough he shaves his chin with a blowtorch and sleeps in a reinforced bed filled with building rubble.” The winner will be announced in November. [Hull Daily Mail, The Evening Telegraph]
I love when Mouse Guard creator David Petersen writes process posts, particularly when they involve the construction of models to help him draw mouse-sized rooms (or entire towns), and sewer tunnels ideal for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. His latest, for the cover of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 #3, doesn’t feature any little papercraft houses, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
From reference material and initial sketches to inks and the finished illustration, the artist walks us through the creation of the cover, which features a trio of musicians “that could play so well, they’d call back the dead.” However, the execution proved a little complicated.
“The inks were a bit tricky because of the ghost effects,” he writes, “and at several times while inking I worried this cover wouldn’t work the way I was proceeding with it, but I just pushed through figuring I’d make sense of it all in color.” And it did, as you can see from the finished cover above.
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 #3 arrives Aug. 28.
Paolo Rivera and David Petersen received gold and silver honors, respectively, in the comics category of the 20th Spectrum Fantastic Art Awards, presented Saturday during Spectrum Live in Kansas City. The awards recognize the best in fantasy, science fiction and horror art.
Rivera won for this cover for Daredevil #10, while Petersen won for Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #4, Page 19.
Tor.com has the complete list of winners, which includes a number of names familiar to comics readers: Dan Dos Santos, Charles Vess, Sam Weber and Brom.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at all the comics and other stuff we’ve been reading lately. Our special guests today are Brendan Tobin and Pedro Delgado, who run the March MODOK Madness site. And with this being March, the madness is in full swing, so head over there to check out a lot of fun art featuring everyone’s favorite big-headed villain.
To see what Brendan, Pedro and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
The gold and silver finalists were selected over the weekend for the 20th Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual, which honors the best in fantasy, science fiction and horror art.
Tor.com has the complete rundown of the nominees in all the categories, ranging from advertising to books to concept art — readers will recognize such names as Shaun Tan, Charles Vess, Dan Dos Santos and Greg Ruth — but what we’re really interested in are the comics finalists. You’ll find those below, with their art.
The winners will be announced at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, held May 17-19 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Although we compiled a list of Cyber Monday sales on Sunday, it looks like the comics-related savings don’t end there. Here are some more deals for you to take advantage of today (and in one case, beyond):
• In addition to its continued “Blackest Friday” sale, comiXology today is offering 99-cent digital editions of Marvel’s Avengers titles, 50 percent off select IDW Publishing comics, and up to 80 percent off select Dynamite Entertainment collections.
Archaia Entertainment struck a deal with Skelton Crew Studio to produce prop replicas based on David Petersen’s award-winning fantasy series Mouse Guard. The line of pewter collectible swords, shields and other armament will debut in time for Christmas with the Black Axe (you can see the design at right).
Launching in 2006, Mouse Guard centers on an elite group of warriors charged with protecting their fellow mice from the elements, predators and other dangers. The series has won Eisner Awards for best anthology, best graphic album and best publication for kids.
Owned by Israel Skelton, the Maine-based Skelton Crew crafted the collectible keys based on IDW Publishing’s Locke & Key and is creating replicas from Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory.
“I’m thrilled about getting these into the hands of my fans,” Petersen said in a statement. “Israel has done amazing work bringing the Locke & Key keys to the real world, and I love working with him on the intricacies of all of the mouse weapons and arms so that he can work his magic with them. He’s a true craftsman who cares about the details as much as my fans do.”