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.”
I only just discovered the blog of Mouse Guard creator David Petersen, and it’s a great read if you like behind-the-scenes details. He recently posted a detailed account of the small model he made for the Matriarch’s Room, which appeared in Black Axe #5; it’s amazing to see how much care and thought he put into it. And now he has a new post, detailing the cover he drew for the Baltimore Comic Con program, from initial concept to finished art. It’s a treat for process junkies and some nice eye candy for the rest of us as well.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Publishing | Continuing its domination of the graphic novel sales in bookstores, The Walking Dead laid claim to seven of the Top 10 spots on BookScan’s April chart. The series, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, took the first four positions. What’s more, 12 of the Top 20 graphic novels were volumes of The Walking Dead. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks to Right Stuf director of marketing and communications Alison Roberts about that company’s announcement earlier this week that it will be publishing the first three volumes Hetalia: Axis Powers as a print-on-demand books. The series was originally licensed by Tokyopop, which is co-branding the books with Right Stuf. [MTV Geek]
Sunday was a great day. It started off awesomely with a marriage proposal. A young man named Matthew had hired my friend Grant to draw a picture of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for his girlfriend, Lisa, a Buffy fan. When they picked up the commission, Lisa read the word balloons, “Hi, Lisa. Matthew tells me he loves you very much and he has a very important question to ask…”
Although the Mouse Guard series is David Petersen’s sandbox, he has been known to let others in to play with his toys. For instance, the first Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard series featured stories by Ted Naifeh, Gene Ha, Jeremy Bastian and many others.
We know that a second volume of the anthology series is in the works, and it looks like one of the contributors will be Stan Sakai, who shares one of his pages on his LiveJournal. Sakai of course has been doing Usagi Yojimbo for decades now, so it isn’t surprising to see him drawing anthropomorphic characters, but it is a rare treat to see his work in color (beyond the Usagi covers, of course, and the occasional graphic novel or anthology submission).
Although the Muppets and the gang at Sesame Street might be puppets, they’ve made their way into comics on multiple occasions, and with the 10th anniversary of the Jim Henson-centric fansite Tough Pigs coming around this year, a number of artists have chipped in to celebrate the occasion.
For this event, Tough Pigs reached out to a variety of artists, including those from the Muppets and Fraggle Rock comics, the Sesame Street storybook illustrators and even fan artists to celebrate the event and the impact of Henson’s creations. One of the standouts of the bunch is the illustration at right by Mouse Guard creator David Petersen, who also contributed covers to to both BOOM! Studios Muppets titles and Archaia’s Fraggle Rock series.
Head over to the Tough Pigs site to see all of the artwork they’ve assembled, and look into the archives for other original art collected related to Jim Henson.
Barnes & Noble’s unveiled its app store for the Nook Color e-reader, yesterday, edging the $249 device even closer to being an alternative to the iPad. And Graphicly was right there at the launch with three graphic novel apps Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, Wanted, and Irredeemable.
This is not Graphicly’s fault, but the Nook Color app store is not very well organized; they have cute headings like “Explore” and “Organize” but not “Comics” or even “Read.” Plugging the titles in to the search engine gave mixed results: The Mouse Guard app turned up alongside listings for the physical books. Clicking on the title brought me straight back to the generic Nook Apps page. I couldn’t find Wanted or Irredeemable at all. Maybe if I had a Nook it would be easier, but the website should be as well organized as the built-in app store.
The bottom line is this: It’s great that Nook is getting into apps, and it’s great that Graphicly was there on Day One. But if no one can find your books, no one can buy them, and unless Barnes & Noble comes up with a better way to feature content than this—vague categories and no complete listing of all the apps—they aren’t going to move many comics.
Graphic.ly is a late entry to the iPad digital comics race, but they are doing their best to catch up. This week, they are offering the first issue of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 for free, which is pretty sweet. It’s not a new comic — it came out in 2007 — but the single issues are hard to find now, and it’s a very nice read.
While it works a bit differently than comiXology and Comics+, Graphic.ly is an interesting choice if you’re interested in alternative comics. They carry Marvel and Archie, sure, but their publisher list also includes a lot of little-known indy and self-published comics. This makes for a lot of variation in quality, frankly, but there are also some gems: If you want to read Caryn A. Tate‘s Red Plains: Range War (illustrated by Noel Tuazon, the artist for Tumor and The Broadcast), it’s there for free. And Graphic.ly seems to be the only iPad app that carries comics by Archaia, the publisher of Mouse Guard and the Fraggle Rock comics. If you’re interested in the long tail of comics, Graphic.ly is not a bad place to start.
Like most comics apps, Graphic.ly is not restricted to the iPhone and iPad; they have versions available for Adobe Air and Windows 7. (I talked to CEO Micah Baldwin about the app last September.)
We’ve all seen the limitless press announcements from every comics publisher there is about sold out books. After a while, they lose meaning. Did the publisher not print very many? Did retailers under-order? Do people just really love the book? Seldom do we get answers to those questions.
So when Archaia recently sold out of both Return of the Dapper Men and the Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard collection at the same time, there seemed to be an opportunity to dig into this phenomenon a bit. At C2E2 last year, I learned that Archaia is remarkably forthcoming about their business strategies, so their double sell out seemed like a great time to find out not only what that event means to a small publisher, but also to learn about the work that went into creating the situation in the first place. I asked Archaia’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy, Mouse Guard’s creator David Petersen, and Return of the Dapper Men’s Jim McCann and Janet Lee to help me understand. They not only did that; they also gave me a unique look at how Archaia perceives itself and what sets the company apart from other publishers.
Michael May: Stephen, can you talk about the print runs of Return of the Dapper Men and Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard? How do they compare to Archaia’s typical numbers?
Stephen Christy: They were both larger than a standard Archaia print run. Mouse Guard is our bestselling title, so we knew we had to print heavy and Dapper Men had enough preorders to justify a run of 10,000 copies. It wasn’t until preorders jumped on both titles a week or two before release that we started to get a feeling that we could get hit with a sell out.