Happy Veterans Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve been perusing of late. Today our special guest is Brady Sullivan, the writer of Death Springs, a free weekly webcomic with artist JC Grande (Image’s Johnny Monster). He also has several print projects currently out or hitting the shelves soon, including the recently released action/satire Revolution Aisle 9.
To see what Brady and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Epic artist P. Craig Russell has become well known for his collaborations with author Neil Gaiman over the past couple of decades, and in recent years he’s adapted several of the author’s short stories and prose novels into comics form. But now for his next hat trick, he’s enlisted a Magnificent
Seven Nine-esque group of artists to illustrate individual chapters for his adaptation of Gaiman’s celebrated 2008 children’s fantasy novel The Graveyard Book, announced in June.
As Russell told Comic Book Resources in a weekend interview, he’s writing the script and doing the layouts for the 352-page book, with a murderer’s row of artists coming in behind him to illustrate it. Joining Russell is Michael Golden, David LaFuente, Jill Thompson, Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Galen Showman and Scott Hampton. Russell said Hampton’s contribution will be about 100 pages, and that Nowlan is drawing the first story.
Aiming to cut the fat from the bloated pop-culture extravaganzas, a new creator-branded model for comic conventions is drawing fans to a more curated and unique experience.
For decades, comic conventions have been building up (or “diversifying,” if you prefer) to include television shows, movies, video games, board games, toys, novels, scantily clad models, and new-media companies that used speech balloons in their marketing campaign that one time. Basically they’ve become magnets for any project with an air of geekery, regardless of the lack of any sequential art or cartooning. A number of cons can feel more like a pop-up strip mall in their efforts to be everything for as many people as possible. And con-goers feel it. You really haven’t had the full convention experience if you don’t hear someone grumble how the con used to be about the comics, man. It’s a chorus that seems to attract more voices each year.
Perhaps in response to the growing Grumble Choir, a number of event organizers have been testing more focused conventions branded under a single creator or identity. These conventions bring in vendors, guests and exhibitors that more directly reflect the name on the banners, resulting in a more authentic and cohesive experience. While it’s splicing a niche market to a niche within a niche, it’s also creating a more irresistible ticket item for people within that sub-niche. And those fans coming to see the name they recognize are probably super-fans eager to experience, sample and buy more at a deeper level than the more scattershot crowd under the general geek umbrella.
Conventions | MorrisonCon and the Las Vegas Comic Expo aren’t the only comic conventions this weekend (more on them shortly): There’s also Wizard World Ohio Comic Con in Columbus, and Asbury Park Comic Con in New Jersey. Last year, Wizard took over Mid-Ohio Con and turned it into Wizard World Ohio Comic Con, and on the eve of this year’s event, the local alternative weekly looks at how the event has changed and what to expect. Meanwhile, Saturday’s Asbury Park Comic Con gets back to basics: “The problem that I have with the big comic conventions is that they’ve turned into pop culture conventions and it’s anything goes —anything from video games to wrestlers and bands, stuff that has nothing or very little to do with comics. What we want to do is bring it back to what brought us all together — our passion for comics,” says co-founder Cliff Galbraith. The event, which is being held in a rock club/bowling alley, features such comics guests as Larry Hama, Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Dean Haspiel, Seth Kushner and Reilly Brown. [The Other Paper, Asbury Park Press]
Even as anti-American protests spread to 20 countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, details about “Innocence of Muslims” and what role the controversial video may have played in sparking the violence have been difficult to come by. In the hours after the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the consulate in Benghazi, Libya (in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed), no one seemed to know who the pseudonymous producer of the anti-Muslim video was, or where he was from.
Soon, however, several actors involved in the film began to step forward to say they were duped by the producer, who cast them for a project called Desert Warriors that did not contain a Prophet Muhammad character, but rather a man named George; it was also dubbed with new dialogue. Among the cast members is Anna Gurji, an actress who wrote to Neil Gaiman — they had met during a read-through of Blood Kiss, in which he has a small role — saying, “I feel shattered.”
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?”
We’ve mentioned it before, but if you haven’t yet had a chance to check out Yale Stewart’s awesome, completely charming webcomic about grammar-school versions of the Justice League, now is a perfect time to start. The strip has recently been re-named JL8 (for reasons having nothing to do with DC Comics) and moved to a new URL, but even better: Neil Gaiman has shown up as part of a story in which Batman is helping Superman pick out a birthday present for Wonder Woman.
Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran are working together on a new graphic novel for Dark Horse, the artist revealed in a weekend blog post discussing technique. The two last collaborated on The Sandman #34, published in 1992.
“My pencil technique is exactly the opposite of what they teach now in art school,” Doran wrote. “I do not use the side of the pencil, or graphite. I use the sharp tip of the pencil, and build up everything from hundreds of strokes. This is the way old masters drew back in the day with silverpoint. It’s a look I love, but almost no one does it because it is so laborious. The popular prejudice is for the 1950-ish commercial art drawing style. I like that, but it’s not what I want to do myself. I am using this technique on the new Neil Gaiman graphic novel I am doing for Dark Horse. You can imagine how happy I am to be doing this project! The drawings will then be colored with thin washes of watercolor, digitally, or both.”
Gaiman has a rapidly expanding workload, having signed a five-book deal in July in HarperCollin’s Children Books, an announcement that was soon followed by news of a Sandman prequel miniseries. Doran, the veteran creator of A Distant Soil, most recently collaborated with Barry Lyga on Mangaman, from Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, and with Derek McCulloch and Jose Villarrubia on Gone to Amerikay, from Vertigo.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our guest today is writer and artist Jimmy Palmiotti, who you know from All-Star Western, Monolith, Phantom Lady, Unknown Soldier, Creator-Owned Heroes, Queen Crab and countless more.
To see what Jimmy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
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 …
“I’m imagining a hypercritical audience of roughly 50 million people going, ‘That’s not Sandman!’ But then I think, the great thing about Sandman was that from the moment I discovered the internet, and that people were talking about Sandman on the internet — which would have been, like, rec.art.comics.dc circa 1989, end of ’89 — what people were saying then never changed for the next seven years of comics. All they ever said was, ‘It’s not as good as it used to be.’ And the earlier stuff was always whatever somebody had picked up first and loved. And it carried on, with people talking about when Sandman was good, all the way up through 75.”
– Neil Gaiman, discussing his expectations for the release of the newly announced prequel
to his celebrated Vertigo series The Sandman
Steve Cook, U.K comics designer/colorist/renaissance man, has a new iteration of his “Secret Origins” photo exhibition running at the Renoir Cinema. from July 20 to Aug. 17. You can see some more examples of the work below, and many more on his website.
The exhibition is craftily timed to coincide with the release of some movie about Batman, apparently. I remember seeing Bisley in his pomp at UKCAC 1988, when he looked just like the above image — biker boots, leather trousers, leather jacket. He looked pretty much exactly like Joe Pineapples of the ABC Warriors, the strip he’d just recently made his reputation on.
Nearly lost in the hustle and bustle of Comic-Con International was the release of the sixth installment of Threadless’ Comics-On Tees, which features Neil Gaiman’s poem “The Day the Saucers Came” as interpreted in four T-shirt designs by John Cassaday, Brandon Graham, Ben Templesmith, and Estudio Verso (the winner of the website’s Comic Book Legal Defense Fund challenge). A quarter of the sales generated from
Estudio Verso’s design all four designs will be donated to the CBLDF.
You can check out all four designs below.
Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:
• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.
• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.
• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.
Ending speculation that began last month at HeroesCon when Jeff Lemire teased that a Neil Gaiman character will be introduced into the New 52, DC Comics announced at Comic-Con International that Timothy Hunter of The Books of Magic will appear in the upcoming story arc of Justice League Dark.
The news came out of today’s “Tales From The Dark and The Edge” panel, where Lemire revealed Gaiman gave his permission to use Tim, whose debut will be teased in September’s zero issue of Justice League Dark.
Introduced in the 1990 miniseries The Books of Magic by Gaiman and John Bolton, Timothy Hunter was an outwardly normal boy who was born as a conduit for raw magic and destined to become the greatest magician of the age. He went on to star in three ongoing series, The Books of Magic (1994 to 2000), Hunter: The Age of Magic (2001 to 2003) and Books of Magick: Life During Wartime (2004 to 2005).