INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” we asked creators and other industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015, and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this installment, we hear from Joe Keatinge, Sarah Glidden, Dustin Weaver, Jesse Jacobs, Rachel Deering, Will Sliney, Jess Smart Smiley, Neil Kleid, Tim Seeley and Van Jensen!
One of the most memorable Spider-Man storylines of the 1980s remains J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck’s “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which featured the ultimate battle between Kraven the Hunter and Spider-Man. Now, nearly three decades later, Marvel has enlisted Neil Kleid to author a prose adaptation, Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt.
To mark the novel’s release today in comic stores, Kleid talked with me about the nuances of the adaptation. He’ll appear today at 6 p.m. for a book signing at JHU Comic Books in New York City.
My original intention was to file this under “What Could Have Been,” but unlike a lot of failed-pitch stories, Neil Kleid’s (Brownsville, The Big Kahn) Tapestry appears to be getting a happy ending.
The writer unveiled the concept on his blog, where he called it “a work in progress that may never come.” He wrote, “Years ago, I had an idea for an all ages fantasy story called The Secret Life of Wally Meiers — a Harry Potter-meets-Quantum Leap inspired tale about a kid recruited into being a hero that would save all heroes from a madman with designs on ending a universe of stories. It was a father-son story (as most of mine tend to be; make of that what you will) with cool things like Jewish robots, laser fitted space sharks and included such supporting characters as Odysseus, Moses and Indiana Jones.” Consider me hooked.
He revealed that the title. plot and artists have changed over time (the concept art in this post is by super-talented Amy Pearson, who sadly is no longer part of the project), but that he never lost the desire to tell the story. Kleid even had a format picked out: four self-contained volumes that combine to tell a larger story.
The current incarnation is called Tapestry, and tells the story of a young boy who “reluctantly joins a wisecracking, cigar-smoking pigeon” as he trains to be a hero and looks for his long-missing father. “With the help of a fairy cleric, a dying world’s last journalist, an eager vampire slayer and a Jewish robot,” Kleid teases, “our reality’s would-be savior battles mad super villains, shape-shifting demons, feline corporations and the armies of the dead while learning to save existence by depending on the strength of his friendships.”
IDW Publishing announced today it will turn its lasers on the literary masterpieces this summer in Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated!, a 48-page one-shot in which the alien invaders target the likes of Moby Dick, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Robinson Crusoe.
The publisher asks, “What would it be like if frothing invaders had been holding Melville, Stevenson, and Defoe at gunpoint, forcing them to reimagine their renowned works through the bloodshot eyes of a crazed, skull-faced Martian?” We’ll find out with the help of Phil Hester, Beau Smith and Neil Kleid, and artists John McCrea, Kelley Jones and Carlos Valenzuela.
Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated!, which sports a variant cover by Earl Norem, arrives in stores June 5.
This mountain of awesomeness came to us via Neil Kleid (Brownsville, The Big Kahn), who added, “This should have been the summer’s big DCU crossover event. A boy can dream.”
I’m into it. It’s about time Green Arrow was the center of a DC event.
Of course, the really great thing about this weekend’s MoCCA Festival is the huge flock of individual creators who go there to show off their work. Here’s the full list, and here are a few of the highlights that jumped out at me. Feel free to point out the good stuff I missed in the comments section.
Neil Kleid will happily sign copies of his comics, mini-comics, and graphic novels (The Big Kahn, Brownsville), and anything else he has work in (including the Fraggle Rock anthology), but if you really want to make his day, bring him an obscure soda.
Stephanie Yue, who illustrates the Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye graphic novels (not just adorable, but funny for both adults and kids) will be there, as will her editor Carol Burrell, who draws SPQR Blues under the nickname Klio.
Rica Takashima will have a special doujinshi just for MoCCA. Rica is a yuri (lesbian) manga creator and the author of the much-acclaimed Rica ‘tte Kanji?, which Shaenon Garrity described, approvingly, as “as cute as a blender full of kittens.”
If your tastes tend more toward the retro-bizzare, check out Coin Op Studio, which will be debuting the charmingly titled Coin Op No. 3: Municipal Parking and Waterfall at the show.
Over at his blog, Dean Haspiel shows off the thumbnails he drew for a 10-page Perry White story, “Old Men Drinking in Bars,” that’s included in Superman 80-Page Giant 2011. It’s fun to see how Dean plots out a story with his blocky, almost geometric figures and shifting points of view. Writer Neil Kleid explains a bit about the comic at his LJ, and he also discusses why we need more Perry White stories. Joe Infurnari was the colorist for this story, which makes for a pretty solid team.
Happy Halloween! We round out our series of posts on what comics from the past or present left various creators shivering under the blanket until the sun came up. To see the previous posts, go here and here.
Fred Van Lente
I had the oversized MARVEL TREASURY EDITION of MARVEL TEAM-UP when I was a kid. The panel in the Spider-Man & Ghost Rider story in which the Orb removes his helmet and shows how hideously scarred he is scared me so bad I actually cut out a square of black construction paper big enough to tape over the panel to cover it so I could read the rest of the comic without looking at it. I couldn’t have been much older than seven.
Fred Van Lente is the co-writer of Marvel’s current event series Chaos War. He’s also written Action Philosophers!, Iron Man: Legacy and Shadowland: Power Man, among other titles. If you’re looking for something in the spirit of the season, check out his Marvel Zombies work.
On his blog, comics creator Neil Kleid lists several projects he’s working on, including a graphic novel called American Caesar from NBM and drawing a four-pager for a Harvey Pekar-edited anthology. He’s also writing a story for Archaia’s Fraggle Rock comic, and although he won’t be drawing it, he does share a couple of Fraggle sketches.
The Big Kahn
Written by Neil Kleid, art by Nicolas Cinquegrani
NBM, 176 pages, $13.95.
Here’s the thing. I have a friend who fell in love several years ago with a wonderful, intelligent woman. His parents, however, refused to recognize their relationship and threatened to disown him if he married her. Why? Because she didn’t practice the same religion they did. Eventually they thankfully relented and embraced his now-wife, but it resulted in several years of ugly tension and discomfort for everyone involved, to put it mildly.
I have another friend who has two sisters who were both disowned by their father because, you guessed it, they married outside of the church. In the one case the sister married a Mormon. In the other, she just abandoned the church altogether. My friend has told me several times that her dad’s decision all but rendered her family asunder and caused scars that are still linger these many decades later.
So when one of the main characters in The Big Kahn, an up-and-coming young rabbi, has this huge guilt complex because in a moment of weakness he slept with a gentile girl, I’m not really feeling his pain. In fact, I want to punch him in the nose.
I thought it might be fun to check in with a few people who are heading to the San Diego Comic-Con next week to see what they have planned for the big show, then follow up with them afterward to see how everything went — provided they make it out unscathed.
Up first is comic writer Neil Kleid, who used to blog with us in a previous life. Kleid writes Action, Ohio, a webcomic hosted at the Shadowline website. He’s also written Brownsville, Ursa Minors and Ninety Candles, and has contributed to Tales from the Crypt, Comic Book Tattoo, X-Men Unlimited and the Postcards anthology. His new book, The Big Kahn, will be published by NBM later this month.
JK: So before we get into the con, you have a book coming out this month, correct? Tell us a little bit about it.
Neil Kleid: I have two, in fact — the first drops next Wednesday and it’s an eight page horror story in Dark Horse’s new Creepy Comics #1, the resurrection of the old Warren anthology. My story, “All the Help You Need,” is illustrated by Brian Churilla and takes a unique look at weight loss camps — mirroring my growing concern about my growing midsection, perhaps.The book is 48 pages and $4.99. Considering most comics these days, at 22 pages or so, are pricing in around $3.99, it’s a great value for quality horror/suspense by quality creators. It’s my first work for Dark Horse, so I’m fairly excited about it, and hopefully not my last.