An "X-Force" To Be Reckoned With - Marvel's Mutant Militia Turns 25
Legal | Despite a joint appeal from Spider-Man and The Joker, New York City Council passed legislation Thursday to allow the Department of Transportation to regulate public plazas and place new restrictions on the costumed characters who now roam Times Square. The move comes in response to repeated complaints, and some arrests, involving fights between the characters and the solicitation of tips from tourists. Keith Albahae attended last week’s City Council meeting dressed as The Joker, and Abdelamine Elkhezzani was there as Spider-Man, to tell their side of the story. “I agree with The Joker, even though he’s a villain and I’m a superhero,” Elkhezzani said. “We’re there to entertain people, we put a big smile on people’s faces and we work on tips. This has opened up a lot of opportunities for people to support their families.” Last year, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called on Disney and Marvel to crack down on unlicensed costumed characters, but to no avail. [CNN, The New York Times]
Manga | Akira Himekawa, the two-woman team that drew the Legend of Zelda manga, has announced a new project: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, based on the 2006 game of the same name. The manga will be published on Shogakukan’s MangaOne app, which is not the same as the Manga One app available in English. Viz Media published Akira Himekawa’s previous Zelda manga, which ran from 1998 to 2008. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Oni Press will republish Sophie Campbell’s Wet Moon in a new edition with her correct name on the cover, and a new cover design by Annie Mok. Campbell, who announced earlier this year that she’s transgender, says she’s particularly happy to have a new edition coming out so soon: “I didn’t think I’d get new editions this early, I thought I’d have to wait a couple years for the next printing to roll around to get my name fixed, so it’s awesome getting it this soon after I came out. And having the new covers is really great too, I like that they differentiate the new editions from the old ones, for me it feels like a specific, clear divide between now and then.” [Autostraddle]
Conventions | The organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con next month hope to break the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people dressed as comic book characters. The current record of 1,530 was set April 2011 at the opening of World Joyland theme park in China. Since then, several conventions have sought to seize that crown, but none has succeeded. It’s not as easy as it may sound, as to be counted for the record, the character must’ve first appeared in a comic book. And that’s just for starters. Salt Lake Comic Con has a rundown of the rules on its website. [KSL]
Creators | Imprisoned Iranian political cartoonist Atena Farghadani is grateful she received the Cartoonist Rights Network International Courage in Cartooning Award, her father said after a visit to her in Evin Prison, and she’s hoping an appeals court will reduce her sentence. Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison for drawing a cartoon showing the members of the Iranian parliament with animal heads. [International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran]
Just two days after its launch, the Kickstarter campaign for the role-playing game based on The Sixth Gun has already exceeded its $5,000 goal by more than $24,000.
According to Oni Press, the publisher of the supernatural Western series by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree, the effort has surpassed $27,000 within the first 24 hours.
It’s difficult to say why I enjoy interviewing Chris Schweizer so much, but it may be because he’s always looking to improve his craft. And Oni Press’ new editions of his Crogan Adventures series, which are in full color due to the inspiration of Brian Hurrt and Matt Kindt, are only the tip of the iceberg.
Schweizer took some time to talk with me not only about the move to color, but also the expansion of the Crogan family tree to include women, his collaborators, and whether the former SCAD instructor might some day return to teaching.
Tim O’Shea: How flattered were Brian and Matt that they indirectly prompted your decision to switch to color with Crogan?
Chris Schweizer: Yeah, I talk about their role in this a bit in the foreword to Catfoot’s Vengeance, where I explain the reasons for going to color. I wouldn’t really call it “indirectly.” They were the catalyst behind my decision to work in color on everything (if you can call the direction that one’s work takes a decision; I feel like artists have very little say in the matter — artists can hamper their own evolution but can’t really steer it), which ended up requiring revisiting these earlier books to make them consistent with the ones on which I’m currently working. Their influence over that direction couldn’t be more overt.
Following the announcement last month that it will begin accepting unsolicited submissions and pitches, Oni Press has released detailed guidelines that not only cover what to send, but also what not to.
Among the things to avoid, “Superheroes! They have their place but their place is not with us,” and “long-form series or stories in oversaturated genres such as supernatural noir, zombies, vampires and gritty detectives with a dark past.” Also, “delicate subjects such as rape and sexual abuse as fodder for exposition in genre stories.”
Oni’s submission periods will operate on a two-months open, two-months closed schedule, with the first window opening from May 1 to June 30.
Zander Cannon fans can rejoice, as the first issue of his Oni Press giant-monster series Kaijumax hits shelves on Wednesday. When I first heard about the comic, which is send on an island prison for for kaiju, the phrase “Pacific Rim meets Orange is the New Black” was mentioned. That’s certainly an apt comparison.
Creatively this project marks a major departure for Cannon, as all of his work is completely digital for the first time. The cartoonist shared a peek behind the scenes at a page from the second issue, showing the steps from rough layout to final product:
The Portland, Oregon-based publisher announced this morning that it will begin accepting electronic submissions and pitches in May, not only from artists but from writers and colorists as well. More details are promised in May.
Founded in 1997, Oni publishes comics ranging from Scott Pilgrim and Stumptown to The Bunker and the upcoming Invader Zim.
Hellbreak, the upcoming supernatural action series by Cullen Bunn, Brian Churilla and Dave Stewart, marks a departure on two fronts for the illustrator, who not only embarked on a new artistic style but also made the move to digital.
Ahead of the title’s debut next week from Oni Press, Churilla shared with ROBOT 6 a look at his process. It’s particularly interesting to learn that preference for working in blue pencil, as he explains, mostly is due to the influence of the Chip Kidd/Paul Dini Batman Animated art book.
To quote Zim, “Prepare your bladder for imminent release!” Or perhaps GIR’s “Doom Song” is more appropriate here.
Whichever the case, Oni Press released the above teaser image on Twitter and Tumblr, as a sure sign the publisher will announce a comic book revival of Invader Zim, the critically acclaimed animated series by Jhonen Vasquez. (If the phrase “DOOM IS COMING” isn’t clear enough indication, Vasquez retweeted and reblogged the image.)
We frequently relish the opportunity to recommend creators or projects that readers might not otherwise consider. But in an effort to mix things up, it never hurts to solicit opinions from the creators themselves. This week, Justin Greenwood, artist of The Fuse and Stumptown, takes a moment to discuss Joe Infurnari‘s work on the sci-fi mystery series The Bunker.
Publishing | Portland, Oregon, will be the home base for Heavy Metal’s new line of comics, which was announced in October, following the company’s sale to David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz. “I think it’s being closer to the talent,” Krelitz said. “If you wanted to be a painter in the early 20th century, you went to Paris. The comics line launches in March with the second season of Michael Moreci and Steve Seely’s Hoax Hunters. The company plans to be publishing eight original series by the end of this year and another 12 next year, building up to 50 in five years. “We’re positioning to be a premier publisher,” Krelitz said. [The Oregonian]
Passings | Editorial cartoonist R.K. Laxman, who maintained a running commentary on Indian politics for almost 60 years, has died at age 93. The younger brother of novelist R. K. Narayan, Laxman got his start illustrating his brother’s work as well as doing drawings for local newspapers. He became an editorial cartoonist for the Times of India around 1947, about the time India became an independent country, and stayed there until 2010. Laxman’s most famous creation was the Common Man, a character that stood in for the average Indian. As the official obituary in the Times of India said, “His Common Man, created in 1957, was the symbol of India’s ordinary people, their trials and tribulations, their little joys and sorrows, and the mess they found themselves in thanks to the political class and bureaucracy. But despite the sobering reality of this, there was never any rancour in Laxman’s cartoons. His humour was always delightful, and no one could hold a candle to his brushstrokes.” [Times of India]
Oni Press has revealed Bryan Lee O’Malley’s variant cover for the first issue of Kaijumax, the comic by Zander Cannon (Heck) about an island prison for giant monsters.
The acclaimed creator of Scott Pilgrim and Seconds, O’Malley draws some of the island’s inmates in a chibi form so adorable you wished the comic had its own line of collectible plush toys. In front is protagonist Electrogor, whose only desire is to escape and return to his hungry and frightened children. On his right is Hellmoth, the tattooed nod to Mothman, who’s sure to be a favorite.
In The Life After, the Oni Press series by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Gabo, things can get a little complicated — not only in the story, which involves religion, purgatory and even a dead Earnest Hemingway, but also in the construction of each issue. After all, this is a comic whose debut featured a 50-panel two-page spread.
But what does it take to create a cover for the series? Glad you asked! We’re pleased Gabo has shared with ROBOT 6 his cover process for The Life After #9, which goes on sale in April (in more immediately news, Jan. 28 sees the release of a direct market-only $9.99 trade paperback).
Check out Gabo’s step-by-step process and commentary below: