Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
As a prime mover in U.K. comics since the 1970s, Pat Mills has been directly or indirectly responsible for promoting entire generations of artistic talent. He was IPC’s go-to guy for launching comics in the mid-’70s, and even after his stint editing 2000AD; many great artists there tended to get their first breaks working on his strips, which surely can’t be coincidental. Similarly, although he didn’t edit Crisis, he was arguably the driving force behind the comic, where again an entire generation of new comickers earned its stripes 00 and then yet again at Toxic!, where several noticeable new artistic talents worked on strips written or co-written by him.
Mills is at it again, bringing on Fay Dalton as co-artist with Clint Langley on American Reaper in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Mills was on the panel of judges when Dalton won a competition ran by the illustration agency Pickled Ink in 2010 to find an artist to draw the graphic novel Party Girls by Jenny McDade, some sample pages from that project can be seen at her website, her work then revealing the possible influences of James Jean and Frazer Irving. A further look around her website now reveals an artist influenced by the golden age of commercial illustration, such as the work of Robert McGinnis, and her comic pages (as previewed at Mills’ blog) show some influence from Look In-era John M Burns. She’s came a helluva long way in the three years between the two projects. Here’s hoping she stays in comics for the long run: her work is like nothing else being produced in the form right now.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we welcome special guest Joshua Williamson, writer of Masks and Mobsters, Captain Midnight (which has been running in Dark Horse Presents), Uncharted, Voodoo and much more.
To see what Joshua and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
A fairly definitive history of 2000AD was published a few years ago, in the form of Thrill Power Overload, but that volume was written by David Bishop, the man original 2000AD-creator and UK comics prime mover Pat Mills came to view as his nemesis (no pun intended). As such, I’m unsurprised that Mills has at various times planned to write his own version of the events of 2000AD‘s launch, and apparently, in the current post-Dredd 3D climate, publishers are again showing interest in the book. Mills has posted an extract from the chapter on the hard-fought gestation of Judge Dredd at his recently-started blog. It’s a very personal version of events – Mills is prone to skip about tangentially wherever his memory takes him, and why not? He’s earned the privilege.
Over at io9, author David J Williams has a short essay pitched at introducing 2000AD to a wider science fiction-appreciating audience. There’s nothing there that should be new to any comics-literate passer-by, but its good to see the movie being put in a wider context for any curious newcomers thrown in that direction.
Graphic novels | A musical based on Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home will open the fall season of the Public Lab series of the Public Theater in New York City. Featuring music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony nominee Lisa Kron, the show is scheduled to run from Oct. 17 through Nov. 4 at the Shiva Theater. [The New York Times, The Public Theater]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez guests on the comiXologist podcast to talk about Love and Rockets and what he has been reading lately. [comiXology]
Creators | Brian Wood and Ming Doyle talk about their new comic Mara, which will debut from Image Comics in December and features a volleyball player with superpowers in a world where sports and warfare are no longer so far apart. While Wood is not really a sports fan, he is fascinated by the portrayal of athletes in popular culture: “‘This is tied into the superhero thing, recognizing parallels between the two,’ Wood says. ‘I think there’s a lot to talk about there and part of me feels I’ll need more than one comic series to do it in. We’ll see.’” [USA Today]
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.
From the mind that brought you seminal UK magazine 2000AD and some of the most memorable Judge Dredd stories available comes the story of a sci-fi future where senior citizens are given a second chance at life by digitally possessing younger people. Titled American Reaper, the series by writer Pat Mills and artist Clint Langley is set to debut next month in the pages of 2000AD.
American Reaper is described as a “sci-fi police procedural,” with law enforcement weighing in on the issue of older people assuming the bodies of those younger than them, sometimes by agreement but sometimes by force.
The series has been in the works for over three years, with Mills & Langley optioning the concept to Moon producers Xingu Films back in 2008. Mills and Langley have worked together numerous times, with Slaine popping up first and foremost for most people. As of late, Langley’s been doing covers for Marvel.
Historically, U.S. comics have been geared towards boys, and until manga became popular, there were very few comics for girls—and even fewer good ones. The UK, on the other hand, had great girls’ comics in the 1960s and 70s—I grew up reading them—but those comics faded away, due more to neglect on the part of editors than a lack of popularity. Says who? Says writer Pat Mills, whose manly credentials are in good order (he was one of the creators of 2000AD and contributed to Judge Dredd) but whose first love is girls’ comics. Mills wrote for several girls’ titles in the 1970s, and he created one of the best-loved girls’ comics, Misty, which he originally conceived as a girl-freindly equivalent of 2000AD.
Mills recently talked to the Bring Back Bunty blog about his career in girls’ comics and his plans to resurrect the genre. Clearly, he gets it: Asked what comics have girl appeal, he responded
Girl as lead character. Although they may be unisex, there is an emphasis on the heroine. The objectives are different… a typical heroine wants to overcome obstacles to achieve some sport objective which provides some action. A typical hero for boys wants to kick ass and possibly destroy something! Okay, that’s superficial, but you get the idea. There are key differences as I found to my cost. Thus girls love mystery (what’s in the locked room?) boys don’t care.
Why can’t we have more of these? Mills says that girls’ comics outsold boys’ comics but were ultimately cut down by hostility from editors and creators; he contends that the desire to make “art house” comics rather than write good genre stories for mainstream comics doomed the category and left a gap in the market. The good news, though, is that Mills has been making pitches for a new girls’ comic, which will probably start out in digital format. If you’re not familiar with the richness of British comics, this article is a good starting point, and Mills, being a veteran, has some interesting insights into comics writing in general. As Bunty would say, jolly good show!