All this recent talk of defunct DC Thomson girls’ and kids’ comics, plus the release this week of the latest issue of Mudman from Image Comics, has prompted The Dandy‘s Lew Stringer to post some of Paul Grist’s early work for the historic Scottish publisher. These pages show how Grist’s style was born almost fully formed, remaining fairly unchanged to this day.
Grist isn’t the only familiar name to today’s U.S. comics audience to have worked there, of course: Grant Morrison wrote and drew some Starblazer digests; Sean Phillips also used to draw for DC Thomson’s girls comics, simultaneously to the period Grist was working at Nikki, while just out of art college, and was even drawing strips for Bunty in 1982, while just 17 (Sean blogged extensively on the subject in 2007); and Dan McDaid was once a sub-editor on a women’s magazine at the Dundee giant(!).
Publishing | The anime and manga company Bandai Entertainment will stop distributing new products in February, although its existing catalog will continue to be available until the licenses expire. The company will shift its focus to licensing its properties for digital distribution and merchandising. President and CEO Ken Iyadomi said the decision to shut down new-product operations was made by the Japanese parent company without his input, and he strongly implied the underlying problem was that the corporate parent wanted to charge more for its anime than the current market will bear. Bandai published the Lucky Star, Kannagi and Eureka Seven manga, among others; all new manga volumes have been canceled, which means Kannagi will be left incomplete, at least for now. [Anime News Network]
Awards | The finalists for the Cybils, the blogger’s literary awards for children’s and YA books, have been posted, and they include five nominations each in the children’s and YA graphic novel categories. [Cybils Awards]
This week saw the debut of Mudman, a new ongoing comic by Paul Grist publsihed by Image Comics. Grist has always had a talent for creating fun comics with a distinctive art style, whether he’s teaming with Grant Morrison on St. Swithin’s Day or Steven T. Seagle on Grendel: Devil in Our Midst, to writing and drawing his own comics, like Kane, Jack Staff and Burglar Bill.
How does Mudman stack up? Here’s what people are saying …
Brandon Borzelli, Geek Goggle Reviews: “The book opens with a letter from Grist about what his book’s source and motivation is and it is a great way to open up a creator owned book. Grist manages, in this note, to strip away all of the noise and hype associated with comic books in general to boil everything down to just a simple story that he wants to tell. It sets the stage perfectly.”
Sam Moyerman, Broken Frontier: “There’s something inherently wonderful with the writing of Paul Grist. The man just knows how to tell a good story. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about the setup here; any comic book fan will recognize it immediately: teenager, lots going for him, some stuff under the surface, and then suddenly… superpowers. And yet, despite what could very easily fall into melodramatic cliche, it remains fresh and fun in Grist’s hands. The dialogue feels right for these characters (especially a scene where Jack saves Owen from a bully) and never forces the action. Grist does enough to show that these characters live in a fully realized world. He even does a little of his vintage time manipulating, jumping around the action to keep surprises coming, even one for Owen in French class.”
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
What’s that, you say? Paul Grist’s new Mudman series starts this week (#1, Image Comics, $3.50)? Well, that’s how I’m starting my $15 haul this week. While I’m at it, let’s add Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Kirby Genesis: Captain Victory #1 (Dynamite, $3.99), before finishing up with the third issue of Wonder Woman (DC, $2.99) for a superheroic week that goes from the earth to the gods, with some blaxploitation and aliens thrown in the middle for flavor.
DC would dominate the other half of my budget if I had $30. I’d be grabbing the third issues of Green Lantern Corps, Justice League and Supergirl ($2.99 each, except Justice League for $3.99), but I’m surprising myself as much as anyone else by grabbing The Bionic Man #4 (Dynamite, $3.99) for my final pick – I read the first three issues in a bunch this weekend and really enjoyed the book to date much more than I’d been expecting.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Dark Horse Presents is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Puss in Boots Movie Prequel – I don’t care for movie prequel comics as a rule, but swashbuckling cats are awesome in any incarnation. As long as these are fresh gags and not just ones warmed up from Shrek, I expect to enjoy this.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Book 1 - I just introduced my son to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth a couple of weeks ago, so this is great timing. He had the same questions about The Dark Crystal‘s world that I always do, so I’m looking forward to seeing Archaia’s take on answering those. Totally feel like the world’s in good hands with this publisher and these creators.
The Sigh - If Archaia’s snagging Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis, Chicken With Plums) new book has been reported already, I missed it. I’m surprised that wasn’t bigger news.
Siegfried, Volume 1 – I’ve been meaning to read P Craig Russell’s Ring of the Nibelung adaptation for years, so I think this might be what pushes me to finally do it. It would be fun to read Russell’s and compare it to this version by Alex Alice.
Popgun Volume 3 (Image)–the latest installment in an anthology series often referred to as a graphic mixtape–is set to be released this Wednesday, April 8. This edition features another great bevy of talent and was co-edited by Mark Andrew Smith and D.J. Kirkbride. Editorially, this particular volume is a transition of sorts, as Smith will be moving on and Kirkbride will be stepping to the forefront editing Popgun Volume 4. We talked about working on this latest installment, the editorial process in general and a variety of other topics.
Tim O’Shea: How did the Tara McPherson cover come about?
D.J. Kirkbride: Mark and (Popgun co-creator) Joe Keatinge rocked that. So glad they did. Beautiful cover.
O’Shea: How did the two of you divvy up editorial responsibilities on Volume 3?
Kirkbride: Mark has this tower with a giant $ on the front of it. Inside is a sea of gold coins. He swims in them as if they make up a body of water, only coming for air to check his email and make Popgun demands and order Chinese takeout. Wait — what? You know, it’s been a pretty natural flow, with the divvying. He’s been at this longer than me, so I come to him for advice while trying to keep everyone rocking and rolling in an organized fashion. The book got done, so, uh, I guess it worked out.
Mark Andrew Smith: I think we’ve got a really good support team of editors and assistants and production editors that help out with everything and make sure that things get done. D.J. is taking over with volume 4, so here I was making sure that his Jedi training was complete. He’s graduated into a Master Editor, and the future of POPGUN is in good hands.
No doubt the minute I ask “Is this the first webcomic published on Facebook?” someone will point to one that’s already out there, but I’m pretty sure this is the first webcomic by Paul Grist published on Facebook. (And I do mean published versus promoted).
In a group called “Paul Grist’s Big Cosmic Comic,” the creator of Kane and Jack Staff is sharing the adventures of a character called the Eternal Warrior (not to be confused with the Valiant character of the same name). Two pages are up now, and he says he hopes to add at least one new page every week. Something I noticed about the Facebook photo interface is that when you click on one image, it takes you to the next … which seems like a really easy way to click through pages of a comic. Obviously they didn’t design it with that in mind, but it’s nice that it worked out that way.