I still remember Comics’ Greatest World, a shared universe superhero concept launched by Dark Horse back in the 1990s. I was particularly a fan of the comics that took place in Golden City — Catalyst: Agents of Change and Agents of Law among them — so I was interested when Dark Horse announced Catalyst Comix. Writer Joe Casey pitched the new book as a “decidedly unconventional” take on super-hero comics, according to Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson, and Casey’s working with artists Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, Ulises Farinas and Brad Simpson to bring this “New Wave superhero anthology title” to life.
So how are the three stories that make up the first issue? Here are few thoughts from around the web:
Dark Horse’s Catalyst Comix, a title I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced in October at New York Comic Con, at last debuts today. Joe Casey is a writer who starts every project with a manifesto, and this one is no different: Relaunching a relatively unmourned line of comics in his own image, he’s seeking to create a superhero book that’s an antidote to “the overly conservative nature of Marvel and DC.” I can appreciate that ambition, but what really sold me is the sheer depth of the pool of artistic talent assembled to bring Casey’s scripts to life: Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas and Paul Maybury drawing the three strips that make up each issue. Rafael Grampa, Paul Pope and Brendan McCarthy are rotating as cover artists.
I spoke to Dan McDaid on the eve of the book’s launch to discuss working within this all-star team of creators, and he shared his process on creating a typically powerful, apocalyptic-looking sequence of his strip, starring Frank Wells, the hero formerly known as Titan, from Will to Power.
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
Welcome once again to Robot Roulette, our interview feature where we throw random questions at comic creators and see how they respond. We’ve come up with 36 possible questions, and each week I will randomly select which of those questions our guest has to answer.
Today artist Paul Maybury puts on his best James Bond tuxedo and steps up to the roulette wheel. You might know Paul from such projects as Aqua Leung, D.O.G.S. of Mars, Party Bear and the upcoming Reign with writer Chris Roberson.
My thanks to Paul for agreeing to be one of our early guinea pigs on Robot Roulette. Now let’s see what he has to say about Fishbone, scary kids movies and Ed McGuinness.
5. If you were given the opportunity to spend 48 hours with absolutely anyone, living or dead, who would you spend it with and what would you do?
Well, it would have an be an artist, and my favorite has always been Van Gogh. I’ve simply never lost my enthusiasm for his work, and have had the opportunity to view it person often in my life. I might have an overly romanticized view of his passion for art, due to Kirk Douglas’s portrayal in Lust for Life, but I would love to observe someone paint with that sort of tenacity. Every piece of work moves, and I think there’s a lot of valuable lessons to take from his work as a comic creator.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where today we welcome special guest Ron Marz. Marz has written everything from Green Lantern to Witchblade, and you can currently find him working on comics like Artifacts, Prophecy, Blackburn Burrow and The Ride: Southern Gothic. He also writes the column Shelf Life for Comic Book Resources and can be found on Twitter.
To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
David Lloyd and U.K. comics mainstay Bambos Georgiou are launching a digital anthology comic called Aces Weekly, and have released a large and impressive list of future contributors to the U.K. comics blog Down The Tubes. The press release continues:
Artist Paul Maybury‘s latest collaboration (with writers Johnny Zito and Tony Trov), D.O.G.S. of Mars, is poised to be released on May 2 by Image. This 120-page/$15.99 story, pitting Captain Zoe and the Mars Base Bowie crew (at Earth’s first Martian colony) against nocturnal monsters, marked Maybury’s return to long-form work since 2008′s Aqua Leung (and was originally released digitally by Comixology in 2011). We discuss it–and he was kind enough to share some preview pages (as well as video showing his process inking some of the pages). After you read this interview, be sure to check out the interview that my Robot 6 boss, JK Parkin, did with the creative team, back in January 2011.
Tim O’Shea: This project originated on Comixology back in January 2011–was it always important to you to see it released in the traditional sense (via Image) or would you have been fine if it had remained as a digital release only?
Paul Maybury: It was definitely a personal goal of mine. I think Comixology is a great format, but it’s definitely hard to stand out under the creator-owned section. There had been talk about going with another publisher that was cautiously approaching the idea, but wasn’t completely sold. Somewhere around the release of issue three I decided to send a pdf copy out to a few trusted people and one of them was Erik Larsen over at Image. I wasn’t really looking to get it published over there, but Erik really took the time to set me back up with Stephenson, who I hadn’t spoken to in a few years. In the end it feels pretty comfortable as Image has been publishing my work here and there since the Belle and Sebastian anthology back in 2004.
Although Marvel and DC may be trying to suck the air out of the room with event books, there remains a thriving independent comics scene, and as we enter 2012 so does a new publisher: Nakatomi.
Spinning out of a previously established nerd fashion online storefront, Nakatomi (named after Die Hard, I hope) is entering the comics fray with a comic by Tim Doyle titled Bad Cat Comics #1. This limited-edition comic promises a mad-cap chase book centered on an El Camino driven by cats carrying a shark.
An El Camino. Driven by Cats. Carrying a Shark.
Friend of the site Paul Maybury chips in on the book doing gray tones over Doyle’s work, with Nakatomi partnering with Austin-based literary/arts publication Minerva’s Wreck. Bad Cat Comics looks to be the most inventive comic of 2012 thus far. Check out an interior page sample below and then repeat after me: An El Camino. Driven by Cats. Carrying a Shark.
Some say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but martian dogs — well, that’s another story.
Over the past few months, a group of Zuda alums have released a new four-issue series titled D.O.G.S. Of War direct to digital on the comiXology platform. Described as a mash-up between space drama and Lord of the Flies with a big dose of horror, the series recently concluded online, but it’s not done yet.
Artist Paul Maybury is currently prepping the book for a collected print edition due out in 2012. In addition to fine-tuning the colors, Maybury is going back and elaborating on some scenes. Readers can go back and buy the original digital version for just $3, or wait til 2012 for the deluxe print edition.
Here’s a trailer a fan cut together (with an awesome David Bowie soundtrack) to clue you in more on the series:
It seems like my Google Reader and email box are getting full, so here’s a quick roundup of several new and new-ish announcements and information about upcoming comics and graphic novels.
• Marvel has announced plans to finally release the last few issues of The Twelve, starting in January. “It’s taken a long while, but finally, FINALLY, the balance of The Twelve has been completed and we’re ready to ship it all to our long-suffering fans,” said Tom Brevoort, senior vice president and execuitve editor. “We appreciate everybody’s patience, and both hope and expect that the conclusion will live up to the wait. And for folks who missed out the first time, we’re making it easy to get back on board no matter how much or how little of the previous eight issues you may have already read, though the release of the softcover trade paperback of the first six issues, and a Marvel Must-Have containing #7 and #8. So you’ve got no excuse not to experience one of the best reviewed, best beloved and long-awaited series Marvel has ever produced as it reaches its ultimate climax.”
• Fantagraphics has released their publishing catalog for Spring/Summer 2012, which includes their first two EC Comics collections, Gary Panter’s Dal Tokyo, more manga from Shimura Takako and Moto Hagio, and new volumes of Peanuts, Mickey Mouse, Carl Barks, Captain Easy, among others. The full catalog is available as a PDF.
Legal | Defense testimony began in the Michael George trial Monday after the judge denied a motion by the defense to order an acquittal. George’s daughter Tracie testified that she remembers her father sleeping on the couch in his mother’s house the night in 1990 when his first wife Barbara was shot and killed in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. Another defense witness, Douglas Kenyon, told the jury he saw a “suspicious person” in the store that evening and that Barbara George, who waited on him, seemed nervous. [Detroit Free Press]
Conventions | Last weekend’s Alternative Press Expo inspired Deb Aoki to offer a burst of suggestions on Twitter as to how it could be made better. Heidi MacDonald collected the tweets into a single post, and the commenters add some worthwhile points (including not scheduling it opposite the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which attracts much of the same audience and is free). [Deb Aoki's Twitter, The Beat]
Awards | Ian Culbard’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness won the British Fantasy Award for best comic/graphic novel, presented Saturday by the British Fantasy Society. [The British Fantasy Society]
If you didn’t have a chance to make it to your local comics retailer this past Saturday, never fear — it’s always Free Comic Book Day on the web. Here are a few places you can find digital editions of the FCBD comics released on Saturday, plus a few more freebies because, hey, free comics:
- Both of Dark Horse’s FCBD books, Criminal Macabre/Baltimore and Avatar: The Last Airbender/Star Wars: The Clone Wars, will be available for download from Dark Horse Digital starting today through the end of the month.
- Image’s offering, the Super Dinosaur Origin Special, can be downloaded for free from comiXology.
- BOOM!’s Elric book can be read in full on Comic Book Resources, along with Th3rd World Studios’ The Intrepid Escapegoat.
- Jay Hosler has posted an eight-page story he did for Evolution of Adventure, a minicomic given away at The Comic Swap in State College, Penn.
- Dr Pepper is serializing a Thor and Sif comic on their website. It’s titled “Rescue,” I wonder if it’ll end with Thor’s thirst being rescued by the cool taste of Dr Pepper? Joking aside, it’s by Jeff Parker and Kev Sharpe, which definitely makes it worth checking out.
- Paul Maybury has made an eight page comic called “Clock” available for free.
- Eisner nominee Frank Stockton has posted his nominated short story, “Hamburgers for One,” on his blog.
- Finally, ACT-I-VATE today posted a one-shot comic called “Hurricane Wilma” by Omar Angulo.
After a stellar run as the back-up story in Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, the Michel Fiffe-edited series Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies is making its way toward the bookshelf with a collection that boasts some amazing extras.
The collected Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies is scheduled to hit this July as an over-sized 144 page book, collecting all 12 back-up stories as well as some new material from the likes of Tom Scioli, Jim Rugg, Jasen Lex, Paul Maybury, Zack Soto and others.
If you missed it in singles, this collection is worth a flip through. You have to admire Larsen’s agreeance to allow Fiffe and his team of creators to do this liberal a take on his characters. It really allows each of them to play to their strengths, and wish more creator-owned cartoonists would consider giving over the reins of their characters like this.
Paul Maybury may not be a comics legend just yet, but he has proof he was a good Whole Foods employee
This one has been making it’s way around the ‘net over the past few days … Paul Maybury, artist on Aqua Leung and the upcoming D.O.G.S. of Mars, used to work at Whole Foods and would regularly design promotional signs (like the one above) for the store where he worked.
Although it’s a pretty creative sign, apparently not everyone was a fan. He noted on his Tumblr blog last week, “I apparently offended a lot of people with it. Once older white lady didn’t like the angry black man yelling at her. And a Vegan didn’t like that Mr. T. pitied her because she wouldn’t eat meat.” Later he notes that he wasn’t actually fired, but “they just kind of blocked me from any sort of advances and left me with the option to more or less leave, which I did.”
He’s posted several of the signs over on his Tumblr; you can find some here, here and here. The Mr. T post was picked up by Cory Doctorow over at boingboing, a post which now has more than 100 comments … Maybury responded to some of the comments about whether or not he was a good Whole Foods employee here.