Here’s an image that made the rounds online over the weekend: Paul Pope’s tribute to Moebius, done in a recent page for the Adventure Time comic. Jean Giraud was something of a mentor figure to Pope, and produced the surreal, sexy, short story Les Souveniers for Pope’s one-off tabloid comics magazine Buzz Buzz.
Plenty of comic art blogs getting interesting updates recently. The Art of Simon Bisley fansite has a gallery of covers and concept work from Lost Angeles, recently announced by IDW Publishing as migrating there from Heavy Metal. This series will feature Kevin Eastman’s long-overdue return to drawing longform comics.
• Eric Canete has been posting loads of recently commissioned sketches on his blog since Friday, and a lot of them have been a tad NSFW, so let’s insert a break here.
Not every comics artist is at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week; some are at home updating their blogs. Like Paul Pope (above). For this I’ll forgive his minor part in the Before Watchmen farrago.
Dan McDaid is home in Scotland posting an Easter egg-laden image from an upcoming issue of Doctor Who Magazine.
DC Comics this morning unveiled variant covers for Before Watchmen by Jim Steranko, Steve Rude, Paul Pope, Tim Bradstreet, Jim Lee, Cliff Chiang and David Finch.
The sprawling, and hotly debated, prequel to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Before Watchmen debuted last month with the first issues of Minutemen, Comedian, Silk Spectre and Nite Owl, all of which landed on Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 10 for June. According to sales estimates, all four titles broke the 100,000-copy mark. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2 arrived in stores Wednesday.
Check out all seven variant covers below.
Today is Free Comic Book Day, and here’s a rundown of some of the comics that caught my interest. If you want to check ‘em out before you go, CBR has previews of many of the FCBD titles. (My FCBD comics came from my favorite Boston comics shop, Comicopia.)
Hands down, the one comic everybody wants is Archaia’s hardback anthology, which includes brand-new stories from six of their titles: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, Return of the Dapper Men, Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, and Cow Boy. The stories stand on their own but also tie in to the books in clever ways; the Mouse Guard story is a puppet show, and the Rust story features a boy writing a letter to his father (as his older brother does in the book). This book is a keeper; it even has a nameplate inside the front cover. Here’s a list of where Archaia creators will be doing book signings this FCBD.
BOOM! Studios has a nice flipbook with several Adventure Time comics on one side and Peanuts on the other. The Peanuts comics are mildly funny, but the Adventure Time side is edgier and features extra stories by Lucy Knisley and Michael DeForge. The stories are colorful and lively, and DeForge’s contribution, about a bacon ecosystem that supports tiny breakfast organisms, is downright surreal.
As a former editor myself, I was naturally drawn to Calista Brill’s first-hand account of a day in the life of a First Second editor at the company blog. But as I was reading it, I kept going, “Hey, wait! They’re publishing that?!”
Like, I didn’t realize First Second was publishing a new book by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, the creators of Skim. But here it is: Awago Beach Babies, due out next year. And Calista shows off some tiny samples of art from the book she is currently editing, Relish, a book about food by Lucy Knisley, which seems like the perfect project for Lucy and a bit of a departure for First Second.
Another project I didn’t know about — but that I’ll be following from now on — is Jerusalem, written by filmmaker Boaz Yakin and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi. It’s the story of a Jewish family at the time when Israel was just becoming an independent country. Also coming up: new books from Gene Luen Yang and Paul Pope and a sequel to their popular anthology Nursery Rhyme Comics, this one featuring fairy tales.
With a lineup like that, being an editor at First Second is my new dream job, even if the microwave in their kitchen isn’t working properly. (Here’s a recent CBR interview with Calista and her boss, Mark Siegel, that mentions a few of these projects.)
It must be close to the time of the month that DC Comics releases their solicitations, as yesterday the company revealed a bunch of artistic changes to their May titles and today Vertigo posted several covers for their “new” May books. (Does this new wave of Vertigo books have a name, BTW? “The New 4″ doesn’t have the same ring to it that the “New 52″ has, but it does feel like they’re trying to push it as its own “thing.”)
Kevin posted previously about the Fairest #3 cover by Adam Hughes, and you can find the full covers for Saucer Country #3, Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #3 and The New Deadwardians #3 after the jump.
But wait–there’s more!
DC Comics gave Blastr details and a Mike Allred variant cover for an anthology book coming in May, Mystery in Space. You might remember their previous anthologies, The Unexpected and Strange Adventures, which respectively contained previews of Dominique Laveau and Spaceman in addition to other short stories by a variety of creators. No word yet if this one will provide a first look at a new series, but the creative line-up is impressive. It will contain stories written and drawn by Paul Pope and Mike Allred, as well as new stuff from science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor and Michael Wm. Kaluta, Robert Rodi and Sebastian Fiumara, Ann Nocenti, Fred Harper, Andy Diggle, Davide Gianfelice, Steve Orlando, Francesco Trifogli, Ming Doyle and more. The regular cover will be drawn by Ryan Sook.
A hearty and heartfelt congratulations to publisher Chris Pitzer on the ninth anniversary of the formation of his fine line of comics, AdHouse Books (and more recently its distribution wing, AdDistro). Pitzer is marking the occasion by telling the stories behind nine of the company’s releases, and the result is a mix insight into the kinds of challenges any small-press comics publisher must face, and the qualities that make this particular small-press comics publisher such a valuable one.
With an output ranging from high-end art books like Paul Pope’s Pulphope and James Jean’s Process Recess to thoughtful graphic novels like Josh Cotter’s Skyscrapers of the Midwest and Adam Hines’s Duncan the Wonder Dog, it’s tough to say exactly what “an AdHouse book” will be like, but with Pitzer’s attention to design and reproduction behind every one, you generally can count on it being gorgeous. And as the stories told by Pitzer about books like Pulpatoon Pilgrimage, Skyscrapers, Duncan and so on indicate, the chances are also good that he’s gone to bat for a largely unknown and unpublished talent. That’s an admirable thing for a publisher to do once, let alone over and over again for nearly a decade.
Saturday at the New York Comic Con brought news for the Avengers, Superman, Legendary Comics and … Disney’s Prep & Landing? Here’s a round-up of announcements from the show today.
• With a big, blockbuster Avengers movie scheduled for next May, Marvel announced a new ongoing series, Avengers Assemble, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley. The book will launch next March and will feature most of the Avengers featured in the movie — Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk. The first arc will feature the villainous group the Zodiac.
• Marvel also announced that writer Rick Remender and artist Gabriel Hardman will take over Secret Avengers with issue #21.1, adding new members and pitting them against a new Masters of Evil.
• At the Cup O’ Joe panel today, Marvel also announced a Disney/Marvel crossover — Prep & Landing: Mansion: Impossible. It features the elves from the Disney television special who prepare homes for the arrival of Santa Claus every Christmas eve — only this time they’re trying to break into Avengers Mansion to get it ready for Santa. Written by director Kevin Deters and drawn by story artist Joe Mateo, the story will run in the back of the Marvel Adventures books as well as Avengers #19 in November.
Three down, one to go … here’s a list of the major comics-related announcements made at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday:
• A number of new projects were announced or promoted at Image’s Creator-Owned Comics panel, not the least of which is the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comic books. Vaughan will write a book called Saga, which is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples. Vaughan told CBR that the book is “an epic drama chronicling the life and times of one young family fighting to survive a never-ending war. 100 percent creator-owned. Ongoing. Monthly. Fiona and I are banking issues now.”
• Image also announced that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is collaborating with Charlie Adlard on a new series of graphic novels called Album. The books will be released roughly 18 months apart, 60 pages long, with different themes each year, with the first being Passenger. It’s co-published with Delcourt in France and will be available simultaneously in English and France.
• Jonathan Hickman and Nicky Pitarra will team up for The Manhattan Projects at Image. Hickman is also doing a book called Secret with artist Ryan Godenheim.
Legendary Comics announced at its panel this afternoon at Comic-Con International that it will publish new projects from Paul Pope and Matt Wagner.
Set for release this holiday season, PulpHope is a more than 200-page retrospective of Pope’s career, featuring many pieces that haven’t been seen before. A previous edition was published in 2007 by AdHouse Books.
The Tower Chronicles, developed by Wagner with Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, is a supernatural action-adventure about a bounty hunter with a hidden past who, backed by a team of high-tech mercenaries, protects civilians from the things that go bump in the night.
“We are thrilled to be working with Pope and Wagner on these upcoming projects for Legendary Comics,” Editor-in-Chief Bob Schreck said in a statement. “Just as our film division works with the best-in-class talent and filmmakers to produce content for the fandom demographic, so too will Legendary Comics move forward on our mandate to publish works from the best in A the industry.”
Legendary also will release Frank Miller’s Holy Terror in September.
Update: The Hollywood Reporter reports that Simon Bisley will provide artwork for the Tower Chronicles. They also provide additional details on the PulpHope book, calling it “a revamped version of the artist’s out-of-print art book titled PulpHope, stripping away 100 pages and throwing in 100 new ones incorporating work Pope has done in the music, toy and clothing spheres, as well as other material.”
Renowned Canadian comics retailer and art dealer the Beguiling has just made a massive selection of original art from Paul Pope available for purchase. Virtually everything that the cartoonist has touched over the past ten years is represented here in some form: THB, Batman Year 100, Spider-Man: Tangled Web, Strange Tales, Fantastic Four, the Star Trek comic he did with J.J. Abrams for Wired, illustration work for Diesel and DKNY, posters for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, unseen and unused sketches and pinups…Best of all, there’s something for buyers of nearly every budget, as the prices range from a princely three grand all the way down to a measly $50.
“I remember how it felt to be a kid in school and have no money but a passion for art so Beguiling always prices out some inexpensive art,” Pope tweeted, complete with a smiley-face emoticon. Even if you’re only just looking, this stuff’ll put a smile on your face, too. But if you are in the buying mood, better hurry, as it looks like stuff’s going fast.
Pulphope (2007), page 32. Paul Pope.
Creating the illusion of movement is one of the main goals of comics art. It’s what sequence is there for. That said, it’s not the hardest thing to do when the movement in question is that of human figures or familiar machines. Dynamic posing and composition work quite nicely much of the time, even when it isn’t quite certain where the movement is being directed, or how. Comics have a library of stock gestures and shot transitions for artists to pull from in order to sell their action. Creating a sense of real life on the page is one thing, but to simply put some jump in the pictures, two words — “copy Kirby” — are often all that’s needed.
However, that’s only true as long as the artist is dealing with easily recognizable forms. Abstract comics have become a more and more significant part of the dialogue surrounding the art form over the past few years, and artists in that section of the medium are faced with a different set of challenges. How does one animate pure shape or color or linework, how can these things be convincingly brought to life? It’s not a question with a solid answer yet. There’s no How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way for abstraction, no solid set of rules cartoonists can turn to to string their non-figurative drawings into sequences that work as comics, accumulations of images that build power and function as more than the sum of their parts. I think it’s probable that one day some artist is going to come along and lay down a broad, workable grammar for abstract comics the way Kirby did for action or Ernie Bushmiller did for gags, but until then abstract comics are shots in the dark, unarmed forays into unknown territory.
The cover, above, is by Paul Pope, and as previously reported, the first issue will include a chapter of Spaceman by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, which will get its own series from Vertigo in the fall. Other contributors include Jeff Lemire, Ross Campbell, Kevin Colden, Peter Milligan, Paul Cornell, Denys Cowan and many others. You can find the complete table of contents after the jump.