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From The Pogues to Peter Bagge: Six random questions with Brian Wood

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Brian Wood, writer of Star Wars, The Massive, Conan, Mara, Demo, X-Men, DMZ, Local, Northlanders, Couriers and many more.

Now let’s get to it …

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Comics A.M. | This weekend, it’s MoCCA Arts Fest

MoCCA Arts Fest

MoCCA Arts Fest

Conventions | Annelle Miller, executive director of the Society of Illustrators, talks about this weekend’s MoCCA Arts Fest, the first to be run by the society. [The Comics Reporter]

Conventions | The Tokyo Big Sight convention center in May will lift the ban on events associated with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. Creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki and numerous venues that were hosting manga and doujinshi (fan comics) shows have received threatening letters, some containing liquid or powder, and as a result, Kuroko’s Basketball fan events have been canceled and doujinshi tables have been banned from several comics events. (More background here.) [Kotaku]

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Food or Comics? | Steak or Star Wars

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Star Wars #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 (big “if” this week!), I’d take a break from the struggles of adult life and find sanctuary in the pages of high mythology thanks to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder #4 (Marvel, $3.99). Aaron and Ribic have really build up an excellent foil for Thor in the God-Killer, and also snuck in the idea of Young Thor and Old Thor – something I’d love to see expounded upon in their own series or one-shot (hint-hint). Second up would be the startling potent promise of Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99). I never thought I’d see Brian Wood do a Star Wars comic, but I’m so glad he is – and seemingly doing it on his own terms. Thinking of him writing Princess Leia, and the potential there specifically has been rolling around in my brain for weeks. Third, I’d get two promising artist-centric series (at least for me) in B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth — Abyss Time #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50) and TMNT: Secret of the Foot Clan #1 (IDW, $3.99). James Harren and Mateus Santolouco, respectively, are two artists I’ve been keen on for the past year and both of these books look like potential breakouts to a bigger stage. On the TMNT side, I’ve always thought Shredder and the Foot Clan to be one of the most overlooked great villains in comics, so I’m glad to see some focus on that and some potential answers.

If I had $30, I’d continue my super(comic)market sweep with Womanthology: Space #4 (IDW, $3.99). This series has two things I love: new, young creators and a space theme. I’ve been on a space opera/sci-fi kick for a while now thanks to Saga and re-reading some Heinlein, so this anthology series comes to me most fortuitously. Next up would be Legend of Luther Strode #2 (Image, $3.50). Luther Strode is a real down-and-out kind of hero, like some sort of action-based Charlie Brown. Tradd Moore’s artwork really makes this sing, too. Finally, I’d get two Marvel books with Secret Avengers #36 (Marvel, $3.99) and Wolverine and the X-Men #23 (Marvel, $3.99). I’m gritting my teeth on the latter – not because it’s bad, but because it isn’t as good for me as the previous arcs. For Secret Avengers, I feel Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s run on this has been sadly overlooked in the wave of Marvel NOW books, but this mega-arc about the Descendents and now Black-Ant has been great. I’d love to see Black-Ant as a permanent part of the Marvel U.

If I could splurge, I’d throw practicality out the door and shell out big bucks for the Black Incal deluxe hardcover (Humanoids, $79.95). There’s few times I’d spend nearly 80 bucks on a comic, but this classic story by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon kind of things. This has been reprinted numerous times (I have an older one), but I’m re-buying the story here for the deluxe treatment this volume has with its large size.

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Comics A.M. | The Walking Dead climbs atop bookstores sales chart

The Walking Dead, Vol. 16

Retailing | Although the 16th volume of The Walking Dead wasn’t released until June 19, 11 days’ worth of sales was enough to propel the latest collection of the horror series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard to the top of BookScan’s chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores June. Four volumes of the popular series, including the first one, appear in the Top 20. [ICv2.com]

Publishing | Hermes Press, which has been publishing the vintage Buck Rogers collections, has announced a new Buck Rogers project: An original comic series written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, one that Publisher Dan Herman promises will be strongly reminiscent of the original. [ICv2]

Publishing| The animation studio Klasky Csupo, which gave us The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats, is branching out in a number of different directions, including print and digital comics. Its first comic is Ollie Mongo, which stars a blue zombie skateboarder. [USA Today]

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Comics A.M. | That’s Doctor Mark Millar, thank you

Mark Millar

Creators | Mark Millar received an honorary doctorate of letters from Glasgow Caledonian University. [Daily Record, Scotsman]

Webcomics | Philip Hofer, the creator of the ComicPress WordPress theme used by many webcomics artists, discusses that and his new WordPress product, Comic Easel. [The Webcomic Beacon]

Creators | Peter Bagge talks about his comics and his relationship with Robert Crumb as both a contributor to and editor of Crumb’s anthology Weirdo: “With the style of work that I do, I like it to look on the surface like it’s shallow and stupid, but when you read it, the context is really sweet; [Crumb] saw that right away. I remember telling him ‘I have some story ideas, using fictional characters that are stand-ins for me, and I’m remembering things that are embarrassing and hard to write about. Even though I’m hiding behind a fictional character, I’m nervous talking about embarrassing events from my past. I’m a little bit afraid. He said ‘Those are exactly the stories you need to tell, especially if it won’t go away, and are always in the back of your head.’” [Graphic NYC]

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Food or Comics? | Shark à la king

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Reset #1

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, a new Peter Bagge comic is always cause for celebration, so my first grab would be for Reset #1, Bagge’s new limited series having to do with virtual reality and the opportunity it affords a washed-up comedian to fix his past mistakes. And then there’s Linda Medley, who’s been laying low for awhile, but is back this week with a new issue of her ongoing, low-key fantasy series, Castle Waiting. These will probably be the first comics I read once I get home from the comic store this week.

If I had $30, I’ve already gone on about The Shark King, R. Kikuo Johnson’s warm and charming all-ages story based on a Hawaiian folk tale of a shark god and his half-human, mischievous progeny. It’s a lovely little book that I thoroughly recommend checking out even if you don’t have any kids in your home.

There’s also a number of notable manga out this week so I’d likely pick up one of the following: Either the latest volume of 20th Century Boys, the latest volume of Gantz or volume 2 of Katsuya Terada’s The Monkey King. There’s been a bit of a wait (seven years) for that last one, which is a gonzo, sex-and-violence rendition of the classic Journey to the West myth.

It’s not so much a splurge as a must-buy for me — Krazy and Ignatz 1922-24: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True is the final volume in Fantagraphics’ collection of Sunday Krazy strips and full of the same George Herriman magic as the previous volumes. There’s a tinge of sadness here as I believe the late Bill Blackbeard, who helped bring this project into fruition, has an essay here, as well as a remembrance by Kim Thompson.

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Comics A.M. | Marvel’s big push for AvX; New 52 hurting GN sales?

AvX #1

Publishing | David Gabriel, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, says that Marvel is putting “the biggest marketing investment that we’ve ever put into a series or an event” behind its upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men event. The campaign will include online, social media, radio and television promotion. “They’re actually treating every issue as an event, because there’s a different fight going on in every issue, and I’m told that they are pushing every single issue through all 12 issues,” Gabriel said. “The story itself has three acts, and each of those acts has a natural marketing hook to it, so they’re pushing those as well.” [ICv2]

Publishing | While DC’s New 52 has been good for comics sales overall, there is a dark side: Sales of pre-reboot collected editions are down. ICv2 also lists the Top 10 comics and graphic novel franchises in a number of different genres. [ICv2]

Legal | The Justice Department brought more charges of fraud and copyright infringement against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his colleagues on Friday, but also revealed that Megaupload isn’t all that mega: The file-sharing site had only 66.6 million users, not the 180 million previously claimed, and fewer than 6 million had ever actually uploaded a file. The indictment mentions one user who uploaded almost 17,000 items, including copyrighted movies, which were viewed 34 million times. [The Washington Post]

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In Seattle this Saturday? Go to Fantagraphics’ ‘Funny Valentines’ tribute to Jack Davis

I’d imagine Mad magazine artist Jack Davis isn’t the first thing you think of when Valentine’s Day rolls around. But in ’50s and ’60s, he produced a stunning set of Valentine’s Day cards that would make Hallmark blush. And now comics publisher Fantagraphics is honoring those with a holiday-timed exhibition featuring Davis’ work along with other artists inspired by it.

Set to kick off Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, the exhibition will include works by Peter Bagge, Johnny Ryan, Jim Woodring, Matthew Southworth and others. Davis himself will appear live via Skype at 6:30 p.m. Saturday from his home in Georgia. The exhibit itself is set to run through March 7, so even if you miss opening night you have a chance to see this unique collection of heart-themed art.

So if you’re Seattle-based and looking for something special for your loved one, consider swinging by Fanta’s bookstore. While you’re there, the surrounding district is hosting a number of visual and performing arts presentations as part of Georgetown Art Attack.

Dark Horse announces new project from Peter Bagge

Peter Bagge's Reset

In the tradition of one-word titles like Yeah! and Hate, Dark Horse Comics announced a new project from creator Peter Bagge, Reset.

The press release from Dark Horse describes the book as: “If you could relive major events in your life, would you take a stab at making things better—and would your best attempts only make things worse? Or would you use your second chance to put your most twisted, perverted fantasies in motion? These are questions washed-up actor and comedian Guy Krause asks himself after he signs up to be the main research subject for a virtual-reality experiment.”

The first issue of the four-issue series comes out in April and features a variant cover from Matt Kindt, which you can see after the jump.

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Collect This Now! | Sweatshop

You know what would make a great Christmas present? A publisher announcing they’re going to collect this great, lamentably short-lived series.

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Fantagraphics goes mini-comics crazy this holiday season

Fantagraphics mini-comics

Wouldn’t it be awesome if everywhere you shopped this holiday season offered a minicomic with a $50 purchase? Fantagraphics is doing just that, through their online store. They’ve created 21 mini-comics by a variety of their creators that are available free with the purchase of their “matching” book or books, or for simply purchasing $50 worth of stuff from their catalog.

“I always was very fond of the mini-comics format — take two to four 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, fold them once, staple, and voilà!” wrote Kim Thompson. “You have an adorable little 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 comic book for mere pennies. But I could never really figure out what to do with this old-school, low-tech format. Until now!”

The contents of the mini-comics are fairly unique, too; there’s a David B. one featuring a never-before-translated-into-English tale, and a Stan Sakai one that reprints a Nilson Groundthumper story that originally appeared in the Critters anthology back in the day. There’s one featuring out-of-print Peter Bagge strips, and one featuring a full-color 10-page summary of Tony Millionaire’s doomed attempt to get Billy Hazelnuts onto television. And more, by the Hernandez Bros., Jim Woodring, Johnny Ryan, Richard Sala, Bill Griffith, Ivan Brunetti and even Doc Winner, E.C. Segar’s assistant on Popeye.

The big chain stores might have cheap TVs this weekend, but how many of them come with a Tony Millionaire mini-comic? Not nearly enough, I tell ya.

What Are You Reading? with Bully, the little stuffed bull

Bully enjoys Astronaut Academy

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week it is our distinct pleasure to welcome our very  special guest Bully, the little stuffed bull, who blogs about all sorts of comics with the help of his friend, John DiBello.

To see what Bully and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click on the link below.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Kirby: Genesis

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 this week, I’d start it off by buying Kirby Genesis #0 (Dynamite, $1); I love the idea of world-building from older characters, and Jack Kirby left a treasure trove of ideas even he couldn’t get a handle on completely. I’m interested to see where Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross take this, and I hope with Busiek’s addition it can be more tantalizing than Project: Superpowers was. Second up, I would get the penultimate Secret Warriors #27 (Marvel, $2.99); when this series started I was an ardent reader, but it lost me along the way. For some work-related research I caught up with the series, and since the last Howling Commandos story it’s been going great; I hope Hickman can stick the landing. Third I would get Vertigo’s new anthology Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Vertigo, $7.99); a pricey experiment, but I’m in the mood to get blown away. Lastly would be FF #4 (Marvel, $2.99) – I’m really enjoying what Hickman and Epting have done in the new simply titled series.

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Comics A.M. | Strong debut for Fear Itself; is Borders doomed?

Fear Itself #1

Publishing | Marvel’s Fear Itself #1 topped Diamond Comic Distributors’ April charts with an estimated 128,595 copies, the highest monthly sales for a comic since X-Men #1 surpassed 140,000 copies nine months ago. Retail news and analysis site ICv2 sees the strong debut of that crossover and the performance of DC’s Flashpoint prequels as signs “that this summer’s big events may be able to reverse the downward sales trend in the first quarter of 2011.”

DC’s Fables, Vol. 15: Rose Red led the graphic novel category with about 11,600 copies, followed distantly by Dynamite’s The Boys, Vol. 8: Highland Laddie. [ICv2.com]

Retailing | The bankrupt Borders Group reportedly has been unable to find a buyer for its entire business, which could signal the end of the second-largest book chain in the United States. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February, and is closing about one-third of its locations. [Detroit Free Press]

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What Are You Reading?

The Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 3

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is John Jackson Miller, writer of Star Wars: Knight Errant and Mass Effect comics for Dark Horse and various Star Wars prose novels. He’s also the curator of The Comics Chronicles research website. His next comics series, Star Wars: Knight Errant, Deluge, starts in August.

To see what John and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below.

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