Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
As noted in my interview earlier today with Eric Stephenson, Image Comics has several new titles hitting in early 2012 by some big-name creators–folks like Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Jonathan Hickman. Also arriving in early 2012 is a new book by two rising stars, writer Joe Keatinge and artist Andre Szymanowicz. Keatinge, who used to work for Image in a marketing role but left to pursue a writing career, and Szymanowicz, who has worked on Elephantman and Popgun, have teamed up to create Hell Yeah, the first issue of which comes out in March.
Keatinge spoke to our own Tim O’Shea about the concept not long ago: “The universe of Hell Yeah has been percolating in my head for a while. One of the first thing I thought of was superheroes being treated and named more like bands than typical super-teams. The first team name I thought was ‘The All-New All-Differents’, the second was ‘Hell Yeah For Justice.’ It struck me then that the name was the perfect embodiment of the book, especially since Hell Yeah For Justice is the group the series’ main character, Ben Day, will be hanging out with. So it was more organic, less market strategy. However, I will admit it makes for a pretty rad logo.”
Courtesy of Keatinge, we’re pleased to present an exclusive preview of Hell Yeah #1. You can see a different preview of it in Chew #23. Check it out after the jump.
Writer Van Jensen and artist Dusty Higgins announced in December that the third and final volume of their Pinocchio Vampire Slayer saga, Of Wood and Blood, will begin serialization this month. While the previous volumes were released as graphic novels, volume three will begin life as a digital comic available on comiXology and SLG Publishing’s website before it becomes a real boy, er, book next summer.
SLG plans to post the first and second issues on their site later this week. The first issue will be available for free, and each subsequent issue will be 99 cents. If you don’t want to wait to read the first issue, though, we’ve got you covered — you can read it right here, right now!
Check out Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood #1 below, and be sure to read the interview I did with Jensen and Higgins.
This February writer Greg Rucka and artist Marco Checchetto pit the Punisher against a soldier “who is more like him than either of them realize,” as a group of former Hydra and AIM agents work together to bring Frank Castle down. It all happens in The Punisher #8, and courtesy of our friends at Marvel Comics, we’re pleased to bring you an exclusive preview of that issue.
Check it out, along with the solicitation info, below.
Ah, the Sixties, a simpler time when all spy and supervillain agencies were known by clever acronyms. Back in the heyday of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Get Smart, the Archie folks cooked up their own spy parody, and they are bringing it back this week in Archie & Friends #157. This story is a 1960s original by writer Frank Doyle and penciler Bob White, the same duo that devised the Captain Pureheart superhero parodies for Archie. Click for some retro cool, and pipe that Barbara Feldon ‘do on Veronica!
There’s not much I can say by way of an introduction to Tom Neely that the above image can’t do better. Combining the gangly, jaunty character designs of classic comic icons like E.C. Segar’s Popeye and Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse with a take on horror that’s equal parts metal album cover, ’70s horror mag, and sexualized Surrealism, Neely’s comics, paintings, and illustrations wed a high level of craft to intense imagery that often literally tears its characters apart. It’s a style Neely has deployed with surprising versatility since the high-profile release of his self-published graphic novel debut The Blot in 2007; in that time he’s riffed directly on his influences with the Popeye reinterpretation Doppelgänger and the horror-mag cover collection Neely Covers Comics to Give You the Creeps!, adapted the songs of punk mainstays the Melvins in Your Disease Spread Quick, created a series of strip-format comic poems in Brilliantly Ham-fisted, put an alternative spin on the gag comic in the anthology Bound & Gagged, and most famously helped craft an ode to the timeless love affair of hardcore legends Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig in Henry & Glenn Forever. I’ve enjoyed all these comics. But The Wolf, Neely’s new self-published full-length graphic novel, is the leader of the pack.
It’s easy to enjoy (if that’s the right word) The Wolf as a thrilling, chilling onslaught of monsters, bloody combat, and graphic sex — and indeed I do. But beneath the werewolves and zombies and tree-headed monks is a moving exploration of couplehood, as our male and female protagonists deal with the pain of the past and the threats of the present in order to build a (literally) brighter future together. As with The Blot, The Wolf‘s wordlessness emphasizes Neely’s powerful images, with a clever use of single splashes and double-page spreads propelling us through a story that at any moment can toggle between nightmare, wet dream, and peaceful reverie. It’s like life with the volume cranked up.
With The Wolf‘s release party scheduled for this Friday, July 8, at L.A.’s Secret Headquarters (although you can already purchase a copy through Neely’s website), Neely has provided Robot 6 with a selection of preview pages from throughout the book, and took the time to answer a few questions about its origins, influences, style, substance, subtext, sex scene, and more.
It’s always a good sign, and a rare blessing, when you close a comic and say to yourself, “Well, I’ve certainly never seen anything like that before.” Such was my reaction to Garden, the upcoming PictureBox graphic novel from acclaimed manga artist Yuichi Yokoyama (currently in Previews for a May 4 release; Diamond code MAR111221). Sure, this is the same guy who made guys throwing books at one another as exciting a fight scene as anything out of Kill Bill in his collection New Engineering. It’s the same guy who made a bunch of dudes taking a ride on the train as thrilling as Jack Kirby drawing someone hijacking the Moebius Chair and going on a joyride through Apokalips in his book Travel. But Garden takes Yokoyama’s unique combination of deadpan characters, robotically clean lines, zany costumes, epic sets and scenery, and hyper-caffeinated action to a whole new level. It’s like a magical mental amusement park.
The plot of Garden is pure simplicity: A crowd of would-be sightseers (all wearing costumes and headgear that make them look like a lost Kinnikuman toyline) sneak into a sprawling “garden” filled with inexplicable, incredible sights and structures, from a river of rubber balls and a forest filled with disassembled cars to mountains made of glass and a massive hallway filled with floating bubbles. The endlessly chatty characters slowly walk, climb, swing, float, and otherwise make their way through the environments and obstacles, constantly narrating as they go. (“Now what could this be?” “It’s a field of boulders.” “All the boulders have ladders on them.” “Let’s climb it.”) By explaining exactly what’s happening at all times, the little explorers make following Yokoyama’s often kaleidoscopic art a breeze, freeing you to simply marvel at the sheer scale and scope of his imagination (and chuckle at the the crazy stuff the characters encounter). The overall effect is like being strapped in for a ride through some Bizarro Disney World where every single attraction is as colossal and otherworldly as the big Spaceship Earth golfball, as fast as Space Mountain, and as dizzying as the Mad Tea Party.
Courtesy of PictureBox, Robot 6 is pleased to present this exclusive eight-page preview of Garden, and an interview with Yokoyama about the book, in which the cartoonist gives us some fascinating answers — about his love for the collision between the natural and artificial, his goal in including all that dialogue, and why size matters — and raises just as many compelling questions.
(Special thanks to Dan Nadel and Yu Marooka for their help in facilitating and translating this interview respectively.)