"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
“The Big Two don’t like Rick’s work. It’s as simple as that. In the last ten years, he’s gone from being able to work steadily at Marvel Comics and DC Comics to not being able to get hired. They just won’t give him the time of day.
Rick is one of the most accomplished artists I’ve ever worked with. He’s known primarily for winning Eisners doing Batman & Robin Adventures where Rick himself says that he was paid to draw like Bruce Timm. So, I think for a lot of people there is a sense that he’s too cartoony, his style doesn’t fit in with what the big two want; it’s not sexy or flashy enough. He has a very distinct comic book style, he doesn’t do photo-realistic. Everything he draws, he can draw it. It’s not light-boxing here.
I know at least one editor who went to great lengths to make sure he wouldn’t work at one company and really set him up to fail and did so gleefully. Comics are like any other industry; there are wonderful people in it and there are crappy people in it.”
For nearly two years, Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett the high-flying adventures of Lady Seneca Sabre in their twice-weekly webcomic, and now they’re looking to bring their special blend of steampunk, magic and the Wild West to print. To that end, the duo has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish the first five chapters of Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether in a 192-page hardcover collection.
Mere hours into the drive and they’re nearly halfway toward the $27,500 they need to pay for their initial 2,000-copy print run, plus shipping, Kickstarter fees, etc. So odds are, this project is going to get funded. Their pledge tiers a pretty reasonable, too, which may help to explain the campaign’s speedy progress; for instance, $30 gets you a copy of the book. Additional incentives include keychains, bookplates, an inscription from Brian Michael Bendis, and dinner at HeroesCon with the creators.
There’s a lot more information on the Kickstarter page. The campaign ends June 5.
Creators | Ahead of the premiere of the documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, the 89-year-old Lee discusses the big-screen success of his co-creations, the fairy-tale appeal of superheroes, his favorite character (he doesn’t have one), and a time when he was embarrassed to admit he wrote comic books: “Oh well, in the beginning, comics were the lowest rung on the cultural totem pole. I’d go to a party and people would say ‘What do you do?’ ‘Um, uh, I’m a writer’ and I’d try to walk away. And the guy would follow. ‘What do you write?’ ‘Oh, er, stories for kids.’ Well finally he’d pin me down and I’d say, ‘Okay, I write comic books’ — and boy, he couldn’t get away fast enough. Now, though, I walk into a party and someone sees me and they say, ‘Sorry, excuse me a minute, President Obama, I have to go over and say hello to Stan Lee.’ Well, okay. Slight exaggeration on my part.” [The Star-Ledger]
Conventions | The Calgary Sun previews this weekend’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. [Calgary Sun]
Conventions | Jimmy Jay wonders whether Comic-Con International in San Diego could expand to two weekends, like the Coachella Music Fest. [ComicConMen]
You’ve heard it said that children are the future, and if that’s true—and it must be, since they’ll be around for more of the future than we adults will be—it’s as true for comics as it is for whatever else people mean when they say children are the future.
So what sorts of comic books are we providing for our children, our future these days? As it turns out, some pretty good ones—hell, some pretty great ones.
This week saw the release of three particular comic books–not graphic novels or tankobon, but good-old-fashioned 20-some pages and some staples comic books—that featured superior writing and art, some of that art coming from world-class cartoonists.
And all three of those comics, oddly enough, are based on cartoon series.
When I was a child, there were comic books based on cartoons (cartoons that were often based on toy lines), and while they were readily available in drug and grocery stores, and you could buy one with a dollar bill and get change back, they weren’t exactly the highest quality product.
But some of today’s based-on-cartoons comics can put to shame much of what the “Big Six” direct market publishers release for their grown-up audiences.
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
As miracle-based winter holidays go, Jewish Chanukah suffers a bit in constant comparison to Christian Christmas, a fact that has to do more with a coincidence of the calendar than with the importance of the holidays to the respective groups who celebrate them.
That is, Christmas is the second biggest holiday of the Christian year, behind Easter, and the one that has been most widely embraced by secular culture. For Jews, Chanukah is a relatively minor religious holiday.
The two holidays are generally forced into contrast each winter as they are celebrated around the same time, though, and Chanukah can’t help but come across as the lesser of the two, in a miracle vs. miracle sense.
The miracle of Chanukah, beyond the military victory in which the Maccabees defeated the vastly larger Greek army (Take that, Frank Miller and Zack Snyder!), was that the one day’s worth of oil they had to burn in the temple menorah burned for eight days.
Christmas has a couple of miracles for Christians, including a virgin birth, a portentous star in the sky and angels visiting multiple witnesses.
From an outsider standpoint, the Chanukah story has a lot more action, but the Christmas one inspires more awe.
Of course, neither the temple oil lasting a supernaturally long time nor a baby being born to a virgin and that event’s accompanying aerial phenomenon seem quite as impressive as this particular miracle: A magical suit stitched together from rags transforms the person who wears it into a superhero, granting him super-strength and invulnerability, limited flight ability, and, most, spectacularly, the ability to absorb the souls of truly evil people, transforming them into rags in his quilt-like suit.
Retailing | Sacramento, Calif.-area retailers are relatively unconcerned about DC Comics’ newly launched digital initiative or an immediate threat to their bottom lines from digital comics. “I just see it as another way of kind of expanding the whole readership,” says Dave Downey, who runs World’s Best Comics. “If you missed an issue of Spider-Man, and you can’t find it anywhere, you can always go online and read it that way.” However, Kenny Russell of Big Brother Comics sees a time, “years off,” when that will all change: “It’s inevitable, and this is kind of the first step. In no time, iPads are going to be good enough, and it’s going to be easy enough, and it’s going to come out the same day where people are going to just read their comics on their iPads.” [Sacramento News & Review]
Comics | Gene Luen Yang explores the tangled history of comics and Christianity, both of which, he points out, were started by a bunch of Jewish guys who loved a good story. (Good-sized excerpt at the link; full article requires free registration.) [Sojourners]
Writer Greg Rucka and artist Rick Burchett launched their swashbuckling steampunk webcomic today, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether. As announced back in April, Rucka said the comic is “steampunk, pirates, western thing,” noting it would feature airships, floating islands, gunslingers and sword fights.
“Swords are cool. People fighting with swords are cool. Airships are cool. Cowboys are cool. Pirates are cool. Clockwork men are cool. Smart, savvy, witty women are very cool. Laconic gunslingers? Totally cool. Steampunk? Frosty,” the strip’s “About” page reads. “That’s what Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether is, that’s what it’s about. The adventures of the Lady Seneca Sabre and those she meets along the way as she travels the Sphere. Who she fights, who she foils, who she befriends. It’s about adventure and romance and excitement and, to paraphrase the great Zaphod Beeblebrox, ‘really wild things.'”
They plan to update the comic every Monday and Thursday, and they’re also selling a limited edition print (above) featuring the title character. Go check it out, or at least add it to your RSS feed for updates.
The Stumptown Trade Review posted an audio interview with writer Greg Rucka yesterday, covering a wide range of topics, including an announcement for a new webcomic he’s doing with artist Rick Burchett.
Called Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, Rucka describes it as a “steampunk, pirates, western thing,” noting it would feature airships, floating islands, gunslingers, sword fights and “hopefully witty dialogue.” It’s planned as an ongoing webcomic, and they’re looking to launch it in early July.
Rucka added that they hope to make money off of it so they can fund American Soldier, which he said doesn’t have a publisher yet.
Greg Rucka has expressed a desire for at least two years to write a comic set in Colonial America, and judging from this blog entry, he’s getting his wish.
The two pages of art by Rucka’s former Batman collaborator Rick Burchett are labeled “Gowanus,” which I’m going to go out on a limb and guess is a reference to Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, site of the opening skirmish of the Battle of Long Island — the first major battle of the American Revolution.
Hopefully we’ll learn details about Gowanus (if that’s indeed what the comic is called) next month at Comic-Con.