Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Spider-Gwen — an alternate universe take on Gwen Stacy where she, not Peter Parker, receives powers from a radioactive spider — was an overnight sensation after debuting last year in Marvel’s “Edge of Spider-Verse” #2, in large part due to the stylish (and notably practical) costume design by artist Robbi Rodriguez. In what feels like a natural next step, that design has inspired a new collection from fashion-forward, genre-centric clothing merchandiser WeLoveFine (as modeled by Meredith Placko and Michelle Nguyen in the above photo), consisting of hoodies, leggings and even a Spider-Gwen-patterned cardigan.
In September 2014, when readers first met Spider-Gwen in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, I expressed a desire that the Spider-Verse crossover event would not be the last folks would get to enjoy the adventures of the alternate Marvel universe (Earth-65) with a living Gwen Stacy. In fact, I speculated “judging by the creative team’s eagerness to do this one-shot, I imagine they could easily be persuaded to do far more than one issue.” Just how much more they were ready to do became delightfully obvious this week with the launch of the new Spider-Gwen ongoing.
This week Marvel released the final issue of Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s She-Hulk, which fell into the publisher’s post-Hawkeye rubric for solo titles starring second-tier characters. That is, it’s one of those series that, while still a superhero book, leaned hard in the opposite direction, eschewing genre formula for a more singular vision, while having a sense of humor, a distinct style and, of course, a focus on what the character does when not in costume.
She-Hulk, like all the other characters in similar comics, still saved people and fought crime, but as for saving the world? That’s the stuff for team books and big, line-wide crossovers (which the publisher is producing at a faster rate, one benefit being that the Marvel Universe had more room for Hawkeyes, She-Hulks, Black Widows and Iron Fists). For She-Hulk, this was easily accomplished, as she just so happened to be one the Marvel superheroes whose day job is exciting; as omnipresent as superhero TV shows and movies may seem these days, they’re still dwarfed by the gigantic body of work starring lawyers.
I’m already jealous of those attending the Feb. 28 release party for Spider-Gwen #1 at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, North Carolina, and not only because it boasts an appearance by creators Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi, and and an after-party performance by Texas indie band Married With Sea Monsters (aka The Mary Janes).
You see, the event also features the release of an exclusive 7-inch white vinyl of “Face It Tiger” by The Mary Janes, with gorgeous art and design by Rodriguez and Renzi. The jacket itself is suitable for framing, but add the record and, well … I’d like multiple copies, please.
Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back” feature, we asked some creators and other industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015, and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this installment, hear from Greg Rucka, Stuart Moore, Rico Renzi, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Miss Lasko-Gross, Aaron Kuder, Jimmie Robinson, Curt Pires, Eleanor Davis, Shof and Shobo Coker, Amber Love and Keith Dallas!
Be sure to check out Part 1, and don’t forget to come back later today for more.
In the past, I enjoyed checking out a periodic arc of Adventures of Superman, the DC Digital First series that ended in April 2014. What appealed to me most about the series was the rotating creative teams on these arcs, including writers like Tim Seeley, Christos Gage, Peter Milligan, as well as artists such as Mike Norton, Jock, Gabriel Rodriguez. In other words, the anthology element to the series consistently entertained me.
More recently, the anthology appeal of the the DC Digital First line really amped up in recent weeks for me. To be specific, on Nov. 27 writer Corinna Bechko, writer/artist Gabriel Hardman and colorist Jordan Boyd launched “Dig for Fire”–a three-part story starting in Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #16. Then this past Friday (Dec. 5), I was caught by surprise to learn that writer Ron Marz, artist Cully Hamner and colorist Rico Renzi teamed on a three-part Legends of the Dark Knight #80 story, “Nevermore”.
At Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi’s blog The Kids Stick Together, the artist and colorist have shared some behind-the-scenes pieces from their recent three-page collaboration with writer Jason Latour on Wolverine and the X-Men #11. The creators provide a great deal of insight, and rather than try to summarize it here, ROBOT 6 has cherry-picked a few fun items, with Renzi’s permission. He assured us they will do at least do one additional post analyzing another page in the very near future.
As a huge Jason Latour fan I give him credit on the marketing front; he successfully pumped many folks (including myself) to be quite enthused about Edge of Spider-Verse #2 featuring another universe’s Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman.
But when I finally got the issue, what surprised me is the aspect I loved most about the series. Despite the fact it is a universe where Gwen’s father is very much alive (and many other engaging narrative aspects–including a potentially very different kind of Matt Murdock)–it is the eyes of the Spider-Woman costume that really proved to be my favorite part. This may surprise, but let me explain.
Fans looking forward to Marvel’s relaunched Wolverine & the X-Men by Jason Latour and Mahmud Asrar may do well to follow Mutatis Mutandis, a blog for the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning that launched Saturday with a farewell message from outgoing writer Jason Aaron.
“Believe me, it wasn’t easy for me to step away from this book,” he wrote. “I’ve loved building that school and writing those characters, both the students and the teachers, as much as I’ve loved anything I’ve done in comics. But the school itself isn’t going anywhere. And I’ll still be writing a lot of those same characters over in Amazing. And I’ve got lots of other stuff coming up that demanded my time, like Thor and Southern Bastards and some new things I can’t tell you about just yet.”
Since then, the blog (which appears to be maintained by Latour) has showcased some terrific X-Men illustrations from the likes of Jake Wyatt (above and below), Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi, and Kris Anka, as well as some artifacts from the past. Latour teased on Twitter that the blog may be “a good place to look for WatXM things in the days to come.”
Wolverine & the X-Men #1, by Latour and Asrar, arrives in March.
DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint has been the subject of a lot of speculation over the past year or so, due to a variety of portents: the departure of founder and longtime executive editor Karen Berger; the end of the imprint’s longest-running title Hellblazer, with the character reclaimed by the DC Universe in Justice League Dark and Constantine; the debut at Image Comics of several comics that, not long ago, likely would’ve been pitched to Vertigo; and the launch of the offbeat Dial H, by none other than acclaimed author China Mieville, in the New 52.
There was the perception that the imprint’s branding had become confused, with books that used to fall under to the dissolved WildStorm imprint (and seem like better fits for the DC brand) appearing under the Vertigo banner (superhero comics Astro City and Tom Strong, movie adaptation Django Unchained). And then there were the low sales and cancellations.
Well, Vertigo’s still around. It launched The Wake, a limited series by American Vampire and Batman writer Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, and the imprint has plans for a new Sandman miniseries and a Sandman spinoff. And in the last few months, it has launched enough new series to be considered a wave.
So what does that mean for the future of the imprint? I’ll be damned if I know. However, I do know it’s not the most important question in my mind. Of greatest import to me, as always, is whether the comics are any good. So let’s take a look at the the beginnings of Vertigo’s latest crop, excluding The Wake, which I think it’s safe to assume will find an audience.
In a lengthy interview with Comic Book Resources’ Timothy Callahan, Winter Soldier writer Jason Latour revealed the fourth and final issue of his “ambitiously layered” crime series (or, rather, “Southern crime romance”) will eventually be released. All that’s standing in the way is the schedule of artist Chris Brunner.
“I promise you, the title isn’t our private little Andy Kaufman bit,” he told Callahan. “We haven’t seen Issue 4 yet because it’s an attempt to do something that’s, as you said, ‘ambitiously layered.’ The final chapter maybe more so than the rest of the book combined. Couple that with some extenuating circumstances that have arisen on Brunner’s end, and that’s why we are where we are. It would be a much different circumstance if either of us had the resources of Marvel or DC. But as it is, Chris is working hard on the last issue at the pace he can afford. The hope is when it’s all said and done it’ll be a story that stands nicely, free of the monthly market.”
Debuting in July 2011 from 12 Gauge Comics, Loose Ends is an engaging and gorgeous (Rico Renzi’s colors are stellar) miniseries that operates squarely within the conventions of the genre — it starts with a war vet turning to drug running only to be sidetracked by a face from his past, a situation that can’t end happily — but it does so incredibly well. (Don’t just believe me: Callahan wrote a terrific review of the first issue.) The third issue arrived in November 2011, and then … well, things happened.
So, clearly, the promise of a resolution to Loose Ends is cause for celebration. In the meantime, I recommend tracking down those first three issues.
Conventions | Creative director Rico Renzi discusses HeroesCon, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend with a three-day event that’s experienced a spike in advance ticket sales: “Stan Lee’s attendance to this year’s show has definitely caused a spike in advance ticket sales from what I can tell. I honestly like the show at just the size it is; it’s just right. I used to hop on a bus from Baltimore to go the NYCC and I loved it for the first couple years. It just got too big for me too enjoy it, you couldn’t walk around without rubbing up against strangers. It’s a great alternative to San Diego now I guess. If you’re looking for a pure comic book show though, HeroesCon is where it’s at.” In addition to Lee, this year’s guests include Neal Adams, Mark Bagley, Cliff Chiang, Frank Cho, Becky Cloonan, Geof Darrow, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Evan Dorkin, Tommy Lee Edwards, Matt Fraction, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez, Dave Johnson, Jeff Lemire, Paul Levitz, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, Scott Snyder and Bernie Wrightson. [The Comics Reporter]
One of the perks of working with Robot 6 is often getting to see a glimpse at a new project before it is available for purchase. This past week (thanks to the project’s colorist, Rico Renzi) I was able to read the first issue of Loose Ends, a four-issue southern crime romance miniseries by writer Jason Latour and artist Chris Brunner, which goes on sale this Wednesday, July 13. As a native of the South, it is not often I get to read comics set there–so the comics caught my attention purely on that level at first. But then, when I started reading the issue, I realized it reminded me on some level of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal. That’s not to say Latour and company have done a wannabe story, far from it, as the creators have their own distinctive voices/styles, that mesh quite well. If the remaining three issues are as strong as this first one, I expect it will land on a few best of 2011 lists (at least mine, for sure). Latour and I discuss the first issue and other aspects of the series in this email interview. If you want a preview of the miniseries, be sure to enjoy the one CBR posted a couple of months back.
Tim O’Shea: The opening page of the first issue is all art, no narrative boxes or dialogue. Was the script always that way, or was that a creative choice you made after seeing Chris Brunner’s art for that page?
Jason Latour: Well as an artist myself I’ve worked on a few stories where I was dying to stretch a moment or let something play out visually and it just wasn’t possible. So from the start there was always an allowance for some organic growth in this script. The simplest reason for that is because I trust Chris. We’re collaborating. His point of view is equally important as mine is. If I’m doing my job then I’m inspiring him, not fencing him in. The medium itself, the page limit already does that. I tried to give him a script that communicated the tone, the pace and specific details needed to tell the story within that space. From there it’s on us as a team to communicate. If he has an idea, I listen. If he nails a scene and I’m in the way… I try to move. If he needs me to pick him up, hopefully I’m ready and able.
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
Icarus is a comic by Ryan Cody and is serialized here on Robot 6, with new pages every Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Comments welcome. Icarus #1 wrapped up on Wednesday and we’re going to start issue #2 on Monday, with new, never before seen pages posted thrice weekly. The book is just ramping up and was left with a twist at the end of issue #1 that will continue to be explored in the future. For today’s post, I thought I would post some character sheets and behind the scenes images, as we get ready for the next chapter to begin on Monday.