As we start to wind down our big birthday bash, I’m always reminded by our year-end “favorite comics” post of just how much variety there is out there in the big world ‘o comics, from Uncanny X-Force and Batwoman to Habibi and Love & Rockets, from small press to Big Questions, from Wonder Woman to Mister Wonderful, from Daybreak to American Vampire.
So here are the favorite comic lists from the folks who I have the honor of working with every day on the blog. I like to read these just to see what I missed this year, and maybe come away with a list of stuff to go back and check out. I hope you come away with a similar feeling.
1. Planet of the Apes
Written by Daryl Gregory; Drawn by Carlos Magno (BOOM!)
How often does a licensed comic exceed the standards of its source material? We can’t say “never” anymore. Carlos Magno’s lush, detailed art draws the reader into a Planet of the Apes more fantastic than anything we’ve seen on screen. Once there, Daryl Gregory’s story balances adventure and social commentary better than any of the film versions too.
2. Anya’s Ghost
Written and Drawn by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Anya’s relationship with her ghost is as dysfunctional as the rest of her life and Vera Brosgol’s graphic novel is darker than similar stories in the high school, supernatural-buddy genre. Not that the entire novel is dark. Characters change and grow in positive ways, but any positivity at the end is felt more keenly because of what they had to go through to get there.
What do 20th Century Boys creator Naoki Urasawa, What It Is cartoonist Lynda Barry, former Lois Lane Kate Bosworth, the British Institution of Civil Engineers and Robot 6 have in common? We all share a birthday, Jan. 2!
And once again for our birthday, Jonah Weiland and the good folks at Comic Book Resources are letting us take over the CBR home page for our annual birthday bash. We’ve got a lot of good stuff lined up — interviews, previews, interviews, announcements, and hey, did I mention we had a bunch of interviews? — thanks to several of our friends in the comic industry. So much stuff, in fact, that we’re actually getting started a little bit early this year. We’ll kick things off at noon Jan. 1 and go for a few hours, take a break to get some food and sleep, then start up again the morning of Jan. 2.
So check back in with us between football quarters and movie marathons — comics are the perfect hangover cure. Happy New Year, and don’t forget to come back and see what we’ve got!
A belated congratulations to Robot 6 contributor Sean T. Collins and Missus Collins on the sooner-than-anticipated, but welcome, birth of their daughter Helena Christine Collins! As Sean notes on his blog, although she wasn’t expected until May 2, Helena “shipped early,” arriving on Friday.
On the website Destructor, his webcomic collaboration with artist Matt Weigle, Sean posts a piece of wonderful fanart created for the occasion by Isaac Moylan and adds: “Insofar as Ms. Collins is currently being kept alive and thriving by mechanical intervention — albeit of a variety both less thorough and less fashion-forward than what you see here — a drawing of her as a tiny, jolly cyborg is not entirely inappropriate. I hope you’ll join me in wishing that she can soon doff her metaphorical suit of armor and join the human world at large.”
We hope you’ll join Robot 6 in wishing that and more for Sean and his family.
You may have noticed a new addition to our home page, and each post — easy access to our Facebook page! If you haven’t already, come “Like us” for quick and easy access to all our posts on Facebook, while you share your thoughts and comments.
If you’re a fan of horror comics or just good comics in general, then you’ll like this. Courtesy of our friends at Top Cow, starting today we will serialize the first issue of Echoes by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Rahsan Ekedal. In addition, each page will include creator commentary from Fialkov.
You can check it out at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/echoescomic. The cover and first page with commentary on both are up now, with new pages arriving every day.
And of course, if you decide you’d prefer to read it in print, a second printing of Echoes #1, as well as Echoes #2, can be found in stores now. The third issue arrives Feb. 23. For more information, visit http://www.echoesthecomic.com or follow on Twitter @echoescomic. We’ll have an interview with Fialkov a little later this afternoon, and you can check out the official press release after the jump.
Creators | Artist Alan Kupperberg shares word that colorist Tom Ziuko has been hospitalized as he fights acute kidney failure and other health conditions. “The good news is that the doctors seem to have finally stumbled on a series of treatments and therapies that have Tom seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” Kupperberg said in a message to Daniel Best. “The bad news is that Tom, uninsured and unable to work since the beginning of December, is in a tough financial bind.” Kupperberg is accepting donations via his PayPal account — email@example.com — and adds, “I will pass 100% (plus) along to Tom.”
Ziuko worked in DC Comics’ production department before going freelance, and colored comics like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman, Action Comics and History of the DC Universe, to name a few. Todd Klein remembers their time together at DC. [20th Century Danny Boy]
Creators | Artist Paolo Rivera suffered a broken cheekbone after intervening in a domestic dispute. “The good news is I’m all right and—most importantly—my vision is intact,” he wrote on his blog. “… I had surgery on Monday and have been taking it very, very easy since. All things considered, I was very lucky. My eye looks horrendous—the white of the eye is blood red—but I can still see (thank goodness) and should make a full recovery. I also have a pretty rad haircut right now due to surgery… it kinda looks like the one I had circa 1995.” [The Self-Absorbing Man]
How was your weekend? Ours was pretty grand, as we here at Robot 6 celebrated our second birthday yesterday by taking over the Comic Book Resources home page. If you were still nursing a New Year’s hangover or watching reality TV marathons yesterday, not to worry — here’s what you missed:
- We saw a lot of excitement around the announcement that Fantagraphics will publish a definitive collection of Carl Barks’ seminal run of Donald Duck comic stories. Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth spoke with Chris Mautner to officially and exclusively announce the project.The first volume is due this fall. Both Groth and Fantagraphics’ Kim Thompson show up in the comments thread to answer additional questions from our readers.
- A lot of our friends at various publishers gave us some great gifts in the form of exclusive previews. Marvel sent over two exclusives, for the last issue of Thor: The Mighty Avenger (buy the trades!) and the first issue of Wolverine and Jubilee. IDW Publishing gave us a great look at the start of their upcoming Infestation crossover, which will feature Transformers, GI Joe, Ghostbusters and Star Trek … and zombies! BOOM! Studios gave us a look at many of their April covers — specifically for their Disney titles, the Stan Lee Presents books and what I like to call the Waid-o-verse books — as well as Irredeemable #21. Tokyopop shared the cover art for the upcoming Priest Purgatory. Oni Press shared a lengthy preview of Possessions Vol.2. And lastly, Dark Horse Comics gave us a look at the big finale to Buffy Season Eight in the form of an exclusive preview of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40. The book ships on Buffy Summers’ birthday, and they’ll be holding their own birthday bashes around the country on that day.
As I said in my intro for our big birthday bash, it’s been a great year for kick ass comics, from Grant Morrison’s tales of various Batmen to the all-ages joy of Thor the Mighty Avenger to the physically stunning Acme Novelty Library.
Here, then, are the best comics of 2010, as chosen by the Robot 6 team.
10. All My Darling Daughters: Fumi Yoshinaga’s collection of short stories about families and relationships is quirky, funny, and filled with rich detail and gesture. She can say more in three panels than some writers say in three pages of prose. This is a mature work by a supremely gifted creator.
9. Twin Spica: A lovely manga about a young girl who wants to be an astronaut, Twin Spica stretches outside the usual boundaries of children’s stories and has moments of true poetry and grace. Kou Yaginuma’s art goes far beyond the usual standards of manga, creating unforgettable characters and settings that really draw the reader in.
8. Drinking at the Movies: With a sharp eye and plenty of self-deprecating humor, Julia Wertz chronicles her first year in New York, a year of crappy jobs, terrible apartments, and good friends. Wertz is a great raconteur who manages to be entertaining and a bit deep at the same time.
7. Set to Sea: The story of a would-be poet who is shanghaied and learns about life at sea the hard way, Set to Sea is drawn in a series of single panels, each of which is a miniature masterpiece on its own. It’s a singularly economical way of telling a story, and Drew Weing makes each of his panels into a tight little world of its own.
As I write this, it’s Jan. 1, and another year just went into the history books. One filled with pricing changes, publishing announcements, sales charts, con wars, people moves, digital dreams and, most importantly, some really kick ass comics. Like I said last year, and probably every year since I’ve been doing this — It’s been a pretty good year to be a blogger. There’s been plenty to talk about.
And as you’re reading this, it’s Jan. 2, which means it’s Robot 6′s second anniversary. And we’re once again throwing a birthday bash of sorts, with all sorts of fun party favors. Like last year, Comic Book Resources bossman Jonah Weiland has allowed us to take over the home page for the day. Thanks to our friends at various comic companies, we have several previews of upcoming comics to share with you today, and thanks to many, many comic creators, we have a bunch of interviews, thoughts and opinions on 2010 and 2011. So definitely check back with us throughout the day.
I’m always reluctant to start listing people who deserve a thank you, because I’m afraid I might miss someone, but we’ve had a lot of help this year from a lot of folks — people who linked to us, guest blogged with us, submitted a news tip or just stopped by to read the blog. The folks at CBR, from the Powers That Be to our fellow bloggers at Spinoff and Comics Should Be Good! to all the reporters who help us out on occasion, have been a joy to work with. And I couldn’t have asked for a better group of folks to work with day in and day out than my Robot 6 colleagues.
So Happy New Year, everyone! As always, stay tuned for much, much more …
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll be calling it quits here early today, what with it being New Year’s Eve and all, but don’t worry — we’ll be back soon. This Sunday marks our second anniversary, and like last year, CBR head honcho Jonah Weiland is handing over the keys to the Comic Book Resources home page. We’ve got a lot of cool stuff lined up for Sunday, including interviews and exclusive previews, so be sure to check back around 6 a.m. Pacific, then come back all day between football quarters and movie marathons!
Happy New Year, and we’ll see you again on Sunday!
With the holiday weekend upon us, we’re winding down here at Robot 6 to go spend time with family and friends. Before heading off to stuff our stockings and trim this trees, though, you’ll find a collection of holiday-themed links after the jump.
On behalf of all of Robot 6, have a great holiday and stay safe. We’ll see you next week.
(Above: Chris Samnee says happy holidays, Thor style).
If you’ve been following What Are You Reading? or Sean T. Collins’ blog since October, you know he’s been conducting “Love and Rocktober,” which was “a marathon examination of the entirety of Love and Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez.” Rocktober is finally over, and Sean has posted an index of all his reviews and analysis of the works of Los Bros Hernandez. If you’re a fan of the Hernandez Bros. or have been curious about their work since reading Chris Mautner’s Comic College on them last year, go check it out.
Our own Sean T. Collins and cartoonist Matt Wiegle have launched a website for their webcomic Destructor, which originally was posted on Top Shelf’s webcomics portal. The two comics that originally appear there in black and white, “Destructor Comes to Croc-Town” and “Destructor in: Prison Break,” will be posted in full color at the new site, followed by brand new stories.
Watch for new updates every Monday and Thursday, and check out the full press release after the jump.
I’m going to be out of town for most of this coming week, so comics journalist Chris Arrant has agreed to lend a hand here at Robot 6 while I’m out.
You probably know Chris from his comic book journalism work for Newsarama, Comic Book Resources and various print magazines for Marvel, or from his comic book writing, which includes Female Force: Princess Diana, Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo and 24Seven, Vol. 2. He also used to blog with us a few years back, when we were still The Great Curve. So welcome back, Chris!
Thanks to Chris in advance for helping us out; I look forward to reading his contributions all week!
The Small Press Expo, or SPX, has announced programming for their show on Saturday, Sept. 11-12 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, Md.
You can find the complete schedule after the jump, but I wanted to point out two panels that feature our own Chris Mautner:
Spotlight: James Sturm
1:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
James Sturm is the author of several comics and graphic novels including The Golem’s Mighty Swing, Unstable Molecules, James Sturm’s America, and Market Day. He is also the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a unique two-year degree granting institution dedicated to cartooning. In this spotlight presentation, Sturm will discuss his work and answer questions from moderator Chris Mautner.
Critics’ Panel: How We Judge
3:00 | Brookside Conference Room
The accessibility of online publishing alongside traditional media has enabled a diversity of critical voices who are addressing the broad spectrum of comics being published today. A diverse group of critics will discuss the disparate bases for their own critical opinions, and the extent to which they regard different kinds of work in different ways. Join moderator Bill Kartalopoulos for a discussion with Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading), Gary Groth (The Comics Journal), Tim Hodler (Comics Comics), Chris Mautner (Robot 6), Joe McCulloch (Jog the Blog/Comics Comics), Ken Parille (Blog Flume), and Caroline Small (The Hooded Utilitarian).