Every so often, public opinion shifts and popular culture gets a craving. Remember when everything was all about pirates? Then we all got on this huge kick about vampires and the supernatural, and we had a variety of different television shows to slake our thirst? The remnants of those yearnings still linger (well, not so much the pirates), and now the masses have all lined up for zombies.
Zombies play into so many metaphors for the fears that plague us (death, communities turning against us, a loss of identity and so on), and they can even reflect economic shifts with consumerism and political-mob mentalities. That latter point is probably why Game of Thrones (a fantasy political drama) and The Walking Dead (a morality play on humanity versus its corrupted self) are TV-ratings gold.
Sadly, this cannot last. I’m not saying zombies are on their way out, just that the cultural craze is reached a peak and is moving toward something new — and Marvel comics has your back.
With robots! They’re fantastic and a personal favorite of my science fiction-loving heart, so the announcement of Avengers A.I. left me looking past our zombie-filled present with a hope for a new future-craze. We should be looking forward to what comes after our old rotten selves, pushing forward with our fiction to better understand the human condition. There is no better metaphor than that of the robot to help us grasp our own humanity and morality by looking through mechanical eyes; the future of our pop culture might not be full of artificial men, because who can really predict the public’s taste for fantasy or fiction? But Marvel seems primed and ready to try to take us into a new age of androids.
I was trying to decide which of these robot drawings to share and decided that I couldn’t decide. So here they both are.
Film and animation artist Sam Filstrup was commissioned to create an awesome drawing of Atomic Robo about to have a dino-bomb dropped on his head; artist Gavin Spence (Hero Happy Hour) came up with an equally groovy robot in much more joyful circumstances. I don’t know which I like better, but I sure know which I’d rather be.
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.
Comixology is releasing Carnivale De Robotique by Tony Trov, Johnny Zito and Mark Fidona on their digital application for the iPad, iPhone and the web. Originally a one-shot released during Indy Comic Book Week last December, the story has been expanded to a four-issue series.
Carnivale De Robotique is the story of a rebellious Nanny Droid, Wendy, who runs away to be a ballerina in the robot circus. She ends up in a bit of a love triangle with a clown and the artificial strong man.
“Carnivale De Robotique is a three ringed love triangle that explodes into a universal adventure under the big top. We originally put the one-shot together for Indy Skip Week,” Zito posted on his site. “The characters are so fun that we decided to expand into four issues. It’s about life and love and all the silly junk you have to get over to enjoy it.”
The first issue is available for free right now, and the rest of the series will be available monthly for $.99 each.
Every day people post comics on the Internet. Here are some of the ones that caught our eyes.
“Death Tales” by Jaime Hernandez
Science Fiction Classics (Graphic Classics, Volume 17)
Written by Hans Christian Andersen, Ben Avery, Antonella Caputo, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Dunsany, Hunt Emerson, EM Forster. Rod Lott, Tom Pomplun, Rich Rainey, Jules Verne, Stanley G Weinbaum, and HG Wells
Illustrated by Hunt Emerson, Micah Farritor, Roger Langridge, Ellen L Lindner, Johnny Ryan, George Sellas, and Brad Teare
Edited by Tom Pomplun
Eureka Productions; $17.95
You might think that a book full of classic science fiction would be a natural subject to talk about in a column concerning adventure fiction, but I actually reconsidered it a couple of times. While I love robots, aliens, spaceships, and laser guns, I’m not someone that real science fiction fans would want to let into their club. Gimme Star Wars and Flash Gordon; you can keep your Asimov and Clarke over there. An anthology of the “classics” of scifi is likely going to need some serious spicing up to keep me interested. Fortunately, Science Fiction Classics has a full rack.
There are a couple of reasons that the anthology is appropriate for this space. First, it’s Volume 17 in Eureka’s Graphic Classics series. That means that there’s no way it’s going to be anything less than excellent in terms of how stories are selected and presented. Editor Tom Pomplun’s got the selection formula figured out and he’s great at executing it. He always has at least one, hugely popular story that everyone knows (War of the Worlds, for instance), but then he fills the rest of the book with lesser known material by a mixture of authors. The result is always surprising. Hans Christian Andersen and EM Forster aren’t exactly renowned for their scifi work, for example. And even writers who are – like Jules Verne – are represented by interesting picks (Verne’s “In the Year 2889,” for instance, instead of, say, From the Earth to the Moon).
Cartoonist Chris Ware has created a T-shirt that’s currently available at Woot.com’s T-shirt site to benefit 826michigan, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center in Ann Arbor. It also features a subject near and dear to our hearts.
The shirt is currently $10 with free standard shipping, and after today the price will go up to $15 if there are even any left. So order fast!