Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
And a new website is looking to bring together webcomic creators under one roof to build an audience and a business for them.
Describes as a “curated not-for-profit comic-sharing” website, Zco.mx was inspired by the community nature of artist-oriented conventions like the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Using a straightforward web design (both for readers and participating cartoonists), Zco.mx aims to provide a hassle-free, high-quality anthology-like approach to webcomics, in part by using file-sharing systems like BitTorrent.
All-New Doop (Marvel): It’s perfectly appropriate for any series starring peripheral X-Men character Doop to be a weird one, however, the miniseries collected in this trade paperback is weird in a weird way.
Doop was created by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred for their iconoclastic (and somewhat -controversial) 2001 X-Force run, which was then relaunched under the name The X-Statix. The premise involved a group of celebrity-wannabe mutants who used their powers for fame and fortune by starring in a reality show; holding the camera was a mysterious, gross, floating, potato-shaped green creature that spoke its own, indecipherable language and answered to the name Doop.
Milligan imagined a dramatic behind-the-scenes life for the character in a two-part, 2003 Wolverine/Doop miniseries, and writer Jason Aaron ran with the joke, including Doop as a member of the faculty at the Jean Grey School during his Wolverine and The X-Men run. For the most part, Doop functioned as a background joke, one more signifier of the zany environment of the new school for young mutants, though Aaron did pair with Doop’s co-creator Allred for a one-issue story that focused on the character as a behind-the-scenes, floating potato-thing-of-all-trades.
Milligan returns to the character for this miniseries, in which Allred only provides the covers, while David LaFuente draws the majority of the art. Milligan takes Doop’s behind-the-scenes portfolio to an extreme, marking him as a character capable of traveling through “The Marginalia,” entering and exiting the comic-book tales in order to influence their outcome.
The story Doop influences here is “Battle of the Atom,” the Brian Michael Bendis-helmed X-Men crossover that involved Cyclops’ X-Men team, Wolverine’s X-Men team and an X-Men team from the future engaged in a fight over what to do with the teenage original X-Men plucked out of the Silver Age and currently hanging around the present.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow is a charming children’s story with clearly defined heroes and villains, plus music-making Muppet monsters from outer space, all lovingly adapted into comics form by Roger Langridge. It has a classic feel that will please adults but is fresh enough for children to enjoy, and Langridge does a particularly nice job of rendering music into visual form, something that is often a challenge for creators.
The book is adapted from a script that Jim Henson and collaborator Jerry Juhl wrote for a children’s television special, and the story is pretty straightforward. The protagonist, Timmy, lives with his Aunt Clytemnestra, who has an other-worldly feel to her, and his older sister Ann, who is more of a hippie type (the story is set in 1968). Ann and Timmy like to go out to an isolated area of their property to practice playing guitar, but they get chased off by their mean neighbor Mister Sump, who wants the land for himself.
Timmy is out practicing one day when the monsters arrive and accompany him with strange musical sounds of their own. Soon Timmy is friends with the monsters, but you know in a story like this that the bad guy is going to cause trouble, and that’s exactly what happens. Turkey Hollow has more turkeys than people, and suddenly the turkeys are all gone and the monsters are found sleeping in a heap with bones scattered all around. The sheriff reluctantly rounds the monsters up and puts them in jail, but Timmy is pretty sure they are being framed, and he sets off to prove it.
I spoke with the former Muppet Show cartoonist about his current projects — a return to BOOM! Studios with The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow and his creator-owned Abigail and the Snowman – what he likes about SPX, and what awesome comics he found at show. He came up with a doozie!
Brigid Alverson: Why are you here at SPX?
Roger Langridge: SPX is the first American convention I ever came to, in 2000.
What book were you debuting there?
I wasn’t! I was in the country with my wife, and we were visiting New York together, and we thought we would work in a trip to SPX while we were here. We came just to see it and to check it out and see what it was like. I was at that point working on Fred the Clown as a webcomic, and I showed it around to a few people, and it really fired me up to do self-publishing. The next year I was planning to debut Fred the Clown at SPX 2001, and of course that’s the one that was canceled because of 9/11. But that got me self-publishing, which is pretty much why I have a career today, I think.
Legal | A 54-year-old man was sentenced this week in a Quebec court to 60 days in jail for watching pornographic anime featuring characters that appeared to be minors, a violation of Canadian law. A former private security guard, Regis Tremblay admitted he watched the cartoons several times in January 2012 out of “curiosity” while working at Canadian Force Base Valcartier, north of Quebec City. Investigators say they discovered 210 “hentai” files from a hard drive, and 501 “incriminating” web addresses from Tremblay’s browser history. Following his jail sentence, Tremblay will have to register as a sex offender. [Canoe]
Conventions | Richard Bruton notes that the Dublin International Comic Expo (DICE) has taken the unusual step of posting a link to its harassment policy at the top of its home page. “Having a quick look around it’s the only comic event/festival/expo/con site to feature it so prominently,” he writes. “Some make mention of their policies in FAQ or About sections, but as far as I know DICE is the first to do so this way.” He does take issue with one vaguely worded item in the policy, though: “In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material.” [Forbidden Planet]
Debuting in December from the publisher’s KaBOOM! imprint, the all-ages comic centers on a 9-year-old girl with a wild imagination who moves to a small town, where she’s the new kid who struggles to make friends. However, that changes when Abigail meets Claude, a Yeti pursued by the Shadow Men” after he escaped a top-secret government facility.
An Eisner and Harvey award winner, Langridge is no stranger to BOOM!, where he’s worked on The Muppet Show, Popeye, his creator-owned Snark! and the upcoming Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow.
“I’m doing this book for BOOM! mainly because they asked me, really,” the cartoonist explained in the video released in July. “They asked me if I had some ideas, and they’ve been good to me in the past as far as all-ages material goes — they know how to sell all-ages material, which is what this is.”
New Zealand cartoonists Roger Langridge (Fred the Clown, The Muppet Show), Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville) and Tim Gibson (Moth City) are likely familiar are familiar names to many comics readers, but there are plenty more where they came from. And several of them are showcased in the pages of Faction.
“Faction is a showcase of the best of New Zealand comics,” Damon Keen, who edits the biannual anthology with Amie Maxwell, writes in an email to ROBOT 6. “Comic readership here isn’t high; most NZers are completely unaware of the huge renaissance comics have gone through of late, or indeed of the local comic scene at all. And internationally, apart from a few bright stars (Tim Gibson, Roger Langridge, Colin Wilson and Dylan Horrocks) NZ comic artist still remain relatively unknown.”
Did you know that Aug. 1-7 was International Clown Week? On Aug. 2, 1971, President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation to honor those who “go into orphanages and children’s hospitals, homes for the elderly and for the retarded, and give a part of themselves.” It also states that clowns are “as vital to the maintenance of our humanity as the builders and the growers and the governors.” And thus International Clown Week was established.
Perhaps you knew nothing of this strange little proclamation, nor of this week’s significance. Or perhaps you did know, and you’ve been hiding under your sheets all week to stave off imaginary Pennywises and Captain Spauldings.
Although we already knew Roger Langridge is returning to BOOM! Studios for Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow, now comes word that the publisher will also debut an original all-ages project from the Eisner-winning cartoonist in December.
“I’m doing this book for BOOM! mainly because they asked me, really,” the Snarked and Muppet Show cartoonist says in the video below. “They asked me if I had some ideas, and they’ve been good to me in the past as far as all-ages material goes — they know how to sell all-ages material, which is what this is.”
[Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss “The best in comics from the last seven days” — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
At the start of the week, Locust Moon launched their Kickstarter for their Winsor McKay tribute book Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, and in less than 48 hours, they passed their $50,000 goal. Currently breaking $75,000, the shear care and beauty of this project is breath-taking. The final book will be a giant hardcover at the oversized 16” x 21” dimensions of McKay’s original comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, and will sit perfectly beside the award-winning two-volume Splendid Sundays reprint series from Sunday Press.
On the first day of HeroesCon 2014, the 32nd edition of the Charlotte, North Carolina, comics convention founded and still run by Shelton Drum, I tried to cover a lot of ground in taking photographs. When possible I found out about the current or upcoming projects in the pipeline for the creators photographed.
It’s shaping up to be a red-letter day for fans of free quality comics: As if that digital edition of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees #1 weren’t proof enough, this morning also saw the debut of Moose Kid Comics, an impressive children’s anthology featuring the work of more than 40 creators.
Created and edited by Jamie Smart, the 36-page digital comic boasts such talents as Roger Langridge, Tom Plant, Neill Cameron and Abby Ryder, Mark Stafford, Aaron Alexovich, Sarah McIntyre, James Downing, and Samantha Davies. And did we mention the “Young Tank Girl” strip by Alan Martin and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell?
“Here in the U.K, mainstream children’s comics have been dying out, especially ones featuring original content,” reads the comic’s mission statement. “The Phoenix and The Beano are the only commercially available weekly titles still producing entirely original characters, but they are competing against big-name licensed titles based on TV shows or merchandising. We want to help change things. We want to be creating the next generation of loveable characters for the world to embrace, all created by artists who retain their copyrights and put all their heart into their creations. We want to remind both children and adults alike how fantastical and imaginative comics can be, and to help bring children’s comics back into the public consciousness.”
Roger Langridge, who earned acclaim for his run on BOOM! Studios’ The Muppets, will return to the world of Jim Henson in October with Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow.
Published by Archaia, the graphic novel is an adaptation of a 1960s screenplay for an unproduced Thanksgiving television special by Henson and Jerry Juhl, later head writer of The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock and co-writer of five of the first six Muppet feature films. According to USA Today, the script had been in the Henson archives for decades, along with Tale of Sand, which was adapted in 2012 as a graphic novel by Ramon Perez.
If you’re looking for some Monday reading, The Guardian has released online all six comics created for the special issue of its Weekend magazine that brought together novelists like Gillian Flynn, Audrey Niffenegger and Margaret Atwood with comics artists like Dave Gibbons, Frazer Irving and Christian Ward. There are also articles in which Dave Eggers, Roger Langridge and Michel Faber, and Flynn offer a bit of insight into their contributions.
The issue, released in print on Saturday, is designed to celebrate he British Library’s upcoming exhibition “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.”
To celebrate the British Library’s upcoming exhibition “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.,” The Guardian’s Weekend magazine is devoting Saturday’s issue the medium, with six new collaborations between well-known novelists and established comics artists.
The Guardian website has already debuted Do You Hear What I Hear? by A.M. Homes (The End of Alice) and Frazer Irving, and Masks by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Dave Gibbons. Still to come: Freeforall by Margaret Atwood and Christian Ward; Thursdays, 6-8pm by Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife) and Eddie Campbell; Having renewed my fire by Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius); and Art and anarchy by Michel Faber (The Crimson Petal and the White) and Roger Langridge.
The magazine will appear in print on Saturday.