“We haven’t signed contracts yet but I have every reason to believe we will be starting season two in comic form next year,” Cornell tells Alex Dueben at Suicide Girls. “In February, even. We’ve been talking to some lovely people about this and I think Saucer Country readers have a huge reason to be hopeful. I’m very much thankful to them for that.”
Axed in January in a round of DC Comics cancellations that included DC Universe Presents, I, Vampire and Superman Family Adventures, the creator-owned series follows New Mexico Gov. Arcadia Alvarado who, on the eve of announcing her candidacy for president, is abducted by aliens. It debuted in March 2012 to nearly 16,000 copies, but by November’s issue that number had been more than cut in half. Saucer Country was nominated in March for a Hugo Award.
In case you somehow overlooked the listing in Dark Horse’s July solicitations, Ryan Kelly is reteaming with frequent collaborator Brian Wood for a three-part arc on Star Wars, beginning with Issue 7. The duo previously worked together on Local, The New York Four and its sequel The New York Five, and arcs of Northlanders and DMZ.
Teasing his debut on Star Wars, which is set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Kelly has previewed on Instagram his renditions of Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
Star Wars #7 arrives July 10.
While many artists have trouble working on one comic at a time, Ryan Kelly is currently doing six. In a post about his projects for the coming year, Kelly runs down the list:
- Three, Kieron Gillen’s historically accurate response to 300: “With Saucer ending,” Kelly says, “I consider Three my main 2013 project.”
- Anthem, with Brian Wood: Kelly describes it as “a ‘return to form’ for us and Local.” He writes, “If you’ve ever wanted a sequel to Local, then you better support this!”
- Saucer Country: Although the Vertigo series has been canceled, Kelly still has two issues to draw.
- Funrama: Kelly’s own creation that he both writes and draws. We’re big fans of the series, and are excited Kelly is still working on it a little each week. He’s trying to get the third issue done in time for C2E2, but we’ll cut him some slack. Six comics!
- Cocotte: The webcomic Kelly does with Kat Vapid about the life of a cook in an upscale restaurant.
- Top Secret Mystery Project: “I’m drawing three issues of a pretty big thing. I can’t say much yet. Just think of the biggest thing you can think of and that’s probably it. I’d show samples but anything I show would be instantly recognizable.”
Concerning that last one: Let the speculating begin! Assuming it’s a superhero comic for DC or Marvel, what do you hope Kelly is working on?
As DC Comics parcels out its April solicitations ahead of their full release at 2 p.m., we learn that I, Vampire and DC Universe Presents will be canceled with Issue 19, and Saucer Country with Issue 14. Update: The all-ages Superman Family Adventures also will end with Issue 12.
Launched in September 2011 as part of the New 52′s “Dark Group,” I, Vampire teamed writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino for a revival of the horror-romance serial that appeared from 1980 to 1983 in the House of Mystery anthology. Although the new series was a solid performer out of the gate, with the debut issue selling nearly 36,000, by the 14th issue that figure had slid below the 14,000 mark.
“Yep. I, Vampire is done as of 19. It’s been an amazing ride,” Fialkov wrote this afternoon on Twitter. “Thanks to all of my collaborators and stay tuned for the kickass conclusion. I’ve known For almost four months and got to write the ending I wanted. No complaints.”
Another of the New 52 launch titles, DC Universe Presents debuted with a Deadman storyline before embracing such diverse characters as the Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage, Kid Flash, Blue Devil and Blue Beetle. Like I, Vampire, the anthology started solidly enough, with more than 41,000 copies but — again, like I, Vampire — it had plummeted below 14,000 by Issue 14.
You can’t keep a good project down. And as it turns out, you can’t keep secret a project two creators really want to do — even if they haven’t found a publisher for it yet.
After hinting at it for more than a year, Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly debuted a piece of promotional art for a comic series titled Anthem. The image (you can see it in full below) is being used for a limited-edition T-shirt print; only 50 shirts will be printed, and I’d estimate since it was announced Tuesday they’ve already sold a good number. Maybe our Robot 6 readership can clear them out.
To see what Ethan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
For seven years Andy Mangels and a host of supporters have put on Women of Wonder Day to benefit domestic violence prevention and intervention charity programs. This year’s events take place tomorrow in Portland, Ore. and San Antonio, Texas, but even if you aren’t close enough to attend one of them, you can still get in on the fun and help out via a series of eBay auctions.
First off, on eBay, you’ll find artwork by Ryan Kelly (above), George Perez, Tom Yeates, Pete Woods and many more, along with autographed scripts by Brian Michael Bendis and several DVD collections. The two stores hosting events–Excalibur Comics in Portland and Heroes and Fantasies in San Antonio–have their own auctions going on, as well as in-store signings, giveaways and costumed visitors.
Check out the press release below, or visit the event’s website for more information.
Comics | Johan Palme talks to Nathan Hamelberg of The Betweenship Group about the continuing controversy over a Swedish library’s decision to re-shelve some Tintin comics because of racist caricatures and colonialist attitudes. The books were put back following an uproar, but the move has sparked a larger conversation, and it even has its own hashtag, #tintingate. [The Guardian]
Conventions | Heidi MacDonald and the Publishers Weekly team (including Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson) post a comprehensive report on New York Comic Con, including debuts, new-title announcements, and a quick look at logistics. [Publishers Weekly Comics World]
Conventions | Dave Smith looks at one of the most vexing problems of New York Comic Con: the lack of decent wireless access, a situation troubling exhibitors and media alike. [International Business Times]
While I was enjoying my time at APE up in San Francisco, the New York Comic Con was raging on with announcements and such. Before I get into a rundown of the comic-related news coming out of the East Coast today, let’s jump back to yesterday real quick so I can update one of the items from my Friday round-up. I mentioned that Dark Horse would publish a comic based on the upcoming video game The Last of Us, but I didn’t know at the time the most important part — the always awesome Faith Erin Hicks is co-writing AND drawing the comic. That’s a “Stop the presses” moment if I’ve ever seen one.
Ok, now on to Saturday …
• Apparently space is the place at NYCC … following DC’s announcement of Threshold yesterday, Marvel officially announced the return of two of their cosmic titles — Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova. Guardians, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Steve McNiven, comes out in February and apparently will feature Iron Man, or at least someone in his armor. Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness are the creative team for Nova, which features Sam Alexander, the Nova from Avengers vs. X-Men.
With Labor Day weekend upon us, now is a good time to stock the virtual longbox with some digital comics. We reported the other day that Image has made 20 of its #1 issues free on comiXology; here’s a roundup of some other free’ n’ cheap digital comics to check out over the holiday.
Centsless Books is a website that rounds up all the free Kindle books on Amazon, and it has a dedicated section for comics and graphic novels. There’s a preview of Batman: Earth One up there, and a lot of first issues of different indy series. Some of the graphic novels aren’t really — at least one book I checked was prose not a graphic novel, and Little Nemo’s Wild Sleigh Ride is a picture book that uses Winsor McCay’s illustrations (which are in the public domain). Well worth checking out, especially if you’re a First Second fan, are the two Between the Panels books, which are promotional pieces put out by Macmillan, with creator essays, character sketches and side stories, all related to different First Second graphic novels. Aside from that, it’s a pretty mixed bag, but one that looks like it will be fun to rummage around in. These Kindle comics will also work on the Kindle iPad and Android apps.
Infinity is a free iPad fanzine from Panel Nine, which has published Eddie Campbell’s Dapper John and David Lloyd’s Kickback as standalone iPad apps. The inaugural issue includes an interview with Lloyd, a preview of Dapper John, a roundup of digital-comics news, a couple of app reviews, art by Simon Russell, and an interview with PJ Holden, the creator of Murderdrome, a short comic that was booted from the iTunes store for being too violent (it’s actually a spoof). It’s a nice collection and well worth the effort of clicking that iTunes button.
Saucer Country artist Ryan Kelly has been self-publishing the superhero series Funrama for awhile now, selling it at conventions and via the web when a new issue becomes available. “Funrama is an ongoing, but it’s a lot of work because I’m doing everything. I’m building the whole world from the ground up. But I have to put it away when other deadlines come up,” Kelly told Chris Arrant last month.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the series, Kelly has launched a Funrama website, where you can view the entire first issue for free. And if you like that, he’s also put the second issue up on the site as a $2 PDf download. Go check’em out.
In May 2011, Ryan Ballard began a quest to create the perfect birthday gift for his father, a comics fan with whom he shares a love of Preacher, the acclaimed Vertigo series by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon and Glenn Fabry. So Ryan bought a copper album embossed with Fabry’s cover art for Issue #56 and set off to fill the book filled with sketches of Preacher characters from a range of artists. More than a year later, Ryan finally presented his father with the finished album, complete with art from the likes of Dillon, Fabry, Jim Mahfood, Rufus Dayglo, Ryan Kelly, Leigh Gallagher and Duncan Fegredo.
Ryan’s appreciative father thanked all of the artists who contributed, passing along this message: “This is a heads up to all the fantastic faces who invested their time, effort and skill in Ryan’s quest. My sincere and deepest thank you, it would be true to say that I learned to read from comics but your visuals opened my eyes and imagination.”
For his part, Ryan merely reminds his father he has a herculean task ahead of him: My birthday is in August, no pressure Dad …” See some of the sketches below, and visit the Preacher Project to see many more.
(hat tip to Leigh Gallagher)
Being a comics creator is not unlike being a musician: You start out on your own, working out of your garage, and you meet up with other liked-minded souls and try to make a go of it with projects. Some ascend to being the comics equivalent of U2, while other flow in and out of the independent and mainstream scene as their wills, and their fans, take them. Some mainstream creators wish they were considered more “indie,” while some independent creators might want to try some of that mainstream Top 40 hit genre they grew up on, while not forsaking their indie roots.
Artist Ryan Kelly wants to do a little bit of everything. Kelly broke into comics as a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Peter Gross’ inker/assistant/finisher on books like Lucifer and Books of Magic. After doing his first major work with the graphic novel Giant Robot Warriors, he came into his own beside Brian Wood on the epic 12-issue travelogue/memoir Local. Since then the two have re-teamed for stints on DMZ and Northlanders and on New York Four and its sequel New York Five. Earlier this year Kelly partnered with Paul Cornell for the Vertigo ongoing series Saucer Country, Kelly’s first as a lead artist. But Kelly’s not content to just do one thing — he also balances a weekly foodie webcomic called Cocotte with writer Kat Vapid and his own self-published comic Funrama, as well as several other projects in the works.
And if that wasn’t enough, he wants to draw superheroes. You hear that, Marvel and DC?
What follows is an expansive conversation between Kelly and myself where I ask him questions I’ve been wondering about for years and ones springing out of his most recent endeavors.
Happy Father’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Today’s guests are two of the contributors to Skullkickers #18, which features several “Tavern Tales” short stories by different creative teams. Joining us today are Charles Soule of 27, Strange Attractors and Strongman fame, and Aubrey Sitterson, winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’s also the writer of Gear Monkey for Double Feature Comics and community manager for WWE Games.
To see what Charles, Aubrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
With my first $15 I’d get the following: The Massive #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50), X-Men #30 (Marvel, $3.99), Spider-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99), and Saucer Country #4 (Vertigo, $2.99). That leaves me roughly 50 cents out of my budget. I dunno if it was planned this way or not, but two of Brian Wood’s latest projects, The Massive and his run on the X-Men (of the un-Ultimate variety), kick off this week. We also have the debut of Spider-Men, the crossover that features Peter Parker of the 616 Marvel U meeting up with Miles Morales from the Ultimate-verse. I’ve enjoyed the Miles Morales/Ultimate Spider-Man stories this far, which is the reason I’m getting it. Finally, Saucer Country is the best of the new Vertigo titles, featuring clever writing by Paul Cornell and great art by Ryan Kelly.
Add another $15 and I’d also get Captain America #13 (Marvel, $3.99), Uncanny X-Force #26 (Marvel, $3.99), Resurrection Man #10 (DC Comics, $2.99), and Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #10 (DC Comics, $2.99). Again, with some change left over for a candy bar or whatever. I laughed out loud at the big reveal at the end of the last issue of Captain America, as we learned who the new guy was behind the Scourge mask. I assume this is a What If? comic, along the lines of “What if (name redacted for spoiler reasons) wasn’t lame?” So I have to see this through. I mentioned this weekend on What Are You Reading? that I’d downloaded a whole bunch of the current run of Uncanny X-Force for 99 cents from comiXology, and since then I’ve completely caught up on the book, so I’ll definitley be getting the current issue. Add to that one of the final times I’ll get to see Abnett and Lanning’s Resurrection Man comic (sniff … well, it was probably a longshot anyway, based on how well his last comic did) and the debut of Matt Kindt on Frankenstein, and that rounds out my week of comics.
I don’t really have anything on my splurge radar this week, so maybe I’ll just hold onto the cash and save it for next time.