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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.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly rundown of what comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out recently. Today our special guest is cartoonist Austin English, creator of the graphic novel Christina and Charles and publisher of Domino Books.
To see what Austin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Typically, I’ll spend most of Saturday in panels, but the first one I was interested in wasn’t until later in the morning, so I killed time taking in some of the more offbeat exhibitors, like Ben the Bubble Guy, a businessman who hires himself out for birthday parties, corporate events, funerals. Okay, maybe not funerals.
When it was time, I headed up to the fourth floor for the AV Club‘s panel on the Future of Superheroes.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew have been checking out recently. To see for yourself, click below …
If you don’t recognize the name, it’s not because you haven’t been paying enough attention to state politics in the southwestern United States, but because she’s the fictional governor of New Mexico, and the lead character in the new Vertigo series Saucer Country.
Susana Martinez is still the actual, real-life, female Latina governor of New Mexico, but she wouldn’t make as good a protagonist for a comic book series like this, as she is not currently running for president of the United States nor, to my knowledge, has she ever been abducted by aliens.
I am curious how much Martinez may have inspired writer Paul Cornell in his creation of Alvarado—Ryan Kelly didn’t seem to take any visual inspiration from Martinez in his character design—although I’m a bit more curious how heavily former Arizona Governor John Symington might have weighed in Cornell’s mind.
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.
If I had $15 this week, I’d rush to the store as quickly as possible to ensure that I’d be able to get a copy of Saga #1 (Image Comics, $2.99) before it completely sells out. It’s been far, far too long since Brian K. Vaughan has been doing comics, and Fiona Staples is one of those artists who just continually gets better even after starting pretty damn impressively in the first place. It’s not the only must-read launch this week, either; I’m also very excited about Saucer Country #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s mash-up of The West Wing, The X-Files and – judging by this first issue, which I’ve had a sneak peek at – The Invisibles, which pretty much ensures I’ll be on board for awhile. There’s also Marvel’s Avengers Assemble #1 ($3.99), which I’m… curious about more than excited for, in large part because I’ve already seen Bendis’ take on the team for the last few years, so this feels more like “More of That Thing You’ve Already Read!” than “First Issue of A New Series!” but… well, it might be better than I’m expecting, who knows?
If I had $30, I’d think about putting Avengers back on the shelf before picking up Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout Premiere HC (Marvel, $19.99), the second collection of Kieron Gillen’s remarkably great Thor spin-off. I’ve only recently caught up with the first collection, and loved it, so I’m looking forward to more of the same with this one.
There’s really only one choice to splurge on this week for me: The Womanthology: Heroic hardcover (IDW, $50.00). Not only do I have friends with work in the book, but I was pretty much signed up for this one as soon as I heard about it online. I love well-done anthologies, and I’m ready for this to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
Ryan Kelly, artist of Local and the upcoming Saucer Country, has posted a teaser on his blog for a new webcomic he’s doing with writer/chef Kat Vapid. Titled Cocotte, a word with a double meaning, Kelly describes it as a “frank, humorous, and often soul-crushing look into the world of cuisine and the professional kitchen environment, as well as a love letter to life in Minneapolis.” No word yet on when it launches, but we’ll keep you posted.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
New York Comic Con picked up steam in its second day with announcements from Vertigo, Dark Horse, Marvel, IDW Publishing and Image, and the possibility of Sesame Street comics. Here are some of the highlights:
• Following in the footsteps of DC Comics: The New 52, most of Vertigo’s titles will be available digitally the same day as print.
• Geoff Johns announced that work is about to get under way on a Robot Chicken DC Comics special that will skewer the company’s superheroes in the same way that the show tackled Star Wars. The episode, written by Johns and MAD‘s Kevin Shinick, is set to air next summer.
• Confirming last-minute speculation, Ed Brubaker announced that he and frequent collaborator Sean Phillips (Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito) will release their next project through Image Comics. Called Fatale, the series blends noir elements with the supernatural world. “I’ve been wanting for a while to do something with a more supernatural element to it,” Brubaker told Comic Book Resources. “So Fatale mixes what we do and all the ways we’ve poked fun at the noir genre. If Incognito was us doing ‘What if Doc Savage, Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler had all existed in the same universe?’ then this is a weird combo of James M. Cain and Lovecraft. It’s got a real horror element to it — the first time I’ve really tried to do anything with horror — but it’s also got this really epic story to it.”
Demon Knights and Stormwatch writer Paul Cornell is teaming with New York Five and Local artist Ryan Kelly for a new Vertigo series, Saucer Country. Announced at the New York Comic Con today, Cornell described the book on his blog as “The West Wing does The X-Files.”
The story centers on Arcadia Alvarado, the governor of New Mexico, who Cornell said is ‘abducted by aliens’ on the even of her announcement that she’s running for president
“Those speechmarks are because she’s not exactly sure what happened. But she’s going to use all her staff and resources to find out. What happened to her might also be a threat to U.S. security,” he said on his blog. “Saucer Country is a trip through UFO mythology, a subject I’ve always been fascinated with. It’s a dark, suspenseful, serious thriller with, I hope, some warm, very human characters at the heart of it. Between arcs that feature Arcadia and her staff venturing into the murky worlds of flying saucer lore, we’ll be featuring one-off ‘true story’ issues, a short version of which already appeared in the Strange Adventures one-shot earlier this year.”
Watch for it in 2012, and you can see some previews pages over on Blastr.
Ryan Kelly has announced that Funrama #2, the next issue in his self-published superhero series will be available later this year at conventions and on his website. Where the first issue featured the villainous Mutant Punks, this one will focus on the heroic Raccoon and her friends Freakshow and Flora. Kelly’s offering an 8-page preview ashcan at SpringCon before the full 32-page book is ready.
Vertigo confirmed at New York Comic Con this afternoon that it will release a graphic novel by Anthony Bourdain, the acerbic chef, author and host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations.
Revealed last month by Bourdain himself, Get Jiro! is a futuristic action thriller set in a world where food and the secrets of its preparation are the source of all power, leading master chefs to fight over a mysterious sushi chef named Jiro. Bourdain has described the graphic novel as “Yojimbo meets Big Night and Babette’s Feast, an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.”
Get Jiro! is written by Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw) and friend and novelist Joel Rose (The Blackest Bird, Kill Kill Faster Faster), and illustrated by artist Langdon Foss (Heavy Metal). The book is expected to be released sometime in 2011.
During today’s “Vertigo: On the Edge” panel, the DC Comics imprint also announced:
Look for a full panel report at Comic Book Resources.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest contributor is comics writer Dwight L. MacPherson, who you might know from Sidewise, currently running on Zuda; the pirate story Dead Men Tell No Tales; or Kid Houdini and The Silver-Dollar Misfits, among other works.
To see what Dwight and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click on the link …