Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
This will not be a post about how Saga is awesome. I’ve written 30 of those already. No thrilling over Lying Cat here, no desperation for the next issue, none of my hopes to see The Will return to action or for [SPOILER] to [SPOILER] and [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER].
Nor will I lose my cool over the fact that, right now, my bookshelf contains two excellent and weird and hilarious China Mieville (China Mieville!)-penned trades of Dial H, complete with blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em anti-MPAA digs. Or that Neil Gaiman, in the – yikes — almost two decades since I picked up my first Sandman trade, has evolved from Sensational Comic Book Writer Neil Gaiman to MechaGaiman, Devourer of Worlds, Savior of Publishing and Champion of Art. Or that Genevieve Valentine is writing Catwoman!
I won’t flip out about The Wicked + The Divine or Chew or either Marvel, Ms. or Captain.
You might not have realized it at the time, but if you’ve read Avengers A.I., Five Ghosts or just about any issue of a Monkeybrain comic, you’ve seen the work of Dylan Todd. As a designer, Todd has touched a lot of comics, from the recap pages in Avengers A.I. to the logos for Monkeybrain Comics, White Suits, Five Ghosts and Sovereign, to name a few.
Now Todd has teamed with a bunch of writers and artists to create 2299, an anthology of 11 stories set in the far future — 2299, to be exact. ROBOT 6 spoke with Todd about the project, which you can download now for $2 from Gumroad.
While many fans may be looking forward this weekend to Free Comic Book Day or The Amazing Spider-Man 2, some of those with more scholarly leanings may be busy getting ready for the Buffy to Batgirl conference being held Friday and Saturday at Rutgers University-Camden.
Organized by reference librarians Julie Still and Zara Wilkinson of the Paul Robeson Library, Buffy to Batgirl: Women and Gender in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Comics is an academic conference focusing on female representation across those genres (and mediums). I imagine a few eyes glazed over with the term “academic conference,” but the panels and papers sound fascinating.
It’s been a busy week for First Second: Following on its announcement of The Stratford Zoo, which features animals staging a production of Macbeth, the publisher has revealed two more graphic novels.
InRealLife, written by Corey Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang, is a story about the human side of gaming—specifically, the “gold farmers” who make real-world money from gaming. Based in part on the experiences of Doctorow’s wife, who was a high-level gamer in the 1990s, the book revolves around a teenager named Anda who’s recruited into a fictional multiplayer online game, Coarsegold, and ends up as a player in the game’s underground economy.
The graphic novel will explore attitudes about gaming and gamers, and, Doctorow says in an interview at Kotaku, there is a larger point:
When you contemplate the microscale phenomenon of a world-in-a-bottle like an MMO and the toy economy within it, it equips you with a graspable metaphor for understanding the macroscale world of monetary policy. In other words: thinking about gold farming is a gateway drug to thinking about money itself.
Keiji Kiriya, the hero of All You Need Is Kill, is a rookie soldier who’s killed in his first battle but can’t stay dead: Each time he dies, he comes back to the same moment and relives it. With mankind locked in a battle with killer aliens, Keiji uses his strange reincarnation to train himself to be a super-soldier and save humanity.
All You Need Is Kill started out as a light novel, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrated by alt-manga artist Yoshitoshi ABe. Now it’s back as a manga, adapted by Takeshi Obata, who is well known to English-language readers as the artist of Hikaru No Go, Death Note and Bakuman.
The manga launched on Saturday and is being serialized simultaneously in Viz Media’s digital magazine Shonen Jump and the Japanese Weekly Young Jump. Shonen Jump is kicking it off with a special Obata-theme issue that features chapters of Hikaru No Go and Bakuman as well as the first chapter of All You Need Is Kill.
And there’s more All You Need Is Kill on the way: The novel forms the basis for the film Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise, which will be released this summer, and Viz, which published the light novel and is publishing the manga, is also producing an original graphic novel based on the story.
We talked to Alexis Kirsch, the editor of the English edition of the manga. We also have a preview of the manga, which is available in this week’s Shonen Jump.
Wednesday brought the sad news that Ray Bradbury passed away peacefully at age 91. The author of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes and (my favorite) The Halloween Tree, Bradbury introduced us to the Butterfly Effect, has his own asteroid and lent his name to a starship class on Star Trek.
“For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world. But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values. There is no doubt that Ray will continue to inspire many more generations with his writing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
At The Beat, Torsten Adair recounts many of the honors Bradbury received over his lifetime. He influenced pop culture in all its forms, including comics and their creators.
“Some authors I read and loved as a boy disappointed me as I aged,” Neil Gaiman wrote in a piece for the Guardian. “Bradbury never did. His horror stories remained as chilling, his dark fantasies as darkly fantastic, his science fiction (he never cared about the science, only about the people, which was why the stories worked so well) as much of an exploration of the sense of wonder, as they had when I was a child.”
You can read more from Gaiman on Bradbury here, and a collection of thoughts from J.M. DeMatteis here. Many comic folks have taken to Twitter to remember the author, and I’ve rounded up some of their tweets below:
First Second has announced its releases for spring 2012, and as usual it’s an exciting, eclectic lineup. Here’s a quick rundown:
Which are you looking forward to?
The Hugo Awards for excellence in science fiction were presented Saturday night in a ceremony in Reno, Nevada, during the sci-fi convention Renovation, and the winner in the Best Graphic Story category was Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse. This is the third year that comics have been included in the Hugo categories, and it is also the third year in a row that Girl Genius has won the award, volumes 8 and 9 having taken the honors in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
The Foglios weren’t the only sequential artists to win an award, however; Shaun Tan, creator of The Arrival and The Lost Thing, won the award for Best Artist. Tan’s mantelpiece must be getting crowded; earlier this year he won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for excellence in children’s literature, and the film version of The Lost Thing, which he directed, won an Oscar.
As we noted a week ago, Sam Humphries and Steven Sanders self-published a science fiction comic called Our Love Is Real, which subsequently sold out in print in nine hours. A second print is on the way (that’s the cover you see to the right) and it’s still available digitally through their website or comiXology.
Humphries, a former Robot 6 guest contributor and my fellow panel member in San Diego next week, agreed to share a list of what he considers to be some of the great science fiction comics. Note that he chose not to use the words “best” or “favorite” to describe the list. “‘Favorite’ or ‘best’ implies more commitment than I’m ready to give,” he said.
So without further ado …
Six great science fiction comics, by Sam Humphries
1. AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo
A giant of science fiction, often imitated, never surpassed. At its heart is a tale of a bromance gone wrong, two best friends who carve their years of brotherhood and resentment across Tokyo, Japan, and the Moon. The anime adaptation is superlative, but the manga, sprawled across six thick volumes of meticulously drawn, hi-octane pages, is a true monumental achievement. I’ll be gunning for this No. 1 spot ’til I die. G.O.A.T.
As Tim mentioned in What Are You Reading? this weekend, Fraggle Rock/CBGB writer (not to mention friend and past contributor to this here blog) Sam Humphries has teamed up with SWORD and Five Fists of Science artist Steven Sanders for a new science fiction comic called Our Love is Real.
Here’s the description of the comic: “FIVE YEARS AFTER THE AIDS VACCINE…Plantsexuals riot in the streets for equal rights. Humans fall in love with dogs. And crystals are more than just jewelry. A chance encounter on the job changes a riot cop’s life forever as he finds himself caught in a bizarre love triangle that blurs romance, crime and lust beyond recognition.”
The self-published one-shot is due tomorrow from “a select group of retailers,” as well as via mail order and digitally. Check out the website tomorrow for more information.
Update: After the jump you’ll find the list of retailers carrying the book.
The cover, above, is by Paul Pope, and as previously reported, the first issue will include a chapter of Spaceman by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, which will get its own series from Vertigo in the fall. Other contributors include Jeff Lemire, Ross Campbell, Kevin Colden, Peter Milligan, Paul Cornell, Denys Cowan and many others. You can find the complete table of contents after the jump.
It’s ’80s-indie black-and-white space-opera action as you like it! Presenting Twelve Gems, a graphic novel in the making by cartoonist Lane Milburn of Baltimore’s Closed Caption Comics collective. Milburn, a recipient of the Xeric Grant for his self-published action-horror collection Death Trap. calls it “a comedic sci-fi space epic starring three heroic characters enlisted to travel the galaxy in search of twelve magical gems.” Judging from the very impressive preview pages — filled with Heavy Metal hotness and crosshatched and black-spotted to within an inch of their lives — Milburn’s really going for the gusto here. Closed Caption Comics is best known for genre-influenced artcomics in the Fort Thunder/Paper Rodeo mode, but Twelve Gems seems to me to have more in common with the giddy throwback style of Benjamin Marra. I can’t wait to see more.
It’s the sequel to their 2008 graphic novel about a ragtag group of heroes on Mars in the year 3535. Here’s the description of the sequel: “Hearts will be broken, moons will be destroyed and hooch will flow in zero gravity in this sci-fi romantic action comedy set in the year 3535. When someone, or something, starts kidnapping the children of Mars, the planet’s most notorious outlaws band together to rescue them. Off world, out numbered and falling apart from within can the Martian Confederates discover the secret of Phobos before they destroy each other? And does what ‘happen in space, stay in space?'”
You can find it in Previews under order code 101040; the 150-page graphic novel costs $15. Check out a huge 25-page preview of it after the jump.
Seems like just last week that Christian Beranek and Tony DiGerolamo were talking to CBR’s Steve Sunu about The Webcomics Factory, the multi-comic site they launched back in April. Already they have a sports comic, a stripper comic, a schoolgirl manga, and a post-apocalyptic gag comic, and today they are launching The Horror of Colony 6, a sci-fi comic, which will update every Tuesday. The comic is written by Beranek and DiGerolamo and illustrated by Tommy Phillips, and the trailer looks like a good intro to the series.
If you’re one of those people who know that there is such a thing as a tesseract, then you’re in for a treat: Above is cartoonist Hope Larson’s take on Meg Murry, one of the young heroes of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved science-fiction classic A Wrinkle in Time. Larson’s adaptation of the book for Farrar, Strauss and Giroux is slated to debut in Fall 2012, clocking in at a whopping 392 pages. Visit Larson’s blog for more on the book and this piece, from the bruise on Meg’s face to the reason you won’t be seeing her in this outfit in the book itself.