Have you ever worked with someone who loves what they do so much that it’s infectious? That’s a solid description of Joe Keatinge, who writes Marvel’s Morbius: The Living Vampire, along with Glory and Hell Yeah at Image. He’s also someone with a restless love for comics in all of its forms.
Keatinge has been involved in the business for going on nine years, breaking in as a colorist before segueing to a staff position at Image. which took him from managing the publisher’s inventory to marketing its books. After overseeing the successful PopGun anthology, he shifted into writing comics himself with the double-barreled successes of Hell Yeah and Glory. It’s his work on the latter series that brought him to the attention of Marvel and DC, who enlisted him for Morbius and issues of DC Universe Presents. Through it all, Keatinge has been an outspoken advocate for the medium.
In our interview, Keatinge talks about his place in the industry as well as his far-ranging interests, delving into his creator-owned work (including collaborations with Frank Cho and James Harvey) and breaking down the perceived walls between different areas of comics.
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
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, I’d start out with Legend of Luther Strode #1 (Image, $3.50). I was behind the times on the first series, but now I will raise my fist to the air and decree “NO MORE!” (to the stunned silence of my local comic shop owner). Justin Jordan really brought a different take on this story, but for me the sizzle on this is Tradd Moore’s art. It reminds me of Sam Keith’s middle-period during his Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine run, and that’s nothing but a good thing. After that I’d get Stumptown #4 (Oni Press, $3.99). Some might compare Dex’s journey to that of Jessica Jones in Marvel’s Alias, but it’s anything but. Greg Rucka really knows how to make a story feel more than just mere fiction. My third pick this week would be Invincible #98 (Image, $2.99), seeing Mark Grayson get his powers back – just in time to be stomped into the ground, from the looks of it. Reading this series since the first issue, I’m noticing the colorist change more and more here; John Rauch definitely is a step removed from FCO Plascencia, and I’m still getting used to it. Kirkman and Ottley are delivering here so well that Domino’s should be jealous. (ba-dum CHING!) Last up in my Wednesday haul would be Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ve noticed in doing Food or Comics for as long as I have how I’ll routinely follow writers but when they manage to get an artist I particularly like I’ll fall over myself trying to get to it. Case in point, this book, with Jonathan Hickman joining forces with Jerome Opeña to kick off a new era for Marvel’s flagship book. I’m all for “Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers,” but I’m even more excited to see Opeña’s take on this.
One of the coolest, most innovative things associated with Comic-Con International the past couple of years has been Tr!ckster — the creator-focused offsite event founded by Scott Morse, Ted Mathot and Anita Coulter — and its renewed focus on comics, particularly creator-owned ones. What started as sort of a novelty (hey! a mini-convention next to Comic-Con that’s totally dedicated to comics!) quickly became a major destination and an oasis from the media-saturated madness next door.
Now the store/symposium-location/restaurant/bar is taking another step in its evolution by opening a permanent location next month in Berkeley, California. Primarily a store and gallery space, the new digs will be managed by Coulter and will feature events like the Steve Niles signing already planned for Oct. 13.
(via Bleeding Cool)
It’s fast becoming Jamaica Dyer week here at Robot 6. Yesterday she contributed to the weekly What Are You Reading column, and today she is the subject of an interview. Dyer joined me in this email interview mostly to discuss the serialization of her graphic novel, Fox Head Stew (at MTV Geek), the tale of two twentysomethings–Dee and Sam (aka Bunny Boy)–making their way through life. But she was also enthused to discuss the Isotope Comics-arranged Live Art Show as part of San Francisco’s Noise Pop Music Festival 20th Anniversary. My thanks to Dyer for her time.
Tim O’Shea: While Fox Head Stew is being serialized at MTV Geek, I am curious are you looking to release it through a traditional publisher at some point?
Jamaica Dyer: Yes, I would love to see Fox Head Stew printed as a book. I don’t have a publisher for it yet but I’m definitely on the market! I did some print-on-demand copies last year and it looks amazing on paper. Finding a publisher for it is difficult, because while it’s the sort of story that indie publishers like, they typically only print black and white books, and I have to insist on having it printed in color. It’s my own fault for insisting on painting the whole thing!
My hope is that through exposure on MTV Geek, the audience might decide that a book about girls experimenting in college, glam rock bands, and psychedelic fantasy sequences rendered in watercolor are the sort of stories they want to read in comics! There’s a definite perception in mainstream comics of superheros and action stories, but this is an exciting opportunity to change that perception and expose new genres to the MTV audience.
The first Image Expo kicked off Friday in Oakland, California, with a keynote speech from Publisher Eric Stephenson that emphasized creator relationships as the company’s foundation, and laid out more than a half-dozen titles that will be announced this weekend for release later this year:
• Happy!, by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, a mysterious title the writer says is “in a genre I’ve never really tackled before — but with a bizarre twist, of course.” It’s the first of several potential Image projects from Morrison. [iFanboy]
• Confirmation of a third volume of Phonogram, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, called The Immaterial Girl. Gillen says the six-issue miniseries, which will likely debut in November, is “primarily about the war between coven queen witch Emily Aster and the half of her personality she sold to whatever lies on the other side of the screen. It’s about identity, eighties music videos and further explorations of Phonogram’s core ‘Music = Magic’ thesis. There is horror. There are jokes. There are emotions. There may even be a fight sequence. It also takes A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ with far too much seriousness – which, for us, is the correct amount of seriousness.” [Kieron Gillen's Workblog]
• Chin Music, by Steve Niles and Tony Harris, described by the artist as “a 1930′s Noir, Gangster, horror story.” [Tony Harris]
Digital comics | Geoff Johns explains how digital presentation made him re-evaluate his approach to writing Aquaman #1, as digital readers focus on stories panel by panel rather than page by page. He notes that they also spend more time on individual panels, taking in all the details before moving on: “It’s weird to go back and look at some of the old comics now. If you read something in this fashion you will notice stuff that you skipped over so quickly because your eye takes in the whole page instead of the panel individually. I think that’s probably one of the biggest advantages of digital.” Johns also reveals digital considerations have also led him to scale back on internal dialogue to “let the art and characters expressions speak for themselves.” [Variety]
Digital comics | On a related note, Shaun Huston ponders the challenges of making “comics as we know them” work on digital devices: “While there’s some latitude to read full pages on the iPad, and the Fire at 4.7” x 7.5” (or the Nooks) affords that option more realistically than the iPhone or similarly-sized devices, in all of these cases there will be situations where most readers will shift to Guided View in order to effectively see some particular detail on a page. For many, Guided View will be the primary choice, which is a qualitatively different experience than reading page-by-page. In fact, while in that mode, ‘the page’ arguably becomes irrelevant as panels are strung together into one linear sequence, rather than into a series of page-specific sequences.” [PopMatters]
Acclaimed artists Scott Morse and Skottie Young took their six-month-old sketchblog in a new dimension this morning with the debut of a not-yet-titled webcomic starring Asher and Spittle, anthropomorphic animals described as “our dynamic duo, our Laurel and Hardy, our Artoo and Threepio.”
“We’re creating these one page at a time with no outline to work from: we’re shooting from the hip,” Morse writes. “This could backfire and destroy comics and the internet itself … or succeed and make the internet a better place and comics the medium of choice for storytellers. Or at the very least make you smile twice weekly.”
Morse’s pages will update every Monday, while Young’s will appear every Friday.
Last month Scott Morse, Ted Mathot and many others announced Tr!ckster, a creator-focused event that will take place July 21-24 in San Diego. The event will feature an art gallery, retail space for participating creators and a series of symposia — “rigorous workshop events for focused creative individuals to add new ways of thinking to your work ethic.”
Creators like Skottie Young, Steve Niles, Mike Mignola, Jill Thompson, Mike Allred and many more will take about such topics as character design and development, art technique, visual storytelling and the creative process. They’ll run two a day July 21-24. While admission to Tr!ckster is free, you’ll need tickets to get into the symposia, which go on sale Monday. And since the event is at a wine bar, wine will be served during the sessions.
You can find a list of all the symposia after the jump, and come Monday you’ll be able to buy tickets on their website.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics and other stuff we’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guests this week are Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Serenity Rose, Fables) and Drew Rausch (Sullengrey, The Dark Goodbye, Cthulhu Tales), the creative team behind the horror/comedy comic Eldritch!
To see what Aaron, Drew and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
Last July, right before the San Diego Comic Con kicked off, a group of creators started planning an alternative to Comic Con International via Facebook and other channels.
“It appeared to us that a dramatic shift was taking place, a move away from individual artists, creators, and comics… There are a number of folks that have decided to bow out this year,” creator Ted Mathot, who creators comics like Rose & Isabel when he isn’t making movies for Pixar, told Brand X last year. He said they hoped to have an alternative to San Diego in 2011.
And now we know exactly what that is — Tr!ckster, a free event that will take place July 19-24 at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, which is across Harbor Drive from the San Diego Convention Center. The event will include retail space for creators to sell “creator-owned wares” like “small run and limited edition books, fine art prints, toys, clothing, and more;” a fine art gallery space; and a series of “focused, creator-driven demonstrations and discussions of method, process, and theory concerning the act of creating new, uniquely-voiced works of art.” Each Symposia will be a ticketed event and will feature creators like Mike Mignola, Mike Allred, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, Skottie Young, Jim Mahfood, Scott Morse, Mathot, Derek Thompson, Greg Rucka, Craig Yoe and more. They plan to run two per day.
The group also plans to offer a $20, 48-page hardcover art book at the event, with illustrations by Mathot, Young, Doug TenNapel, Andy Kuhn, David Mack, Mike and Laura Allred, Mike Huddleston and many more, plus an eight-page story by Morse.
If you haven’t checked out Skottie Young and Scott Morse’s joint sketchblog lately, you’re missing some awesome stuff. One of the coolest things about it – besides just some damn good art – is observing their different approaches to the same subjects. For instance, Morse had a very whimsical take on the Spider-Man villains, but I thought that Young captured the magic of Harry Potter especially well. And though Morse is taking a brief break at the moment, it’s going to be tough to beat Young’s Star Wars drawings – including this homage to VW’s Li’l Vader – when he gets back.
It’s not a competition and I don’t mean to make it sound like it is; I just find it fascinating to watch how these two fantastic artists think differently about these various characters and series.
Comic creators Skottie Young and Scott Morse have teamed up to launch a brand-new sketch blog called SkottieScott where “you’ll get a daily(?!) punch in the face consisting of character sketches by everyone’s favorite comics makers.” They’ve been drawing Spider-Man’s villains over the past few days, so head over there to see the Green Goblin, Kraven, Mysterio and more.
Scott Morse (Strange Science Fantasy, Soulwind) and Steve Niles (30 Days of Night,Criminal Macabre) are teaming up on a new monthly series called Crime and Terror. Both writers announced the project on their respective blogs.
“It’s filled with episodes detailing the events in the life of a detective named Mike Fallon who’s going through some serious personal problems,” Morse said on his blog. “On top of THAT, we’ll be smacking you upside the head with a bunch of short, stand-alone stories: noir, horror, sci-fi, whatever we want. All drawn by me, some written by me, some by Steve. On top of THAT, we’ll be throwing in new prose stories with spot-illos by me. Seriously, monthly is the plan, and every month, you’ll cry with glee as you scream your face off.”
“I’m thrilled about this project,” Niles told me over email. “It’s sort of the ultimate DIY book, Scott and I are emailing each other back and forth with stories and ideas and we’re going straight to the comic page! Scott is incredible and fast and the excitement of see thing thing grow daily is amazing. I did a small Frankenstein book with Scott years ago but that was more of a case of my writing and him doing the art. This is immediate, and spontaneous and I’m loving the results.”
The Frankenstein story appeared in the IDW-published Big Book of Horror, which also included Niles’ collaborations with artists Ted McKeever and Richard Sala.
“Scott and I have known each other for years. I think we actually met at House of Secret, a comic store in Burbank where we all hang. Scott and I both have a huge love of pulp and the pre-hero monster books. Scott actually reads Tales to Astonish and books like that to his boys. I love that,” Niles said. “So we’re doing this. We have no idea where it will wind up, but we’re doing it.”
Morse, whose day job at Pixar keeps him pretty busy, also noted he’s working on another five-issue series for later this year called Ten Against the World, which he described as “hot rods and monsters, Rebel Without A Cause a’la pre-hero Kirby. Kinetic, insane, pure comic.”
Yesterday we took a tour of Marvel’s Timely era, courtesy of writer B. Clay Moore, and now we turn to one of the icons of the silver screen: Audrey Hepburn.
Portland-based writer and editor Jamie S. Rich has one of the most popular and unique sketchbooks I’ve ran across, documenting the various looks and personae of actress Audrey Hepburn. Here’s what he had to say about it: