Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
The Fictory has released production art and a short clip from Atomic Robo: Last Stand, the animated short the studio is making based on Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s popular comic. There’s no concrete release date yet, as the project was delayed when the studio chose to start over after completing an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign. The goal was just $12,000, but the project raised more than $72,000, so rather than forge ahead with the film they started on no budget, the animators rebuilt from scratch.
“We knew that if we were going to do things right, we needed to start on solid, consistent ground,” writes Creative Director Joseph Krzemienski. “This meant a lot more work, but we knew it was the right call.”
Festivals | The Angoulême International Comics Festival has opened in Angoulême, France, and that’s where all the cool kids are. Bart Beaty surveys the scene for the rest of us; the president of this year’s show is Jean-C Denis (last year it was Art Spiegelman), and there will be an exhibit of his work, but Beaty says the big draw will be the exhibit of work by Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix. [The Comics Reporter]
Editorial cartoons | Rupert Murdoch has apologized, on Twitter, for an editorial cartoon by Gerald Scarfe in the Sunday Times that depicted Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu bricking Palestinians into a wall with blood-red mortar. Many commentators were concerned that the cartoon, which Scarfe intended as a commentary on the recent elections in Israel, came too close to old anti-Semitic blood libel. Making things worse, the cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day. [The Guardian]
Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger has revealed some of the plans around his and Scott Wegener’s (and Nikola Tesla’s) robot for the coming year, and there’s some really cool stuff. In addition to the next miniseries (Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur), the previously announced role-playing game, and an animated short, there are also plans for another volume of Real Science Adventures.
Unlike the more random, first volume of RSA, this one will be six issues featuring the Centurions of Science, sort of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of the Atomic-Roboverse, including historical figures like Tesla, Annie Oakley and Harry Houdini. According to Clevinger, “The first three issues are one shots focusing on different parts of the team as they encounter what appears to be an ever more vast conspiracy. The last three issues unite the Centurions against the full force of a threat that looms over the entire United States.”
There’s also another Free Comic Book Day issue coming, some more merchandise, and — if everything goes smoothly — a third Real Science Adventures volume and the start of the ninth, full miniseries, Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle.
After launching its Long Box skateboard line last month with an Erik Larsen-illustrated Savage Dragon deck, Freak Show has announced the addition of an Atomic Robo design by co-creator Scott Wegener. They’ll ship in mid-September, with the company offering a limited number of decks signed by Wegener and his Atomic Robo collaborator Brian Clevinger.
Unsigned Savage Dragon decks sell for $59.99, plus $5 shipping; presumably it’s the same price for Atomic Robo.
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 walk out of the comic store with one book this week Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me (Image, $14.99). I fell off this book after the first issue, preferring to read in trades, and now that time has come. I’m looking forward to being surprised at what Brubaker and Phillips have done in this first arc as the debut issue was very promising.
If I had $30, I’d load up at Image with Manhattan Projects #4 (Image, $3.50), Prophet #26 (Image, $2.99) and Hell Yeah #4 (Image, $2.99). Prophet is becoming my favorite Image book because it unites my comic heroes of childhood (Prophet!) and one of the top cartoonists out there (Brandon Graham) with a surprising introduction of BD-style science fiction. Hell Yeah is a fun romp reimagining the staples of ’80s and ’90s comics as if John Hughes were the eighth Image founder. Last up I’d get Wolverine and the X-Men #12 (Marvel, $3.99). I was worried this series would get derailed by Avengers Vs. X-Men, but Aaron and Co. have managed to keep it on point as best as conceivably possible. It’s an ideal opening to bring Rachel Summers to the forefront, and the smirking Kid Gladiator on the cover is full of win.
If I could splurge, I’d get Michel Rabagliati’s Song of Roland hardcover (Conundrum Press, $20). I’ll always admire Free Comic Book Day, because it was there that a little Drawn and Quarterly one-shot introduced me to Rabagliati’s work. I’m surprised to see this new volume of his work not published by D&Q, instead published by Canadian house Conundrum. Anyway, this book appears to deal with the death of the father-in-law of the lead character, Paul. It’s been extremely engaging to see Paul grow through the series, and having him deal with events like this as I myself grow up and experience similar events is really touching.
Conventions | Creative director Rico Renzi discusses HeroesCon, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend with a three-day event that’s experienced a spike in advance ticket sales: “Stan Lee’s attendance to this year’s show has definitely caused a spike in advance ticket sales from what I can tell. I honestly like the show at just the size it is; it’s just right. I used to hop on a bus from Baltimore to go the NYCC and I loved it for the first couple years. It just got too big for me too enjoy it, you couldn’t walk around without rubbing up against strangers. It’s a great alternative to San Diego now I guess. If you’re looking for a pure comic book show though, HeroesCon is where it’s at.” In addition to Lee, this year’s guests include Neal Adams, Mark Bagley, Cliff Chiang, Frank Cho, Becky Cloonan, Geof Darrow, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Evan Dorkin, Tommy Lee Edwards, Matt Fraction, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez, Dave Johnson, Jeff Lemire, Paul Levitz, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, Scott Snyder and Bernie Wrightson. [The Comics Reporter]
An animated version of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo, subtitled “Last Stop,” went into production some time ago. Now The Fictory, the animation studio that’s been working on it, needs about $12,000 to finish it.
“The Fictory, a small animation studio, is running a Kickstarter to raise funds that would allow them to complete work on a short Atomic Robo animated film,” Wegener told us over email. “No one involved is actually getting anything out of this. This is a total labor of love. But love needs to pay the electricity bill and eat every now and
again. Hence the Kickstarter.”
The project page has a list of all the rewards they’re offering, including DVDs of the project once it is completed, T-shirts, art books and animation cels, among others. Check out the trailer for the project after the jump.
She-Devils was supposed to be Volume 2. And then 3. Also 4 through 6. We kept finding reasons to push it back, but the truth was simply that we weren’t yet good enough to pull it off … Which means that, yes, a multi-generational time travel story that eschews traveling through time was a less intimidating story to us than She-Devils … [W]hat happens in it is hard as hell to pull off on a craft level. Moreover, I think Scott and I sensed that this had the potential to be one of those stories, a synthesis of everything that is an Atomic Robo tale. Hopefully we’re nearly good enough now that we won’t screw that up.
Click the link for his full comments as well as Scott Wegener’s thoughts and research on the She-Devils, pictured above.
Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger announced that he and artist Scott Wegener have joined forces with Evil Hat Productions to create a role-playing game based on everyone’s favorite Tesla robot.
Clevinger writes, “It’s probably a sad statement about our business savvy that most creators can talk about their projects in terms of the movie deals they’re bound to get. Scott and I? Even before the first issue came out, all we wanted was a tabletop roleplaying game. Y’know, because comics just wasn’t niche enough.”
The game will use a variation on the FATE system, modified by game designer Mike Olson. MTV Geek offers a couple more details, stating that this is an early announcement and that the game is still in development. It will likely be released later this year or early in 2013.
Creators | Dan Parent discusses an upcoming Archie storyline that will bring Valerie Brown from Josie and the Pussycats to Riverdale, causing sparks to once again fly: “The fans can expect the next step in what I think is the most romantic story in Archie history. The chemistry between Archie and Valerie was hot the first time they got together, and now you’ve really got to see it simmer, all the way from the rekindling of their romance to getting much more serious than we’ve seen before.” [USA Today]
Editorial cartoons | Cartoonist Jeff Stahler has resigned from The Columbus Dispatch following accusations that he lifted ideas from other cartoons, including one that ran in The New Yorker. [Poynter]
There’s some disagreement about where it started, but it couldn’t have been much earlier than Steve Niles’ blog post, which is where I first heard about it. Some credit Eric Powell and it’s true that this is a drum that he’s been beating for a while now. As has Robert Kirkman and others. But Niles’ post last week called for specific action (that doesn’t necessarily require walking away from well-paying corporate gigs) and inspired a flurry of opinions and commentary about supporting creator-owned comics and what that really means. Readers and creators alike have been talking so excitedly about it that some have called it a revolution. But is that really what it is? And if so, a revolution of what? Since most of the books this column covers are creator-owned, these are good questions to try to answer here.
When Kevin quoted Niles’ post for Robot 6, he pulled this piece of it: “Can I say something I’ve wanted to say for a long time? If you like something, tell your friends. If you love it, tell the world. But if you hate something, just throw it away, don’t buy it again and move on. We spend way too much time tearing shit down. I just want to try the other direction for a while.”
The commentary on that quote was split between defensive and supportive. “I don’t get that logic,” wrote one person. “That’s like going to see a movie and finding out it’s really, really horrible. Then you hear that a dozen of your friends are going to see that same movie. Wouldn’t you want to warn them about what they are about to endure, the time they will waste, the money they will lose, etc, etc?”
Apparently at Taco Bell you don’t have to decide between food or comics (insert your own beefy lawsuit joke here). The fast food chain has teamed up with Marvel to provide four different comics with its kids meals.
According to Marvel, each book includes an 11-page story with a one-page Mini-Marvels backup story. Each cover is a reprint from an existing Marvel title. Looking at who’s doing the comics, it may be worth a run to the border; I’d brave a burrito for the team behind Atomic Robo‘s take on Iron Man vs. MODOK alone. (Speaking of which, colorist Chad Fidler posted some pages from the Iron Man comic online).
Here are the details:
· Writer: Alex Zalben
· Artist: Tom Grummett
1-page backup by Colleen Coover
Cover by Roger Cruz, a reprint from Uncanny X-Men First Class #5
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click the link below.
HeroesCon is just getting under way at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. Here’s a sample of what you have to look forward to if you are going—and what you will miss if you’re not.
Chris Schweizer, creator of Crogan’s Vengeance and Crogan’s March, will be there, and he’ll have some sweet art to sell.
Jeff Parker has created a handy map to make it easier for fans to find him.
Raina Telgemeier will be in Indie Island, and you can also spot her on the panels on Comics as Career and Autobio Comics.