Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we reveal our picks for the best Super Bowl ads … er, where we talk about what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guest is Sonia Harris, who writes a weekly column – Committed – for Comics Should Be Good, and is a graphic designer on books such as Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker (collected in hardcover now from Image Comics) and upcoming comic books SEX (beginning March) and The Bounce. (beginning May).
To see what Sonia and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
It’s not the first time an artist has drawn realistic depictions of The Simpsons characters, but I always think it’s interesting to see interpretations and it’s fun to figure out which Springfield residents are being represented. Dutch cartoonist Charles Guthrie redrew the cover of Simpsons Comics #30 (numbered #29 in the German edition, for some reason) for the Covered blog, and while most of the characters are immediately easy to figure out, one or two require a little more thought, especially if — like me — you haven’t visited Springfield in a while.
See the original cover to Simpsons Comics #30 below for comparison.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave, writers of Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, which was released last week by Monkeybrain Comics.
To see what Adam, D.J. and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
As you no doubt know by now, Matt Groening announced earlier this week that he’s bringing his long-running weekly comic strip, Life in Hell to a close.
If it hadn’t felt like it already, Groening’s announcement certainly signals the end of an era, in this case that of the alt-weekly comic strip, a product Groening, along with Lynda Barry and Gary Panter, pioneered back in the early 1980s (OK, Feiffer was the true pioneer but let’s for argument’s sake let’s play along with my faulty thesis). Together, they showed hungry cartoonists a way to earn, if not a living wage, at least a regular paycheck, and many people — Keith Knight, Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling — followed in their wake as more and more urban areas developed their own version of the Village Voice and L.A. Weekly. Whether it was for financial reasons or (as I suspect) an ever shrinking readership, Groening’s exit, confirms what many have long suspected: That market, thanks largely no doubt to the Internet, has disappeared.
Sales charts | The American Booksellers Association has released its list of the top-selling graphic novels in indie bookstores for the eight weeks ending May 27. At first glance, it looks like it’s mostly literary graphic novels (Habibi, Are You My Mother?) with a healthy sprinkling of The Walking Dead. [Bookselling This Week, via The Beat]
Creators | Grant Morrison discusses the second issue of Batman Incorporated, which features Batman’s lover and Robin’s mom, Talia al Ghul. [USA Today]
Comics history | Could comics history have been radically different if Jerry Siegel had a different last name? Larry Tye, the author of the new Superman a biography, talks to Fresh Air about the origins of the Man of Steel and how he changed over the years: “The editors in New York over time started to exercise their editorial control. They saw this as both a character and a business. They would go down to the level of dictating just what his forelocks looked like. They could be too curly. His arms should be shorter and less ‘ape-like.’ And Joe should get rid of his hero’s ‘nice fat bottom.’ His editor told him that he worried that that made Superman look too ‘la-dee-dah.’ And they were really concerned about the image of the character.” [NPR]
If you are a fan of all-ages comics, odds are pretty good you enjoyed a fair share of comics involving Ty Templeton. So it did not surprise me when Marvel launched a new Ultimate Spider-Man comic (based on the new Disney XD series that premiered recently) and tapped Templeton and Dan Slott to co-write and draw a story for the first issue (which came out last week). Templeton will also be teaming with Slott on Avenging Spider-Man 8 (set for release on June 20). That just scratches the surface of what Templeton is working on–or as he put it in this email interview: “There’s always something else going on.” I’m hard-pressed to pick which of his new upcoming projects I am most enthused about, but the prospect of seeing him work as a live talkshow/webcast host nears the top of the list. Also, I am overjoyed to know that Templeton (a great creator with a wealth of knowledge and experience) is passing along that love of storytelling by teaching folks. Over the years, I have always relished interviewing Templeton and cannot believe this marks the first time we have done an interview for Robot 6.
Tim O’Shea: Did you contact Marvel, or did they contact you for this new Ultimate Spider-Man series?
Ty Templeton: They contacted me, but I’ve done a few things for the Spider-Man office here and there, so they were already in touch with me. I did a small chapter for an issue of Amazing about eight months ago, and a couple of one-page Spider-Man stories for Age of Heroes, and things like that.
Brazilian comic book artist Roger Cruz shares a watercolor painting of what should be a confrontation of epic proportions — Homer Simpson vs. Peter Griffin. It may not be Hulk vs. Thor, but if there’s food involved, watch out.
Welcome once again to Shelf Porn! This week’s shelves were submitted by Richard John Marcej, a toymaker who shares his collection of some of his creations (as well as his comics and other stuff).
If you’d like to contribute to Shelf Porn, it’s easy — just send your photos and write-up to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now here is Richard …
• The big news of the week is that Top Shelf has not only completely updated and streamlined their Web site, but has also unveiled a whole heckuva lot of new projects for the fall, 2011 and beyond, including new books by Jeff Lemire, Nate Powell, James Kochalka and Chris Eliopoulos. All in all it looks like an interesting line-up, containing a solid mix of all-ages and more adult-oriented material.
• Top Shelf isn’t the only one doing the Web site shuffle. Both Savage Critics and All About Comics have moved/updated their blogs,
• IcV2 offers some more information on Vertical’s plans to publish Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako in the fall.
• Tokyopop is planning to publish Neko Ramen, four-koma (or comic strip) about a cat that runs a noodle shop, and they’re posting sample strips to get folks all hot and bothered.. Look for it in stores in June.
• Here’s what the cover to the Essential Superman Encyclopedia will look like.
• And here’s what the cover to the next Zippy the Pinhead collection will look like.
Art book publisher Abrams jumped into the comics world with both feet last year with their new ComicsArts imprint. What do they have lined up for 2010? Poking around their Web site, I was able to figure out their plans, both via the imprint and their children’s line. They’ve slowed down their output a little but still have a rather impressive array of titles coming out. Fer instance:
Is it possible to make devil horns with a four-fingered hand? I guess we’ll find out when The Simpsons/Futurama/Life in Hell creator Matt Groening curates this May’s All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival in Minehead, England. The lineup, hand-selected by Groening himself in the usual ATP curated-festival fashion, includes such avant-rock notables as Iggy & the Stooges, Coco Rosie, Built to Spill, Panda Bear, Deerhunter, Daniel Johnston, the Residents, Boredoms, the Raincoats, Amadou and Mariam, and Shonen Knife.
This isn’t the first time ATP and Groening have hooked up: The animation and alt-weekly legend (and one-time music critic) also ran a 2003 festival in California that boasted performances from the Stooges, Sonic Youth, Spoon, the Shins, !!!, the Mars Volta, Mission of Burma, Modest Mouse and Cat Power. (You can buy a CD compilation from that show here.) He’s a hip dude, is what I’m saying.
The Simpsons got a somewhat unexpected gift under their tree this year … no, not another dog; L’Osservatore Romano, the newspaper of the Vatican, on Tuesday congratulated the show on its 20th anniversary in an article titled “Aristotle’s Virtues and Homer’s Doughnut.”
The article doesn’t appear to be online at the paper’s website, but the Associated Press reports the article praised the show’s “philosophical leanings as well as its stinging and often irreverent take on religion.”
“Religion, from the snore-evoking sermons of the Rev. Lovejoy to Homer’s face-to-face talks with God, appears so frequently on the show that it could be possible to come up with a ‘Simpsonian’ theology,” the article said. No doubt they were talking about segments like this:
The Hollywood Reporter shares this ginormous poster that Fox released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Simpsons, featuring everyone from Radioactive Man to Maggie’s nemesis, the kid with one eyebrow. You can find the full-size version here.
(I should add, I have no idea if Alan Moore, Stan Lee or any of the other comic folks who have appeared on the show are really there or not; I started to get a headache from looking it for so long and had to stop looking. So let me know if you find them!)
TMZ ruined a lot of people’s mornings today by revealing that The Simpsons‘ blue-haired matriarch Marge will appear on the cover of the November issue of Playboy. “Sexy cartoon lingerie” will feature in her non-nude pictorial, or whatever you’d call it, inside. That sound you heard is your childhood dying.
Link via Topless Robot, whose reaction–”I’m going to get a large glass of scotch now. I’m not sure whether I’m going to drink it or pour it in my eyes, but if a f*cking jet engine falls out of the sky on to me on the way, I won’t mind”–is typical of many Simpsons fans. (Go grab a copy of the awesome new Treehouse of Horror issue to cleanse the palate, gang.)