Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Skottie Young has revealed his variant cover for the landmark 250th issue of Spawn, set for release Jan. 28 from Image Comics.
The 64-page issue, written by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and illustrated by Szymon Kudranski, marks the climax of the current story, clearing the way for the return of Al Simmons and the introduction of the new creative team of Paul Jenkins and Jonboy Meyers.
Ahead of the arrival of the landmark 250th issue, Todd McFarlane has unveiled “The Evolution of Spawn,” a graphic tracing the character’s numerous costumes, from the original design to the Greg Capullo-drawn Commando Spawn to Jonboy Meyers’ upcoming interpretation.
“And if you’re doing the math, that’s 24 YEARS. TWENTY-FOUR!!!!!!!!” McFarlane writes on Facebook. “It’s cool to look back and see how things have changed since 1992….it’s hard to believe we’re already coming up on our #250th issue.”
Image Expo returned on Thursday, and it wasn’t messing around. Each year, Image Comics seems to pack bigger announcements and bigger surprises into a single-day event. And the diversity of creators and genres gets that much better, too.
This year’s Image Expo — held again at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, following last July’s event at Comic-Con International in San Diego — included the now-standard keynote address by Publisher Eric Stephenson. He reviewed the past year’s successes and echoed plans to make Image the No. 1 publisher, but aside from throwing the gauntlet down at the feet of Marvel and DC, his address avoided some of the controversial statements and manifestos of years past. While I appreciate a good sabre-rattling, it allowed the focus to remain squarely on the creators and their comics.
With that in mind, here are my six favorite announcements from Image Expo 2015:
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Note: This post contains potential spoilers for Rocket Raccoon #5
Rocket Raccoon is one of several comics coming out of Marvel right now where they’ve paired the perfect creator — in this case Skottie Young — with the perfect character, and just let them go wild. (See also: Kaare Andrews on Iron Fist). So when you hear that an issue is going to have a fill-in artist, you have to wonder what kind of effect that’s going to have, if it’s really going to work or not. It all just depends on who they choose, right?
Brian Michael Bendis shared some terrific photos from a weekend get-together at the Portland, Oregon, home of Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, where such artists as Matt Wagner, Skottie Young, Tony Moore and Matthew Clarke drew on the hallway wall. DeConnick provides a link to the “completely interactive” wallpaper, whose pattern features frames of different sizes and styles — ideal for one-of-a-kind sketches.
Check out a couple of the images below, and more on Bendis’ blog.
HeroesCon is my San Diego.
It is my all-time favorite con. Hands down. So the fact my day job kept me out of the country and away from the con for both 2012 and 2013 left me extremely disappointed. The above photo captures what I love about the atmosphere of the con. Creator Skottie Young has never met me. He was in the middle of signing for folks when I asked for a quick photo. The above was his reaction.
One of the best things about comic conventions is the opportunity to meet the many talented artists on hand, see their original work and even commission pieces from them. Skottie Young is a familiar face in artist’s alleys across the United States, and over the weekend he set up at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, where he turned out amazing original art for some lucky fans.
Young offered custom sketches on colored paper of a character of fans’ choosing. Many took him up on that, and Young has posted some of his favorite on his website. If after seeing these you’re interested in commissioning one of your own (I am!), Young will be attending four more conventions this summer: Motor City in Detroit in May, HeroesCon in Charlotte in June, Boston Comicon in August and Cincy Comicon in September. Keep an eye on his website, as he normally posts details before each convention.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
And what a week it was, as we learned about a new Rocket Raccoon series by Skottie Young, Paul Levitz getting a new gig at BOOM!, the return of Jellaby and more. So let’s get to it …
Skottie Young revealed over the weekend that, after nearly six years, he has finished work on Marvel’s Oz series, his Eisner Award-winning collaboration with writer Eric Shanower and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu. The final issue, The Emerald City of Oz #5, arrives Dec. 11.
“I’ve never been emotional about a book I’ve worked on,” Young wrote on his blog. “As an artist in today’s comic landscape, you get used to spending 6-8 months on one title and then moving onto another. The long run of characters being yours and yours alone is very rare. To come to work every day for nearly 6 years and spend time with the same characters in the same world is something I grew to love and depend on. Leaving it behind is bitter sweet. I’m excited face new challenges but a bit sad to leave one of the most reliable things in my life.”
Marvel’s adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s novels launched in 2008 with the eight-issue Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and continued with The Marvelous Land of Oz, Osma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Road to Oz and, now, The Emerald City of Oz. Although Baum wrote eight more books in the Oz series, this is the end of the journey for Young.
Whether there will be more Oz adaptations from Marvel remains to be seen. It’s certainly worth noting the publisher is releasing a new hardcover collection of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, complete with a new cover by Young, in January.
“A giant thanks to Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, CB Cebulski, David Bogart, Axel Alonso and David Gabriel for being my champions,” Young wrote. “The word ‘cartoony’ can be a four letter word in our world and these gentlemen carved out a little corner for me to throw that four letter word around as loud as I wanted.”
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. It’s only Monday, but our contributors have their eyes on Wednesday releases, ranging from John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man: Get Harry Ex to a new jumping-on point for 2000AD to … well, it’s not exactly a comic book but it does involve two comics creators.
To see what we’re looking forward to this week, just keep reading.
Marvel has announced a line-up of merchandise for Comic-Con International that includes a Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. T-shirt, a Rocket Raccoon mug and, perhaps most adorably of all, Skottie Young’s Avengers movie poster (part of the Phase 1 Marvel Cinematic Universe Blu-Ray Collector’s Set) and glass tumbler.
The limited-edition pieces will be available at the Marvel booth (#2329) at the San Diego Convention Center. See the list, with images, below:
Tank Girl returned to shelves on Wednesday in the form of Solid State Tank Girl #1 from Titan Comics. Perhaps coincidentally, but probably not, the artists at Ashcan Allstars have been celebrating Tank Girl week.
There’s some good work there — Tank Girl is a hard character to get right, tonally. Alan Martin’s signature character may have inspired a generation of Suicide Girls, but it’s hard to find an instance in her comics where her sexiness is ever being used in an exploitative fashion. Sure, there’s loads of gratuitous female and male nudity in the back catalog, but it’s almost certainly there for comedic reasons rather than titillation. So any artist attempting to draw the character as a straight-up cheesecake pin-up is completely missing the point. By and large, the Allstars have mainly got it right, but I’ll let you be your own judge of who’s been successful and who hasn’t — there’s a gallery of examples after the break.
Beyond a vague description of it as “a very silly children’s book,” we’ve been given scant details about Fortunately, the Milk, the upcoming collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young (for the U.S. edition) and Chris Riddell (for the U.K. version). But at long last, the author has broken his silence in a video introduction from SFX.
“It’s the silliest, strangest, most ridiculous book I’ve ever written. And I’m damned proud of it,” Gaiman says. “It’s called Fortunately, the Milk. It’s the story of a father who goes out to bring back milk for his children and, at least according to him, on the way is kidnapped by aliens, kidnapped again by pirates, rescued by a stegosaurus in a hot-air balloon. He has a nearly fatal encounter with a volcano god, there’s a ridiculous amount of time travel. There are ponies. There are vampires, or possibly one-pires, there are interstellar dinosaur police, and there’s a happy ending. And fortunately for everybody, there’s milk. Can a container of milk save the universe?”
Officially announced in July as part of the author’s five-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books, Fortunately, the Milk will be released Sept. 17 in the United States, and in October (from Bloomsbury) in the United Kingdom. Watch the video below, and check out Skottie Young’s cover for the U.S. edition.
Neil Gaiman has debuted Skottie Young’s cover for the U.S. edition of their upcoming children’s book Fortunately, the Milk. Officially announced in July as part of the author’s five-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books, it’s described as “an ode to the pleasure and wonders of storytelling itself.”
Dave McKean was at one point set to illustrate Fortunately, the Milk, which Gaiman referred to in 2011 as “a very silly children’s book” that “was meant to be about the length of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, but it’s actually about four or five times as long.”
Gaiman has published 13 novels and picture books through HarperCollins Children’s Books, including the Newbery-winning The Graveyard Book. Fortunately, the Milk is scheduled for release Sept. 17.
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 the new year off right with Invincible #99 (Image, $2.99). The build-up (or teardown?) to Issue 100 has been great, and honestly I never quite trusted Dinosaurus to begin with so I’m glad to see this finally boil over. I’m all ears – and eyes – for this and the next issue. Next up I’d get another Image joint, Prophet #32 (Image, $3.99). Kudos to Brandon Graham for being confident in himself enough – and choosy enough in his collaborators – that he’s stepping back and letting artist Simon Roy write and draw a one-off issue. And the story of a Prophet clone gone native sounds mighty enticing. Third in this week’s haul would be Punk Rock Jesus #6 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). I feel a slight bit of remorse at how fast this series has gone – it seemed like a whole lot of introduction, a brief second act and now we’re being pushed into the finale. Still, one of the best series of 2012 (with this finale sneaking out two days after 2012). Finally, I’d get James Stokoe’s Godzilla: Half-Century War #4 (IDW, $3.99). I’ve become big fans of Ota and Kentaro here, and Stokoe has really populated this world with all kinds of special and grotesque. Excited to see what comes up here!
If I had $30, I’d continue my mad dash through my local comic shop with two Marvel picks: All New X-Men #5 (Marvel, $3.99) and New Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). All-New X-Men has been surprisingly refreshing for me; I always love Stuart Immonen’s, but what’s startled me is how fresh and unencumbered Brian Bendis seems here with the writing. On the New Avengers #1 tip, I liked Hickman’s other Avengers work so far but I’m even more interested in how artist Steve Epting draws this unique cast. Plus, I loved Epting’s first run on Avengers – leather jackets, people! Next up I’d return to Image and get Glory #31 (Image, $3.99). This is going to be a great collection when the whole thing is done, but right now we’re knee-deep in the series itself as Glory faces off with her sister Silverfall. Hey Rob Liefeld – this Silverfall character could be something special for more after this series ends! And finally, I’d get Manhattan Projects #8 (Image, $3.50) and anxiously await the big reveal of the secret powerbrokers in the MP universe. I can’t wait for Hickman to blow my mind.
If I could splurge, I’d buy the back-to-back first and second volume of Chimpanzee Complex (#13.95 each, Cinebook). Coming to America with no press at all, I found this in Previews a while back and have been excited by its potential: a Franco-Belgian comic that reveals the astronauts who returned from the moon in 1969 were doppelgangers, and the fallout from that discovery. 2010 meets Orbiter. Bring it on.