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Neil Gaiman debuts Skottie Young’s cover for Fortunately, the Milk

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.

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Food or Comics? | Happy New Potatoes!

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

The Chimpanzee Complex

Chris Arrant

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.

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Did Marvel just reveal part of New Avengers lineup?

From Skottie Young's "New Avengers" variant cover

While Marvel revealed most of the sprawling lineup for Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opeña’s Avengers last week with Dustin Weaver’s interlocking covers for the first three issues, it has remained tight-lipped about the roster of the companion title New Avengers. But did the publisher just give away part of the team with one of the new Marvel NOW! variants?

Among the covers debuted by Marvel Senior Vice President of Sales David Gabriel on the Diamond Comic Distributors retailer website is a new Baby variant by Skottie Young (above) featuring pint-sized versions of Black Bolt, Black Panther, Iron Man and Mister Fantastic. Decked out in his white Future Foundation costume, a displeased lil’ Reed says, “Seriosly [sic], guys? A simple memo on uniform colors would’ve been nice,” suggesting they are indeed part of a team. Of the four heroes, only Black Bolt — the ruler of the Inhumans whose voice can level cities — has never served as an Avenger.

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Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young team for children’s novel

HarperCollins Children’s Books announced this morning it has signed a five-book deal with bestselling author and comics writer Neil Gaiman that includes a collaboration with comic artist Skottie Young.

Publishers Weekly reports the agreement begins in January with Chu’s Day, the first of two pictures books about a little panda with an outsized sneeze illustrated by Adam Rex. The remaining books are Fortunately, the Milk, the middle-grade novel illustrated by Young and described as “an ode to the pleasure and wonders of storytelling itself,” a sequel to 2008’s Odd and the Frost Giants, and a third currently untitled book.

Dave McKean was at one point set to illustrate Fortunately, the Milk, which Gaiman referred to last fall 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.

Have a spare six grand? Skottie Young’s AvX cover art could be yours!

Skottie Young's Midtown Comics-exclusive cover art for "Avengers vs. X-Men" #1

If you’re a Marvel fan with a hefty tax refund burning a hole in your checking account, you may want to pay a visit to Skottie Young’s blog, where the artist has posted original art for his Midtown Comics-exclusive AvX Babies cover for Avengers vs. X-Men #1. The brush and ink art — two 11-inch by 17-inch Bristol boards taped together — can be yours for a cool $6,000.

And there was nothing left of the nursery but rubble

by Skottie Young

Artist Skottie Young makes our dreams come true with the above variant Avengers vs. X-Men #1 cover he created for New York retailer Midtown Comics. Their online site has it available for pre-order for $5.10, which isn’t a bad price for all that cuteness.

Skottie Young redesigns Labyrinth’s Goblin King

You remind me of the babe!

While we’re waiting for Skottie Young to show off his takes on more Bone characters, here’s Young’s interpretation of Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth. “As much as I love that movie,” he writes, “I do not have a ton of love for the David Bowie Goblin King […] It’s a bit dated. So today I played with that design a bit.”

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Young Bones in love

See what I did there? Skottie Young drew Fone Bone in a post titled “Bone Daily Sketch.”

I really want that title to mean that there are more Bone Daily Sketches coming, because in spite of Young’s statement that the character has “a style and design so solid that if anyone else touches it, they explode and it just looks like the original[…]there is no really making it your own,” I think he’s done just that. I agree that it’s super-rare though, which just shows how strong Young’s style is.

He does hint that “there are some other characters in [the Bone] universe that lend themselves to a bit more freedom,” so hopefully that means we’ll see Young’s versions of those too over the next few days.

Talking Comics with Tim | Ryan Stegman

Scarlet Spider

Say the name “Scarlet Spider” to a longtime Marvel reader and you’re bound to get a range of reactions. But come the new year, Marvel is hoping all the reactions will be positive and numerous when the new Scarlet Spider series launches on January11. As recently confirmed in Marvel’s Point One one-shot, the new Scarlet Spider is none other than Kaine, the Peter Parker clone recently cured during the Spider Island event. Unlike many of Marvel’s series set in New York, Scarlet Spider will enjoy the unique cityscape of Houston, Texas — one of many factors that has me looking forward to reading it. Before the series gets started though, series artist Ryan Stegman stepped away from his drawing table to take part in this Q&A. In addition to this interview, CBR also is offering a preview of the first issue. After reading this (and enjoying the preview), be sure to check out the recent installment of Comic Book Resources’ “Axel-in-Charge,” where Alonso interviewed Stegman.

Tim O’Shea: How did Marvel approach you about joining the Scarlet Spider creative team? Was getting to work with [series writer] Chris Yost a deciding factor in joining the project?

Ryan Stegman: I had been working on an issue of Amazing Spider-Man and I made it clear as I could to editorial that this is the type of stuff I wanted to be doing. I practically begged. And Steve Wacker said that he would love to have me back and but that ASM was booked up artist-wise for the foreseeable future. I couldn’t argue this, because the artists that they have are fantastic. So one day, out of the blue he called me up and told me about this idea and I was sold. No offense to Chris, but that wasn’t a selling point because I think I was hired before him! Chris turned out to be the icing on the cake.

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What Are You Reading? with Rik Offenberger

Green Lantern #3

Hey kids, it’s time once again for What Are You Reading?, a weekly look into the reading habits of your Robot 6 bloggers. This week our special guest is Rik Offenberger, comics journalist and public relations coordinator for Archie Comics.

To see what Rik and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Scott Morse and Skottie Young launch webcomic

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.

Skottie Young’s finding the end

Apocalypse Bunny

Regular visitors of Skottie Young’s blog have had a treat lately. Young has announced that’s he’s working on his own graphic novel (in addition to his other, current commitments) and he’s updating his progress in a series of extremely honest, self-reflective posts. There are a couple of things that make this different from other production blogs, a big one being that Young is already a beloved artist with a strong career and plenty of fans who follow it. Most production blogs – and I don’t mean anything negative by this, I promise – are publicity tools as much as anything else. Not that Young’s necessarily above wanting publicity, but the tone of his posts aren’t hyperbolic promotion. They’re educational, as much for Young as for any of his readers. Probably more so.

In his first post, he talked about motivation: Why he wants to create his own graphic novel and why he’s failed in previous attempts. The second post – the one that really got my attention – was more process-related. He wrote about his experience at Trickster in San Diego this year and how it gave him an idea for his next attempt. It’s not just a process-post though, it’s a beautifully told story with a twist ending that made my heart skip a beat when I finished it. He left Trickster with an idea for a cute, very Skottie Young-esque story about an apocalyptic rabbit. I would have bought it for the art and the hopes of some chuckles, but after playing with it for a while Young found the story turning into something else – something deeper –  that I can’t wait to read now.

His most recent post is about the writing process: a topic I find especially fascinating when discussed by people who are drawing their own material. Is it best to write a full script first? Just make it up as you go along? Or something in between? Young doesn’t suggest that there’s a one-size-fits-all answer for everyone, but the way he applies the question to himself – and particularly to his previous failures – is heart-warming and enlightening.

Skottie Young finds your lack of cute disturbing

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.

Comics A.M. | Four indicted in comic collector’s death


Legal | A Rochester, N.Y., businessman and the three men he allegedly hired to steal $40,000 worth of comics have been indicted on federal murder charges in connection with the death last summer of an elderly collector.

Authorities allege that Rico Vendetti hired Rochester residents Arlene Combs, Albert Parsons and Donald Griffin to break into the rural Medina home of Homer Marciniak, a 77-year-old retired janitor, on July 5 to steal his comic collection, described as “his pride and joy.” Police say the burglars entered the house in the pre-dawn hours after cutting the telephone line. When Marciniak awoke and surprised them, he was allegedly beaten and knocked to the floor. Although his injuries weren’t life-threatening, Marciniak died of a heart attack later that day. The four defendants face mandatory terms of life in prison if convicted. [The Buffalo News]

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Two Sc(k)otts, one sketch blog

Green Goblin by Scott Morse

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.

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