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Food or Comics? | Granola or Grandville

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.

Grandville: Bete Noir

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I’d go with Megaskull, a collection of short, extremely politically incorrect comics by British cartoonist Kyle Platts. Platts is working a similar vein of humor to Johnny Ryan in his Angry Youth Comics days, so those easily offended by jokes about, say, abortion should probably stay away. Those who still own a copy of Truly Tasteless Jokes will want to check this out though.

If I had $30, I’d ignore Megaskull and go with what would pick of the week for me: Grandville: Bete Noire, the third entry in Bryan Talbot’s excellent, ongoing funny-animal detective series, this time finding Inspector LeBrock tracking down an assassin in the city’s art scene. Talbot’s blood-soaked blend of noir, satire, mystery and, um, furry antics might seem a bit odd at first glance but it proves to be an intoxicating and engrossing blend.

Splurge: Grendel Omnibus, Vol. 2 collects one of the most interesting runs starring Matt Wagner’s titular killer, largely due to the art work of the Pander Brothers. I’ve never had the chance to really sit down with this material beyond the occasional five-minute glance, so mayhap this is my chance to dive in.

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What Are You Reading? with Tyler James

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve been perusing of late. Our guest today is Tyler James (@tylerjamescomic), the publisher of ComixTribe, which is both an online resources for comic creators and a new creator-owned imprint. Tyler is also the writer of the superhero murder mystery The Red Ten, which goes on sale Dec. 19, and the organizer of the annual 30 Characters Challenge, in which writers and artists attempt to create 30 characters in just 30 days, one for every day in November (it’s under way now at 30characters.com).

Here’s what Tyler and the Robot 6 crew are reading this week:

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Previews: What Looks Good for January

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1

Graeme McMillan

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 (of 12): I’m a sucker for Doctor Who, I think I’ve said that before, right …? No surprise, then, that I’m very much looking forward to this year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BBC science-fiction show, with each issue spotlighting a different incarnation of the character. That Simon Fraser is providing art helps a lot, too; I’ve been a big fan of his “Nikolai Dante” work for 2000AD for a while. (IDW Publishing, $3.99)

One Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts hardcover: Speaking of things that I’m a big fan of, Paul Pope easily fits that bill, so this enhanced reprint of his Dark Horse graphic novel — with more than 150 pages of rare and unseen work from the same period, including his Supertrouble manga — is far too tempting to pass up. (Image Comics, $29.99)

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 (of 4): I was very impressed with Star Trek: Countdown back in 2009, and the way it teased the then-upcoming J.J. Abrams reboot without giving too much away, so I’m looking forward to see if this prologue to this summer’s sequel is just as fun. (IDW, $3.99)

Star Wars #1: Brian Wood and Star Wars feel like an odd pairing in my head, but everything I’ve read about this new ongoing series set after the first movie (which is to say, Episode IV these days) seems completely up my alley, and the 5-year-old within me is completely sold on the chance to see more stories set in the “true” Star Wars era. (Dark Horse, $3.50)

Young Avengers #1: Kieron GIllen and Jamie McKelvie pairing on anything is pretty much a must-read for me, but seeing them let loose on Marvel’s teen characters and seemingly determined to make them actually seem like teenagers. … Yeah, this looks like it may be one of my favorite superhero books in quite some time, I suspect. (Marvel, $2.99)

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Isabel Samaras makes yesterday better with characters of today

“Pop surrealist” painter Isabel Samaras‘ solo exhibit “Making a Better Yesterday Today” opened Saturday at San Francisco’s Varnish Fine Art. The show features her interpretations of classic art with pop culture characters like Batman, Wonder Woman and the Planet of the Apes. She talks about it a bit on her blog where she describes how the exhibit uses QR technology to offer guests an artist’s commentary on the show:

If you have a smartphone with a QR (Quick Response) Reader App, you can listen to me yap a bit about each of the new paintings. Just scan the code on the wall by each piece and you’ll hear real actual thoughts that came out of my real actual head via my mouth.

Hit the jump to see a few samples of the paintings, then visit Varnish Fine Art’s site to see even more before joining me in lamenting that you don’t live in San Francisco. Unless of course you do live in San Francisco, in which case – by all means – rub it in.

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What Are You Reading? with Salgood Sam

Tale of Sand

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Salgood Sam, who has just relaunched his independent personal anthology series Revolver. He is also completing the last chapter of a graphic novel called Dream Life after a successful Indiegogo funding drive to finance it. He also publishes the Canadian-centric comics blog Sequential. As he told me, he “usually has too many projects going on and does not get enough sleep.”

To see what Salgood Sam and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Good Gorn Almighty: Dusty Abell’s amazing Star Trek: TOS tribute


The first time I came across the work of Dusty Abell was in 1991, when he was tasked as the artist to bring some Silver-Age brightness into the gloomy dystopia of the Keith Giffen/Tom & Mary Bierbaum-era of the Legion of Super-Heroes. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t worked regularly in comics for more than a decade, and these days mainly plies his trade as a character designer for television animation, working on King of the Hill, Ben 10 and Young Justice, among others. He does, however, occasionally post incredibly detailed labors of love at his deviantART page, such as his heavily-blogged Saturday Morning Action Adventure TV and SciFi Heroes of the ’70s pieces from a few years back.

It’s taken a while, but he’s followed those pieces up with Star Trek: The Original Series, attempting to include “at least one, sometimes more, character, entity, starship or structure from every episode of the original series, 80 in all including the pilot, in this piece”. Thankfully, for us less-committed Trekkers, he’s also included a key.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Living long, prospering

Mmmm ... Jerome K. Moore drawing Star Trek ....

Because we live in an age of reboots, revamps, retcons and relaunches, by now we know the issues involved. Mostly they boil down to a balancing test: How faithful is the new material to the established work, and how compelling is it otherwise?

Of course, corporate-controlled superhero comics have had more than their share of reboots, revamps, retcons and relaunches, in all shapes and sizes, going back at least as far as the first Superboy stories. I’m not here today to dissect any particular one. Instead, the calendar gives me the chance to talk about one of the most successful sequel series in sci-fi history.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (It aired on different days in syndication, so I saw it first on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1987.) For many fans, TNG was the gateway into an ever-expanding 24th century. Three more sequel/spinoff series followed, as well as four movies featuring the TNG cast, such that the saga of Jean-Luc Picard and his intrepid crew spanned 15 years, including seven TV seasons.

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What Are You Reading? with Caleb Goellner

Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our guest today is Caleb Goellner, pug lover and senior editor of ComicsAlliance.

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

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Comics A.M. | Kodansha’s Attack on Titan tops 9 million in Japan

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Publishing | Kodansha’s Attack on Titan, the action-fantasy manga by Hajime Isayama, has sold more than 9 million copies in Japan, according to the Sports Nippon newspaper. The eighth volume was released last week in Japan; Kodansha USA will publish the second volume next month in North America. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | Alex Zalben pays a visit to the Valiant offices and talks shop with editor Warren Simons: “Asking whether the idea was to set these up so that you can go right to TV, video games, or other properties, Simons strongly denies that was behind the relaunch. ‘I think you have guys who really love comic books,’ said Simons. ‘I’m just interested in publishing comic books. Obviously in this space, in this day and age you want to pay attention to everything – just like everyone does. But I think it all derives from publishing … [The publishers] just wanted to read comics about the characters that they loved growing up!'” [MTV Geek]

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SDCC ’12 | Frank Cho’s ‘Brandy in Space’ print

The cast of Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows is ready for Comic-Con International in typical cheesecake fashion, as the crew sports the outfits of a certain popular science-fiction franchise from the 1960s.

“It was interesting to see all the details on the costumes and the props while studying the reference photos,” Cho wrote on his blog. “I couldn’t believe how simple and crude the captain’s chair was. I just cracked up looking at all the 1960’s beehive hair-dos on the female cast. Talk about walking down memory lane. Despite the shoe-string budget and the dated look, Star Trek still told great emotional and entertaining stories. And this print is my nod to that great classic show. Live Long and Prosper.”

Colored by Brandon Peterson, the print is limited to 250 copies and costs $20. It’s available at booth #4907, the Big Wow Art booth.

George Takei beaming into Riverdale for Kevin Keller #6 (Oh, my!)

Star Trek alum, and gay-rights activist, George Takei is set to guest star early next year in Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller #6.

According to BuzzFeed, cartoonist Dan Parent met the actor at a comic convention, where he pitched him the idea of the cameo so Kevin, Riverdale’s first gay resident, could meet his hero. Takei was thrilled.

Although Archie Comics has traditionally opted for cameos by parodies of celebrities over actual celebrities, the publisher brought President Barack Obama and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Riverdale in 2010. (Another notable, and downright odd, exception was minor ’80s child actor Glenn Scarpelli — son of Archie cartoonist Henry Scarpelli — who appeared in a handful of shorts, where he rubbed elbows with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Brooke Shields, Boy George, Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen. Seriously.)

Takei, who’s best known for playing Sulu on the original Star Trek series and in six movies, revealed he’s gay in a 2005 magazine interview. He married his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008, and has been vocal on issues of marriage equality, homophobia and bullying.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Accept no Super-substitutes

They realized too late they were on the wrong end of an Action #1 homage

Different interpretations aren’t a problem for Batman, who’s taken on everything from Adam West and Bat-Mite to Frank Miller and Kelley Jones. Same goes for Wonder Woman (the original Marston/Peter crusader, Gail Simone’s steely warrior, and the current Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang monster-killer) and Aquaman (Ramona Fradon, Jim Aparo, Peter David). Likewise, each new Robin, Flash and Green Lantern puts a different spin on the core concept.

And yet, among all the elasticity of DC’s superhero line, Superman stands out as somewhat inflexible. More and more I am becoming convinced that there can be only one valid interpretation of Superman. That interpretation might work for a variety of storytelling styles, but the character at its core must fundamentally be the same.

For starters, let’s run down the list of everything the main-line Superman — the character, not necessarily the stories in which he appears — is not. Superman is not arrogant, manipulative, cruel, boastful … well, you get the idea. I’m not rewording 1 Corinthians 13 here, but that’s not a bad place to start when thinking about Superman’s motivations. “Love never fails,” begins the New International Version translation of verse 8, and that’s pretty much the idealist at the heart of Superman, isn’t it? Superman never fails, not because of invulnerability or super-strength or heat vision, but because his indomitable faith in the goodness of humanity keeps him going.

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What Are You Reading? with Thomas Hall

Milk & Cheese

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we share what comics, books and other good stuff we’ve been checking out lately. This week our special guest is Thomas Hall, writer of the science fiction/fantasy comic Robot 13.

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

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Previews: What Looks Good for March

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.

One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.

Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Abrams Comicarts

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]

Abstract Studios

Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]

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Captain Kirk is a jerk: New Star Trek parody comic boldly goes there

Although it originated on the television air waves, Star Trek has boldy gone to a number of mediums, including comics. But this new voyage is taking it in a more harrowing — and humorous — direction.

Writer Kevin Church and artist Ming Doyle recently kicked off a Star Trek parody webcomic titled Boldly Gone, centers on a lesser-known Starfleet vessel, the U.S.S Mandela, during the time of the original Star Trek series. Following up from their previous series The Loneliest Astronauts, Church and Doyle’s new work sees Captain Paul Meredith writhing and griping in the shadow of the illustrious James T. Kirk. Remember how Shatner vamped so much during the TV show? Imagine how other captains would feel about that. Here’s a sample:

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