Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
On the first day of HeroesCon 2014, the 32nd edition of the Charlotte, North Carolina, comics convention founded and still run by Shelton Drum, I tried to cover a lot of ground in taking photographs. When possible I found out about the current or upcoming projects in the pipeline for the creators photographed.
There are challenging characters, and then there is Hello Kitty. She’s a familiar face, but nobody really knows anything about her. She doesn’t appear to have a backstory. She doesn’t even have a mouth. And here she is, starring in her own graphic novel.
Jacob Chabot is one of several creators behind the Hello Kitty graphic novels published by Perfect Square, Viz Media’s kids’ imprint. He’s an old Viz hand at this point, having illustrated two of the publisher’s Voltron graphic novels, and his other work includes stints at Marvel (including the X-Babies comics), SpongeBob SquarePants comics, and his two-volume all-ages graphic novel The Mighty Skullboy Army, which is truly laugh-out-loud funny for adults as well kids.
Not only is Hello Kitty the tabula rasa of comics characters, the stories are wordless as well, which presents a whole different set of challenges. We asked Jacob to let us in on some of the details of writing the Hello Kitty story — and check out our preview of Hello Kitty: Delicious! after the interview.
Building on the licensing agreement they already have with The Tranformers and G.I. Joe, it’s no surprise to learn that IDW Publishing will publish comics based on Hasbro’s My Little Pony toy line.
“My Little Pony is a highly successful brand and we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to extend the franchise through this collaboration with Hasbro,” IDW CEO and Publisher Ted Adams said in a press release. “We look forward to providing new stories for the fans and launching their favorite ponies into comic book form.”
“A MASSIVE kudos to Katie, as she suggested me for the art chores on the book,” Price said on his DeviantArt page. “We have great goodies planned, and for both of us this is a labor of love, as we are both Bronies
The series starts in November and will “stay true to its moral foundation, while providing themes and subject matter that older audiences can also appreciate,” according to the release. The series will feature covers by Jill Thompson, Stephanie Buscema and more.
In January, illustrator/cartoonist/artist Stephanie Buscema launched The Little Tales of Otto & Olive, a new all-ages webcomic as part of the Saturday Morning Webtoons site. Infused with her love of cats as well as a healthy appreciation of carnival sideshows (and carny kids), the quirky adventures of a young girl and a sophisticated talking feline caught my attention immediately. Buscema was kind enough to recently entertain a series of questions about this new project, as well as an upcoming collaboration with author Carolyn Crimi on Pugs in a Bug (Dial Books [set for release on March 15]) and a cover assignment for KaBOOM! Studios Adventure Time comics. I loved getting to gain some insight on Buscema’s approach to her craft–particularly the lessons learned from working with industry great Marie Severin.
Tim O’Shea: How did you come to be involved with Saturday Morning Webtoons?
Stephanie Buscema: I was approached by J. Torres about contributing to Saturday Morning Webtoons back in September. I loved idea, the work of everyone involved and jumped at the chance to play around with a new all ages comic.
J. Torres brings to our attention the premiere of Saturday Morning Webtoons, a new web “channel” linking readers to a lineup of all-ages webcomics from some familiar names: Boo Bear & Flo, by Jack Briglio (Digger & Friends, Scooby Doo) and Agnes Garbowska (Marvel’s Girl Comics, You, Me and Zombie); Gobukan, by J. Bone (Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Owl Magazine), The Little Tales of Otto & Olive, by Stephanie Buscema (Rocketeer Adventures, Pugs in a Bug); Orchard of Laughs, by Eric Orchard (Maddy Kettle, Yo Gabba Gabba: Comic Book Time); and Princess at Midnight, by Andi Watson (Glister, Skeleton Key).
In addition to the stable of weekly and biweekly comics, the site also offers each month a free downloadable comic; first up is Lopopo’s Lost Sock, by Alex Serra (Handy Manny, Teen Titans Go). Next will be Funnies Farm, by J. Torres (Archie & Friends, Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E) and Tracie Mauk (Comic Book Crossfire, Fight).
Rather than try to write a summary of my HeroesCon 2011 experience, I have opted this year to share as many photos as possible. My camera was out-of-commission yesterday so all photos were taken during the second day of the show (Saturday).
Darwyn Cooke was one of the headliners at Boston Comic Con this weekend, but he wasn’t the only Cooke in the convention center. Wife Marsha and niece Candis dropped in on his panel to announce a project of their own: Teenage Satan, a digital comic they are creating along with artist Stephanie Buscema (granddaughter of John). The trailer above was animated by Darwyn Cooke, who worked in animation before turning his hand to comics.
The comic, which includes games and music, is a lighthearted, teen-friendly cartoon about an “emo sparkle Satan.” Teenage Satan is the son of Lucifer and his wife, Jezebel, and because this is hell, he is making his father’s life miserable—wait, that sounds like real life! Actually, we know it’s hell because he is making his father miserable by wanting to be good. Lucifer and Jezebel have been homeschooling their little devil, but when he hits ninth grade they decide to send him to high school. So with no prior experience with human interaction, Teenage Satan suddenly has to deal with all the travails of high school, including being bullied and having a crush on a girl who only has eyes for another.
Teenage Satan can be accessed as an app, via the website, or “through one of our distribution partners,” Marsha Cooke said, which presumably means a digital distributor such as comiXology, iVerse, or Graphicly. It will launch in September and will update daily with a mix of comics, games (such as 666 sudoku) and other content. Interestingly, the comic has an end date—December 22, 2012.
The inspiration for Teenage Satan came at Dragon Con, Marsha Cooke said: “We were walking through Dragon Con, and there were kids with their phones, and I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe they are playing Angry Birds with phones at a comic con.'”
Editor’s Note: With the recent discussions going on around the comics community about creator-owned comics, we’re pleased to welcome one of the voices in those discussions, 30 Days of Night and Mystery Society creator Steve Niles, to Robot 6 for a series of columns on creator-owned comics. A big thanks to Steve for agreeing to do the column, as well as to artist Stephanie Buscema for creating a killer image for it.
by Steve Niles
Welcome to the first installment of my new column, Creator-Owned Spotlight. I tried to think up an amusing title, but then decided to just settle on what it was: a spotlight on creator-owned comics, publishers and retailers who support the need for more creator-owned books.
I guess the first order of business is to define what I mean when I say “creator-owned comics.” I’m talking about ANY book where the creator has ANY ownership in their book. So basically, if you sign a work-for-hire agreement, you don’t generally have ownership. It doesn’t make those books bad, or the enemy, or anything like that. We’re just not talking about them here.
Why am I doing this? I’ve been called insane for wanting to promote my competitors’ work. All I have to say to that is: it isn’t a competition. And yes, I am crazy. I’ve drawn a line in the sand for myself to be positive. I hope you’ll try, too.
First up is such an obvious choice; I really don’t need to write much at all. His name is synonymous with creator-owned books, because he’s one of creator-owned comics’ greatest success stories. He’s also a friend and hero of mine.