In the immortal words of that slowed-down Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson pizza-making video, when does a dream become a nightmare? This is the question addressed by justly celebrated young cartoonist Michael DeForge, in the context of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man no less, in his cheerfully unauthorized, thoroughly unpleasant Spider-Man comic “Peter’s Muscle,” which you can now read online in its entirety at Jordan Crane’s webcomics portal What Things Do. Spinning out of the infamous (and in-continuity!) relationship between Aunt May and Doctor Octopus, the story finds the Wall-Crawler recounting a disturbing dream that starts with finding a face underneath a membranous sidewalk and somehow only gets more uncomfortably intimate from there. With any luck, a full-color edition of this strip will anchor a future Strange Tales installment, but for now, this will more than suffice.
Did I miss any?
There’s a list of creators that in my estimation are not interviewed nearly enough, one such example is colorist Laura Allred. You can find several interviews with both Mike and Laura Allred together, but few rarely focus on Laura solely. So I recently crossed my fingers and shot off an email to Laura seeking to do an email interview. Much to my sheer delight, she was game for a discussion of her career as a colorist. Jamie S. Rich, long-time Allred associate and friend of Robot 6, was kind enough to share his perspective on Laura’s body of work, which helped me shape some of the topics covered in this exchange. Obviously, a huge thank you to Laura for giving so selflessly of her time. As someone who enjoyed Art Adams’ Monkeyman and O’Brien years ago, I plan to dig up my box with those issues, just to appreciate Laura’s work on it, given how highly she speaks of it in this interview.
Tim O’Shea: The life of a freelancer is never easy–and in your house, it’s extra challenging as both of you make a living either through one of the independent publishers or work through DC or Marvel. Granted at this point in your career, there is a certain brand and reputation that your work carries, still freelancing is a challenge even for successful folks as yourself. If you don’t mind me asking, how much has your faith served to buoy your spirits when the hardships of freelancing blindside you?
Laura Allred: It seems when we simply try to do our best in all our efforts, everything always seems to work out. We work hard, though Michael refuses to call it working, but we also try to make time for family and friends. So, I’ve found that my secret weapon for hardships is to just crack the whip and we get back on track. I’m only half kidding.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Beat are hosting a party in New York Saturday night featuring a wide array of guests who worked on Marvel’s Strange Tales anthologies, with proceeds benefiting the CBLDF. You can find complete details after the jump or in the above flyer by Paul Maybury.
Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
There are a lot of great periodicals coming out this week, so I’d have some hard choices to make. With only $15, I’d concentrate first on those with the cheapest prices: the first issue of Dark Horse’s new Mighty Samson ($3.50), Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #2 ($3.50), and Mouse Guard: Black Axe #1 ($3.50). I’m already a huge fan of both Atomic Robo and Mouse Guard and – based on its concept and vague memories of stories I read as a kid – hope to become one of Mighty Samson too. I’d spend the last of my money on Northern Guard #1, because I’m a sucker for Canadian superheroes.
If I had $30:
I’d add Doc Macabre #1 ($3.99), John Byrne’s Next Men #1 ($3.99), and Strange Tales 2 #3 ($4.99). “Doc Macabre” is an awesome name and I love Steve Niles’ pulp stuff, I’ve been waiting 16 years for that Next Men issue, and the Strange Tales book has a Kate Beaton story in which the Avengers go to a carnival. I’d pay five bucks just for Beaton’s deal, but it’s also got a Thing tale by Harvey Pekar (and yes, Harvey Pekar is in the story).
The third and final issue of Marvel’s Strange Tales II arrives in shops Dec. 8, and will feature stories by James Stokoe, Michael DeForge, Toby Cypress, Harvey Pekar and Ty Templeton, Nick Gurewitch with Kate Beaton, Eduardo Medeiros and Benjamin Marra, among others.
And thanks to our friends over at Marvel, we’re pleased to present two preview pages from the anthology today, featuring Stokoe’s Silver Surfer tale (who we alreayd know draws a jaw-dropping awesome Galactus), and DeForge’s Spider-Man, Jubilee and Iceman.
Check’em out after the jump.
For his contribution to the alt.superhero anthology Strange Tales II, artist Farel Dalrymple copied a page by John Buscema from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way — adding in his own words and integrating it into his Spider-man/Silver Surfer story. Over on his blog, the artist puts the two pages side by side, so you can see how they line up. Be sure to check out the really nice commissions he added to that post as well.
If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Food or Comics?, where every week some of the Robot 6 crew talk about what comics we’d buy if we were subject to certain spending limits — $15 and $30. We also talk about what we’d buy if we had extra money to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list to see what arrives in comic shops this week,then play along in our comments section.
I’m running behind and want to go vote, so I’ll try to make this quick:
If I had $15:
The Boys #48 ($3.99) and Godland #33 ($2.99) are the the two must buys for me this week, along with the 17th issue of Berlin ($4.95). It’s been awhile since Jason Lutes published a chapter in this now-decade-plus long serial set in pre-Nazi Germany. I’m just impressed that he’s still sticking to the serial pamphlet format while every other indie artist has abandoned it. Bully for you, Lutes.
And finally, here’s a look at a page from Super-Tron creator Sheldon Vella‘s heavy-metal Ghost Rider tale that will be featured in the upcoming second issue of Strange Tales II. Check it out in all its glory after the jump.
The book lands in shops next week and includes contributions by, among others, Paul Hornschemeier, David Heatley, Scott Richardson and Jaime Hernandez (who did the cover).
As promised, here’s another preview page from next week’s Strange Tales II #2, Marvel’s sequel to their indie/superhero mash-up anthology. This page features Colossus vs. Colossus (Colossi?) by Paul Hornschemeier (Mother, Come Home; The Three Paradoxes).
Check it out after the jump, then be back at 11 a.m. Pacific for one more!
Courtesy of our friends at Marvel Comics, we’ve got not one, not two, but three exclusive looks at next week’s Strange Tales II #2. First up, after the jump, check out a page from a Power Pack/Wolverine team-up story by David Heatley (My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down). Then come back at 9 a.m. Pacific for another one!
If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Food or Comics?, where every week some of the Robot 6 crew talk about what comics we’d buy if we were subject to certain spending limits — $15 and $30, as well as if we had extra money to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list to see what arrives in comic shops this week,then play along in our comments section.
If I had $15 to spend:
Strange Tales 2 #1 ($4.99)
House of Mystery Halloween Annual #2 ($4.99)
Two $5 anthologies that should be well worth the asking price. Strange Tales II, the sequel to Marvel’s indie cartoonist anthology from last year, features new stories by Rafael Grampa, Kate Beaton, Frank Santoro, Dash Shaw, Jeff Lemire, Kevin Huizenga, Jhonen Vasquez and many more. House of Mystery Halloween Annual #2, meanwhile, features stories by folks like
Mike Kaluta, Jill Thompson, Chris Roberson, Mike Allred, Matthew Sturges and Peter Milligan. Most notably, it has a new “Lucifer” story by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, which is the big draw for me personally.
Update: I received an advanced copy of this in the mail tonight, and saw that the Madame Xanadu story isn’t actually by Mike Kaluta and Jill Thompson, as was noted in the above-linked CBR story. No, the Madame Xanadu story is actually by Matt Wagner and Brandon Graham. And it is pretty awesome.
The artist Rafael Grampá first came to my attention through Gunned Down, a 2005 small-press anthology of Western stories done largely by South American creators. Joining him were then-unknowns Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Although the book didn’t sell well, flipping through it I realized I was holding something special. Moon and Bá rose to fame pretty quickly with works at AiT-PlanetLar, their self-published projects, and comics at Dark Horse and Vertigo. But Grampá’s work was few and far between.
With the release of the anthology 5 in 2007 and his first solo work Mesmo Delivery in 2008, American comics audiences got their first real taste of what Grampá could do. Vertigo hired him to contribute to a milestone issue of Hellblazer; Marvel, with a milestone issue of Daredevil; Dark Horse reprinted the sold-out Mesmo Delivery, which goes for over $125 new at Amazon. Recently Marvel put him as the lead feature in the second volume of Strange Tales, and Dark Horse contracted him for his second standalone graphic novel.
His work evokes easy comparisons to Geoff Darrow, but deeper analysis shows an appreciation for detail, not for detail’s sake, but to add flavor and weight to the scene he depicts in a panel, a pin-up or a cover. Rather than just drawing to tell you where someone is and what they’re doing, Rafael’s illustrative line adds texture, tone, mood and atmosphere — and that’s before a colorist touches the page. Although well-known by some in the industry, by and large the mainstream comics public doesn’t know the full scope of what the artist is — or could be. Maybe this interview will help.
Well, I certainly never thought I’d get to see what Ivan Brunetti‘s Nova would look like, but there you have it: This overpoweringly adorable cover for Strange Tales II #3 comes from the pen of the altcomix lifer himself. Those of you who are unfamiliar with Brunetti’s career might think otherwise, but anyone who’s read Haw! can tell you that this is the best evidence yet that Disney isn’t overseeing Marvel’s hiring decisions.
Our own Sean T. Collins interviewed Cold Heat creator Frank Santoro about his story in the upcoming sequel to Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology for Marvel.com, and with it came the above artwork. As you can see, Santoro did an airbrushed Silver Surfer story, which is included in the book’s first issue, due in shops Oct. 6.