This has been a year of ups and downs for Dean Haspiel.
He’s riding high after last week’s win at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. He, along with the crew of the HBO series Bored To Death, won for outstanding main title design, and Haspiel returned to his native New York City to continue the promotional blitz for his upcoming graphic novel Cuba: My Revolution with artist and family friend Inverna Lockpez. He just had a short feature published in Marvel’s Deadpool #1000 and has more work on the way for the House of Ideas. But this was also the year his friend and longtime collaborator Harvey Pekar passed away.
Throughout it all, Haspiel has become one of the strongest independent voices of comics (or “comix,” as he would say). His years of networking and socializing in the New York City comics scene came to fruition in 2006 with the inception of the ACT-I-VATE collective, resulting in several series making the jump from web to print in IDW Publishing’s ACT-I-VATE Primer. He continues to be a driving force in webcomics, with the third installment of his semi-autobiographical series Street Code just out from Zuda‘s newly transplanted home on Apple’s mobile-phone platform.
Today, he has a girlfriend, a studio full of friends dubbed DEEP6, a Sept. 15 signing at Midtown Comics, and new work appearing later this month in the second season of Bored To Death. On a recent morning, I talked to Dean by phone before he rode his bike to his nearby studio.
It isn’t often you’ll find a link from the Fantagraphics blog to Marvel.com, but the two seem to intersect squarely at Marvel’s Strange Tales II project. We’ve seen Rafael Grampa’s cover to the first issue, which was revealed back when the project was announced, and now Marvel has revealed the cover to issue #2, by Jaime Hernandez — who also has a story in that issue. Watch for it in November.
With the announcement that a Strange Tales sequel is in the works from Marvel, some of the creators are starting to talk about their contributions. We already heard from Gene Yang and Rafael Grampá, who are respectively working on tales starring Frog Man and Wolverine. And now Dean Haspiel reveals he’s bringing Woodgod out of the moth balls for a new story.
“I performed a creative séance and summoned the spirit of Jack Kirby, whose only association to Woodgod was his cover contribution to the origin issue,” Haspiel writes on his LiveJournal. “Perhaps foolishly, I decided to attempt the impossible and make Woodgod honorable. My personal challenge was to banish Woodgod from the bad character idea drawer, pay homage to my favorite Marvel anthology, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE [which featured my favorite Marvel character, The Thing], and high-five Jack Kirby. This fall, Marvel will publish the results and fans will decide if I prevailed.”
With the announcement in San Diego that Strange Tales II is definitely on the way from Marvel, some of the creators are starting to talk about their contributions. Over on his blog, Eisner winner Gene Luen Yang says he’ll be working on a Frog Man story.
Strange days indeed! At today’s Mondo Marvel panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel officially announced the October launch Strange Tales II. Like the original Strange Tales anthology, the sequel will be three giant-sized issues’ worth of alternative, underground, indie, and web cartoonists putting their stamp on Marvel’s characters. The line-up this time around includes Alex Robinson, Dash Shaw, David Heatley, Dean Haspiel, Edu Medeiros, Farel Dalrymple, Frank Santoro, Gene Yang, Gilbert Hernandez, Harvey Pekar, Jaime Hernandez, Jeff Lemire, Jeffrey Brown, Jhonen Vasquez, Jillian Tamaki, Jon Vermilyea, Kate Beaton, Nick Gurewitch, Paul Hornschemeier, Paul Maybury, Rafael Grampa (that’s his cover above), Shannon Wheeler, Terry Moore, Tim Hamilton, Tony Millionaire, and the proverbial “and more.”
UPDATE: Just added to the roster: Benjamin Marra, Sheldon Vella, and Ty Templeton. Dang!
Paul Hornschemeier shares some preliminary art for his story in the upcoming Strange Tales sequel. “I can now authoritatively say that drawing Colossus beating the snot out of Colossus (or is it the other way around?) is a good time,” he said.
A sequel to Marvel’s surprise-hit alternative-superhero anthology Strange Tales has long been rumored, and now a post at cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier’s blog reveals the truth: Strange Tales 2 is on its way. No official word on when it’ll arrive, or on who else will be joining the anthology this time out, but based on what The Perry Bible Fellowship‘s Nick Gurewitch has said about a Galactus strip he’s working on, and this table of contents from Jeffrey Brown’s Process minicomic boasting the inclusion of Strange Tales sketches, they seem to be likely candidates. Meanwhile, I’ve heard tell that Becky Cloonan and Michael Kupperman will be making their triumphant returns to the project. Stay tuned!
This interview with Perry Bible Fellowship creator and Strange Tales contributor Nick Gurewitch by our own Sean T. Collins is a fun read for many reasons, one of which is the fact that Gurewitch has a couple pieces of news for fans of his work.
First, he reveals that despite a long delay since we last saw one, he has more PBF strips in the works. “And for the record, I haven’t put PBF to bed–I just haven’t had time to do any more comics. I’ve got some that I’ve got poised and ready to go,” he told Collins.
Second, he’s also working on some additional strips for Marvel. “I wanted to do a Galactus strip, but I think I’m a little behind schedule. I have to give Jody a call and see if it’s okay if I get an extension,” he said, later adding, “I’m gonna have Galactus recruit Magneto for what appears to be a heraldship, but I think it might end with Magneto being placed on a fridge, maybe holding up Galactus’s kid’s report card. I gotta finish it.”
He also talks about working with the BBC on an animated project, Bono and more. Go check it out.
I’m filling in for Kevin on our daily roundup of news items, so my apologies for the lateness and any dip in quality in today’s edition. –JK
Conventions | The 36th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival starts today in France, running through Jan. 31. NBM’s Terry Nantier is on the ground and blogging from it, while Bart Beaty has kicked off his usual thorough coverage at the Comics Reporter. [Angoulême International Comics Festival]
Legal | An Australian man has pleaded guilty to downloading “graphic cartoon porn images” featuring child characters from The Simpsons, The Powerpuff Girls and The Incredibles. Kurt James Milner, 28, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, but it was “wholly suspended” for five years.
“The 28-year-old is now a registered sex offender and will have to report to police after pleading guilty in Ipswich District Court to having the bizarre images on his computer,” the Queensland Times reports. [Queensland Times]
I’m a great admirer of Matt Kindt‘s work. Honestly, I’m an even bigger admirer of Kindt’s ingenious nature. Case in point, for his latest book, 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man (published by Dark Horse and released in late September), he has developed a Giant Man Mini Comic – Spy Capsule and Giant-Man 3-D Postcards. Before we get into our email interview about 3 Story, I have to reiterate what I said in last week’s What Are You Reading that (in addition to checking out Kindt’s latest work, of course) you should pick up Strange Tales 2 (featuring Kindt’s Black Widow tale). Here’s a bit of Dark Horse’s background on the tale (before stepping into the interview): “Craig Pressgang’s life is well documented in his official CIA biography, Giant Man: Pillar of America, but the heroic picture it paints is only half the story. The continuous growth caused by Craig’s strange medical condition brings a variety of problems as he becomes more isolated and unknowable. Told in three eras by three women with unique relationships with Craig, 3 Story follows his sad life from his birth to the present.” Be sure to visit the Dark Horse site for a seven-page sample of the book.
Tim O’Shea: A three-fold question of sorts (pun intended): Which came first, the idea to build your latest book as three stories in one, or the fact that the lead character was three stories tall in height or that you wanted to tell the story from the perspective of three women?
Matt Kindt: I wanted to tell the story from three different generations’ perspective — that was first. Then the idea for the title. I’m usually terrible with titles. It takes me forever to come up with something and then I usually go back to the working title anyway. Super Spy started out as my jokey working title and then it grew on me so I just left it. A friend accused me of naming it 3 Story so it would be filed on the bookshelf next to my other book 2 Sisters — completely unintentional. But I’m thinking my next book might be called “4 Shadows”. (kidding)
Matt Kindt shares some sketches on his blog for a new Super Spy project he’s working on. He’s been a busy guy, as he’s also doing a new book with Cullen Bunn and Shawn Lee called The Tooth, he’s about to start drawing a book called Super Natural plus he has the graphic novel Revolver coming out from Vertigo next year. You can also find a Black Widow story by Kindt in Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology.
Yesterday we learned that Becky Cloonan is one of several creators contributing to the third issue of Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology, and over on her blog she reveals she’ll be doing a four-page tale featuring the Sub-Mariner — a tale she wrote, drew, colored and lettered.