Publishing | What begins as a profile of Australian publisher Gestalt Comics dovetails into a brief snapshot of the country’s comics industry — or, perhaps, “industry.” “There are publishers like Milk Shadow Books and Black House Comics, I think we all help to create the impression of there being an Australian industry,” says Gestalt co-founder Wolfgang Bylsma, “but I don’t think we’re established enough to call it an industry yet. There are very few people who are working full time in comics in Australia.” [artsHub]
Creators | Jamie Hewlett chats about art, influences, Gorillaz and whether he might considering returning to comics: “Would I go back to doing comics? I dunno, maybe. It’s a lot of work drawing a comic. [Laughs.] And, you know, I did 10 years of drawing comics, and I really enjoyed it, but I’m kind of keen to try other things that I haven’t done. But I was talking with Alan [Martin] about the possibility of doing something in a comic form together. We haven’t agreed upon anything yet. It’s just a conversation. I’d love to work with Alan again. I really like Alan; he’s really cool.” [Consequence of Sound]
Tank Girl returned to shelves on Wednesday in the form of Solid State Tank Girl #1 from Titan Comics. Perhaps coincidentally, but probably not, the artists at Ashcan Allstars have been celebrating Tank Girl week.
There’s some good work there — Tank Girl is a hard character to get right, tonally. Alan Martin’s signature character may have inspired a generation of Suicide Girls, but it’s hard to find an instance in her comics where her sexiness is ever being used in an exploitative fashion. Sure, there’s loads of gratuitous female and male nudity in the back catalog, but it’s almost certainly there for comedic reasons rather than titillation. So any artist attempting to draw the character as a straight-up cheesecake pin-up is completely missing the point. By and large, the Allstars have mainly got it right, but I’ll let you be your own judge of who’s been successful and who hasn’t — there’s a gallery of examples after the break.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While some of you will be taking full advantage of the three-day Memorial Day Weekend by enjoying a summer blockbuster, a barbecue or the first dip of the year in the outdoor pool, others will be heading to the Phoenix Convention Center for the 13th annual Phoenix Comicon.
But while everyone else is packing their bags, and stocking up on sunscreen, ROBOT 6′s contributors are busy spotlighting some of the best books going on sale Wednesday.
This week, your favorite U.K. comic shops and online retailers should have received Everybody Loves Tank Girl, the latest volume in the ongoing saga of everyone’s favorite kangaroo-lovin’ chaos magnet (it will arrive in the United States next week). Since co-creator Alan Martin brought the character back in 2007, she’s been drawn by a succession of amazing artists: Ashley Wood, Rufus Dayglo and the elusive, legendary Mick McMahon. For this book, Martin has teamed with the great Jim Mahfood, marking the first time the U.K. comics icon has been drawn by an American.
Mahfood has made no secret of his love for Tank Girl, and he has clearly relished the opportunity to draw her and her extended cast of violence-loving misfits, producing some of the best work of his career. ROBOT 6 sat down with Martin to discuss this project and its unique origins, Tank Girl’s ongoing momentum, and the rumors that he is again working with the character’s co-creator Jamie Hewlett, still the only comic book artist in living memory to have ever quit the business to become a bona fide international pop star.
We followed along as Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin sought out a new artist before at last finding one in Warwick Johnson Cadwell. Now Titan Comics has announced in May it will debut their first collaboration, Solid State Tank Girl.
The four-issue series, which pits the title character against her “nastiest nemesis,” starts out simply enough, with Tank Girl, Jet Girl, Booga and Barney on a mission to save their favorite radio store: “But somewhere along the line Booga manages to electronically summon the gang’s evil counterparts, fronted by the darkest bitch on the planet – ANTI-TANK GIRL! The fight is to the death, as each gang member draws on their deepest, most screwed-up powers to eliminate their own personal nemesis. Things are about to get very dark, very bloody… and very stupid!”
The announcement arrives a week after the United Kingdom’s Titan Publishing announced the launch of Titan Comics, an imprint devoted to original creator-owned comics and new and classic graphic novels (among them, Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier and P.J. Holden, and Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol by Stuart Jennett). That was quickly followed by news that Titan has teamed with Dave Elliott to revive the Atomeka Press line and the well-regarded anthology A1.
“The new Titan Comics imprint is all about taking a chance on new creators and new talent,” Steve White, Titan’s senior comics editor, said in a statement, “and pairing Warwick’s street-art energy to Alan’s potty-mouthed imagination has refreshed Tank Girl once again. The results are blindingly good!”
Solid State Tank Girl #1 arrives in print and digital editions May 15. Read the full announcement below.
Publishing | DC Comics may no longer hold the rights to create new stories about The Spirit and other pulp heroes like Doc Savage and The Avenger, but it does retain the license to publish The Spirit Archives for “the foreseeable future,” according to Denis Kitchen, agent for the Will Eisner estate. Most of the hardcover collections are out of print. [The Beat]
Digital comics | Third time’s the charm for retailer Steve Bennett, as he goes through three different tablets (one was stolen, one malfunctioned) on his way to the ideal digital comics experience. [ICv2]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon kicks off his annual round of holiday interviews with a lengthy conversation with Alison Bechdel, creator of Fun Home and Are You My Mother? [The Comics Reporter]
German artist Uwe De Witt draws mainstream comics characters in an expressionistic but commercial style. He’s clearly a fan of the comics from the schools of Ben Templesmith, Bill Sienkiewicz and Simon Bisley. As well as publishing new images of Spawn every Monday, he regularly posts pastiches of old album art with comic book characters inserted into them. Some work better than others, when the original cover image and character choice make sense together, or as a visual pun: other times it’s just drawing bloomin’ X-Force for its own sake, really. But when it works, it really works. More examples below. (via Dangerous Minds)
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.
If I had $15, I’d spend the first $3.99 on the first issue of 47 Ronin, a retelling of a Japanese legend written by Mike Richardson and illustrated by Stan Sakai. I saw a preview of this and it looks phenomenal. Next up is my favorite soap opera, Life With Archie #24 ($3.99), in which Moose contemplates running for the Senate and The Archies reunite. This comic is consistently well written and the stories really drag me in. I’ll slap down another $3.99 for Popeye #7, because I’m a Roger Langridge fan. And because I love a bargain, I’ll finish up with Freelancers #1, a new series from BOOM! Studios that looks kinda fun — and hey, there’s a variant cover by Felipe Smith, one of my favorite manga artists.
If I had $30, I’d revert to my childhood and pick up the Doctor Who Annual ($12.99) from Penguin. When I was a kid, the British comics annuals were the high point of the holidays, and I’m pretty sure I have a vintage Doctor Who one tucked away somewhere. It’s probably aimed at kids but that just means I can share it with my nephew and nieces.
The splurge item to get this week is the new box set of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. This is Miyazaki’s longest manga by far, and the story continues after the movie ends. It’s going to be the same large format as Viz’s earlier box set, but the seven volumes are being bound as two this time. It’s $60, but I noticed Amazon is offering a steep discount, so I’ll add another splurge: Nickolai Dante: Sympathy for the Devil ($29.99), a story that ran in 2000AD. I saw artist Simon Fraser describe it at NYCC this way: “Nikolai Dante is a swashbuckling hero from the far, far future, the year 2666, where he is alternately working for and against the czar, and for his own family and against his family, and in the meantime trying to get as drunk and screw as many women as he possibly can.” Sold!
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where every week we talk about the comics, books and other stuff topping our reading list. Our special guest today is Rafer Roberts, creator of Plastic Farm–”The strange, terrifying, and hilarious story of Chester Carter’s messianic journey through madness and self-loathing.” Roberts is currently raising money for the second volume on Kickstarter.
To see what he’s been reading, along with the Robot 6 crew, click below …
Alan Martin has posted this short and sweet update to the Tank Girl Facebook page:
“TANK GIRL + WARWICK JOHNSON CADWELL = THE BEST COMIC OF 2013!!!”
Warwick Johnson Cadwell is, of course, the nicest man in the U.K. comics community, so this announcement has been met with no little jubilation from his friends on Twitter and Facebook. Here are some exclusive pieces sent along by Martin and WJC, the tryout art that secured him the gig. Dig that Gatchaman helmet.
Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin is on the hunt for a new collaborator to draw the Australian anarchist’s story. Comics luminaries such as Jamie Hewlett, Philip Bond, Ashley Wood and Jim Mahfood have done stints on Tank Girl, and an army of up-and-coming and established artists are hoping to follow in their footsteps. One of those artists who submitted work is James Harvey, and he just received news on how his samples went over with Martin.
“Sadly, I didn’t get it,” Harveyi wrote n a Tumblr post. “Alan said he couldn’t see his character in my drawings, and I guess he knows what he’s looking at. I’m going to post all the drawings I did on here so you can see what my Tank Girl might have looked like.”
Although fans won’t get to see Harvey’s Tank Girl in print, here is a selection of some of the art he submitted. Let us know what you think!
Rufus Dayglo, the artist known for his work on 2000AD, Tank Girl and the upcoming Solid Gold Death Mask, opened up his studio over the weekend as part of his local Hackney Wicked culture festival. He’s posted an account of the ensuing chaos, and a comprehensive gallery of the goings-on, at his blog. This is obviously an experiment worth replicating around the world. It doesn’t hurt that Dayglo’s workplace is a treasure trove of art, toys, props and other cool stuff. Looks like we should get him to take part in Shelf Porn some Saturday. Also: Thank goodness he parked his bike outside for once.
By now, everyone’s bound to have seen Matt Fraction’s Fantastic Four Tumblr, yeah? The writer is publicly working out his background reading for taking over the comic those of us of a certain age still see as Marvel’s flagship, and it’s highly entertaining. My favorite of all the panels Fraction has flagged up so far has been the one above, which you could imagine being slapped around town on a sticker by Shepard Fairey. Andre the giant has a posse, and it includes Professor X. Much more art, including work by Dan Quintana, Ian McQue, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and Tim Hamilton, below.
Alan Martin has posted on Facebook an open call for submissions in hopes of finding a new artist for his next Tank Girl project. Cue storm of Tumblr and DeviantArt links. He writes:
This is a call out to ARTISTS. In the coming months there will be an opportunity for someone to work on a new Tank Girl project. The budget won’t be huge, so I’m looking for an up-and-coming artist who is looking to break into the business, or an established artist who has always dreamed of working on Tank Girl(!). I’m looking for a comicbook artist that can deliver professionally finished, sequential, full-colour artwork and who also has a great grasp of the character. If this is you, or you know someone who fits the bill, please reply in this thread and post a sample of artwork on this page. I will be refraining from commenting on any individual submissions, as this is not a competition or a critique, so please don’t be offended at the lack of feedback. Many thanks in advance, and I look forward to seeing what’s out there! Alan XXX
Martin has had remarkable luck in finding collaborators over the years — Jamie Hewlett, Glynn Dillon, Ashley Wood, Rufus Dayglo, Mick McMahon, Jim Mahfood … Here’s hoping the next Tank Girl artist isn’t too intimidated at the prospect of filling those gigantic army-surplus boots. And how about a female cartoonist stepping up to the plate? Wouldn’t that make a certain sense?
The anthology Ink + Paper is about to release its second issue, and again has a cracking line-up of contributors, including assorted U.K. graphic novelists, cartoonists and children’s book illustrators. I’ll be getting this, if just for the strip by Will Morris, whose The Silver Darlings will be out soon from Blank Slate, and which I’m anticipating eagerly.
Below: Dredd, Tank Girl, another NSFW Jamie Hewlett watercolor, and more Continue Reading »