Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
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.
In three short years, Image Comics has turned Image Expo into the first big comics event of the year. Interest in the publisher’s announcements has reached the point where I wish there were live-streaming video of the presentation. Maybe next year. For now, we have to settle with live coverage, which was still pretty fun. Image Expo didn’t disappoint: It seemed as if every title announced caught my interest. There are a few that stand out, however, so here are my Top 5 picks of the announcements that went above and beyond.
1. Image signs Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to a five-year exclusive contract
The acclaimed collaborators have a perpetual green light at Image to do whatever they want for the next five years. That’s a big vote of confidence, and a real commitment to support Brubaker and Phillips. It must be quite a relief for them to not have to worry about crafting the perfect pitch and convincing someone to believe in their story. They just get to create. It’s an exciting arrangement, and one I hope will serve as a pilot program for others equally worthy.
Adding to such recent revivals as Strange Adventures, Ghosts and Young Romance, Vertigo will publish the science-fiction anthology Time Warp #1 in March. Although the announcement at MTV Geek doesn’t specify that the title is a one-shot, all of the previous ones have been.
The issue will feature stories by the likes of Damon Lindelof, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, Dan Abnett, Peter Milligan, Ray Fawkes, Simon Spurrier, Gail Simone, Rafael Albuquerque and Tom Fowler, with covers by Eduardo Risso (in full below) and Jae Lee.
Time Warp doesn’t have quite the august history that such titles as Young Romance and Strange Adventures have: Debuting in 1979 amid the renewed popularity of science fiction, and in the wake of the DC Implosion, the anthology lasted just five issues. However, it featured an impressive lineup of talent, including Steve Ditko, Curt Swan, Jim Aparo, Paul Levitz, Gil Kane, Arnold Drake and Denny O’Neil.
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 first double-down on creator-owned comics with Butcher Baker, Righteous Maker #8 (Image, $2.99) and Saga #6 (Image, $2.99). I’m glad to see Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston back on Butcher Baker after a hiatus in which I feared it was no more, and I’ve just pulled out #1-7 to get me back up to speed. I’m thinking that taking hallucinogenics would make me enjoy this comic more. On the other side, Saga #6 is flat-out amazing in the most conventional way (despite the unconventional setting). Aliens, ghosts and babies, and yet Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples bring it all together. At this point I’ve shifted into the The Walking Dead mode of reading – no point in reading about what’s ahead, as I’ll just buy it blindly on the great comics they’ve done so far. After that creator-owned two-fer, I’d give Marvel the rest of my money with Uncanny X-Force #29 (Marvel, $3.99) and Avengers vs. X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99). I think Marvel’s finally found a suitable replacement for Jerome Opena in artist Julian Totino Tedesco, and I hope he’s locked in to finish out this arc. And speaking of Rick Remender’s work, I spent about 15 minutes conversing the other day about how and why he should’ve been enlisted into Marvel’s Architects and worked into Avengers Vs. X-Men. While the group-written approach takes some getting used to, I’d love to see Remender do an issue of this. In Avengers Vs. X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99) however, we see Ed Brubaker taking the lead and showing the Phoenix Force Five venturing into K’un L’un for what seems like the Empire Strikes Back moment of the series.
If I had $30, I’d turn back in all my $15 purchases except Saga #6 and spend the recouped $25-plus dollars and get Hulk: Season One HC (Marvel, $24.99). I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan, but seeing the previews of Tom Fowler’s art on this has won me over. Fowler, like the above mentioned Tedesco, is one of Marvel’s hidden gems and this might be the launching pad for him to (finally) get some recognition. And for me to get some good comics. Fowler SMASH!
If I could splurge, I’d do the boring choice and simply use it to buy all the single issues mentioned in the $15 section and be able to also afford Hulk: Season One HC. Easy, breezy, beautiful, comics boy.
Comic artist Tom Fowler is right in the middle of a career renaissance, and he’s on his biggest project yet with the upcoming Hulk: Season One. His first major project since getting back in the public eye on Rick Remender’s Venom run, Fowler has spent the break before he begins drawing pages for the graphic novel to work up some concept sketches, inspiration and reference for the project. The image above is one he and colorist Jordie Bellaire worked up to get the creative team (and the readers) excited for what’s coming. Fowler makes it a point to say that it’s not a Marvel-approved image, but something the two artists are aiming toward for the series.
Around here, we’re big fans of Strangeways, Matt Maxwell’s series of horror-Western graphic novels. Maxwelll’s practically family, having serialized his second book The Thirsty on Robot 6, so it’s exciting that he’s now announced the third volume. Whereas Murder Moon was a werewolf tale and The Thirsty featured vampires, The Land Will Know is all about the ghosts. Maxwell calls it “the campfire ghost story reinvented” and describes it as sort of an EC-inspired anthology, but with a bridge story that ties the individual tales together into a single piece.
He’s started announcing artists for the various stories, but more details will be coming later. Gervasio and Jok (who’ve both worked on Strangeways before) will be drawing the bridge story as well as one of the other tales. Benjamin Dewey (Dark Horse Presents), Tom Neely (The Blot, The Wolf), and Tom Fowler (Venom) will each be doing stories as well. Check out Maxwell’s website for more details, samples of the artists’ work, and future updates.
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).
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics and other stuff we’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guests this week are Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Serenity Rose, Fables) and Drew Rausch (Sullengrey, The Dark Goodbye, Cthulhu Tales), the creative team behind the horror/comedy comic Eldritch!
To see what Aaron, Drew and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
Nate Cosby has posted some artwork by Jennifer Meyer, Colleen Coover, Tom Fowler, and Roger Langridge from Archaia’s upcoming Jim Henson Storyteller anthology. (That’s the Langridge piece, above.) For a bit more on the project, check out Cosby’s Wondercon interview with our own Tim O’Shea.
The artistic folks over at the Comic Twart blog have a theme this week that no doubt is a lot harder than you’d think — minimalism. Chris Samnee’s Justice League, above, probably offers the most detail of the pieces they’ve shared so far, while Tom Fowler’s Fantastic Four, below, probably wins the prize for being the most minimal … especially his Invisible Woman.
My head is still a jumbled mess from the massive amount of information, entertainment, panels and Evan Dorkin’s wit that I experienced at this year’s HeroesCon. You’ll see my con report in a few days, but in the meantime, here are some pieces I commissioned . Don’t ask me to pick a favorite, as I equally enjoy each of them for different reasons. My thanks to Dean Trippe, Chris Giarrusso, Roger Langridge and Tom Fowler for their great pieces.
Ahead of this weekend’s HeroesCon, artist Tom Fowler has posted a bunch of wonderful pre-ordered commissions, ranging from The Thing giving a piggy-back ride to the Richards children to Mysterius the Unfathomable chastising his assistant Delfi. But the best piece easily is this one, of Wildcat taunting an unhappy Robin during a boxing lesson. I’m jealous of the person who gets this commission. Fowler will be at booth 408, between Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker.