Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we welcome special guest Joshua Williamson, writer of Masks and Mobsters, Captain Midnight (which has been running in Dark Horse Presents), Uncharted, Voodoo and much more.
To see what Joshua and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Wait. Which talk were you thinking about?
Anyway, Templeton has the answer to his son’s age-old question and he’ll kindly share it with you. All you gotta do is click.
It’s never too early to learn what a cesspool of shady business practices and money-driven infighting the industry responsible for creating and promoting your favorite noble champions of justice really was.
That’s the thought that kept running through my head as I made my way through Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, author Marc Tyler Nobleman’s follow-up to his 2008 Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.
Like his previous work, Boy Wonder is a non-fiction picture book aimed at children. At least in presentation; I can’t imagine very young children being as interested in it as grown-ups though, and for grown-ups, there’s an excellent all-prose, six-page article marked “Author’s Note” at the end, fleshing out the more simplified story that fills the bulk of the page count with plenty of detail and discussing Nobleman’s process of research for the book.
The story of the late Bill Finger — who is, of course, the Bill in the title — doesn’t quite fit into a picture book format as easily as that of young Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. There are a lot of similarities between the creators of Superman and the uncredited co-creator of Batman, including their backgrounds, the settings their stories occurred in, the impact of their creation and their unfortunate lack of participation in the rewards of that success, but Finger’s story is a lot more complicated than that of the boys from Cleveland, and lacks the natural melodrama of their hard-luck childhood and the epiphany nature of their hero’s inception (as presented in Boys of Steel, following Siegel’s own accounts, Superman’s transformation from a concept the young writer toyed with over the years into the world’s first superhero came in a sort of fever dream fit of inspiration one night).
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Matthew Thurber of 1-800 Mice and Infomaniacs fame. To see what Matthew and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
If you are a fan of all-ages comics, odds are pretty good you enjoyed a fair share of comics involving Ty Templeton. So it did not surprise me when Marvel launched a new Ultimate Spider-Man comic (based on the new Disney XD series that premiered recently) and tapped Templeton and Dan Slott to co-write and draw a story for the first issue (which came out last week). Templeton will also be teaming with Slott on Avenging Spider-Man 8 (set for release on June 20). That just scratches the surface of what Templeton is working on–or as he put it in this email interview: “There’s always something else going on.” I’m hard-pressed to pick which of his new upcoming projects I am most enthused about, but the prospect of seeing him work as a live talkshow/webcast host nears the top of the list. Also, I am overjoyed to know that Templeton (a great creator with a wealth of knowledge and experience) is passing along that love of storytelling by teaching folks. Over the years, I have always relished interviewing Templeton and cannot believe this marks the first time we have done an interview for Robot 6.
Tim O’Shea: Did you contact Marvel, or did they contact you for this new Ultimate Spider-Man series?
Ty Templeton: They contacted me, but I’ve done a few things for the Spider-Man office here and there, so they were already in touch with me. I did a small chapter for an issue of Amazing about eight months ago, and a couple of one-page Spider-Man stories for Age of Heroes, and things like that.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Tim Seeley, whose work you may know from Hack/Slash, Bloodstrike, Witchblade, Colt Noble, the upcoming Ex Sanguine and Revival, and much more.
To see what Tim has been reading lately, click below.
Creators | Daniel Kalder looks at the state of French comics tradition following the death last month of Jean Giraud, the influential artist widely known as Moebius, and finds it’s in the capable hands of David B (“one of the most sophisticated cartoonists in the world”) and Nicolas de Crecy (“the ‘mad genius’ of French comics”). [The Guardian]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon talks to Michael Cho about what sounds like a really interesting project, his book Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes: “Because I don’t have an affinity for drawing a pastoral landscape. [laughs] You know what I mean? I’ve never lived in that environment, so I can’t draw that thing with confidence. When I close my eyes I don’t visualize that with any confidence. But a city is something I’m surrounded with constantly. With alleyways and lane ways and how light poles connect up to transformer towers which have extra leads leading down to the basement apartment. I can see that when I close my eyes, you know?” [The Comics Reporter]
The internet was teeming with momentous announcements on Sunday, but since it was April Fools Day, most are of dubious truth value. Here’s a sampling of my favorites; feel free to leave more suggestions in the comments.
Several things about this announcement are suspicious, including the quote from Scalzi:
“I have to admit at first I was skeptical,” said author John Scalzi of the adaptation decision. “Could the medium of manga truly contain all the deep layers that are the Shadow War series? All the writing craft, all the trenchant allusion, all the subtle yet pointed social commentary that the series’ readers had come to expect — nay, demand? But then Tor backed up the money truck, and I suddenly realized that, yes, in fact, manga was the perfect medium for Shadow War. I could not be more richly proud of this edition.”
Ten points to Scalzi (or whoever) for commissioning three very nice covers from Rosca, though; click over and spend a little time looking at the details to fully appreciate the humor of all this. Plus an awful lot of people would totally buy these books.
And then there’s the mysteriously unsourced announcement that Alan Moore is giving the middle finger to DC with Legal Squad, a vicious parody of Justice League that features stupidly named superheroes and super villains. That’ll teach ‘em!
Reacting to analysis of Marvel’s much-publicized dispute with Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, Joe the Barbarian artist Sean Gordon Murphy has announced he’ll no longer sell convention sketches or commissions of characters he doesn’t own, and encourages other creators to do the same.
“Am I rolling over in fear of Marvel? Maybe, but [...] they’re in their legal right to come after me if there’s ever a dispute,” Murphy wrote this morning on deviantART. “I love to complain about the Big Two, but I can’t (in good conscience) get upset at them if I’m breaking the rules myself. Being DC exclusive, maybe I can get a waiver that allows me to sketch DC characters, so I’ll keep you updated.”
Friedrich sued Marvel, Sony Pictures and other companies in 2007, claiming the rights to Ghost Rider had reverted to him six years earlier because the publisher never registered the character’s first appearance in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5 with the U.S. Copyright Office. Marvel counter-sued in 2010, seeking damages from Friedrich who, through Gary Friedrich Enterprises LLC, had produced and sold unauthorized Ghost Rider posters, cards and T-shirts at conventions and online. The company also asserted that Friedrich had “aided and abetted third parties” in reproducing and selling “graphic and narrative elements” of Ghost Rider comics.
Legal | Cartoonist Susie Cagle, who was arrested last month while covering Occupy Oakland, says she has been cleared of all charges by the Oakland Police Department. The Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to the Oakland police condemning the arrest, which ultimately assisted in getting the charges dropped. The letter called out the department’s crowd management policy, which says, “Even after a dispersal order has been given, clearly identified media shall be permitted to carry out their professional duties in any area where arrests are being made, unless their presence would unduly interfere with the enforcement action.” [Fishbowl LA]
Conventions | San Diego City Council approved a plan to have San Diego hotels pay for a $520 million convention center expansion. The plan moves to a second hearing in January and requires a vote of two-thirds of the hotels that cast ballots for approval. [NBC San Diego]
If you were perplexed by some of the negative reaction to the news that half-black, half-Hispanic (but not gay) teen Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, veteran cartoonist Ty Templeton helpfully explains it all in the latest installment of his Bun Toons comic strip.
When he isn’t writing and drawing, Ty Templeton teaches at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, where the “Fit to Print” class simulates a real freelance job for a mainstream comics publisher — complete with deadlines, editorial feedback and working on pre-determined characters. And eventually, publication, in the form of an anthology that will be sold at Fan Expo Canada Aug. 25-28 and digitally (for free!) through Graphicly, DriveThruComics, My Digital Comics and The Illustrated Section.
“Our end-of-the-year project takes the form of an anthology book featuring adventures of the 21st Century descendants of Sherlock and Watson, under the title Holmes Incorporated, and the work this year is shockingly good for a group of rookies trying to get their foot in the door—they deserve a little love and attention. And to sweeten the deal we wrapped our issue up in a cover by X-Men/JSA/Supergirl artist and nice guy, Leonard Kirk — who is also an instructor at our school, so it was a matter of cornering Len in the lunch room,” Templeton said. “This year we’re making the new issue (and last year’s) available as a FREE download for anyone’s e-reader, computer, phone, iPad, etc. Between the two issues it’s 140 FREE pages of the remarkably skilled comics work of some eager and talented newcomers looking to prove themselves, and all they ask is the time it takes to look at the pages.”
After the jump you can take a look at an embedded preview, courtesy of Graphicly.
“Artist” Rob Granito is making waves again this week. As Kevin noted last week, he’s the guy who “for several years has traced other artist’s work — everyone from Ty Templeton to David Finch to Arthur Adams — and passed it off as his own on eBay and at conventions. In addition, his list of fake credits includes everything from Calvin & Hobbes to Batman to Iron Man 2.” Check out Legit-o-mite for a very thorough list of the guy’s offensive behavior.
You’d think after all the negative publicity he’s received, the guy would want to find the nearest rock, crawl under it and hope that maybe someday the comics industry and the internet would forget about him. But, no.
Roy Thomas has done a lot of writing for several different media — most notably comics like Avengers and All-Star Squadron, but also TV and movies as well — and he served as editor-in-chief at Marvel. But now he can add “artist” to his resume as well, as he drew the above cover for the Hero Initiative, with inking by Ty Templeton.