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Unknown Soldier writer Joshua Dysart has announced he’ll be traveling to the troubled Kurdistan region of Iraq to conduct research for a project he’s planning with the United Nations World Food Programme.
“We’ve been plotting to tell some stories about the complexity and necessity of feeding the world’s displaced people in an engaging way,” Dysart writes on his website. “Now we’re finally getting started and soon I’ll be leaving for northern Iraq. There, I’ll begin researching the current situation facing Kurdish refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict and the violent push of the Islamic State.”
The writer spent a month in Acholiland, Uganda, in 2007 to research Unknown Soldier, his Eisner-nominated Vertigo series that recast the classic DC Comics character as Moses Lwanga, a physician who returns to his native country to help the refugees caught up in the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
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.
Well done, DC: For the second time, I’m suckered in by your wave of new launches. This week, if I had $15, I’d drop a chunk of that on Dial H #1, Earth-2 #1 and Worlds’ Finest #1 (All DC, Dial H and Worlds’ Finest both $2.99, Earth-2 $3.99). What can I say? I really love the DC Multiverse as a concept, and I’m curious to see what the new Dial H is like.
If I had $30, I’d add some more new launches in there: Jim McCann and Rodin Esquejo’s Mind The Gap looks like a lot of fun (Image, $2.99), as does the first issue of New Mutants/Journey Into Mystery crossover Exiled #1 (Marvel, $2.99). On the recommendation of many, I’m also going to grab The Spider #1 (Dynamite, $3.99) to try out David Liss’ writing; I had a lot of people say good things about his Black Panther, so I’m looking forward to this new book.
Should I feel the urge to splurge, DC have again won the day: Spirit World HC (DC, $39.99)? Genre stories by Jack Kirby from my favorite period of his work that I’ve never seen before, including some that have never been reprinted before? Seriously, there’s no way I couldn’t want this book.
Although they won’t be solicited for a few more weeks, DC has already been talking up the six new(ish) titles coming in May. G.I. Combat, Dial H, Ravagers, and Worlds’ Finest join the returning Batman Incorporated and the long-rumored Justice So– I mean, Earth 2 — as the replacements for most of the New-52’s lowest-selling books.
As with the original New-52 group, every new title except one is familiar to longtime DC fans; and as with the original New-52, that book spins out of an existing feature. (Then it was Batman Incorporated begetting Batwing; here it’s the Teen Titans/Superboy nexus spawning Ravagers.) However, where the New-52 tried noticeably to make many of its books accessible — or at least uprooted them from established DC lore — most of the new titles seem to require some prerequisite reading.
The graphic novel adaptation of Fist Stick Knife Gun took home three Glyph Comics Awards this weekend, while Vertigo’s canceled Unknown Soldier took home two more in the annual awards that “recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year.”
Based on the memoir by Geoffrey Canada, Fist Stick Knife Gun was adapted into a graphic novel by Jamar Nicholas. The adaptation won story of the year and best male character, while Nicholas received the rising star award. Unknown Soldier appeared on the list for its third year, with Joshua Dysart winning for best writer and Dave Johnson winning the best cover award for Unknown Soldier #15. Keith Knight’s The K Chronicles won in the best comic strip or webcomic category for a record fifth time.
The awards were presented at The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia Friday night. Here’s the complete list of winners:
Story of the Year: Fist Stick Knife Gun; Geoffrey Canada, writer, Jamar Nicholas, artist
Best Writer: Joshua Dysart, Unknown Soldier
Best Artist: Richard Koslowski, BB Wolf and the 3 LPs
Best Male Character: Geoff, Fist Stick Knife Gun; Geoffrey Canada, writer, Jamar Nicholas, artist; based on the life of Geoffrey Canada
Best Female Character: Selena, 28 Days Later; Michael Alan Nelson, writer; Declan Shalvey & Marek Oleksicki, artists; based on the character created by Alex Garland for the motion picture 28 Days Later
Rising Star Award: Jamar Nicholas, Fist Stick Knife Gun
Best Reprint Publication: Superman vs. Muhammad Ali Deluxe HC, DC Comics
Best Cover: Unknown Soldier #15, Dave Johnson, illustrator
Best Comic Strip or Webcomic: The K Chronicles, Keith Knight, writer and artist
Fan Award for Best Comic: Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers; Reginald Hudlin, writer, Denys Cowan, artist
Chairman’s Award: Black Comix: African American Independent Comics Art and Culture, by Damian Duffy and John Jennings
I rarely get a chance to interview two collaborators for a project, but welcome to my latest fortunate rarity. Writer Mark Sable is back at Image Comics, collaborating with Grounded co-creator and Amazing Spider-Man artist Paul Azaceta. The two creators were kind enough to contact me for a joint email interview. As noted when this project was first announced: “In Graveyard of Empires, when a young lieutenant arrives at Combat Outpost Alamo, a remote outpost in Afghanistan, he learns a new kind of insurgent math. It’s said that in war, when you kill one insurgent, you create ten more by angering his family and friends. In this story, when you kill one, he comes back from the dead to infect ten of your fellow Marines . . . Graveyard of Empires #1 (APR110400), a 32-page full color horror/survival comic that will appeal to fans of The Hurt Locker and THE WALKING DEAD, will be available for sale in a comic shop near you on June 15, 2011.” Sable and Azaceta also provided Robot 6 with a six-page preview from the first installment of the three-issue miniseries. Frequent readers of Talking Comics with Tim may notice that as of late, I have given the interview subjects a chance to ask Robot 6 readers a question. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sable took this opportunity to invite folks to ask him questions in the comments section. He has committed to answering any and all questions, as his schedule permits, so by all means ask him all that you want.
Tim O’Shea: You two clearly went with an eye-catching, iconic first issue cover. Care to discuss how you arrived at that cover?
Paul Azaceta: Thanks. I knew right off the bat that I didn’t want a complicated cover. I wanted something that stood out and going with something simple and graphic was the way to go. I can’t say where exactly I got the idea for the skull with the poppy flower but when it hit me I knew I had it. I drew a quick little sketch for Mark and he suggested adding the helmet. Actually, the harder part was carrying that idea on with the other covers. But that was my inspiration, simple graphic covers.