Passings | Tom Wilson Sr., creator of the long-running comic strip Ziggy, passed away Sept. 16. According to a press release from Universal Uclick, Wilson, 80, had suffered from a long illness and died in his sleep. For more than 35 years, Wilson served as a creative director at American Greetings. Wilson first published Ziggy in the 1969 cartoon collection When You’re Not Around. The Ziggy comic panel, syndicated by Universal Uclick (formerly Universal Press Syndicate), launched in 15 newspapers in June 1971. It now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers and has been featured in best-selling books, calendars and greeting cards. Wilson’s son, Tom Wilson Jr., took over the strip in 1987. [Universal Uclick]
Awards | The Chill by Jason Star and Mick Bertilorenzi won an Anthony Award this weekend at Bouchercon, the annual mystery convention. The Vertigo Crime selection won in the Best Graphic Novel category, while Birds of Prey writer Duane Swierczynski took the Best Original Paperback category with his novel Expiration Date. [Examiner]
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly discussion about the comics we here at Robot 6 have been checking out lately. Today’s special guest is Lauren Davis, who blogs about webcomics at Storming the Tower and io9, and is the editor of the San Francisco comics anthology The Comic Book Guide to the Mission.
To see what Lauren and the Robot 6 gang have been reading lately, click below …
Welcome to a long holiday weekend (at least here in the United States) edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Doug Zawisza, who writes reviews and the occasional article for Comic Book Resources.
To see what Doug and the Robot 6 gang are reading, click below.
When DC announced it was shuttering the Wildstorm and Zuda imprints back in September, after having announced the shutterings of the CMX line less than six months ago (and only two years since they canceled the failed Minx experiment), all eyes started moving uneasily towards Vertigo, the first and final imprint DC had left. It didn’t help that DC had also announced they were going to be absorbing certain Vertigo characters like Swamp Thing back into the superhero fold. Add to that the recent cancellation of such series as Air, Unknown Soldier and Greek Street, and many ended up wondering not just if Vertigo was being sized up for the chopping block but when the ax would fall (I’ve got $20 in the office pool down for May 2011).
Mark Oliver Frisch aside, we don’t have access to DC’s actual, total sales numbers, however, so it’s nigh-impossible to tell exactly how well Vertigo books are selling and how essential the line is to DC as a publishing and licensing entity. Perhaps the only way we can make any assumptions at all about the health of the line is to look at the comics that Vertigo has published in the past few months. Which is exactly what I plan on doing after the jump.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we give a great big hug to all the comics, graphic novels and what have you we’ve been reading lately.
To see what Ben and the Robot 6 crew have been reading recently, hit the link …
This Wednesday will see the release of the third issue of writer Roger Langridge and artist Chris Samnee‘s Thor: The Mighty Avenger. Anyone reading our weekly What Are You Reading column knows how much I’ve praised the first two issues. Samnee and I spoke briefly at this past June’s HeroesCon and from there an email interview came together. In addition to Thor, we discuss some of Samnee’s past work as well as his upcoming collaboration with writer Jim McCann on I Am An Avenger 1. Earlier today, CBR posted a five-page preview to Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3.
O’Shea: What’s the most enjoyable aspect of working from a Roger Langridge script?
Samnee: Roger’s scripts are really funny – I laugh out loud when I read them! I love the humor as well as his ability to tell quiet, emotional moments. Since Roger’s also an artist, he’s really good with pacing and page turns as well. And the scripts have a very silver-age feel, which is right up my alley.
O’Shea: I keep re-reading Thor: The Mighty Avenger 1 trying to figure out what my favorite scene was–and I can ‘t decide if it’s when we first see the Rainbow Bridge on page 2; or the first scene where Thor smiles. Was the smiling Thor a character suggestion from Langridge or was that your idea?
Samnee: The smile was in the script. Roger made clear right from the outline for the book that this Thor smiles and enjoys himself. For me, that was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book, as an artist and a reader of comics. I’ve worked on a lot of heavy books – it’s a nice change of pace to be on something a bit lighter, a comic where the characters are having fun.
The slow expansion of DC’s Vertigo Crime “sub-imprint” continued this week with the release of Fogtown, an original graphic novel by writer Andersen Gabrych (Batman, Detective Comics) and artist Brad Rader (Catwoman, True Adult Fantasy).
While Fogtown contains many of the classic noir elements, like femmes fatales, seedy locations and sordid crimes, it breaks out of the mold in at least one notable respect: Frank Grissel, the hard-knuckled private eye, is a closeted homosexual living in 1953 San Francisco.
Here’s a sampling of what people are saying about the graphic novel:
Glen Weldon, NPR.org: “The story of Frank Grissel, a private detective in 1950s San Francisco who (sing along, you know the words) finds himself drawn into a web of deceit, Fogtown is pulpy, lurid, gleefully trashy, occasionally contemptible, frequently ridiculous, crammed to the gills with noir cliches — and kinda great. It’s kinda great because Grissel is hiding a big, fat Capital-S Secret, and it’s one that doesn’t turn up in this kind of story with anywhere near the frequency it could. Seeing its repercussions play out amid all the classic private-dick tropes — femmes fatales, gruesome murders, hero-set-up-to-take-the-fall, etc. — is a lot of fun. And because Gabrych and Rader hit those tropes hard, for all they are worth, Fogtown never feels like a mere pastiche. Or, Hammett help us, as a parody.”
Vertigo has provided a few more details plus a preview of an upcoming Crime Line title they teased earlier this year. A Sickness in the Family, by Denise Mina and Antonio Fuso, is about the Usher family, who start dying violent deaths on Christmas day:
Meet the Ushers. (By the way, this name is no accident). The parents, Ted and Biddy. Grandma Martha. The three kids, William, Amy and Sam. Just a normal, middle class family gathered around the table on Christmas Day. Until they start dying very violent deaths. One by one. As secrets and resentments boil to the surface, it becomes clear there’s more than one Usher with a motive for killing off the others. But in the end, the truth turns out to be far more shocking than anyone in the ill-fated family could have imagined.
The cover is by Lee Bermejo, and according to Amazon, the book is due in October.
Vertigo this morning announced two additions to its Vertigo Crime line of original graphic novels: Rat Catcher, by Andy Diggle and Victor Ibanez, and Noche Roja, by Simon Oliver and Jason Latour. Both titles will be released in 2011.
According to the imprint’s blog, Rat Catcher follows an undercover FBI agent and a mob hitman embroiled in “a high-stakes game of cat and mouse.”
In Noche Roja, the murders of young women South of the Mexican border “hide a deeper, darker corruption” that retired private investigator Jack Cohen is determined to expose. Presumably, this is the noir project that artist Latour has referred to on his blog as “the beast.” He’s been teasing panels from the book there and on his Flickr account.
The “sub-imprint” and black-and-white hardcovers was announced in 2008 at Comic-Con International, and launched in August 2009 with Filthy Rich, by Brian Azzarello and Victor Santos, and Dark Entries, by Ian Rankin and Werther Dell’Edera.