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Talking Comics with Tim | Matteo Buffagni on ‘Avengers Assemble’

Some color samples  that Matteo Buffagni provided while discussing his design of Toxie Doxie's costume

Some color samples that Matteo Buffagni provided while discussing his design of Toxie Doxie’s costume

Wednesday sees artist Matteo Buffagni teaming with co-writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis on Avengers Assemble #22, a tie-in to Marvel’s “Inhumanity” event. In addition to chatting about that, Buffagni was kind enough to share a glimpse into his design process for June Covington/Toxie Doxie’s new costume, revealed at the end of Avengers Assemble #21.

Tim O’Shea: For those unfamiliar with your career, how long have been working in comics?

Matteo Buffagni: I’ve been working at Marvel since 2010, when I started on X-23 then jumped on Daken, Ultimate Iron Man: The Demon in the Armor, Astonishing X-Men and now Avengers Assemble.

Before those assignments I attended the International School of Comics in Florence and worked on a couple of French books called Vestiges.

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Comics A.M. | What the growth of tablets means for comics

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | Ethan Gach contemplates what the popularity of tablets means for the comics industry, with a particular focus on comiXology. He points out that the digital distributor offers not only bestsellers but also titles that appeal to a broader audience — and has brought success to some indie creators via its comiXology Submit program. [Forbes]

Academia | Tom Spurgeon talks to Professor Benjamin Saunders, director of the Comics & Cartoon Studies Program at the University of Oregon, which just received a major donation that will serve as an endowment for the program. [The Comics Reporter]

Manga | Kodansha will release a second printing of the January issue of Aria magazine, which features the debut of Hikaru Suruga and Gan Sunaaku’s Attack on Titan spinoff No Regrets. The first printing was five times greater than the magazine’s usual press run — Aria has a verified circulation of 13,667 copies — so with this new printing, the January issue will have 10 times the number of copies of the  average issue. [Anime News Network]

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Quote of the Day | ‘Now that’s nuts … I like that’

moon knight1

“The man is demented in more interesting ways than I think Batman ever was. [His] cape is actually a crescent moon and he goes out only at night and dresses in reflective white so you can see him coming. Now that’s nuts … I like that.”

Warren Ellis, discussing Moon Knight, the star of his newly announced announced Marvel series with artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire

A Month of Wednesdays | ‘Endless Wartime,’ ‘Death of the Family’ and more

endless war timeAvengers: Endless Wartime (Marvel Entertainment): Marvel’s new line of original graphic novels — note the “Marvel OGN” logo on the spine — is off to a pretty strong start with this continuity-light Warren Ellis-written, Mike McKone-drawn story of an Avengers squad facing a new form of semi-sentient weapon evolved from a generation-old attempt to marry Nazi science with Norse magic.

That’s a good conflict for an Avengers comic, as the team includes a Nazi-fighting hero and a Norse god, and, better still, both Captain America and Thor were tied to the this new weapon’s origin.

Ellis does his usual fine job of mixing current science, speculative next-level science, elements of our zeitgeist and corporate superheroes with something that feels appropriate, cool and like the writer has something to say. Additionally, he has a pretty decent handle on the characters, and does a relatively good job of singling out particular voices (this is the first time in a long time that I’ve read an Avengers comic where  everyone didn’t talk like Brian Michael Bendis).

Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Hawkeye, who reflects Matt Fraction’s version, are a bit of a rag-tag group, but they seem to be assembled primarily for their military backgrounds. “Do you know, I just realized I’m the only non-soldier in the room,” Tony Stark says at one point, and Captain Marvel sneers back, “That’s right, Tony. You’re just an ex-arms manufacturer in a metal death suit.”

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The Fifth Color | ‘Avengers: Endless Wartime’ struggles with identity

AvengersCoverFINALIt’s difficult to find solid synergy between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the current comics line. On one hand, that’s a good thing; not everything should stop and shift on a Hollywood dime. On the other, you’d think there would be at least one book that followed the Avengers movie characters. Anyone familiar with the films and looking for a little Avengers action would be picking up an Infinity tie-in, and … man. I mean, I’ve been reading comics for what seems like forever, and Jonathan Hickman is writing some crazy-dense stuff right now. Avengers Assemble went from being the go-to book for quick-and-simple adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and now it’s just as important a tie-in for Captain Marvel and Infinity as the Hickman books. Visually, Marvel can tweak Tony Stark’s character model to be a lot more Robert Downey Jr.-y, adjust some costumes to be more realistic and put movie favorites like the Warriors Three closer to the action, but it’s difficult to produce a book that remains event story-neutral or even simply set in Marvel’s on-screen world.

The good news is that the House of Ideas is trying a couple things that might be a little more reader-friendly than just sticking a #1 on the cover. One is the new Marvel Knights line; the inaugural series, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man debuted this week. Another is the return of the “original graphic novel”: a story that was only reprinted in a larger format and never collected from regular issues. These are traditionally done-in-one books that used to be more magazine format and gave you a taste of the characters in a more isolated environment, and these are the books I think will probably lure more new readers into the fold. No commitment, just a complete story with the characters you already know in their own island-like adventure far from the shores of the Marvel universe.

This week saw the arrival of Avengers: Endless Wartime, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Mike McKone. Interestingly enough, it has a foreword by Clark Gregg, good ol’ Agent Coulson. As he is a beloved figure from both the big screen and, more recently, on the new television ser Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I figured this would be an ideal start for Marvel fans from other media where Coulson is more present. Would he make an appearance in the book? Who is this targeted for? Join me after the break and find out.

WARNING: We’re talking Avengers: Endless Wartime ahead and I’ll try not to give away to many moments, but I’d still grab a copy and read along!

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Avengers face their greatest threat in ‘Endless Wartime’ trailer

avengers-endless-wartime

Marvel has released a trailer for Avengers: Endless Wartime, the upcoming original graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone.

Announced in June, the hardcover is set within current continuity, as a mysterious threat arises in the nation of Slorinia with ties to the pasts of Captain America and Thor. Avengers: Endless Wartime arrives in October.

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Quote of the Day | Warren Ellis, motivational speaker

warren ellis

“There is no such goddamn thing. There is only getting up and doing it all over again, smarter and harder, until something ups and fucking kills you, because that’s the only thing big enough to stop you. This is The Great Work, and all you have to do is choose it, not look back and never fucking stop until you’re in your box, under the dirt and flowers are growing between your teeth.

And that is why I’ll never be asked to do motivational speaking. G’night.”

Warren Ellis, responding to the question, “What do you do when (if) you ever feel like giving up?”

(via The Comics Reporter)

Warren Ellis’ ‘Dead Pig Collector’ gets July 30 digital release

dead pig collectorWarren Ellis’ new ebook Dead Pig Collector, whose original June 18 release was canceled when the author split with Mulholland Books, will now debut July 30 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. While the new publisher was revealed last month, a release date hadn’t been announced.

The 99-cent crime novel will launch the publisher’s FSG Originals digital line, which GalleyCat reports will expand this fall with an ebook from Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore). FSG will publish Ellis’ first nonfiction book, Spirit Tracks, next year.

Here’s the synopsis for Dead Pig Collector, which features a cover by Ellis’ Fell collaborator Ben Templesmith: “Dead Pig Collector introduces readers to Mister Sun, a very proficient businessman whose trade is the murder and spotless removal of human beings. Like any businessman, he knows each transaction is only as good as his client—and today’s client, in Los Angeles, has turned out to be so dangerously stupid that Mister Sun’s work and life are now in jeopardy.”

Comics A.M. | Malaysian cartoonist appeals arrest ruling

Cartoon by Zunar

Cartoon by Zunar

Legal | The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has appealed a court decision upholding his 2010 arrest and detention, claiming police acted in bad faith when they arrested him under the Sedition Act because of his book Cartoon-O-Phobia, which had not yet been released at the time of his arrest. No charges were ever filed, as the police could not identify any actual seditious content in the books. A court ruled in July 2012 that Zunar’s arrest was lawful but ordered the police to return the books they had confiscated and pay him damages. An appellate court will hear the case next week. [The Comics Reporter]

Publishing | Heidi MacDonald takes a look at Marvel’s new graphic novel line, which will launch in October with Warren Ellis and Mike McKone’s Avengers: Endless Wartime. [Publishers Weekly]

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Warren Ellis’ ‘Dead Pig Collector’ finds a new home

templesmith-cover-tease

Dead Pig Collector, the ebook by Warren Ellis that was postponed after the author split with Mulholland Books, will now be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

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Warren Ellis says ‘Dead Pig Collector’ is ‘cancelled (for now)’ [Updated]

templesmith-coverDead Pig Collector, the ebook by Warren Ellis that sports a wonderful Ben Templesmith cover, won’t be released June 18 as planned following the author’s split with his publisher.

“Due to continuing issues, I have today terminated my relationship with Mulholland Books,” Ellis announced Wednesday on his email list, which is also provided by the publisher and thus is being turned off. “Dead Pig Collector is cancelled (for now).”

The 99-cent short story was being offered for preorder on the publisher’s website and was about a character named Mr. Sun. “As far as Mr. Sun is concerned, the heart is just a pump. It’s an anatomical fact he knows quite intimately, and a key component of the knowledge base essential to his particularly devious line of work: murder for hire and body disposal<” the description on the page read. “Certain jobs, however, make it hard to keep this in mind. Like the one that’s brought him from cold, dreary London to sun-soaked Los Angeles, and connects Mr. Sun with a beautiful and perpetually curious woman who has to know everything about Mr. Sun’s methods.”

Mulholland published Ellis’ most recent novel, Gun Machine, in January. Hopefully, Dead Pig Collector will find another publisher soon.

Update, June 10: Ellis tweeted that Dead Pig Collector will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, with more details coming soon.

Ben Templesmith covers Warren Ellis’ ‘Dead Pig Collector’

templesmith-cover-tease

Warren Ellis has a new ebook debuting June 15 18 called Dead Pig Collector, and Sunday, via his Machine Vision email list, he revealed the book’s cover, by his Fell collaborator Ben Templesmith.

Dead Pig Collector, Ellis says, is “a love story. It is also about killing people and effectively disposing of their bodies.” Check out the complete cover after the jump.

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What Are You Reading? with ‘Task Force Rad Squad’

Task Force Rad Squad

Task Force Rad Squad

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our look at what comics and other things we’ve been perusing lately. Today our special guests are Caleb Goellner, Buster Moody and Ryan Hill, the creative team of Task Force Rad Squad, the hot new comic find of 2013. Especially if you were ever a Power Rangers fan. Or even if you weren’t, as Moody and Hill’s art is just kind of wonderful on its own. Our old friend and former colleague Graeme says it “pretty much does for Power Rangers what Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots does for Transformers,” and that’s a very apt description. You can download it yourself here, and pay whatever you think is fair.

And to see what Task Force Rad Squad + the Robot 6 Irregulars are reading, click below …

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Talking Comics with Tim | Francesco Francavilla on ‘The Black Beetle’

The Black Beetle: No Way Out 3

The Black Beetle: No Way Out 3

Frequent readers of ROBOT 6 know I’m a big supporter of Francesco Francavilla, and particularly his Black Beetle character. Wednesday marks the release of The Black Beetle: No Way Out #3, the penultimate issue in the first of a series of miniseries for Dark Horse. As much as I was eager to learn about the pulp-fueled noir comic, I was equally keen to chat with Francavilla about his approach toward layout and storytelling in general.

As part of the interview, Francavilla shared some preview pages for the latest issue.

Tim O’Shea: Comparing the early adventures of the Black Beetle, as shown in Night Shift versus No Way Out issues 1 and 2, how liberating did it feel to be increasingly ambitious with your layouts on the pages?

Francesco Francavilla: Very liberating. One of the tricky parts of doing Night Shift was to have three small installments (chapters) of eight pages. I wanted each single chapter to be meaty enough to be entertaining on its own, but I also wanted each chapter to end with a cliffhanger. Going from that to a full 22 pages a month with No Way Out, I have much more room now to have fun with different layouts and give extra room for some big reveal sequences.

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Quote of the Day | Warren Ellis on which comics get adapted

freakangels

“I don’t get to decide what gets made into a tv series or film. I cannot, I’m afraid, cause people to give me money for things by magic or force of will. Because, let’s face it, if I could, you’d be part of the slave army building my hundred-mile-high golden revolving statue right now.”

Warren Ellis, responding to a question about the chances of seeing FreakAngels make the leap to film or television


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