Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
In these last few years, my comics spending habits have changed dramatically. I buy fewer titles from comic shops and more original art and prints directly from artists, without my annual budget changing that much. I’ll blame social media for the shift: Once upon a time, original art sales were the preserve of agencies, and you couldn’t help but wonder where your money was really going. Now savvy artists can market themselves for free using Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., and then sell their own products with minimum fuss through a number of websites, like Redbubble or Society6, or by setting up their own storefronts using BigCartel or Shopify or a similar broker.
There’s a human side to this change, too. First through blogs, and now through Twitter and Facebook, social media means you get to know artists like you couldn’t even a decade ago. Barriers are broken; they invite you into their lives, you read as they fret about the day-to-day stuff. I suppose if I followed a load of farmers on Twitter I’d probably stop eating at McDonalds, but I don’t. I follow British comic artists. Buying art from ethically sourced, free-range creators now makes more sense to me than buying factory-farmed, battery-cage comics.
Mondo, the Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art boutique, is celebrating EC Comics and Tales From the Crypt for Halloween with a gallery show featuring work by more than 30 artists honoring the television anthology and the horror titles on which it was based.
“I care about EC Comics very much. Even though I wasn’t around when it was originally published, the HBO Tales From the Crypt was an amazing intro into a demented world of darkly comedic horror stories and vivid artwork,” Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael said in a press release. “EC Comics’ editor Bill Gaines is one of my heroes and it’s so incredibly exciting to combine his creations with 30-something artists that are also fans of that era.”
The show, which will run from Oct. 25 through Nov. 23 at the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas, will original art and screen prints by the likes of Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Francesco Francavilla, Jeff Lemire, Chris Mooneyham, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg and Eric Skillman. You can see more names on the postcard below.
I saw this crazy page from Robert Ball on his blog and had to share. Great design meets great drawing meets great gag. ROBOT 6 had the exclusive announcement of Dangeritis on New Year’s Day, and there have been regular updates at the book’s workblog ever since. The physical edition will be released soon, launching July 20 at the MCM Manchester (that’s in the United Kingdom, not New Hampshire). Ball and WJC are two of my favorite illustrators around, and Winter’s Knight and Solid State Tank Girl have both absolutely knocked my socks off this year.
I did wonder how the two artists would work together, though: They share clear influences, but then produce very different-looking styles with very different methods. The best examples from the Dangeritis blog show them managing to gel together in interesting ways, from literally splitting duties on double-page spreads …
We’ve been following the progress of the free U.K. street-press anthology Off Life since July, before the launch of the first issue, and now it’s up to its fourth. It’s released today in its home city of Bristol (for a cross-cultural comparison, we’ll call it “the U.K.’s Portland”), with the digital edition arriving on Thursday; the print version hits London on Saturday.
It may also be their best issue yet, featuring work by such stalwarts of the U.K. indie scene as Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Dan Berry, Oliver East and Sean Azzopardi; a very entertaining group interview with three more of the best new cartoonists in the U.K., Hannah Berry, Jack Teagle and Isabel Greenberg; and fulfills editor Daniel Humphry’s mission statement of breaking some interesting-looking new talent, most of which I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on after this. How about some preview art after the break?
It’s week two of the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and ROBOT 6 favorite Warwick Johnson Cadwell is being featured in Mondo’s Game of Thrones gallery show (Arrested Motion has some great images from the show on its blog). This is the latest prestigious gig in WJC’s long march to stardom, following his appointment last year as the new Tank Girl artist. We caught up with Warwick, who provided us with a series of drawings taking us through his process as he worked up his commission from the design house.
Warwick began by drawing both his favorite characters from the multi-award winning HBO fantasy drama: “I did Samwell first: it was sketched out, then lightboxed with a variety of brush pens (fancy, knackered, cheap and drying out).”
This week, your favorite U.K. comic shops and online retailers should have received Everybody Loves Tank Girl, the latest volume in the ongoing saga of everyone’s favorite kangaroo-lovin’ chaos magnet (it will arrive in the United States next week). Since co-creator Alan Martin brought the character back in 2007, she’s been drawn by a succession of amazing artists: Ashley Wood, Rufus Dayglo and the elusive, legendary Mick McMahon. For this book, Martin has teamed with the great Jim Mahfood, marking the first time the U.K. comics icon has been drawn by an American.
Mahfood has made no secret of his love for Tank Girl, and he has clearly relished the opportunity to draw her and her extended cast of violence-loving misfits, producing some of the best work of his career. ROBOT 6 sat down with Martin to discuss this project and its unique origins, Tank Girl’s ongoing momentum, and the rumors that he is again working with the character’s co-creator Jamie Hewlett, still the only comic book artist in living memory to have ever quit the business to become a bona fide international pop star.
We followed along as Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin sought out a new artist before at last finding one in Warwick Johnson Cadwell. Now Titan Comics has announced in May it will debut their first collaboration, Solid State Tank Girl.
The four-issue series, which pits the title character against her “nastiest nemesis,” starts out simply enough, with Tank Girl, Jet Girl, Booga and Barney on a mission to save their favorite radio store: “But somewhere along the line Booga manages to electronically summon the gang’s evil counterparts, fronted by the darkest bitch on the planet – ANTI-TANK GIRL! The fight is to the death, as each gang member draws on their deepest, most screwed-up powers to eliminate their own personal nemesis. Things are about to get very dark, very bloody… and very stupid!”
The announcement arrives a week after the United Kingdom’s Titan Publishing announced the launch of Titan Comics, an imprint devoted to original creator-owned comics and new and classic graphic novels (among them, Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier and P.J. Holden, and Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol by Stuart Jennett). That was quickly followed by news that Titan has teamed with Dave Elliott to revive the Atomeka Press line and the well-regarded anthology A1.
“The new Titan Comics imprint is all about taking a chance on new creators and new talent,” Steve White, Titan’s senior comics editor, said in a statement, “and pairing Warwick’s street-art energy to Alan’s potty-mouthed imagination has refreshed Tank Girl once again. The results are blindingly good!”
Solid State Tank Girl #1 arrives in print and digital editions May 15. Read the full announcement below.
Two gentlemen making quite a name for themselves on the U.K. small-press and indie-comics scene are Warwick Johnson Cadwell and Robert Ball. The latter’s self-published Winter’s Knight: Day One was one of my favorite comics of last year, a beautiful, lyrical piece that was equal parts Geoffrey Chaucer, John Boorman and Mike Mignola; and 2013 looks like being the year of WJC, as he works on Alan Martin’s Solid State Tank Girl, alongside the possibility of both his long-awaited Hutch Parsons and Gungle books finally appearing at Blank Slate.
The two creators are frequently to be found in each other’s company at the U.K.’s comic shows, and this friendship has resulted in Dangeritis. This is a comic, rather than a shared medical condition. In Robert’s own words:
I remember that a year or two ago, Chris Weston playing a little game with his Twitter followers: casting an imaginary Carry On X-Men film. If memory serves, I may even have contributed to it myself; I think I might have been the first to suggest Bernard Bresslaw as Colossus. And that was the end of that, we thought — until he updated his blog with this image.
Surely he’s not been working on this all that time? Weston is something of a movie poster nut, regularly uploading fine examples from his collection, and I’m also enough of an illustration nerd to realize he’s copping the style used by the great Renato Fratini on several U.K. Carry On movie posters.
Another day, another gallery opening an exhibition of loosely-themed pop culture-derived art. This time it’s “The Gang’s All Here” at the Bottleneck Gallery, Brooklyn, beginning Friday and continuing through Dec. 7 (my birthday, fact fans!), 2012. Above is Chris “Raid 71″ Thornley‘s contribution. Chris (creator of that much blogged Hellboy/Peanuts mash-up “Hellnuts” a while back) is also a major contributor to the charity Art V Cancer, well worth supporting. That’s one e-commerce site you can feel good about using. More comics-quoting work below from the fields of illustration and design, including work by Butcher Billy, Walter Simonson, Wally Wood, McBess and others — including one very famous NSFW image re-contextualized!
Alan Martin has posted this short and sweet update to the Tank Girl Facebook page:
“TANK GIRL + WARWICK JOHNSON CADWELL = THE BEST COMIC OF 2013!!!”
Warwick Johnson Cadwell is, of course, the nicest man in the U.K. comics community, so this announcement has been met with no little jubilation from his friends on Twitter and Facebook. Here are some exclusive pieces sent along by Martin and WJC, the tryout art that secured him the gig. Dig that Gatchaman helmet.
By now, everyone’s bound to have seen Matt Fraction’s Fantastic Four Tumblr, yeah? The writer is publicly working out his background reading for taking over the comic those of us of a certain age still see as Marvel’s flagship, and it’s highly entertaining. My favorite of all the panels Fraction has flagged up so far has been the one above, which you could imagine being slapped around town on a sticker by Shepard Fairey. Andre the giant has a posse, and it includes Professor X. Much more art, including work by Dan Quintana, Ian McQue, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and Tim Hamilton, below.
Another day, another guest artist on Scotch Corner:Today it’s a massive gallery of work by the underrated Top Cow regular Matt Timson. My favorite is his take on Rom, Space Knight for a Bill Mantlo fund-raiser. As Matt points out, “in the comics, Rom was forever banging on about having given up his humanity to become a Spaceknight, but this was the first time I’d ever thought about what that actually meant – and the horror involved.”
(Plenty more art and links below, not all of which is safe for work.)
First, a heads-up on the British Invasion of Toronto: This weekend, Toronto Comics Art Festival will host a number of creators from the United Kingdom, including Sean Azzopardi (Necessary Monsters), Darryl Cunningham (Psychiatric Tales), Joe Decie (Accidental Salad), Tom Gauld (Goliath), Lizz Lunney (Depressed Cat: Nine Miserable Lives) and Luke Pearson (Hilda and the Midnight Giant). Publishers Blank Slate, Nobrow Press and SelfMadeHero will also be in attendance. I ran into some other British creators at MoCCA this weekend; you’ll be hearing about that shortly.
Comics | Gary Northfield shows off some of the art from his comic Gary’s Garden, which runs in the weekly children’s comic The Phoenix:
Part autobiography, part made-up nonsense (well, mainly completely made-up nonsense to be fair), Gary’s Garden delves into my favourite thing ever – me spying on the comings and goings of all the little dudes and dudettes who dwell in my garden.
This makes me wish more fervently than ever that The Phoenix would get an app or somehow make itself available outside the UK, digitally or on paper. Adding to my pain: Jim Medway offers a peek at his new comic Chip Charlton & Mr. Woofles of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.