Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew shares their picks for the Royal Rumble … I mean, talks about what comics we’ve read recently. Today our special guest is Landry Walker, writer of Danger Club, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Little Gloomy, Tron and more.
To smell what Landry and the Robot 6 crew are cookin’, click below.
If I had $15, I’d buy Boys #70 (only two issues until the big finale) and Classic Popeye #2, IDW Publishing’s ongoing series of reprints devoted to Bud Sagendorf comics from the 1940s, as the first issue was much more fun than I expected it to be.
If I had $30, I’d put those comics back, but would be stuck between a couple of books. The first would be Aya: Life in Yop City, which collects the three previous Aya books by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie in one volume. These are great, funny comics, full of life and observation regarding a culture — in this case African culture — most Westerners know nothing about.
There’s also A Chinese Life, a massive doorstop of a memoir by Chinese artist Li Kunwu (with help from writer Philippe Otie) chronicling his life and times. Kunwu lives through some of modern China’s most tumultuous periods, including the Cultural Revolution, and hopefully his book will, like Aya, humanize a time and culture that for many is just a few lines in their history book.
Finally, there’s Message to Adolph, Vol. 1, one of Tezuka’s final works, set during World War II, about three people named Adolph, one a Jew, the other a German boy living in Japan, and the third the fuhrer himself. Originally published by Viz about two decades ago, Vertical has taken it upon themselves to put out a newly translated version which is great news for those that missed this great manga the first time around.
Is there a greater splurge purchase this week that Dal Tokyo, the collected version of Gary Panter’s off-kilter comic strip? I plugged this book last week, but it deserves another one. I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile.
For the scholarly comics type, the splurge of the week might be Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, a look at the creator of Barnaby and Harold and the Purple Crayon and his wife, a children’s author with whom he frequently collaborated.
Wet Moon creator Ross Campbell has been posting pages from the sixth volume of his series of graphic novels online for awhile now, which isn’t due out from Oni Press until October. However, the always busy artist, whose work can also be found in Extreme’s Glory revival, Shadoweyes and his Mountain Girl minicomics, announced that he will begin syndicating pages from the book on the web. He also plans to post “other Wet Moon-related stuff” on the blog, like “maybe in-progress drawings, process notes, stuff about volume 7, maybe some History of Wet Moon type stuff like the pre-comic origins of the series …” Look for pages to start appearing Feb. 4.
A whole new contingent of fans are getting to know Ross Campbell thanks to his work on the upcoming Glory, but whether you’re a new or old fan of Campbell’s work, there’s one project you probably haven’t seen: Mountain Girl. Originally only available directly from Campbell at conventions, Ross has agreed to share the second Mountain Girl minicomic here with us today for our anniversary.
Launched in 2006 as a self-published mini-comic, Campbell continued to produce new installments of Mountain Girl annually for two more years. A fourth installment was thumbnailed but never completed. The comic stars Naga, a savage warrior princess living in a post-holocaust world. The daughter of a tribute of mystic cannibal barbarians, Naga’s story in the Mountain Girl comics shows the brutally muscled and tattooed badass fighting Beaver Gods, Shark Goddesses and other enemies. Thematically it’s similar to Conan or Cavewoman, but Campbell’s cartooning pulls no punches in its depiction of violence and savagery.
Although Campbell hasn’t produced any new Mountain Girl comics in a couple years due to other projects, the artist recently self-published a book containing the three minicomics and the thumbnails for a fourth. Campbell says he has plans to do a “rebooted/revamped” Mountain Girl in the near future. This exclusive preview today is the first time any full-length Mountain Girl comic has ever been published online. Thanks, Ross!
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
News and reports from the New York Comic Con rolled out even after the lights were turned off on Sunday; here are a few of them, as well as some tidbits we missed the first time around:
• Marvel announced an ongoing Age of Apocalypse series by David Lapham and Roberto De La Torre, spinning out of the current “Dark Angel Saga” storyline in Uncanny X-Force. [CBR]
• Designer Chip Kidd is writing a Batman book called Batman: Death by Design with art by Dave Taylor. It’s due out next summer. [ComicsAlliance]
• USA Today spotlighted Captain Brooklyn, due next May from Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Tieri and Amanda Conner. The three-issue miniseries will be published by Image Comics. [USA Today]
• Following the convention, Marvel has released pages from the Prep & Landing story that will appear in a few of their upcoming November comics. [CBR]
Wet Moon Cartoonist Ross Campbell posted on his DeviantArt blog that a film-making friend of his is working on a short film based on Campbell’s 2010 superhero graphic novel Shadoweyes. Filmmaker Bo Bradshaw has been a prolific short film producer, and just wrapped work on a feature-length documentary that was just shown on PBS called 759 Dresden. The comic adaptation of Campbell’s book is called Shadoweyes: Out of the Shadows, and on a website set up for the project Bradshaw outlines where they’re at in the production and the current openings to staff the short film production. Bradshaw hopes to crowd-source the funding of the project in something akin to Kickstarter. This live-action film is planned to be shot in and around Orlando, Fla where Bradshaw is based.
Campbell will be involved in the short film project, while also finishing work on the book’s sequel, Shadoweyes In Love.
Wait a minute — scratch that, reverse it. In an interview with Kelly Thompson of our CBR sister blog Comics Should Be Good, Ross Campbell, writer/artist of Water Baby, Wet Moon, and SLG’s upcoming superhero book Shadoweyes, says that when people complain that his work over-sexualizes his mostly female protagonists…they’re absolutely right:
Kelly: At the same time that you’ve been praised by many (both critics and fans) for your portrayals of women, you’ve also drawn some criticism from people that think you are fetishizing or over-sexualizing some of your female characters…what do you think about that?
Ross: I agree. Haha.
Kelly: You agree with the criticism?
Ross: Yeah. I think they’re right, and I look back on my older stuff and I cringe. Which is normal, I cringe regardless when I look at my work, but I think I definitely got out of control with the sexualization, particularly with Water Baby. And what made it worse was that it wasn’t even intentional, I wasn’t sitting down to try to make a specifically “sexy” or titillating book like you’d see Milo Manara do or whatever, and that I didn’t intend it makes it seem to worse to me.
Kelly: Yeah, that was my next question – intention vs. just natural evolution of art.
Ross: It just came out that way, like I didn’t even realize it until I started becoming more aware of it and what I was doing. I just regret that it took me so many years to “get” it.
Kelly: So you have deliberately changed your drawing process…I actually think that’s interesting and laudable. That you’re more interested in the message you’re perhaps sending then just, “this is fun to draw, and this is how my style looks right now”.
Ross:At first it was kind of like that, yeah. Like I reached a point actually while I was greytoning Water Baby, I think, that I started freaking out and almost tried to keep the book from being released and not wanting to finish it, and I was like “what am I doing, look at these characters’ boobs and everything, what is wrong with me?!” So after that I really had to train myself to draw how I wanted to draw, but I think it’s become more natural now that I’ve been moving in that direction for a few years, but it’s still a process.
Kelly: I find this fascinating…and admirable, I have to say. Few artists seem to have a vested interest in not contributing to exploitation. Especially to the degree that they’ll train themselves not to do it.
Ross: Yeah, I just don’t want to be part of that. And I think there’s a big difference between having characters just be attractive or sexy in a “natural” way (natural in quotes because they’re still drawn characters) than them being like…crazy sexpot male gaze characters for no reason. And I think there’s a place for those types of characters, it’s fine if an artist wants to do that, I still enjoy looking at some stuff like that, but not really in the types of stories I want to do.
For what it’s worth, I actually disagree with Campbell about whether his stuff is exploitative. Obviously, his style isn’t “natural” per se — on some level he’s choosing to draw attractive characters. But the range of the characters he’s rendered attractively — in terms of body type, weight, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, personal style, intelligence, personality, pretty much every variable — is so broad and impressive that, to me at least, it’s a million miles away from a Supergirl upskirt shot or your average brokeback-pose sexy amazon-woman superheroine. Never does he single out an unrealistic ideal and present that as the one and only acceptable form of sexiness. It may not be “natural,” but it feels like it comes naturally through Campbell’s view of the world, and the characters with which he’s chosen to populate it. Still, I’m happy to see a cartoonist considering this issue at all, you know?