Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
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.
If I had $15, I’d buy the leading contender for best ongoing series this year, Saga #10 (Image, $2.99). I loved the last issue focusing on the Will, but I’m excited at the prospect this one teases of Izabel returning – although in a red-tinged, seemingly evil demeanor. After that I’d get another creator-owned gem with Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle #2 (Dark Horse, $3.99). I love the latitude Dark Horse is giving Francavilla in the design packaging here – that cover is something special — and luckily, the insides have the promise of being even better given what happened last issue. Third and last in my $15 haul this week would be Dark Horse Presents #21 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Criminally underrated and consciously mind-blowing, this issue promises three new serials debuting plus a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Paul Chadwick about alien saucers. Why isn’t this a top-selling book?
If I had $30, I’d make it a Dark Horse trifecta with Conan the Barbarian #13 (Dark Horse, $3.50). How does Brian Wood do it, finding such great artists that no one else knows about like Mirko Colak? This time, Conan tries to conquer the desert. Then I’d do a Marvel trifecta: Avengers #6 (Marvel, $3.99), Nova #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Thor: God of Thunder #5 (Marvel, $3.99). Avengers has seemingly the origin of my formerly most favorite D-list hero in the Marvel Universe, Captain Universe – until she upgraded to the A-list as an Avenger. Then Nova has a spirited, seemingly kid-friendly romp by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Then Thor … Thor. This thoroughly dark and mythic story has made Jason Aaron’s beard even more ominous than before.
If I could splurge, I’d get Alter-Ego #115 (TwoMorrows, $8.95). Normally a magazine about comics, in this issue they collect some lost gems – namely the stereoscopic comics (3-D!) – of the 1950s. 3-D glasses included, this issue contains work by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan (!!), George Tuska and more. Truly a highlight of the week.
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.
If I had $15 (big “if” this week!), I’d take a break from the struggles of adult life and find sanctuary in the pages of high mythology thanks to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder #4 (Marvel, $3.99). Aaron and Ribic have really build up an excellent foil for Thor in the God-Killer, and also snuck in the idea of Young Thor and Old Thor – something I’d love to see expounded upon in their own series or one-shot (hint-hint). Second up would be the startling potent promise of Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99). I never thought I’d see Brian Wood do a Star Wars comic, but I’m so glad he is – and seemingly doing it on his own terms. Thinking of him writing Princess Leia, and the potential there specifically has been rolling around in my brain for weeks. Third, I’d get two promising artist-centric series (at least for me) in B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth — Abyss Time #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50) and TMNT: Secret of the Foot Clan #1 (IDW, $3.99). James Harren and Mateus Santolouco, respectively, are two artists I’ve been keen on for the past year and both of these books look like potential breakouts to a bigger stage. On the TMNT side, I’ve always thought Shredder and the Foot Clan to be one of the most overlooked great villains in comics, so I’m glad to see some focus on that and some potential answers.
If I had $30, I’d continue my super(comic)market sweep with Womanthology: Space #4 (IDW, $3.99). This series has two things I love: new, young creators and a space theme. I’ve been on a space opera/sci-fi kick for a while now thanks to Saga and re-reading some Heinlein, so this anthology series comes to me most fortuitously. Next up would be Legend of Luther Strode #2 (Image, $3.50). Luther Strode is a real down-and-out kind of hero, like some sort of action-based Charlie Brown. Tradd Moore’s artwork really makes this sing, too. Finally, I’d get two Marvel books with Secret Avengers #36 (Marvel, $3.99) and Wolverine and the X-Men #23 (Marvel, $3.99). I’m gritting my teeth on the latter – not because it’s bad, but because it isn’t as good for me as the previous arcs. For Secret Avengers, I feel Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s run on this has been sadly overlooked in the wave of Marvel NOW books, but this mega-arc about the Descendents and now Black-Ant has been great. I’d love to see Black-Ant as a permanent part of the Marvel U.
If I could splurge, I’d throw practicality out the door and shell out big bucks for the Black Incal deluxe hardcover (Humanoids, $79.95). There’s few times I’d spend nearly 80 bucks on a comic, but this classic story by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon kind of things. This has been reprinted numerous times (I have an older one), but I’m re-buying the story here for the deluxe treatment this volume has with its large size.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. Michael and Graeme have each picked the five new comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 10 of the best new comics coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Blacklung HC (Fantagraphics Books, $24.99): This one grabbed me as soon as I read the high-concept in the solicits: A man decides to be as evil as possible so that he’ll be reunited with his dead wife in Hell when he dies. Depressing, existential AND romantic? I couldn’t sign up quickly enough for Chris Wright’s original graphic novel debut.
Chris Ware: Building Stories HC (Pantheon Books, $50.00): To be honest, I run hot and cold on Ware’s work; as a formalist, he’s wonderful and his work is technically perfect, but I don’t always get the emotional hook that I want from his work, and that’s a real problem for me. Luckily (or not? This is a pricey book to gamble on), the technical aspects of this box set of interrelated publications, all seen for the first time here, sounds interesting enough to sample no matter how cold the writing leaves me. Damn my curiosity about comics formats!
Happy! #1 (of 4) (Image Comics, $2.99): I’ll admit it; I’m more than a little dubious about the “It’s a hit man teaming up with a magical flying My Little Pony” set-up of this new series, but it’s Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, so I almost feel a sense of “How bad can it actually BE?”
Steed and Mrs. Peel #1 (BOOM! Studios, $3.99): I’ve always enjoyed the old Avengers TV show at something of arm’s length, having only seen a handful of episodes (but enjoyed them greatly); what draws me to this new series is the presence of Mark Waid, who seems to be on fire these days between Insufferable and Daredevil.
Stumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case #1 (Oni Press, $3.99): Oh, you should’ve seen me when I found out this was finally coming out. Not only did I absolutely love the first Stumptown series a couple of years ago, but I’ve also been on a Greg Rucka novel re-reading kick recently, so finding out that Dex’s client for this new story is the lead character from A Fistful of Rain made me almost impossibly happy. Easily my most-anticipated book of the month.
Renae De Liz, the artist who spearheaded the Womanthology project and drew IDW’s recent The Last Unicorn comic, is recovering in a critical care unit due to an infection in her blood and kidneys, as well as other health issues.
“She has an infection that has spread into her blood and kidneys, as well as pneumonia and some other things we’re worried about, but I don’t want to say anything there until test results are back,” her husband Ray Dillon posted on his blog today. “As of today she’s doing a bit better and we’re told after perhaps a week in the Critical Care Unit she should be mostly recovered. It got really bad and we almost lost her. Been a very rough couple of weeks. We’re behind in work, income, communication, and our nerves are just shot from all this.”
Dillon notes De Liz does not have health insurance, and he has been asked by friends and fans if they can donate money to assist with the “likely $30k or more in medical bills we’re racking up here.” He adds that “right now we don’t have any dire need and there are a lot of people out there who probably do,” comparing their current situation to one where they lost their house a couple of years ago. “We might be paying these medical bills forever, but it’s not the same as needing to raise a certain amount by a certain time to save a house or to have a major operation to save a life or anything like that,” he said.
If you’re inclined to help, he has a donate button set up on his site where you can do so through PayPal. It would also likely help if you bought something from his Amazon store, where you can find several of the projects he (and De Liz) worked on.
If you’ve been paying attention to the online comics community in the past year or so, you’ve no doubt come across someone looking for donations to help fund their comics project via Kickstarter. The website relies on ardent fans for these campaigns to work, in much the same way that smaller publishers have pushed hard the idea of pre-ordering your comics because direct market retailers might not stock the material otherwise.
When it first came into being, Kickstarter was pegged as a fad. However, it’s bucked preconceptions after projects like Womanthology pulled together more than $100,000 (when organizers only asked for $25,000) in August 2011, and has become an increasingly vital part of comics publishing outside the well-funded major companies. And when Rich Burlew’s webcomic The Order of the Stick raised $1.2 million when only asking for $57,750, it changed the thinking of many comics pros.
In effect, it’s turning away from publishers as the primary source to fund a comic and instead taking advantage of the wills and pocketbooks of fans. What makes it even more powerful is the idea of prizes for pledge levels, becoming more than just a donation with no strings attached; in effect, you could pre-order editions of the book in different formats with different price levels. Take for example the recent Kickstarter drive for the Image graphic novel Queen Crab: It raised $10,000, and in the process pre-sold 278 print copies of the book and 47 PDFs. That’s before it was even solicited in Previews.
The second day of WonderCon in Anaheim, California, featured announcements ranging from Marvel’s new Captain Marvel series to Dark Horse’s new motion-comics venture to IDW Publishing’s Womanthology miniseries:
• In his “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed that Carol Danvers, long known as Ms. Marvel, will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy. He also announced that, spinning out of his Astonishing X-Men run, Greg Pak will team with Stephen Segovia for X-Treme X-Men, which includes Dazzler in its lineup. “You have no idea how hard I’ve fallen for this woman,” Pak told Newsarama. “She’s so much fun to write — she’s funny and real and wry; she’s a survivor who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale; and she will save your life with rock and roll.”
• Dark Horse will bring motion comics featuring such characters as Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy to Felicia Day’s new YouTube Channel Geek & Sundry, beginning April 2.
• IDW Publishing will follow Womanthology: Heroic, the Kickstarter-funded graphic novel anthology showcase for female creators, with a five-issue miniseries titled Womanthology: Space.
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.
If I had $15 this week, I’d rush to the store as quickly as possible to ensure that I’d be able to get a copy of Saga #1 (Image Comics, $2.99) before it completely sells out. It’s been far, far too long since Brian K. Vaughan has been doing comics, and Fiona Staples is one of those artists who just continually gets better even after starting pretty damn impressively in the first place. It’s not the only must-read launch this week, either; I’m also very excited about Saucer Country #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s mash-up of The West Wing, The X-Files and – judging by this first issue, which I’ve had a sneak peek at – The Invisibles, which pretty much ensures I’ll be on board for awhile. There’s also Marvel’s Avengers Assemble #1 ($3.99), which I’m… curious about more than excited for, in large part because I’ve already seen Bendis’ take on the team for the last few years, so this feels more like “More of That Thing You’ve Already Read!” than “First Issue of A New Series!” but… well, it might be better than I’m expecting, who knows?
If I had $30, I’d think about putting Avengers back on the shelf before picking up Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout Premiere HC (Marvel, $19.99), the second collection of Kieron Gillen’s remarkably great Thor spin-off. I’ve only recently caught up with the first collection, and loved it, so I’m looking forward to more of the same with this one.
There’s really only one choice to splurge on this week for me: The Womanthology: Heroic hardcover (IDW, $50.00). Not only do I have friends with work in the book, but I was pretty much signed up for this one as soon as I heard about it online. I love well-done anthologies, and I’m ready for this to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
Although recent events have shown some faltering in Kickstarter-driven projects, the continual emergence of new and interesting books on the site hasn’t dampened the impact it could make for comics. The latest entry into the Kickstart-funded arena is the graphic novel project Namesake by artist Isabella Melançon and writer Megan Lavey-Heaton. Originally conceived by Melançon as a parody comic she did for friends in 2007, Lavey-Heaton stoked the artist to take the project to the next level and with Kickstarter, they hope to do just that.
Namesake tells the story of a woman kidnapped during the events of a library fire and deposited in a fantasy world that shows the fictional stories from literature and cinema brought to life. This woman, Emma Crewe, is set on a path to navigate through this uncharted world and find her way home, while also finding out why she was chosen to be brought here in the first place.
Namesake‘s creators come with some Kickstart pedigree to their name already; both are contributors to Womanthology, one of the most widely funded Kickstarter comic projects ever. The pair are already almost halfway to their $7,000 funding goal with almost a month left to go, with notable supporters including artist Ross Campbell (Wet Moon, Glory).
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Mouse Guard is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes - With the Flight anthologies done, the all-ages version, Flight Explorer has morphed into this. I expect it to be as lovely as its predecessors and especially like the Mystery Box theme.
Jinx – J Torres and Rick Burchett’s graphic novel aimed at tween girls.
Kevin Keller, Volume 1 and Kevin Keller #1 – Archie collects the first appearances and mini-series of their major, gay character and also launches his ongoing series.
Flash Gordon: Vengeance of Ming – The third volume in Ardden’s Flash Gordon series.
Pretty much since the Womanthology initiative began, Robot 6 has done its best to cover it. A few weeks back, some questions came about how the money raised for the Womanthology project was to be spent and further questions resulted based on the response to the concerns. Rather than stand on the sidelines as the discussion played out, I contacted Womanthology organizers to see if an email interview was possible. Laura Morley, Womanthology’s project administrator, was willing to take my questions. Thanks to Morley for her time, as well as to Michael May, Sean T. Collins and Graeme McMillan for interview prep support.
Tim O’Shea: Laura, how did you come to be involved with Womanthology?
Laura Morley: I’m an aspiring comics writer, and saw the original tweet Renae De Liz sent out in May, seeking women to contribute comics to an anthology for charity. I hadn’t actually crossed paths with Renae back then, and saw the message via someone else’s retweet – I wish I could remember whose, so I could thank them! It’s been an amazing experience for me. Then, since I’m one of those perverse people who gets a kick out of wrangling spreadsheets, I sent an email offering to help out with admin for the project – from that I wound up coordinating the admin effort, which has meant acting as a first point of contact for our contributors and our Kickstarter backers. You can also hear me sounding British on the Womanthology Kickstarter video.
O’Shea: Can you explain how it came to be that there is a hardback anthology and a sketchbook associated with Womanthology?
Morley: Publishing a hardcover volume was the plan from the beginning. The book is going to be pretty hefty – it’s over 300 pages long, on a 9×12 inch format, and we wanted to make something truly elegant that would serve as a good vehicle for the beautiful work inside. The sketchbook came about, I believe, as an opportunity to showcase some more of the work by our creators. Some contributors preferred to draw pinups than full stories, and some wanted to do both; some writers wanted to share samples from their scripts – we thought this would be a good way to get more of it out to the audience it deserves.
Rachel Pandich is an ambitious writer. I first became of her eight-issue miniseries, Aspire (Movement Comics), when I ran across it at this year’s HeroesCon (Pandich and series artist Ashley Lanni were invited to peddle the series at Teenage Satan‘s booth by Marsha Cooke). The miniseries aims to tell the tale of Destiny, a 12-year old girl who wants to fight crime. In addition to discussing this miniseries, Pandich discusses her upcoming involvement in Womanthology.
Tim O’Shea: Is Movement Comics your own publishing entity established to publish Aspire?
Rachel Pandich: No. I’ve had the script for the first issue of Aspire since late 2006 early 2007. It took a lot of shopping around for both a publisher and an artist. Finally a friend sent me an email directing me to Movement Magazine. Movement is an indie music zine that had dabbled in the local comic book scene before so I figured “Why not?”
O’Shea: How did you and artist Ashley Lanni first decide to start collaborating?
Pandich: Like I said, I’ve had the script for the first issue for a while. I was on my fourth artist, who was very quickly giving me every excuse in the book as to why he could not finish the first page, when I met Ashley. It was at Jacksonville’s monthly artwalk. Another artist that was next to her was handing out fliers for a pop-culture art show the next week. I went and Ashley was there too. I liked what I saw and a few months later we had agreed to work together.
Creators | Robert Crumb pens a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining why he pulled out of the Graphic 2011 festival: “I was quite alarmed when I read the article in the Sunday Telegraph. I showed it to my wife, Aline, who said, ‘That’s it, you’re not going.’ She got a very bad feeling from the article. She feared I might be attacked physically by some angry, outraged person who simply saw red at the mention of child molesters. She remarked she’d never seen any article about me as nasty as this one.” Sunday Telegraph staff writer Claire Harvey, meanwhile, responds to Crumb’s comments and criticisms lobbed at the newspaper: “Crumb seems to be living in fear of the reaction he once sought to provoke. It seems a sad place for any artist to be.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Passings | Kim Thompson eulogizes Argentina cartoonist Francisco Solano López, who passed away on Friday. [The Comics Journal]
Conventions | Reporting from this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, the Chicago Tribune talks to former comic shop owner Gary Colabuono, who displayed rare ashcan editions of comics from the 1930s and 1940s featuring Superman, Superwoman, Superboy and Supergirl at the show. Blogger Matthew J. Brady has pictures of the ashcans, as well as a report from the show. [Chicago Tribune]
Legal | The Los Angeles Times reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Toby G. Scammell with insider trading. Scammell has been accused of using confidential information “surreptitiously gleaned” from his girlfriend to make $192,000 off of Disney’s 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. Scammell’s girlfriend was an intern working in the corporate strategy department at Disney. [Los Angeles Times]
Comics | Heidi MacDonald rounds up questions creators have raised about the Womanthology project, which raised $109,000 on Kickstarter, specifically about how the extra money will be used and whether the creators who are involved will be paid. Organizer Renae De Liz has posted additional details on the Womanthology site. [The Beat]
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con gets into full swing today in Rosemont, Illinois. Comics guests include Brian Azzarello, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato Jr., Gary Friedrich, Patrick Gleason, Mike Grell, Dave Johnson, Ariel Olivetti, Eduardo Risso, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ethan Van Sciver. The Chicago Sun-Times briefly spotlights attending artists Ivan Brunetti and Don Kramer, while the Daily Herald interviews Brunetti and Nate Powell. [Wizard World]
Womanthology, the charity anthology of comics by female creators that’s using Kickstarter to raise money for publishing expenses, crossed the finish line just 18-and-a-half hours into their fundraising efforts. The crew behind the anthology raised $25,000 in less than a day, and as of this morning they’re raised more than double that — currently their total is at $51,844, but I’m sure it’ll go up even more before I post this.
“WOW! I am amazed, grateful, shocked, awed, astounded, baffled, flabbergasted and a whole fistful of other emotions!” wrote Renae De Liz, who organized the project, in an update on Kickstarter. “I mean, I had high hopes that we would make our goal, I had confidence in our book & all of our contributors and their abilities to help make this happen, but this completely blew me away at how it seemed the whole world came together to help! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!”
De Liz says she will use the extra money to fund a larger print run for the current book and fund a second book that “that will include both men and women, and promote more opportunities for people to be published and work with their favorite creators.”
You can still donate to the project and qualify for some of the rewards; head over to Kickstarter to check it out.
There’s anthologies. Then there’s Womanthology.
Designed to showcase the works of female comic creators “of every age and experience level,” the short stories in Womanthology center around the theme “Heroic.” In addition to comics, the book will also have interviews and “how-to” tutorials by female creators to encourage the next generation of talent. All proceeds from the book will be donated to the charity Global Giving Foundation.
To bring this all together, the women behind Womanthology are turning to Kickstarter.com to raise money to print the book. With a release date tentatively set for December 2011, the Kickstarter campaign has already generated $18,000 of its $25,000 goal with just under a month to go.
The list of contributors reads like a who’s who of comic creators, including the likes of Ann Nocenti, Camille d’Errico, Ming Doyle, Colleen Doran, June Brigman, Fiona Staples, Barbara Kesel, Gail Simone, Trina Robbins and more.