Xombi Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

John Rozum explains how to kill your darlings

Rozum had to rework Midnight, Mass in some harsh ways in order to adjust for story constrictions outside his control

Another post for the process junkies; this time about writing. On his blog, John Rozum answers a reader’s question about trimming fat and killing darlings in comics scripts. It’s one of the basic rules of writing, but Rozum relates it specifically to the pre-determined page counts of single-issue comics stories.

Generally, if it’s an action oriented comic book, I will cut out some of the action. My feeling is that with over 75 years of super hero comics behind us, everyone reading them has seen two people in garish outfits hitting each other frequently enough that they can fill in the blanks and get the sense that a hefty battle is being waged even if I cut out a page of someone getting beaten with a parking meter or having a bus thrown at them. This seems like something easier to do away with and without the same impact that cutting a scene that strengthens the bond between two characters through their interaction over dinner.

Cutting action pages out of an action comic is an interesting choice, but Rozum is clear about his personal priorities in story construction. ” I usually put the characters first and plot serves as a supporting function to develop the characters,” he writes, “whether that’s something long term like Xombi, or even a 2-issue Batman story.” The implication is that writers should identify their own priorities in storytelling and make edits accordingly.

Rozum also talks about what happens when he does have to cut character moments and when outside forces like suddenly reduced page counts and truncated series get in the way of his original plans. There are lots of real-life examples from Xombi, Midnight Mass, and The X-Files and also stuff about how much freedom artists should have in developing pacing. Even though there’s a lot there, it’s not a long post. Very worth the time of new writers.


Food or Comics? | Winter squash or Winter Soldier?

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

John Romita's The Amazing Spider-man: Artist's Edition

Graeme McMillan

Congratulations, Dark Horse: You pretty much own my first $15 for the week, with Dark Horse Presents #8 ($7.99) and Star Wars: Dawn of The Jedi #0 ($3.50) both being my go-to new releases for the week. DHP has the new Brian Wood/Kristian Donaldson series The Massive launching, as well as more Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson and new Skeleton Key by Andi Watson, which is a pretty spectacular line-up, and the new Star Wars book coincides with the latest flare up of my irregular longing to check up on that whole universe’s goings-on. Apparently, I’m keeping it local this week, who knew?

If I had $30, I’d add Action Comics #6 (DC Comics, $3.99) and OMAC #6 (DC Comics, $2.99) to that pile — I’m particularly treasuring the latter before it goes away, although I have to admit that the time-jumping nature of these Action fill-ins has gotten me more excited than I should ‘fess up to — as well as a couple of Ed Brubaker books, Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel, $2.99) and Fatale #2 (Image Comics, $3.50). I wasn’t bowled over by Fatale‘s debut, but it intrigued me enough to want to give it another go, while the noir + super spy sales pitch for the new Marvel series pretty much guarantees my checking the first issue out at the very least.

When it comes to splurging, there is nothing I would buy – were I rich enough — more quickly than IDW’s John Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man Artist Edition HC ($100), because … well, it’s classic Romita as the pages originally looked on his drawing board. How anyone can resist that (other than the price point), I don’t know.

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Previews: What looks good for January

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes

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.

Amulet

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.

Archie

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.

Ardden

Flash Gordon: Vengeance of Ming – The third volume in Ardden’s Flash Gordon series.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Already? DC Solicits for January 2012

"I throw him a growl I've brought all the way from Africa"

I was going to open with some snotty Wow, the holidays went by super-quickly! comment, but then I read the first issue of Justice League in seven weeks. Sometimes DC gets ahead of itself; sometimes it’s a little behind.  Happens to the best of us — sometimes you do two solicitation roundups in three weeks….

Anyway, with the January solicitations, the New-52 books each turn five issues old. Series wrapping up their first arcs this month include Blackhawks, Batwoman, Animal Man, and the Deadman feature in DC Universe Presents.  (Not to worry about the latter, because there is a lot of Deadman in these solicits.)  I’m not sure why five issues is such a wonky number for story arcs — there are five-issue miniseries all the time and they collect just fine. Still, I expected most of the New-52 books to take six issues for their introductory stories, and most of them may yet do that. Only a few books look to finish their first arcs after December’s issue #4s (Hawkman and Frankenstein, probably OMAC, maybe Batgirl), and those plus this month’s are barely an eighth of the relaunched line. It makes next month’s solicits more intriguing, I suppose.

Regardless, we live in the now (as it were…) so — onward to January!
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John Rozum annotates Xombi and Static villains

As the current, primary custodian of the Milestone Universe, this has to be a bittersweet time for John Rozum. On the bitter side, it’s disappointing to have to say good-bye to Xombi, both for Rozum and his readers. It was a well-loved series and, like the first volume, done too soon. But on his blog Rozum mentions a couple of things that make the cancellation easier to swallow. First, there’s a collection of all six issues coming, but Rozum’s also announced that in November he’ll start a series of annotation posts “giving some behind the scenes looks at what inspired … the material, what references there might be, and some other general process stuff that I think won’t take away from the reading experience.” And just to make sure he doesn’t miss anything, he’s also taking reader questions.

But as we say good-bye to Xombi, Rozum’s also looking forward to the release of Static Shock. He’s been posting a series of villain peeks and promises something Static-related every day between now and the Sept. 7 debut. If you’re a Milestone fan, Rozum’s blog is the place to be right now.

What Are You Reading? with Elisabeth Forsythe

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #3

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Elisabeth Forsythe, marketing manager for online comic shop Things From Another World and frequent contributor to The Blog From Another World.

To see what Elisabeth and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, read on.

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Food or Comics? | Doctor Who, Batman Inc. and more

Doctor Who

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

Let’s give all credit to IDW for their sense of timing. I’m so psyched up in advance of this Saturday’s return of Doctor Who to my television screen that this Wednesday’s release of Doctor Who Annual 2011 (IDW, $7.99) seems like the ideal way to prepare myself. If I had $15, I’d happily spend more than half of it on that particular anthology. The rest would go towards closing out the current incarnation of the DCU, as I’d be grabbing both Action Comics #904 and Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 (Both DC, $2.99).

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What Are You Reading?

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3 Century #2

It’s time once again for another round of What Are You Reading?, kids. Today we welcome special guest Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, creator of Necessary Monsters, The Last Sane Cowboy and more.

To see what Daniel and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Food or Comics? | The League of Spontaneous Olympians

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Spontaneous #1

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, the first thing I’d grab would be a complete nostalgia-buy: DC Retroactive: Justice League of America – The 70s #1 (DC, $4.99), because I am a complete and utter sucker for JLA stories, and grew up reading old back issues of the title I found at used bookstores. This would be worth it for the reprint at the back alone, never mind the new story by Cary Bates that looks like it’s playing around with the multiverse one more time. To accompany that, I’d also pick up the first two issues of Joe Harris and Brett Weldele’s Spontaneous (both $3.99), because – even though I missed the Free Comic Book Day release of the debut – I’m a fan of Harris’ Ghost Projekt and Weldele’s work on The Surrogates, and curious to see just where a book about spontaneous human combustion can actually go.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Batman Inc. #7

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

I’d pick up Batman Inc. #7 ($2.99) and that would be it, so afterwards I’d pat myself on the back for not blowing my whole $15.

If I had $30:

I’d go with Farm 54 ($25), a new hardbound collection of stories by the brother and sister team of Galit and Gilad Seliktar, courtesy of Fanfare/Ponent Mon. It’s basically a semi-autobiographical collection of tales capturing a young woman at various critical stages in her youth, adolescence and young adulthood, all done in a tentative, wispy watercolor. Lovely stuff to flip through, at the very least.

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DC relaunch scorecard: DCnU or DC No?

Green Lantern #1, by Dave Johnson

Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.

So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.

It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”

So let’s get to it ….

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Kirby: Genesis

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 this week, I’d start it off by buying Kirby Genesis #0 (Dynamite, $1); I love the idea of world-building from older characters, and Jack Kirby left a treasure trove of ideas even he couldn’t get a handle on completely. I’m interested to see where Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross take this, and I hope with Busiek’s addition it can be more tantalizing than Project: Superpowers was. Second up, I would get the penultimate Secret Warriors #27 (Marvel, $2.99); when this series started I was an ardent reader, but it lost me along the way. For some work-related research I caught up with the series, and since the last Howling Commandos story it’s been going great; I hope Hickman can stick the landing. Third I would get Vertigo’s new anthology Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Vertigo, $7.99); a pricey experiment, but I’m in the mood to get blown away. Lastly would be FF #4 (Marvel, $2.99) – I’m really enjoying what Hickman and Epting have done in the new simply titled series.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Justice League Generation Lost #24

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

JK Parkin

If I had $15: It would be tough. For one thing, DC has three books for $5 or more each that I’m interested in — the last issues of Justice League Generation Lost and Brightest Day, as well as Action Comics #900. If I bought all three, well … I couldn’t buy all three, at least not for $15. I stopped reading Brightest Day several issues ago, so I’m more curious about the return of a certain character to the DCU proper than anything. And I’ll probably hold off on Action as well, at least for now. But Justice League Generation Lost‘s final issue ($4.99) would be at the top of my buy list for sure.

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What Are You Reading?

Here at Hogwarts

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 …

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Grumpy Old Fan | Unto us an Archive is given: DC Comics Solicitations for March 2011

Sadly, Jonah Hex does not team up with the House of Mystery in this issue.

DC Special Series #21

It was both a frustration and a relief to see the DC solicitations this week. I was prepping a holiday column, because it’s my last chance to do something seasonal and I always like doing those. Part of what I wanted to say appears at the end, but the March solicits help keep the more sappy impulses in check.

Anyway, let’s see what’s under the tree, shall we?

GLBXPT!

The long-awaited Sugar & Spike Archives are finally on the schedule — but I am careful to note that similarly-anticipated projects like Suicide Squad collections and the New Teen Titans: Games graphic novel have also made it to the solicits without (so far) showing up on bookshelves. Therefore, Sugar & Spike goes in the “I’ll believe it when I hold it in my grubby paws” category. It’s also ironic to me that Sugar & Spike gets the Archives treatment just as DC seems to be phasing out the Archives line in favor of the imposing Omnibus format.
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