Boutique home video distributor Criterion commissioned Samuel Hiti (Los Tiempos Finales, Death-Day) and a list of other great comics artists to create artwork for the individual films in the company’s box set for the long-running Zatoichi series starring Shintaro Katsu as a blind, but incredibly quick and accurate swordsman. Hiti designed the cover for Zatoichi the Fugitive, the fourth in the series.
Twenty-five Zatoichi films were produced between 1962 and 1973, making it the longest-running action series in Japanese history. There was also a four-season TV series in the late ’70s. The Criterion box set collects those first 25 feature films in one package for the first time, but doesn’t include 1989′s Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, written and directed by Shintaro Katsu himself.
Yuko Shimizu recently posted a gallery of amazing science fiction-style art at the portfolio site Behance. A couple were covers for the Vertigo series The Unwritten, but most consisted of book covers and illustrations that were too good not to share. Shimizu posts pictures of the unadorned illustrations beside shots of the images out in the wild, for context. As well as being a great illustrator, she’s an extremely talented designer.
My personal favorite after the jump may well be the Robert Crumb-referencing piece for a Fused TV magazine ad: Keep on space truckin’, indeed.
Vertigo will expand upon Mike Carey and Peter Gross‘ acclaimed fantasy series The Unwritten in September with an original graphic novel called The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & the Ship That Sank Twice. According to MTV Geek, the two collaborators will be joined on the project by illustrators Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon, and series cover artist Yuko Shimizu.
Debuting in October 2009, The Unwritten follows Tom Taylor, the model for his father’s insanely popular Tommy Taylor fantasy novels who, as a troubled adult, discovers he’s actually the boy-wizard made flesh, and sets off on an exploration of fame and the lines between reality and fiction. The Unwritten #47 goes on sale Feb. 27.
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.
The Unwritten cover artist Yuko Shimizu is a personal favorite, one of the reasons why her work is featured so often in Art Barrage. She recently posted a gallery of portraits of musicians, illustrations done for a variety of periodicals at Behance. It’s all great stuff, and there’s plenty more below.
More proof that Paul Pope’s Battling Boy may actually be about to see the light of day emerges arrives courtesy Mark Siegel’s diary for The Comics Journal. And, providing corroborating evidence that Pope can finish a job as well as start it, he has got a short story, “Treasure Lost,” coming up in Vertigo’s Halloween special Ghosts. Some lovely sci-fi/fantasy art going on in that ‘un, reminding me of those Dune pages he used to do for fun. Check that out, and lots more by Jamie McKelvie, Yuko Shimizu, Jason Shawn Alexander and others below.
Plenty more art from Clowes, Yuko Shimizu, Daniel Krall, Nick Abadzis and Duncan Fegredo after the break. Continue Reading »
Digital comics | ICv2 estimates the total value of the digital comics market in 2011 as $25 million, triple the 2010 figure, and boldly predicts that digital will account for 10 percent of the entire comics market in 2012. Digital sales grew faster in the second half of the year, which ICv2 attributes to three factors: DC’s decision to release its New 52 comics digitally the same day as print, the industry-wide trend toward same-day print and digital releases, and the proliferation of different platforms on which to read digital comics. As for digital taking away from print, the publishing executives ICv2 has spoken to over the past few months don’t seem to think that is happening. [ICv2]
Retailing | Retailer and journalist Matt Price takes the temperature at the ComicsPRO Annual Members Meeting, which kicks off today in Dallas, noting that members remain interested in DC’s publishing plans, and report “very strong sales” for Image’s Fatale and Thief of Thieves. [Nerdage]
Cinematical has premiered a gorgeous poster for Takashi Miike’s samurai film 13 assassins created by none other than Yuko Shimizu, perhaps best known to comic-book fans as the cover artist for Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ acclaimed Vertigo series The Unwritten. Outside of comics, Shimizu is a much-in-demand illustrator, working for such varied clients as Microsoft, The New York Times, The Gap, VISA, The New Yorker and MTV.
Check out the full poster after the break, or visit Cinematical to see a larger version. Miike’s 13 Assassins opens on April 29.