Legal | Ryan Matheson, who was stopped at the Canadian border in 2010 and charged with criminal possession of child pornography because of a manga image on his computer (which even the officials who arrested him couldn’t agree was child pornography), talks about his ordeal in a personal statement on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund site. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced Thursday that the Canadian government has dropped all criminal charges against Matheson. [CBLDF]
Comics | Leah Moore sees two things: a huge number of women who like comics, and a comics industry that is in serious trouble, and thinks it’s time to connect the dots and start making comics that appeal to the other 50% of the audience. “Okay, well, let’s say, instead of jumping in and writing comics designed to attract women readers (Minx comics discovered this is harder than it looks), how’s about writing comics which don’t actually put women off? How’s about a bit less objectifying, a bit less sexualisation, a bit less pervy gusset shots and tit windows? Just a bit? Make some of the regular mainstream big name books everyone enjoys reading a bit less eyewatering and weird about women. That would be a great start.” [Warren Ellis]
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 we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, 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.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
Vertigo Comics announced today that writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard will team up on an eight-issue miniseries titled The New Deadwardians, a comic set in post-Victorian England where the upper class voluntarily becomes vampires in order to escape the lower class, who have all become zombies.
“May I just confess that this is a story that involves both zombies and vampires, two things I swore I would never write about because they had both long since jumped the shark,” Abnett said in his pitch. “Then this idea came to me and wouldn’t leave me alone. Please be tolerant of the zombie-and-vampire-ness of this until you’ve heard me out. It’s essentially a detective story set in an alternate history England, circa 1900.”
Here’s how they described the book on the Vertigo blog:
Set in post-Victorian England, nearly everyone in the upper class has voluntarily become a vampire to escape the lower classes who are all zombies.
Thrust into this mayhem is Chief Inspector George Suttle, a lonely detective who’s got the slowest beat in London: investigating murders in a world where everyone is already dead!
But when the body of a young aristocrat washes up on the banks of the Thames, Suttle’s quest for the truth will take him from the darkest sewers to the gleaming halls of power, and reveal the rotten heart at the center of this strange world.
Abnett, of course, is one half of the DnA writing team with Andy Lanning, who together write Resurrection Man and New Mutants. Culbard has done work for Dark Horse and SelfMadeHero, a British publisher, including the adaptation of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness that won a British Fantasy Award earlier this year.
The first issue comes out in March.
Artist Dusty Higgins has a knack for getting involved with projects with titles that make you scream, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that?” Over the last couple years, he’s worked with Van Jensen on the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of graphic novels, the third of which is due next year from SLG Publishing. It of course pits the little wooden boy against monsters whose weaknesses include wooden stakes through the heart.
Now he’s teamed with writer Ron Wolfe for Knights of the Living Dead, a story that brings zombies to Camelot. The first issue is now available for free from SLG Publishing’s website, where you can also buy the second issue for 99 cents.
Wolfe says not to let the title fool you – the book is no spoof.
“I love the title, but don’t let it mislead you. The book is no spoof on zombies. It’s as dark as anything I’ve ever written,” Wolfe told Robot 6. His previous work includes Death’s Door and Old Fears, both horror novels co-written with John Wooley, as well as Hellraiser comics for Marvel. “That said, the premise allows for some playing around. But I really think, if I just happened to pick it up, this thing would trouble me for some time.”
In seeking to explain the pervasive popularity of the zombie genre, talkers-about pop culture have long espoused the theory that tales of the unhappy undead catch on during times of national stress, usually of a military variety.
I bought that, as 2002′s 28 Days Later re-mainstreamed zombies between the U.S.-lead invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but zombies are still around, and more popular than ever. The argument could be made that they’re still here because we’re still stressed out and America is still engaged in the same wars we were fighting a decade ago , but then, hasn’t every single year of American history been stressful for the folks living in it? Haven’t we almost always been at war with someone somwhere?
So I’m developing my own theory. I think zombies are popular not necessarily as a psychological reflection of the common consumers anxiety about terrorism or immigration or mortality or economic decline or the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United, but simply because the proliferation of cheap filmmaking and publishing technology and the hydra-like increase in media outlets makes it easier to make and transmit zombie products, and the astronomically more specialized consumer of the past decade means its easier to sustain popularity of particular genres. It’s now possible for almost any genre to become popular enough to be self-sustaining in today’s media environment.
For example, producers pitching Walking Dead to AMC in 2010 didn’t have to worry about mass appeal in the same way that a previous generations producers might have had if they pitched a Night of Living Dead series to NBC in 1985; if they get the people who participate in zombie walks and the comic book people and the horror people, that’s more than enough to tune-in and buy DVD collections.
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 first get the third issue of my favorite New 52 title, Batwoman #3 (DC, $2.99). Seriously, J.H. Williams III is hitting a home run on every outing here when it comes to my tastes. Although the writing isn’t up to the level of Greg Rucka’s time on the book, it’s close and only bound to get better. Next up I’d get Point One #1 (Marvel, $5.99). I think this format–an extra-size preview book for what’s coming next–is an interesting experiment, and I’m intrigued most by the Nova story, but also interested to see what the others do. Third would be Uncanny X-Force #17 (Marvel, $3.99), to get the one-two punch of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. Iceman as a bad guy? I dig this.
As we noted on Sunday, The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman was a guest on The View‘s “Halloween Spectacular” episode, where he survived a gauntlet of questions about his popular creation, zombies and zombie survival. You can check out Kirkman’s appearance below; his “Zombies 101″ segment begins at about the 11:20 mark, after the first commercial break.
Back in May the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a fun approach to encouraging folks to prepare for disasters with a blog post about how to get ready for the zombie apocalypse. That post proved to be very popular, so they’ve followed it up with a comic on the same topic.
Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic was created in-house, the CDC’s David Daigle told USA Today. The same article points out that the initial zombie blog post cost $87, to buy a stock photo as an illustration. “We got an estimate for the blog that it’s worth $3.4 million in marketing value,” Daigle said. So maybe lightning will strike twice with the comic.
Their timing, of course, couldn’t be better, what with AMC’s The Walking Dead returning to television this past Sunday. Both the show and the CDC claim Atlanta as a home, which has led Atlanta Magazine to declare the city “the Zombie Capital of the World.”
The Alamo Drafthouse theaters held six “Mondo Mystery Movies” in Los Angeles this past weekend, and they had different artists create limited edition posters for each of them. One of those artists was Charlie Adlard of Walking Dead fame, who created the above poster for 28 Days Later (with title treatment from Jon Smith).
There’s also a variant edition — same poster, different title treatment — after the jump, along with the other movie posters they released for Iron Giant, City of Lost Children, Hellraiser, Assault on Precinct 13 and The Mist.
That’s the story cartoonist Chris Moreno is telling in his new comic book Zombie Dickheads Are NOT Coming To Get You, set for release in October. Moreno’s produced a diverse amount of work in his short career, from Disney’s Toy Story to a World War Hulk one-shot, but this book sees him doing his first creator-owned book from the ground up.
“[The title characters are] total jerks,” Moreno says in the press release. “Imagine the idiots who get everyone killed in zombie movies the day after they come back from the dead, and now they have to stick together. I’ve heard them referred to as ‘hipster zombies’, since they have a sort of ‘been there, done that’ attitude to the whole zombie thing. In a way, they’re sort of commentators on the whole zombie invasion of pop culture.”
The October release clocks in at 48 pages, and will debut at Chris’ table at the Nashville Comic and Horror Fest on Oct. 1. After that it’ll be available at all his future convention appearances, as well as a website he set up for the book.
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, “Jeff Lemire’s Frankenstein 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.
The Grave Doug Freshley – A lot of publishers are doing Weird Western comics lately and that’s just fine with me.
Spera, Volume 1 – I like the sound of this fairy tale in which a couple of princesses combine efforts to save their kingdoms. It’s not that I’m anti-prince, but that’s a cool, new way to do that story.
Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island – Warren Ellis doing Steampunk sounds thrilling, but really all they had to say was “pirates.” I bet this is still really good though, even if you’re pickier than I am.
Roger Langridge’s Snarked #1 – After a well-loved zero-issue, Langridge’s version of Wonderland gets its real, official start.
There’s only one page up so far, but Hairy Steve already has a bit of a history: Creators Jamie Smart and Steve Bright lived up to their last names with an indiegogo campaign that has already overshot its goal of $2,000. (The funding levels run from “stubbly” to “hirsute.”) Smart and Bright only have one page up so far, but it has a distinct EC vibe and the promise of plenty of mashup madness. Hairy Steve is, well, a hairy beast, who hides from humans because he finds them annoying but isn’t averse to rescuing them if he sees them getting into trouble. And there’s a whole lot of trouble when he accidentally crushes a zombie’s skull, bringing a plague of walking dead into his city. Smart and Bright say they can pull this story off in 24 pages, which seems like a feat in itself, but it should be fun to watch them try.
For the last few years, when not busy with his day job teaching sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Brian Ralph has been busy working on his latest graphic novel, Daybreak. The book is a slight departure of sorts for Ralph — best known for his early work as part of the highly influential Fort Thunder collective and for books like Cave-In — in that it delves into the horror genre. Yes, it’s another zombie book, but it’s a zombie book with a unique twist, with everything viewed from the perspective of an unnamed survivor (i.e. the reader), as he explores a foreboding landscape and finds a potential friend amidst all the devastation.
Daybreak makes it debut at Comic-Con this year, and Ralph will be on a panel at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) 14today with Anders Nilsen and Jeff Smith on the subject of “Epic Literary Adventures” (in Room 9).
I talked with Ralph over email about the panel, the new book, and the adventures of teaching comics to college students.
Daybreak is a horror story told from a unique, first-person perspective. Which came first for you, the desire to do a horror tale or the unique way of telling it?
I don’t play video games, but I felt there was something exciting about how a person could be immersed in the world of a video game. With comics the reader isn’t an active participant in the storytelling. I wanted to make a comic that, in it’s own way, achieve some feeling of participation and immersion. I was looking for interactivity of some kind.
I had not seen a “first-person shooter” style of comic before. It turned out to be very exciting approach to storytelling. I was constantly trying to figure out new ways for the reader to feel like they were interacting with the characters and become characters in the story as well. I made some decisions along the way; to never show the reader’s “character” such as in a mirror. I didn’t want the reader to talk with a word balloon. I felt those things would break the illusion. It was tricky to work with those constraints, but such a fun challenge.
Plenty of zombies typically attend Comic-Con — whether they’re dressed as characters from The Walking Dead or simply love Marvel to death — but this week BOOM! Studios announces a new humor comic that pits Comic-Con attendees vs. actual zombies.
Per the press release, Fanboys vs. Zombies details what happens when a group of fanboys “find one of their greatest nightmares turned reality as San Diego becomes zombie ground zero. Armed only with the undead know-how they’ve gained from comic books, video games and horror movies, it’s up to one group of friends to navigate the Comic-Con feeding frenzy, and make it out alive! But will the zombie hordes be deadlier than they ever imagined? Can they save their friends along the way, and still make it out with some Comic-Con exclusives?”
The comic was conceived by Ben Silverman and Jimmy Fox of Electus. Silverman is the former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, as well as executive producer of such shows as The Office, Ugly Betty, The Tudors and The Biggest Loser.
“BOOM! Studios is the ideal partner for this initiative as no one understands what serves this audience better than they do,” said Fox in the release. “We wanted to create this for the real fans. The comic book junkies, the sci-fi nuts, the horror enthusiasts, the hardcore gamers–every one of them will be represented in our cast of characters. This is for any fan who has ever wondered what would happen if they had to play the role of the hero.”
Welcome to the first Food or Comics? for 2011. 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 what we call our “Splurge” item.
Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
Hey, it’s the first week of 2011, and time to get some awesome comics, right? Right? So for my $15, I’ll pick up… Oh. Kind of a slow week, then, huh? Well, there’s always Steel #1 (DC, $2.99), the sure-to-be-controversial one-shot that launches the retro “Reign of Doomsday” crossover, and my love of James Robinson’s Justice League will ensure I pick up the Starman/Congorilla one-shot (DC, $2.99), if only to find out what all those interludes in the middle of the current “Omega” storyline are all about. Curiosity compels me to pick up Image’s Walking Dead Weekly #1 ($2.99), if only to see if it’s pretty much an exact reprint of the original first issue with a different cover, but that remaining $6 may just end up burning a hole in my pocket. Maybe I’ll put it toward my $30 haul…