Archive for the ‘artist/creator(s)’ Category

Legendary Comics Writer Alan Moore on Superheroes, The League, and Making Magic

February 28th, 2009 by Rurik

I found this somewhat lengthy article on the WIred site. It’s a very informative look into Moore’s past, present and upcoming projects. Watches the Watchmen


January 31st, 2009 by Susie


I am too lazy to do the research myself, maybe you guys can help me figure out,  whatever happened to…?

1) Serenity: the Shepherd’s Tale.  When Dark Horse announced this three issue mini series  that would finally document Shepherd Book’s past, they said it would be out Fall 2008.  I have yet to see it listed in there upcoming lists.

2)Savant and Creote.  Gail Simone’s run on Bird’s of Prey produced some very cool new characters, such as Black Alice, and Misfit, both of whom are still showing up in the series pages.  However my favorite, the duo of Savant and Creote have completely disappeared.   Savant is a highly intelligent, extremely unstable, misogynist pretty boy.  Creote  is his extremely loyal bodyguard/manservant/sidekick/husband?  Despite the fact that their first appearance involved them holding Black Canary prisoner, Oracle was able to turn them into allies and ably used their skills to help her ever growing team.  Savant eventually fled since Oracle’s reforming of him had seriously disturbed his calm, Creote being completely devoted of course went with him.  I assumed they would be back at some point, but that was the last I saw of them.  I hope some writer revives them.  They might make an interesting addition to Gail’s own Wonder Woman run.

3) The next arc of Sky Doll.  Sky Doll was probably my favorite discovery  of last year.  I even bought the hardback trade when it was released even though I knew there was no material in it other than the contents of the three issues already published.  I want to collect it as books.  I am dying to know what happens next, but there has been no sign of when Marvel will bring out the second series.

I have issues

January 30th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:
JLA #55-69

Most of the comics I read come from the library, which really is an incredible resource for trades and even single issues.  I champion the library whenever I get the chance, showing people proudly that the trade paperback I’m reading came from one.  “Libraries carry comic books?” they say, incredulously.  “Why, yes!” I reply, telling them that I usually have fifteen or twenty checked out at any given time.  Sometimes, however, that comes back to bite me on the ass, like when I have to plow through three JLA trades in two nights because they’re coming due in the next couple of days, and I’m unable to renew them, because someone else has one of them on reserve.  I grit my teeth, though, and look at the bright side: people are looking for comics at the library, and requesting them.  So while I usually like to read several different series, usually from different companies, sometimes I get quite a long stretch of a single title all at once.

This run of JLA finished out Mark Waid’s time with the team, followed by an issues by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty, and now I’m well into Joe Kelly’s run.  Grant Morrison is definitely a tough act to follow.  Waid is decent, following up on Batman’s betrayal, with a storyline developed from a single line of dialogue, with half the league split from their own alter egos, playing off of what seems to be a throwaway line of dialogue.  And another line of dialogue in this storyline becomes the basis for the next one, the return of the white martians.  Waid’s entire run is very tight, practically interwoven together.  Dixon and Beatty’s issue is part of the Joker’s Last Laugh crossover.  I picked up that trade recently from the library, expecting a standalone Joker story, not realizing that it crossed into practically every title in the DCU.  Interestingly, the asterisks had been left in letting me know where I could find some of the other stories that crossed into Last Laugh.  Something which the JLA trades, and indeed most comic trades don’t seem to do.  I’ve always thought this a little weird, as it would be a great promotional tool to get people to buy other trades.  Is it that they figure people will be frustrated at not having the referenced comics immediately at their disposal?  These are comics!  For years, the asterisk was the starting point of a treasure hunt which had us wading through longboxes at comic shops and conventions, and staring longingly at backissues protected by mylar pinned up on the shop walls.  The lack of notes is particularly annoying during Kelly’s run, which ran during DC’s Our World at War crossover.  Events are mentioned about Wonder Woman not being a princess any more, Aquaman vanishing, and for some reason, the artist draws Superman’s emblem as red on black, rather than red on yellow.  But there are no notes telling you where you could read more about what happened.  Again, I feel a little hypocritical complaining about this, especially when I have all of the internet at my disposal to do research, but would it hurt to have an asterisk or some sort of annotation going on?  If you’ve never read it, the Annotated Crisis on Infinite Earths is a joy.  Such scholarship went into that, noting just about every character in every one of George Perez’s drawings.  Kudos to that effort, as well as the online annotations for just about everything Grant Morrison has ever written.

All of that said, I’m mostly enjoying Kelly’s run.  He brings up some interesting themes, such as Wonder Woman’s dependence on her lasso as a source of truth, and what happens when she vehemently disagrees with that truth.  I’m in the middle of The Obsidian Age arc, featuring the Justice League of 3000 years ago.  Here, he’s turning the moral table on the JLA, it appears, making them face what role they have in a completely foreign morality.  It seems a lot like a prelude to Justice League Elite, which he wrote a few years later, again drawn by Doug Mahnke, the artist on these JLA issues.  I wasn’t a big fan of Mahnke in JLE, and I’m still a little disturbed by his proportions and style here.  He does a good job at making people look unhealthy, and he seems a little obsessed with bugs and veins.  From the notes section of The Obsisdian Age, I discovered that Mahnke is from Minnesota.  I wonder if I’ve seen him at any of the conventions around here.

Is Neil Gaiman a Firefly Fan?

December 30th, 2008 by Susie

I was reading the Graveyard Book last night (and boy is it good), and I also noticed that the names of a pair of police men were Simon and Tam.  Which just happens to be the name of Firefly’s handsome and proper/desperate fugitive doctor.  So that got me wondering if it is an intentional reference.  And if it is, that is cool! Which got me to thinking if he is a fan of Firefly, perhaps he is a fan of Joss.  Since I can’t imagine anything making me happier than Neil Gaiman working on a Joss Whedon project.  So on the theory that if you shout something loudly enough into the Internet it will actually happen, and so this post can actually be about comics. I am hereby announcing NEIL GAIMAN WILL BE WRITING AN ARC OF BUFFY SEASON EIGHT!  Right, I hope that was loud enough.  Let the completely untrue rumors soar!  You can’t take the lie from me.

I Luv Halloween

December 24th, 2008 by jason

Keith Giffen is a truly disturbed individual.  This is not news.  He’s the guy who created Lobo, Ambush Bug, and reinvented the Justice League, putting Blue Beetle and Booster Gold together.  Bwah Ha Ha and all that.  In more recent years, he headed up the Annihilation series for Marvel.

What shows Giffen to completely off his rocker is a series for TokyoPop called I Luv Halloween, with art by Benjamin Roman.  All three volumes of this series have been put together in a nice hardcover called the Ultimate Twisted Edition.  Which is an apt description.  This is one of the most twisted comics I’ve ever read.  The comics are about four friends who go out trick or treating, each volume starting out the same way.  Finch, our hero, puts on his mask and prepares to leave.  You can see that Finch is the kind of boy who likes to take apart things.  Toys.  Small animals.  But compared to his little sister, he’s the tame one.  Your first image of Moochie is of her dressed as the tooth fairy, pulling out the tooth of a corpse seated at the dinner table.  One can only assume that this corpse is that of their mother.  This is quite possibly the least macabre thing that Moochie does for the rest of the 496 pages.  I Luv Halloween is the cartoon version of a Rob Zombie movie.  Moochie would smile up at Leatherface with her angelic blond face, and then slice his kneecaps off.  She would convince Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers to hitchhike to Canada to escape her, only to find her waiting at the border, where she’d cheerfully stab them in the eyeholes of their respective masks.  This kid would turn Hannibal Lector into a vegetarian, and give Freddy his own worst nightmares.  In fact, I’d like to see a Moochie vs everybody comic.

I Luv Halloween is full of murder, mayhem, and will quite probably cause mental instability in anyone who reads it.  In short, I loved it.  The writing is hysterical, in both definitions of the word.  Even though this is put out by TokyoPop, the art is not in the manga style.  It is very cartoon-like, which works well for this series.

Abadazad Book 3: the Puppet the professer and the prophet

November 22nd, 2008 by Susie

Florence wrote a while back that stories about faerie changelings were her literary comfort food.   Now I am going to discuss mine.  The magic land tale, it is a close cousin of the changeling tale, and they are often intertwined.  The definition of a magic land tale for me is is not simply a story that takes place in another world that is more fantastical than ours ie: Middle Earth, or Loyd Alexander’s Prydain.  The essential ingredient to a magic land tale for me, is that the protagonist, most often a young or adolescent girl (though sometimes it’s a boy or a group of children) is from our world or at least our world as was when the tale was written.  The formula varies but the ones I am most familiar with has the protagonist unintentionally transported to a strange new world, and once there she will make strange new friends, embark on some sort of quest often to procure her way home, and prove herself in ways she could not have dreamed.  That is a magic land tale to me, and like Florence with her changelings I will read any book or watch any movie that seems to adhere to this formula in some way, and I am rarely disappointed by result.

Before I get into the story the Abadazad books tell, I’ll tell the story of the books.   And probably rant a bit. Feel free to skip is part if you are only interested in the content of the story, I will get to that eventually.  I first became aware of them about five years ago, which was before thay were even books.  I came across article about a new comic book series by J.M. DeMatteis that was firmly rooted in the magic land tradition.  J. M. DeMatteis is the author of one of my all time favorite books (comic or otherwise) Moonshadow, add in a magic land and I was sold before the first issue ever came out.  Unfortunately after just three issues had come out, and just as the story had gotten rolling, the company relaeasing Abadazad, Crossgen went out of business.  Cut to two years later while browsing the all ages section of my local comic shop where I find Abadazad volumes one and two, and imediatly snap them up.  It seems once Crossgen was defunct DeMatteis and artist Mike Ploog shopped them around eventually selling the rights to Disney’s publishing division, where it was decided to reformat them as a series of short novels aimed at children ala the Spiderwick Chronicles.  After plowing through the first two volumes (book one basically being a retelling of issues 1 through 3, book two containing unbefore published materiel) I preordered the third volume on Amazon.  Six months later I got an email informing me the order was cancelled since the book was not being published. I figured that was that.  But perhaps a year later I found book three for sale on Amazon once again, so again I ordered it.  And It arrived this summer.  A few days ago I read it, and was sucked in all over again.  So I went to Amazon to see if and when book 4 would be out.  I found a title for a fourth book but no date for publication.  So I finally did a search for information on what was going with these books.  It seems that the series was planned to be around ten books long, but after the first two did not sell up to expectations, book three was delayed and then published only oversees. Then the series was completely cancelled with at least one more book written but unpublished.  Suffice to say I am bit upset I went to trouble to find book three with very little chance of ever getting to the ultimate conclusion.  I also feel that Disney did little to support the series in the first place.  After all, if someone like me who was allready sold on the series did not know it was being published untill I found it at an independent store, how was anyone new going to become aware of it.  I never saw it at any of the big chains.  Just after the cancellation anouncement there was talk of returning it to comic book form, but nothing official has been announced since then.  I guess I will just have to be content that it will remain open ended.

And that is a shame because as far as magic land tales go, this one manages to be entirely it’s own, while paying homage to many that have come before.  It centers on a thirteen year old girl named Kate, who is an loner with a sad past.  Maybe it was Kate’s bitter, antisocial attitude that scared off potential readers (or their parents), although this not an entirely new archetype for the magic land protagonist (Meg Murry holla!).  Kate’s troubles stem, mostly, from the disappearance five years earlier of her younger brother Matty.  Before he disappeared Matty was Kate’s constent companion and only friend.  Matty had loved the Abadazad books a {fictional} series of children’s book from the turn of the century that seem to have been inspired by the Oz series. Even the name of the Abadazad author Franklin O’ Davies appears to be a tribute to Oz’s creator L. Frank Baum, and an indirect reference to J.M. Barrie, who was inspired to write Peter Pan by the Davies family.  Once Matty disappears Kate withdraws from the world and rejects the trappings of childhood, especially any thing to do with Abadazad.  Naturally she finds herself transported there, with aid from her very old, some what batty neighbor who claims to be the actual Little Martha, the sweet as sugar herione of the books.  Once there she finds that Davies changed quite a few details to make the books more palatable, and the inhabitants do not look like the illustrations she grew up with.  She also discovers that Matty is being held prisoner there.  Finding him is the ultimate goal of the books, but there are many freinds to make, and villains to thwart on the way.  It is a classic magic land adventure yet it feels fresh.  If I have a complaint, other than the publishing woes, it would be the art.  Mike Ploog’s illustrations  are inventive, and vibrant but his style is very cartoonish, which feels a bit out of place in book which so tries to invoke classic children’s literature.  I feel like the job might be better to suited to someone like P.Craig Russell, or Charles Vess.  Also at times we get to see pages from the original Davies books, and Ploog does these illustrations as well, he changes the look of the charecters, but the tone does not seem all that differnt from what we see of the real Abadazad.  These though are minor quibbles for me though, and he has done a great job bringing both the human and Zadians to life.  I just hope they story is finished somehow.

Kirkman takes over the universe

November 20th, 2008 by jason

I just finished the latest trade of Invincible, the first trade of The Astounding Wolf-Man, and I’ll picking up the first trade of Capes tonight at the library.  How prolific is this man?  How many continuing series is he going to write?  Would Image fold completely if he was in a plane crash?  Looking at the back page, listing all the available trades, you could go broke just keeping up with his output alone.

Both trades were fun, and the stories keep growing in complexity, bringing in plot twists on the last page.  Now I have to decide whether or not to wait for the next trade, or try to find the single issues.  If I decide to catch up with the Walking Dead (should be easy, they’re a slow-moving bunch), I have friends whose copies I’d be able to read.  I think they also have singles for Invincible, but I don’t think they decided to buy AWM.  I didn’t think I would get into the latter, but the story picked up, and I think there’s going to be a crossover with Invincible soon.

November 4, 2008 – Presidents Illustrated

November 5th, 2008 by Martin

I suppose this is not quite a comic, but Patrick Moberg is responsible for this fabulous graphic of our Presidents, past and future. This is best viewed full size.

ReadComics Podcast #021 – Book Club #4 – The Walking Dead, Vol. 1

October 29th, 2008 by Martin

Tonight we had Jason, Mike, Florence, Marty, and a couple of new voices: Stephanie and Konrad. We talked at unusual length about The Walking Dead. Our focus was the first TPB, (Issues #1-6), but we definitely get into details from the second TPB, and even delve a bit into what’s happening in the series now (Issues #49-53). We highly recommend reading this book before you listen to this podcast unless you don’t mind spoilers.

Listen to Podcast Episode #021 (47 MB, 102 minutes)

Final Crisis and Batman R.I.P. (and annotations)

October 22nd, 2008 by jason

I’ve finally caught up on the main Final Crisis books, which shouldn’t have been hard since there are only three out right now, as well as Batman R.I.P., which is still in progress as well. Ah, Grant Morrison. You kooky, wacky Grant Morrison. I love reading you, I really do. But man, I still think you’re leaving out some of the words. Maybe some of the word balloons. Perhaps even some panels or even pages. Grant, when you read the comic, are there extra panels in your mind that we don’t see? Do you write a page, keep a page in your head, and then write another page? I mean, I understand what’s going on–for the most part–but it just seems like the story jumps a few times. Jumps like Batman jumping from rooftop to rooftop. And sometimes those jumps are really long jumps, which Batman is able to clear a lot better than I am.

Grant Morrison gets spoken about on a lot of podcasts, he gets a lot of press, and feelings about him run pretty strong. There are videos of him, including one of him speaking at Disinfocon, available to view on YouTube. I think the man is a great writer, but I have to be honest. Sometimes I’m unsure about his “storytelling” ability. I also think there’s a bit of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” going on with him. I really do think that there are a lot of people who have a difficult time following Morrison’s writing, but are afraid of admitting it for fear that they’ll be considered dumb, or at the very least, not discerning readers. And some of his stuff is easier to follow than other things. His run on X-Men seemed a bit more straight forward. I haven’t read his Animal Man or Doom Patrol in years, but I know he got a bit out there in those titles.

For Final Crisis and Batman RIP, we now live in the age of the Internet, and fortunately we have resources. Douglas Wolk and Gary Greenwood, who both have sites up annotating Final Crisis, and Timothy Callahan, who is annotating Batman RIP, do a lot of the legwork for us. All three sites go page by page and panel by panel, noting who characters are, what their historical significance is, what their relevance is to the current plotline. Readers guides for these somewhat convoluted stories, if you will. These guys have all gone above and beyond, helping us, the gentle reader, keep from pulling our hair out trying to keep track of everything, especially through delays in releases. Maybe that’s Grant’s diabolical plan–to induce baldness among comics readers around the world, and thus make his audience over in his own image. One of these days, someone is going to collect all of these annotations together into a comprehensive tome: The Annotated Grant Morrison. It’ll be a bestseller.

ReadComics Podcast #020 – Interview with Thom Zahler

October 14th, 2008 by Martin

Tonight we had the immense pleasure of interviewing Thom Zahler, writer artist and creator of Love and Capes. He’s the self-professed “hardest working creator you’ve never heard of”. (It does sound like he works pretty hard. He was still the acting Mayor of his town for the duration of our interview.)

We had a lot of fun talking with him about his extensive experience in the comic book industry, as well as his opinions about everything ranging from sitcoms to the state of comics today. We talked about his inspirations and aspirations for the future. We even got him to sing a little for us.

Listen to Podcast Episode #020 (26.1 MB, 57 minutes)

Kingwood Himself

October 8th, 2008 by jason

Kingwood Himself, by Reynold Kissling

Delightfully twisted, this comic reminded me a lot of the more surreal cartoons and kid shows I watched growing up.  The main character, Emily, is very reminiscent of Little Lulu, going on trips to cities in the clouds  and undersea kingdoms.  There’s also a touch of Krofft thrown in, as I expect HR Pufnstuf to come around the corner with Jimmy and his Golden Flute in tow.

I love the solidity of the art, the characters looking like you could reach in and pick them up by their round heads.  The detail and design in the cul-de-sac, and of the various houses makes me want to try to find my way there; it could be in the wooded grove just a block over it seems like.  Guudo’s room is like the fantasies you have of shrinking down and swimming in the fishtank, with the miniature castle and diver for company.

Reynold put this together as a nice looking comic as well.  The front and back cover feature full-page color images from what look like Emily’s continuing visits to the cul-de-sac, and the inside-cover features thumbnail drawings of several of the characters.  There’s a nice little Easter Egg when you go to his website and view Kingwood Himself online:  the cover image extends further then in the hard copy.  While you’re there, check out the rest of his comics.  I particularly like Commute.

’80s relaunches

September 29th, 2008 by jason

Because my library has them in trade, I started reading the 1980s relaunches of Superman and Wonder Woman.  The Superman trades collect John Byrne’s Man of Steel mini-series in Volume 1, and in subsequent volumes include his ongoing Superman and Action comics, along with Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway’s Adventures of Superman, along with some cross-overs with Legion of Super-Heroes and Booster Gold along the way.  The Wonder Woman collections are from the George Perez and Len Wein reintroduction of Diana to Man’s World.  Our heroes re-meet their iconic villains for the first time in these post-Crisis on Infinite Earth stories, which is a little weird, particularly now when you have continuity being turned end over end, and three different sets of Legions meeting each other.  But they’re so much fun to read, and particularly fun to look at how Byrne, Ordway and Perez are drawing everything.  Their clothes, their hair, their computers, everything is so very ’80s.  Is that Lois Lane or a slimmer version of Brigitte Nielson?

The stories seem a little quaint after so many years of darkness that we’ve been seeing recently.  There seems to be less risk, even though these take place before death’s revolving door.  Byrne even makes a point of telling everyone that all these super-villain attacks in downtown Metropolis are taking place on Sunday when no one is any of the office buildings being smashed.  How considerate of the bad guys.  There are some casualties, in the form of the recently introduced minor characters.  But you really don’t feel anything really bad is going to happen to our heroes any time soon.

There is something about these relaunches that makes me wonder, though:  Superman and Wonder Woman got restarted, but what about the third member of the Trinity?  Why didn’t Batman get reset at the time?  Were his books just selling that much more?  Was there some reset that I’m just not remembering?

All Small

September 25th, 2008 by jason

Random minicomic from Lutefisk Sushi Volume C (2008)

Okay, this one wasn’t all that random.  The first comic I pulled out had risen flesh-eating dead in it, so clearly I couldn’t review that one.  The second one, I just wasn’t feeling.  So this was the third pull.  Or maybe fourth.  Anyway, I loved it.  It appears to reprint webcomics from David Steinlicht’s All Small website, most of which are one or two page commentaries on life called “On My High Horse”.  The balding, bespectacled narrator of these wry observations covers topics like logo design and ironic packaging.  I particularly liked his dissection of the Superman symbol.

Steinlicht self-compares his art to Chris Ware, among others, what with it’s simple geometry and clean lines.  I have to admit, though, that I’m often left cold by Ware’s work, whereas I felt a much stronger attachment to our High Horse commentator.

Steinlicht currently works for the Pioneer Press doing a comic called “In This Corner”, along with other art chores for the daily (I found a link on the paper’s website about golf courses, for which he drew hole diagrams).  The comic looks to be a similar commentary style, but a little on the softer side than his webcomic, much as you’d expect to find in the Sunday supplement.  He also maintains a blog, in which I really like this entry.


September 22nd, 2008 by jason

Random minicomic from Lutefisk Sushi Volume B (2006).  

I opened the box, and pulled out a comic.  Much like Jack Horner’s plum, this minicomic from galideous (aka Gail Catheryn) is full of nutritional fiber, in the form of Brainy Broc, and his henchmen, the celery stalk and the carrot stick.  The villainous veggies are thwarted by the Tatorvengers!  In this episode, the Starchy Stalwarts make short work of Brainy’s plan to freeze all of kitchendom.

A fun little story, with very nice line art, clean yet detailed (check out Brainy Broc’s fingertips, and the tator tots are all nice and crinkly).  I love the female Tatorvenger with her Supergirl skirt.  I tried to find a comics website for galideous, but only found her design company.

Neil Gaiman grab bag

September 10th, 2008 by Martin

Yesterday, while reading Neil Gaiman’s blog (which is often written in the 3rd person, and probably not by Neil himself), I stumbled onto several interesting links, not the least of which is this song/poem titled “I Google You“. Follow the link for both a youtube video of someone performing the song, and also (in the comments) Neil himself has posted the lyrics.

In case you were wondering where this image came from, Neil has a new book coming out soon called The Graveyard Book. It’s another full length young adult novel, and is about a boy who grows up in a cemetery, raised by ghosts. Click the title for a lengthier description.

Bonus links: Neil answers questions at the Mouse Circus FAQ. The latest issue of ImageTexT, (“a web journal dedicated to furthering comics scholarship in a variety of disciplines and theoretical perspectives”) features “The Comics Works of Neil Gaiman”, which basically means a bunch of scholarly essays about Gaiman’s comic books. I find this sort of academic BS hard to read, but maybe there’s some interesting stuff buried in there.

I Love Led-Zeppelin: Panty-Dropping Comics By Ellen Forney

August 12th, 2008 by Martin

After reading this book, I’ve decided that I love Ellen Forney.

This collection of her short and endearing comics is both clever and just incredibly fun. About the first fourth of the book is dedicated to her “How To” series, in which she “sets to comic” someone (presumably an expert) giving advice about something. Some notable examples are how to become a call girl, how to avoid getting caught while smoking pot, and how to twirl your pasties (in alternating directions, even). The rest of the comics are split up into rather arbitrary sections called “More Short Comics”, ’92-’94, and Collaborations. Everything in the book is good, but in very different ways. It felt to me like the main thread holding the entire work together is Ellen Forney’s finely crafted sense of humor.

I’ve been meaning to write this review for weeks now, which is really more a reflection of how good the book was to me than anything else. I wanted to make sure I did it some kind of justice. But I’m sort of just giving up trying to live up to the book with my review. That way lies madness. I’ll admit though, that I wasn’t really all that excited to read the book at first. I probably wouldn’t have even bothered if not for having seen some of the naked girls over Florence’s shoulder while she was reading. Well, that and the provocative subtitle. And while yes, there is some nudity featured here, this really wasn’t the lesbian erotica that I expected. At least, not most of it.

Ellen Forney and I Love Led-Zeppelin are both mentioned by name in the first chapter of Reading Comics, by Douglas Wolk as an example of why right now is really the golden age of comic books (rather than the 1940s and early 1950s). I agree with his assessment. This comic book, and others like it, are proud testaments to the greatness that a single comic book creator can produce in this era. There are many reasons to read this book, (for one thing you might learn something), but deciding you want to see why Douglas Wolk thinks this is the golden age of comics isn’t a bad one to start with.

It’s not like you need more reasons to love Ellen Forney, but she also has a pretty sweet blog, where she posts used to post her “Lustlab Ad of the Week” comics. These are were little comic renditions of personals ads printed in The Stranger (a Seattle newspaper). She’s only just announced that the series was cut. They were (at least some of them) also collected into a book called Lust last fall. Newsarama has an interview with Forney about the collection.

Dr. Who-ible

August 8th, 2008 by Martin

My friend doc pop (aka Doctor Popular, aka Drown Radio) drew this awesome cross between Dr. Horrible and Dr. Who. I hope he doesn’t mind that I post it here. I just had to share.

Jim Lee is a really nice guy

August 2nd, 2008 by Martin

Jim Lee is awesome!!!I stood in line for an hour or so today to get him to sign my copy of Invincible #51 and the first Hush TPB. He was really nice, and tried to figure out what my tee-shirt meant before asking. He also asked if I had any really cool apps on my iPhone yet. (I said yes, but then admitted that I don’t have 2.0 yet because I’m waiting for the jailbreak.) He seemed like a really nice guy.

Bonus links: Here’s an interview with Jim Lee by Geeklabel Radio. (This was just the first Jim Lee interview I found. Lee talks about how he got started and answers some lame questions.) Also, here’s a photo of Jim Lee with Mark Hamill last week at SDCC.

Pretty pictures

August 2nd, 2008 by Susie

First, here is a cute fanart comic of Captain Hammer fighting Captain Tightpants.  I wonder when we will see a Captain Hammerpants?


And here is the twentieth anniversary of Sandman (Neil Gaiman version) poster that debuted at comic con last week

33 artists from the comic’s run contributed.  Geek pop quiz!  Can you identify by name all the characters shown? Bonus points for identifying the artist.  The prize?  Pride in a well trained memory.

Poster legend after the jump

Video of webcomics talk/presentation at Google

July 31st, 2008 by Martin

Webcomics authors Richard Stevens (of Diesel Sweeties) and Meredith Gran (of Octopus Pie) gave an hour long presentation at Google sometime back in June. I don’t remember how I stumbled onto it, but found this originally over at Major Spoilers.

Update: This should be required viewing (I mostly just listened) for anyone wanting to start out and make a webcomic. Some of the names dropped were Scott Pilgrim (not a webcomic, unfortunately), Kate Beaton (interesting, I’ll have to look at this more), jonathan rosenberg (who does Goats which is AWESOME), MC Frontalot, Scott McCloud and Ryan North who does Dinosaur Comics. This was part of the Authors@Google series, and there are hundreds of these videos, including one of David Hajdu (who, as you may recall, wrote Ten Cent Plague).

Jim Lee Signing THIS Saturday

July 29th, 2008 by Martin

The Source Comics and Games is having Jim Lee sign this Saturday. Here is info from their email:

  • It will be a ticketed event that does not require a ticket! Let us explain. All current Source & Uncle Sven’s comic book subscribers have already been given numbered VIP tickets. Numbered tickets will go first in numerical order and when they are finished, the general public will have access.
  • Jim will be signing from 1PM to 4PM. Door open at 10AM.
  • Jim will be signing a maximum of two items per person. The reason for this is we want to give as many people as possible a chance.
  • There will be other Super Star Comic Book Artists in the house as well. They will be announced one week before the event.
  • Special storewide sale beginning at 10AM going until Jim hits the trail!
  • An ocean of cool Jim Lee comic book stuff will be available!
  • We will be collecting donations on behalf of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Just FYI, I have not seen an email with a list of the other creators who will be there.

Also, for those of you who are inclined to video games, Jim Lee is the Executive Creative Director of the new DC Universe Online game. Here is a video of Jim Lee introducing the “first look” at that new MMORPG.

David Hajdu, Book talk and signing

June 17th, 2008 by Martin

David Hajdu, author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America will be giving a talk and signing copies of his book Tuesday, July 8th at 7:30 p.m.. The press release is as follows:

What: Book talk and signing
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library (222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455)
When: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 ? 7:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

The Friends of the University Minnesota Libraries and the Children’s Literature Research Collections proudly present a Twin Cities appearance by David Hajdu, author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America.

Dessert reception follows with books available for sale courtesy of Red Balloon Bookshop. David Hajdu will be signing books during the reception.

Comic books, not rock-and-roll, created the generation gap. They also spawned juvenile delinquency, crime, sexual deviance, and things of unspeakable depravity. Long before Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan from the waist up, long before Jerry Lee Lewis married his cousin, long before James Dean yelled, “You’re tearing me apart,” teachers, politicians, priests, and parents were lining up across from comic-book publishers, writers, artists, and children at bonfires and Senate hearings decrying the evil that was the ten-cent plague.

David Hajdu’s “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America” comprises the last book in an informal trilogy about American popular culture at mid-century, and radically revises common notions of popular culture, the generation gap, and the divide between “high” and “low” art.

This special event with David Hajdu is part of an evening celebration honoring John Borger and his gift of almost 40,000 comic books to the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University Libraries.

They had me at “Dessert reception”.

Get ready people, it’s going to be legend…wait for it…

May 17th, 2008 by Susie

…dary! Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog has a website. So far all that is there is this glowing picture of Neil Patrick Harris all Dr. Horrible suited up. For those of you have no idea what the @#%$ I am talking about, here is what you need to know.

Joss Whedon announced today, special Internet Musical.

Whedon reports that during the WGA strike he started writing the musical which will be a limited internet series. Each of the three episodes will be approximately ten minute each.

Co-writers for the internet feature are Joss’ brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s Fiancé Maurissa. The writing has been completed and shooting commenced today.

“It’s the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.” Says Whedon.

“Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will star Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer, Felicia Day as Penny and a cast of dozens.

I know! Awsome! There has yet to be a premiere date set but, Joss has said it will be before Comicon, which I think is in August. And with the website up there is further proof that it is actually happening. I am giddy!

Bonus new Jossness this way:dollhouse trailer

I admit, I might be a little giddy about that too.

Tori Amos is editing a book of comics written about her songs!

May 7th, 2008 by Martin

This is probably old news to just about everyone, but I hadn’t heard about this book, called Comic Book Tattoo, so I’m posting it here anyway. I don’t know how much editorial control singer/songwriter Tori Amos really had, but supposedly she had her fingers in the book-making pie from start to finish.

It’s already available for pre-order from amazon, (including a super-deluxe hardcover edition for four-times the price), and they list the release date to be July 16th.

I found information about this all over the place (when I started looking), but the best article was at Comic Book Resources, as it has a lot more details and includes some sweet art from the collection.

I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space – Issue 1

May 5th, 2008 by Martin

Who would not want to read a comic with this title!? I mean, the story practically tells itself! The title already told the story! In fact, just having read the title, this comic could not possibly have lived up to the innuendo-laden science fiction odyssey that I then imagined. And all this for only $.99!

Oh yeah, so how was the comic? Well, go see for yourself. Turns out you can read the whole thing online. And the next one too! (And I think the reest of the series, although it looks like the author may be only partway through the last issue–number six.)

UPDATE: Re-reading this review, I really sounded lackluster about this comic. I put a lot of exclamation points in there, but while I’ll admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by the first issue, I did really like it. The story is light and fun, and it kept me reading and wanting more.

I’m now through issue 5 (reading them online, page by page), and reading “In search of the fourth wall”, which the author —Megan Rose Gedris, who according to this interview is only 21– calls an intermission issue. This isn’t even Megan’s first comic. She also has an apparently quite successful webcomic called YU+ME.

Anyway, I regret that I was in a bit of a rush when I wrote this. I think having discovered that the comic was available online kept me up that night well into the wee hours, and I think I basically pushed this out because I wanted to write something before I fell asleep staring at the laptop.

So give IWKBLPFOS a try!

Theater Hopper

April 23rd, 2008 by Martin

All these new comics (it’s Wednesday, yay!), but I haven’t had time to read any of them yet.

For some reason, I did find time to get distracted rediscovering Theater Hopper, a simple but awesome webcomic whose unique premise is simply to write about movies in comic form.

I actually first discovered Theater Hopper a little less than two years ago, the first time Florence and Susie and I went to Wizard World Chicago. Tom Brazelton had a booth and was selling copies of Theater Hopper – Year One and this Spoilers T-Shirt, one of which caught my eye through the crowd in that overly-busy convention space, and both of which I happily purchased. I’ll admit that I was mostly attracted to the t-shirt, but that the idea of theater hopper was also quite compelling to me.

I really liked that buying the book meant getting additional snarky commentary about each and every comic printed therein. It’s like director’s commentary, in book form. Tom was also kind enough to draw Jason Voorhees (from Friday the 13th) chasing the main character of the comic (also named Tom) with the caption “Run for your life!” in the inside cover of the book for me.

One really amazing observation is how much better Tom’s art has gotten over the years. When I clicked into the site today (while searching for comic book movies) I almost didn’t recognize it. I recognized the name, however, and went downstairs to find my book to see if it was the same comic I remembered. You can see the improvement just as easily by clicking “First” underneath the current comic. There is promise in those early comics, but nowhere near the skill level, I don’t think.

Anyway, I’ll finish this post this with a quote from the Introduction to Year One:

I’ve met some of the nicest people imaginable through this comic. It’s been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on. I’m no one special. I’m just like you. If you want to start your own web comic, there’s no grand secret to it.

All you need is a little gumption.

I found that particularly inspiring. Then again, I’m no one special. Just like Tom.


April 18th, 2008 by Martin

Just an extremely short post to link to Neil Gaiman’s store, NeverWear, which has a cute pun-tastic title, but unfortunately a really poor design in terms of finding stuff. They do also have pics of folks wearing the tee-shirts on the NeverWear Blog, which is cool.

I might as well mention that I found this via Neil Gaiman’s blog, which is almost always a good read.

Warren Ellis Roundup

April 8th, 2008 by Martin

Gravel #2How does Warren Ellis write so freekin’ much?!

First off, I read Gravel #2, and it wasn’t terrible! It didn’t really have much in the way of plot development or story, but it was pretty, and there were ghost-horses and spilled brains! (Literally, brains. Brains are a bit too graphic me for some reason. The blood I didn’t really mind, the the brains? Yeesh.) So yeah, if you’re not a fan of man on stallion action, then maybe this isn’t the book for you. There were about six pages of ghost-horse chasing Gravel, while he flips and jumps and gets hit and finally finds his special ghost-shooting gun. It’s cool, but not super cool.

The latest issue of Freak Angels, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic. Awesome art and a compelling story. My only qualm with the series thus far is that we’ve got a lot of characters we’ve now been introduced to, and I’m not sure whether the plot is really moving along at all. We have some notion of the “bad guy”, an outcast Freak Angel, but otherwise we’re really just getting glimpses into the lives of the characters so far.

I do have to wonder whether the comic is supposed to generate revenue at some point, or what the goal is exactly here. There aren’t any ads thus far, but the site does seem to have some affiliation with Avatar, since the about page links to Avatar’s flickr stream. (Incidentally, there is lots of cool stuff on that flickr stream, I’ve added it as a contact.)

Anna Mercury #1Finally, I also just read Anna Mercury #1, and damn if it wasn’t awesome. This book was swashbucklingly spectacular. We basically get thrown into a steampunk-like world where there are magneticly powered space ships that fly to the moon. Anna Mercury herself is a red-haired firebrand secret-agent type who is clearly not afraid to break a few eggs to crack the case. We even glimpse her mission control in the comic’s last page, which makes us wonder where exactly Anna is at this time.

As with these other comics, I felt a little let down that more didn’t happen in this issue. We did get introduced to a so-far-so-intriguing world, but we got left with a big cliff-hanger, and not much else. I wonder if the answer to my initial question is that Ellis is stretching himself pretty thin. He can write a bunch of comics each month because each one is really only a few pages of story, with a bunch of filler thrown in for good measure. Don’t get me wrong, none of these are all filler, but all of them felt a bit padded to some degree. Surprisingly, the one that felt the least like it was padded was the one without any page-length constraints whatsoever. If you haven’t started reading Freak Angel yet, now’s as good a time as any to get started!

Big Brain Comics hosts local creators’ releases

March 31st, 2008 by jason

Saturday afternoon, I went to Big Brain Comics, the last comic shop standing in downtown Minneapolis, to attend a release event for a couple of local comic creators. Lars Martinson and Tim Sievert were both on hand, chatting with customers and signing copies of their new graphic novels. Lars had copies of his hardcover, Tonoharu: Part One, while Tim’s softcover, That Salty Air was also available.

As a release event, there wasn’t really all that much going on, no reading, no presentation, but both Lars and Tim were very approachable. I got a chance to talk to both of them, nothing really in depth, just conversational. Lars talked about the Star Tribune article, where the story the reporter recounted about the girl he met was the last thing that Lars wished he had put in there. We talked about how the Strib also screwed up the title of his book in its typesetting, both in print and on the web, and how, unfortunately neither Lars or Tim will be attending Microcon. Lars will be traveling back to Japan to study calligraphy, and Tim will be at the Stumptown Comics Fest in Oregon. I bought both of their books, and wandered about the store a bit while they signed and sketched in my books. Coming back a few minutes later, Tim handed me his book and apologized to me, saying that he was sorry, this was the first book he’d ever signed. I handed it back to him and said “Write that down in there!” Lars joked about how I could now sell it on eBay for a lot of money.

I was only there for about half an hour, and they admitted that the release was kind of thrown together somewhat spontaneously. I suppose for many graphic novels, a reading without the use of an overhead projector is a little awkward. I’ll be reading both books this week and will post reviews afterwards.