"Gotham's" Cory Michael Smith Savors the Arrival of the Riddler
My pal Christopher Irving (one-half of the team behind the brilliant Graphic NYC with Seth Kushner) is launching a brand-new comic book magazine tomorrow.
Called The Drawn Word, this digital magazine is a unique exploration into the world of comics. It over 130 pages long and wow, if you have any interest in comic books, this magazine has something for you.
Read on for some previews!
The contents of the magazine include:
* in-depth interviews with great comic book creators (Brian Wood, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Bill Sienkiewicz are the initial three creators spotlighted – hard to beat that trio). Irving handled Wood and Sienkiewicz and David Press handled DeConnick
Here’s a bit from DeConnick’s piece…
The first time Kelly Sue DeConnick spoke to her future husband Matt Fraction on the phone, the call lasted for nine hours.
“The battery on his landline actually died,” DeConnick tells me over email. “I have no idea what that phone call cost—it was on his bill—but I assume it was worth it.”
Ten years after that phone call, two children, two dogs, two cats, and about hundred comics published between them, the couple moved from Kansas City, Missouri to Portland, Oregon to join what Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso calls “the Portland Mafia.” The city is a haven for comic creators, welcoming the families of writers Brian Michael Bendis and Greg Rucka, artist Steve Lieber and publishers Dark Horse and Oni Press.
The reason for the move climaxed when a car chase between Kansas City police and car thieves ended in the family’s front yard. A few days later Henry and Kelly Sue found a gun in a bush. Talking to the podcast Word Balloon with Chicago broadcaster John Siuntres, Fraction said that was when the couple decided to pack up and leave for a safer town. The incident was also an influence to Fraction’s 2011 comic event Fear Itself.
DeConnick feels very lucky to be in Portland where her family and the Bendis clan get together for dinner every Friday. “It’s a thing I look forward to all week. [His wife] Alisa is my dear friend in town and Brian’s been, I dunno, part big brother, part life coach. He is not afraid to call me on my shit, which is a gift.” “The Bendis house is straight out of a sitcom, she says, “and it makes for a wonderful working and family life.”
One can only imagine that there must be some creative burnoff from the weekly get-togethers.
And here’s a great piece from Sienkiewicz…
It was the late ‘70s, and Bill heavily borrowed from his idol Neal Adams, and took his portfolio to DC Comics submissions editor (and comic book inker) Vinnie Colletta.
“I went up to DC without an appointment— I had no idea about protocol. So there I was, fresh from Possumtrot, NJ—in the Big Bad City,” Bill confesses. “Everything I had on was petroleum-based, a polyester nightmare of brownbeige, a tie with little Eiffel towers all over it-white socks brown shoes, plaid pants you could play Checkers on —I was a country bumpkin (a farm kid) who happened to like comic books. In an area of several thousand people, I was one of the very few kids who knew comics and was pretty sure I was the only one interested in creating them—at all.”
“I just sat on the couch and really hoped Vinnie Colletta would see me. Hanging out in a lobby isn’t what it is today where they have security, and I did look like a buffoon and probably came across as non-threatening. The receptionist was was trying to eat a bag of potato chips while taking calls, and I was sitting there and watching her chew her food…I think she just picked up the phone and whispered to Vinnie ‘Can you see this kid? He’s creeping me out.’
“I went in to see Vinnie and he said ‘I love your stuff and would hire you, but you’d be out on the streets in two weeks,” Bill recalls. It was a bad time for comics, especially DC, who had recently been forced to cut comics and lay off artists. Colletta referred Bill to none other than Adams himself, and the aspiring and garishly-dressed artist was sent to Adams’ Continuity and Associates; Adams is typically exceedingly tough and critical on new artists, but that wasn’t the case for Sienkiewiecz.
“Frank Miller was sent out of Continuity, probably three times- allegedly in tears, as not being ready (judging by Neal’s criticism). One of the two kinds of schools of criticism says negative criticism doesn’t help— and I’m more from the school of supportive crit, but when I’ve taught, I have ventured some pretty harsh ones—that I, probably like Neal in his way, felt were warranted. That said, I think Frank has turned out pretty damn well for himself. Frank and I both adore Neal. It’s interesting to think of what a huge impact he had on both of our lives and careers. Perhaps there’s a mutual respect and peerage because we sucked it up and persevered. I dunno.
* articles about the comics industry (like an intriguing article on the future of digital by artist Reilly Brown)
* a keen usage of the public domain by publishing fascinatingly bizarre public domain comics, such as the 1960s ersatz Captain Marvel…
and a prose Crime story.
* original comics from Bill Alger and Ben Granoff (here’s a bit from Granoff)…
* a special spotlight on John Kerschbaum by Ben Granoff
* a spotlight on Enki Bilal’s acclaimed Nikopol Trilogy by Sean Kleefeld (I mentioned the Nikopol Trilogy in a recent Comic Book Legends Revealed).
* a piece where comic book creators talk about someone who has influenced them. In this issue, Jamal Igle discusses his high school cartooning teacher, Charles Ferguson.
Holy crap, that is a lot of content!
And get this, for the first week that this magazine is on sale, you can download it for A DOLLAR!!!
That’s right, a freakin’ DOLLAR!
After a week, it’ll be a very reasonable two bucks, but still, if you get it during the first week, it’ll just be a buck.
Check out The Drawn Word website here and visit it tomorrow when #1 will be available for downloads!
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.