Comic Creators Speak
When told in 1965 that Stan Lee was helping revitalize comics over at Marvel, Bernard Krigstein responded:
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I wonder if I have something to rant about in this post?
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The second half of the near year-long weekly Q&A interview that I conducted with Joe Casey. The first half is here.
Among the many great lists in my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? (which you probably still have time to buy for someone for Christmas! Go buy it!), is a list by John Rozum (the awesome creator of both Xombi and Midnight, Mass.) about the four best characters introduced during Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol run.
However, John is so awesome that he actually wrote a SECOND list that we had to cut because of space constraints (there was too much awesomeness to fit into just one book!). So now, here, for your enjoyment, is John Rozum’s take on “The Twelve Best Covers of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen”…
Beginning with the March 6, 2012 edition of Random Thoughts, I’ve been doing a weekly Q&A with Joe Casey. For those that have missed it and don’t want to go searching through months of Random Thoughts just to read Joe’s thoughts on a variety of subjects, here’s a post compiling all of the questions I’ve asked and Joe has been kind enough to answer.
When editing began on my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? (which you can buy for yourself – just click on the image of the book on the right side of the screen!), my editor Kate had a tough time. I had submitted a whole lot more material than we had room for, so she had to make a whole lot of edits. When it came to cutting things, 90% of what was cut was my material as she naturally did not want to cut much from the comic book creators who were kind enough to contribute lists to the books. That said, some of the contributor lists did have cuts. Mostly stuff like instead of a top five list it became a top four list or instead of a top six it became a top four. That sort of thing. The list of Kieron Gillen (the great writer of books like Phonogram, Journey Into Mystery and Uncanny X-Men), though, probably was edited the most of all the contributor lists that made it into the book, especially the many hilarious asides that Kieron made in his original list. So I thought it would be a fun “Director’s Cut” type of thing to share with you Kieron’s original list, in all of its offbeat glory. So from here on out, it is Kieron’s writing. Enjoy! – BC
When asked for my comics secret origin, I normally say something like “I didn’t really read comics until I was in my twenties” because it’s easier that way, and also dodges a lot of awkward follow-ups. But it’s also a lie. I just didn’t read many comics when I was a teenager When I was a proper kid, with chirpy optimism and undescended gonads, I read whatever comics I could find. And even if I didn’t buy them as a teen, if they were left around, I’d totally have a good old flick. I’ll read anything, especially if it involves a dude’s head exploding in a suitably transgressive fashion. Or emotions. Always up for head-exploding and emotions, me.
Anyway – this is everything you need to know about five great British comic characters you probably won’t have heard of, unless you have, in which case well done you. I find you alluring. Yes, sexually. I’m going to try and choose ones which won’t have appeared in Zenith or Albion or in the corner of a panel in whatever League issue Moore’s putting out. Because talking about them is Jess Nevins’ job, and I’m no scab.
I really do find you very alluring, by the way.
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Goran Sudžuka is an acclaimed Croatian artist who started off working in animation before he began working in comics, as well, initially with the great Darko Macan. Sudžuka has done a number of series for DC’s Vertigo line of comics, including being the regular alternate artist on the award-winning and extremely popular Y the Last Man series with writer Brian K. Vaughan. Recently, he worked on Wolverine with writer Jason Aaron. – BC
Although this is my list, I’m sure you would find the same names on most such lists made by Croatian artists of the younger (forty-five and below) generation.
But first, let me give you a brief history of Croatian comics.
Yes, you read that correctly. Milt Caniff, who died in 1988, once said (back in the 1940s, mind you, and the emphasis is mine):
Readers — soldiers, airmen — write in and say how authentic it ["Male Call," that is] all is, and all I need is a little encouragement. Besides, all those gadgets and whatnot are part of the fun of it. It’s the satisfaction of drawing that keeps you from going out of your skull from the sheer challenge of every week. Having to fill up space but not having to fill it with a bunch of bookkeeping from last week — that’s the saving thing. Each drawing is a brand-new adventure. If you don’t treat it that way, then you really are in trouble. The guy who does the same thing over and over again must have a hard time sleeping at night. With me — Wow, let’s shoot that from another angle; let’s do it from low or from the side or from the roof or something.
This is from the introductory essay in Male Call, which reproduces the strips Caniff did for the Armed Forces-only newspapers from 1942 to 1946, which began with a special “Terry and the Pirates” strip but which quickly became “Male Call.” It’s a very cool collection and I encourage you to read it. I’m don’t know if Caniff had anyone specific in mind, but this quote could easily be applied to several high-profile artists in comics right now. I wonder if Caniff is rolling over in his grave when the latest issue of, let’s say, Uncanny X-Men comes out.
Milt Caniff: dead for 24 years and still kicking ass!
A while back I reviewed the first five issues of Terrance Zdunich’s self-published comic, The Molting, which is a pretty cool horror comic (Zdunich was nice enough to send me the sixth issue, too, but I haven’t reviewed it yet). Zdunich thought I might like to get some perspective on the way the comic is lettered, so Oceano Ransford, the letterer on the book, was nice enough to send over this article about his process, with some examples to illustrate them. I hope you enjoy it, and if you’re in the mood for some weird, creepy horror, give the comic a look!
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by Scott Beatty
As a kid growing up during the Seventies and Eighties, my comics “world-view” was dominated by the so-called Bronze Age of storytelling. I didn’t discover back-issues until my 11th birthday, and what I knew of comics “continuity” (i.e. the long rich history that came before my newsstand purchases) was limited to the reprints in DC Comics’ BEST OF… and DC SPECIAL digest series. The following are a handful of stories that fundamentally changed how I read comics, and made me realize that both the tales and the tellers (both writer and artist) were working in a medium that had the power to move readers in ways that transcend its parts, prose and art, each made better in the melding…
Next week, the first issue of Titan’s WWE Heroes comic series comes out and, being a big wrestling and comics fan, I wanted to get some more info on the series, so I went straight to the most logical source: Keith Champagne, the writer of the book. He provides some background on the series and how it fits into the WWE Universe below the cut.
Raina Telgemeier is a superstar. Just ask any of the kids that shop at ROCKETSHIP. All summer long, one of the most frequently asked questions was “Do you have the new BABY-SITTERS CLUB yet?” Forget SECRET INVASION; Raina’s latest book was the most anticipated book of the season. Between adapting (and bringing a new generation of readers to) that beloved series, she also draws a terrific webcomic called SMILE, which will soon be published by Scholastic. She and her husband (cartoonist Dave Roman) are a fixture at most conventions with their “Comics Bakery” booth, and her lighthearted brushwork and smooth storytelling skills have made Raina a popular attraction for children and adults alike. While preparing for an upcoming BABY-SITTERS CLUB Volume 4 Release Party, she took the time to answer a few questions…. Continue Reading »
Jesse Hamm has been working as a professional artist for many years now, with his first mainstream work being as artist on the recent Good As Lily graphic novel, with writer Derek Kirk Kim, for DC Comics’ Minx line of books. You can find out more about Jesse and his work at his website, www.jessehamm.com.
8 THINGS I’D LIKE TO SEE MORE OF IN COMICS
by Jesse Hamm
Comics should indeed be good. As a comics reader, I couldn’t agree more. But as a critic, when I call for better comics, I’m often tempted to prescribe solutions that are lofty and vague.
“Write believable characters!” comes to mind.
“Draw credible backgrounds!”
All noble goals; all lousy advice. Lousy because it substitutes destinations for directions. Might as well direct someone to the Fortress of Solitude by telling her to go to Superman’s hideout. The shortest route to better comics is, instead, concrete advice that any creator can put to use right now.
That said, here are 8 things I’d like to see more of in comics. These are suggestions that I think any creator can try out immediately; adjustments that don’t require new skills to implement. They aren’t all about quality; some are just intended to foster variety. But in every case I think they would add extra oomph to today’s comics — both alternative and mainstream. Continue Reading »
When Comics Should Be Good, Uber-Mensch, Brian Cronin asked me to write a bit about the pleasant experience that is Comic Book Idol, I said, Oh no – forget that – we’re doing train wrecks.
People losing it in the Idol forum.
Here in western society (specifically Estados Unidos), in this little thunderdome of competition we like to call the free market economy, people have a tendency to only remember the winner… that means I should introduce myself.
So, hi, my name is Jonathan Hickman – first loser of CBI: season one. Continue Reading »
With the release of Countdown #47, I thought it would be interesting to hear from one of the creators who has spent the most time working with the Marvel Family, Jerry Ordway. Here’s Mr. Ordway’s thoughts on the darkening of the Marvel Family. – BC
I think that I, like most Captain Marvel fans, am very loyal to the original concepts. But I sure don’t mean to come across as someone who thinks it can only be done by CC Beck. During my run on the title, I honestly tried to do the character as a 1960′s Marvel comic, as my way of updating it, but not trashing the groundwork that Fawcett had. I know even at that time, certain comic fans wanted us to ditch the wholesomeness, and go for grim and gritty, but I think that would be a slap in the face to the original creators. Continue Reading »