Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
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 »
Today, the first issue of Fear Agent from Dark Horse Comics is released. Written by Rick Remender with art by Tony Moore, Fear Agent: The Last Goodbye #1 details the origin of the hero of Fear Agent, Heath Houston. Here, with a guest piece (that also appears as an editorial in the issue itself) discussing some themes from the book, is writer Rick Remender. – BC
Throughout human history whenever an advanced civilization comes into contact with a less advanced civilization the former inevitably conquers and/or absorbs the later. As developed as our intellects have become, primal strength remains the deciding factor in the evolution and survival of human cultures. If our own behavior on Earth is any indication then this conduct is likely true on a universal scale. Clearly altruism isn’t humanities specially. Is benevolence a foreign concept to life in the stars as well?
I say yes. Continue Reading »
In a recent Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, I discussed the fact that a fan had come up with the idea for Spider-Man’s black costume. The fan in question wrote in, and I thought it would be interesting to hear his story. Here, then, is Randy Schueller. – BC
There’s been some discussion in the fan press recently about the original idea for Spidey’s black costume coming from an anonymous fan. Well it’s true and I am that fan. Here’s my story… Continue Reading »
by Drew Geraci
It’s that time of year again.
Summer’s fast approaching, late seasonal snows and cancelled TV shows have melted away. Summer means school breaks! Ice Cream with chocolate chip cookie dough! Big Budget movies! Comic conventions! Chillin’ poolside while reading comics! And…Road Trips!
The Gen13 creative crew invite you to join them on one particular Road Trip, which promises to be a wild ride for our GenActive kids on the lam! Along the way, they’ll have a smackdown with Midnighter, Swift and Apollo of The Authority, visit the super-hero retirement town of Tranquility and even meet…the Authori-teens!
This issue is not only an excellent point to “Jump On” (as in, “move the cooler and scoot over in the Jeep”) but the creative contents of this issue of Gen13 has literally travelled thousands of miles around the continent of North America to reach it’s final destination, your comic shop, on May 9!
In keeping with the “Road Trip” theme of this new story arc, we’d like to share with you how a typical Gen13 comic makes an international tour that could give Ozzfest a run for it’s money this summer! Continue Reading »
After beginning work in comics in the late 80s, Stuart Immonen broke into the mainstream comic world in the early 1990s for DC, working on Legion of Superheroes before moving on to a long tenure drawing Superman. More recently, he has worked for Marvel Comics, including Nextwave. It was recently announced that Immonen will be following Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man. Stuart also has a web-comic, Moving Pictures, that he works on with his wife, Kathryn Immonen. You can follow the comic here. Immonen’s website can be found here. It contains his blog, which you can read here.
Many years ago, at a wedding where, apart from one of the intended, I didn’t know a soul, I got roped into the usual small talk, and someone asked what I did for a living. I tend to get a little uncomfortable in these situations– I’m by no mean embarrassed by my vocation, but I recognize that it’s a bit esoteric, and generally not well-understood by the layperson. “I draw comics,” tends to elicit a cascade of other questions, most of which require quite a lot of explaining, and by the time you’re done, the person who asked is either overwhelmed or utterly bored. But this time, I was taken aback by the response; All this fellow said was, “So they do all that on computers now?”
Naturally I scoffed– this was pre-internet, almost pre-Photoshop, after all. “No,” I coolly replied, “I use a pencil and paper.”
And for a good long time afterward, that statement defined my M.O. Even now, most of the community of professionals working in the assembly-line method established almost at the birth of comics still work this way. But it would be a considerable oversimplification to say that a pencil and paper have never been the only tools at the artist’s disposal. Continue Reading »
If you read enough DC and Marvel comic books, you’ll eventually find a book that Mike Norton has worked on, as he has drawn a number of different titles for DC and Marvel, most prominently Runaways, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and his current fill-in arc on The All-New Atom. Mike was the artist for Sean McKeever’s Gravity, and will be drawing Tim Seeley’s Loaded Bible 2: Blood of Christ for Image. Here is a link to Mike’s blog.
Seven People I Hate.
Since I started drawing comics in 1997, I’ve met a LOT of talented people through various collaborations, conventions and random run-ins/knife fights. Over the years, I’ve watched as many of these friends of mine have gone from grubby indy startups to “overnight” success stories and even mainstream fan-favorites. So, when I was asked to write a column for this fine site, I decided reflect upon all those talented friends I’ve made over the years and finally let something off my chest.
I hate them. Continue Reading »
Laying it on the line(s)
A career appreciation of Bob McLeod
by Drew Geraci
Since I was seven years old, I wanted to be a comic book writer/artist. It was my only passion, so I devoted (perhaps too many) hours reading and studying all the nuances that made a comic book. Art was always my main interest, because for this ’70’s child, a lot of the stories were way over my head, whether it be a Steve Gerber text page or anything by Don McGregor. I was initially confused when seeing my favorite artists (pencillers then were credited as ‘artist’, the inker, just ‘inker’) do stunning work one month, then see the same artist’s work appear ugly and sketchy the next. It didn’t take long for me to deduce the reason: The only difference on the credits page was the inker’s name.
Pencil and ink are two different disciplines and mediums completely. I still had favorite pencillers, but the inkers, particularly the good ones, caught my attention. Anything inked by Giordano, Adams, Giacoia, McLauchlin, Romita, Sinnott, Janson, Anderson, Austin, Wood, Palmer, Layton and the subject of this retrospective, Bob McLeod, showed me how good comics can look when I wanted to impress a non-comics fan.
I began corresponding with Bob McLeod last year when I felt compelled to contact him via email, thanking him for making Rough Stuff #1 (as Editor for the publisher, TwoMorrows) such a terrific comics-loving experience.
Bob asked if he could publish my missive in RS #2’s letters page, and I agreed. Since then, I’d had some dealings with TwoMorrows, such as contributing a scan for Modern Masters: Kevin Maguire. This fueled my inner geek, and I began offering Bob some photocopies of pencils from various books I’ve worked on, and we began a friendly dialogue. Then it occurred to me: Bob probably has some great stories, having a decade or two on me in the funnybook biz. I asked Bob if I could interview him, and coincidentally, CBR’s own Brian Cronin had just invited me to submit an article or blog. The planets aligned, and here we are! Continue Reading »
Letterer extraordinaire Chris Eliopoulos is also a name familiar to readers of his Desperate Times comic from Image, and more recently, on the excellent Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius series from Marvel, which Eliopoulos draws and co-writes with Marc Sumerak. Chris’ website can be found here.
Whenever I meet people at, say, a wedding or a party, they ask me what I do? I do plenty of things. I brush my teeth, I eat food, I take showers, I drive my kids to school, I watch football games. But that’s not what they want to know-really. What they really want to know is what do I do for a living, so they can judge me as someone worthy of talking to or someone to make a run to the bar to avoid.
But to be honest, I can’t really describe what I do, so I usually say I’m an insurance salesman and, moments later, they make that run to the bar. But seriously, what is it that I do? I know that people who read comics and those that are in the business label me a letterer. And that’s true, I do letter a bunch of books and have been doing so for fifteen years and that’s what I’m known best for. But I also do more that that. I do things that I think I’m better at, but everyone else thinks is a hobby of mine. I want to shout at the top of my lungs that I’m more than they think I am. Continue Reading »
Matt Fraction currently writes Casanova for Image Comics and Punisher War Journal for Marvel Comics. His latest ongoing title, The Immortal Iron Fist (co-written by Ed Brubaker) comes out this week. His website can be found here.
I’m doing a signing at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in one of my old hometowns, Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, December 2nd. I’ll be there from noon on, give or take, right in the middle of Heroes’ annual Big Holiday Sale. On top of that, last week, two books I wrote came out: CASANOVA #6, with Gabriel BÃ¡ and PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL with Ariel Olivetti, and this week, a book I co-write with Ed Brubaker called THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST comes out. David Aja draws that. And, the day before, I turn 31. So it’s a good time to sign stuff, to show up and promote my work and, hopefully, bring some folks into the store. Which, really, is what I want to write about– the comic book store.
Or rather– the great comic book store. Continue Reading »
Jimmie Robinson is the writer/artist of Bomb Queen from Image Comics. He is also the writer of this week’s What If…? Wolverine: Enemy of the State one-shot from Marvel Comics, out tomorrow. He has a website here.
If you’re reading this, that alone makes you exceptional, makes you care about the medium of comics. You might even visit your comic store each week to see what’s new on the rack. You perhaps display a few trade paperback collections on your shelf at home. But let’s not split hairs here, while I applaud your efforts there’s no denying the fact; you are not helping comics.
Now before you launch a barrage of emails with store receipts attached, let’s clear the air. How much money you spend doesn’t fulfill your support of the medium. Sure, buying books keeps stores open and bills paid, but if we look to that as a barometer of industry health then I’m sorry we’ve already failed. The pulse of our beloved medium must beat higher than simple sales figures. When compared to other industries, comics rank low to poor in consumer acceptance. I’m sure some will respond that comics are a cottage industry, in short self-supporting, but that type of support, I’m sad to say, is exactly what we don’t need. Continue Reading »
Rick Spears is the writer of Teenagers From Mars, Dead West, Filler and currently The Pirates of Coney Island. He is also the publisher of Gigantic Graphic Novels, which just published two new books, Rotting In Dirtville and Hellcity. His website is www.giganticgraphicnovels.com
Man, with deadlines trying to crush me and scripts due, why did I ever agree to this–? Gah, the answer is always the same, COMICS! Yeah, I’ve got a new book out today, The Pirates of Coney Island #2 (you should check it out!!) and this is what passes for PR for us indie kids, any time someone gives you a platform to talk to the masses, ya gotta take it. See, I make comics with my bare hands– I’ve got no money, no staff and well not a lot of things– but what I do have if a computer, a DSL and some awesome friends in the same boat. But back to the topic, if there is a topic yet, I’m not sure– Oh yeah, this thing here– Brian Cronin asked me to write a bit for “Comics Should be Good” and so that’s got me fighting the writer’s bitter enemy, The Blank Page. I guess actually for my generation, it’s more likely a computer monitor –that endless white bastard and the ever-blinking black cursor! But look there, I’ve been rambling now for 185 words and the page is blank no longer, huzzah!!
The above is a good trick for breaking writer’s block, you know, just write something, anything, and eventually you will work yourself out of the rut– As I just have now in finding my topic. So it looks like we’re gonna talk about writer’s block, a subject near and dear to my heart. Continue Reading »
There’s a somewhat indescribable feeling I get when anything touches my imagination, a rush of anticipation mixed with hope, wonder, excitement and something else that is, well, indescribable. Since I was old enough to really be self-aware, I’ve recognized that this feeling has brought me more happiness than any new toy, game or other material possession ever could. It’s that same sensation I get when I watch a great movie or, you guessed it, read a good comic book.
As I’ve grown older, it seems it has become harder and harder for external stimuli to engage that shift lever which pushes my imagination into overdrive. I’m sure there are plenty of studies conducted by men and women in various collegiate arenas that show just how and why this happens to all of us as we age, but for me, it’s simply the real world responsibilities of adult life trampling my ‘make believe’ time until my brain has come to expect nothing else.
So, with that in mind, when people ask me why I write comics, my first response is non-verbal, sincere and irrevocable: I smile.
Within milliseconds of the muscles in my face pulling at the corners of my mouth, cheeks and eyes, my lungs send a blast of air across my vocal chords then past my lips to form the words, “It’s a lot of fun.”
This, as the title of this column states, is as it should be. Let me explain. Continue Reading »
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