WATCH: "Arrow" Season 4 Trailer Debuts Online
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!
Continue Reading »
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 »
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 »
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