no cape no mask

who needs a costume when you have words?

Month: March, 2013

Need To Know… 25.3.13

only what you need

only what you need

I think its fair to say that DC won last week’s skirmish in the eternal war for coverage, for reasons good and not good… They announced a new, nostalgic digital Batman title, and Robot 6 interviewed Andrea Sorrentino and Pete Woods about life in the Big 2, on big books. Comics Alliance cornered Kyle Higgins on Dick and the Bat-shadow too, and reading those articles makes you realise, DC have some great creators on board, people with interesting ideas, who are looking to grow and evolve as storytellers. Shame they can’t keep them, then, though its nice they’ve clarified John Stewart’s safety (for now!). The upside of this upheaval is we get this fun fact, and an excuse to brush up on J’onn J’onzz’s history. So overall, a win! Unless you’re Vibe. Or is that premature? Across the street, Marvel’s announcement of the week was… Angela. Yay?

Paul Gravett brings a clear eye to the Lichtenstein debate, and if you want to get involved with the artistic response to the exhibition, let Rian Hughes know. While you’re on Paul’s site, check out his guide to May in comics, it’s eye-opening, and maybe if you swing by Comiket in April you can discuss it with him? Speaking of comics critics worth watching, Tom Spurgeon celebrated Mini Comics Day by posting an old entry of his. Show-off!

For those of you living under rocks, Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin blew up the internet with Private Eye (go. buy. read. smile.), and Warren Ellis made this sanguine observation of the event. He also posted a lovely collaboration with Molly Crabapple, and got his own Avengers rumour, to boot, so Monsieur Ellis had a pre-tty good run last week! Bleeding Cool ran this timely piece on French attempts to legislate for authors in a digital/print world. Oui, oui… and while we’re Francophone, the Finalists for Canada’s Doug Wright Awards were announced (lots of NTK favourites on there, and more to discover besides!). If you’re unfamiliar with Doug Wright or the Awards, Seth’s speech from their inaugural year is an intelligent, spirited introduction. Enough of French though, as our very own Si Spurrier is bringing you Six Gun Gorilla… and he’s no surrender-monkey (I apologise, it was just there, I’m so sorry).

Kickstarter’s popping fresh this week, with this anthology based around body/gender, and this volume of Humour and Despair, but I’m pre-ordering Devastator. Because I’m intimidated. Not as intimidated as I am by Shamification, though. Unless its for Steve Ditko’s benefit… because then its okay, right? Right.

All a bit heavy this week, so far, isn’t it? Sorry. Here, check out these Super-moves. Or this Tumblr has you covered. Or a funny look at one artist’s demons. Whatever you do, just don’t have a cow, Tetsuo, be like Mateus Santolouco, and say Cowabunga! Lengthier, but just as inspiring, Rick Remender gives a great interview. Eddie Campbell also has a theory (I’m not sure it’s really his though…), but the man with the plan this week is Five Ghosts’ Frank Barbiere. He brings you the new blood. Seriously, the guy bleeds ink and love.

Sometimes helping an artist out reaps serious rewards, sometimes you read a review and recall how much you loved the comic they’re reviewing (mermaids, humour, and solitude are in that mix), and sometimes you want a creator to hold your hand through the building of pages.

But sometimes, all you get is Toxoplasmosis. Or Aquaman in a bustier. Either way, you go on, richer for the experience.


Need To Know… 18.3.13

only what you need

only what you need

This (dun dun dun) is your last warning. Sunday is Mini-Comics Day. To fail to prepare, is to prepare to fail. But, if you’re not going to be making comics, you can at least be learning about them, right? That’s what George Lucas thinks, anyway. Maybe you prefer to partake of some Women’s History Month comics coverage, though, in which case here’s a worthwhile, informative interview with two leading female voices of the underground comix movement.

Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly has some thoughts on 2012 in comics crowdfunding, which given the Veronica Mars funding extravaganza brought to mind this thread, and then this article. Is licensed crowdfunding part of comics’ future? I really hope so! Creators are always riffing on the stuff they’d never be allowed to do with franchised characters, and often their ideas are exactly what we want to see!

Are you enjoying your copy of Nemo: Heart of Ice? Yes? Great! But, are you really “getting” it? This may help. Likewise, Change #4 came out from Image this week, and ComicsAlliance has this Ales Kot-endorsed review that may help you appreciate the Cthulhu-ian mini. Incidentally, Morgan Jeske killed it on Change, but his own comics are great too, and print-bound in 2014! Study Group Comics have a host of other lovelies for you this week, too, with a new Conor Willumsen joint, and the first part of Haunter, which is a bona fide must-see. Trip City have great new strips up from Zees, and Eggers/van Sciver, about which I can only say “aaw” and “Hup!”. Ever heard of Activate Comix? Well, now they’re 7 years old and want to tell you about themselves, after which we recommend you go straight to Cristian Ortiz’s Golden Campaign (which we are proud to have print copies of in the West Wing!). Regarding comics online, here’s a good, short video from PBS on webcomics, and how they changed the game.

In other news from the future, new Seth! Brandon Graham flaunts his Walrus! Jordan Crane leaves us Non-plussed (technically that’s not from the future, but work with me!)! Bags of Bagge! Jim Rugg’s Supermag is coming! In the future, will brands sponsor superheroes? Will Walt Simonson’s Hulk look amazing (hint: yup!)? And a prediction: Cartooning and Journalism certainly have a bright future together ahead of them, as demonstrated by Derf Backderf in this video.

Now relax… and enjoy a fireside chat with the Buddy Cops guys. Better? In another relaxing treat, this week’s Orbiting Pod will feature Kelly Sue Deconnick, but rest assured she won’t be revisiting this plotline. And in a soothing tangent from the Lichtenstein debate, Bob Temuka explains the love of the perfect panel, while thanks to Tom Spurgeon, you’ll see that the Fantagraphics offices are exactly how you’d like them to be.

In terms of what’s good looking this week, Rafael Grampa draws an awesome Spidey. Actually, Grampa’s just awesome (on the topic of Spidey, is this a more truthful version of the Spidey myth?). 2000AD has an issue out this week that’s a perfect jumping-on point, apparently, and DC’s New 52 turns… 50? We’re all relieved to hear Scott Snyder is NOT writing a do-over of Year One. Well, not really.

This week, if you do one thing, one thing, then please for the love of all that is holy buy a book that doesn’t matter.

And who’s the man? Red Ketchup’s the man!

Need To Know… 11.3.13

only what you need

only what you need

Comics folk had a pretty tough week last week. First of all, legend Jerry Ordway posted on his blog about his experiences being exclusive and underused at DC. Then The Beat ran this thoughtful follow-up, including Jerry’s reactions to the outpouring of sympathy and support. And over at Robot 6, the Grumpy Old Fan himself made the (strong) case for Ordway getting a book pronto! All of which was compounded by the news that Fantagraphics’ co-publisher Kim Thompson has cancer, and the Allreds were burgled.

Meanwhile as Steve Rude launched a Kickstarter campaign and the Stripped feature documentary on “the world’s best cartoonists” launched their final push, the Sullivan’s Sluggers debacle ignited again as James Stokoe sought to distance himself from a new (and now cancelled) campaign. All of which resulted in two good things, this tee shirt, and this The Gutters. Plus, that whole Orson Scott Card thing got laid to rest, for now.

On the topic of good things, check out this interview with Paul Levitz about the re-issued History of DC Comics, or this cute/cool Avengers print, this upcoming Fearless Defenders cover, or this new entrant to the small press comics subscriptions market from Space Face! And combine eye-candy with homework, by preparing for May’s The Dream Merchant with some of Konstantin Novosadov’s art.

On the digital front, Comixology has opened for submissions, with none other than Becky Cloonan leading the way! Elsewhere in cyberspace, Marvel went Unlimited (well, kinda), then announced some actual cool stuff, while DC thought of the children. On the topic of kids and comics, iFanboy makes a good point, and Ted Naifeh bids farewell to his terrific kids book, Courtney Crumrin. If you’re looking for good comics online, try to catch Black Death, or just Activate Comix.

For a quicker fix, check out CBR’s Week of Cool Comic Book Moments, or catch up with Multiversity’s 31 Days of Abe Sapien (they’ll also help you assimilate in the Mignolaverse, if you abide by their Hellboy reading notes). Or learn Jae Lee’s Secret Origin, read up on Ultron (he’s more than a mad robot!), and if I’m killing you with links, make like Lazarus.

Here’s a gallery to help you spot your favourite creators. So you can BE NICE! Maybe you could even help them celebrate the 80th anniversary they didn’t know existed?

And remember American Eagle? Badass.

A late addition from the ever helpful, resourceful and comics-loving Robin Harman, Mark Waid talks you through the potential for Digital, and he should know!

7 x . – the only shift pattern you need

forgive me

har dee har!

Went to buy wood earlier this week for work, which was very exciting as its the prelude to making something, which is always cool (provided there is supervision by a responsible adult), and finally learned what “2 by 4” referred to (its the breadth/depth dimensions of the wood, where I’d always assumed that since any one piece of wood has three dimensions, it must be something else… which is what I call “smart stupidity”).

That’s enough for a post, isn’t it?

No, I had a point and its just come back to me. Part of my “job” (by which I mean that I approach it with a professional mindset, rather than actually making any money from it… yet) is to interview people more accomplished than me, which involves an elaborate game of the “Magic ‘If'” whereby I imagine what I would ask of these folk if I were fit to lick their boots, and ask it with that level of conviction, despite my obvious failure to meet that criterion. Its a privilege that these people spend some of their time talking to me, and by extension the people who listen to the podcasts I’m on. But because I try to prepare for them thoroughly, it means a whole lot of reading, and an obligatory hour of freaking out about the fact that I will have to keep conversation going with “intelligent” questions, that they may not like me, that we may not make compelling listening, but mainly that they may not like me and therefore I will be not only unfit to lick their boots but an unlikeable wretch to boot.

So sometimes I reach the end of my five straight days at work, look at my 2 days off, and see only interview prep, blogs in arrears, and the ever slackening skin around my midriff.

Where’s my week-end? *said in whingey, miserable toddler voice*

The week-end is a lie.

We’ve been lied to our whole lives. From early on parents, schools, and government conspired to feed us the myth of the week and the week-end. The 5 and the 2. Monday to Friday, then Saturday/Sunday a slashed pair of treasure days free from labour.

This is an obsolete paradigm, for all but those few who have found a passion that both fulfills and pays the bills Monday to Friday. Otherwise, if you’re working a day job and crafting something, anything, in your off-time, whether you’re a lawnmower-modifier, a glassblower, an amateur mixed martial artist, or a podcaster, the time-honoured 5 x 2 means nothing. You’re working 7 x ., where the “.” means the day where you just have to break. Maybe that happens once a week, maybe once a month, but your body and mind call for rest in a manner you can’t/shouldn’t ignore.

7 x . is tough, but its better than the alternative, which is 12 x ., where you’re working 5 days a week, then crafting 7 evenings/mornings a week, then crashing every now and again through the toxic mixture of  dedication and obligation, to different things.

7 x . is a blessing, because you’re proficient and hire-able enough to get to pay your way without passion, and still have time left over for dream-chasing. 7 x . is the dream, because every week you clock in on that rota you prove your dedication, to yourself and the work. 7 x . is an honour.

So when you’re staring down the barrel of another week without an -end, remember how lucky you are, and how beautiful your dream is.

Need To Know… 04.03.13

only what you need

only what you need

There’s no easy way to say this. Damian Wayne is “dead”. Which is to say he’s missing in continuity action. Doubtless you have your own reaction, but these are the pick of the bunch, from Sean T Collins (considering what Damian represented in the New 52), and Tom Bondurant (reflecting on the Robin role and its evolving significance).

Could be worse, though. Galactus could be back. Wait. . . Galactus Lives! in an insightful and glorious series of posts based around new scans from the Jack Kirby Museum. Then, for those of you who never saw James Stokoe’s Galactus print (available to purchase here), here ya go. Speaking of comics titans, its Will Eisner week, and you’re spoilt for choice because all his stuff is terrific.

It’s not a comic, but this maze, 7 years in the making, is almost too impressive. And while Mjolnir hogged the science spotlight last week, Spidey’s taking it back with Spider-Man Physics, and later this year with the possibly NSFW (definitely funny) cartoon Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man. Actually, it was a great week for cartoon fans all around, as IDW announces a line of Cartoon Network books, and Jim Mahfood and Jhonen Vasquez are getting cartooned! All this, and Archie Comics’ CEO looks to create comics with a social impact. So its not just for the lulz.

The more scholarly fans among you might like this new book of essays on DD from Sequart, with excerpts at iFanboy and Multiversity. And for those of you who’ve heard the name Tokyopop but aren’t clear on what it was, here’s an interview with Stu Levy, the Tokyopop CEO, which charts the manga boom, its challenges, and lessons learned. Some good recent history in there. Or maybe what you really want is the ultimate guide to reading Love and Rockets?

For the makers among you, there are just under three weeks until Minicomics Day 2013! Or if you’re gagging for your shot at the big time, you could show Dark Horse how Abe Sapien should be drawn.

With Michael Deforge’s Ant Comic recently completed and all in one place, or Emily Carroll’s terrible, beautiful, The 3 Snake Leaves, digital is beautiful (and free) this week. The Beat has a preview from our friends at SelfMadeHero of their new release Hair Shirt, and Top Shelf announced and previewed a new Jess Fink book. If you don’t know Jess Fink’s work, its funny and naughty in all the right ways, so treat yourself. And while we’ve mentioned Monkeybrain comics before, they’re venturing into print this summer, and in an innovative fashion… oh, they also want to give you a free digital comic. That’s nice.

Over at CBR, Simon Roy spills on his experiences inside Team Prophet, and his Dark Horse Presents story Tiger Lung, while iFanboy has Fiona Staples on fine form. Careful though, there are Saga #10 spoilers.

I had a whole section of round ups from ECCC here in the original post, but actually the only thing I cared about that got announced there was that Oni Press has a cool looking new sci-fi book from Soule and Albuquerque! Cons are great, but the news that comes out of them is just the normal news cycle with added trumpets.

Its Guest Week at Marvel & DC. And Goldtiger is the baddest, sexiest, most mysterious 60’s strip you never heard of. Fund it.

How’re you liking the mix? And why is it that my Reader has another hundred stories in it already!???