no cape no mask

who needs a costume when you have words?

Month: September, 2013

Need To Know… 30.9.13

only what you need

only what you need

Farewell Villain’s Month. Can’t say I’ll miss you, can’t really say anything nice about you, but thank Mozzocco for this, the thorough, even-handed post-event analysis you deserve. And for any creators who may have railed against the event, the Big 2, or superhero comicking in general, this here is some sage advice.

I’ve yet to read all of WHATZIT, but it may just become your new favourite online strip.

Have you ever reached your own personal boiling point, and felt that “it really ought to be a man’s right to share his boiling honey with any girl who made him… boil“? No? Me either, obviously, but  click through anyway for two other hauntingly monstrous and yes, more tastefully articulated, tales.

It’s Strumpet time again, so head over to Kickstarter and get Tasty! Or support an artist more directly, by getting a commission from the amazing Josh Simmons. Oh, and if last week’s British Comics Awards longlist was a little cumbersome for you, its now a shortlist, so you can pick your Fantasy Creator team accordingly. (Fantasy Creator League should be a thing).

The Hernandez brothers have their own spin on where comics are at now, and why older comics are so compelling, and like everything they do, its well worth your time. They’re part of an abundance of reading guidance this week, as Crossed’s Jacen Burrows recommends horror comics (who better to do so?); although if you’d rather read some new horror, this Kickstarter has the Scott Snyder seal of approval. Comics Alliance are seeking to broaden your perceptions of what noir is, and what noir comics you should read, and Sonia Harris joins the top 5 action with a clutch of new, must-read, all ages comics!

She Hulk is back! By Soule and Pulido no less! (I feel a paean to Slott and Bobillo’s Shulkie run coming on…)

That was one concrete announcement in a week of teasing from Marvel, so which teases have you wondering? And while we wait for NYCC and the teasing to end, are you all ready for some Marvel Knights Peter Parker action? Or maybe an animated trailer for monochrome Batman is more your speed? Since we’re talking Big 2, this article suggests that Marvel’s current success is down to them lifting tactics from DC’s playbook… interesting.

In non-licensed previews and teases, Brubaker lifts the (Iron) curtain on Velvet, (Iron Curtain-wise, here’s an intriguing tale of Stalin era childhood romance); and here’s an all ages hymn to mothers and their sons that features another, less familiar variety of ass-kicking female lead.

Wertham was preoccupied with these comics. Can you understand his revulsion?

Nowadays, we all know Image publishes a number of calibre creators, but you may not realise how much they owe to Caliber creators. And are you familiar with the 20 stages of reading? Lynda Barry will walk you through them.

Welcome to possibly your new favourite cartoon, from a highly unlikely source.

And remember. Nothing is Impossible.

Need To Know… 23.9.13 (backdated? hell yeah!)

only what you need

only what you need

Yeah, yeah, SPX is over, but when Bleeding Cool writes up an indy panel you know it was worthwhile! And more people worth listening to have recommendations from the show… so just suck it up, I promise next week I won’t mention it ever happened!

Now, what’s better than great creator interviews? Great creator interviews by creators, so Gforer talking to Dalrymple is almost … Delusional? Since we’ve lead off with interviews, Joseph Lambert is one to watch, and Karl Kerschl is a long-time Need To Know favourite, so having them both be in Fairy Tale Comics has to be a recommendation, right?

If that was all a bit too much like reading, here’s some DeForge.

Surprise of last week had to be the answer to the questions: Who’ll protect us all from sexist internet trolls? Bendis will!

Closer to home, who’ll fly the flag for British comics? These guys (and gals)! Probably not all of them, though.

Gilbert Hernandez owns comics right now. Looks set to continue next year, too, and I hope this is the pattern, closer to the annual French album alongside whatever serialised work is coming out. Although before that, there’s some Pretty Deadly competition. So good, it’s a Fraction away from being Inhuman? Ah, puns.

Another pitch for the rejected genius pile, this time from Faith Erin Hicks, and a preview from a pitch that maybe should have been read closer? I love the Avengers, I love both creators, but those first few pages… exposition or what?

How graphic do you like it?

This is not how you summon Stan.

And finally, are letterers the real geniuses of comics? Sure seems like it…

Immersion, not Drowning

Ever have those days where everything feels familiar? Not comforting familiar, like “oh that smell reminds me of home”, but over-familiar, like “oh, that again”.

We live generalist lives, handheld portals to our aggregated knowledge enabling real-time fluency in whatever we want. But sooner or later, progress demands some specialisation. I’m not talking a Masters in Pug Husbandry, but some kind of limited duration immersion in something we want to take seriously. Which of course means something in the context of which we want to be taken seriously.

And this notion of immersion has arisen, the new “cramming”, whereby for a time we hold our noses and dive, dive, into the depths of a topic or discipline. Later, the thinking goes, we’ll surface with new knowledge. Returning heroes bearing boons.

So our RSS feed numbers tick up, our subscriptions clog, we stockpile articles and books and online tutorials, immersing ourselves in the quest for canon completion. Except, of course, no canon is complete, or without bleed. And for the ravenous mind, the submerged intellect, every drop must be followed.

So on we plow through late nights & early mornings, scribbling insights and questions in the margins of our chosen field.  Connections flare, causalities blaze, then fade into the catalogs of earlier minds, and we begin to perceive the knowledge network we’ve plugged into, the mapped-ness of this soggy terrain. It’s disdain for new explorers.

Until it all begins to feel familiar. Until every thought seems a re-phrasing, the newest works mere workouts for adepts, conditioning for muscle memory long perfected. And our enthusiasm begins to wane.

We flag. The weight of all the fathoms we’ve descended presses in.

Immersion only works if you come up for air. Otherwise its drowning.

Need To Know… 16.9.13

only what you need

only what you need

Before we deep-dive into the madness, this Ghibli inspired Kickstarter is truly awesome-looking, and while not strictly comics, its well worth a glance. And here you can learn how to run your own (hopefully successful) campaign from people who’ve been there and done it with Kickstarted comics.

DC are sorry for this Harley Quinn contest which is still running, and presumably won’t be considering any of these entries? They haven’t apologised for their part in breaking the timestream though, and frankly, we’re peeved! And here’s a nice positive article reminding us that creative team switch-ups can rock. Ooh, and a whole new publisher! Good times.

On a sadder note, it won’t be Marvel NOW NOW!, then? Or Marvel NOW THEN, NOW THEN? Shame.

SPX was this week-end, and that means Ignatz winners, y’all! It also means a quality post-show report, this time from the great Joe Ollman. And if you needed further proof of the legacy of great cartoons (Ignatz awards, named after Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse, the cartoon strip, keep up!) check this new Calvin and Hobbes/Dune mash-up. But SPX also means a whole load of small press creators to check out, and this list is faultless and talent-packed! The same can of course be said of this Comics Journal open competition held by Frank Santoro. But it might take you a little longer to work through.

Marriage is officially a doomed institution. Sorry folks, legally recognised love is dead.

Top Shelf’s annual online sale is on. $3 graphic novels, y’all! But you can also get free comics, they’re all over: at Study Group (by Jonny Negron, no less), and you may find that Carnivale becomes your new online comics opus?

A Queen & Country movie is one thing, but if it has Ellen Page in the lead, that’s possibly even better news than Avengers not sucking! At any rate, its the anti-Batfleck.

If you’ve ever liked hot rods, blaxploitation, Jim Mahfood art, or Joe Casey, then this is the cartoon for you! For those of you trying to limit your YouTubing to more edifying pursuits, try stepping up From The Gutters.

Fairy Tales from First Second, and check out that list of creators involved: Mazzuchelli, Tamaki, and Hernandez?! Speaking of great creators (that link must get used every week, sorry!) Rafael Grampa is Absolut-ly cool,

Did you like the Dredd movie? Do you like 2000 AD? Then join the Day of Action this Wednesday to get a Dredd sequel made and achieve total cultural supremacy! However you felt about the movie, this is definitely the week to pick up Judge Dredd Megazine. 2000 AD too, for that matter. Kind of related, be careful how you say words that sound like Dredd.

Mindless Ones ramblings are often tricky to decipher, but this one gets rant of the week, easily. Going upscale, reading this will take you less time than actually reading Akira, and may give you more smart-sounding things to say over a beer or two.

Meet Sarah Horrocks, she’s worked on Adventure Time and Multiple Warheads, so she’s cool, right? Speaking of Adventure Time, Ryan North announcing a new comic through a new imprint is cool, but making it about a weaponised Midas Touch?… waaaay cool. Also, meet Josh Bayer, who said this: “Originality is a red herring.” Then discuss!

Whatever you do, don’t be this guy. Either embrace change, or stop reading when it stops being fun. Its meant to be fun, right?

And finally, leaving the great HBO for a job at Comixology would be madness, right? Wrong. Happy reading!

Need To Know… 2.9.13

only what you need

only what you need

Let’s change it up this week, and begin with two things that aren’t comics, but are pretty frickin’ sweet anyway. First, this article should help you defend the nobility and worth of video games to any naysayers, as new media revive old artistic forms. Secondly, scifi paintings from Sweden, where “high” art meets “low” culture.

Nice right. Now here’s some real inspiration for your ass!

Last week’s post mentioned it was going to be Jack Kirby’s birthday, but as the week rolled on there was too much great Kirby stuff to not mention it again, so here are Multiversity’s top 10 greatest Kirby creations; FPI’s celebratory grab bag of iconic Kirby Marvel pages and covers; The Comics Journal’s birthday coverage, part bio, part inside look; Comics Alliance’s Chris Sims shares his Kirby sketchbook, with Kirby tribute sketches from EVERYBODY; and The Comics Reporter gets specific favourite issues from a bunch of folks who know ’bout Kirby. Robot 6, meanwhile, had possibly the greatest quote ever, from the King himself. As a non-Kirby addendum, Bill Watterson’s guidance got animated last week, and that deserves to be there alongside the King’s counsel.

Carrying on with the advisory theme, Larry Hama’s 10 rules for drawing comics should be mandatory for all artists, as should Sequart’s series of posts (starting here) detailing the intricacies of the fight scene. So there.

But if instead of creating, you’re waiting, for the next cool comics coming down the pike, here are some suggestions. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is that rare web-to-print crossover success, pure swashbuckling fun created intelligently, as you’ll see in this interview. And if you happen to be a fan of pulp, forget that Rocketeer dude, Fall 2013 is all about Rocket Girl! On a different, time travelling tip, this isn’t brand new, but it is great. So is Science Fiction, while we’re talking about great indy books. And if you’re a David Aja fan and liking Hawkguy, maybe try to make it to New York for this: because Mazzuchelli was doing it first. There’s yet another Kickstarted book coming to our shelves soon, through Top Cow, but I can’t figure out which is more compelling, the concept or the author’s achievement. Who cares, check it out! I mentioned this Sabre Kickstarter last week, but here’s an in-depth interview with Don McGregor, and for those of you who don’t know why you would care, The Beat breaks it down.

Thinking more mainstream, it can only be good news that Valiant has Doug Braithwaite on board for Unity, while you may be relieved to hear that the forthcoming Fraction/Zdarsky joint “Sex Criminals” isn’t what it sounds like. This is a little further off, but Dave Bullock’s King Ronok (goofy name aside) looks mighty sweet. One reason why we don’t see more of Bullock could be that he’s underrated, in which case he’s in good company, as you’ll see from this article where artists name the creators they feel are most unfairly overlooked.

Several endings last week, with Trinity War drawing to a close (only you can decide if it deserved as intelligent and knowledgeable a review as this), and iFanboy deciding to shutter their online operation. They’ll be missed, and it seems fitting to leave you with their history of the Justice League, so you can carry iFanboy’s wisdom with you. Other things I’ll be deprivbed of in the future include this deranged Sean Murphy Batman story, but fortunately I can still win his Batman: Black and White statue. Thanks DC!

Are these the greatest 3 X-family stories ever? Is anything cooler than Red Kryptonite, trans-genderer of superdogs? Yes, there is something cooler. Geof Darrow art. He gives a pretty good interview too. Or if Darrow doesn’t float your boat, maybe Sophie Foster Dimino will dazzle your eyeballs. Take your time. But keep a LOOK OUT for this title coming in September from groovy UK comics folks. And now the questions…

Clever, or clever-dick? You decide.

Be warned, this is a read that will move you. After you read it, maybe ask yourself “Who am I leaving waiting?”