no cape no mask

who needs a costume when you have words?

Month: November, 2013

Need To Know… 25.11.13

only what you need

only what you need

So that was the weekend that was, Thought Bubble happened, comics were bought and sold, and the second annual British Comic Awards were, um, awarded? But if you couldn’t make it to Leeds, don’t worry, just be here on Saturday afternoon and Jeffrey Brown will be leading a workshop and signing, to which kids are both welcome and encouraged to come!

Speaking of Thought Bubble, the CAB swag posts are coming in thick and fast, from The Beat, though Sean T Collins’ haul is bigger, but even that pales before Frank Santoro’s year long bounty of con comics! While we’re downloading lists of cool comics, its that time of year where people start picking 2013 faves, so here are two lists I can’t really fault, of comics, and of cartoonists. And this list of comics you really must own is definitely one for superhero fans, but it may surprise them.

Since it is the giving season, there’s a flurry of Kickstarters worth your attention, from Roman Muradov, closer to home from the coolest and hottest in UK talent in Mould Map, or if you like your art to come via Portland & unencumbered by story, you could say “Up Periscope!”. If, however, you’re wary of backing because you already have too many comics (we feel you), then try this new snazzy binder kickstarter. Ooh, practical! It ain’t a kickstarter, but Oily Comix subscriptions are a perfect comics Christmas present. Just sayin’.

You’re excited about She-Hulk returning, right? And about the Dan Slott trades being reprinted? If not, here’s why you maybe oughta be. Speaking of oughta, the comics industry discussion around gender and harassment that arose from the Fowler/Wood incident(s) has now generated enough great articles that I figure you might want a guide to them. Enter The Comics Reporter. The Laura Hudson piece he links to is fantastic. And yeah, I said I’d focus on story and comics, but this is important. As is Apple’s definition of pornography, and how they apply it to comics. Because it’s weird. Of course, it won’t matter soon. Looks like all the best comics are about robots now, anyway.

Apple may not get comics, but Slate magazine does, and boy its nice to see comics in publications like that one. Its also nice to see them free, online, like this from Gibbons and “Head Lopper” Maclean, or Kevin Huizenga. Sometimes you can even find a little comics history mixed in there, or Need To Know history for those of you that remember this strip’s precursor from last year! Of course, if history’s your bag, you need to check out this 8-part prehistory of the superhero over at The Hooded Utilitarian, or learn when we first encountered the Infinity Stones.

Okay, pause for art. Elliot Kruszynski, Sophia Foster-Dimino, and Cathy G Johnson all have beauty to spare and share. David Aja will go one further though, and share process with you, while this real-life archer kind of puts Clint to shame, doesn’t he?

This is probably the only comics criticism you need. But if you want more, consider why, and from who? Do artists do it better (spoiler, we think Ulises Farinas does)? If your main criticism is “where’s the manga?”, then check this list, it ain’t no Sailor Moon tribute.

Okay, kids, winding down now. Free, new Jeff Smith webcomic sound nice? It starts today. Here’s an interview to set you up.

And finally, how awesome a parent could you be?


Need To Know… 18.11.13

only what you need

only what you need

No, this blog is not going fortnightly, it’s just been a little delayed… And since we’re talking, let’s make something clear. There will be no mention of Batkid, Tess Fowler, or Brian Wood in this column. Because it’s about comics, about storytelling with words and pictures. Just saying!

Let’s start off with a free taster of something that’s in-store and an unknown quantity, courtesy of Study Group: Sabertooth Swordsman. You’ll believe a Sabertooth can Sword. Or you might want to save it for January, to read instead of your second issue of Sandman: Overture. Are DC now less punctual than Image? More to the point, are they less interesting than the fan fiction they inspire, is that The Deal? Or does that fan fic itself reflect a worrying trend… Either way, The Deal’s artist is worth a watch.

Solicits are up! Get involved, and let us know what you want! It’s how you can help good comics to thrive, by reducing the mystery in ordering math. Also, if you don’t click through, you should know that Valiant owned the solicitations, just like Unity #1 owned the superhero racks (Time Warner and Disney properties aside).

Thought Bubble approaches rapidly (if you still haven’t digested CAB yet, here’re a few digestifs), so we have recommendations from The Beat and the FPI blog, to help you target your efforts toward the cream! If you can’t make it up to Leeds, fret not, just walking the streets of London may unearth some comic art gems, you never know. Similar things are happening in Tehran, too. The Jokers. Rewind a couple sentences to when we were talking recommendations, and allow us to suggest this as a Christmas winner for the cold-hearted amongst you. And on a sidebar: would you read more book reviews if they were in this format?

There’s an avalanche of Kickstarters that deserve your attention this week, from the mouldy, to those going boldly (into apprenticeship), to helping a publisher who reminds us all (amongst other things) of the golden oldies. All three are more complex, more innovative than a simple “give me money for comics” pitch, which makes there being so many of them a little easier to bear.

Marvel’s playing the (re)numbering game in 2014, does that make you happy? Sad? How do you feel about the “season model” versus the haphazard strategy currently in place? Or is this just something for the DC/Marvel fanboys to bicker about?

Do you think too much? No longer!

Old comics were filthy. Seriously filthy.

As ever, a word of warning. Know your double.

Need To Know… 4.11.13

only what you need

only what you need

First this week, the bad news. Those comics in your basement? They’re probably worthless, especially if you’re stateside. Sorry. If you’re in the UK, however, there’s a whole lot more Humanoids comics headed your way! All better?

Some of you may have noticed last week that it was Halloween. There was a general trend of posting scary comics and horror images, but far and away Emily Carroll owned the year’s fearfullest night, with Skin, Bear & Fox, and even just her dream diary! Okay, one more.

To shake off the heebie jeebies, take a gander at these superheroes, redesigned. As manatees. Or remind yourself that before Neal Adams settled into being Neal Adams, he could be pretty experimental.

Now back to the serious stuff. DC are moving to Burbank, California. Is this the end of comics as we know them? Or does this story pair well with another (to put it mildly) disappointing comics industry furore, that of Tess Fowler’s recounted experiences with a prominent “progressive” creator. Some say DC’s news is best viewed in the context of Daredevil going digital, as we learned last week. What do you think?

Speaking of Digital, have you tried Tapastic yet? Does Crunchyroll’s “Marvel Unlimited for Manga” pitch make you drool? Or is that all too thinky, and you’d prefer Si Spurrier write you a nice free webcomic? Maybe something sweeter and more surreal, a litle Honey, perhaps? Even easier, how about a sneak peek of Unity #1 from Valiant?

Sometimes one word is all you need to help you “get” a creator’s work that bit better. Other times its nice to have an artist walk you though their process, especially when it’s J H Williams walking you through Sandman Overture #1. Almost makes up for Fables and Fairest ending, doesn’t it? Also in the reading aids section, the folks over at TCJ can help you “get” Jim Woodring’s Fran. Let them, or at the very least let Frank Santoro and James Romberger school you a little in comics craft and the approaches open to you. Then go to New York, attend CAB, and buy this. Simples!

Forget Thor. Tales of Asgard is where it’s at. Although some would prefer to stroll around a Memory Palace. Or some poetry by Becky Cloonan, even without pictures.

Finally, two notes of inspiration.

This was made while Michael DeForge was sick. What could you achieve with a bad head cold?

How do you deal with rejection? Because Jim Lee had to deal with quite a bit, and look where he is.

Almost forgot! Milo Manara tells the history of humankind. CLICK THIS!