no cape no mask

who needs a costume when you have words?

Month: January, 2014

Need To Know… 27.1.14

only what you need

only what you need

Alright, let’s get this out of the way right up front; Deadly Class won the racks last week, so here are a few related articles, where Remender talks sci-fi and Fear Agent on Bleeding Cool, Wes Craig gets the full treatment at Multiversity (be sure to check out his BlackHand Comics), and since Lee Loughridge’s colours were so much a part of that first issue, here’s two Colorist Appreciation Day links explaining why you should appreciate, and who you might. Technically, Undertow‘s a sci-fi book, right? So this really intelligent and thoughtful Steve Orlando interview is kind of relevant, and while we may have already mentioned Genesis (sorry), it can’t hurt to turn your eyes that way again with more detail from FPI (not sorry).

Transformers. GI Joe. Tom Scioli research. Nuff said. And if you’re enjoying geeking out on creator research, this Frank Santoro post on some big titles’ humble beginnings is a treat. Talking beginnings, imagine Batman’s beginnings without Bill Finger, and prepare to marvel at a new beginning for Jack Kirby’s Captain Victory with a crazy hot creator list, in what actually is, for a change, a Dynamite announcement. If none of that does it for you, maybe you’re just the wrong kind of nerd?

In great news, the British Library has realised that comics exist, and are good. Well done, chaps. In other news, Rafael Grampa is indeed still a rock star (wanna help him make an animated movie?), previews are here for Nina Bunjevac’s next project, London-based Breakdown Press continue to rock comics hard, and John Porcellino offers his thoughts on 2013’s best and brightest.

Did you ever buy any of these? Come on, own up. Or do you secretly wish comics would splash out more? You’re among friends here.

If you like your novels with pictures by kick-ass artists, then this (story)killer Kickstarter looks pretty sweet, but before you go there it’s very very important that you learn the truth behind all the recent NSA/GCHQ spying revelations. Also, did you know just how fully NSFW (but fun!) Brandon Graham’s sex comics are? Careful before you click, these images just might ruin you.

My new favourite superheroes.

Finally, are any of your dreams in here? Because you may find yourself adopting a few of those. See you in 7!


Need To Know… 20.1.14

only what you need

only what you need

Hey Everybody, you can come out now, Ribic is back on Thor! And that isn’t even the best anticipatory link we’ve got this week, as Kirkman/Azaceta project Outcast gets previewed, the Lobster gets got, BOOM! Box are introducing the Lumberjanes (courtesy of Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Shannon Watters), and Vertigo are teasing a quarterly anthology that’s going to be … colourful? Yeah, hard to know what to make of that one. Harder still to know what to make of DC & Vertigo’s marketing efforts all round. Still, at least they let us know Wally’s coming back.

In less predictable news, the estimable Lucy Knisley is bringing two books to Fantagraphics, Brandon Graham is continuing to play den mother to a host of indie talent over at Image, and even if you’ve never heard of Takeshi Obata or his manga (Deathnote, Bakuman), this preview art and the title All You Need is Kill are alluring, right? Still, he’s got nothing on those Southern Bastards.

Barry Windsor-Smith sure could draw, couldn’t he? No context for that one, just fact.

Some people are still reviewing 2013, and this post seems like the most comprehensive comics-biased pop culture retrospect around, but for a more contentious rearward survey, check this collection of Doc Ock’s defining moments of Spidey superiority. Could he actually be a better wall-crawler? If you’re really spoiling for a fight, how about debating the merits of 90’s comics, though a Good, Better, Best character redesign series?

There’s a bunch of stuff for you to do in London, coming up. First and foremost, this very Wednesday at Orbital Comics there’s Live Action Painting from The Battle Of The Eyes! Rock’n Roll Art Making! If your tastes run a little cleaner and tighter, this Sunday sees a one day masterclass in creating a graphic novel, while in February Paul Pope will be in London for a Comica conversation. To the diaries!

By the way, Retrofit comics have now gone digital as well as print, and not reading any of their stuff has been outlawed. Officially. Unless you’re working really hard. Like, as hard as a manga master works. Then you’re excused.

Alright, we’re almost at the free comics part, but first, some insight for you. Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, they have a great article on interpreting Mind MGMT, a book that may read better if you know your angle of attack. Over at The Beat, the question of what exactly happened to Marvel Knights get addressed. If you’re interested in a sensible take on diversity and the affirmative action style efforts visible in the comics industry, check out the mercurial blonde’s blog. If you just want Chris Burnham to talk gross, horror nightmare research for upcoming Morrison project Nameless, or Remender to go high concept (in a great way) about his soon-to-rock Low, well, that can happen too. Or you might just want some half-assed cosplay ideas.

Alright, alright, free comics. Enter The Tunnel (if you dare, those vulnerable to existential horror should not click through), be there when the Saints go Marchin’ in, sample Dash Shaw’s latest on Study Group, or best of all, spend some time with Julia Wertz as she explains why the Fart Party really stinks. It’s a very honest memoir of cartooning and alcoholism, that’s about much more than either topic.

Important question: how do you defeat someone who gets stronger as you hit them? Science knows!

Almost finally, isn’t it sad that covers like these are rarities, rather than the general approach? Remember Wagner’s Batman #631 cover? Why aren’t there more like this?

Especially for the Gosh Darned Batman.

Need To Know… 13.1.2014

only what you need

only what you need

Last week proved that you just can’t keep a good man down. Whether I’m referring to Dan Slott’s predictable reveal that, yes, Peter Parker is returning, or Alan Moore’s typically understated, intelligent interview following some Morrisonian bile, I’ll leave up to you. Of course, I could just be remarking the return of Kaare Andrews to comics, what with his new Iron Fist series being announced, and all.

That Alan Moore interview is billed as his last, so where oh where will you go for good interviews? The Comics Reporter, of course! There are few people better at intelligent interviewing than that guy, and while you’re on the site, you might as well check out the 2014 Angouleme Grand Prix short list. Then, once you’ve perused the list of names familiar and unknown, maybe read Andrew White’s post on Tumblr about whether we really all need a shared canon of comics to draw from, or whether we should make our own canon, drawing from as many sources as we can.

That’s all a bit thinky, so let’s cut to the popcorn. Image Expo was last week, which means there are tons of announcements to catch up on, all neatly listed here, on CBR. There’s only one really important question to be answered, though: whose previews are hotter, Ward, or Tocchini?

Not to be outdone, Marvel announced a new Doop series (Doop!), & a new lease of life for the Ultimate Universe (really?), this time with added Michel Fiffe (oooh). Oni upped the stakes with news of fresh Stumptown comics to come, an ongoing, even! There’s another brand new, cool-looking small press fest coming up in NYC, called Paper Jam. ELCAF stole the show, however, with their announcement that Chris Ware will be at this year’s event! He’s probably going to be mobbed, though, so if you’re hoping for any nuggets of wisdom or advice, maybe you’re better off peeping this interview with chimeric comics craftsman Ben Templesmith, who explains it all. Or, if you feel you need help figuring out how to read a graphic novel (and let’s face it, every day’s a school day), try this TED talk.

Argh, we’re back thinking again! Sorry! Look, Toby Cypress makes intricate kinetic imagery (watch out for The White Suits, soon from Dark Horse), Sloane Leong is more than a colorist, Poohdickery is here documented for your edification, or there’s this list of superhero webcomics you might enjoy, if, you know, you dig the digital spandexers.

Question: you likely know who created Superman, but who discovered him? And if the X-Men were always designed as a comic concerned with prejudice and diversity issues, then why so many white dudes?

If all else fails, you can retreat into 365 days of Kirby tech. Though none of that is as impressive as this vision for the future of drones. Mmmmm!

Need To Know… 2014.1

only what you need

only what you need

Hey Everybody! Welcome to 2014, and your first NTK of the year. Everyone’s still rating 2013, and there are more reviews and Best Of’s out there than you could ever read, so I figure let’s look forward, not back. The Beat have you covered, with this 2013 Year End survey that asks creators and comics folk to look ahead based off what’s in the rear view mirror. It’s in five parts. Robot 6, meanwhile, weigh in with a massive 7-parter. One-upmanship much?

Other future news includes a hot-looking crop of comics from Koyama, a brand new Box Brown comic series, Shulkie (we will mention this every week until its out, and maybe after that even!), Sean Murphy going to Image, & yet more stellar titles from Breakdown Press (Shaky Kane y’all!). And for those of you who like your comics newsy, The Nib has a strong line-up for this year, lotta big names there.

News-wise in comics, Star Wars will be Marvel’s starting in 2015. Quelle surprise. For any of you yet to read all of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics (I haven’t either), the list is getting longer this year. Oh, and have you heard about the LaBoeuf beef? Creator rights, pah! Who needs ’em? *sigh*

Two crowd-funders for your delectation this week, the inspired concept of Wolfen Jump (we’ve mentioned it before in its Tumblr incarnation, but now it’s going to be a real boy!); and Dean Trippe’s Something Terrible, which thoroughly deserves to be a physical book.

Now, haven’t you always wanted to draw like Popeye? Now you can, and there’s no spinach required! You might lean towards design, in which case flavour of the year Tom Muller talks you through his approach. Maybe you’ll go from zero to… Zero? Perhaps instead you’re still boggled at the origins of the underwear on the outside superhero aesthetic? Well boggle no longer, you can blame the circus. Are you an Infomaniac? Find out. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re looking for a way to get a handle on those tricksy Latvian comics from Kus, huh? Well, here’s the primer you need to get on board. It’s worth it.

Finally, when Superheroes get old, it isn’t pretty. But it is funny.

See you in a week!