no cape no mask

who needs a costume when you have words?

Month: March, 2014

Need To Know… #31.3.14

only what you need

only what you need

Have you ever wondered, dear readers, who made Kung Fu cool? Wonder no longer, it was Hammer McGee. You might reasonably be wondering what makes Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) so cool, too. Well, Rob Salkowitz has a rundown, these two previews showcase art from Monsters and Dames, a book published annually by ECCC to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital (which is pretty cool, right?), and if you need more reasons, as people make their way home and digest the weekend’s goings on, all the best coverage will be linked to here. For what its worth, this was one of the most intriguing announcements there this year, Pires + Copland x Pop = Awesome?

In terms of news, its great to hear solid plans from Eric Powell for more Goon, more often going forward! Spidey 2099 is going to be a thing, too, and however you feel about that, its a great excuse to dive into Peter David’s extensive back catalogue of really creative superhero comics. And September feels far from now, but this Oni Press book looks worth waiting for.

If you like TV, movies, comics, or music, every link on this page will offer you something cool. Sean T Collins don’t play. And here’s a Top 10 list that’s well worth reading, of biographical comics.

Batman is 75, apparently. No biggie, right? Well, to start your celebrations, check out his best/most interesting coverage over the years, courtesy of Comics Alliance, while CBR can offer you his 75 best covers of all time, though for me, there’s nowhere near enough Breyfogle in that list. Hellboy may be a Spring Chicken at only 20, but Multiversity’s crew of contributing artists shows how high-impact he’s been in that time (I kind of like this one in particular).

Do you like Crime Comics? Check out Recoil.

Had you heard of the critical term, “groundlevels”, before? Worth reading, especially if you’re a Sex Criminals fan or someone who likes Image’s output. Liz Greenfield makes great comics, but she also gives an interesting perspective on self-publishing, artistic visions, and professionalism. So, y’know, read the article on FPI. Hey, here’s a good question: When were DC last innovative? Well, we know they were in 1972… (and for those of you who click through on that and go *groan* “more Kirby worship? really?”, it’s way bigger and more relevant than that). In the interests of equality, Marvel haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory recently either. Andrew Wheeler can tell you why, via a Mandarin short and the dubious humour of prison rape.

Study Group have a Kickstarter going for their Spring season line-up. If you’re still reading and haven’t already clicked through, try this new strip they have up, and then tell me you don’t want to support them. I dare you.

Nic Klein makes pretty pages. A lot of the ones featured here are very superhero-y, but scroll down to the black and white Silver Surfer image, and behold the cosmic glory.

See you in 7!

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Need To Know… 24.3.14

only what you need

only what you need

Is it Kickstarter season? Because the crowdfunding projects are blooming, be they for Schmucks, Girls’ nights out, or a House Party. That’s a lot of crowd to fund, though, so to set you up in the giving vein, have a free tale of Yeezus.

Comics continue to crush culture, with Marvel Editor Sana Amanat giving a great TED talk on “Myths, Misfits, and Masks”; more MOOCS, on making this time; and that Grampa animated movie we were teased with going live on the interwebs. Of course, comics don’t always make positive headlines for their cultural sensitivity, and last week Valiant snatched the dunce’s cap away from Dan DiDio with their somewhat insensitive Rai relaunch. And there’s the ongoing issue of superhero diversity, rendered team by team in comic graph form over at Comics Alliance.

Time for some #longreads, and where better to start than with the excellent Past, Present & Future posts on Hellboy’s history over at Multiversity; they’re in depth, impassioned, and easy to follow. The Mercurial Blonde is at it again, owning comics journalism with some thoughts on love or art, an interview regarding a comic we’re very excited for: Genesis, and a little piece on actually interviewing artists. Then there’s Kate Beaton talking comics history and drawing Nelson, and your latest state-of-comics Mayo Report, which you might want to compare and contrast with The Beat‘s coverage. Of for the ultimate #longread… new solicitations are up, for June!

If, like me, you’re intrigued to see what the Prophet crew do after that title ends, here’s the first sign from Simon Roy, with Jan’s Atomic Heart. There’s more Shaky Kane on the way in 2014, too, and another Blacksad volume to come! Oh, and somebody loves Chris Samnee. Aaw!

In other news, there is only one True Detective, Stan Lee is old, and for those of you tired of speculation, try meta-speculation (or maybe its more like Comics Publishers Top Trumps?).

“I can’t really picture the average person going to the trouble of curating his own little comic section, much less reading a new and unfamiliar strip for months to build up a relationship with it. There’s so much other content available—instantly and all for free—that there’s no reason to stick around if you’re not immediately enthralled. We consume everything like potato chips now. In this environment, I suspect the cartoonist’s connection with readers is likely to be superficial and fleeting, unless he taps into some fervent special interest niche. And that audience, almost by definition, will be tiny. It’s a very different world from the days when everyone in America knew who Popeye, Dick Tracy or Charlie Brown was.” So says Bill Watterson. Thoughts?

Finally, do you like to feel the fur?

Need To Know… 10.3.14

only what you need

only what you need

Diversity is good, right? Comics are good, right? Sooo, how about checking out CBR’s recently concluded (and therefore easily searchable) Month of African-American Comics, starting with Kill Godz? If that sets you looking for a March theme, look no further than Multiversity, who are celebrating 20 years of Hellboy in their usual stunning fashion. And in April its somebody’s birthday, but how come he’s still around?

The weekend was SXSW, which means Marvel had news (sounds for your digital comics! isn’t that amaz… wait, what? oh, no sweat, there’s freebies too), while Comixology has a terrific deal on its Submit catalogue, BUT you only have until this evening to take advantage! GO! For some context on the creator perspective of the Submit program, go here, or if you’d prefer to celebrate the amazing comicking being done online today, it’s awards time for Emily Carroll and Taiyo Matsumoto! Ooh, and there’s a new webcomic started which features Emma Vieceli’s art, so things online are looking swell.

Sticking with my glorious compatriots, the upcoming British Library Comics Exhibition has a competition with a pretty sweet prize, for all you makers out there; GB’s best comics blogger (Zainab Akhtar) wants to show you something, and you’ll be glad you looked into it: Orbital Comics’s very own Ryan Jenkyns has a Kickstarter going for his creation, Whiskers McFadden, and it is shaping up to be pretty fricking sweet! And I got to live a dream this week, writing half a nice review of a Moon Knight #1 with good buddy Keith Silva. Dreams CAN come true.

Of course, good criticism is good to find, and bears criticism, so don’t just be a critic, yeah? Sorted. If you do feel compelled to critique, at least do it intelligently, and use phrases like “aesthetic hybridity” to let people know how you’re rollin’. Alternatively, you could just wait for Zack Snyder to step in and save you from any repercussions, just like he “saved us” from Terry Gilliams’s vision for Watchmen. Phew, close shave, eh?

Pick a mask, any mask.

Got a few cool treats online for you this week, like a download of Milo Milonogiannis’s art book tome (did you enjoy Prophet? then download it); a seriously Creepy old Simon/Kirby joint; or a slew of awesome blog updates from James Stokoe, Ryan Kelly, and the Mercurial Blonde herself! Best of all, you could take a wander round the Digital Comic Museum

Hands up if you didn’t know Archie Comics are the coolest publisher? Well done everyone, have some pretty art, its like cookies for your eyeballs. Ooh, and just because you’re lovely, have a gander at First Second‘s and Fantagraphics‘ Fall Release catalogues.

We are all Tigers.

Oh hey, almost forgot, this happened. COPRA’s back, baby!

Need To Know… 03.03.14

only what you need

only what you need

If I went by numbers, this would be NTK #52. I’ve retired that number for obvious reasons. Like this.

Big week for Image this week, as they step up to the education plate, make a teeny tiny boo boo, but mainly for Eric Stephenson’s speech at the ComicsPRO event, focusing on “new creativity” and the future of comics. Before you drink his Kool-Aid, though, I’d urge you to consider Ulises Farinas’s overview of the state of comics, based off his experiences of reviewing them recently, and an interesting piece on comics, digital, and disposability over at PopMatters. Or try this: “The American comic book is a zombie” – Discuss.

Still, $600m a year from cons can’t be all bad. Some of that even comes from events that are just about comics, like this one.

A cornucopia of small press and independent goodness awaits you this week, starting with Cody Pickrodt’s excellent Ray Ray Books, proceeding via the terribly good Lauren Monger, taking in just a Glimpse at the Secret Knots, building to an epic climax with FPI’s uber-preview of UK comics to come in 2014! For a global perspective, check out the brand new and growing Tiny Report, your Yellow Pages for all things indy in comics.

We’ve got regretful fantasies of what a GI Joe by Michel Fiffe would have looked like (clue: excellent), but there’s consolation in the ongoing revival of our childhoods through Miami Vice and Big Trouble in Little China comics. Soon, we will all be Peter Pan.

In new news, this week sees Moon Knight return and an Evil Empire begin, news of Skottie Raccoon and Simonson Ragnarok, and if you’re in the mood to prepare for the imminent Guardians of the Galaxy movie, here’s your homework.

Speaking of homework, The Comics Reporter has a great round-up of all the artists whose work should be studied first, The Comics Journal wants to clue you in on Rube Goldberg, Comics Alliance can explain the importance of just one punch, the Mindless Ones talk Miller, Cooke, and art, Robot 6 gets scatological with Ryan and DeForge, and to top it all off, somebody found a trove of Alex Toth abstractions. Stick around.

And now for some dessert, specifically Pancakes. Or maybe Sochi Superheroes are sweeter to your tastes?

Take it to the river.