Archive for the ‘Graphic Books’ Category

Sneak Peek: ANGEL CATBIRD

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

9781506700632_97656Get an early look at Margaret Atwood’s first graphic novel via BuzzFeed. A mix of advocacy (for cats and wildlife) and storytelling, it pairs Atwood with noted illustrator Johnnie Christmas in a tale featuring a superhero scientist who is a part cat and part bird, Angel Catbird (PRH/Dark Horse; Sept. 6, 2016; ISBN: 9781506700632; $14.99).

As we noted in May, Dark Horse acquiring editor says it will be “a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired story … [with] …a lot of cat puns …. a strange mix of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Grant Morrison and Chas Truog’s Animal Man, and Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s Squirrel Girl.”

Atwood told BuzzFeed that comics are not new to her, saying “I grew up in the 1940s drawing comics, and I’ve continued: I even drew a strip in the 1970s.”

9781506700991_1ada3Angel Catbird is not the only comic Atwood has in the works. She is part of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls: Expanded Edition, Hope Nicholson (PRH/Dark Horse; on sale Oct. 18), an anthology that started as a kickstarter campaign, reports The Guardian.

Atwood tweeted about it last year:

Live from Comic-Con

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

CCIBanner_v3

If you’ve longed to attend San Diego Comic-Con, this year you can experience it vicariously. Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con will run on the network the three nights of the show, July 21-23.

Host Will Arnett will, according to Deadline, “invite fans at the network’s outdoor stage to discuss and engage in the Con’s breaking news, insider party coverage, and exclusive content, along with sneak peeks of the most anticipated films and TV series.”

Too bad they don’t mention actual comics, but perhaps, at least, they will cover the Eisner winners. This year, by the way, a record number of women have been nominated for the award

ROMEO AND/OR JULIET
As You Like It

Monday, June 20th, 2016

9781101983300_c5d77Add comics to the recent flurry of successful Shakespeare re-vamps. Ryan North’s 1,100 page “chooseable-path” graphic novel  Romeo And/Or Juliet (PRH/Riverhead), is based on the famous romance and debuts on the NYT Best Sellers Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous list, landing at #7. He celebrates with a collage image on his homepage, labeled “AWESOME AND/OR WHAAAAAT.”

North’s wildly imaginative adaptation of the bard (in one adventure readers can choose to become the character of a glove) caught the attention of the media. He tells NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday that he thinks this way of encountering Shakespeare makes the play fun again, bringing the old story back to life, and providing a deeper understanding in the process:

“You know what these characters are supposed to be like, and when you kind of push them off the rails a little bit, there’s a sense of breaking the rules that’s a lot of fun.”

He tags his books “Plays weren’t meant to be read. They were meant… to be played.”

New York magazine’s site Vulture offers an illustrated interview that includes North commenting on the 100+ artists contributing to the book (including Noelle Stevenson, Randall Munroe, and Kate Beaton), how the book relates to video games (he mentions on his website that he has created an unlockable character), and the process of reading a work with so many endings. About the latter he says: “just because you give the reader a choice doesn’t mean it’s an easier book.”

Paste offers a gallery of images, showing the range of styles included.

9780982853740North’s first chooseable-path adventure was the Kickstarter-funded project To Be or Not to Be (Perseus/PGW/Legato/Breadpig, 2013), based on HamletAccording to North, it was the most funded publishing project in the history of Kickstarter.

North also creates Dinosaur Comics and writes for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics.

 

Readers’ Advisory: Comics

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday offers a capsule overview of the state of comics, interviewing George Gene Gustines, of the NYT‘s Arts Beat blog, about the format’s allure, both for readers and for authors.

The brief interview gives insight into the value of all the mixes, mash-ups, alliances, and re-issues for readers and the big-name authors being drawn to the format.

Gustine delineates the current audience for comics, pointing out that all age groups are fans but the sweet spot right now are readers in their 40s who grew up on comics and have followed every significant character evolution and story line. He says that publishers are trying to appeal to kids again with a lot of new material to ensure the format does not age out.

STL001673Gustines also discusses the trend for prose authors to move to comics. As we reported, Ta-Nehisi Coates is topping the charts with his new version of Black Panther (the graphic novel compiling issues #1-4 is forthcoming: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Hachette/Marvel; Sept. 27, 2016; ISBN: 9781302900533; $16.99).

9781401263133_63839Brad Meltzer (bestselling author of thrillers such as The Tenth Justice) had a highly successful turn as well says Gustines, creating a run of the Justice League of America and the comic series Identity Crisis that Gustines says “sold like gangbusters.”

Another thriller author, Greg Rucka, has written dozens of comics for both DC and Marvel including work on Batman and Spider-Man and Michael Chabon created stories for the Casanova comic with Matt Fraction, the Eisner and Harvey award-winning author of such popular series as Sex Criminals and Hawkeye.

9781506700632_97656Due in September is, Margaret Atwood’s Angel Catbird (PRH/Dark Horse; Sept. 6, 2016; ISBN: 9781506700632; $14.99), the first in an  . The Guardian quotes Atwood, “I have concocted a superhero who is part cat, part bird. Due to some spilled genetic Super-Splicer, our hero got tangled up with both a cat and an owl; hence his fur and feathers, and his identity problems.”

Dark Horse acquiring editor said it will be “a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired story … [with] …a lot of cat puns …. a strange mix of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Grant Morrison and Chas Truog’s Animal Man, and Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s Squirrel Girl.”

All this, of course, on top of what is also a busy market of adapting print only books into comics, such as Paul Auster’s City of Glass, Donald E. Westlake’s Parker novels, and both Game of Thrones and Outlander.

BLACK PANTHER Tops Charts

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

STL001673The top comic in the US, outselling all others with an impressive one-month sales count of over 250,000 copies is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther. That number is likely to be revised upwards to 300,000 once reorder figures are known, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The comic, released on April 6th, is the first of eleven single issues that will be collected into paperback complications, beginning with #1-4, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Hachette/Marvel; Sept. 27, 2016; ISBN: 9781302900533; $16.99).

MV5BMjQ0MTgyNjAxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjUzMDkyODE@._V1_SX214_AL_Part of the demand may be a result of the hugely successful movie Captain America: Civil War  which features a super fast Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’s project was buzzy before the movie hit theaters, with plenty of pre-pub attention, from the NYTWSJ, and The Atlantic (where Coates is national correspondent).

Writing from the UK perspective, The Guardian quotes Kate McHale, comics buyer at Waterstones (the UK’s largest bookstore chain):

“The anticipation about what new angles a brilliant writer like Ta-Nehisi Coates could bring to the character … I think we’re expecting a level of depth and insight that could make this one of Marvel’s most interesting and compelling titles, and one of the must-reads of the year. After a great first issue that looks likely.”

Reviews range from glowing to supportive. Vox writes:

“It’s excellent. Coates and Stelfreeze have created a pocket in the ever-expanding Marvel comic universe that’s daring and wondrous, but also organic and natural — a place and a comic that feels crucial and important to the company’s legacy.”

io9 offers the headline “The New Black Panther Comic Is Off to an Amazing Start” and says:

“By giving us a starting point of T’Challa at his weakest, Black Panther is setting itself on a road that could give us some of his strongest stories in years.”

IGN offers a history of the character for all those trying to catch up:

Comics Legend Darwin Cooke
Dies at 53

Monday, May 16th, 2016

9781401248888_c2884Iconic Eisner-winning comics illustrator and writer Darwyn Cooke, has died of lung cancer. He was 53.

Of his many contributions he is perhaps best known for his revamp of DC Comics characters, Catwoman (working with Ed Brubaker) chief among them. He also worked on comic adaptations of Donald E. Westlake’s Parker novels and on a prequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen.

DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said in a statement reported by USA Today:

“He was both compassionate and combative, approaching everything he did with a tenaciousness and temerity that is now unheard of in a world afraid to offend. This is an industry-wide loss that I feel personally, but the sadness is mitigated in the knowing that the beauty and grace of his art will forever stand the test of time and be a monument to all that is great about comics.”

Of his signature style, the L.A. Times writes:

“His work was ingrained with a sense of humanity and wonder pulled directly from his signature retro-touched style [of] fat, black lines, V-shaped men and hourglass cut women [that] fill each page with nostalgic charm and bold visuals … His style and taste … sound like a golden trumpet through the DC Comics catalog. It was loud, daring and it heralded hope.”

Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier may be his most exemplary work (also adapted into a animated direct-to-video film in 2008). It combines a deep knowledge of the DC universe with a strong sense of hope and justice and showcases his trademark style, as he imagines the Golden Age DC characters such as Superman and Batman meeting the Silver Age characters such as Green Lantern and Flash, creating new stories and pairings while reaching deep into the DC backfile. This approach, practiced frequently by other comics and comic films, is particularly well handled by Cooke.

9781401262457_e492fHe is the illustrator for a new title releasing this week, The Twilight Children written by Gilbert Hernandez (RH/Vertigo). The paperback release of DC: The New Frontier (RH/DC Comics) is due Jun 28.

Two of his works are rising on Amazon, the deluxe edition of DC: The New Frontier and Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwin Cooke  (RH/DC Comics).

Many publications, from A.V. Club to Entertainment Weekly to the The New York Times offered tributes.

The best tribute is Cooke’s work itself. Below is a feature on the art in DC: The New Frontier.

Batman: The Killing Joke

Friday, May 6th, 2016

KillingjokeAt #1 on the NYT Hardcover Graphic Books Best Seller list after 201 weeks is Batman: The Killing Joke, by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. (DC Comics, 2008; originally published in 1988; a B&W version, Batman Noir: The Killing Joke will be published in August), which tells the story of the origins of Batman’s archenemy The Joker, portrayed as an unsuccessful comedian who turns to crime to support himself and his pregnant wife.

An animated movie based on the iconic title, created in direct response to a petition from fans, is set to premiere at San Diego Comic-Con in July with a planned release on digital HD on July 23 and Blu-ray and DVD on August 2.

Releasing titles on digital HD ahead of the other versions is a new approach recently used for Deadpool to such strong sales that it is likely to become the norm.

Below is the recently released trailer:

Several of Moore’s earlier works, including Watchmen, have been adapted in to movies, but he asked to have his name removed from all of them.

Eisner Award Nominees Announced

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

The Oscars of the comics world, the Eisner Awards, honoring outstanding comics creator, Will Eisner, announced its nominees this week. Topping the lists are Bandette, March: Book Two, Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, and The Eternaut

Each received three nominations across the many categories the award recognizes, more than any of the other nominated titles.

41Npu9e+qKL9781616556686_1989dBandette is an ongoing online comic featuring a teen burglar the publisher says “treads a thin line between Tintin and Nancy Drew.” The webcomic earned nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Digital/Webcomic, and Best Painter (for Coover). It has also been released in two paper editions thus far, Bandette Volume 1: Presto! and Bandette Volume 2: Stealers Keepers! both by Paul Tobin with art by Coleen Coover (Dark Horse, 2013 and 2015).

march_book_two_72dpi_lgMarch: Book Two,by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (Top Shelf, 2015) counts among its nomination nods both Best Reality-Based Work and Best Publication for Teens. As we have noted, the award-winning comic memoir series has become a must-buy in libraries. March: Book Three publishes this August. The Washington Post offers a first look at the cover.

9781606998489_4108dHip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is up for Best Reality-Based Work and creator  Piskor is up for Best Writer/Artist and Best Cover Artist. Piskor won the 2015 Eisner for the best nonfiction graphic work for Hip Hop Family Tree Book 2: 1981-1983. Book 3 covers the rise of Run DMC and more. Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 comes out this August.

9781606998502_81c82The Eternaut by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is nominated for Best Archival Collection–Comic Strips, Best U.S. Edition of International Material, and Best Publication Design. The Argentinian science fiction graphic novel originally ran as a weekly, starting in 1957. In its starred review, PW says it is:

“one of the great alien-invasion stories of the golden age of SF … [with a] taut against-all-odds plot … As with much ’50s science fiction, the political subtext—made more poignant by the knowledge that Oesterheld agitated against the Argentinean government and was “disappeared” in 1977—is so smoothly embedded … that it slides right past most readers while still resonating once the true masterminds are revealed.”

Beyond these four, 2016 also turns out to be a good year for women. Comic-Con points out that “49 women have received a record 61 nominations (compared to 44 last year) and are represented in 27 of the 30 categories.” The judging panel included librarian Jason M. Poole of Webster Public Library, Webster, NY.

The full list of nominees as well as rich commentary from Comic-Con is available online.

Robert Kirkman TV

Friday, April 1st, 2016

OutcastVol1_CoverNot only does Robert Kirkman rule the horror/thriller airwaves with his hit AMC series The Wallking Dead, he is about to get more screen exposure as Outcast premieres on Cinemax in a 10 episode run starting June 3.

Based on the comic Kirkman writes and Paul Azaceta illustrates, the supernatural horror tale stars Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl) and Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) as two characters caught in a web of demonic possession.

According to ScreenCrush, before the show even airs it has been renewed for a second season in 2017.

ScreenRant reports that Krikman began working on the TV adaptation before the first print issue of Outcast was published and plans for the series to be an epic horror tale full of scares.

Two collected editions are currently in print with a third to follow on June 15.

Below is the latest trailer for the show, released yesterday:

Outcast news arrives just in time to tease the season end of The Walking Dead on April 3, which AMC is pushing hard with the reveal of Negan, a character Den of Geek calls “a force of nature, unflinching in his cruelty, and the most formidable opponent Rick and his group have ever faced.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that the final episode is very rough and made star “Andrew Lincoln was so distraught, it was the only time he’s ever shown up late for work. Lauren Cohan says she didn’t even want to go to work. Josh McDermitt threw his script across the room [and] Norman Reedus … couldn’t speak after [watching] it.”

Season 7 of The Walking Dead will air sometime this October, as announced back in 2015 by a very confident AMC.

Black Panther Redux

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

serveimageThe first black superhero in mainstream American comics, the Black Panther, appeared in 1966 in an issue of Marvel comics Fantastic Four. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Jump ahead decades and he is about to debut again, in a story written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the best-selling author of the National Book Award winner Between the World and Me.

STL001673The first issue of the comic, with art by Brian Stelfreeze, will appear on April 6th. It is the first of eleven that will be releases in paperback complications, beginning with #1-4, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Hachette/Marvel; Sept. 27, 2016; ISBN: 9781302900533; $16.99).

Coates writes about creating a new vision for Black Panther, writing comics, and the role of comics in his life for the newest issue of The Atlantic, where he is a national correspondent, explaining why he found the opportunity irresistible,

“Some of the best days of my life were spent poring over the back issues of The Uncanny X-Men and The Amazing Spider-Man. As a child of the crack-riddled West Baltimore of the 1980s, I found the tales of comic books to be an escape, another reality where, very often, the weak and mocked could transform their fallibility into fantastic power.”

The story is getting coverage elsewhere as well, with a piece on the NYT‘s Web site today, an illustrated story on the pop culture site The Mary Sue earlier the month, and a Speakeasy interview in the WSJ with the Editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.

All this comes as the Black Panther set to make his big-screen debut on May 5th in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. As we reported earlier, Chadwick Boseman will play the superhero monarch. The most recent movie trailer, below:

For background on the character, SuperHeroHype provides an illustrated look.

Neil Gaiman on FRESH AIR

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

9781401248963_423a7Interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, Neil Gaiman talked about his latest book, The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition, (DC Comics/Vertigo) which has held the #1 spot on the NYT Hardcover Graphic Books since it’s release 4 weeks ago. It collects a 6-part prequel to his Sandman stories.

In the introduction to the interview, Terry Gross says that Norman Mailer called the series “a comic strip for intellectuals.”

There have been several efforts to turn the books into a movie or TV series. Currently a film version is in the works and may begin shooting next year (Fox’s upcoming series Lucifer is based on one of the Sandman characters, featured in a spin-off written by Mike Carey).

In the interview, Gaiman declares that comics are no longer a “gender-determined medium, which always seemed completely barking mad to me.”

COATES and The BLACK PANTHER

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Screen-Shot-2015-09-23-at-10.55.10-AMNational Book Award Winner, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s next project is to create a Black Panther comic for Marvel. Set to be published next spring, Coates gives a sneak peek at the work in progress in The Atlantic and promises more updates to come.

Black Panther, the first black superhero, was introduced in 1966. He will also be seen in two upcoming movies, as a character in Captain America: Civil War to be released May 6, 2016 (the trailer for it, released this week, broke viewing records) and as the lead in a film scheduled for 2018, He is played in both by Chadwick Boseman.

Admitting that this kind of writing is much different than his usual form, Coates explains why he accepted this challenge, “I took it on for the same reason I take on new stories—to grow intellectually and artistically. In this case it’s another genre—fictional, serial story-telling—one a good distance away from journalism, memoir, and essays.”

Comics Super Hero, The NextGen

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Saga_Vol5-1_362_557_s_c1The Last Man VaughnOne of the leading creators of massively popular and critically praised comics deeply appreciates librarians.

In a feature posted this week in The Daily Beast, writer Emil Lendof introduces Brian K. Vaughan to readers as:

“the golden boy of modern comic book writing… He has the reputation and awards (10 Eisner wins and 10 Eisner nominations) to hold the title, and he’s been compared to comics titans like Frank Miller and Alan Moore. From blockbuster hits like Y: The Last Man, the space opera Saga, and TV writing/producing credits on some of the best seasons of Lost and Under the Dome, Vaughan has become one of the preeminent comics authors.”

The pair sat down for an interview that ranged from Vaughan’s appreciation for the artists he works with to the ways he works out his fears and anxieties in comic form. He also discussed the frequent calls for banning his series Saga and in the process gives a shout-out to librarians:

“The main reason why it hasn’t been banned is because of librarians, who are at the forefront of anti-censorship. They’ve been so great about saying, “It’s fine if you don’t want your children to read Saga, but this is not how libraries work.” It’s frustrating that some people challenge it, but I am so grateful for librarians that let people check out whatever materials they want.”

Librarians who do not yet know his name are likely to be hearing much more about him. The Hollywood Reporter has news that Vaughan’s comic Y: The Last Man, which he created with artist Pia Guerra, has just been bought by FX with plans to make it into a live action series. Nina Jacobson (Hunger Games) and Brad Simpson (World War Z) will produce and Vaughan will co-write. An air date has yet to be set as the project is still in its very early days.

Zombies: Choose Your
Favorite Flavor

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

walking-dead-graphic  walking-dead

In what’s become a rite of October, The Walking Dead return in several flavors next week.

If you prefer your zombies televised, AMC’s version appears in its sixth season next week.

Fans of the print comic, which manges to be even more violent than the TV series, will have been following the monthly installments. Those willing to wait for the compendiums can enjoy The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 3 (Image Comics) arriving next week.

Also coming is the next in the novel series, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Invasion by Jay Bonansinga  (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne; and in yet another version, Macmillan is also releasing it in audio), which uses characters from both the TV series and the comics.

Each are different, but tying them all together is the Dead‘s originator, Robert Kirkman, who is involved with all three properties.

Below is the latest trailer for AMC’s version:

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Comic Book Author

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.55.10 AMNational Book Award nominee Ta-Nehisi Coates is a comic book superfan, particularly of the Marvel Comics universe.

According to The New York Times, it has been a childhood dream of Coates to write comics and he gets his chance with Black Panther, the first black superhero, introduced in 1966. T’Challa, Black Panther’s real name, was born in Wakanda, a fictional African country. According to the Marvel site, his superhuman powers were enhanced by a heart-shaped herb. Coates’s version is expected next spring.

As Entertainment Weekly reports, diversity is a focus of Marvel and the new Black Panther series “will launch as part of the All-New All-Different Marvel initiative, which promises to bring changes and shake-ups with numerous new titles, including an Sam Wilson as Captain America, Kamala Khan as an Avenger, and the recently announced Asian-American Hulk by Greg Pak and Frank Cho.”

Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel, told the NYT that Black Panther “has the baddest costume in comics and is a dude who is smarter and better than everyone.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.57.10 AMNot only is the comic being written by a National Book Award nominee, but it may be the first comic inspired by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, a history of the black political struggle in the U.S., A Nation Under Our Feet by Steven Hahn (Belknap Press).

“It’s going to be a story that repositions the Black Panther in the minds of readers,” Mr. Alonso told the NYT, “It really moves him forward.”

Black Panther will also be seen in two upcoming movies, as a character in Captain America: Civil War to be released in 2016 and as the lead in a film scheduled for 2018.