Archive for the ‘Graphic Books’ Category

BLACK PANTHER Takes Another Star Turn

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

5792a1f455b04Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay are collaborating on a Black Panther spin-off, Black Panther: World of Wakanda, reports The New York Times. The poet Yona Harvey is also writing scripts.

It is the first time Gay will work on a comic, as it was the first time for Coates when he wrote the Black Panther re-launch earlier this year. As we have noted, that comic was a top seller and made King T’Challa of Wakanda a major player in the Marvel universe.

Now Coates is pushing to expand that world, recruiting both Gay and Harvey, says the NYT, because “he thought it was important to have female voices help breathe life into these characters.”

Describing her story in an interview posted on the Marvel site, Gay said: “my book is going to be pretty intimate. There’s going to be all kinds of action, but I’m also really excited to show Ayo and Aneka’s relationship, build on that love story, and also introduce some other members of the Dora Milaje … I love being able to focus on women who are fierce enough to fight but still tender enough to love.” (Ed. note. the Dora Milaje is the security force protecting the Black Panther).

“It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way,” she told the NYT, continuing “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that.” In the same Marvel interview Coates says, “Wakanda is a deep, rich world. And I think Roxane is the perfect person to begin the literary excavations.”

As for Harvey, Coates told the NYT, “I have found that poetry is so correlated with writing comic books … That’s just so little space, and you have to speak with so much power. I thought she’d be a natural.” Her first story will be a “10-page second story … about Zenzi, a female revolutionary who incited a riot in the first issue of the Black Panther series.”

The Verge reports that “Coates recruited Gay and Harvey personally, and emphasized the importance of having diversity both on the page and on the payroll at Marvel.”

The start of the spin-off series is expected this November.

The “Oscars of Comics” Go To …

Monday, July 25th, 2016

The 28th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Oscars of the format, were announced on Friday during Comic-Con.

9781906838980_6b68c  9781603094009_40654  9780062278234_536a7

What is essentially the best book of the year award went to Ruins by Peter Kuper (Abrams/SelfMadeHero, Oct. 2015) for “Best Graphic Album—New. “The publisher describes it as exploring “the shadows and light of Mexico through its past and present as encountered by an array of characters. The real and surreal intermingle to paint an unforgettable portrait of life south of the Rio Grande.”

March: Book Two, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Diamond/Top Shelf, Jan. 2015) won “Best Reality-Based Work.” Book Three in the series is schedule for release on Aug 2. PW reports that a delighted Lewis “bounded from his seat and ran to the stage at the announcement.”

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HC/Harper Teen, May 2015) won the Eisner for “Best Graphic Novel Reprint.” Librarians will recall it was a National Book Award finalist for Young Peoples Literature last year.

Image Comics swept the series stakes, winning all three categories:

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Paper Girls: Volume 1, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chian (Diamond/Image Comics, Apr. 2016) won “Best New Series.” Paper Girls: Volume 2 is forthcoming in December.

“Best Continuing Series” went to Southern Bastards, Jason Aaron and Jason LaTour. Southern Bastards Volume 3: Homecoming is the most recent (Diamond/Image Comics, July 2016).

The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Diamond/Image Comics; OverDrive Sample) won for “Best Limited Series.” It was issued in three volumes starting in 2015 (vol 1, 2, 3) and will be released in a complete deluxe edition with added material this fall.

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“Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)” went to Little Robot, Ben Hatke (Macmillan/First Second, Sept. 2015; OverDrive Sample).

“Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)” was snagged by Over the Garden Wall, Pat McHale, Amalia Levari, and Jim Campbell (S&S/Boom! Studios, Sept. 2016; OverDrive Sample). Volume 2 is forthcoming in Feb. 2017.

SuperMutant Magic Academy, Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly, Apr. 2015) won “Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17).”

9781770462083_6c2d3In a year that was particularly notable for the number of women nominees, Kate Beaton’s Step Aside Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly, Sept. 2015) won best humor publication, which The Hollywood Reporter points out, is “the first time in the Eisners’ long history that a woman has ever won that category solo.”

In addition, Lynda Barry and Matt Groening were voted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. The full list of winners is available online.

HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS,
Book Trailer

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

A trailer for the comic book based on Neil Gaiman’s short story, “How to talk to Girls at Parties,” (available online in both text and audio) was just released and is getting picked up by many entertainment news sites.

The graphic novel, released on Tuesday, is also set to be adapted as a movie, starring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Alex Sharp. Gaiman is the executive producer for the project, set to begin filming in November.

9781616559557_1d4fbNeil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Neil Gaiman, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon
Dark Horse Books,:July 5, 2016
9781616559557, 1616559551
Hardcover
$17.99 USD, $23.99 CAD

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

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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.”