Leave Your Spandex @t the Door 26.07.06: Indy News & Views

Welcome to the 78th installment of the new Leave Your Spandex @t the Door!

Last week’s Indy News were of course dominated with panel reports, announcements and interviews coming from San Diego! This week’s column is a roundup of the major Indy and Mature Readers’ comics announcements from the con, along with some press releases. Dark horse’s press releases this week will be released as a separate column you can look up in our news index!


AiT/Planetlar: Rock Bottom Interview with Charlie Adlard

Charlie Adlard has provided THE PULSE with a preview of Rock Bottom, his first “originated” creator owned project for AiT/Planet Lar. A promo for the book, penned by Joe Casey, will be at San Diego Comic-Con in the AiT/Planet Lar booth.

Adlard told THE PULSE, “Rock Bottom is my first originated creator-owned project for AiT/Planet Lar. I’m very excited about it – it feels lime my most ambitious project since White Death, which I’ve always said was the work I was most proud of. Rock Bottom might take over from that.”

The story features a man who is turning to stone, but not in the way some comic fans might think. “Thomas Dare is literally turning to stone,” Adlard said. “But not in a superhero way or, even, in a Concrete way. He has this unique disease which is slowly killing him. The story deals with the way he copes with that and the media reaction to him. He has to learn to come to terms with his own morality.”

Read the rest of this article at the Pulse

AK Comics USA

AK Comics, based in Egypt, has taken as its mission statement the creation of global comics featuring the Arabic culture. In much the same way that manga is a diplomat on behalf of Japanese culture, so AK Comics wants to see their characters and stories do the same for the Middle East. On Thursday, Marwan El Nashar (managing director), Daerick Gross (editor-in-chief), Tony Matta (creative director), and Roy Schwartz met with press and fans to discuss the purpose and future direction of this international publisher.

Four titles are currently available through AK Comics, and they cover four different superheroes, two male and two female. ZEIN is about Zein-Ra, a Living Pharoah born 16,000 years in the past. AYA follows the exploits of Rania Mokhtar, a law student who fights crime with the help of underground organization “The Umbrella.” JALIA is the story of the Protector of the City of All Faights, Dr. Ansam F. Dajani, a nuclear scientist whose powers are the result of being caught in a terrorist attack at a research facility when she was a young girl. RAKAN takes place in the 2nd century and follows the exploits of nomadic warrior Rakan. Female superheroines Aya and Jalia are doing much better than was expected, and it’s interesting to note that Jalia is actually more powerful than the male superheroes. While it’s hard to please everyone in the mainstream, overall, Gross believes that they’re making good headway.

Read the rest of this article at the Pulse

Art of the Cover panel

There were two rooms filled to capacity for the Mark Evanier hosted panel, The Art of Cover. Basil Gogos, George Perez, Neal Adams, Adam Hughes, Brian Boland, Joe Jusko, and DC editor Mark Chiarello were on the panel to chat comics and covers. Also confirmed in this panel was that Adam Hughes was working on the All Star Wonder Woman series.

The panel started a little late because a very beautiful female fan wowed the audience when she appeared in a full Wonder Woman costume and took pictures with George Perez.

Mark Evanier than introduced the panelists to loud applause for each of them. The panelists were artists Basil Gogos, George Perez, Neal Adams, Adam Hughes, Brian Boland, Joe Jusko, and editor Mark Chiarello.

QUESTION: Evanier: What makes a great cover and which artist inspired them you get into the artistic business?

JOE JUSKO: He stated that he tries to stay with the script and show a scene from the story on the cover. He also stated that he was inspired by John Buscema.

Mark then asked Joe and the other panelists which was easier — drawing a cover based on the script or making up a cover that exemplified the character even when the cover scene had nothing to do with the story?

JOE JUSKO: He said he prefers to draw a cover from the script.

BRIAN BOLAND: He said that he loved Carmine Infantino and Curt Swan; and, learned a lot from them. He also stated that the type of cover he drew varied — sometimes it was based on the script and sometimes not. It just depended on his mood and tastes at the time.

Mark then related a story where his friend and artist Sergio Aragones was asked what made a good cover. Sergio stated that if the cover needed word balloons, then it was a bad cover. The visual elements should be
the only parts on the cover.

Read the rest of this article at the Pulse

Dark Horse panel

Dark Horse Comics celebrated their twentieth anniversary and their twentieth appearance at Comic-Con International in San Diego this past weekend with a panel discussion featuring President Michael Richardson, Editor Randy Stradley, creators Eric Powell (the Goon), Chris Warner (Black Cross, Barb Wire), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), with Dark Horse publicist Jeremy Atkins moderating.
As a large screen showed clips from Dark Horse projects such as “Hellboy Animated,” the “Conan” online game, vinyl figures of Nancy and Sluggo, shot glasses, books, graphic novels, and the “Pathfinder” feature film, the panelists reflected on their experiences with Dark Horse.
Twenty years ago, Michael Richardson and Randy Stradley had what they thought was a pretty good idea: they would publish a comic book of their own work, and if it did okay, they might do more. They hoped to sell at least 10,000 copies of “Dark Horse Presents” #1 which would mean they at least broke even. When they saw that they had sold over 50,000 copies, they realized they were onto something.

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Dark Horse: Empowered Interview with Adam Warren

Ready for a “sexy superhero comedy”?
Adam Warren-style?
Announced at this week’s Comic-Con International: San Diego, Adam Warren returns to Dark Horse with an all-new original graphic novel, Empowered, or EMP.
Warren is no stranger to Dark Horse, having produced several Dirty Pair limited series and trade paperbacks as well as Bubblegum Crisis and covers for the Star Wars manga adaptations.
For anyone who’s read his latest Marvel project, Livewires or the Gen13 issues that he did for WildStorm a while back, you know you’re in for something totally different with EMP.
“Who says superheroes need self-esteem? Not only is costumed crime fighter Empowered saddled with a less-than-ideal superhero name, but she’s forced to wear a skintight and cruelly revealing “supersuit” that wreaks havoc on her body-image insecurities,” Warren explained to Newsarama. “Worse yet, the suit’s unreliable powers are prone to failure, repeatedly leaving her in appallingly distressing situations… and giving her a shameful reputation as the lamest “cape” in the masks-and-tights game. Nonetheless, she pluckily braves the ordeals of her bottom-rung superheroic life with the help of her “thugalicious” Bad Boy of a lover and her hard-drinking, female-ninja best friend, not to mention the supervillainous advice from the imprisoned alien demonlord watching DVDs from atop her coffee table. . .

Read the rest of this article at Newsarama

Disney Comic Publishing celebrate 75 years

Steve Behling headed up a panel on the future of Disney’s comic publishing arm Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego. In attendance were many of Disney’s creators. He spoke about how “Disney Adventures,” a monthly magazine for kids, has “20 pages of comics,” and spotlighted their monthly comic magazine “Comic Zone,” from which four of the strip have been released as graphic novels: “Gorilla Gorilla,” “Kid Gravity,” “Tall Tales,” and “Lilo & Stitch.” He stressed that while they do comics based on Disney movie, they also do “home grown” comics like those seen in “Disney Adventures.”
He then introduced the panel, and asked them to introduce the titles they’re working on.
First up was Garry Black, who writes “Jetpack Pets.” They’re the “heroes of Sky City, the house pets of the people in office,” he said. They fight “animal villains, just crazy villains. They try to resolve the mess that came to Sky City that the people in office can’t manage all the time.” Supporting characters include Professor Backfire, who is a scientist that provides them with gadgets, and the Jetpack Pals, the children fans of the Jetpack Pets. What’s important to Black is to “try to have them save the day without violence.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Eisner Awards 2006 winners

The 2006 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were presented at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Friday evening. Bongo Comics Creative Director Bill Morrison served as Master of Ceremonies, wearing an electric blue jacket and shirt with a red vintage hand-painted tie. “It’s a hooker; I’m wearing a hooker on my tie,” Morrison explained following the awards.
The Bill Finger Excellence in Comics Writing Award was presented by Jerry Robinson and Mark Evanier, with the awards going to Harvey Kurtzman and Alvin Schwartz. Kurtzman’s award was accepted by his daughter, Nellie, who remarked, “My father was given the finger by the industry many times, but this is the first time I’ve been pleased about it.” Alvin Schwartz, the creator of Superman’s Bizarro characters, was the second recipient of the Finger Award.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti presented the awards for Best Digital Comic, which went to Scott Kurtz for “PVP”; Best Publication for a Younger Audience, presented to Andy Runton’s “Owly”; and Best Anthology, which went to DC Comics for “Solo.”
The Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, presented by Barry Short and Dody Manning, was presented to “Night Fisher” creator R. Kikuo Johnson.
Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett presented the Eisner for Best Coloring to Chris Ware, “Acme Novelty Library” #16. The Best Lettering Award was awarded to Todd Klein for “Wonder Woman,” “Justice,” “Seven Soldiers” #0, “Desolation Jones,” “Promethea,” “Top Ten: The Forty-Niners,” “Tomorrow Stories Special,” “Fables” and “1602: New World.” Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition was given to Aaron Renier for “Spiral-Bound.”
Read the rest of this article at CBR

IDW panel

IDW made its name publishing horror and movie license comics. From the upcoming comics they showed at their panel on Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, they aren’t deviating much from those genres, with a few key exceptions.

The biggest exception probably being “The Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy.”
“Much like what Fantagraphics did with Charles Shulz’s ‘The Peanuts,’ we’re taking every strip Chester Gould did, remastering them, and putting them in fancy hardcover editions,” said IDW’s Chris Ryall. In addition, novelist and comic book writer Max Allan Collins, who took over the writing chores on “Dick Tracy” for Gould in the 1970s, will be supplying material about Gould and Tracy.
IDW will also be publishing Eric Shanower’s “Adventures in Oz” in a collected trade paperback. The stories, most of which were published in the 1980s, have been remastered and recolored and includes sketches and bonus material from Shanower.
Read the rest of this article at CBR

IDW: Scarface interview with Layman

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that Al Pacino’s 1983 film “Scarface” has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Rappers look up to the Tony Montana character. The Hot Topic chain of stores stocks loads of “Scarface” merchandise. “Scarface” action figures disappear off shelves as quickly as they arrive. Sure, the film has always had its fans, but with this kind of mainstream resurgence, and a video game on the way, it was only a matter of time before comic books were the next arena for Tony Montana. This December, IDW Publishing launches five-issue, full color “Scarface” series from writer John Layman and artist Dave Crosland. With the project officially announced at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, CBR News caught up with Layman for a few words about the book.
“It was something that I was interested in as soon as I got wind IDW was doing it,” said the former DC editor. “Shortly after that, I found out Dave Crosland was on board, so I diligently pursued IDW, with repeated harassing emails and phone calls. I turned in a pretty elaborate pitch, and didn’t waste a lot of time getting it to them, and I think maybe my passion for the project and the subject matter was pretty evident in the pitch.”
As fans of the film know, Tony goes out in a blaze of glory when confronted by his enemies, but in the comic book, as well as the upcoming video game, Tony lives and the mini-series chronicles what happens next.
“It’s a straight-out sequel, and, like most sequels, shares a lot of the same themes and story dynamics,” explained Layman. “‘Scarface’ was about an ambitious thug who wanted the good life, and muscled and killed his way to the top, before meeting a brutal comeuppance. In the comic, we pick up the pieces of what happened, with Tony surviving, but losing everything. But he’s used to the good life, and wants to get back to it — by any means necessary. Of course, there are going to be a few more complications this time, with more deadly gangsters taking Tony’s spot on the Miami drug scene, not to mention some Federal DEA agents of dubious morality breathing down Tony’s neck and doing their best to keep him miserable.”
Read the rest of this article at CBR

Image Comics Panel

It was Image’s moment in the sun as they hosted their own panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Moderated by Jim Demonakos, Image’s PR & Marketing Co-Coordinator (“This will be the best panel you ever attend,” he said), in attendance were Erik Larsen, C.B Cebulski, Robert Kirkman, Joe Casey, Rick Remender & Steve Niles.
The slideshow began with “The Wizard of Oz,” a fully painted 96 page graphic novel, by Enrique Fernandez and David Chaurel shipping in December and originally published in France
Next was Rick Remender’s “Fear Agent,” which he joked would include a “breakdancing robot.” You’ll also seem some real special artists contribute variant covers in the future.
While talking about “The Walking Dead,” Kirkm and Casey joked with each other, Kirkman saying, “I don’t like Joe Casey without the sunglasses. Put them back on,”
Kirkam also expressed a desire to keep “Walking Dead” going till issue #500 and called it, “the zombie book that never ends.” He promised that the series would be back on track.
Next was “Godland,” which returns in October. ” We’ve been taking handfuls of drugs and we’re ready to rock again,” he explained. Issue #13 will have two covers, one by Tom Scioli and another by the team of Keith Giffen & Eric Larsen.

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Image: Nixon’s Pals interview with Joe Casey @ CBR

“Nixon Cooper might be the only sane man in an insane world,” says Casey, of the title character in his new, darkly funny Image Comics graphic novel, “Nixon’s Pals.”
“And when that insanity creeps into his home — that is, when he finds a crook mounting his wife in his own bedroom — he ends up questioning what is ‘sane’ and what is ‘insane.'”
Readers should keep in mind that Nixon is said crook’s parole officer. Adding further insult to injury, that crook is a supervillain. It is the discovery of his wife’s super-cheating that propels Casey’s new hero on what the writer describes as a twisted journey of self-examination, careening through a world of characters with names like Dr. Hugo Blivion, Dynomoxie, and Maxfield Reactor.
“It’s the Everyman vs. the Overmen,” said Casey.
Joining Casey on Mr. Cooper’s Wild Ride is newcomer Chris Burnham.
“[Chris’] style hit me really hard and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with him. Aside from being one of those artists that make you wonder why he’s not already working full-time in this industry, he’s got an enthusiasm to work that I really admire. He doesn’t just *talk* about being a comic book artist … he sits his ass down and cranks out pages.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Image: Charlatan’s Ball interview with Joe Casey @ CBR

Saturday at Comic-Con International, Image Comics announced the release of a new ongoing title by unrepentant genre-groper Joe Casey, hitting shelves in October, the same month as his new Image graphic novel, “Nixon’s Pals.”
Chuck Amok (named, presumably, after the famous autobiography by animation legend Chuck Jones) is a failed stage magician who finds himself snatched out of his reality to represent humanity in a contest that could be called Magic Kombat. Joining Chuck is his pet rabbit Caesar, who is equally unsuited to do cross-dimensional battle for life-or-death stakes.
“Throw in mind-blowing concepts like the mystery of Elementality, the Gang of Four Gods, and the secret art of Calculingus, and you’ll find there’s a lot to absorb,” Casey said. Chuck will serve as readers’ usher, unwittingly guiding them through worlds they’ve never seen before, and realities that Joe Casey hasn’t even imagined yet. But he tells us he will. “Some of these characters are absolutely indescribable. If readers think ‘GØDLAND’ can get a little wacky at times, they ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Image: ‘Drain’ and ‘Wonderlost’ C.B. Cebulski interview @ CBR

.B. Cebulski left Marvel Comics earlier this year, citing exhaustion. Now, tanned and rested, he’s back, and spoke to CBR News about his two very different new projects, “Drain” and “Wonderlost,” both hitting stores in November with a little help from Image Comics.
“There have been all kinds of takes on vampires and different interpretations of vampirism in every genre of entertainment I can think of,” Cebulski told CBR News. “Some of the most interesting parts of these vampire stories for me was following them as they live their immortal lives. But even so, given the limitations of running times and page counts, we are never really able to get but a quick glimpse of a vampire’s life as he or she moves through time, or more importantly, around the planet. Hell, if I was immortal and had no where to be, I’d go out and see the world. Even in Anne Rice’s books, Lestat and co. never got around much. With ‘Drain,’ what I wanted to do was follow Chinatsu as times passes around her and the world changes before her eyes. We will see some of the key events in human history play out through the eyes of a vampire… and examine her role, good or bad, in them.
“Chinastu will be the first main character we encounter. She’s a female ninja () whose family and clan was slaughtered in a vampire attack. Rather than take her life, she was turned and left as a witness to the fate of her clan in order to spread the legend of the vampires in Japan. But never one to sit idly by and be a victim, Chinatsu decides to get proactive and hunt the vampire that did this to her.”
Unlike many other stories, there’s no metaphorical aspect to vampirism in “Drain.”
“I’m just looking to tell a straight-up, action-packed, bloody vampire tale.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Image: Gear interview with TenNapel

A hazard all too familiar to comics fans is the dreaded O.O.P. — OUT OF PRINT.
Many readers hear for years echoing praise for books like “Flex Mentallo,” “Miracleman,” and “Zenith,” only to discover these comics have long since passed into history. Thankfully, the 21st century brought with it a flotilla of indie publishers and majors willing to dive into a sea of market uncertainty and brave nearly unnavigable legal rights and bring back long-forgotten gems of the deep.
While not in the same legendary league as “Miracleman,” one such sunken treasure is “GEAR,” a long O.O.P. graphic novel originally published by Fireman Press in the 1990s, and returning early next year in a newly colored edition from Image Comics. Created by Doug TenNapel (best known as the creator of Earthworm Jim), “GEAR” is a funny, surreal tale of TenNapel’s own cats locked in a violent and terrible war with some dogs. Also, there are giant robots, and this was before giant robots were everywhere.
“I love cats. I love giant robots,” TenNapel told CBR News. “I love insects. So I wanted to make my first big comic series fun. Every panel is done with love and passion … and little else.”
Read the rest of this article at CBR

Image: OCT with Rosario Dawson
It’s ‘CSI’ meets ‘Harry Potter,'” joked David Atchison, co-creator of “Occult Crimes Taskforce,” the new Image/12-Gauge Comics series starring Rosario Dawson. But take note, “OCT” is not one of those fly-by-night comics using the expensively licensed likeness of a popular actor. Co-plotting the series is Dawson herself, a confessed comics fan who discussed at some length her history with the medium and her eagerness to become involved with the creative process.
“I saw [the five-page ‘Occult Crimes Taskforce’ pitch] and I read it and thought it was really amazing, but I wanted to be creatively part of it, not just the face of it,” the actress-writer said.
The story follows Sylvia Ortiz, a member of the Occult Task Force, a special group within the New York City Police Department whose job it is to ensure that those who use or control magic don’t infringe on the rights of non-magical residents. The comic also seeks to create clever explanations for some of America’s more unusual historical anecdotes and incorporate them into the series’ back-story. Co-writer David Atchison described, for example, the story of European businessman Peter Minuit purchasing Manhattan from its native peoples for what may have been as little as $24 (the accuracy of this story was disputed by some in the audience, but that’s another article).
“The premise of the book,” Atchison said, “Is that the Indians knew Manhattan was a vortex of evil so they sold it cheap.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Oni Press Panel

Indie heroes Oni Press announced on Saturday a slew of new projects from many of their fan-favorite creators as well as a few new surprises.
Unveiled to applause, “My Name Is Earl: The Comic Book” was the first item on the block. Editor James Lucas Jones explained that some might think a book of this sort might be a change in direction and focus for Oni, “but it’s really not. From the very beginning we weren’t adverse to doing licensed books. It just had to be something we liked; a property we’d read. [‘My Name Is Earl’] fits in with the Oni brand.”
Joining the Oni team to assist with the writing of “Earl” is Hunter Covington, the script coordinator on the NBC television show.
“Hopefully we will be able to do some things in the comic that you can’t do on TV,” Covington said. “Such as Earl flying a plane. That would be something.” Covington explained that telling the stories of Earl in comic form made a lot of sense from a writing standpoint, as creativity is often severely limited by the television budget. He remarked, “In comics, you don’t have to buy a special pencil to see something exploding.”
The creative teams for the “Earl” comic have not yet been sorted out, although Oni artists Steve Rolston and Dean Trippe have created many designs to assist in translating the world of Earl’s Camden into comic book form.

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Oni Press: Jim Massey’s MAINTENANCE

Upgrade Your Life With Some Of Jim Massey’s “Maintenance” Fixing things is all the rage these days. There’s ABC’s television juggernaut, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and the plethora of cable makeover shows to keep any improvement enthusiast content. But what if the work you were doing benefited the forces of evil? Well, it’s time for Ty Pennington and company to move over and make room for Oni Press’ “Maintenance,” written by Jim Massey and with art by Robbi Rodriguez. Massey told CBR News “Maintenance” is an honest-to-God comedy.
“Big laughs, honest,” said Massey. “TerroMax is the world’s leading evil science corporation. Their scientists churn out the most diabolical creatures, machines and technology available. They’re true market leaders. But evil, you know, tends to make a mess. ‘Maintenance’ is the story of the guys who have to clean up that mess. They’re not out to fight crime, or defeat evil. Hey, they work for evil. But they are a couple of decent fellas, just trying to do their job.”
Those decent fellas, Doug and Manny, aren’t “chosen ones” or “reluctant heroes,” they’re just regular guys who happen to work in the TerroMax Maintenance Department.
“Cleaning spills, plugging leaks, general fix-it. Typical maintenance work,” explains the scribe. “Except the spill they’re wiping up might be a sentient, man-eating marmalade. That kind of thing. And they’re surrounded by a cast of supporting characters who also live and work at TerroMax, like the good-natured and lethal Manshark, the opportunistic alien K’Arl, and all the TerroMax scientists busy crafting mayhem.

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Oni Press: Blood Red interview with Ande Parks

If “Union Station” and “Capote In Kansas” were films, and not graphic novels, it’s hard to believe that Ande Parks wouldn’t be “multiple Oscar winner Ande Parks.” While best-known as an inker, he’s been flexing his other creative muscles in recent years, showing that he can write just as well as he can ink. He’s seen near-universal acclaim for his work and with the announcement of a new black & white OGN, “Blood Red,” coming from Oni Press in 2007, fans are excited, even without knowing any details. CBR News caught up with Parks to find out more.
“Blood Red’ is a revenge tale, set on Mars about 80 years in the future,” he explained.
“It’s the story of a man who feels he has nothing left to live for, and dedicates himself to vengeance. It’s gonna be dark and violent. We’re going to look at what hate does to the human spirit “¦ what impact a life of violence has on a person who was once an average man. I want the reader to be thinking, ‘You know “¦ in just the right set of circumstances, I might find these dark things inside myself, too.’
“It’s really one man’s story. We’ll meet other characters, of course, but we’re going to be documenting the whole thing through this man’s eyes. I’m actually writing it with a first person narration, which is new for me. Anyway, our guy once had a relatively normal life. He had a successful career and a loving wife. When we meet him, that life is gone. We’ll follow him as he embarks on a new, dark chapter that will change his life enormously.”
Read the rest of this article at CBR

Tokyopop Panel

n a room filled with die-hard manga fans and the occasional cosplayers (one with a giant hand-man gun prop over 6 feet long), one had to wonder if the enthusiasm of the panelists could live up to that of the audience. But as the Friday TOKYOPOP “Manga Industry” panel began, those doubts were quelled.

Led by TOKYOPOP editor Lillian-Diaz Przybyl and noted cartoonists Kim Jae-Hwan (King of Hell, Warcraft), the one hour panel went at an almost frantic pace. Lillian-Diaz Przybyl spoke on behalf of TOKYOPOP but showed the enthusiasm that can only be found in a true fan of her work. Beside her was assistant editors Kathy Shilling and Rob Tokar (manning the PowerPoint presentation) and an unnamed translator for the Korean born Kim Jae-Hwan.

Efforts to transcribe the complete contents of this panel would be impossible as many things were discussed, but the fans in the audience reacted to certain pieces more noticeably than others.

Early on in the convention, discussion was raised about the hereto un-translated Japanese manga Welcome to the NHK. Described as “an adult version of Genshiken” by Przybyl, TOKYOPOP has licensed the book and it will appear in late 2006 / early 2007 with an M rating.

On the question of if TOKYOPOP would expedite the release schedule from the standard several month gap to appease fans of the book, TOKYOPOP said no. She explained that discussions with retailers led them to give each volume of release some time to settle in the marketplace before subsequent volumes captured the attention of the public.

Read the rest of this article at Newsarama

Vertigo Panel

DC Comics’s Vertigo panel was packed Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego. In attendance were Karen Berger, Shelly Bond, Jonathan Vankin, Simon Oliver. Dean Haskiel, Bill Willingham, Douglas Rushkoff, Becky Cloonan, Tony Moore, Matt Sturges, Cameron Stewart, Gilbert Hernandez, Brian K Vaughan, Steve Seagle,and Mark Buckingham. Berger began with introductions of all the creators and then went right into the slide show.
First was “Pride of Baghdad,” Vaughan’s new original graphic novel with artist Niko Henrichon.
“It’s the Iraq war from an animal’s point of view,” said the scribe of the graphic novel, based on the true story of lions who escaped a the zoo in Baghdad.
Issue #50 of Vaughan’s other series, “Y – The Last Man” will reveal who — or what — caused the plague. The series ends with issue #60.
“The ending will be very satisfying. All your questions will be answered,” he said.
Berger said that series like “Y” epitomize the strength of Vertigo: stories with definitive ends, in either graphic novels or ongoing series formats.
Tyrone will turn out to be Job — yes, that one — in “Testament.”
“There’s a whole bunch of stuff I wish I could explain right now,” said Rushkoff of his book. “Comics are not a jump off medium. They’re a medium in their own right.” He talked about looking into how panels can be utilized in comics and experimenting with the idea of time.
“Becky drew them kissing kissing and it’s hot,” said Seagle of “American Virgin” #7 and the next arc called “Going Down.” (No … get your mind out of the gutter.) “It’s a fun story with a fetish club,” he laughed. The story takes place in Australia.
Read the rest of this article at CBR

Vertigo: Fables Panel

Vertigo’s “Fables” panels have earned over the years a reputation for being a fans’ panel, full of genuine discussion and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as opposed to merely yet another forum for the publishers to try and sell you stuff. This year’s Vertigo Voices: The Fables Forum at Comic-Con International in San Diego was no different. Before the panel even began, creator Bill Willingham and his colleagues were signing hundreds of free copies of “Fables” #50 and passing them out to fans.
When the panel began, Willingham declared he would be taking over moderation duties from editor Shelly Bond. “Traditionally, Shelly’s been the one to moderate these panels and ask us the embarrassing questions. Then I realized at dinner last night that [by virtue of this] Shelly’s gotten out of a lot of embarrassing questions.”
Willingham then ordered Bond to begin the slide show.
“Me?” she exclaimed. “Bill, I thought you were running this panel.”
“I am.” he said. “I’m delegating.”
The slide show featured numerous images of upcoming “Fables”-related artwork, but the highlight was the cover to “1,000 Nights Of Snow,” the forthcoming graphic novel set in the days before the monthly series’ first issue. In the 1800s, Willingham explained, Snow White was dispatched as an envoy to the Arabian fables’ homeland to enlist their help in fighting the Adversary.
“One problem. Since they’re the Arabian Nights culture, and [Fabletown] sent a woman… that’s not done.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Vertigo: Crossing midnight Interview with Mike Carey

Mike Carey has been garnering his much deserved share of acclaim over the last few years. So it came as no surprise that he is one of the central attractions at the Vertigo Panel being held, 3:30 p.m., this Friday at the San Diego Comic-Con.
From the sounds of things, the Lucifer writer will be busier than ever, with three different titles coming over the next year. The first, Crossing Midnight, will team Carey up with interior artist Jim Fern and while J.H. Williams III will do covers. DC describes it as Asian horror meets legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki.
The other two are called God Save The Queen and Faker.
Faker finds Carey collaborating with the artist Jock. A six-part miniseries it revolves around four college students who decide to party like there’s no tomorrow. When they wake up the next day, they discover there’s suddenly five of them. It’s slated to start shipping this December.
As for GSTQ, Carey works with legendary painter and Gaiman short film subject John Bolton. A hardcover graphic novel, the story is set in Gaiman’s world of Faerie. It stars a bored, teenaged girl who has a falling out with her mother. She falls in with a group of slacker faeries in a tale about power, from the ancient struggle between Queens Titania and Mab to a young girl’s conflicted coming of age. It’s slated to publish next January.

Read the rest of this article at Newsarama

Vertigo: Army@Love interview with Rick Veitch

Sure, love and war don’t quite seem like they’d always fit together, but the more you think about it, the more you realize that they may not just be so far apart. Heck, they’re both the subjects of “Army@Love,” a new series from Vertigo, announced at the Comic-Con International in San Diego earlier today. The series launches in 2007, but with fans already talking about the book, CBR News decided to catch up with series writer & artist Veitch to learn more about the book he describes as “‘M*A*S*H’ meets ‘Six Feet Under’ five years in the future.”
“In 2010, a National Guard unit from Edgefield Township, New Jersey, is deployed indefinitely to a never-ending series of wars in the Middle East,” explained Veitch. “These are citizen soldiers; men and women, fathers and mothers, bankers and teachers, kids fresh out of high school and 50-year-old farts. Adapting to the pressure cooker of extended conflict, the military of 2010 has developed a code of conduct that encourages wild, hedonistic lifestyles for its front-line troops as a way to maximize performance. These men and women fight hard and party even harder. All is done under the watchful eyes of the army’s Motivation and Moral Office (‘MoMo’), whose job is to monitor every soldier for psychological problems and use any means necessary to get them straightened out and fit for combat. The unit’s home town, Edgefield Township, is experiencing upheaval as well. Extreme forms of behavior are the norm, with spouses engaging in affairs, kids living without guidance and once honest business people turning criminal to exploit the military situation for profit. Even more severe pathologies are mushrooming in the shadows. The soldiers take turns being furloughed home to Edgefield for a short R&R every six weeks, bouncing back and forth between combat and serious domestic problems. And Edgefield civilians can fly into the war zone bringing domestic problems to the front unexpectedly. With modern communications providing near instant access to all parts of the globe, this is a war in which families, lovers and business partners separated by vast physical distances struggle to keep up complicated relationships over cell phone and e-mail. ‘Army@Love’ is not a gung-ho war story with heroes and villains. It’s essentially about flawed human beings trying to cope with events on a battlefield that bleeds into civilian life like no war before it. It is built around a classic (but not corny) soap opera complexity and set against a satirical big picture of what wars might become in the near future.”
Read the rest of this article at CBR

Virgin Comics: Chopra and Morrison panel

Authors of metaphysical, conscious-shattering novels and comics Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison met for the first time on July 19, 2006, and shared the stage of the largest conference room at Comic-Con International in San Diego. While Morrison is well known to readers of CBR, Deepak Chopra is the author of 40 non-fiction and fiction books about spirituality, health, philosophy, mysticism, and spirituality, as well as co-founder of Virgin Comics. He was unfamiliar with the word of comics until his son, Gotham Chopra, introduced him to the medium and the works of Grant Morrison specifically. Chopra has remarked that, “everything I’ve been trying to say in my nonfiction work and in some of my work had been so aptly, so beautifully and so imaginatively expressed in the work of Grant Morrison.”
Titans in their fields, the pair spoke before a crowd equally divided between devotees and the merely curious with the fundamentals of modern philosophies concerning consciousness and causality, and, at least ostensibly, how they related to superheroes. The two spoke as if in casual conversation, and while their trains of thought diverted frequently from comics specifically, they managed to circle back to the advertised theme of the panel: the seven spiritual laws of superheroes.
Superheroes, in Chopra’s view, are not external beings.
“These are archetypal beings that stoke the fire of life and passion in our own souls. These are potentials that exist within us, and by creating these superheroes through our own collective imagination, we are in a way serving our deepest longings, our deepest aspirations, and our deepest desires to escape the world of the mundane and the ordinary and do things that are magical.”

Read the rest of this article at CBR

Wildstorm Panel
“Wildstorm” was an especially appropriate name for the DC Comics imprint today, as this year’s panel saw its highest attendance in recent memory at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The room was packed full of room and creators: In attendance were Scott Dunbier, Scott Peterson, Ben Abernathy, Grant Morrison, Gail Simone, Christos Gage, Talent Caldwell, Gene Ha, John rRdley, Darick Robertson, Whilce Portacio, Brian K Vaughan, Danny Bilson, Pail DeMeo & Adam Brody. Brody was mobbed by female fans when entering, many of whom who were adjusting their makeup and hair as he entered, and many more were eagerly trying to say “hi” to the young television star. Jim Lee appeared late with cookies for all.
“I’m one of the stars of ‘Snakes On A Plane,'” joked Morrison, cutting the ice at the beginning of the panel.
Morrison also opened up things by talking about “Wildcats,” saying, “We’re trying to reinvigorate everything by adding a dose of pop art and punk. I don’t want to tell you too much. It’s so cool.”
The series is set “the day after tomorrow” and will follow up on “Wildcats 3.0,” so the acclaimed series won’t be ignored.
Morrison wants to bring the energy of the early Image books, and to that end, all the Image founders will contribute covers: Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, Rob Liefeld, and Whilce Portacio. The McFarlane cover was shown to fans.
Lee’s art will have more primary colors and repeated images in “Wildcats,” so expect it to be quite a different look for him.
“LSD comics,” said Morrison.
Read the rest of this article at CBR

Wildstorm: Gen13 interview with Talent Caldwell

When the original Gen13 comic debuted, it played to the reading audience of the ’90s with stories about government conspiracies, overt sexuality and a character appropriately named, “Grunge.”
The comic had a loyal following immediately. Among the fans of the comic was a young artist named Talent Caldwell who loved anything and everything by the original series penciller, J. Scott Campbell.
Now Caldwell and series writer Gail Simone will see if the characters from Gen13 will stand the test of time as the title is relaunched in October by Wildstorm as the imprint launches several new titles as part of its “Worldstorm” event this fall.
The artist said that although the series will be relaunched with a new 32-page #1 issue and a revamped premise, the original line-up of characters on the team will stay basically the same as when they first appeared 13 years ago. The original Gen13 series followed the adventures of Caitlin Fairchild, Bobby “Burnout” Lane, Roxy “Freefall” Spauling, Sarah Rainmaker and Eddie “Grunge” Chang. In the comic, the five escaped with the help of an agent named John Lynch from the clutches of a government program that wanted to exploit their newly developed super powers.
Caldwell, who first caught the attention of mainstream comics readers with his art on the Superman: Godfall crossover in 2004, has been more recently seen on titles like X-Men: The New Age of Apocalypse and Wildcats: Nemesis. Newsarama caught up with the artist to talk about the new Gen13 series, how he thinks his style has evolved as he’s been working on the title, and why he thinks now is a good time for a new Gen13 comic.
Newsarama: So, were you a big Gen13 fan when the series was originally launched?
Talent Caldwell: I was an obsessive fan, more so of J. Scott Campbell than the book, so the characters do have a special place with me. I’m just attached to these guys, because like the X-Men, Gen13 was one of those books that I just really loved when I was younger.
Read the rest of this interview at Newsarama

Nocturnals interview with Dan Brereton:

It was recently announced that the last 12 years of Dan Brereton’s Nocturnals will be collected in three oversized hardcovers by Century Guild’s Olympian Publishing. The first hardcover is scheduled to be released in October and each volume features all-new stories and framing sequences.
In 2007, a brand new series, Nocturnals: The Sinister Path is set to debut.
We sat down with Brereton to talk about the evolution of Nocturnals and other projects.
Newsarama: So, this Halloween, Nocturnals will be back with three definitive oversized hardcovers from Symbolist art mavens Century Guild, under the imprint Olympian Publishing, followed by an all-new series in 2007. How did this happen? What events led you to bring back Nocturnals?
Dan Brereton: I’d always wanted to keep the Nocturnals as a going concern, but its not as easy to do when your forte is painted art, with the state of comics these days, painted art is seen as a kind of boutique book , a vanity thing that most smaller publishers cant afford. Even DC does fewer of them than in the days when I began working in comics with watercolor and brush (1989).
A publisher has to wait much longer for a return on their investment with a painted book, and they often don’t own a piece of the book (no publisher ever has with Nocturnals) so it’s not as attractive a proposition for publishers.

Read the rest of this interview at Newsarama

Toby Cypress interview

Toby Cypress is a rising young comic artist who has drawn the Predator and Batman. But his biggest challenge was drawing The Tourist – a crime story set in the real world and written by fan favorite Brian Wood. The Tourist is set in a remote coastal village on the North Sea, and begins when a man named Moss comes to town and passes himself off as an American backpacker. He gets involved with a single mother and her daughter and also gets work on an oil rig. But Moss is hiding a dark secret that involves a lot of dangerous men who come looking for him. Just prior to San Diego, we had a chance to talk with Cypress about working with Brian Wood and how it prepared him to do write and draw his own comics.

Newsarama: What are you working on today?

Toby Cypress: Right now I’m putting together a sketchbook for San Diego. It’s a sketchbook of drawings for my next project called Rodd Racer. It is an adventure story.

NRAMA: Did you write it?

TC: Yeah, it is my first self-written project.

NRAMA: Do you know who’s putting it out yet?

TC: Not yet, I’ve been talking with Image over the past year. They did The Tourist and they want to do some more of my stuff. It’s probably going to be through Image because I liked how we dealt with them and they’re real cool to work with.

NRAMA: How much more do you have to go before you finish Rodd Racer?

TC: It should be done in another month. I’d like to get it out this fall. I’m just trying to get the lettering done since I’m doing everything myself for the book. I like doing as much as I can with my work to keep too many hands out of the way. It has been a good experience so far.

Read the rest of this article at Newsarama

Comic Book Challenge winner D J Coffman

D. J. Coffman’s Hero By Night story has won the Comic Book Challenge contest sponsored by Platinum Studios and the local NBC station in San Diego.

“I think I saw the press release on THE PULSE,” Coffman said of the contest. “I entered on a whim. I had the superhero idea for Hero By Night in the back of my head and figured that might be what they were looking for. I didn’t think I’d get picked. I found out I was a finalist last Wednesday night and had seven days to get out to the San Diego Comic-Con. I spent all my savings to get out to San Diego Comic-Con.”

Coffman continued, “When I found out I was top three, I tried to get a hold of as many people as possible to vote for the strip.”

The summary from his entry in June:

A young man, Jack King, discovers the secret lair of a 1950’s superhero in his new apartment in a very old tenement building. Filled with journals, retro gadgets, and A RING. Should he disclose this find to the public, sell it all off and make a mint? Or learn more about why this hero disappeared, what secrets does the ring possess, and if this path will lead Jack himself to take up the mantle of “HERO BY NIGHT”?

Read the rest of this article at the Pulse

AdHouse books: Project Romantic

AdHouse Books is pleased to announce…

Project: Romantic
An Anthology dedicated to love and love stuff
by various creators
published by AdHouse Books

The trilogy is complete. With Project: Romantic, AdHouse Books follows up their smash hits of Superior and Telstar with a book about love… and love stuff. Including work from new-comers and seasoned pros, Romantic is a cornucopia of technique, philosophy and love. A partial list of contributors include: Big Time Attic, Randall Christopher, Joshua Cotter, Nick Craine, Brian Flynn, Doug Fraser, Jose Garibaldi, Debbie Huey, Damien Jay, Hope Larson, Mike Laughead, Adam McGovern/Paolo Leandri, Junko Mizuno, Scott Morse, Roger Peterson, Chris Pitzer, Joel Priddy, Paul Rivoche, Jim Rugg, Alberto Ruiz, Maris Wicks and many MORE!


Project: Romantic
2C wrap-around cover by Maris Wicks
256 4C pages
6″ x 9″ perfect bound
$19.95 US funds
ISBN 0-9770304-2-3
Shipping October 2006
Diamond order #: AUG06 2903
Cover image: http://www.adhousebooks.com/adhousebooks/pr/AD.ROMANTIC.CVR.jpg

You can preorder this comic through Diamond’s August Previews catalog, which hits your local comic shop on 7/26/06.

Ronin Studios


Growing indie comics publisher RONIN STUDIOS is gearing up to make a
splash this summer, and following year with a wave of events up and
coming starting things off with the launch of a brand new web-site.

The new site, created by Dustin Archibald, is designed to be easy to
navigate, and easy to get the news out to everyone who is interested
in RONIN STUDIOS. In the past, the site has been difficult to
maintain, but now we’ve created a website that should be constantly
updated, and shining light on what RONIN STUDIOS is trying to do. We
also strive to use our website to release new works, as we’ll be
rolling out online comics and web comics as the year goes on.

RONIN STUDIOS continues to be the leading studio at bringing in new
creators to allow their visions to be read by others. In the past
three years, RONIN STUDIOS has released sixty books, and will continue
to release new books from both new and veteran creators. With the
time, comes experience, which brings knowledge and wisdom at how to
continue to make RONIN STUDIOS a better place for all creators to
bring their talents in and thrive to their fullest extent. The new
site strives to do the same thing, allowing creators a new avenue to
get their works out to people as we’ll be unveiling online comics and
web comics over the next few months, as well as another avenue of
publicity to get their books out to as many people as possible. RONIN
STUDIOS is here to stay.

RONIN STUDIOS continues to be a force when it comes to conventions, as
this year at Wizard World Chicago, we’ll have several tables in Artist
Alley, and be unveiling one of our hottest books, HOPE: NEW ORLEANS,
with proceeds going to help those who went through Hurricane Katrina
last year. This is our second version of HOPE, as our original book
helped out the victims of the 2004 Tsunami victims. This volume of the
book features a cover by DAVID MACK, creator of KABUKI, and will be
available first at Wizard World Chicago alongside numerous tables.
RONIN STUDIOS new website will allow for people to know at which
conventions RONIN will be at, as well as what books we’re offering,
and what creators will be there. Conventions are important for us,
because we believe that meeting the fans is one of the most important
things out there.

So stop on by the new web-site at WWW.RONIN-STUDIOS.COM for any and
all information about Ronin’s covention schedule, creator and book
information as well as preview artwork and a link to our constantly
updated message board.

–Mike Storniolo
Marketing/PR Ronin Studios

Aaaaand that’s a wrap for this week! I’m waiting your comments and feedback through email to Manolis@gmail.com. If you self-publish your own comics or represent an indy comics company, add me to your press release list, and I will run your news in this space every week.

Manolis Vamvounis
a.k.a. Dr. Dooplove