I love Chris Ware. Bit redundant to say so this holiday season with everyone and their sister buying Building Stories, but with so much comic awesomeness that happened in 2012; between Charles Burn’s second installment to his X’ed Out trilogy, The Hive, and Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga…SAGA… It’s too easy for amazing comics to get lost in the stacks, so I’m here to give my somewhere around the number 10 best comics of 2012 that nobody told you about…
Michael DeForge might be the most prolific cartoonist working right now. He pumps more work and at a higher quality that would make any other cartoonist want to quit, or work harder…..no quit thats the correct response. On top of Lose #4 this year you can also see his work in the pages of Adventure Time comics, where he does the backgrounds,variant covers, anthology stories in Nobrow 7 (more on that in a bit) and the newest KUS, not to mention his on going serial Ant Comics, oh and his porn comic that he designs that features work by Johnny Negron, Brandon Graham, and Jillian Tamaki….more on all of them latter too…Bottom line, DeForge has a hand in everything and you’re probably a fan of his already, so read Lose, or Ant comics, or KUS, or Nobrow, or one of the million other things he worked on this year. King of comics 2012 goes to DeForge, no contest.
The Underwater Welder
Did I mention that DeForge is Canadian? Canadians….must be a universal sigh when cartoonist’s who aren’t Canadian talk about them. Jeff Lemire is another cartoonist hailing from The Great White North. Lemire had a full year of releases with Sweet Tooth Volume 4 and 5, the reprinting of his Xeric grant book Lost Dogs and Underwater Welder. Underwater Welder is for lovers of well paced, clear story telling, and the Twilight Zone. Lemire has an economy to his comics, the art is quick yet purposeful in the same manner as the writing, which rewards the reader with a world that they can envelope themselves in. Lemire is an odd school of cartooning, he’s not so deep into independent styled comics as DeForge, but he isn’t mainstream either (though he does write the only two books at DC still worth reading Animal Man, & Frankenstein Agent of Shade ). He’s a cartoonist in love with genre but doesn’t mistake comics to be only that.
Nipper Volume 3
Nipper Volume 3 finally came out! WOOOOOOO! I might be the only American to love Nipper so go buy it and prove my gross presumption wrong. Keeping in theme with brilliant Canadian cartoonists, Nipper volume 3 is the Canadian version of Family Circus, if Family Circus was anything like a real family and not so adorable that even your grandmother finds it lame. Always silent, black and white line work with one beautiful saturation of red dropped into each panel, Doug Wright creates multi-layered story telling, in the most simple yet still incredible complicated drawing. Just go look already, and then come meet me for coffee to talk about it, I’ll be here till next year trying to describe why it’s so effffffing smart.
Diary Comics 4
Dustin Harbin is yet another broken hearted cartoonist, upset that his nationality isn’t Canadian. Diary Comics 4 starts with Dustin talking about how amazing it is to be in attendance at the Doug Wright rewards (the Canadian version of the Eisners), and how he wishes we as American could take comics as seriously as they do. Why can’t we folks? Dustin’s beautifully minimalist drawings deceive readers with their simplicity, when they are really just the right amount of information needed, each mark done with purpose in mind and simply decroative. Go read em’ they’re good. And if your not a fan of memoir, you just like the punching and kicking comics, he did letter Casanova sooo…..I don’t know Matt Fraction wrote Iron Man for like a century right? See the full picture of creators not just the characters you like….
Pope Hat #3
Pope Hat #3 by Ethan Rilly. Rilly is surprise surprise, another Canadian. Pope Hats is technically 3 issues deep but you really only need/want two and three. In Pope Hats Rilly tells the story of Franny, a young law clerk at a massive law firm, picture Wall Street with less Charlie Sheen….okay no Charlie Sheen, just that one part where he gets punched in the face by Michael Douglas… Rilly drawings show traces of his influences but they don’t unhinge the story. You can see traces of Doug Wright’s drapery in the clothing, and bits of Shultz popping up in the rendering of grass and clouds. It’s like a love letter to days past when cartooning was a profession and getting a weekly strip in a newspaper was the dream. Pope Hats narrative shares a similar tone of nostalgia with its drawing, that bitter sweet pain, from an old wound.
Thats the end of Part 1. Part 2 on Sunday 12/23/12.
So much to cover today! Tons of number ones, including Secrets and Alabaster, not to mention the anticipated Saga #2! But wait! we have a special guest today: writer Frank Barbiere, whose newest comic will be featured in the upcoming Dark Horse Presents #11! he’s got some picks of his own to share with you all, and he’s got the deets on the upcoming signing featuring him and artist Luke Radl!
Good LORD! A man has handcuffed himself to the lamp post in front of our store! He’s demanding that EVERY copy of his new comic be sold, and he will not allow himself to be released until that happens! Our own intrepid Dan Roth takes the Weekly Pulse outside for a rain-soaked interview with artist Sean Von Gorman of The Secret Adventures of Houdini TP Vol 01!
Been waiting for The Complete History Of Return Of The Living Dead to hit shelves since I heard about it at the last Monster Mania Convention I attended, which featured a pretty hefty amount of Return Of The Living Dead stars. I made sure to attend the ROTLD Q&A panel and boy, was I glad that I did. It was entertaining as hell, mostly due to the hilarious antics of Miguel A. Núñez Jr., know for playing Spider from ROTLD, and of course the titular character of Juwanna Mann.
The Complete History Of ROTLD is packed from cover to cover with concept art, color photos and personal accounts by the actors, writers, directors, etc from all 5 films in the series… and if this book is even a fraction as entertaining as the panel that I attended, it will have been worth every penny.
When I first heard about Fantagraphics’ Destroy All Movies The Complete Guide To Punks On Film I immediately knew this book was for me. Being a “punk” myself and a huge cult film nerd how could I not be excited.
Destroy All Movies is an informative, hilarious and impossibly complete guide to every appearance of a punk (or new waver!) to hit the screen in the 20th Century. Featuring A-to-Z coverage of over 1100 feature films from around the world, as well as dozens of exclusive interviews with the cast/creators of crucial titles like Repo Man, Return of the Living Dead, The Decline of Western Civilization and Valley Girl.
Also examined are several hundred prime examples of straight-to-VHS slasher trash, breakdancing fairytales, no-budget apocalyptic epics and movies that barely exist. Plus hundreds of eyeball-smashing stills and posters, many in full color!
Six years in the making, this pulse-bursting monument to lowbrow cultural obsession is a must for all film fanatics, music maniacs, anti-fashion mutants, ’80s nostalgists, sleazoids, cop-killers and spazzmatics!
So while researching this book I came across their websites www.punksonfilm.com and I tell you its just as entertaining as the book. On their site is an announcement for an east coast book tour with screenings and special guests from films that are covered in the book. I instantly started dreaming of meeting Jon Gries at a screening of Terror Vision!!!
So I sent an e-mail to their contact introducing myself and letting them know that I (and Forbidden Planet of course) love the book and want to get involved in the book tour. One of the writers, Zack Carlson promptly replied with some awesome yet sad information.
We’re actually at a dumb point with the book. The first printing is totally sold out (that’s good!) but there aren’t currently enough back orders for the publisher to put in for a second printing. So it’s kinda junked up our East Coast/Canada tour plans… So we’re stuck unless there’s suddenly some massive public demand for more copies… It’s a sad truth, but there it is.
So I encourage you all to buy copies of this book before they disappear for good. Oh, and calling all your local retailers and making sure they have it in stock (or on back order) would help. Lets see this baby go to a second print. Destroy All Movies The Complete Guide To Punks On Film is too good to fall off the face of the earth so soon.
I’ve been sick as a dog with a summer cold (no fun, not pretty) all weekend, but feeling a little better. Let me show ya some items from the interwebs I’ve been occupying my time with…
- This morning’s Sunday Interview over at The Comics Reporter features a conversation with American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang. The aforementioned book was the first graphic novel to have been nominated for a National Book Award and the interview focuses heavily on Prime Baby, which appeared in The New York Times Magazine. The man’s got credentials and some interesting things to say, and Mr. Spurgeon’s interviews always shine. Read it here.
- If unconfirmed and unsubstantiated scuttlebutt is your thing, check out this rumor from Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool regarding a new shop coming to the little isle we call Manhattan. This rumor- and I stress RUMOR- was mentioned to me the other night at Jim Woodring’s original art show opening (a quick jaunt away in Brooklyn at Scott Eder’s Gallery and running through July 16th) and was the first I’d heard about it. After further investigation, and reserving opinion and conjecture for anther time and place (track me down in public or something for the time being), the most telling line in this piece is from Rich himself: “If you have any ideas about venue, name or owner, do let Bleeding Cool know.”
- But feel free to bombard the thread’s comments section with FP testimonials.
- Did you know about this? www.teefury.com “TeeFury was started in 2008 by a bunch of artists who love limited edition t-shirts. At TeeFury you will find a new amazing tee every 24 hours for just $9 [!!!!, ed.]. Each of our tees are super limited-edition, being sold for only 24 hours or until sold out, which ever happens first. After 24 hours the t-shirt is removed from teefury.com, never to be made available for sale again (at least through teefury.com – artists retain full rights to their artwork and may choose to make the piece available at a future date).
This was today’s limited edition tee:
Ladygunn Magazine invited me to go on a blind date as part of their comics issue…
Everyone gets ‘the call’ at least once in a lifetime. You know, the one where your best friend is like, “you have to go on a blind date with this dude, and I have to live vicariously through you because I have a boyfriend and who wouldn’t want to date a comic book store manager?”
That’s exactly what I did to our Art Director Allison Pauline when I set up her up with Jeff, manager of the famous ‘Forbidden Planet’ comic book store in Union Square.
Jeff is over an hour late on a rainy Sunday, to meet Allison at Brooklyn’s ‘Sweet Revenge’, a bar . Black-leather-clad, she sits waiting patiently. Every so often, she’ll look over at the door suspiciously, while I smile demurely and shrug my shoulders (I’m only there to document the event).
When he finally does arrive, he turns up also sporting a carcass, black leather too. Jeff is cuter than expected. They meet, they greet, they blinddate!
Click here to see how it went down.
Welcome to the first webcast from Forbidden Planet featuring the new coffee table book Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. FP hosted the authors, Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan, for a short interview about their creation.
And stay tuned for even more upcoming transmissions from the planet!
Friend (and neighbor) Tim Leong interviews Joss Whedon for Complex Magazine this week.
In the lengthy interviews, Leong talks to Whedon about his Astonishing X-Men artist John Cassaday’s turn behind the Director’s Chair this season on Joss’s show, Dollhouse. The multi-platform writer also shares ideas on Buffy Season 9, his movie Cabin in the Woods and well, his dancing.
Whedon said about his X-Men artist Cassaday that he’s going, well, f–k up so much.
Cassaday, I know he can tell a story, I know him as a person, his sensibility, the way he is with other people and I just feel that this step is logical for him, it’s something he’s been pursuing for a while. We’re now in position to take this risk, because we have so many good people he knows he’s in a comfort zone. He’s got Soloman watching set, none of us are directing around the time that he is so that we could be there for his prep. And that’s just very exciting for me because he has a visual sense that goes beyond most of the people that I work with. The only problem we have is he wants to storyboard his episode, and I’m like, “You do know that it’s a script that will be late, right?”
More from that Mania.com, interview where I last excerpted a bit Mr. Moore’s thoughts on the Marvelman situation. This time, the legendary author takes DC to cause on their epic miniseries, Blackest Night.
To say the least, he’s quite cranky. He frequently goes on tirades blaming readers, writers, artists and publishers for what he sees as an industry circling the drain. I don’t mean to paraphrase, but the amount of venom is rather astounding and honestly, quite sad for me to recount. He even seriously doubts that the industry will be here in five years.
The final straw however was:
I think the lights are going out all over the comics industry. A lot of this is the fault of the publishers, a lot of it is the fault of the artists and writers, and I think, as you say, some of it is the fault of the readers.
The genesis of the interview was how Moore talks about Blackest Night as having been ripped wholesale from a story he did in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2, which is reprinted in DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore. The story predicted the end of the Green Lantern Corps, and well, its not a ripoff if you continue from that story, and actually expand on the eight pages.
If you’re going to call it a ripoff of a story you did, than you can probably say that about a lot of stories in comics as the stories told today came from somewhere before. I mean, V For Vendetta had roots in 1984 and, well, not to be a jerk or anything but League of Extraordinary Gentlemen very clearly came from the works of other authors.
I’ll shut up, but Ethan van Sciver had something to say about Moore’s comments.
Today is Arvid Nelson Day. Zero Killer returns, and today marks the end to his epic Holy Grail saga Rex Mundi.
Rex Mundi stands for “King of the World,” and follows Dr. Julien Sauniere in his quest for the Grail. Alot of people use this book in the same breath as The Da Vinci Code and you could not be more wrong, this book was actually produced years before the Dan Brown’s meal ticket even hit book stores.
So, with the book ending today, we sat down with Arvid to talk about it.
DAILY PLANET: So this is it, any last words for your epic story? Any regrets? What are you missing? How are you feeling about it being over?
ARVID NELSON: You know, there are lots of things I could have done differently, things I could have done better. I could have been smarter about a lot of things. But I can honestly say I have no regrets because I gave my absolute best for every issue. I did the best I could do with the resources I had. What more can I say than that?
Will you come back to the characters?
I sort of doubt it at this point. I mean, the last issue doesn’t leave a lot of room for a sequel. This has been a long, long chapter in my life. I’m sad to see it end, but it’s definitely time to move on.
Last we checked in Johnny Depp was attached to the Rex Mundi movie. How is that progressing?
It’s going really well! There’s lots of stuff going on behind the scenes, but again, it’s all I’ll-have-my-balls-chopped-off-if-I-tell-you stuff. I can confirm the movie thing is steaming along. I can’t say when we’ll make the next announcement, but I’ll be screaming it from the rooftops when it happens. Again, there’s arvidland.com, and there’s rexmundi.net, that’s where I make my proclamations.
You have this thing for decapitated heads. Why is that?
Hah hah! It’s my Celtic heritage!
Moving on to Zero Killer, there’s a very Jamie McKelvie style of pencils to Matt Camp. How’d you end up getting hooked up with him?
Matt and I were part of this merry band of misfits, a bunch of first-time creators who all happened to have books coming out through Image at the same time. This was back in like ’02. Fast forward five years, and Matt happened to be coming to the New York convention. We had lost touch, so we caught up over Indian food. No big deal. But then he showed me his latest art over samosas, and it was one of those magical things. It was how I felt when I first met EricJ, the original Rex Mundi artist. I just knew Matt would be perfect for Zero Killer.
What’s the deal with the abbreviations? Extensions of religious swear words like “Christus,” and “Holy ‘Esus”?
One of the amazing things to me about New York City, especially about the African and Caribbean populations, is all the weird, wonderful religions going on, like Santería, Voodoo, Rastafarianism… utterly fascinating. The people in Zero Killer have blended these traditions together into one smorgasbord faith. Jesus, or “Esuchristus”, is the highest god, but he’s not the only one…
In all the comics you’ve always done newspaper stories from the alternate world you’re depicting. Is it because you want to immerse the reader in that world or you just enjoy doing that kind of thing?
Yes! All of the above. It lets me detail parts of the setting I just can’t get to in the pages of the comic itself. It’s also a great way to tie up little loose threads in the comic, or to tell parallel stories. But it’s never critical to the plot. You can read or not, it doesn’t matter! I mean, $3 is a lot to spend on a single issue. All the extras I cram in there hopefully make it worth the price of admission.
Is there going to be a second miniseries? I feel like it left things open ended at the end with the case?
I really hope so! I have a lot of great stuff planned for the second series, we’ll get much deeper into some of the mysterious things I left floating around. But! We’ll have to see how sales are for this series. That’s going to be the deciding factor. Dark Horse is going to a trade paperback, for which I’m eternally grateful.
You mentioned there was a long delay with this series. Why was this?
Alas, it’s comics! It’s a problem any time you’re a part of a collaborative effort. I finished writing Zero Killer a long time ago, but I can only put out issues as fast as the slowest member of the team. That’s about all I can say. It kills me, because I know the delays have hurt Zero Killer very badly. I only hope readers will be understanding and come back to it.
It seems like the entire series was an allegory to a previous Administration. What kind of parallels were you looking towards with this work?
Yeah, Zero Killer was inspired by 9-11. Dick Cheney, in particular, bragged about how safe he was right after the attacks happened, because “they had done lots of preparation for a nuclear strike during the Cold War”. That really made me mad, and it’s not a partisan thing, either. If there’d been a nuclear war, those scumbags would have saved their own skins in their taxpayer-funded secret underground bunkers, while all of us saps would have died hundreds of millions of horrible deaths. Left, right, blue red — it doesn’t matter. It pissed me off.
So what’s next after “Zero Killer” and “Rex Mundi” wrap, besides Thulsa Doom?
I’ve got a few interesting projects lined up, but I can’t talk about ’em yet, or I’d have my balls chopped off! I try to keep my online journal, arvidland.com, up to date with all the news I’m allowed to talk about. If there’s anything to proclaim, I proclaim it there.
Zero Killer seems very Road Warrior-y. What other influences contributed to it?
Mad Max is a big one. I love Fist of the North Star, too. The Warriors and Akira were two other big influences. I wanted Zero Killer to have an urban, “hip-hop” feel to it, for lack of a better word.
Both Zero Killer #4 and Rex Mundi #19 hits stands today.
Eli Roth, Inglourious Basterds star and writer/director of the Hostel movies gave us a moment to talk to him during Monday’s signing. We discussed the obvious topic of working with Quentin Tarantino, his next film project and his thoughts on comic books.
On working with the exuberant Tarantino, Roth said its been a different experience every time. “On Hostel, Quentin was just there just guiding me, even on Grindhouse I just came in for a week and shot my trailer on my own. This is first time that we actually worked together, day after day after day. I gave it everything I had I wanted to be that dream actor that was always there for him, and in character, I stayed over there over Christmas and New Years. Everyone else went home and I didn’t want to leave, I felt like we were on this mission, and I didn’t want to leave until it was done.”
The much rumored latest project of Roth’s is his Endangered Species script, which he hopes will be able to finish writing very soon. He’s been notably quiet about it and he was no different with me regarding the sci-fi epic, “I haven’t been able to tackle anything else,” Roth said. “I’m finishing up the script hopefully soon.” On locations, Roth said they are working that out now.
Having been in a comic book store, I simply couldn’t resist to ask if he ever has any thoughts to work in comics. Having gone to the Tisch School of Film at NYU, Roth mentioned throughout Monday’s signing how he’d frequent Forbidden Planet constantly.
“Comics for me has always been one of those side projects, that I never can fully do. I’ve been so busy with the movie stuff, and that’s my primary interest. I have a few more movies I want to crank out and if I do comics, I’d have to take a break for a couple of years from movies and dive right into it, because I don’t think I could do both at once. If I do a comic, I’m going to have to really really read what’s out there, and make it great.”
We’re looking forward to seeing Roth’s portrayal of Donny Donowitz beating some Nazi skull in with a Louisville Slugger, and further news on Endangered Species.