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J. Caleb Mozzocco

Jason Fischer Shares The Life Of A Drawing Assistant In ‘Seconds Helping’

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If you read Bryan Lee O'Malley's 2014 graphic novel Seconds --- and given that it was one of the most anticipated comics of that year, chances are you did --- then one of the first things you may have noticed that differentiated it from Scott Pilgrim was that O'Malley wasn't the one-man band he was on his name-making graphic novel series.

While O'Malley still wrote and penciled all of Seconds, the title page credits three other contributors: colorist Nathan Fairbairn, letterer Dustin Harbin, and drawing assistant Jason Fischer. Those first two job titles will be familiar to anyone who has followed mainstream American comics, as they're among the handful of credits that appear in most of the books created in the chopped-up, parceled-out system established in the Golden Age. But "drawing assistant"...? What exactly is a drawing assistant? Jason Fischer himself answers that with Seconds Helping: A Drawing Assistant's Memoir Comic.

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Before Batman: The 10 Best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossovers

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This week DC launches Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the unlikely crossover series that brings IDW Publishing's current iteration of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's TMNT characters together with DC's Dark Knight; one of the biggest success stories in creator-owned comics meeting one of the most famous corporate comics brands.

Batman and the Turtles have relatively little in common, but the Turtles have been teaming up with comic book characters far beyond their home milieu pretty much since their first appearance. In fact, the characters are so weird at their core that there's really no setting, genre, or comic book character that they can't fit in with. When discordance is in your DNA, you can't clash with anything. So on the week of their team up with the Caped Crusader, what better time to revisit some of the Turtles' greatest comic book crossovers?

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Know Your Robins: A Guide To The Many Boy Wonders (And Other Players) in ‘Robin War’

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This week DC kicks off the crossover event story "Robin War" in a comic book entitled, appropriately enough, Robin War #1. The storyline will wind through this month's issues of Grayson, Detective Comics, We Are Robin and Robin: Son of Batman, while this month's issues of Gotham Academy, Red Hood/Arsenal and Teen Titans will all tie-in to the events of the storyline. It all wraps up in next month's Robin War #2.

To help you tell your Red Robin from your Red Hood, and your Robin, singular, from your The Robins, plural, we've assembled a handy guide to the major players in "Robin War"...

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Meet The Many Jane Mais of Jane Mai’s ‘See You Next Tuesday’

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One of the first pages of cartoonist Jane Mai's See You Next Tuesday is simply a large drawing of the girl on the cover winking, with the words "This is my diary, xoxo Jane Mai" next to it. That certainly seems to suggest that the many short comics, drawings and bursts of hand-written text should be read as autobiographical; as real or true. But that page is followed almost immediately by qualifiers.

The first is a hand-written page stating that "The following series of events is not presented chronologically and frankly time does not exist anyway. I'm not even sure I exist TBH." And that is followed by a two-page "people guide" introducing the dramatis personae that star in the book, and... four of the seven are different versions of Jane Mai.

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Mixed Nuts: Creators Pay Tribute To Charles Schulz With Unique ‘Peanuts’ Anthology

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From October 1950, when the very first installments of Peanuts was published, every single installment of the strip was drawn by Charles M. Schulz's own hand, and the only variations in the style of the characters' depictions came organically through the evolution of Schulz's own drawing style. Even when the characters have appeared outside their home strip, in various animated specials or in the Dell or Boom comic books, the animators and artists have closely aped Schulz's style.

That's what makes Boom Studios' new Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz so compelling. It's difficult to imagine what any other artist's version of the iconic characters might look like, but this book is full of them, and being faced with these characters divorced from their creator's designs is fascinating and at times even disconcerting. It's hard to look at the realistic image of Charlie Brown by Ryan Sook on the cover of the book, staring into the eyes of the "real" Charlie Brown, and not be a little freaked out, isn't it?

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Thumbnail: New Thor, New THOOMS; The Epic Sound Effects of Russell Dauterman’s Asgard

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There is probably no superhero comic better known for the lettering of its sound effects than Walter Simonson's 1983-1987 run on Marvel's Thor. John Workman's lettering on that seminal, still-beloved run was so integral that it's difficult to imagine those comics without it. Workman's big, bold DOOMs, THOOMs and KRAKATHOOMs hit readers' eyes and imaginations like graphic hammer blows. Simonson's art alone could tell powerful, affecting stories, but Workman's lettering really made those Thor comics sing... and scream and thunder and crash and splinter.

How fitting then that the most recent Thor comic, featuring a brand new star character wielding Mjolnir to protect Midgard, should also have such a highly distinct sound effect style, and yet have those sound effects stand out in a completely different way than those of the Simonson/Workman Thor comics of yore.

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Comic Strip Lit Crit: Step Aside for Kate Beaton’s Self-Appraising Heroes & Histories

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Kate Beaton's approach to Wonder Woman is perhaps one of the clearest examples of how the acclaimed cartoonist combines brilliant humor with perceptive critical analysis. After several appearances in Hark! A Vagrant, Wonder Woman makes a return six-strip engagement in Beaton's new book, Step Aside, Pops! When we first met this incarnation she was a bitter, sarcastic superheroine just trying to have a smoke, or reluctantly helping an old lady rescue her cat from a tree by yanking it down with her magic lasso.

This time around, Beaton gives some clues about why her Wonder Woman might be the way she is. Taking a meeting in "head office," she's told, "the Greek stuff, the outfit, the lasso... it's too weird to deal with" (though a bro with the same affectations somehow works), and gets mansplained by Superman and Batman. At a bar, a fan gushes about how great she thinks Wonder Woman is, without seeming to actually know anything about her.

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Filed Under: , Category: Opinion, Reviews

Patrick Atangan’s ‘Fires Above Hyperion’ Finds the Universal in One Love Life

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The first line of copy on the back of Patrick Atangan's Fires Above Hyperion reads, "Imagine if Sex and the City were written by a gay Charlie Brown..." So of course, I thought, 'I don't just want to imagine that. I want to read Sex and the City written by a gay Charlie Brown, and I want to read it as soon as possible."

And so, in all likelihood, will you.

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Benjamin Marra Attacks Fantasies of Sex and Violence in ‘Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T.’

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The cover of Benjamin Marra's new book Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror) is just about perfect, at least in terms of telegraphing the interior pages. In his signature Paul Gulacy-by-way-of underground comix artists style, Marra depicts the title character gorily decapitating a bizarrely attired opponent who has a chainsaw in one hand and is firing gun with the other, while a buxom, scantily clad woman looks on, the whole tableau rendered in glaring Golden Age comics coloring.

The only way the cover could be more accurate in telling a potential reader what lies beneath it would be if the title character were simultaneously engaged in a graphic sex act.

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Like Disneyworld With Fangs: Should You Be Reading ‘Zombillenium’?

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Zombillenium is French animator and cartoonist Arthur De Pins' ongoing series of graphic albums about a horror theme park run by actual monsters... pretending to be regular people pretending to be fake monsters... all as an elaborate way of hiding in plain sight. Published first in France, it's being translated and republished by NBM in English. The third volume, Control Freaks, was just released this summer.

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