Today, Mad Magazine #533 goes on sale on newsstands and in comic shops nationwide, and it sets itself aside from the previous five hundred and thirty-two issues by being the first-ever issue of the magazine to feature a celebrity guest editor: the legendary (and famously funny) musician, Weird Al Yankovic. A couple of weeks ago, we got the chance to speak with Weird Al and Mad editor-in-chief John Ficarra about this special issue. Our conversation touched on Al's personal connection to the magazine, his comedic influences, and his plans for the future.
Patrick A. Reed
This Monday night, the world of comics lost one of its finest: Herb Trimpe, the legendary artist best-known for his work on innumerable Marvel titles of the '70s and '80s. He was the first person to draw Wolverine for publication, he launched Marvel's iconic G.I. Joe title, he pencilled long runs on offbeat titles like Godzilla and Shogun Warriors, and he defined the look of The Incredible Hulk for a generation of readers.
Herb Trimpe, the prolific and talented penciller perhaps best known for his work on Hulk and G.I. Joe, and for being the first artist to draw Wolverine, has passed at the age of 75. With a career that spanned seven decades, he built a reputation as one of the medium's most dependable and distinctive creative voices.
Last autumn, IDW launched The October Faction, a new ongoing series by Steve Niles and Damien Worm that tells the story of Fredrick Allan, a retired monster hunter who finds his well-being and family threatened by long-buried secrets. It's a creepy, atmospheric book, filled with new twists on classic horror tropes. With issue #6 arriving in stores next week, we got the chance to sit down with Niles to talk about how this title came to be and what he has planned for the future.
Frank Barbiere is quickly becoming one of the most prolific and visible writers in comics, having built his reputation working on both original and company-owned properties for a number of independent publishers, including Blackout and The White Suits at Dark Horse, Black Market at Boom Studios, Solar: Man Of The Atom at Dynamite, and the fan-favorite Five Ghosts at Image.
Now he's expanding even further, writing an Avengers title for Marvel, inking a deal to develop Five Ghosts in other media, and preparing to re-team with Boom for the launch of his new original series Broken World. In the midst of all this, he's somehow found the time to sit down for an in-depth conversation about his career to date, and his plans for the future, and bring us an exclusive first look at Broken World's characters, and some samples from this week's Five Ghosts #16.
The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.
It's with these challenges in mind that we've created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.
Convergence is drawing ever closer; a massive not-quite-in-continuity crossover event that replaces all of DC's monthly titles for two months this spring, to throw together interpretations of characters from throughout DC history on an isolated world where they will end up fighting a lot. The event is comprised of a weekly miniseries by writer Jeff King and artists Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz that delivers the central overarching plot line, and a number of character-focused two-issue miniseries that will expand on the themes of the weekly series, provide additional context, and revive fan-favorite versions of many classic DC heroes and villains.
It's a huge, massively ambitious undertaking, so we spoke to DC co-publisher Dan DiDio to get a better idea about the publisher's plans, the company's overall goals for the event, and the impact it will have on the DC universe in the future.
This week sees the debut of The Suiciders, a new ongoing Vertigo series from writer/artist Lee Bermejo set in a post-apocalyptic near future Southern California where enhanced gladiators fight to the death for the public's entertainment. It's Bermejo's first major comics work in a few years, and his first ever original ongoing series, so we took some time to talk to him about how he conceived of the project, and the disparate elements that he's blending together to create this story.
Two weeks ago, First Second Books released The Sculptor, Scott McCloud's long-awaited, five-years-in-the-making, latest graphic novel. It's a complex and nuanced work that functions as both an emotionally rich personal statement, and a masterclass in graphic storytelling (not surprising, given McCloud's authorship of the seminal Understanding Comics, and its two sequels, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics), and it's become an immediate commercial and critical success, shooting to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and garnering a wealth of rave reviews.
The book tells the story of David Smith, a young sculptor living in New York City who makes a deal with Death that gives him only two hundred days to live, but allows him to shape any material, creating art with his bare hands from whatever he wishes… Which seems like a great deal, until he meets a mysterious woman named Meg, and falls desperately in love with her.
In the closing days of January, Vertigo released The Unwritten: Apocalypse #12, the final installment in Mike Carey and Peter Gross' fan-favorite meta-fictional fantasy saga. The series told the story of Tom Taylor, a man trying to live down the fact that his father used his name and likeness for the Harry Potter-esque hero of his best-selling fantasy novels. As the series begins, Tom is quickly pulled into a world where the lines between fiction and reality are not so clearly drawn.
To mark the conclusion of Carey and Gross's long-running narrative, we talked to both creators to learn about the entire history of the series from initial conception to final curtain.