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Patrick A. Reed

Wizards, Lizards And Other Figments Of Fancy: A Birthday Tribute To Vaughn Bode [NSFW]

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Vaughn Bodé is one of the few comics creators whose work transcends genre and style – his art can't be compared to anything but itself, and can really only be described and categorized as "Vaughn Bodé style". In his brief career, he redefined the very idea of what a cartoonist could be, pioneering a drawing style that inspired and confounded, blending and distorting fantasy tropes with every pen stroke. His stories were filled with spaced-out hallucinations and a direct, earthy sensuality, and established him as a guru of graphic storytelling and the first proper rock star of the comics field.

To mark the occasion of his birthday, ComicsAlliance reached out to a handful of our favorite modern-day artists to offer their takes on Bodé – his characters, his style, his feeling, and his inspiration.

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Actor-Turned-Author Evangeline Lilly Spins A Spooky Illustrated Story For Kids With ‘The Squickerwonkers’ [Interview]

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Evangeline Lilly is a familiar name to sci-fi and genre fans – she broke into Hollywood's major leagues playing Kate Austen in Lost, she was the female lead in 2011's supremely fun Rocky-meets-Rock 'Em Sock 'Em flick Real Steel, and most recently, she's risen to new heights of fame for her role as elven warrior Tauriel in Peter Jackson's Hobbit films.

But while she's best known for on-camera appearances, acting is merely one of facet of her creative impulse. Lilly's first authorial effort is premiering at San Diego Comic-Con this week: a creepy crawly children's picture book entitled The Squickerwonkers, that tells a story-in-verse of a terrible child and the puppet people she encounters and antagonizes. It's a quick and delightfully dark read, illustrated in at once unsettling and beautiful fashion by WETA designer Johnny Fraser-Allen – and thanks to the fine folks at Titan Books, we recently had the opportunity to speak with Lilly about the long and convoluted path that this tale has taken on the road to publication.

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The Joe Shuster Centennial: A Tribute To Superman’s Co-Creator On What Would Have Been His 100th Birthday

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To celebrate the centennial anniversary of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster's birth, some of the men and women who've benefited from his tremendous artistic influence have paid homage to and shared their impressions of Shuster's work, his legacy, and his signature character.

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Happy Birthday, Murphy Anderson: A Modest Tribute To An All-Time Great

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An artist who played an integral role in the superhero renaissance of the late '50s and early '60s, and whose line lent a smooth and elegant air to every character he touched, Murphy Anderson is one of the true living legends of the comic book business. This week sees the artist's 88th birthday.

Anderson began his career in comics in the mid 1940s, and worked on titles for a number of different publishers over the next decade, including Timely/Atlas, Ziff Davis, Pines, and the company that would prove to be his primary home for the next four decades – National/DC Comics. In the 1950s, DC increased his assignments and he became a fixture of the company's sci-fi and superhero titles, pencilling a number of different features and providing inks for many of the early Silver Age's most enduring and influential stories, working over artists such as Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, and Mike Sekowsky.

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Filed Under: , Category: Art, Culture, DC, News, Opinion

Aw Yeah Everything! Art Baltazar & Franco Discuss Expanding Their All-Ages Comics Empire [Interview]

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After spending decades trying to prove that comics "aren't just for kids anymore", the last few years have seen a number of creators and publishers making a concentrated push to bring younger readers back into the industry and create titles that appeal a wide spectrum of audiences. Art Baltazar and Franco are on the forefront of this movement. They're a pair of artists and writers with distinct styles that combine to convey a single, unmistakable, irresistible persona: the "Baltazar/Franco" name is an automatic seal of approval for kids and parents alike.

Tiny Titans ran for 50 issues (plus a three-issue miniseries that co-starred Little Archie), and in the two-and-a-half years since that title wrapped up, Baltazar and Franco have been insanely prolific, producing the 12-issue follow-up series Superman Family Adventures for DC, the Itty Bitty Hellboy limited series for Dark Horse, the Lil' Battlestar Galactica one-shot for Dynamite, the Captain Action Cat title for Dark Horse and Dynamite, drawn innumerable covers for various publishers, and published more than a half-dozen issues of their own crowdfunded original ongoing series, Aw Yeah Comics. The duo have also founded the Aw Yeah Comics! comic shop in Illinois, and partnered with Mark Waid on a second comic shop in Indiana.

And in the midst of all this hubbub, they took some time out to speak with ComicsAlliance about their brand new Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse limited series and talk about their other projects – past, present, and future.

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Winged Freak Terrorizes: Comics Creators And Entertainment Pros Remember The Summer Of Batman ’89

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There had certainly been plenty of heavily-merchandised blockbusters before, but the Batman '89 phenomenon affected pop culture in so many ways and crept into every dimension of commercial entertainment. Twenty-five years ago, it was just always there; part of the atmosphere of the era, reflected wherever you turned. From candy-filled Keaton heads in supermarket checkout aisles, to endless souvenir magazines on newsstands, to articles in newspapers and magazines, to the packs of trading cards and stickers on countertops, to Batmobile toys in Happy Meals, the entire world had gone Batty.

Twenty-five years later, we've reached out to some of our favorite creators and entertainers to look back on the summer of Batman.

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Let’s Broaden Our Minds: Novelist Craig Shaw Gardner On Adapting Batman ’89 For Prose [Interview]

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Though it might seem a bit strange from today's perspective, tie-in novels used to be a huge part of genre movie merchandising – they gave fans a way to take home the experience of their favorite films in the days before the home video explosion, and provided studios with an additional method of promoting their projects in bookstores, department stores, and on newsstands.

And like everything associated with Tim Burton's Batman film, Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization was a sales phenomenon, spending much of 1989 near the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Gardner's book expanded on many of the film's plot lines and character arcs, and gave readers some insight into earlier drafts of the film's screenplay with a number of passages based on sequences that had been reworked or cut entirely from the final movie (in fact, it made substantially more sense than the finished film, as Gardner was able to craft his story without being bound by a strict two hours of screen time.)

As part of our 25th anniversary coverage of Batman '89, ComicsAlliance spoke to Gardner about the challenges he faced and the fond memories he has of adapting Tim Burton's blockbuster for prose.

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Now Is Awesome: Joe Keatinge & Khary Randolph On The Resurrection Of ‘Tech Jacket’ [Interview]

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This week Image Comics released the first issue of Tech Jacket by Joe Keatinge and Khary Randolph. And while this may be the first time many of today's readers have heard of the title, it's actually been lurking around the edges of the Image line for over a decade. Created in 2002 by pre-Walking-Dead Robert Kirkman and artist E.J. Su, the eponymous Tech Jacket is a wearable cache of the most powerful weapons in the universe, bestowed irreversibly unto teenager Zack Thompson when he encountered a dying alien. Naturally, Zack used his newfound abilities to become a galactic warrior of great worth and protecting Earth from universal threats with more enthusiasm and wide-eyed wonder than other Earthborn space cops you might have heard of.

The original series ran for only six issues but the story was later continued as a back-up in the pages of Kirkman and Ryan Ottley's Invincible. Then, earlier this year, Keatinge and Randolph produced a trio of digital issues that revitalized the concepts and characters and paved the way for this new ongoing series.

With issue #1 on sale now from Image and Kirkman's Skybound imprint, ComicsAlliance spoke to the creative team about what drew them to these characters and concepts, and what plans they have in store for the series.

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Wait’ll They Get A Load Of Me: Jerry Ordway On The Making Of His Batman ’89 Comic Book Adaptation [Interview]

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The Batmania of 1989 affected all of commercial entertainment, but perhaps nowhere was the impact felt more than in comic shops and bookstores. The wild success of Tim Burton's movie drove fans to seek out anything Bat-related, and DC Comics was prepared. The publisher had tasked two of its finest creators with producing a comic book adaptation of the film, and Jerry Ordway and Dennis O'Neill's comic became a sensation in its own right. The book was released in two editions (a 'floppy' for newsstands, and a squarebound edition for the book and comic shop market), and both became instant best-sellers.

For reasons explained below, the project was not altogether successful in creative terms, but Batman '89 is nevertheless one of if not the most proliferated comics of its type, occupying space in the collections of a whole generation of readers and fondly remembered as featuring some of Ordway's most exquisite artwork in an already very distinguished career. As part of ComicsAlliance's exhaustive remembrance of of all things Batman '89, we spoke with Ordway about his fascinating and uniquely challenging experience adapting the silver-screen superhero epic back into uncommonly beautiful book form.

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Face It, I Rule: ‘Legendary Star-Lord’ Launches In Spectacular (And Funny) Fashion [Review]

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Despite the fact that he's been floating around the Marvel Universe for the past 38 years, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord has always been a bit of a blank slate. His costume, origin, powers, and personality have seen numerous iterations, depending on where he appeared and which creators were steering the ship at any given moment. He's been portrayed as an emotionally unstable hothead, a space-faring zen master, and a fun-loving scoundrel. He's been guided by such talents as Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Keith Giffen, Carmine Infantino, Doug Monech, Gene Colan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning. And despite being a cornerstone of Marvel's cosmic sagas for the past decade, and serving as the leader of the modern iteration of the Guardians Of The Galaxy, he's remained a steadfastly second-string character in the publishing line and broader media.

But now that's about to change. The Guardians Of The Galaxy are moving to the silver screen in just a few short weeks, and this week the first issue of a new ongoing Star-Lord series hits comic shop shelves and digital storefronts courtesy of writer Sam Humphries and artist Paco Medina.

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