Earlier this month, DC released the first paperback collection of Gotham Academy, Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl's fan-favorite series about Olive Silverlock, Maps Mizoguchi, and their fellow students at Gotham City's most prestigious prep school. We recently got the chance to chat with the entire creative team, and what ensued was a fast-paced and giggle-filled conversation, evidencing the same careful planning and casual camaraderie that has made the series itself such an immediate hit – audiences tend to sense when creators enjoy working on a project, and and it's clear that with Gotham Academy, this trio are having the time of their lives.
Patrick A. Reed
On this day in 1990, Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #1 was released, and comic books would never be the same again.
Yes, that sounds like familiar hyperbole, but in this case it's also essentially true. To understand this one comic's impact, one needs to understand the climate of the industry at that time.
Writer. Editor. Artist. Comedian. Mark Gruenwald was a man of many talents, who wore many hats over the course of his life. Born in Wisconsin on this day in 1953, he grew up loving comics, contributed to various fanzines and comic-themed publications, and in 1977, published the first issue of his own Omniverse, a comprehensive dissection of alternate-universe continuities. The next year, he began working for Marvel as a writer and assistant editor, and quickly proved himself to be an essential asset to the company, both as an employee, and as an all-around morale booster – his high spirits and penchant for practical jokes are the stuff of industry legend.
When discussing the greatest comic artists of all time --- or at least those who worked in mainstream American comics --- there are a few names that tend to be listed right at the top: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Will Eisner… and the man who was born on this day in 1927, Wallace Allan Wood.
On this day in 1927, Rossolav Andruskevitch was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He showed an aptitude for art from an early age, and after attending the High School Of Music & Art in New York City, serving a stint in the Army, enrolling at the Cartoonists And Illustrators School (now known as SVA), and shortening his professional name to Ross Andru, he launched himself into a career in comics that would span six decades, and establish him as one of the industry's finest craftsmen.
Legendary writer/editor Len Wein was born on this day in 1948. Over the course of a career that began in 1968, he built a reputation as one of the most reliable and consistent creators the medium has ever seen, and he was one of the first of a generation of creators that set out to work in the comics industry instead of simply treating it as stopgap employment, making the leap from the fan press to major publishers in the late 1960s, alongside contemporaries such as Marv Wolfman and Gerry Conway.
Over the course of his career he's written some of comics' best-loved storylines, created and/or developed a number of the medium's most memorable characters, and been a constant and friendly presence at conventions and fan gatherings, known for his clever plot twists, infectious smile, neatly-trimmed beard, and neatly-turned phrases.
There are a number of names that get thrown around when discussing comics' great artists, but Charles Vess is one who stands alone from the pack, occupying a whole category of the conversation unto himself. His work is immediately recognizable, his voice and personality shining through in every project – depicting impossible worlds in a naturalistic way, using a craftsman's eye and skill to channel unbridled imagination onto paper, creating fantastic images that never fail to evoke sincere human emotion.
Wayne Boring was born on this day in 1905, and though his name isn't often trotted out these days when comic fans make "all time greatest" lists, he played a hugely important role in the development of the DC universe, and created a look for Superman that would define the character for the post-war generation.
Bill Sienkiewicz is one of the unquestioned greats of the comic medium, a creator who, over his long and stories career, has constantly pushed the limits of sequential art, blending media, blurring boundaries between seemingly disparate techniques, and creating work that's endlessly innovative and instantly identifiable. And his work hasn't been limited to comics – he's painted cover art for best-selling albums, created animation design, illustrated trading cards, and co-created picture books.
Now he's contributed to a multi-media "post-digital" project entitled H8 Society: How An Atomic Fart Saved The World that combines his visuals with an original sci-fi/comedy ebook by the postmodern duo known as 2Dans. The project also includes a collection of 26 original songs from independent musical artists. It's an ambitiously unorthodox enterprise, and on the eve of its release, we got the chance to sit with Bill and discuss his contribution to the project, his stylistic choices, the balance of artistry and reality, and all manner of other things.
When the first issue of Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifolgi's Hinterkind hit the stands in 2013, this tale of humans and mythological creatures battling one another in a post-apocalyptic future immediately found a passionate and vocal fan base, and became a modern-day example of the offbeat genre-blending fantasy that has become a trademark of the Vertigo line from day one.
Now, after 18 issues of giants and faeries and dragons and other fantastical insanity, the series is drawing to a close, with leading lady Prosper Monday and her band of companions hurtling headlong into their greatest battle – and we're excited to bring you an exclusive five-page preview of the grand finale!