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Patrick A. Reed

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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I Like Bats: Producer Michael Uslan Remembers Batman ’89 And The Alternate Films That Could Have Been [Interview]

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Michael Uslan's name might not be known to most comic book fans, but he is probably one of the most important figures in the cinematic history of superheroes. He obtained the film rights to Batman in the late 1970s, spent ten years fighting to bring a project to fruition, and since the completion of Batman '89 twenty-five years ago has been credited as producer or executive producer on every major cinematic Bat-project since (including Batman: The Animated Series, Mask Of The Phantasm, the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Dark Knight blockbusters, and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice film). He's a life-long comic fan, a pop-cultural historian, a conversationalist, and an author (his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman, is an essential read for anyone interested in comics and comic-influenced media).

As the man largely responsible for Batman '89 existing at all, there's no person better suited to tell not just the story of the film's production, but the long and winding path the project had taken over the preceding decade on its way to success. But besides the unusual story behind Uslan's relationship with the Dark Knight on film, the producer told us about his broader goals for Batman and comic books in general, which went far beyond simply making a successful motion picture.

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‘King Kirby’ Takes The Stage: Fred Van Lente On His New Play About Jack Kirby’s Life [Interview]

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Jack Kirby is considered by many to be the single most influential figure in the development of American comics. He defined the parameters of superhero artwork in the 1940s, he helped invent romance comics in the 1950s, he was one of the primary architects of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s, he brought a sweeping cosmic sensibility to DC in the 1970s, and he played a vital role in the independent publisher boom of the 1980s. Kirby was astoundingly prolific, drawing thousands of pages and covers in a career that spanned seven decades, and created or co-created many of the world's most memorable and popular characters: The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Wasp, Ant-Man, the X-Men, Black Panther, the Silver Surfer, Galactus, the New Gods, Nick Fury, the Avengers, and countless others.

Theatre-goers in New York City will learn about the man behind those iconic creations when the new play King Kirby has its world-premiere engagement as part of the Comic Book Theater Festival in Brooklyn, starting June 20 and running through June 29. We spoke to playwright (and acclaimed comic writer) Fred Van Lente about the roots of the show, and his motivation in adapting Kirby's life for the stage.

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The Wicked + The Divine: The Entire Creative Team Talks Story, Art, Design, Color, Letters + Music [Interview]

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The creative team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie first made their mark with the 2006 Image Comics release Phonogram: Rue Britannia, a thrilling and thoughtful story about magic, music, modern sorcery, and how the records we listen to affect our lives and identities. The series combined cultural touchstones and urban fantasy trappings in a way that captured the imagination of critics and readers, and its success ultimately led to Gillen and McKelvie becoming separately and together some of comics' most fan-favorite creators on books like Journey Into Mystery, X-Men Season One, Suburban Glamour, a second series of Phonogram, and their rmuch-lauded collaboration on the recently concluded reinvention of Young Avengers.

This week, they're releasing the debut issue of their latest (and most ambitious) project: The Wicked + The Divine, an ongoing series from Image that blends together many of their favorite subjects: youthful reinvention, manifest deities, supernatural superpowers, and, of course, the transformative power of pop music. The first issue is both intriguing and exhilarating, depicting the adventure of a superfan as she rubs elbows with ancient gods who return every ninety years, this time in the form of gorgeous young people who become 21st century celebrities. At once sublimely understated and action-packed, the first issue grabs you instantly and leaves you anxious to read more.

ComicsAlliance connected with the entire W+D creative team of Gillen and McKelvie; designer Hannah Donovan; letterer Clayton Cowles; and colo(u)rist Matt Wilson for an in-depth conversation about the story they're telling, their collaborative process, and the artistic and cultural inspirations for the series. Along the way, we're revealing some previously unseen behind-the-scenes materials and an exclusive previews of The Wicked + The Divine #2.

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ReedPOP Goes In-Depth On Plans For New York Super Week [Interview]

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Last week, ReedPOP (the company behind New York Comic Con) announced that it would present an event called "New York Super Week" in October -- a ten-day festival of pop media events at venues all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. And while the initial press release was full of hype and excitement, and contained a few intriguing tastes of planned events (Neil DeGrasse Tyson! Podcasts! Concerts!), the announcement came with very little information. There was no language about pricing, ticketing, or other logistics. The just-launched Super Week website contains links to forms so retailers and restaurants/bars can sign up to offer special promotions in association with the festival, as well as a submission form for organizations and individuals to propose events -- but again, concrete details were light on the ground.

As might be expected, this has led to a variety of reactions from the comic and entertainment community. Many welcomed the idea of an expanded event, unbound by the confines of a convention center, while other conversations on websites and social media expressed skepticism about the motivation for crowd-sourcing venues and events, and commented that it seemed like an attempt for ReedPOP to monetize satellite events not actually organized by the company.

ComicsAlliance reached out to Matthew Wasowski, the Festival Director of Super Week, to ask for clarification on some of these issues, and get answers to a few of the questions that have arisen.

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Valiant Teams Up Coffee And Comics In Summer’s Weirdest Cross-Promotion

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Delicious iced beverages and primitive warriors with advanced alien technology aren't two things that most people immediately associate with one another, so I must confess to a few moments of confusion on reading this morning's press release from Valiant Entertainment, which announces a three-way promotional partnership between Valiant, comic retail behemoth Midtown Comics, and New York City coffee shop chain Oren's Daily Roast, to give away free comic books and create an X-O Manowar signature frozen green tea beverage.

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Shazam! Comics Alliance And Friends Celebrate The Birthday Of C.C. Beck, Creator Of The Original Captain Marvel

"Marvel Family Feud" by Kenny Keil
"Marvel Family Feud" by Kenny Keil

C.C. Beck was born on June 8, 1910, attended art school in Chicago, and started his career in pulp magazines with Fawcett Publications in the early 1930s. When the popularity of pulps began to fade, he moved over work on Fawcett's line of comics – and in 1939 he co-created a character that originally bore the name "Captain Thunder", but was re-dubbed Captain Marvel shortly before the release of his first adventure. In that initial story, young newsboy Billy Batson meets a great wizard, and is given the power to transform into "The World's Mightiest Mortal" when he says one magic word...Shazam!

Today, one day after what would have been his 104th birthday, w've reached out to a few of today's best comics creators to ask for their thoughts and impressions on Beck and his creations.

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Herb Trimpe: A 75th Birthday Retrospective!

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Yesterday, May 26th, Herb Trimpe celebrated his 75th birthday. The prolific talent is often referred to these days as the artist of Wolverine's first appearance, and while that is certainly one of his many accomplishments, it's far from the whole story – he's compiled an singularly impressive CV over a comics career that spans seven decades, and built a reputation as one of the medium's most distinctive and reliable professionals.

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Filed Under: Category: Art, Longform, Opinion

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