We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
So it turns out that, defying any expectations that we may have had five years ago, Rocket Raccoon and Groot are the most popular characters in the most popular movie of the summer. In other words, get used to seeing them literally everywhere -- starting with 20 of Marvel's comics for November, where the talking tree and his surly procyonid pal are taking over with a series of variant covers.
Even better, the variants are homages to classic Marvel covers, ranging from classics like Captain America's reappearance in the Marvel Universe back in Avengers #4 to one of the most obscure and self-referential homages that I've ever seen. It's actually pretty amazing.
This is something of a golden age for pop culture-themed art books. It seems like every week, a new volume comes on the market that illuminates some aspect of the history of popular art. In fact, there's so many great titles out there right now that it can be tough to figure out which are worth your time -- so we figured it would be a good idea to shine the ComicsAlliance spotlight on a few of the best things we've recently read.
The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble And The Zen Of Animation Design is a sweeping retrospective of Maurice Noble's art and legacy. It also offers a thought-provoking treatise on principles of animation design, compiled by author Tod Polson from Noble's notes.
The Finnish postal service launched its most successful limited edition stamps of all time last week -- featuring a pair of pertly muscular buttocks and a naked man being straddled by a biker. Advance orders for the stamp came in from 178 countries worldwide, and people lined up on launch day like the stamps had an Apple logo on them.
The reason for the stamps' appeal -- beyond the objective appeal of buttocks -- was the artist responsible, one of the nation's most successful comic book creators: the legendary homoerotic artist Tom of Finland. In the first of a very important series of articles exploring comics' treatment of hot dudes, which we're calling 'The New Hotness', ComicsAlliance explores the work and legacy of Tom.
While his name isn't hugely well-known outside fan circles, the late Archie Goodwin played a huge role in the world of comics for over four decades. Born on September 8th, 1937, he started out writing stories for Warren Publishing in the early '60s before moving on to key editorial roles first at Marvel and then at DC.
His good humor and kindness provided an inspiration to generations of fans and creators, and his influence is felt to this day – and in that spirit, a trio of our favorite creators reached out to offer tributes to the man and his legacy:
It's really starting to look like 2014 is the year of the giant, oversized offbeat anthology comic. Not only have we gotten books like Cosmic Scoundrels and Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories, but today, Boom! Studios announced the latest offering from their creator-owned imprint, the Boom! Box 2014 Mix Tape, and it already looks amazing.
Clocking in at an oversized 8.5 x 11", the Mix Tape is set to include a pretty impressive roster, including covers by Teen Dog creator Jake Lawrence and a new Lumberjanes story written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, and a new story from the award-winning team behind Adventure Time, Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb. And if that wasn't enough, we have an exclusive look at character designs for four short stories by Rian Sygh, including Teen Prez, which may actually be the Sensational Character Find of 2014.
A lot of people fell in love with Rocket Raccoon this summer thanks to the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, so this seems like a great time to pick up some art featuring the movie's angry anthropomorphic star -- and to help out his co-creator Bill Mantlo at the same time.
Mantlo was severely injured when he was hit by a car in 1992, and has needed constant and costly care ever since. The prominence of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians brought welcome attention to Mantlo's condition, and comic artists have stepped up -- in conjunction with Multiversity Comics -- to help fund his care with online auctions of original art featuring Rocket and other Mantlo creations (yes, including ROM Spaceknight). All proceeds will go to the Mantlo family.
The ComicsAlliance staff is a diverse lineup writers, editors, artists, photographers and designers, but before we’re any of those things we’re simply fans. Appreciators. Collectors. Almost every day we share with each other via Instagram all the great books, toys, artwork, apparel, and other beautiful and/or inescapably cool objects we collect almost ceaselessly in comics stores, at conventions, and from all kinds of sources all over North America (and sometimes beyond). Displaying (i.e. showing off) some rad swag typically inspires everyone to one-up their pop-archeologist game in the never ending quest to find awesome stuff, and simply posting the week’s new comics usually causes someone to discover a new title or artist, which in turn inspires a whole new line of excavation.
In the past we’ve published photos of our “con hauls” here on CA and the resulting discussion with readers — i.e. collector kudos — has always been fun, so with the ComicsAlliance Collection we’re going to do it every week. But more importantly, we want to see your collection too. Show us new additions to your collections by using the hashtag #CAcollection on Instagram and we’ll embed the best stuff alongside our own recent acquisitions. And please do follow us @ComicsAlliance.
It goes without saying that there are a lot of great superhero comics out there, but it's always fun (and a little bit of a bummer) to see the great comics that didn't come out. Not every pitch is accepted, after all, and while a lot of them never leave the planning stages, there a few that make it all the way to being drawn, and sometimes, they are truly fantastic.
Case in point: A ten-apage story that animation artist Louie del Carmen and illustrator Bobby Chiu created a few years back for "a proposed Superman anthology" that never saw print. It did, however, make it all the way to roughs, and this week, del Carmen posted them on his website, telling the full story of Superman and Krypto teaming up to bust an illegal interstellar zoo. And it is pretty great.
By this point, you've probably noticed that we here at ComicsAlliance are already huge fans of the new Batgirl of Burnside costume making its debut next month in Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr's Batgirl #35, but there are some out there who don't like it. For a few eaders, the stylish leather jacket and snapped cape just seems so much less practical and realistic than the heavily seamed skintight spandex, leading them to express genuine concern about Batgirl's effectiveness as a crimefighter.
Fortunately for those compassionate souls, Cameron Stewart has made a concession in the form of a variant cover for December's Batgirl #37, featuring a new variant of Batgirl's costume that is more practical.