Steve Gerber was one of comics' most individual talents – an acclaimed writer whose career spanned four decades, an outspoken voice for creative rights, and, of course, as he's inevitably known today, the man who made an ill-tempered cigar-smoking duck into one of Marvel's most unforgettable characters.
He broke into the field in the early '70s as part of a "new guard" of Marve
That fan response to Marvel's Spider-Gwen one-shot Edge of Spider-Verse #2 was so profound can be chalked to a number of important factors that we've covered before, but perhaps none as crucial as the exhilarating visuals created by artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. The duo earned praise from us and others for introducing a kind of crackling, almost reckless sense of energy and fun into an already aesthetically diverse Marvel Universe (or alternate universe, as the case may be).
But this came as no surprise to readers of FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, the Vertigo series Rodriguez and Renzi launched last year with writer Simon Oliver. FBP's mantra is "the impossible is always possible" thanks to its universe's occasional and frequently catastrophic breakdown of all known laws of physics. It's a premise that allows artists to be artists, and Rodriguez and Renzi dive wildly into their talents for hugely expressive, hypercolored images that -- along with routinely gorgeous covers by Nathan Fox -- have made FBP one of the most visually compelling American comics around at the moment.
Listen, all you had to do to get me excited about Gerry Duggan and Shawn Crystal's upcoming Arkham Manor was tell me exactly what it's about. The idea of housing all of Gotham City's most notorious arch-criminals right there in Batman's ancestral home is completely bonkers and incredibly intriguing, and I am exactly the kind of person who is going to be stoked for that from day one.
If, however, there was anything that could get me more excited, it's seeing an amazing variant cover for the first issue by illustrator, animation artist and comic book storyteller Eric Canete. It's a phenomenal image, and while the issue won't be out until next month, Canete took to Twitter to post not only the cover, but his whole process from start to finish.
Since the launch of DC Comics' New 52 back in 2011, Superman's costume has been basically trunkless, causing consternation among many hardcore fans. Best known for his contributions to DC: The New Frontier, The Spirit and IDW's The Rocketeer, cartoonist J. Bone has concocted a costume that is almost exactly the opposite of the characters armor-like New 52 togs: They're pretty much just trunks and a cape.
If you spend as much time thinking about comics as I do, you probably find yourself creating hypothetical-based thought experiments about super-team line-ups and such. Usually I only share them with Chris Sims, who then goes on to turn them into an Ask Chris and get paid for my idea. [cough]
But a few weeks ago, I took to Twitter to ask people who they would recruit for an all-female, seven-member Justice League. The response at the time was great, with lots of interesting variation in potential team rosters, but then the idea got a bump again when artists started posting drawings of their ideal Justice Ladies teams on Twitter and Tumblr.
I've collected nine such line-ups, including my own, which kicked everything off, but you can check my Twitter feed to see all the responses I received.
If you were to pull a random sampling of professionals from across the comics industry and poll them on their favorite modern-day creators, Mike Mignola's name would doubtlessly rank near the top. Since he burst on the scene at Marvel in the early 1980s, pencilling an obscure limited series about a talking space raccoon, he's matured brilliantly – from his seminal work at DC Comics (pencilling books including World Of Krypton, Cosmic Odyssey, and Batman: Gotham By Gaslight), to his work at Topps, Marvel, and other companies in the early '90s (on Ironwolf, Bram Stoker's Dracula, various X-books, and many other titles), to his move into creator-owned comics with the mighty Hellboy, he's maintained a unique voice and an immediately recognizable art style, bettering himself with each successive project, evolving and refining his voice at every opportunity.
Whether it's baby Hellboy eating a forbidden breakfast, a snake and a magician flying kites, or a robotic super-spy with a detachable head in the employ of President Lincoln, there's a dry-yet-absurd tone to Mignola stories that drips with the glee of innovation and possibility, yet manages to keep it all contained within straight-faced third-person storytelling. And so, today, a few days after his 54th birthday, we're excited to celebrate Mike Mignola's career with a few fellow fans (who also happen to be notable comic-makers in their own right).
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.
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.
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