Chip Zdarsky is clearly his own man. While other comic creators took their places behind their tables at Toronto's Fan Expo comic convention this past weekend, the co-creator of Sex Criminals set up his own independent 'Zdarscon' in a park across the street -- in the shadow of the CN Tower and a short distance from the Blue Jays baseball game at the Rogers Centre. Even his co-author Matt Fraction wasn't invited.
The day started with torrential rain, followed by blazing heat, but Zdarsky was attended at all times by Alex Hoffman, the life model who provides the likeness for his Sex Criminal character Jon. ComicsAlliance found Zdarsky seated on a sun-baked armchair on a wheeled platform, with his recently won Eisner Award bolted to a table. We grabbed five minutes with the writer/artist to ask... why, Chip? Why?
While cosplayers are present at virtually every major convention celebrating comics, gaming, fantasy and science fiction, it’s Atlanta’s Dragon*Con that has become a a kind of Mecca to which most of the scene’s most dedicated hobbyists and professionals pilgrimage every year. The cosplay phenomenon can be compared to that of b-boying, where the primary inspiration is expressing creativity, performing and earning props from other people like themselves. You can see what we mean in this gallery of fabulous photography by Pat Loika -- convention photo maestro and host of the popular Loikamania podcast -- whose shots from Dragon*Con express just how much fun cosplayers are having without us.
Comics-industry insiders say Comic-Con International's history with San Diego is too well-established for the convention's organizers to ever pick up and move to another city, but many are fretting about just that after a tax plan that would have paid for an expansion to San Diego's convention center went bust.
Last month, the Fourth District Court of Appeals struck down a hotel levy that would have been the main funding mechanism for improvements to the convention center. The San Diego City Council decided last week not to appeal that ruling, leaving the convention center in quite a fix. The expansion plan was a big reason why Comic-Con re-upped with San Diego through 2016.
When Mondo, the merchandising arm of the celebrated Alamo Drafthouse theater known for selling super-cool movie posters, announced that it would host a convention in Austin, Texas, September 20-21, it wasn't entirely clear what the focus would be. Movies? Artists? Movies about artists?
As it turns out, it's all of the above. In addition to hosting the world-premiere screening of the new documentary about the British comics anthology 2000AD, Future Shock!, the weekend event will also host an array of comic artists, many of which have contributed their talents to film. Some of those artists, including Alex Ross have contributed art to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Iron Giant.
Vertical Inc. publishes manga about eating disorders, adorable cat antics, 18th century prostitutes, and murderous high school cults. It brings avant-garde creators like Kyoko Okazaki and Moyoco Anno to Western eyes right alongside classic Tezuka work and more mainstream shonen fare like Knights of Sidonia and Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. I point to Vertical when friends ask me how to get into female manga creators, how to get into horror manga, how to get into josei (women’s) manga, or how to just take a break from the cycle of standard sci-fi and fantasy.
Vertcal is utterly singular and entirely necessary to the comics industry, and it was to the Vertical booth that I sped once the doors to the San Diego Comic-Con Exhibit Hall were open this year. After examining their new releases (I recommend In Clothes Called Fat, another glance into female anxiety courtesy of Moyoco Anno), I sat down with Ed Chavez, Vertical’s marketing director, to talk about past successes, present realities, and future plans.
Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions. In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we’ve discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.
The comics, sci-fi, gaming and fantasy communities’ talents for homemade disguises, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics are definitely on display this weekend at Boston Comic Con, and we were there to check out the show as well as capture some of the stellar cosplay on display.
Of all the titles in DC Comics' "Digital-First" initiative, Batman Beyond 2.0 has been possibly the biggest surprise. Kyle Higgins and artist Thony Silas launched a series that expands the beloved Batman Beyond animated series storyline from the 1990s in exciting and unexpected ways, without losing the elements that made the Warner Bros. Animation original so popular, and fans have noticed and responded. The story of young Batman Terry McGuinness and his mentor Bruce Wayne and their adventures in Neo-Gotham, DC recently upgraded the Batman Beyond 2.0 from bi-weekly to weekly, and as of Chapter #25, Higgins brought his C.O.W.L. collaborator Alec Siegel and venerable comics veterans Phil Hester and Craig Rousseau onboard the series for what the team has promised to be a particularly dramatic new movement in the young series, one that includes a return of the Phantasm, one of Batman: The Animated Series' most rarely scene yet fan-favorite foes.
During a few spare minutes as San Diego Comic-Con, we stopped by the DC booth to chat with the Higgins and Siegel about their love for the Batman Beyond characters, their collaborative process, "Mark of the Phantasm", and their further plans for the book's future.
March: Book One was easily one of the best graphic novels of 2013. Not only did it begin a story of immense historical consequence-- the mid-20th Century fight for civil rights in the American South-- it also told that story from a strong, personal perspective. That perspective came from U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who serves as the reader's guide through some very weighty material.
Now, the pressure's on. Lewis, his co-writer Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell are getting set to release March: Book Two in early 2015, and their challenge is to follow up a lauded text -- one that's been used in a good many classrooms since publication -- with a second chapter that gets more violent and shows just how difficult the struggle for civil rights really was.
ComicsAlliance chatted with Powell and Aydin for a few moments at Comic-Con International in San Diego to talk about that challenge, the difficulties of depicting such intense violence, and creating what's being regarded as an official historical text.
Lucy Knisley is a long-time favorite of ours here at ComicsAlliance – she's produced an astoundingly diverse body of work that includes travelogue comics, pop-culture commentaries, NSFW sex-positive prints, Harry Potter fan art, Adventure Time stories, and is probably best-known for Relish, her acclaimed "cooking memoir" graphic novel from First Second books.
Last month, First Second announced her next original graphic novel, an autobiographical wedding planning story entitled Something New. While at San Diego Comic-Con last month, we got the chance to sit down with Kinsley and talk about her artistic inspirations, her thoughts on attending the convention, and her recent and upcoming works.
Despite all the big publishing news to come out around or during last month's San Diego Comic-Con, the new comic book that remains most anticipated by many superhero fans -- and by others who don't yet know they're waiting for it -- is Batgirl. Perhaps the one DC or Marvel comic that really does deserve a new #1 issue, Batgirl's youthful and stylish revamp at the hands of Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Brenden Fletcher was met with massive electronic response when it was announced just ahead of the San Diego show, generating all but countless pieces of fan-art as well as some criticism from current readers for seemingly abandoning the darker aesthetic values of the three-year-old New 52 title.
There's a lot to unpack about the new Batgirl and we only had a few minutes with her new creative team in which to do it at SDCC. Read on for remarks by series co-writer and layout artist Cameron Stewart, co-writer Brenden Fletcher, and finishing artist (and, perhaps, spiritual guide) Babs Tarr.
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