If you’re like some of the ComicsAlliance staff, you’re a fetishist for expensive hardcover books that are available only in absurdly limited numbers and packaged in exquisite slipcases and loaded with supplemental material and artwork. With the gift-giving season rapidly winding down, people like us are looking for those last-minute gifts that are so expensive and so impressively large that they could never actually seem like you totally forgot to get your shopping (or blogging) done in a timely and responsible manner. The best sort of gift along those lines is of course the deluxe edition comic or art book, and I’ve put together a list of some great ones that you can still find at your local comics stores and online booksellers before the clock runs out on the season.
NOTE ON PRICES: We have included the list prices for each item. Because of holiday sales, you will very likely find discounts at your local comics shops, Amazon and elsewhere.
Great cover art requires a special set of talents; a gift for composition, an eye for striking color or attention-grabbing contrast, and a knack for conveying story or mood in a single image.
ComicsAlliance continues its look back at some of the best cover work in 2013 from some of the most talented cover artists in the industry. This week we shine the spotlight on Rafael Albuquerque (Animal Man), Jenny Frison (Revival), Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes), and Jock (Wolverine).
Even the most talented and prolific cartoonists can hit hard times.
Case in point: Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai is in need of some financial help after his wife, Sharon, who has suffered from a debilitating illness for quite a while now, had a long stay in the hospital. Sharon's back home now, but she needs 24-hour in-home care and several costly medications. The Cartoon Art Professional Society, a group of comics creators, has organized an effort to help.
If you've been following Guillermo del Torro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain series in novel form or its comic book adaptation from Dark Horse Comics by David Lapham, Mike Huddleston and Dan Jackson, the moment you've been waiting for has come: FX has officially ordered 13 episodes of a The Strain TV series in July of 2014. We say "waiting for" because fans are almost certainly excited, but also full of a degree of dread. After all, The Strain's vampires are among the most vile versions of the monsters ever imagined. Is cable sufficiently ready to watch monsters made sexy by Twilight, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood -- what's the word veterinarians use? -- violently eliminate an ammonia-scented spray while scarfing down humans?
Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have each earned a level of success that goes way beyond comics. Gaiman is practically a household name these days, to the point where even my grandmother is familiar with his work. Dave McKean’s art is known throughout the western world. But it doesn’t have much to do with comics. It’s the other stuff that’s gotten them where they are -- the prose novels, Doctor Who, children’s books, advertising, album covers, and film projects. There are plenty of people who know of Gaiman or McKean but don’t know anything about comics. Comics can only provide some fame, and the levels of notoriety that Gaiman and McKean have surpass the borders of our little area of popular culture. But it began with comics.
On sale now from Dark Horse is a hardcover collection of Sabertooth Swordsman by Damon Gentry (Eerie) and Aaron Conley (Prophet), a story that ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims praised as "a big, sweeping adventure with new, strange twists" and "one of the most fun comics I’ve read in a long while."
And yet Way still teases us. In a series of tweets over the weekend, the writer posted items from his Umbrella Academy (once known as The Umbrella Brigade) sketchbook -- of early shots of the team, unused characters, and more. Check out what he had to offer after the jump.
Around Halloween, it's always fun to read stories about ghosts and spirits, and personally, my favorite kind of spooky story usually revolves around a team of hard-boiled toughs slugs it out with monsters in a more action-oriented tale. Justin Aclin and Nicolás Selma's S.H.O.O.T. First, currently out from Dark Horse, fits that mold, but there's a twist: Rather than fighting the monsters on their own supernatural terms, the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce battles exactly the monsters they don't believe in, gunning them down with guns powered by anger and atheism.
It's an interesting twist on a classic concept, so to find out more, I talked to Aclin about his motivations for writing the series, the reaction he's expecting from religious readers, and how personal the stories of atheism guns are for him.
Back in those happy days before you could turn on the TV and hear a canned laughtrack echoing around some angular goofball in a Flash t-shirt, Evan Dorkin's The Eltingville Clubwas delivering the funniest and most brutally sharp portrayal of the dregs of fandom that you could find. Now, after 20 years of comics stories and an animated pilot in 2002, it looks like a new two-issue miniseries from Dark Horse finally is the end of the Eltingville Club!
At New York Comic-Con, we talked about the origins of the series in hate mail from Justice League fans, what the reaction is, and Dorkin's feelings on the animated pilot.
Most creators would probably consider a con to be successful if they had one big project announced. This weekend at NYCC, Fred Van Lente, who's already had a big year with G.I. Joe, Brain Boy and Archer &Armstrong, managed to land himself two. Not only will he be part of Dynamite's Gold Key relaunch as the writer of Magnus: Robot Fighter, he'll also be taking over Dark Horse's Conan the Barbarian at #26.
I sat down with Van Lente at NYCC's Artist's Alley to find out more about these projects, as well as why G.I. Joe #3 is the best single issue of the year -- and why he's leaving that book after #11.
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