In interest of full disclosure: I am an unabashedly biased about Faith Erin Hicks, whose work I’ve loved for more than ten years now. Every since I found a mini-comic called Zombies Calling in the submissions when I was editor-in-chief at SLG (Slave Labor Graphics) Publishing, I knew she was a cartoonist who was going somewhere. I went on to edit the graphic novel, as well as Hicks’ second graphic novel The War at Ellsmere.
Hicks’ newest graphic novel is The Nameless City, a young adult graphic novel set in a fictional world based on 14th-century China, and the first in a trilogy. A boy from the provinces eager to learn more about the mysterious city and a scrappy girl who grew up within its walls forge an unlikely friendship, despite the rift between their people.
Once again, adults are panicking at the very idea that kids might be allowed to read a comic book that accurately portrays the lives of other kids their age. In this case it's happening in Seminole County, Florida, where schools and local media have discovered that Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's award-winning This One Summer might not be appropriate for Third Graders, and are using that to justify keeping it out of the hands of the high schoolers at whom it's primarily aimed, and for whom it's entirely appropriate.
2016 marks the tenth anniversary of FirstSecond, the graphic novel publisher that has been home to work from talents including Faith Erin Hicks, Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew, Scott McCloud, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki --- a huge range of writers and artists, telling stories from the subtlest biography to the most outlandish adventure. Eisner and Ignatz-nominated cartoonist Sam Sharpe will join the FirstSecond family with the graphic novel Mom: A Story of Love and Mental Illness, in 2018.
The book is a retelling of a key moment in Sharpe's life: the moment he first met his mother as an adult, following a childhood where she was absent due to her schizophrenia. The story details their reconnection, as Sharpe looks at how their relationship both before, during and after their meeting shaped who he is today as an artist and person. Told in black and white, the book sharply depicts mental illness, and family ties. ComicsAlliance spoke to Sharpe to learn how the story came together.
What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more --- but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance have got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, and so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new hirings, new podcasts, new art being made --- it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
Josephine Baker, a fascinating historical figure, will be the subject of an upcoming graphic novel written and drawn by C. Spike Trotman, best known as the publisher of the Smut Peddler anthologies. Black Pearl: The Graphic Life of Josephine Baker will be published in 2017 from First Second Books.
The Old West probably wasn't a great place to be a kid, but that's never stopped it seeming like the perfect place for kids to have adventures. That's certainly part of the appeal of Andy Hirsch's upcoming middle-grade graphic novel Varmints, from First Second. Originally created as a webcomic, Varmints sees the bickering brother-and-sister team of Opie and Ned using all their wits to take on a crime kingpin in an effort to avenge their Ma.
It's the end of the year! We made it through 2015, a year that brought all kinds of new, weird and brilliant comics into our lives. It's been a huge year for the industry, with the arrival of several new publishers, multiple new digital publishing concepts, and a whole slew of creative talent pushing themselves into the spotlight. With so much going on during 2015, there's one question you might have not thought about yet: what's coming up in 2016?
So much. There are new graphic novels, new publishing lines, new digital initiatives; it's all going on. And so, as we reach the Yearender, it's time to look ahead, to see what comics' future will bring.
Good news for fans of swashbuckling adventure: Before Tony Cliff's Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling is released in print next year, the first 90 pages are going to be serialized online to give readers a free sample of all the action and adventure that comes from a world-traveling soldier of fortune and her Janissary sidekick.
The story marks Miss Dirk's second adventure, following up on 2013's Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, and while readers will have to pick up the book for the complete 160-page story, the online version will feature four pages per week through March of 2016, starting tomorrow at DelilahDirk.com.
Cartoonist Eric Orchard, creator of the all-ages graphic novel Maddy Kettle from Top Shelf and the webcomic Fox and Duck, is launching his next project through First Second in 2016, Bera the One-Headed Troll, and we have an exclusive first look at the book's cover.
Ron Wimberly has been working in mainstream comics for more than ten years, on projects like Metal Hurlant, Lucifer, and the Hellblazer Special: Papa Midnite; but it wasn't until his 2012 graphic novel Prince of Cats that he really exploded. Since then, he's worked on the interiors of books including She-Hulk and Prophet, and produced some exceptional cover work and character redesigns. More recently he announced two new creator-owned books with Image.
ComicsAlliance spoke to Wimberly to hear more about his plans for the near future, including his collaboration with Saul Williams, and the imminent return of Gratuitous Ninja.
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