Since his well-publicized walk-out from WWE the night after last year's Royal Rumble event, there's really only been one place where fans were sure they could see former WWE Champion CM Punk: Comics. Not only was it recently announced that he'd be writing for both Marvel and Vertigo, but until the story caught up with his real-life departure from the company, he was a regular character in WWE Superstars, the truly bizarre, nominally wrestling-themed comic being published by Papercutz. Now, it seems that is no longer the case.
As reported by WrestlingInc.com, WWE is removing Punk from the comic for all future printings, presumably replacing him with a different character in what has to be one of the weirdest retcons of all time.
Charming all-ages comics that teach important lessons about gender -- while not actually being about gender at all -- are a unique and powerful thing. Luke Pearson’s Hilda books from Nobrow Press/Flying Eye Books are stories about a young girl named Hilda. She could have been any gender at all within the framework of the plots, but the choice to have a female lead in these stories serves a powerful purpose that extends beyond the page.
The title of the first book in the series, Hildafolk, is a play on the Icelandic huldufólk. Huldufólk are elves in Icelandic mythology thought to live in the rocky landscape: they sometimes had tiny houses built for them by Icelanders. The main character of Hildafolk is a young girl named Hilda who lives in a rocky, mountainous area with her mom and her pet fox-with-antlers, Twig. Quite quickly, Hilda’s world is established with a population of mythical creatures. Hilda is a risk-taker and wants to explore her world; she clearly considers herself an adventurer as well as a documentarian.
In common with a fairly significant chunk of the comics community, Brian K. Vaughan was in New York on September 11th, 2001, and witnessed the events of that day first-hand. Sublimating his experiences into his art, Vaughan penned Ex Machina, a modern masterpiece that used an alternate version of 9/11 to explore America's relationships with its heroes. But just as the long-term effects of September 11th are still palpable, Vaughan has continued to explore the anxieties of post-9/11 American throughout his work.
Last week, I mentioned that Lost in the Andes, Fantagraphics' amazing new book Donald Duck stories by Carl Barks, had one of the weirdest Christmas stories I've ever read. And for me, that's saying something: Christmas comics are one of the few things I go out of my way to collect regardless of who the creators are and who puts them out. I love the darn things, and over the years, I've read hundreds of 'em, going back through my favorites every year.
And even with all that, The Golden Christmas Tree might just take the fruitcake. After alll, most of the other Christmas stories I've read don't involve a harvest of tears or someone turning into a woodchipper.
It probably won't surprise anyone if I say that Archie Comics has published a lot of Christmas stories over the past 60 years, but you have to understand that when I say "a lot of Christmas comics," I mean a truly ridiculous amount. Just to give you an idea, there are two separate characters in the Archie universe -- Jingles and Sugarplum -- who are magical Christmas imps who use their powers to give the gang a hard time during the holidays. They have done stories like that so many times that they actually needed a spare.
And as you might imagine from the fact that I just used the phrase "magical Christmas imps," Archie's holiday stories tend to be a little weird. But none of them -- and I say this as someone with two paperbacks' worth of Archie Christmas comics -- skew quite as far into madness as the one where Little Archie meets the alien Santa Claus from Planet Peewee.
Outside of David Uzumeri, who spent a good portion of last week learning about Spiral Dynamics just so he could talk about Pax Americana in excruciating detail, I'm as big a fan of Grant Morrison as you're likely to find. For me, JLA, New X-Men, his seven year run on Batman and even the 11 issues of Aztek that he co-wrote with Mark Millar are easily on my list of the all-time greats. That said, if we're being completely honest with each other, I'm not that keen on his work outside of mainstream superheroes. I can take or leave The Invisibles and The Filth didn't do much for me, and while I like Joe the Barbarian a lot, that book basically has Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe in it, so it barely even counts.
As a result, I wasn't really paying attention to Annihilator, the book Morrison and Frazer Irving are doing through Legendary, until the aforementioned Uzumeri was singing its praises. Curiosity got the better of me, so today I sat down with the first four issues to see if it was worth all the hubbub, and the result was that I liked it a lot. It's a bizarre and compelling sci-fi epic where Irving is doing some of the best work of his considerably impressive career -- and on top of that, it is quite possibly the most Grant Morrison comic of all time.
Noelle Stevenson is the future. Nimona, her celebrated and fantastical webcomic about a villain's shapeshifting sidekick, will be published as a graphic novel by HarperCollins in 2015; Lumberjanes, the Boom Studios series about a group of girl adventurers that she co-writes with Grace Ellis, has been promoted from miniseries to ongoing; Marvel has just announced that she's writing a story for the upcoming Thor Annual #1; and she's a writer on Disney’s Wander Over Yonder cartoon.
You're going to see a lot of Noelle Stevenson in the coming year. She's an outspoken, accomplished, and driven talent, and it's no surprise that everyone is suddenly taking notice. To better understand one of the industry’s most promising talents, ComicsAlliance sat down with Stevenson to talk about the indie scene, going legit, and the trials of a changing industry.
Q: What's the best modern comics run that not enough people have read or talk about? -- @talestoenrage
A: It's a sad fact of the comics industry, but there are a ton of great stories out there that never really get the recognition that they deserve, to the point where every time something new and exciting comes out, I always end up thinking something along the lines of "they better not Thor: The Mighty Avenger this one up." But while there are comics that get canceled too soon and long-running epics like Usagi Yojimbo that never seem to hog the spotlight, there's only one that really comes to mind when I start thinking about the truly buried treasures.
If you want to talk about the absolute best of the best of the under-appreciated comics, then you want to talk about Paul Grist's Jack Staff.
The Humble Bundle continues to be one of the best values in comic books, and as you might expect, this week they've turned their attention to the morespoooooky side of things. And by that, I mainly mean comics where Pinocchio uses his endless wooden nose to stab vampires.
In addition to several books without pictures -- which I find strange and frightening -- the current Horror Book bundle added a bunch of horror comics today, including The Mocking Dead by Fred Van Lente and Max Dunbar, a volume of Valiant's Shadowman by Peter Milligan and Roberto de la Torre, the first omnibus of Dark Horse's Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, the first two issues of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla's Afterlife With Archie, and more.
The Dirty Diamonds booth at this year’s Small Press Expo was impossible to miss, both because of its bright signage and because of its eye-catching display of tote bags, zines about Weird Al Yankovic, and, of course, the Dirty Diamonds all-woman anthology.
Brighter still are its co-editors, Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips, who were among the most ardent lovers of comics in the room -- and with good reason. The Dirty Diamonds anthology series is their passion project, collecting semi-autobiographical comics by women since 2011, and it's enjoyed particular success of late. Their recent Kickstarter was a hit; the Library of Congress singled Dirty Diamonds out for inclusion in its permanent collection; and the contributor list for the latest volume reads like an Ignatz Award nominations list from 2020.
Eager to learn more, ComicsAlliance hunkered down behind their bustling booth to talk the future of crowdfunding, apartments full of books, and just how rad the women of comics really are.
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