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Hire This Woman: Writer Erica Schultz

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Writer Erica Schultz has worked on her creator-owned crime comic, M3, as well as The Unauthorized Biography of Winston Churchill: A Documentary with previous Hire This Woman featured artist Claire Connelly. Next up she has Revenge: The Secret Origin of Emily Thorne coming out for Marvel and ABC Studios, which readers can see a preview of at San Diego Comic-Con next week.

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You Don’t Want Your Mom Around During Your Male Power Fantasy: Gene Yang Talks ‘The Shadow Hero’ [Interview]

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Even though it only came out today from First Second, Gene Yang and Sonny Liew's The Shadow Hero is already one of my favorite graphic novels of the year. Through their revival of an obscure Golden Age character called the Green Turtle, Yang and Liew have gone back to tell a story about one of the forgotten heroes of the first wave of American comics, blending a story full of action and adventure with rumors about the true motivations behind what may have been the first Asian-American superhero.

To find out more, I spoke to Yang about how he discovered the Green Turtle, what he hopes comes out of his work on a public domain character, and why he focused on the Green Turtle's relationship with his mom.

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Lady Killer: Joëlle Jones’ New Project Finds The Happy Medium Between Homemaking and Homicide

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Some of the stories Americans love most are those that put the lie to our prevailing visions of ourselves. The work of David Lynch, who peels back the the saccharine layers of suburbia to reveal unspeakable horrors within; Mad Men, with its systematic deconstruction of everything we think we believe about success in this country; and Breaking Bad, which shows us how even the most seemingly wholesome members of society can be monsters waiting to break free.

If you think all that sounds well and good but probably a little too stuffy, Josie Schuller would probably agree with you. Josie is a young housewife living post-war America. She sells makeup door-to-door, she takes care of her twin kids and the family dog, she makes dinner for her husband, and she suffers her endlessly disapproving mother-in-law. That is, when she's not murdering people in astonishingly violent ways.

Josie's a highly trained assassin, and the paradox that is her life comes courtesy of cartoonist Joélle Jones and co-writer Jamie S. Rich, whose new Dark Horse series Lady Killer invites readers into a weirdly alluring story that follows a grand tradition of subverting Americana, but with a uniquely wicked, black comedy twist and what Josie might even say is a woman's touch.

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Walking Into The Worst Days: Jen Van Meter Talks ‘The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage’

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Valiant Comics is well into its Valiant First initiative, a months-long event in which the company debuts a slew of #1 issues. The event ends with a bang in September, with the debut of The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage by writer Jen Van Meter and artist Roberto De La Torre.

The premise of the new series is somewhat similar to The Second Life of Doctor Mirage, the 1993 series that featured the title character and his wife solving supernatural mysteries. This new version has ghostly sleuthing in it, too, but the 2014 Doctor Mirage is definitely not the same character. Dr. Shen Fong is a highly skilled professional working through some personal demons of her own. We sat down with Van Meter for a long chat about her approach to the book. Also, Nazi wizards.

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Unrepentant Evil Bastards: Writer Paul Allor Reveals The Secret History of Cobra In ‘G.I. Joe’ [Interview]

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When Paul Allor's "secret history of Cobra" story was first announced by G.I. Joe comics publisher IDW, I immediately took notice. The idea of a long history for Cobra that would see ninja and pirate versions of Cobra Commander was something so amazing that I was shocked it had never been done before. It turned out, however, that this long history was only a part of what Allor would get to do, moving from that complicated secret history into a lean, thrilling adventure for the G.I Joe team.

Now, with Allor's run alongside artists Steve Kurth, Alex Cal, S.L. Gallant, Shawn Lee, Robert Atkins and Chris Evenhuis being collected this week in a paperback called G.I. Joe: Siren Song, we spoke to Allor to find out about how much of Cobra Commander's secret history was true, why he built the story around a mother trying to save her child, and just what it was about Big Boa that needed a comeback.

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Hire This Woman: Cartoonist And Letterer Aubrey Aiese

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Illustrator Aubrey Aiese is the letterer of beloved new series Lumberjanes as well as some of the Adventure Time comics and graphic novels from Boom! Studios. She's also an artist who has made her own mini-comics and co-writing a comic with Zachary Sterling.

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Aw Yeah Everything! Art Baltazar & Franco Discuss Expanding Their All-Ages Comics Empire [Interview]

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After spending decades trying to prove that comics "aren't just for kids anymore", the last few years have seen a number of creators and publishers making a concentrated push to bring younger readers back into the industry and create titles that appeal a wide spectrum of audiences. Art Baltazar and Franco are on the forefront of this movement. They're a pair of artists and writers with distinct styles that combine to convey a single, unmistakable, irresistible persona: the "Baltazar/Franco" name is an automatic seal of approval for kids and parents alike.

Tiny Titans ran for 50 issues (plus a three-issue miniseries that co-starred Little Archie), and in the two-and-a-half years since that title wrapped up, Baltazar and Franco have been insanely prolific, producing the 12-issue follow-up series Superman Family Adventures for DC, the Itty Bitty Hellboy limited series for Dark Horse, the Lil' Battlestar Galactica one-shot for Dynamite, the Captain Action Cat title for Dark Horse and Dynamite, drawn innumerable covers for various publishers, and published more than a half-dozen issues of their own crowdfunded original ongoing series, Aw Yeah Comics. The duo have also founded the Aw Yeah Comics! comic shop in Illinois, and partnered with Mark Waid on a second comic shop in Indiana.

And in the midst of all this hubbub, they took some time out to speak with ComicsAlliance about their brand new Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse limited series and talk about their other projects – past, present, and future.

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Let’s Broaden Our Minds: Novelist Craig Shaw Gardner On Adapting Batman ’89 For Prose [Interview]

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Though it might seem a bit strange from today's perspective, tie-in novels used to be a huge part of genre movie merchandising – they gave fans a way to take home the experience of their favorite films in the days before the home video explosion, and provided studios with an additional method of promoting their projects in bookstores, department stores, and on newsstands.

And like everything associated with Tim Burton's Batman film, Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization was a sales phenomenon, spending much of 1989 near the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Gardner's book expanded on many of the film's plot lines and character arcs, and gave readers some insight into earlier drafts of the film's screenplay with a number of passages based on sequences that had been reworked or cut entirely from the final movie (in fact, it made substantially more sense than the finished film, as Gardner was able to craft his story without being bound by a strict two hours of screen time.)

As part of our 25th anniversary coverage of Batman '89, ComicsAlliance spoke to Gardner about the challenges he faced and the fond memories he has of adapting Tim Burton's blockbuster for prose.

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She’s A Problem Solver: Animator Brianne Drouhard Talks DC Nation’s ‘Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld’ [Interview]

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Warner Bros. Animation's DC Nation shorts produced some pretty fantastic material and shined a mass media spotlight on a lot of obscure DC Comics characters. But my favorite, hands down -- and that of many viewers -- was the animated reimagining of Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Ernie Colon's Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. Over the course of seven 75-second shorts produced, directed and designed by artist and animator Brianne Drouhard, Amy Winston was upgraded from an '80s straight-faced sword-and-sworcery concept to a a synthesis of gamer culture and magical girl anime, starring a contemporary young woman pulled into a funny and dangerous video game world where she's a princess of destiny set on a quest to battle skeletons, slay dragons and save the world.

With the series of shorts concluded and available to watch online, we spoke to Drouhard about how she pitched the fan-favorite story, the trials of adapting her illustrating style for animation, and why it was important for Amethyst to have video games in her life. We also got plenty of gorgeous Amethyst art from Drouhard in the process.

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Now Is Awesome: Joe Keatinge & Khary Randolph On The Resurrection Of ‘Tech Jacket’ [Interview]

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This week Image Comics released the first issue of Tech Jacket by Joe Keatinge and Khary Randolph. And while this may be the first time many of today's readers have heard of the title, it's actually been lurking around the edges of the Image line for over a decade. Created in 2002 by pre-Walking-Dead Robert Kirkman and artist E.J. Su, the eponymous Tech Jacket is a wearable cache of the most powerful weapons in the universe, bestowed irreversibly unto teenager Zack Thompson when he encountered a dying alien. Naturally, Zack used his newfound abilities to become a galactic warrior of great worth and protecting Earth from universal threats with more enthusiasm and wide-eyed wonder than other Earthborn space cops you might have heard of.

The original series ran for only six issues but the story was later continued as a back-up in the pages of Kirkman and Ryan Ottley's Invincible. Then, earlier this year, Keatinge and Randolph produced a trio of digital issues that revitalized the concepts and characters and paved the way for this new ongoing series.

With issue #1 on sale now from Image and Kirkman's Skybound imprint, ComicsAlliance spoke to the creative team about what drew them to these characters and concepts, and what plans they have in store for the series.

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