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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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Past Obsession: An Interview With ‘Photobooth: A Biography’ Author Meags Fitzgerald

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Last week Meags Fitzgerald's new graphic memoir Photobooth: A Biography debuted and completely blew me away. Fitzgerald is an artist who works in a variety of mediums, including improv, comics, and photobooth photography.

Photobooth, published by Condundrum Press, is not just Fizgerald's love letter to the seemingly dying phenomenon of the chemical photobooth. The author intertwines historical information about the creation and evolution of the photobooth with stories about her interactions with them, and how they changed her life. It's a book about a woman who has come to passionately love something so much that it takes over too much of her life -- an idea that should resonate with many readers.

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Wait’ll They Get A Load Of Me: Jerry Ordway On The Making Of His Batman ’89 Comic Book Adaptation [Interview]

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The Batmania of 1989 affected all of commercial entertainment, but perhaps nowhere was the impact felt more than in comic shops and bookstores. The wild success of Tim Burton's movie drove fans to seek out anything Bat-related, and DC Comics was prepared. The publisher had tasked two of its finest creators with producing a comic book adaptation of the film, and Jerry Ordway and Dennis O'Neill's comic became a sensation in its own right. The book was released in two editions (a 'floppy' for newsstands, and a squarebound edition for the book and comic shop market), and both became instant best-sellers.

For reasons explained below, the project was not altogether successful in creative terms, but Batman '89 is nevertheless one of if not the most proliferated comics of its type, occupying space in the collections of a whole generation of readers and fondly remembered as featuring some of Ordway's most exquisite artwork in an already very distinguished career. As part of ComicsAlliance's exhaustive remembrance of of all things Batman '89, we spoke with Ordway about his fascinating and uniquely challenging experience adapting the silver-screen superhero epic back into uncommonly beautiful book form.

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Hire This Woman: Artist Claire Connelly

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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.”

Speedster artist Claire Connelly can complete three-to-five pages per day, so it's no surprise that she's consistently busy with projects like her own webcomic The Last Outpost, Animals with writer Eric Grissom, and The Unauthorized Biography of Winston Churchill: A Documentary with writer Erica Schultz. In addition to being a penciller and inker, she's also a writer, letterer, and painter.

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Alpha Flight Of Fancy: When Will Canada’s Great Creators Get A Crack At Canada’s Greatest Super-Team?

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Canada is comics’ secret super-power. As far back as 1938, when Toronto-born Joe Shuster created Superman with Cleveland’s Jerry Siegel, Canada has been a vital partner -- a Wild Child to America's Sabtretooth. (Age of Apocalypse version.)

”We have so many great artists and writers to choose from, it’s such an embarrassment of riches,” says Ty Templeton, a writer and artist who has worked for most major publishers and on most big name characters, and who knows just about everyone in the business. When he says Canada's creative community boasts an embarrassment of riches, he knows what he's talking about. So on this beautiful and proud Canada Day, we at Comics Alliance have to ask; why hasn't a Canadian creative team ever taken on Canada's best-known superhero team, Alpha Flight?

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I Like Bats: Producer Michael Uslan Remembers Batman ’89 And The Alternate Films That Could Have Been [Interview]

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Michael Uslan's name might not be known to most comic book fans, but he is probably one of the most important figures in the cinematic history of superheroes. He obtained the film rights to Batman in the late 1970s, spent ten years fighting to bring a project to fruition, and since the completion of Batman '89 twenty-five years ago has been credited as producer or executive producer on every major cinematic Bat-project since (including Batman: The Animated Series, Mask Of The Phantasm, the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Dark Knight blockbusters, and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice film). He's a life-long comic fan, a pop-cultural historian, a conversationalist, and an author (his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman, is an essential read for anyone interested in comics and comic-influenced media).

As the man largely responsible for Batman '89 existing at all, there's no person better suited to tell not just the story of the film's production, but the long and winding path the project had taken over the preceding decade on its way to success. But besides the unusual story behind Uslan's relationship with the Dark Knight on film, the producer told us about his broader goals for Batman and comic books in general, which went far beyond simply making a successful motion picture.

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James Stokoe Talks ‘Avengers 100th Anniversary Special’ And The Next 50 Years Of Comics [Interview + Exclusive Art]

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As you may have noticed from all our recent Batman '89 content, comic books are pretty big on celebrating anniversaries. There's only one problem: You sort of need to wait for those anniversaries to actually happen, and we as readers have never been all that great with the concept of patience. I mean, does anyone really want to wait around until the 2060s to celebrate the centennial of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Marvel Age of Comics?

Marvel Comics certainly doesn't, which is why they're gearing up for a series of 100th Anniversary Specials, set to be released next month -- 50 years before those anniversaries actually happen. For the Avengers, Marvel's tapped Orc Stain and Wonton Soup cartoonist James Stokoe to reveal the future of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Today, we've got an exclusive look at Stokoe's characteristically frenzied, hyper-detailed pages from the upcoming one-shot special, which includes such compellingly weird concepts as an Avengers team made up of Beta Ray Bill, Rogue and Doctor Strange; a sentient Stark Tower; an America lost to the Negative Zone; and the Mole Man -- because the Mole Man has always been weird enough. We spoke to Stokoe about why he chose the heroes and villains to populate the Avengers of 2061, and what he sees for comics as a business in the next 50 years.

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Hire This Woman: Letterer Kuen Tang

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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.”

Kuen Tang has been a busy activist since becoming a quadriplegic in 2001, including work with organizations like the Canadian Paraplegic Association, filming documentaries with Oprah Winfrey Network Canada, and teaching courses on any number of subjects. In between all of that, she's discovered a passion for lettering comics and has worked on comics for Zuda and as a staff letterer for Affinity Press. She's also an artist and a writer.

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‘King Kirby’ Takes The Stage: Fred Van Lente On His New Play About Jack Kirby’s Life [Interview]

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Jack Kirby is considered by many to be the single most influential figure in the development of American comics. He defined the parameters of superhero artwork in the 1940s, he helped invent romance comics in the 1950s, he was one of the primary architects of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s, he brought a sweeping cosmic sensibility to DC in the 1970s, and he played a vital role in the independent publisher boom of the 1980s. Kirby was astoundingly prolific, drawing thousands of pages and covers in a career that spanned seven decades, and created or co-created many of the world's most memorable and popular characters: The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Wasp, Ant-Man, the X-Men, Black Panther, the Silver Surfer, Galactus, the New Gods, Nick Fury, the Avengers, and countless others.

Theatre-goers in New York City will learn about the man behind those iconic creations when the new play King Kirby has its world-premiere engagement as part of the Comic Book Theater Festival in Brooklyn, starting June 20 and running through June 29. We spoke to playwright (and acclaimed comic writer) Fred Van Lente about the roots of the show, and his motivation in adapting Kirby's life for the stage.

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