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Hire This Woman: Writer Nadja Baer

From 'Impure Blood' by Nadja Baer and Nathan Lueth
From 'Impure Blood' by Nadja Baer and Nathan Lueth

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.”

Nadja Baer has adapted multiple written works into comics format, including an adaptation of the U.S. Constitution. She's currently working on two very different things: an ongoing webcomic called Impure and a law degree! She also appeared on the Hire This Woman panel at Denver Comic-Con.

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ReedPOP Goes In-Depth On Plans For New York Super Week [Interview]

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Last week, ReedPOP (the company behind New York Comic Con) announced that it would present an event called "New York Super Week" in October -- a ten-day festival of pop media events at venues all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. And while the initial press release was full of hype and excitement, and contained a few intriguing tastes of planned events (Neil DeGrasse Tyson! Podcasts! Concerts!), the announcement came with very little information. There was no language about pricing, ticketing, or other logistics. The just-launched Super Week website contains links to forms so retailers and restaurants/bars can sign up to offer special promotions in association with the festival, as well as a submission form for organizations and individuals to propose events -- but again, concrete details were light on the ground.

As might be expected, this has led to a variety of reactions from the comic and entertainment community. Many welcomed the idea of an expanded event, unbound by the confines of a convention center, while other conversations on websites and social media expressed skepticism about the motivation for crowd-sourcing venues and events, and commented that it seemed like an attempt for ReedPOP to monetize satellite events not actually organized by the company.

ComicsAlliance reached out to Matthew Wasowski, the Festival Director of Super Week, to ask for clarification on some of these issues, and get answers to a few of the questions that have arisen.

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I Was The Cat: Paul Tobin On Ghostwriting, Audrey Hepburn And The Sinister History Of Despotic Kitties [Interview]

I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey

In the pages of Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey's I Was The Cat -- a new graphic novel serialized weekly on ComiXology -- a young journalist is hired to ghostwrite the memoirs of an eccentric billionaire named Burma. The trouble, as you may have already guessed from the title, is that Burma is a cat -- specifically, a talking cat who has spent his last eight lives attempting to conquer the world. It's a great premise, but what Tobin and Dewey are doing in their story is interesting not just for bizarre feline histories, but for how dark and sinister a fluffy kitty who spends most of his time on-panel being petted by the other lead characters can actually be.

To find out more, we spoke to Tobin about the origins of the story, why you don't have to like cats to enjoy it, and the amount of research that he thinks a writer should be doing in order to create a proper history.

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Hire This Woman: Artist Jamie Kinosian

Mass Effect Group

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.”

Jamie Kinosian is a comic artist and watercolor illustrator who has worked on character designs, mini-comics, and webcomics. She's also currently putting together Hot Cakes, an anthology of pornographic illustrations all created by women.

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Tanpopo: Camilla d’Errico Draws A Beautiful Line Between Pop Surrealism, Classic Literature and Sailor Moon [Interview]

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My college dorm room was a dizzying collage of prints, posters, and postcards — but nothing drew as much attention as the Camilla d’Errico pieces I had pinned up over my bed. People would peer at them, asking who drew these strange portraits of girls entwined with pythons, wearing huge, complicated helmets, and melting into candy-colored puddles. Every time, I’d wish that I had something discrete to point them towards, something that gathered the style and themes of d’Errico’s work into a coherent package.

Enter Tanpopo. Originally self-published, d’Errico’s passion project tells the story of the titular Tanpopo, a brilliant, yet emotionless girl, and Kuro, the devil who persuades her into a journey of self-discovery. The text is taken entirely from the work of such luminaries as Goethe, Coleridge, and Pu Sungling: in the first volume, excerpts from Faust explore Tanpopo and Kuro’s meeting, while text from Rime of the Ancient Mariner chart the former’s growing distrust of the latter. Tanpopo’s 170-page second volume, on sale now from BOOM! Studios, uses Shakespeare, Poe, and the 1001 Arabian Nights to similar effect.

To explore this unique work more deeply, ComicsAlliance spoke with d’Errico about pop surrealism, teenage girls, and more.

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Interview: Sam Humphries On ‘Legendary Star-Lord’ And The Weird History Of Marvel’s Next Movie Star

Legendary Star-Lord, Marvel Comics

Of all the Marvel characters who have made it to the big screen over the past few years, none have seemed less likely than Peter Quill. An obscure sci-fi character who debuted in the '70s and made a handful of appearances in his first three decades of existence, he rose to fame during the Annihilation crossover as the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, a ragtag band of spacefaring heroes who battled evil across the stars.

Now, with a Guardians of the Galaxy movie set to debut this summer, Peter Quill is getting his first ever ongoing series as The Legendary Star-Lord, thanks to Sam Humphries (Avengers A.I., Sacrifice), artist Paco Medina (Nova, Ultimate Comics X-Men) and colorist David Curiel. To find out more, I spoke to Humphries about the history of Star-Lord, how his obscurity helped to propel him to fame, and why his hair has to stay gloriously uncovered.

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Umbral: Johnston & Mitten’s Anti-Disney Princess Adventures Through A Deep And Dark Fantasy World [Interview]

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Rascal, the savvy young heroine of Antony Johnston and Christ Mitten’s Umbral, is a thief with both feet planted firmly in the muck. She lives by her dexterous fingers, her knowledge of the city’s side streets, and an arsenal of four-letter words for anyone who stands in her way. Whispers of myth and monsters at the fringes of her world fail to turn Rascal’s head—in fact, she fears and loathes magic and its practitioners. Too bad she’s the heroine of a fantasy story.

Over the course of its first volume from Image Comics, Umbral creates a world rich with ethnic conflict, class struggle, human emotion and totally wicked looking monsters. A cast of scholars, refugees, thieves, and magicians populates its pages, simmering with glimpsed backstories and murky intentions. At its heart is Rascal, staring down a grand destiny she never wanted. As the first volume hits the shelves, ComicsAlliance spoke with Johnston and Mitten about fantasy tropes, developing character voices, and the importance of The Dark Crystal.

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Interview: Artist Barry Kitson On The Birth and Rebirth Of ‘Empire’ With Mark Waid

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As part of the short-lived Gorilla imprint of Image Comics in 2000, frequent collaborators Mark Waid and Barry Kitson launched Empire, a creator-owned title about the reign of a supervillain who succeeded where so many others failed, and actually conquered the Earth, uniting it under his brutal, iron-fisted rule. The initial run only lasted two issues, but a few years later, Waid and Kitson finished the first story arc under the DC Comics banner, and in so doing created something of a cult classic that some fans still regard as their best work together -- work that includes The Legion of Super-Heroes, JLA: Year One and Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold.

Now, fourteen years after Golgoth first took control of the world, Waid and Kitson have returned to Empire, releasing it as a webcomic through Thrillbent's monthly subscription model, whereby you get access to the entire Thrillbent catalogue for $3.99, and a free download of Empire volume 1.

To find out more about the return of Empire, we spoke to Kitson about the initial idea, how he approached designing a world that had been conquered by evil, and where he and Waid intend to take the very long awaited Empire volume 2.

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Hire This Woman: Writer Janine Frederick

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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 Janine Frederick has contributed to anthologies and was a finalist in DC Comics' March 2010 Zuda digital comics competition. She's currently working on her own ongoing comic, Quandary with artist Ken Frederick.

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Kel McDonald Talks ‘Misfits Of Avalon’: ‘They’re Magical Girls Who Are All Jerks’ [Interview]

Misfits of Avalon by Kel McDonald

I've been a fan of the Magical Girl genre ever since I first saw Sailor Moon make a monster explode with the power of love and justice, so I'm pretty sure I'm right in the target market for what Kel McDonald is doing with her new series, Misfits of Avalon. Inspired by the legends of King Arthur and Irish Mythology, Misfits finds four teenage delinquents who are recruited into a life of battling monsters with magic words and super-powers in the classic style. There's just one problem: They don't know that they're actually the bad guys.

To find out more, I spoke with McDonald about publishing her graphic novel through Dark Horse while also putting it online, the appeal of terrible teenagers, and just what it was that inspired her to take on a group of jerks.

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