Known in the world of comics as the publisher of Study Group Comics, creator of The Secret Voice and an all around fixture in not only Portland, Oregon's lively comic book community but also the small press at large, Zack Soto has recently extended his creative ambitions into the world of toys. Designing, sculpting, casting and painting limited runs of resin figures based on his own comic book creations is a labor of love. For as difficult as it is to get started in the comics world, it's even tougher to set out into the realm of plastic 3D characters. This week at New York Comic Con 2013, Soto is set to unveil his latest batch of resin Rock Trolls and Ghost Grunts. ComicsAlliance got in touch with the comic book and toy creator to learn more about the plastic-paved road that lead him to this year's show, and what he's got in store for 2014 and beyond.
One of the bright shining lights of The CW show Arrow's first season was the character of John Diggle and the actor portraying him, David Ramsey. Far more than a sidekick, Diggle really took on a life of his own. He's proved popular enough that he has made the transition to comics, in the tradition of Jimmy Olsen (who originally appeared on the Adventures of Superman radio show).
To mark Diggle's brief appearance in Green Arrow #24 and in anticipation of his co-starring role in issue 25, the series' "Zero Year" issue, we sat down with series writer Jeff Lemire and Ramsey himself to talk about the transition.
Best known by his pseudonym Jock, Mark Simpson is one of the most interesting artists in mainstream comics right now. Brought up in the 2000 AD school of British comics and breaking into the American market with The Losers graphic novel series at Vertigo, Jock set a new standard for himself with work on 2011's Batman: The Black Mirror, where his bold and contemporary graphic style contributed to what many fans and critics agree was the most significant Dark Knight adventure in years, not to mention one of the coolest Joker illustrations of all time.
Like many comics illustrators of his skill and increasing popularity, Jock has availed himself of the comics scene's resuscitating fascination with strong artistic visions and is releasing this week Savage Wolverine #9, the first chapter of a three-part arc he both wrote and drew. It's a major career move for Jock but only the latest auteur artist spotlight for Savage Wolverine (following delightfully eccentric work by Frank Cho and Joe Madureira), which in this crucial way is one of Marvel's most important titles.
ComicsAlliance spoke with Jock about his unorthodox take on the mutant also known as Logan, who the cartoonist drops into a vicious otherworldly realm in a story that owes more to tripped out European sci-fi than the X-Men classics of Marvel's past.
In September Dark Horse Comics debuted Buzzkill #1, co-written by Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek, illustrated by Geoff Shaw and colored by Lauren Affe. At a glance the cover for the first issue appears to present a somber, but otherwise with-it costumed superhero enjoying a cigarette and a bottle of wine as he leans over the ledge of a skyscraper surveying his city. But then there's the title, "Buzzkill," and an environment not dotted with highrises, but rather filled with enormous bottles of hooch. This hero has a problem. Turns out that not only is the protagonist -- who may or may not be named Ruben -- an alcoholic, but a retired crime fighter who depended on abusing substances to put his powers to use... not that he can tell the civilians in his new support group. Meanwhile, his former supervillain foes conspire in the shadows, plotting revenge for a catastrophic battle he can't even remember. ComicsAlliance got in touch with Cates to learn more about the new miniseries and what's in store for Buzzkill's less-than-heroic hero.
Ed Piskor has been having a good year. His hacker culture graphic novel telling the story of Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle, Wizzywig, was nominated for an Eisner Award for the cartoonist's distinctive book design, and was recently translated into a handsome French-language edition from Dargaud. Piskor also became the second recipient of the Columbus Museum of Art and Thurber House 2013 Graphic Novelist Residency. On November 2, Fantagraphics will release the first print edition in a series collecting the artist's widely-read webcomic, Hip Hop Family Tree, which chronicles the history of Hip Hop's most influential artists. ComicsAlliance contributor Tom Scioli got in touch with the artist to discuss his work, his approach to creating comics and more. You can read the full interview, after the jump.
If you missed it, the first issue of Forever Evil -- the latest big crossover event taking place across the DC Universe -- started off with a big reveal, one that will have consequences for many of the characters throughout DC Comics. But there's more to it than just that. Forever Evil represents the extreme end of villainous characters; for the Crime Syndicate, there's seemingly no tragic back story to identify, nothing for the reader to relate to or sympathize with. And according to writer Geoff Johns, that gives him an opportunity to explore the depths of other characters, particularly Lex Luthor, while also using this story as a vehicle to make a kind of commentary on social issues he sees as currently prevalent in society.
ComicsAlliance spoke to Geoff Johns about Forever Evil, including what readers can expect going forward, Lex Luthor as the central figure of the story, and villains as metaphor.
"The Incredible Shrinking Hulks," the latest episode of Marvel's Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H., had everything you could possibly want: life or death situations, heavy drama, crushing betrayal, humor, redemption, and a very healthy dose of mini golf. It also features the team going up against the Leader after they've been shrunk down to very tiny status, and a huge plot point in the series comes to a head, as Skaar is forced to choose between his past and his present.
Once again we're joined by supervising producer Cort Lane to discuss the latest episode, and this time we have a special guest, as Ben Diskin, who voices Skaar, joins the call to discuss his character's role in the series, and the relationship between Skaar and the Leader going forward.
In stores next month is Velvet #1, the newest spy tale from Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, the team that spent years on arguably the most celebrated Captain America run in the character's history. Much of that run was driven by spy/espionage sensibilities, and the duo is bringing that aspect of their work to Velvet, the story of a veteran agent named Velvet Templeton who returns to the field to clear her name after she's framed for the murder of the world's top secret agent.
The series is a significant moment in the careers of both creators. For Brubaker, this was the first book announced after he left Marvel to focus on his own projects, and for Epting, Velvet is the veteran artist's first creator owned work.
With the first issue due out next month, and final orders due on Monday, ComicsAlliance joined a conference call with Brubaker in which he discussed, among other things, the research he did for the series, how cell phones have ruined suspense stories, the British spy who tried to seduce one of FDR's best friends, and how all of that influenced Velvet. You can check out some of the highlights from the call, plus preview art from the first issue as well as the cover to issue #2, below.
This week, First Second Comics releases Fairy Tale Comics, a hardcover anthology of classic stories adapted by 17 prolific cartoonists. To celebrate, we've snagged an interview with Emily Carroll, whose adaptation of The Brothers Grimm's perhaps lesser-known tale "The 12 Dancing Princesses" graces the book's pages.
Announced at last year's San Diego Comic-Con, Pretty Deadly -- the western/horror/fantasy pastiche from creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos about a butterfly, a dead bunny and the daughter of Death -- is next in line for Images' newest slate of creator driven original series, and one of the most anticipated new titles of the year. For months, DeConnick and Ríos have discussed the project, often at length, while promoting the book in creative ways that clearly illustrate how important it is to both of them, and how close they feel to it. The Pretty Deadly tumblr features a countdown to the release of issue #1, gives readers a peek behind the curtain at the creative process, shows fan art for the series (and there's plenty of it, despite the book having not yet been published), and more.
With Pretty Deadly due to arrive in stores October 23, and final orders due next week, ComicsAlliance joined a conference call with DeConnick to discuss the series. You can check out a few preview pages below, as well as highlights from the call, where the writer discussed what it's been like to work on her first creator owned book, how the title has changed since it was first announced, advice legendary comics writer Neil Gaiman gave her, and why Ríos gave her the nickname "Sister Kraken."