Welcome back to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, a weekly podcast in which X-Perts Rachel Edidin and Miles Stokes explore the ins, outs, and retcons of fifty years of Marvel’s greatest superhero soap opera!
This week: Special guest Kurt Busiek is the J. Rober Oppenheimer of X-Men, Rachel and Miles learn to love the Silver Age, Cyclops gets a job, Bernard the Poet falls from grace, we really wish X-Men: The Secret Years was a real book, everyone recites poetry, and we still don’t get around to Marvels.
Benign Kingdom fills a niche that lay absurdly open for too long: well designed and curated artbooks from webcomic creators. Somehow, the idea never occurred to me or most anyone for years, despite the absolute cavalcade of talent on display. Who knew Danielle Corsetto, creator of Girls With Slingshots, produced such gorgeous figure drawings? Who knew Yuko Ota, co-creator and artist of Johnny Wander, could fill a page with such whimsy and menace?
One enormously successful Kickstarter later, Benign Kingdom has presented the world with these awesome talents, but also helped demonstrate the viability of self-publishing. ComicsAlliance sought out Evan Dahm, co-founder of the Benign Kingdom project and creator of the webcomic Rice Boy, to discuss a changing industry and their place within it.
Felipe Smith lived the dream of a thousand starry-eyed DeviantArtists when, in 2008, his nerd-skewering masterpiece Peepo Choo debuted at Kodansha-owned manga magazine Morning 2. When asked about what went into accomplishing this feat — becoming fluent in Japanese, keeping pace with the manga industry’s rigorous schedule, being an American noticed by the manga industry at all — Smith is all shrugs and smiles. His work spans the globe, he’s completely reinvigorated Marvel’s Ghost Rider, and, as friends pop by his booth, he slides smoothly in and out of the three languages he speaks, but you know, no biggie. Smith takes it all in his stride.
Peepo Choo, a gleefully lurid tale of cultural fetishization, yakuza, teenage boys, and gravure idols, lies far afield from Ghost Rider in terms of content. But Smith’s zingy, earnest voice unites the two works, and it is this voice that makes Smith such an exciting creator with such a tantalizingly unpredictable future. ComicsAlliance sat down with him at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss living and working in Japan, nerd culture around the world, and what Robbie Reyes brings to the superhero table.
Boom! Studios has found success with a line of Adventure Time original graphic novels that's being published alongside the ongoing monthly comic, so it was only a matter of time before they expanded that strategy to include Regular Show as well. Now, we're just about to see the first full-color Regular Show graphic novel, Hydration, hitting shelves with a story of everyone's favorite raccoon and bluejay dealing with a heat wave that hits the park, sending them in search of a way to cool off. It's a simple idea, but under Rachel Connor and Tessa Stone, it turns into a sprawling adventure that's full of the magical realism and 8-bit video games that Regular Show fans have come to love.
To find out more, I spoke to Connor about the process of creating a story that would be longer and more complicated than any episode of the show, the strange twists that allowed it to expand to a full 155 pages, and why the Baby Ducks just had to make an appearance.
Natasha Allegri is leading a movement. A quiet, earnest, doe-eyed movement to be sure, but one that is unstoppable, and unquestioningly vital. Bee and Puppycat, her already widely beloved series produced for Frederator's Cartoon Hangover channel, is about to relaunch, to widespread fan salivation. Her social media accounts swell with more and more followers every day. Puppycat plushes and inflatable swords were everywhere at San Diego Comic-Con, as was cosplay and fan art.
Allegri's work, in its sincere, unfailingly sweet way, has announced to the world that animation aimed at an adult (or at least teen) female audience is not just viable — it is a verified path to critical and commercial success. ComicsAlliance sat down with her at SDCC to discuss her success, the importance of cuteness, and what we can expect from the new Bee and Puppycat animated series.
Ever since Bloom County became a sensation in the early '80s, Berkeley Breathed has had an incredibly varied career. He followed Bloom County's initial success with two more popular comic strips, Outland and Opus; he won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning; he wrote and illustrated best-selling children's books; he adapted his own stories into a pair of animated TV specials, and he provided art for various environmental and animal-wellfare charities.
In recent years he's shifted his primary focus to film (production art and original projects), while also overseeing IDW's comprehensive collected editions of his strips. He recently teamed with IDW again for Berkeleyworks, a retrospective volume collecting a number of his paintings, sketches, and illustrations – and last month, he made a rare convention appearance, playing to a packed room at San Diego Comic-Con. ComicsAlliance spoke with Breathed about his career in cartooning, his work in other media, and his upcoming projects.
If there's one thing we've learned from our series of in-depth reviews and interviews about Batman: Zero Year, it's that the creative team of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia set out to do a lot more than just re-tell Batman's origin for a modern audience. That might've been the stated goal, but along the way, it became clear that the team wanted to use that bombastic superhero background to tell a story that was incredibly personal, using the trauma that made Bruce Wayne a hero to explore feelings of isolation, fear and, eventually, triumph.
In our final Zero Year interview, Snyder tells us about the interactions with other Batman creators while it was coming out, how he identifies with both Batman and the Riddler, and how much of the story was inspired by his own very personal experiences with overcoming panic and despair.
If there's one we thing we should establish from the off, it's that my love for dinosaurs is infinite. There is something inherently fascinating about this whole world that existed before us, the completeness of it: the sheer array of lumbering aquatic, flying, and terrain beasts that roamed the Earth; their power and size, the wonderful shapes, colours, and variations, the mystery of their total obliteration, the fact that we're still discovering more about them today.
So when I learned that UK publishers Nobrow Press had teamed up with cartoonist and illustrator Dustin Harbin to produce one of their gorgeous leporellos, this time focusing on dinosaurs, my excitement levels were pretty damn high.
Andy Price has brought joy to licensed comics. His work on IDW’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic necessarily follows the established look of the animated TV series, but Price's playfulness and skill enliven every page: imaginative lettering, dramatically lit villains, too many background gags to count. The most recently completed arc of the series, 'Reflections,' encompasses an alternate universe, doomed love, some truly intense crosshatching, and a general willingness to play with the characters in a way licensed comics typically avoid.
Along with writer Katie Cook, Price has developed Hasbro’s land of pastel ponies into something a little wilder and a little weirder, yet ensured that it remains enormously compelling to kids and adults alike. ComicsAlliance sat down with Price at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss how he and Cook pulled this off, his thoughts on Brony fandom, and, of course, his pick for best pony.
No, you shouldn't adjust your computer screen. The above photo is of Vincent D'Onofrio, who shaved his head for his role as Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin) in Marvel's upcoming 'Daredevil' series, to stream on Netflix in 2015. As he told ScreenCrush earlier today, tonight he's filming a big scene in Brooklyn where "it’s the first time you see my character do something physical." Given how intimidating the 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' vet looks in person with this new look -- mind you, he's also 6'4'' -- we can't wait to see how his character comes to life on-screen.
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