Cosmic Scoundrels was already one of my favorite comics before I even started reading it. The creation of artist Andy Suriano (of Samurai Jack) and Matt Chapman (the co-creator of Homestar Runner), it was the product of two creators whose work I've obsessed over more than just about anything else in the world, which made it something I was pretty much fated to love. Fortunately, it paid off with a rollicking, two-fisted space adventure of a couple of dirtbags in a ship called the S.S. Fistpuncher and one of the most ill-conceived heists in galactic history.
We recently honored the webcomic as part of our best-of-the-year awards, but to find out more about the origins and influences of Cosmic Scoundrels, I talked to Suirano and Chapman to find out how it all got started, why they printed it as a massive 11 x 17" convention exclusive, and just what Matt Chapman's favorite comics are, as well as getting an exclusive look at art from the development of the series.
Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky and Infinite Kung Fu author Kagan McLeod plan to take readers to colorful, strange, and rather gay new worlds with their new Image ongoing title Kaptara this April. Announced by Zdarsky himself and Image publisher Eric Stephenson at the one-day Image Expo in San Francisco on Thursday, the book sees a waylaid earthman sent on an odyssey through peculiar worlds inspired by the action figures of the 1980s, on a mission to save his home planet.
The two Toronto-based writer-artists have known each other for years, and as they told ComicsAlliance, the roots of this collaboration go back to the studio they once shared. Kaptara is written by Zdarsky and illustrated in full color by McLeod, an acclaimed magazine illustrator making his return to comics. The story offers echoes of Flash Gordon and John Carter, and of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga, only... gayer. More gay. ComicsAlliance met with the team to find out just how gay, and to get the ball rolling on Motivational Orb mania.
Batman's 75th anniversary came during an incredibly eventful year for the Caped Crusader, and not just in terms of celebratory publications and commemorative events.
After former Vertigo editor Mark Doyle took over as Batman group editor in February, things changed, and not just for Batman himself. Supporting characters such as Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon shifted into new roles. The world of Gotham expanded with books that focused on unexplored corners, like the GCPD's supernatural unit, or the city's mysterious prep school. Even the mainline Batman titles, Batman and Detective Comics, told bold stories that weren't typical Batman fare. Creators pushed into new territory and took chances with their books, and as a result the Batman line looks much different than it did at the beginning of 2014.
Mark Doyle deserves the credit for steering the line and bringing in the creators who made these changes. Comics Alliance sat down with Doyle and DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras to look back on Doyle's first year as Batman group editor, and to look ahead to 2015, as DC relocates to new offices in Burbank, California.
If you asked me to pick my favorite comics of the year, there's not even a question about it: Transformers vs. G.I. Joe would be at the top of the list. Even aside from my well-known love of America's daring, highly-trained special missions force, writer/artist Tom Scioli and co-writer John Barber have been doing something amazing with this book, creating an ongoing series combining two toy franchises that has the kind of raw, unstoppable energy that you almost never see from corporate comics.
Now, with the first volume of the series hitting shelves this week, I spoke to Scioli and Barber about how they created one of the most transgressive comics of the year, why they think of the Jose as "nasty, destructive creatures," and just how much more they want to push the book until it's as strange as they want it to be.
Interviews, panel appearances, fan mail -- artists and writers understandably get much of the focus when we talk about professionals in the American comics industry. But beyond the front lines there's a whole host of people working hard to keep the business running: accountants, lawyers, publicists, librarians, production staff and many others. Most of these people don't have the opportunity to talk about their work with the people who read the comics they help put in their hands, but the work they do is important -- often integral -- to this industry. Whether it's making sure creators get paid, designing logos, or even planning a convention, these people affect how the whole package of our industry comes together.
In the first of what we've planned as a series of spotlights on the behind-the-scenes comics pros, we're speaking with Alex Segura, Archie Comics' Senior Vice President - Publicity and Marketing. Segura started his career in comics as a journalist but has spent nearly a decade doing publicity at DC Comics and Archie, the latter of which has been especially praised by this site and others for revitalizing its brand. One of the architects of the new Archie Comics, Segura sat down with us to talk about how he ended up as a publicist and what exactly that job entails.
Kel McDonald has been making comics for ten years, including a ten year run on her webcomic Sorcery 101. She was an early adopter of crowdfunding as a way of getting her comics out in print, and book one of McDonald's Misfits of Avalon series came out earlier this year through Dark Horse Comics. As increasing numbers of young, particularly female comics creators turn to webcomics as a way of getting their work out there, and as increasing numbers of comics publishers look to webcomics for up-and-coming talent, creators like McDonald are poised to have a unique understanding of the current comics world we live in
As part of her wrap-up of Sorcery 101, she's currently running a Kickstarter campaign for an omnibus of the series. ComicsAlliance sat down with McDonald to talk comics, crowdfunding, and web versus print.
Earlier this year, First Second released Box Brown's Andre The Giant: Life And Legend – a graphic novel biography of the wrestling legend that immediately jumped onto the New York Times bestseller list, and has been met with great acclaim from wrestling fans and comics critics alike. Our own Chris Sims described the book thusly:
"It shows Andre as a person. Not the giant with a dubious fifteen-year undefeated streak, not as the monster who was bodyslammed by Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III, not as the absent father that was put on blast by A Current Affair shortly before his death, and not even as the drinker and prankster behind the scenes in the world of wrestling. It shows him as all of those, as a person whose life was larger than everyone’s, but whose flaws were no bigger or smaller than anyone else’s. It makes the Giant relatable without ever undermining him. There’s a love in this book, but there’s an honesty, too, and it comes through in every scene..."
Recently, we got the chance to sit down and speak with Brown about the culture of professional wrestling, his artistic approach to comics, and how he went about adapting Andre's outsized life for a graphic novel.
Comic book publishing is a difficult world to survive in, particularly for small and independent publishers. C. Spike Trotman and her Iron Circus Comics, however, has found a way to thrive. When we spoke with Trotman earlier this year for Hire This Woman, we spoke primarily about her role as a creator. Today, this is only a small part of the role Trotman plays in comics, as the slate of books from Iron Circus continues to increase.
As a publisher, Iron Circus places a high value on inclusivity and publishing books that are too often ignored in mainstream comics. To wit, the publisher has a currently-running Kickstarter for Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here written by Ryan Estrada and drawn by Diana Nock. The 130-page black and white book is the the followup to Trotmans original Poorcraft, and is available in a variety of formats at eminently sensible price/reward tiers.
With less than one week left to pledge to the Kickstarter, we reconnected with Trotman to talk about webcomics, publishing, smut, and paying the bills.
In her new memoir Tomboy, Liz Prince explores the thorny world of gender expression, puberty, and girlhood, as experienced by someone who bucked every norm of it. It’s not always an easy read, but it is one of the most necessary comics published this year.
Prince’s work is tender, wry, and above all, honest. It is this honesty that so illuminates her work, from the single travails of Alone Forever to her chronicles of the punk scene. As Tomboy makes the rounds of Best of 2014 lists, ComicsAlliance spoke with her about autobiography, internet fame, and being “not like other girls.”
With long runs on hit titles like Captain America, Daredevil, Sleeper, Fatale, Criminal and more, writer Ed Brubaker has cemented his position as one of the most prominent writers in American comics, and he got his start with superheroes with Batman. After being brought in from the world of crime comics to write the Batman comics in 2000, Brubaker rose to prominence with his work on Gotham City's heroes, including cowriting the seminal Gotham Central, relaunching Catwoman with a critically acclaimed and influential new direction, and retelling the first encounter between Batman and the Joker.
This week, ComicsAlliance is taking a look back at Brubaker's tenure on the Dark Knight with an in-depth interview. In part one, we discussed the writer's work with Scott McDaniel on Batman and his collaboration with Sean Phillips on the Elseworlds one-shot, Gotham Noir. In part two, we talked about Brubaker's run on Detective Comics, his landmark work with Greg Rucka and Michael Lark on Gotham Central, and his and Doug Mankhe's influential Joker story, The Man Who Laughs. Today we conclude our discussion by talking about his relaunch of Catwoman alongside Darwyn Cooke and Cameron Stewart, why he was worried that it would be a "poisoned chalice," and why it's one of the most significant comics in DC's long history.
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