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The Mainstream Version Of Everybody Sucks: An Interview With Joshua Hale Fialkov

The Bunker. Art by Joe Infurnari
The Bunker. Art by Joe Infurnari

Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov has been building a positive reputation in the comics industry for years now. His work for Marvel and DC -- including Ultimate FF and I, Vampire -- may be what he’s best known for, but his creator-owned work -- including Oni's The Bunker and The Life After -- has built up its own fanbase.

One of the most interesting things about Fialkov is his serious, business-like approach to even his most creative endeavors. Many comic creators have their own ways of getting work done -- with varying success when it comes to meeting deadlines -- but there’s something particularly fascinating for me as an editor about creators who plan and schedule their time, analyze their own work, and still produce art that is innovative and entertaining. Fialkov's blog, How Fialkov Do, offers a thoughtful and entertaining view into how he gets his writing out into the world. I've spoken to Fialkov about his process a great deal over the years, and I thought ComicsAlliance readers might be interested to read more about it.

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Sidekicked: How Superhero Publishers Are Failing Kids

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Comic readers are often annoyed by the outdated assertion, “but comic books are for kids!” As those of us within this culture know, comics today are usually made for and marketed to adults, especially single issues and superhero comics. However, comics, as a medium, should and can serve a vast variety of demographics. Publishers simply need to be ready to create the books that readers will read.

Most comic readers can point to some great comics for kids, including Smile, Bone, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Adventure Time -- but for many parents and young readers, there is a huge void in the comics that exist today. There are very few high-quality, positive, superhero comics for kids.

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Correcting the Post-Colonial Story: Identity And Belonging In Sam Humphries & Dalton Rose’s ‘Sacrifice’

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Right from the start, Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose's Sacrifice is identifiable as a work of passion. It was self-published – a risky proposition in the direct market – and it was a story of personal importance to the author. Humphries has epilepsy, and Sacrifice is the story of a boy whose epilepsy isn't only a source of frustration and anguish, but also a superpower that propels him into an adventure at the zenith of the Aztec civilization – and perhaps also provides the ultimate key to his agency.

That's not the only source of passion evident in Sacrifice, though. The premise of the series – a suicidal Joy Division fanatic has a seizure that sends him back in time to before Cortés' invasion of the Aztecs – provides a venue for Humphries to spit fire over how profoundly outrageous and angering the perception and purported 'history' of the Aztecs is. As someone fascinated by and familiar with the truth about the Aztecs, Humphries uses the series' bedrock of time travel, violence, and destiny, to help readers take a step towards that truth.

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Marguerite Sauvage’s Wonder Woman And The Slowly Changing Face Of Comic Book Fashion

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For the most part, mainstream comics don’t care about fashion. But sometimes, something sneaks through and reminds us all of why this matters. Sensation Comics #7, illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage from a script by Sean E. Williams, is that rare, trembling shaft of light into the dank, Dragon Ball Z-print-button-downed basement that is the state of fashion in comics.

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Deconstructing The Horrific And The Humane In Kerascoet & Fabien Vehlmann’s ‘Beautiful Darkness’

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It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët's Beautiful Darkness has been one of the undisputed standouts in the not unglorious year of comics 2014. Originating from the mind and sketch/notebooks of Marie Pommepuy (she, and partner Sébastien Cosset collaborate under the pen-name Kerascoët), the story of a group of tiny people springing from the body of a dead girl in the woods and the vicious lengths and efforts they go to to survive is appreciable on several, complex levels. One of the facets of great art is that it lingers in the mind, burrows and shifts, dredging up thought and questions, analyses, re-evaluation, and Beautiful Darkness is no different. And so, to accompany my original review, I've compiled a deconstruction of sorts presented here as various questions (answered and unanswered) and theories that dig further into the text and its potential readings.

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‘Boxtrolls’ Lead Animator Travis Knight On Bringing A Big, Mad, Beautiful World To Life [Interview]

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This week, Laika and Focus Features release their stop-motion animated feature The Boxtrolls in theaters nationwide, and it seems poised to stand alongside Laika's previous films Coraline and ParaNorman in the ranks of offbeat, slightly spooky, perennial family favorites.

ComicsAlliance got the chance to speak with some of the film's creative team at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, and today we present our conversation with acclaimed animator and Laika CEO Travis Knight.

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Why Big Superhero Muscles Aren’t ‘The Same Thing’ As Sexy Curves

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As a man who reads superhero comics, I confess that I share a commonly-held prurient interest in big-chested, long-legged heroes in skin-baring costumes that barely cover their naughty bits -- or as I like to call him, Namor.

Sadly, Namor is pretty much alone in his category. Contrary to the perception that male heroes in comics are frequently sexually objectified, it's my experience that even Namor is only rarely presented as someone to lust over. Yet I'm fortunate that my tastes run towards the Hemsworth end of the scale. Like many straight men, I admire the kind of buff dudes that are the staple of superhero comics, even though they are rarely sexualized. If I shared the tastes of most of the women I know, I think I'd find superhero comics an even more frustratingly sexless wasteland.

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Where Are Superhero Comics’ Big Name Bisexual Characters?

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It's Celebrate Bisexuality Day today, also called Bisexual Visibility Day -- a day to celebrate and promote recognition of those who are sexually attracted to people of more than one gender. The day exists because people with non-monosexual queer identities face unusual challenges in being recognized by both mainstream and queer cultures, yet visibility helps break down barriers and encourage acceptance.

In superhero comics, the problem of bisexual invisibility is as ingrained as anywhere; the medium struggles to acknowledge the existence of anything that didn't exist in The Honeymooners or The Andy Griffith Show, unless it's a space god, a shapeshifter, or a parasitic psychic monster. Having a character say, "I'm bisexual" is apparently more implausible than any of those things. There are signs that the industry is changing in this regard -- but slowly, and rather half-heartedly.

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The Jack Kirby Of Porn: Celebrating The Happy Hunks Of Tom Of Finland

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The Finnish postal service launched its most successful limited edition stamps of all time last week -- featuring a pair of pertly muscular buttocks and a naked man being straddled by a biker. Advance orders for the stamp came in from 178 countries worldwide, and people lined up on launch day like the stamps had an Apple logo on them.

The reason for the stamps' appeal -- beyond the objective appeal of buttocks -- was the artist responsible, one of the nation's most successful comic book creators: the legendary homoerotic artist Tom of Finland. As part of very important series of articles about men as comic book pin-ups, ComicsAlliance explores the work and legacy of Tom.

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The Naughty Knot: Unpacking Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso’s Comments On Sex Appeal And Diversity

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In an interview with The Telegraph's Radhika Sanghani, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso offered some insights into how he regards the superhero comic industry's treatment of female characters -- and his own intentions towards diversity.

The interview is chiefly noteworthy for confirming what already seems apparent from recent changes in Marvel's line-up, namely that Marvel understands and is responding to demographic changes in the marketplace. "We believe there's an audience of women out there who are hungry for this [product] and we want to make sure they get it," said Alonso. "This is affirmative action. This is capitalism.”

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