Sports are at once great and hard to depict in comics. On the one hand, an artist skilled at drawing both athleticism and action (which are not always the same thing) can take a football match and turn it into something really exciting and fun to read. This applies whether you're doing a sports-centered story like Roy of the Rovers or a story with sport-as-backdrop, like the Paul Jenkins/Al Davison Hellblazer story "Football: It's A Funny Old Game." But on the other hand, an artist who's not good with those qualities can create something really stilted or just weird.
So it's understandable then that sports manga --- while hugely popular in Japan --- hasn't cracked it over here. Not for lack of trying; stalwarts like The Prince of Tennis and Eyeshield 21 have been translated without any real impact. But with the success of the competitive swimming/male eye-candy anime Free, sports manga and anime are in vogue at last. And that's lucky for us, because it means Viz Media has grabbed the rights to Haruichi Furudate's volleyball manga Haikyu.
When it came to 1960s action television, two campy crimefighting series captured the attention of audiences the world over. The first was Batman, the legendary Adam West/Burt Ward series that brought the Day-Glo hijinks of the comics to TV. The other is The Avengers, a long-running spy/science fiction --- or "spy-fi" if you will --- series from Doctor Who co-creator Sydney Newman.
The best known seasons of The Avengers paired Patrick McNee's "top professional " John Steed with Diana Rigg as the stylish "talented amateur" Mrs. Emma Peel. Although they've starred in their own comics before under the title Steed & Mrs Peel (to avoid confusion with those other Avengers) --- including comics written by Mark Waid and Grant Morrison --- now the pair cross paths with the Dynamic Duo in Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel, by Ian Edginton, Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire. Judging by this first chapter, readers are in for a treat.
Image Comics has announced that it will publish the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's She Changed Comics, a 160-page, full-color book detailing the history of women in comics from the medium's beginning in the late 1800s to today. The book, which will be available for $14.99, was funded in eight hours last month on Kickstarter, while also accomplishing stretch goals that included a nationwide teaching tour and teaching guides for middle schools, high schools and universities.
The rise of Faith Erin Hicks and Jordie Bellaire in the last decade is easy to explain. Both women are insanely talented and ridiculously prolific. Bellaire's racked up hundreds of credits as a colorist alone since 2010. And since Hicks' webcomic Demonology 101 began in 1999, she's written and/or drawn everything from her own graphic novels like Friends With Boys and the Eisner-winning The Adventures of Superhero Girl to works by other writers like Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (written by Prudence Shen) and an upcoming OGN with best-selling YA author Rainbow Rowell.
Now two of the hardest-working creators in comics unite with The Nameless City, the first in a trilogy of original graphic novels from Hicks' longtime publisher, First Second, as part of its tenth anniversary slate of books. How lucky we are as readers to get this incredible story full of sweeping detail, beautiful artwork and endearing characters.
Though overshadowed by all the DC Comics shenanigans, Anime Boston also took place this past weekend, and the event saw US manga publisher Viz Media announce a promising crop of new releases and reprints that will roll out over the rest of the year, including the latest shonen series from the creators of one of the most popular manga series around, and a new edition of the early work of one of the true masters of horror manga.
Originally published by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly's RAW Books, and featuring characters that appeared in several issues of RAW magazine, Mark Beyer's Agony is a highlight of the 80s art comics movement, spearheaded by that landmark publication. Now available in a new edition as the first release of the New York Review Comics line, the abstract, absurd, and bleakly funny comic book returns, and it's just as oddly beautiful and relevant as ever.
Here's a fun fact for those of you wondering how to get someone interested in your comic: If the story you're telling can accurately be described as "an all-ages version of The Defiant Ones set in outer space," then I am already pretty into it even before I see the first page. As a result, I plan on checking out Benjamin Roman's PACO and Donut pretty much immediately.
The first of five issues went on sale today at Comixology, marking Roman's return to comics with the story of a daring spaceship escape and the unlikely team-up of an alien prisoner and his robot warden --- and that's just the first five pages. Check out a preview!
Image Comics' Nowhere Men is one of the most talked-about series of the last few years, but public opinion is fickle. A pop-sci fi tour de force by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire, and Fonografiks, it quickly gathered critical acclaim and a handful of Eisner nominations before --- just as quickly --- effectively disappearing.
Now, more than two years since the last issue, the series is finally returning, with Nowhere Men #7 landing this Wednesday, January 20. In advance of the return, Eric Stephenson spoke with ComicsAlliance about the delay, the comeback, new artist Dave Taylor, and taking inspiration from David Bowie.
As the Peanuts' 65th Anniversary year winds down, Peanuts-related news seems to be ramping up. The Peanuts Movie hits theaters this weekend, and every preview and trailer manages to look better than the last; Charles Schulz's birthday is coming up on November 26th; the United States Postal Service unveiled a new Forever stamp; there's a new tribute book out on the stands, which we reviewed yesterday; and Charlie Brown and the gang even appeared in the seventh-inning stretch of Game 2 of the World Series.
When it comes to Peanuts news, though, Fantagraphics is taking the crown. The curators of the complete Peanuts library have three new hardcover releases coming up just in time for the holidays: Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron, the full-color Peanuts Every Sunday: 1961-1965, and The Complete Peanuts 1997-1998, and all three are worthy of addition to your collections.
Koren Shadmi is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been seen in the likes of Wired and The New York Times, and whose comics are apparently known elsewhere in the world, but he's yet to have his big breakthrough in American comics. Hopefully that changes with his new book The Abaddon, from Z2 Comics, a haunting and exquisite trip into sex and death, memory and torment.
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