The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
DC Comics' event series pitting its bad guys again some even worse guys from another universe reaches its penultimate installment this week, as the home team of villains finally takes the fight to the evil invaders from Earth-3, the evil universe! Which of course means our super-close reading of this superhero epic also reaches its penultimate installments.
On sale throughout April, What If? Age of Ultron is a weekly five-issue series written by Joe Keatinge that takes the central story mechanism of Marvel's Age of Ultron -- what would happen to the Marvel Universe if Hank Pym had never created the malevolent artificial intelligence Ultron -- and applies it to some of the publisher's iconic heroes. What would happen in a world without the Wasp? What would happen in a world without Thor? And so on.
What If? Age of Ultron is particularly notable for its artist roster, which includes Chris Stevens on covers with interiors and variants by talents not typically associated with Marvel titles. Among them, Ming Doyle, Piotr Kowalski, Mico Suayan, Ramon Villalobos, Raffaele Ienco and James Stokoe, whose variant cover for issue #2 you're seeing here for the first time.
Did you like The Incredibles and Flash Gordon? Are you completely unaware of the existence of Grant Morrison's take on English sci-fi icon Dan Dare? Then you are the perfect audience for Starlight, a new Image Comics project by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov that waves its influences in front of your face and hopes that's enough to accomplish what the actual book does not.
On sale in May, Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 relaunches the saga of its titular superhero in high style, featuring a a particularly cool variant cover by Fiona Staples that you're seeing here for the first time. The co-creator of Image Comics' very popular and much acclaimed Saga, Staples is an artist whose routinely gorgeous covers for DC Comics, WildStorm, Archie IDW and Dark Horse have earned her numerous award nominations, but not until now has the artist's work graced the cover of a Marvel Comics publication.
Redheads versus reptiles, long-legged ladies, and demons in both human and inhuman form grace the best comic book covers of February 2014. Check out great works of art from Jenny Frison, Andrew Robinson and Kevin Wada - and a double bill from Matteo Scalera.
Did anyone order a "series-shattering maximum event?" Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned to our screens this week after a lengthy hiatus -- and judging from the way ABC billed it, this time it's meant to actually be good.
So what isa maximum event, and how does it shatter the series? Does all that hype just mean that Bill Paxton is on the show now? Let's find out together!
Moon Knight is an oddball in a comics universe peppered with oddballs. A former mercenary brought back from the dead by an Egyptian god to serve as his "fist" of retribution, MK's origin offers a peculiar mix of brutality, insanity, and fantasy.
Those elements have been fundamental to Moon Knight since he first appeared in Werewolf by Night in 1975, created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Yet in the hands of successive creative teams these elements have come together in ways that muddy the character, leaving both him and the readers confused about who he is. Now it falls to the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey to make it all make sense in Moon Knight #1, on sale this week from Marvel.
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Maria Fröhlich is a cartoonist based in Sweden who writes, draws, colors, and letters most of her work. Her comics includes strips for fantasy and sci-fi magazine Utopi and a story in the Swedish adventure comic The Phantom.
Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the ongoing commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.
You might think that February might not lend itself all that well to the Funkyverse's usual brand of complete and utter soul-crushing despair. I mean at the very least, there's Valentine's Day, and we should at least get a few strips about lovey-dovey romance and happiness, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. February may be the shortest month, but that just means that Batiuk and Ayers have to work even harder to cram every ounce of existential dread into their comics -- and just in case you think I'm exaggerating, consider that DEATH ITSELF MADE AN APPEARANCE last month, and that's not even the weirdest part.
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