Good news; Marvel is launching a new ongoing series with an LGBT lead character. Loki: Agent of Asgard debuts in February from the creative team of writer Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett, and Ewing confirmed via Tumblr that the lead character will not only be portrayed as bisexual --but be able to change gender. Bad news; Loki is not exactly a good guy. He's a trickster, a manipulator, a supervillain. He's also the second bisexual male to get his own ongoing book at Marvel, and here's the problem; the other one was Daken, son of Wolverine, and he was also a trickster, a manipulator and a supervillain.
The first chapter of cyberpunk cop drama Old City Blues vol. 2 opens with a quote from Joe Keatinge -- the writer of Glory, Morbius and Hell Yeah, and one of the editors of the Eisner-winning “graphic mixtape” comics anthology PopGun -- in which he declares cartoonist Giannis Milonogiannis’ work to be “the world comics style prophesied by Paul Pope fully realized.” Keatinge is referencing Pope’s frequently espoused creative ideal that sees comic book authors draw inspiration from a multitude of works and cultures beyond their immediate experience, with a view towards creating “21st century comics... which can speak to people everywhere.”
That’s extremely high praise for Milonogiannis, who’s still a newcomer (he's also drawn several issues of Prophet), but Keatinge knows what he’s talking about when it comes to comic book art, particularly that from the studios of Europe and Japan. After reading Milonogiannis’ work -- which is a seductive, moody synthesis of the characterization, action, pacing and drawing styles from eurocomics, manga and American influences -- it’s very easy to see why Keatinge was reminded of Pope’s world comics “prophecy” by the pages of Old City Blues.
But if this young cartoonist’s embodiment of the progressive creative philosophy of one of our mediums great masters doesn’t really impress you, that’s fine. The riveting future-cop yarns of Old City Blues surely will.
On sale now from Dark Horse is a hardcover collection of Sabertooth Swordsman by Damon Gentry (Eerie) and Aaron Conley (Prophet), a story that ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims praised as "a big, sweeping adventure with new, strange twists" and "one of the most fun comics I’ve read in a long while."
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.”
Today we're talking to comic artist Yasmin Liang. You may know Liang's work from BOOM! Studios' Steed and Mrs. Peel or anthologies like Shattered: The Asian American Anthology, and of course from ComicsAlliance's Best Art Ever (This Week).
New York City feels like there's a museum on every block. I've lived here my whole life, and I like to think I've spent a good amount of that time as a semi-regular visitor of some of the historical sites and cultural institutions my hometown has to offer, yet I am not remotely close to having seen even a quarter of the museums this city has to offer. Many of them you know -- some are iconic, seemingly enormous, and world renowned, while others are smaller and occasionally temporary, but nonetheless significant. Basically, when it comes to taking in the culture in the largest city in the history of civilization, you do the best you can.
But sometimes you make seeing something a priority. And Prototype Alpha -- the "Pop-Up" museum created by the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center that was open for seven days only this past week -- was one of those times. Located on Manhattan's Lower East Side, just a few blocks from where the iconic artist was raised, the museum was the first physical presence for the organization, and served as a wonderful testament to a man who is inarguably one of the most important artists New York City produced in the 20th century.
Season four of The Walking Dead, AMC’s television adaptation of the Eisner-winning Image Comics series created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore and drawn by Charlie Adlard, is well underway. While the survivors grapple with the apocalypse and each other, ComicsAlliance’s John Parker will be following along all season to see who lives, who dies, and who earns a deeper understanding of sacrifice, because it's just that kind of show.
Last week, Rick left Carol in both a literal and physical cul-de-sac, and there was a lot of talking, mostly about how everybody was changing and nobody liked it. This week, the prison stands on its last legs, the flu takes down lots of people we don't really care about, walkers mob the fences, and Hershel finally gets his much-deserved dap.
In this column last week, I mentioned how responding to news of a creator you like doing something indefensible with a boycott could have some unintended consequences, such as damaging the careers of artists who took a job with an established writer, perhaps not knowing about all the associations that came with it. A lot of times, those artists could use all the support they can get to help their careers take off.
A few folks on Twitter -- friends of mine -- took issue with that, saying I was concern trolling. That people who associate with creators who do bad things deserve the harm, too. Or that the damage to the person who transgressed is worth the collateral damage that comes with it.
In the days since, I've been thinking about it a lot. On the one hand, I don't want to create problems for, lacking a better term, "innocents." On the other, I have no problem sitting at home and not going to see Ender's Game because of views one person, Orson Scott Card, expressed, though I know hundreds of other people, also "innocents," were involved in the production. That might make me a hypocrite -- certainly I don't claim to be any kind of moral bastion. It's also just really, really complicated. There are a lot of factors involved.
When we last visited the DC Universe in the wake of Forever Evil, it was a dark, grim and gritty place -- well, darker, grimmer and grittier than usual, anyway. Most of the members of the Justice League of America, Justice League Dark and Justice League Vanilla mysteriously disappeared after encountering the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3, the evil doppelgangers of Earth-New 52's greatest heroes.
Rallying an army of supervillains behind them, the Syndicate announced the death of the Justice Leagues, outted Nightwing as Dick Grayson, moved the moon to eclipse the sun, and exiled the Teen Titans into the time stream. With the world pretty much conquered, the Syndicate went about the business of ruling it -- you know, establishing a currency and economic system, redrawing maps, writing up a constitution, designing a flag, developing a body of laws, intervening in disputes between countries and the meetings! Oh, the many meetings they'll have to have!
Is that what we're in for with the remaining issues of the seven-part series? Perhaps we would be, were it not for a handful of villains unwilling to sign up with the Crime Syndicate. Villains with home-world pride. Bad guys who are bad, to be sure, but not that bad. They're just almost always evil, not forever evil, and this issue, they start to get organized.
Marvel's X-Men comics recently celebrated their 50th anniversary with Battle of the Atom, a ten-part crossover between its four main X-Men titles that brought together mutant teams from the past, present and possible future -- and combined the talents of writers Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron and Brian Wood and artists Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, Chris Bachalo and David Lopez.
The X-Men have had their share of epic tales over the past fifty years, including the Dark Phoenix Saga, Inferno, Age of Apocalypse and Avengers vs X-Men. So how did the Battle of the Atom stack up against the franchise's history, and where does it leave the characters as they head into the next fifty years? ComicsAlliance splits the atom. Spoilers follow.
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 all-new recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).