One of the biggest strides in the comic industry over the past decade has come in the form of a wave of exciting and accessible educational comics by established creators. It's something that First Second has noticed too, as the publisher is throwing its weight behind its established line of Science Comics and announcing thirteen more titles in the series, covering a wide range of topics, from cats and dogs to robots and drones.
You may be familiar with the hit Dungeons & Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone, starring Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy of My Brother, My Brother & Me alongside their father, Clint McElroy. The show is a light-hearted and hilarious affair as Griffin plays dungeon master for his family, leading them through perilous adventures and battles.
Inspired by the podcast, a host of incredibly talented illustrators and indie comics artists have come together to create The Adventure Zine, a fifty page book of fan art dedicated to the show, and today the campaign to create the book has launched with the aim to raise money for Facing Hunger, a network of food banks based in Huntington, West Virginia.
What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more --- but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance have got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, and so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new hirings, new podcasts, new art being made --- it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
The Old West probably wasn't a great place to be a kid, but that's never stopped it seeming like the perfect place for kids to have adventures. That's certainly part of the appeal of Andy Hirsch's upcoming middle-grade graphic novel Varmints, from First Second. Originally created as a webcomic, Varmints sees the bickering brother-and-sister team of Opie and Ned using all their wits to take on a crime kingpin in an effort to avenge their Ma.
Sherlock Holmes is surely one of the most versatile characters in fiction; he can be updated, reinvented, pitted against vampires, or reimagined as a mouse, and still the essential qualities of the great detective endure. That's even true in stories where Sherlock Holmes isn't Sherlock Holmes, and that's an idea that Roger Langridge and Andy Hirsch will explore in their upcoming all-ages adventure series The Baker Street Peculiars, from Kaboom, unveiled exclusively here on ComicsAlliance.
In the Baker Street Peculiars, there is no Holmes; the real brains of the operation is his supposed housekeeper, Mrs Hudson. With too many cases to solve, she's brought in some new help in the form of three precocious kids and a dog, for what promises to be a wonderful all-ages action comedy. Roger Langridge, who usually provides his own art for books like Fred the Clown and Abigail and the Snowman, is providing the scripts this time around, joined by artist Andy Hirsch, best known for his work on Adventure Time and his all-ages Western Varmints. Langridge and Hirsch spoke to ComicsAlliance about working together, the idea for the series, and what makes Sherlock Holmes so iconic.
Last year, one of the comics I was most excited about picking up from HeroesCon was a "Flashlight Comic" by Andy Hirsch. The untitled story was a creepy little masterpiece of using the form, with black linework printed on clear plastic and superimposed over dark paper, with a flashlight-shaped piece of paper that you could slip between to "illuminate" a small circle of the page, exploring a strange and ruined house along with a stranded motorist. It was fantastic, full of tricks and surprises that made the reader an active participant in the story and conveyed a sense of fear better than almost anything I've ever read, and over the last year, I've wondered how Hirsch was going to top it, or if he was even going to bother.
Turns out that he did, and once again he's using paper comics to do things that you can only do with physical objects. The story he's telling this year is called Station 38, a journey through a deadly space station sold as a cube that you unfold as you read to form the floor plan that you're exploring along with the characters. And it's amazing.
Summer is in full swing, which means that convention season is upon us once again, and with it, the opportunity to get art from some of your favorite comic book creators. As much as I like digging through back issue bins and hanging out with pals from across the country, filling up my sketchbook is one of the most fun parts of going to conventions. So much, in fact, that I actually had two in circulation this year.
One was continuing my theme of tokusatsu characters like the Power Rangers and Kamen Rider, while the other was just a general collection of favorite characters. Which, as you might expect, ended up with two drawings of Destro. Check out the new pieces below, featuring art from Tom Fowler, Kevin Mellon, Tom Scioli, Jordan Gibson and more!
For the past few years, I've been taking a sketchbook to conventions across the country and getting pieces of art with a single theme: Characters created or co-created by the King of Comics, Jack Kirby. After 52 sketches, you'd think I'd be running out of characters, but with only a couple repeats, it's still going strong. Today, in honor of Kirby's 96th birthday, I'm putting all the sketches in one place to show some of the best artists working in comics celebrating Kirby's lasting legacy as a creator!
Following the haunting "Finn the Human" episode of Adventure Time, many fans may have thought they'd never see the bleak "Farmland" timeline again. Leave it to Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb to not leave you hanging, though. A comparatively dour version of AT's last boy on Earth known as Finn Mertens a.k.a. "Farmland Finn" returned in the last issue of AT and his mechanical-armed adventures continue in Adventure Time #19 on August 21. Things aren't exactly what they seem this time around, however, as both Finn and his best friend Jake the dog work together to overcome the weirdness of converging nightmare worlds.
As much as I like digging through the quarter bins for a run of Punisher 2099, the real action at a convention always comes from browsing through Artist's Alley for the new books that you can't get anywhere else. As much as the focus at conventions falls on superheroes, there's a lot of great independent stuff out there that you can pick up directly from the people who made it -- and it's especially easy at a convention like Charlotte's HeroesCon, which gives a huge amount of floor space over to the indies.