From October 1950, when the very first installments of Peanuts was published, every single installment of the strip was drawn by Charles M. Schulz's own hand, and the only variations in the style of the characters' depictions came organically through the evolution of Schulz's own drawing style. Even when the characters have appeared outside their home strip, in various animated specials or in the Dell or Boom comic books, the animators and artists have closely aped Schulz's style.
That's what makes Boom Studios' new Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz so compelling. It's difficult to imagine what any other artist's version of the iconic characters might look like, but this book is full of them, and being faced with these characters divorced from their creator's designs is fascinating and at times even disconcerting. It's hard to look at the realistic image of Charlie Brown by Ryan Sook on the cover of the book, staring into the eyes of the "real" Charlie Brown, and not be a little freaked out, isn't it?
The Diamond Retailer Summit is underway in Baltimore this weekend, timed to coincide with Baltimore Comic Con, and Marvel has taken the opportunity to unveil more new titles for the All-New All-Different line relaunch, including ongoing series for two former West Coast Avengers, Moon Knight and Mockingbird.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was built out of spare parts. With heavy-hitters like Spider-Man and the X-Men owned by different studios, Marvel Studios bet big on less popular characters and emerged victorious. Suddenly, Iron Man and Captain America became a big deal for ordinary, non-nerd people. Marvel no longer needs their big guns to matter. And now, they’re showcasing their clout by ruthlessly removing the X-Men from the comic book landscape using the characters they intend to replace them with – the Inhumans.
In his career in comics, Jeff Lemire hasn't shied away from building worlds. Essex County, Sweet Tooth, Trillium, and even his work at Valiant Comics have all presented readers with fully realized, fleshed-out settings. But Descender, Lemire's Image Comics science fiction series with painted art by Dustin Nguyen, may be his most ambitious project.
The series focuses on a child-like robot in a war-torn galaxy full of mistrust and betrayal. It wrapped up its first six-issue arc last week, so we talked to Lemire about his plans for the next arc, the mystery behind the destructive force known as the Harvesters, and his influences. We also touched on his new series, Plutona, which steers back to the superhero genre.
In what must be one of the last official announcements to come out of Marvel ahead of Wednesday's reveal of the full All-New, All-Different line-up, Marvel has unveiled the new flagship X-Men roster from the creative team of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Humberto Ramos, with colors by Edgar Delgado. Extraordinary X-Men introduces yet another adjective to the X-Men's arsenal, and brings together a team of Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Magik, plus the present version of Iceman, a past version of Jean Grey, and a future version of Wolverine.
While other superhero comics publishers are mining their pasts for big crossover events this spring and summer, Valiant is blasting ahead into the future, specifically, its characters' end times.
The new, four-issue event series Book of Death, written by Robert Venditti and with art by Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite, promises to reveal how characters including Ninjak, Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Toyo Harada and others will bite it, be redeemed, be replaced, or otherwise change in the future.
DC's recent announcement of a new post-Convergence lineup of titles offered promising signs of diversification at the publisher, with Gene Luen Yang, securing a high profile assignment on Superman with John Romita, Jr., and fellow Asian-American creators Sonny Liew, Ming Doyle, and Annie Wu picking up new titles, plus several LGBT creators on titles, including Steve Orlando on Midnighter and James Tynion IV on Constantine; and black author David F. Walker taking over Cyborg. It was great to see so many non-cis-straight-white-male demographic groups represented, both in characters and creative teams.
These announcements go some way towards correcting ongoing imbalances in the mainstream comic industry, but as ComicsAlliance editor Andrew Wheeler noted in his coverage; "this is the superhero comic version of diversity, where ‘any’ feels like a victory; any non-white creators, any women, any queer representation. Any is not enough.” Thinking about that statement, a question occurred to me;
“Are there any indigenous characters or creators?”
The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.
In his decade-plus as a comics writer and artist, Jeff Lemire has worn a lot of different hats: Indie darling, trailblazing Vertigo comics creator, DC Comics' go-to superhero writer.
Now, he's found something like a middle road. He's got a superhero book with an indie flair (Hawkeye), a creator-owned book with big sci-fi ambitions (Descender) and a new Valiant Comics series unlike anything he's ever done before: Bloodshot: Reborn, which is such a vastly new take on the character that plot details are hard to come by.
We talked with Lemire about his somewhat daring take on Valiant's most violent character, and also posed some questions about his varied career.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
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