As I scrolled through all 356 pages of Selected Ambient Works: 11-13, a free PDF download compiling tons of sketches, fan art, comic book pages and finished illustrations by Giannis Milonogiannis, creator of Archaia's Old City Blues and contributing artist to Image's Prophet, I thought to myself, "Is Milonogiannis a retrofuturist? Is he doing with the 1980s and cyberpunk what Dean Motter did with the 1930s and noir?"
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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.
Following a run of single issue releases this past spring and summer, Archaia's modern adaptation of Shotaro Ishinomori's classic Cyborg 009 is set to get collected hardcover style on September 11. Written by F.J. DeSanto (The Spirit, Immortals: Gods and Heroes) and Bradley Cramp (Gattaca, Lord of War) and featuring the artwork of illustrator Marcus To (Batwing, Red Robin) and colorist Ian Herring (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand), the 120 page hardcover works to retain the spirit and central concepts of Ishinomori's original narrative about a team of humans turned into agents of war against their will, with contemporary touches. The HC itself even comes dressed with an acetate dust jacket and layered cover art to let readers peel their way through its titular hero to (literally) see just what makes the character tick.
An Aurora Grimeon Story: Will o' the Wisp is the first in a presumed series of original graphic novels starring a charismatic and curious teenage heroine who should appeal to fans of Locke & Key, Courtney Crummin, the films of Tim Burton, the stories of Neil Gaiman, and other works of contemporary spookiness in which plucky young women find themselves in the center of a ghostly goings-on in mysterious locales. That's auspicious company for first-time graphic novelists Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison, but their 200-page book about a young orphan who goes to live with her elderly, thanatologist grandfather in the supernatural swamps of Louisiana demonstrates a real gift for the kind if creepy yet quaint tone and straightforward storytelling that characterizes those works.
The Archaia book will be available for pre-order at finer comics shops starting tomorrow, but I had a chance to read a big chunk of Aurora Grimeon in advance and thought you should check it out. Below you'll find a handful of pages from the new graphic novel, published here for the very first time.
When it comes to San Diego Comic-Con, every publisher approaches the show a little bit differently. Whether they house cosplay contests, interactive displays, photo ops with talent, creator signings and/or a whole lot of purchasable product, SDCC booths are an opportunity for the publishers that can attend to make a big impression on one of the most attended pop culture gatherings of the year. You can get a sampling of what publishers like Marvel, DC, Archie, Boom!, IDW, 2000 AD, Dark Horse, Image, Fantagraphics, Oni and others were up to on the show floor of this year's SDCC after the cut.
Written and lavishly illustrated by David Petersen, Mouse Guard follows the adventures of an elite association of mice sworn to protect a kind of medieval mouse kingdom from threats both foreign (like weasels, snakes, and other predators) and domestic (like traitors!). The story is as harrowing as it is charming, among the most consistently executed, high quality American series published today, and has earned numerous awards and nominations in comics and the book trade.
After years of waiting, those of us who digest Mouse Guard in its luxurious hardcover form will finally have the answer to a mystery that's lingered since the first volume went on sale in 2008: the origin of the Black Axe.
Last week comic book publisher BOOM! Studios announced it had acquired Archaia Entertainment with a view to positioning the company behind award-winning books like David Petersen’s Mouse Guard and the Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand by Ramón Pérez as a fully functioning imprint, with Archaia’s staff and corporate culture intact. It was good news for both Los Angeles-based publishers, but not necessarily for the reasons many industry insiders assumed. In their first joint interview since the news broke, both company’s Editors-in-Chief Matt Gagnon and Stephen Christy told ComicsAlliance how the merger came to be, why it made sense to them from a number of angles, and what readers and professionals can expect from the new union -- not only with respect to the publishing line, but to creator deals and broader media as well.
ComicsAlliance has learned that comic book publisher BOOM! Studios has acquired fellow Los Angeles comics company Archaia Entertainment from its parent Kunoichi. Archaia, home to such acclaimed titles as David Petersen's Mouse Guard and Jim Henson's A Tale of Sand by Ramón K. Pérez and known for very high book production values, had been suffering financial setbacks recently as a consequence of a problems with a book trade distribution partner, prompting the publisher to sign a deal with Diamond the next year, the leading distribution agent for direct market comic book stores. BOOM! has a much stronger infrastructure in the comics market, which the company hopes to leverage to expand Archaia's readership with the company operating as a separate imprint within BOOM! Studios.
On sale next week from Archaia is Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #1 (V2), beginning an all-new anthology series that invites some of comics' most talented creators to tell stories set throughout the endlessly charming, frequently funny and always harrowing mediaval world of mice created by David Petersen. This first issue contains framing sequences by Petersen himself that introduce the mechanism by which new stories by Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Ben Caldwell (Wednesday Comics' "Wonder Woman") and Nick Tapalansky and Alex-Eckman Lawn (Awakening) will unfold: a storytelling contesthosted in old Madame June's mouse tavern. The prize for the best tale? A zeroed out bar tab.
Good news from Archaia. The publisher of David Petersen's multi-award winning Mouse Guard has announced the second volume of Legends of the Guard, an anthology project that invites some of comics' most talented creators to tell stories set throughout Petersen's endlessly charming, frequently funny and always harrowing mediaval world of mice...