Canada is comics’ secret super-power. As far back as 1938, when Toronto-born Joe Shuster created Superman with Cleveland’s Jerry Siegel, Canada has been a vital partner -- a Wild Child to America's Sabtretooth. (Age of Apocalypse version.)
”We have so many great artists and writers to choose from, it’s such an embarrassment of riches,” says Ty Templeton, a writer and artist who has worked for most major publishers and on most big name characters, and who knows just about everyone in the business. When he says Canada's creative community boasts an embarrassment of riches, he knows what he's talking about. So on this beautiful and proud Canada Day, we at Comics Alliance have to ask; why hasn't a Canadian creative team ever taken on Canada's best-known superhero team, Alpha Flight?
I don't know if it's even really necessary to tell anyone that they should be reading Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's Sex Criminals, but on the off chance that you've been sleeping on the story of two bank robbers with hearts of gold and time-stopping orgasms, you really oughtta get on that, and this week is a pretty good time to get to it. With Sex Criminals #6, Fraction and Zdarsky are kicking off their second story arc with the return of Jon and Susie. Or at least, the return of most of Jon and Susie. See, there's a piece missing, and one assumes that this is going to cause all kinds of problems over the next few issues.
Tea parties. Spaceways. Rooftops. The best comic book covers of March 2014 take us to some strange and familiar places, and introduce us to new Fables cover artist Nimit Malavia, upcoming cover talents Pascal Campion and Emily Hu, and the latest striking creations by Francesco Francavilla, Mike Del Mundo and more.
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, it's an extra-special, ComicsAlliance-exclusive set of comics reviews. Chris and Matt are chatting about the brand-new Daredevil #1 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, Superman Unchained #6 by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, and Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's Sex Criminals #5.
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).
2013 was a great year for comics. It feels like a similar statement is made after every year concludes, but 2013 unquestionably saw exceptional work from several creators, across multiple publishers and genres within the medium. To close out the year, we offered what we felt to be the best comics of the year, highlighting dozens of writers and artists whose creative output we felt deserved to be celebrated.
But now we want to hear from you. Readers often offer us their opinions, via the comment section or social media, as to what they’re enjoying, or what they think we missed. Now we’d like you to let us know with your vote, as this week we’re launching the first annual ComicsAlliance Reader Choice Awards. We’ll have two categories per day throughout the week, and you can vote more than once if you like, though you’ll have to wait an hour at least before coming back to vote again. Voting will be open until February 11 at 10 a.m. EST, and we’ll announce the winners shortly after.
You can cast your vote after the cut for the best cover artist of the year.
Community is back. The brilliant and comics friendly NBC comedy (has any other television show, ever, featured an issue of Scud The Disposable Assassin?) made its season five debut Thursday night, with series creator Dan Harmon running the show once more. At ComicsAlliance, we've been fans of the show pretty much from the beginning, and even if it never again quite reaches the heights it once achieved -- season four wasn't exactly great, but our fingers are crossed for this year -- we'll always celebrate the good times.
With that in mind, we figured now was a good time to look back at a piece of Community art by noted Applebee's aficionado Chip Zdarsky, who we understand also draws that Sex Criminals comic all the kids are talking about.
With the possible exception of whoever's in charge of determining which comics get banned from being sold on Apple devices, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarksy'sSex Criminalshas been universally hailed as one of the best comic books of the year. The story of strange sexual awakenings, bank robberies, and the untold impact of porn left in the woods has earned its creators a huge fan following, a fourth printing of the first issue set for January, and being declared Time's best comic book of the year.
To cap off a pretty triumphant year, I talked to Zdarsky about how he hooked up with Matt Fraction, his reaction to the response the book's been getting, and, perhaps most importantly, the secret origin of Sexual Gary.
This is not a joke and not an imaginary story. It's a real cover.
The artwork for the fourth printing edition of the thrice sold-outSex Criminals #1 features creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky dressed in sweaters, staring ahead, and in front of a portrait-studio background. It is a visual wonder that must be seen to be believed.
With hundreds of comics released to stores every month, a great cover can make a big difference. That tiny rectangle needs to grab the eye, set a mood, convey an idea, and entice a reader to pick the book up and look inside. It takes a great cover artist to get all of that right.
ComicsAlliance continues its look back at some of the best cover work in 2013 from some of the most talented cover artists in the industry. This week we pick highlights from the work of Nathan Fox (Collider/FBP), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle), Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) and John Paul Leon (The Massive).
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