Since Scott McCloud first shot onto the cultural radar in the mid-80s, with his "reconstructionist" superhero series Zot!, he's been known as one of the modern masters of the comics form – his seminal 1993 volume Understanding Comics set a benchmark for intelligent analysis of graphic narrative language and technique (and became a go-to reference for college courses worldwide), his sequels, Reinventing Comics (2000) and Making Comics (2006) met with critical and commercial success, and his 1998 graphic novel The New Adventures Of Abraham Lincoln remains a fascinating and underrated attempt at melding the worlds of traditional and computer-generated cartooning. He's written a heaping handful of Superman stories, spoken and lectured around the world, and established himself as a comic creator, commentator, scholar and theorist without peer.
And this week, First Second Books is releasing his latest work, the five-years-in-the-making opus The Sculptor, the story of David Smith, a young sculptor living in New York City who makes a deal with Death that gives him only two hundred days to live, but allows him to shape any material, creating art with his bare hands from whatever he wishes…
Writer/artist Ben Hatke caught the attention of readers with his Zita The Spacegirl series, a trio of YA graphic novels from First Second that tell the story of an average earth girl who tries to save her best friend from an alien invasion -- and in the process becomes a spacefaring superhero. His latest project, Julia's House For Lost Creatures, is a picture book featuring a strange young girl who opens her home to goblins, faeries, mermaids, and all manner of fantastical monsters. ComicsAlliance sat down with him to discuss his approach to storytelling, and his upcoming projects.
In Real Life tells the story of Anda, a young girl who discovers that video games aren't always an escape from the problems of everyday life. Immersed in the fictional world of massive multiplayer roleplaying game Coarsegold Online, she learns that her life inside the game can influence and shape her life outside it, and vice versa.
Published by First Second in October, In Real Life is adapted by Jen Wang from a 2004 short story by Cory Doctorow. ComicsAlliance recently sat down with Doctorow to discuss the feeling of seeing his work adapted to comic form, the ever-shrinking divide between virtual and real worlds, and the unconscious elements of design and storytelling.
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.”
Cartoonist Lucy Knisley attended both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Center for Cartoon Studies. She's written two graphic novels, French Milk and Relish, the latter of which was a New York Times bestseller. She's also worked for many comics publishers including Boom! and Marvel.
The ink is barely dry on writer/artist Paul Pope's new all-ages graphic novel Battling Boy, but just like that, a prequel is on the way.
The Rise of Aurora West, which tells the story of one of Battling Boy's allies, the daughter of science hero Haggard West, is set for release in July 2014. Pope will have some help on the book this time. J.T. Petty will co-write it with him and it'll be drawn by artist David Rubin.
This week, First Second Comics releases Fairy Tale Comics, a hardcover anthology of classic stories adapted by 17 prolific cartoonists. To celebrate, we've snagged an interview with Emily Carroll, whose adaptation of The Brothers Grimm's perhaps lesser-known tale "The 12 Dancing Princesses" graces the book's pages.
Multiple Eisner Award winner Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Level Up, Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise) is about to release his most ambitious comic project yet. Together they're Boxers & Saints, a pair of graphic novels (available both together and separately) that tell the story of China's Boxer Rebellion from two opposing, but connected points of view. For Yang, the son of Chinese immigrants and a practicing Catholic, it's a personal work of historical fiction that delves into a turbulent and deadly time in China's history when young kung fu-practicing peasants organized to combat colonial powers, Christian missionaries from the west and Chinese Christians who had converted. ComicsAlliance got in touch with Yang to see how he navigated this complicated history and what artistic decisions went into telling these two intersecting stories.
It's going to be a busy San Diego Comic-Con for First Second. On top of a hefty schedule of panels and signings, FS will be rolling out three original graphic novels: Genius by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, Templar by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, Alex Puvilland and Hilary Sycamore, and Paul Pope's The Death of Haggard West.
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