When you pick up a new comic by Phil Hester and John McCrea, you pretty much expect it to be good. Hester, after all, has produced amazing work as both a writer and an artist on titles like Green Arrow and Firebreather, going all the way back to The Wretch, while McCrea was, among other things, the co-creator of one of my all-time favorite comics, Hitman. They've got a track record, is what I'm getting at, so when they pair up and launch a new series, you expect it to be good.
With Mythic, they're bringing a rip-roaring adventure to a world full of magic at a pace that doesn't leave time to explain anything to its readers, and they're happily blowing their biggest surprises in the next-issue blurbs just to make sure you keep reading, and it's not just good. It's great.
One of the best things about the online celebrations of Jack Kirby's birthday is Phil Hester's marathon sketch project. Each year, in honor of the King, he draws a sketch for every year since Kirby's birth in exchange for donations to the Hero Initiative. That means that, this year, he's knocked out a solid 98 pieces of art over the course of two days --- an especially ambitious project since last year's attempt to do 97 in a single day was obviously a pretty draining experience.
Today, he posted his favorites from this year's project on Twitter, and as you might expect if you're familiar with Kirby and Hester, they're pretty amazing, including characters from Kirby's tenure at Marvel and DC, from Galactus to Granny Goodness.
For the past four years, August 28 has been more than just Jack Kirby's birthday. It's also the day that comic artists, retailers and fans all over the world celebrate the King's life and legacy with the Kirby 4 Heroes campaign. Originally created by granddaughter Jillian Kirby in 2012, Kirby 4 Heroes is a fundraiser for the Hero Initiative, the charity designed to help comic book creators in need, and this week, they announced the official start of the 2015 campaign.
The idea is a simple one: artist draw original pieces on Kirby's birthday and auction them on eBay, with all proceeds going to Kirby 4 Heroes. Fans can also donate directly, or attend in-store events across the country where there will be a variety of ways to donate.
AfterShock Comics, the new publisher formed earlier this year by Joe Pruett, has announced a huge slate of writers who'll be penning creator-owned stories for their eventual launch line - including Justin Jordan, Garth Ennis, Marguerite Bennett and Amanda Conner.
Comics artist Wilfredo Torres' wife recently passed away from cancer. You may know Torres from some of the great work he's done over the last year on The Shadow, Batman '66, Jupiter's Circle, and on covers for the King Features line at Dynamite. To support Torres and his family in their time of grief, several comics creators have decided to raise funds by auctioning off pieces of art. They'll all be posting links on how to buy their work using the hashtag #TorresBenefit on social media. All are welcome to participate, either by bidding on art or by auctioning their art.
We've already seen Arrow and The Flash cross paths a few times on their respective TV shows; now they'll meet up again in the tie-in next week's installment of the DC Digital comic series The Flash: Season Zero, from writers Lauren Certo, Andrew Kreisberg, and Kai Wu, and artists Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, and Kelsey Shannon.
This is not Hester's first time drawing a version of Ollie Queen, aka Arrow on the screen and Green Arrow in the DC comics universe. Hester and Ande Parks were the celebrated art team on Kevin Smith's Green Arrow run of the early 2000s. We spoke to Hester to learn what it was like to take on such a different take on such a familiar character, and DC provided us with an exclusive preview of the creative team's Arrow leaping into action.
Last week, ComicsAlliance brought you the news that legendary artist Norm Breyfogle, whose beautiful, stylized art graced the pages of Batman and Detective Comics from 1990 to 1996, was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. While Breyfogle is expected to recover with time, the stroke has unfortunately left him paralyzed on his left side, which is particularly devastating since Breyfogle is a left-handed artist.
The stay at the hospital and his treatment have wiped out Breyfogle's savings and left him with $200,000 in medical expenses. Like so many veterans of the comics industry, Breyfogle doesn't have insurance to cover these costs. As a result, his family is turning to a crowdfunding campaign to cover Beyfogle's treatment and, hopefully, help him fully recover.
Of all the titles in DC Comics' "Digital-First" initiative, Batman Beyond 2.0 has been possibly the biggest surprise. Kyle Higgins and artist Thony Silas launched a series that expands the beloved Batman Beyond animated series storyline from the 1990s in exciting and unexpected ways, without losing the elements that made the Warner Bros. Animation original so popular, and fans have noticed and responded. The story of young Batman Terry McGuinness and his mentor Bruce Wayne and their adventures in Neo-Gotham, DC recently upgraded the Batman Beyond 2.0 from bi-weekly to weekly, and as of Chapter #25, Higgins brought his C.O.W.L. collaborator Alec Siegel and venerable comics veterans Phil Hester and Craig Rousseau onboard the series for what the team has promised to be a particularly dramatic new movement in the young series, one that includes a return of the Phantasm, one of Batman: The Animated Series' most rarely scene yet fan-favorite foes.
During a few spare minutes as San Diego Comic-Con, we stopped by the DC booth to chat with the Higgins and Siegel about their love for the Batman Beyond characters, their collaborative process, "Mark of the Phantasm", and their further plans for the book's future.
With the wrap-up of writer Joe Keatinge's multi-artist "Strange Visitor" epic in Adventures of Superman last week, the series is nearing a full year of weekly, digital Superman stories. It's easily been the best, most daring Superman title DC Comics has been publishing in 2013 and 2014 (and not just because Superman gets to wear his real costume in it). Edited by Alex Antone, Adventures of Superman invites creators from all strata of comics to put their own stamps on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's original American superhero, free from the aesthetic constraints of the publisher's main line of New 52 comics and continuity. We like it so much, Adventures of Superman ended up on our list of the best comic books published in 2013.
We thought it would be a good idea to look back at the series so far, so I've compiled the following list of stories that readers unfamiliar with the series should go back and catch up with if they want the high points of the past year. At a dollar a pop, they're all well worth it.
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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