Weekender: Comic-Con Express, ‘Knights Of The Realm’, and Advice from Kieron Gillen
What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more — but the comics industry has been busy too, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed. ComicsAlliance has got your back; when it comes to comics, we never slow down, so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on.
New comics, new stories, new hirings, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
It remains a somewhat light time of year for comics, offering Viz the opportunity to leap in theatrically and unveil new deals made with Walmart and Best Buy that will put more manga on the shelves.
With Walmart, the deal is to expand the offer of manga already on display at the chain, adding Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul, Pokeman and One Punch Man to the comics already available. For Best Buy, this marks the first manga on its shelves. One of the biggest problems facing comics is that they aren’t available at as wide a seleciton of places as they used to be --- the more we get to see deals like this made, the more potential readers these works can find! Assassination Classroom is now available at Best Buy, and that’s fantastic.
You thought convention season was still half a year away? Oh you naive chicklings! We’ve seen conventions across the world take the last few days to announce waves of guests. Everywhere from TCAF in Canada to London Super ComicCon in, uh, London have started announcing the writers and artists you can spend time mingling with through 2016, and which editors you can joyfully hurl your portfolio at.
For a more American-grown convention, San Diego has also been releasing the names of the various special guests who are attending this year.
Comic-Con Express will make a stop in Pune this year. The Indian convention has previously been seen at Delhi and Mumbai, and has seen great success --- superhero comics and creator-owned work alike have seen a huge rise in the country, especially over the last year in particular. Comic-Con Pune will arrive February 21.
Over at Angouleme, the initial vote for their Grand Prix has concluded and left three comics talents standing: Alan Moore, Claire Wendling, and Hermann. We’ll have to keep an eye on who actually wins the award later this year, as the Grand Prix winner is typically asked to be the face of the festival for the next year. Considering Moore and Hermann have both said they’d decline the award if they win and Wendling has described her nomination as like “getting an ugly jumper at Christmas”, that should be fun.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
I think there’s a huge potential in this webcomic from Myisha Haynes. The Substitutes is about three flatmates who accidentally get themselves powered up with magical weapons. After completing the prologue last year, Haynes has now returned after a brief holiday break to start the first chapter of her story. I like the tone working through the pages here, and I’ll be following chapter one with interest.
Joshua Dysart has paired up with Alberto Ponticelli, Pat Masioni and Tom Mauer, as well as the World Food Programme, to serialize a graphic novel that follows aid workers in Iraq during the time of ISIS. It’s a valuable piece of comics work, from a writer who has spent time in the country and knows what he’s talking about.
Another great webcomic that’s only just hit my radar is Agents of the Realm from Mildred Louis. It has a similar premise to The Substitutes, as a group of female friends each find a brooch that gives them superpowers and the ability to fight monsters, but this comic heads in a different direction.
The main thrust of the project is the lives of the characters, how they interact with each other, and how their lives are building and changing as they grow up. There’s some spectacular dialogue in particular. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Louis show up at Boom Box or somewhere similar within the year. She’s hugely talented.
Peter Bagge has a new recurring comic on Vice, with each installment chronicling a different infamous urban legend in the world of music.
Eric Stephenson is not just the Publisher of Image Comics, but one of the writers who puts out creator-owned titles through the company. With his series Nowhere Men returning shortly with new artists Dave Taylor and Emi Lenox after a few years hiatus, Stephenson has been doing the rounds online, speaking with a number of sites.
Our own John Parker spoke to Stephenson about the challenges of bringing the book back after a lengthy hiatus, while Oliver Sava at the AV Club prods Stephenson into talking about his work behind the scenes. There’s a particularly good section about the pitch pile Stephenson reads through from new and established creatives looking to make their mark.
The Comics Journal has republished a huge interview between Hayashi Seiichi and Sasaki Maki from the 1960s, in which the pair talk at significant length about their experiences as manga creators, and the response people have to their work. It’s preluded by a lengthy introduction to the publication that the interview first appeared in, Garo, and is an all-round generally fascinating conversation for many reasons.
Heidi MacDonald at The Beat offers a profile of Tille Walden, the fast-rising cartoonist whose works have already received plenty of acclaim. She’s best known for her work through Avery Hill Publishing, including The End of Summer and I Love This Part, and it really feels as though 2016 could be a breakthrough year for her.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a comics creative yourself, you’ll have found no shortage of advice from writers, artists, and editors about their process. But here’s some more! Kieron Gillen’s been talking about his process for years, but this week started to compile the various blog posts, concepts and thoughts about his work over the years. He also includes ideas and advice from other comics creators, as well as a few maxims for writers to always remember, including: “remember that you are a parasite.”
The completionist in me appreciates the fine work being done by Todd Klein in identifying each and every one of the people in the above photo taken at DC’s office Christmas party in 1945. Alongside a few obvious people like Joe Kubert and principle owner Harry Donenfeld are some more surprising faces, but I admire the detail Klein goes into each time he identifies a new face. This is comics history being documented, and it’s wonderful.
Have a great weekend, everybody!