Creator Roundup

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This week, Dan Hipp goes were the wild things are, Charles Soule gives free advice, Jo Chen paints a giant axe, Peter David stands up for nerd rights, Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood tease Conan, Jim Rugg sells some girl on girl, Peter Nguyen paints a red, conical bra, Alan Moore speaks, which is always good, Dave Johnson Does not Jest, Sara Pichelli listens to Karma Police, Cameron Stewart is not just an artist, and Ben Templesmith defaces classic literature.



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Dan Hipp wishes everyone a happy thanksgiving:
MARIOPARTY

- Charles Soule gives some advice on writing. It's pretty good. Here's some of it.
I was asked a question today by one of my Facebook friends, a very nice person who used to work in comic book retailing but whose shop closed down within the last six months or so.  This person (and yes, I’m being gender-neutral, so please forgive some slightly tortured phrasing) used to be able to read all the free comics they could stand, and now has a big, story-sized gap.  They thought they might fill it by trying to write, and asked me if I had any tips for starting to write stories.  It was clear that they wanted to write a book of some kind, fiction, and I this is what I told them, slightly edited:
  • - So, writing a book.  First of all, it’s hard, and it takes a long time.  My suggestion is to start with something small, just a short story.  Think of them as a sketch (or more realistically, a series of sketches) before you jump into the main event that is writing a full-length novel or comic.
  • - I would structure each story as a separate exercise, within which you’re working on a different element of telling a story.  Each one will help you to understand how your brain comes up with ideas, and will also limber up your brain so it can come up with ideas.

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Joss Whedon's blog points to Jo Chen's cover for the first Buffy Season 9 HC:
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- Peter David finished his Fan/Pro bill of rights. Here's a morsel, but you definitely wanna check out the full thing.

Right the First
Fans and Pros have a right to a mutual understanding of what is expected and required from each when it comes to the giving and receiving of autographs.
1) Fans have a right to know as early as possible—preferably in the convention advertising and certainly no later than via clearly posted signs at the pro’s table—what will and will not be autographed. (EX: only materials purchased at the table as opposed to items that the fans have already acquired.)
2) Pros have a right not to be embarrassed by, or be made uncomfortable with, unauthorized materials brought for signature (EX: that jerk who brought Emma Watson an 8 x 10 of a paparazzi photograph angled up her dress) or the nature of the object to be autographed (EX: body parts). By the same token, pros should be willing to sign any material that they themselves are selling. If the pro charges for autographs, there should be no hidden costs; a price list, while not required, is extremely helpful.
3) Particularly during advertised, limited-time autograph sessions, the pro should have the right to not have any one individual attempt to monopolize his time. For that matter, the fans have the right not to have to stand there and watch some guy tell the pro his life’s story. In cases of convention-sponsored autographs sessions, conventions should provide one or more monitors to be responsible for keeping the line moving so that pros don’t have to be the bad guy and fans don’t have to shout at their fellow fans to keep moving, and to cap the line so that the pro is not required to remain overtime.
4) Unless there is prior notification otherwise, fans have a right to have their books personalized. If they desire personalization, they should say so up front so the pro doesn’t have to guess. Nor should pros have to guess at the spelling of names. Don’t assume the pro will figure out that your name has a silent “q.” Complicated names should be presented on pieces of paper for convenience. If your name is on your badge but it’s spelled wrong, do not expect the pro to intuit that. Pros should not be asked to sign potentially inflammatory messages because the fan thinks it “will be funny” or “he’ll appreciate it.” (EX: Dear Jim: Why didn’t you show up, you asshole? Best wishes.)
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Becky Cloonan gives us a sneak peak of Conan:

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- Becky and
Brian Wood had a chat with Newsarama about Conan:

Nrama: There’s a variety of different breeds of pirate. How’d you go to pinpoint just who Bêlit is and what she’d be like?
Wood: I think its safe to say that Bêlit is in a category of her own. Also, I’m not writing her as any sort of pirate stereotype. There is actually so much information in the first part of the source material, especially when you are poring over every line like a crazy person like I am. Every adjective is a clue, a piece of the puzzle, and there is a huge amount of subtext there. But again, it’s a short story and we have 25 issues to fill, so the real trick is to build Bêlit out from what she is already into something much more well-rounded and complete. It seems like sacrilege to even say such a thing, but it’s true.
In her, you have a pretty cutthroat pirate; you also have a demanding queen, and an incredibly sexual person. She draws a bead on Conan (and to a degree finds a way to fetishize his ethnicity, which is a fascinating thing as a writer to play with) and goes after him hardcore. But that’s just the first step. How do they, as a couple, evolve over some two years? What s it about her that makes him want to stick around for that long, and vice versa?
Cloonan: Bêlit is a little tricky, visually- she’s this tough as nails pirate woman who runs around topless and kills people. At first you think, how can this not be awesome to draw? But she could easily turn into a character who’s only purpose is to be cheesecake, the chick who is clinging to Conan’s leg. I think the real trick with Bêlit is to really show her as the driving force of this story. She is the most feared pirate in the waters surrounding Kush. She is frightening and powerful and sexy, and I’m trying my hardest to make her all of these things. Without Bêlit, this story would be nothing.

- Jim Rugg has a new Afrodisiac print on his website:
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Peter Nguyen paints an awesome Wonder Woman:
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Alan Moore is a guy that you know is going to say something good every time he opens his mouth. He opened it for the Guardian - heres a taster:
It all comes back to Moore – a private man with knotty greying hair and a magnificent beard, who prefers to live without an internet connection and who has not had a working telly for months "on an obscure point of principle" about the digital signal in his hometown of Northampton. He has never yet properly commented on the Vendetta mask phenomenon, and speaking on the phone from his home, Moore seems variously baffled, tickled, roused and quite pleased that his creation has become such a prominent emblem of modern activism.
"I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn't it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction."
"That smile is so haunting," says Moore. "I tried to use the cryptic nature of it to dramatic effect. We could show a picture of the character just standing there, silently, with an expression that could have been pleasant, breezy or more sinister." As well as the mask, Occupy protesters have taken up as a marrying slogan "We are the 99%"; a reference, originally, to American dissatisfaction with the richest 1% of the US population having such vast control over the country. "And when you've got a sea of V masks, I suppose it makes the protesters appear to be almost a single organism – this "99%" we hear so much about. That in itself is formidable. I can see why the protesters have taken to it."

- Dave Johnson shows off his cover for the upcoming Abe Sapien collection:
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Sara Pichelli has been listening to Karma Police:
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Cameron Stewart has a chat with Comics Alliance about working with Mike Mignola, the upcoming year of the monster and writing comics:
CA: You're best known to comics readers as an artist, having drawn to much acclaim books like Seaguy, Batman and Robin, Catwoman and Suicide Girls (a favorite among ComicsAlliance readers). But you have written comics, perhaps most notably your webcomic SinTitulo. Can you tell us a bit more about your writing background, aspirations and how you came to be co-writer with Mignola on B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism?

CS: I've always had the intention to write as well as draw - the first portfolio that I distributed when seeking comics work included a small mini-comic that I wrote and drew. But in the course of my professional career I've only ever been hired as an illustrator, mainly because I've never really actively sought writing work because I've been focusing on improving my drawing abilities. Now that I'm confident that I'm at least competent as an illustrator and visual storyteller, I'm interested in creating my own stories. To meet this need, several years ago I began working on my online graphic novel SinTitulo as an exercise for myself in developing my writing skills and crafting a long-form story. The response has been very positive, culminating in several award nominations and winning a 2010 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic.

Around the same time, I was hired by Ubisoft (along with my studio mate Karl Kerschl) to produce a comic based on their Assassin's Creed video game series, and despite being approached mainly for our illustrative skills, Ubisoft also granted us the opportunity to write the story. Again we were met with strong critical response, with many reviews praising the story as much as the artwork. Shortly after publication of Assassin's Creed: The Fall, Scott Allie contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in returning to the B.P.R.D. universe and taking on writer/artist duties.

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Ben Templesmith painted a cover of Bram Stoker's Dracula - he literally painted it right on the cover of the book.
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Creator Roundup

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This week Dan Hipp solemnly swears he’s up to no good, Mark Waid talks about Marcos Martin, Dave Johnson gets the ink out, Charles Soule talks about being helpful, Becky Cloonan goes vampire, Eduardo Risso talks about Brian Azzarello, Chrissie Zullo captures dualism, Christos Gage writes angsty teens and Peter Nguyen graws a seascape.



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Dan Hipp is up to no good:
UPTONOGOOD

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Mark Waid has a chat with ComiXology about Daredevil and Marcos Martin:
Speaking of the "we", can you talk a little bit about the artists on the book, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin? Were those guys already on board with Daredevil before you? Was it a package deal when you started talking to Tom Brevoort about the book?

Yeah. Either Brevoort or Wacker or both assembled them, I'd bet Wacker. Marcos and Wacker are pretty good pals, and both artists were already on board by the time I signed on. I couldn't have been happier with that. I'd never worked with Paolo before, and I was a little nervous because I wasn't terribly familiar with what the process of working together was going to be like. I met with him and at the Orlando Megacon last year and he got it immediately, I knew we were on the same wavelength because he was all about storytelling. He didn't care about splash pages, he didn't care about some two-page spread he could sell for a lot of money at conventions. He wanted to tell a story.

Now, both of these guys are suffering through the adjustment I'm having to make as a guy who has written 22 page stories his entire career and is suddenly having to write twenty page stories. It probably doesn't seem like it would be that big a deal, and I'm not whining...but it is a bigger deal than it would seem. Every single storytelling rhythm I have, having written comics for 25 years for a 22 page beat....it's instinct by now, my gut knows where I should be by page six, where I should be by page 17. All those rules are out the window, and unfortunately for both Paolo and Marcos, I've been temporarily solving this problem by cramming 22 page stories into 20 pages. That's not a solution. They, to their credit, have gotten my back 100% and they are not afraid of denser material. They still find ways to open it up and surprise me, Marcos in particular.

It seems to me like people still haven't grasped how special Marcos Martin is.

He's groundbreaking. He's absolutely groundbreaking in the way he approaches storytelling, in the way he approaches layout. When I work with him it's a very collaborative process. I was giving him plot first, dialog after the pencils just to give him a little bit more elbow room to storytell but he found it was slowing him down because he really felt like he needed more of the details. So I started giving him full scripts, and even with a full script, he would blow it all up and then put it back together. Which is all fine! He would ask first, sure, but he was turning out these layouts that were moving things around, putting in a new emphasis. The opening to his first full issue was originally a two page sequence that he turned into four, with Daredevil reaching down for the flash drive, the lion growling and stuff. That was his invention, that was not quite what I had called for.


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Dave Johnson draws a sumi girl:
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Charles Soule has a cracker of a post on helping out. here’s a taste:
Sort of an odd post to write, because the subject matter is a bit of a tightrope walk.  I’ve been extremely fortunate with comics writing so far – I’ve had some incredible opportunities, and I think a large part of that has been that I’ve had a few people in the business who were further ahead in their careers than I, who decided to help me out in large or small ways.  That could be anything from advice on the business to a critique to a publishing deal.  There are a ton of people I could name, but my list is starting to get so long that I’d be in danger of skipping important people.  Basically, my feeling is that you don’t get very far in comics if you don’t get the occasional leg up from someone higher up the ladder.
I think that it’s important to pay that forward – Haley Joel Osment and Kevin Spacey taught me
that much, at least.  (They also showed me a bit about telling believable stories to police detectives and a great deal about how to craft a successful performance as a sad, child-sized robot.)
(Yeah, that was an A.I. shoutout.)
Anyway, when I get asked to look something over, or to give advice on breaking in, or to talk about page rates or similar questions, I do my best to find time to answer.  I did a long Q&A session over on reddit’s comic book board recently, which was great because I was able to reach thousands of people in the same time it would have taken me to explain all that stuff to just a single person over email or at a con.  You can see that here, if you’re interested.


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Becky Cloonan posted the cover for the upcoming Dracula book she provided illustrations for:
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Eduardo Risso sat down with Comics Bulletin to discuss Spaceman, 100 Bullets and working with Azzarello:
Chudolinski: What is your working relationship with Azzarello like? I think most people tend to think the writer pens the script, hands it to the artist and that's all. Nevertheless, I get the feeling that might not have been the case here. How did the two of you trade ideas back and forth while working on particular stories?
Risso: Building a team is not simple. That's why, in my case, when I see that the relationship works I try to keep it. I believe that, over time, a good team can get wonderful products from which we all win -- companies, readers and ourselves [the creators].
Now, my relationship with the writers has always been the same. I try to show that they can trust my graphic narrative [for everything] that they want to tell. That is, if the writer asks me [for] A and B, I give A, B, C and D, so that he can pay more attention to the dialogue and [trust me completely for] the task of graphic sequences.
Chudolinski: In 100 Bullets, were there stories that got cancelled and were never published? Did DC Comics ever censor your work?
Risso: There were no canceled or censored stories. We always had complete freedom on the part of the company.
Chudolinski: You're one of the few artists working in superhero comics these days that has fans both within the mainstream DC/Marvel world and the European comics world, especially among the Italian and Spanish fan bases. If we can get you to speculate for a minute, what is it about your art that draws in readers from so many different geographical areas?
Risso: I can’t say that there is anything in particular [that I do] to attract readers. I would summarize in a few words -- professionalism and respect.
Chudolinski: What are some of the movies and books that have had an influence on your work and your life?
Risso: [With] Spielberg's ET, I remember there was a break in my way of thinking about comics. A book I read in my youth, Juan Salvador Gaviota, influenced my life. I guess many others have done [the same], but [these in particular] left an important mark on me.


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Chrissie Zullo added some more art to her blog, including this Black Queen/White Queen:
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Christos Gage chats with CBR about Avengers academy and Angel & Faith:


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Peter Nguyen posted this pic of Aquaman on his Tumblr:
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Creator Roundup

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This week Dan Hipp draws Travolta, Nick Spencer talks about his guidance councillor, Jeff Lemire rejoices over a lost dog, Charles Soule discusses process, JH Williams III flogs a bit of art, Jason Aaron shows off his mightily impressive beard, Peter David pens a bill of rights, Jim Rugg does OC Weekly, Dave Johnson draws a rabbit, Frank Miller opens his mouth, Brandon Graham confirms the rumours and Skottie Young draws Wormwood.



- Let’s begin with our weekly fix of
Hipp:
GROOVY

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Nick Spencer talks to CBR about Morning Glories. Here’s a taster:
Let's talk Ms. Hodge. We've been "place setting" a lot of characters in these opening arcs for the book from the teachers to Abraham to the kids and their families. Is Ms. Hodge one of the last major piece of the cast puzzle, or are there a few players out there to come?
No, there's still a lot of characters to be introduced that I consider to be...if not core cast then certainly major members of the supporting cast. There are a lot of new faces to be introduced, and we'll start to see some of them in the third arc and then some more in the fourth. She is a very important player, and she's somebody who's going to have a major impact on the story. I think that's pretty clear from this issue. But she's not the last one.

Aside from her growing specific role in the lives of the kids, did you just need a nice member of the faculty for balance?
I don't know. What was really interesting to me about the response has been how many people seemed to take to her immediately. It's always tricky when you're introducing a new character, and we've obviously just been through five "spotlight" issues that covered the background and lives of our main cast members. So I was a little nervous in going from that to introducing somebody new and giving her the spotlight. In my first conception of this issue, she didn't play that big of a role. She would make her first appearance, but my original intention was to focus more on the Glories themselves again. But as I got into writing it, she made a big impression on me. So I decided to stick with her and make the entire issue about her.
I think that the response to her is very strong and overwhelmingly positive, and I think that speaks to the fact that we've established a lot of empathy for the main cast. We're just feeling from the Glories really that there might be someone on this campus that isn't a homicidal maniac. That was kind of nice. Everyone let out a sigh of relief that there might be one person there who might have a little more to them. So she's an interesting piece to throw into the mix because she's clearly very different from Ms. Daramount or Mr. Gribbs or Nurse Nine. She clearly has a very different outlook and approach. And whether or not that means she has the best of intentions is a separate issue. But at the very least, she's not wickedly smiling at the idea of torturing one of our kids. So if nothing else, she's an interesting voice in the mix.


- Jeff Lemire’s very first graphic novel, ‘Lost Dogs’ is back in print. Here’s the cover:
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Charles Soule talks about the process of making comics and the 27 covers. Here’s a sample:
The process of getting a comic together can take some strange turns.  From time to time, I’ll have an idea for an element of a book, whether it’s a line of dialogue or a plot twist or just about anything else.  I’ll be thrilled about this idea, because it will seem like the best ever.  Then, eventually I see the finished version, and I’m like hooooooly crow… mistake.  If I’m lucky, it’s not too costly, and won’t require massive rewrites or new art.  It’s just part of the process, though.  As I’ve said a bunch of times, you don’t always have all your good ideas at once, and being able to recognize and discard bad ideas is incredibly important.

With 27 Second Set, we decided to continue the series’ tradition of using homages to famous images of musicians as the covers for each issue.  First Set used members of the 27 Club.  Second Set is using one-hit wonders.  As I write this, Issues 1 and 2 are on shelves, as well as available digitally, for those who prefer reading on smartphones, tablets and laptops (Issue 3 is out next week, November 23).  The cover for Issue 1 is an homage to Vanilla Ice.  The cover for Issue 2 references The Buggles.  It’s one of my favorite covers of the whole series – Scott Forbes really nailed it. 

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JH Williams III is selling some art this saturday. here’s a sample:
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Jason Aaron sat down with CBR to discuss Scalped and other things:


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Peter David authored a Fan/Pro bill of rights for convention behaviour. Its pretty ace. Here’s a sample:

I think it would be an interesting idea to produce a list of simple, basic rights that everyone attending conventions–both pros and fans–should expect. I mean, you’d think that they would be common sense; things that people would just know. On the other hand, the 10 Commandments were pretty common sense too, when you think about it, so I figure if it’s good enough for God…

Obviously there’s the one that tops them all, which naturally I call the Prime Directive:

Fans and Pros have the right to be treated by each other with the same courtesy that they themselves would expect to be treated. Fans and Pros who act like jerks abrogate the right to complain when they themselves are treated like jerks.
But there’s others, such as:
Guest Pros being sponsored by the convention have a right to written confirmation of all terms of their convention attendance at least ninety days before the convention, with travel arrangements finalized no later than thirty days prior. Travel in such instances should never be the expense of the Pro with subsequent expectation of reimbursement unless the Pro agrees to this…in which case, the Pro better be damned sure the organizer is good for it, because otherwise he’s on his own.

Fans and Pros have a right to walk through convention space without being impeded by other attendees who are either taking photographs or posing for photographs. Particularly applicable when large numbers of costumed individuals are posing for a large group of photographers. It’s a convention, not the red carpet at the Oscars. Should such blockages occur, fans and pros desiring to get from Point A to Point B should have the right of way and walk directly through the picture-taking area without the slightest concern about ruining other people’s pictures. If they weren’t courteous enough to worry about you getting to your panel, you shouldn’t have to worry about them getting their photograph of five slave Leias and a Wookie.

- Jim Rugg does some pen drawings for OC Weekly:
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Dave Johnson does Usagi Yjimbo:
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Frank Miller caused a stir this week on his thoughts about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here’s his post in its entirety, but check out the blog, because the comments are worth a read:
Everybody’s been too damn polite about this nonsense:
 
The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.
 
“Occupy” is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached - is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.
 
This is no popular uprising. This is garbage. And goodness knows they’re spewing their garbage – both politically and physically – every which way they can find.
 
Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.
 
Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.
 
And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently - must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh - out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.
 
In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.
 
Or better yet, enlist for the real thing. Maybe our military could whip some of you into shape.
 
They might not let you babies keep your iPhones, though. Try to soldier on.
 
Schmucks.
 
FM

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Brandon Graham announced that the teaser we saw last week was indeed for the King City trade. Here’s the cover:
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Skottie Young has been keeping up his daily sketches, including this one of Wormwood:
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Creator Roundup

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This week Dan Hipp does zombie Zelda, Greg Rucka talks Shakespeare, Bryan Lee O’Malley goes freaky friday, Peter David condemns anonymity, The Luna Bros do girl on guy, Brian Azzarello creates a new dialect, Charles Soule gives away a story, Brian Wood goes SNIKT, Fabio Moon presents a cover, Peter Milligan asks the hard questions, Skottie Young didn’t actually post anything this week and Robert Crumb gives an interview that will bring joy to your inner nerd.



- Dan Hipp wishes you a happy Hallowe’en:
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- Greg Rucka comments on John Orloff’s film Anonymous, about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s got nothing to do with comics, but Shakespeare is awesome. Here’s a taster:
Caught this piece on NPR this morning, Renee Montagne interviewing John Orloff regarding the movie Anonymous. And aside from the very many reasons to stick a thumb in the eye of the Shakespeare Didn’t Write Shakespeare debate, one thing was savagely clear to me. It’s apparent at the end of the piece, if you read or listen to it – Orloff doesn’t stick to his guns. He’s claiming de Vere wrote the plays, but at the end of the interview, he claims authorship isn’t the issue – it is, he says, “What we’re really doing is having a question about art and politics and the process of creativity. And that’s what the movie is about. It’s not about who wrote these plays; it’s about how does art survive and exist in our society.”

There are two things that really stick in my craw about this whole thing. The first is the basic premise that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays; an argument – in this context – that is entirely contingent on the conceit that only a nobleman could have developed the literary chops to create such enduring works of art. I find this, at its root, a classist argument, a reductive argument, and an inherently snobbish one, to boot (and was hardly surprised to discover that Antonin Scalia is another supporter of the argument – he practically makes my point right there; that Mark Twain would believe the same I find much harder to swallow, but, as 
Randy Newman once sang, “Pluto’s not a planet anymore, either.”) I find it petty. This is the same kind of argument that extends today, in variation, to declare that genre fiction isn’t “real” literature, or that, God forbid, someone who never attended college cannot possibly write a work of merit.

Wonder what Orloff would think about someone coming along fifty years after his death and claiming he couldn’t have possibly written any of his works, because he didn’t have the right parents, or go to the right school, or because he never even visited the 
forest of Tyto. (If that’s too oblique, I’ll explain – Orloff wrote the screen adaptation for the second Legends of the Guardians motion picture.)

- Bryan Lee O’Malley goes Freaky Friday for hallowe’en, swapping Ramona and Kim’s attire:
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- Peter David goes on a rather interesting tirade about anonymity on the interwebs. It’s a good little read:

For the startling number of people here who post under their own names. Who make the same choice that I routinely make wherever I put my thoughts out there, be it here, other websites, or in print: to attach my name to my opinions. To not hide behind the comfort of anonymity. Even though this course of action has subjected me to: people trying to get me fired from Marvel; people trying to get me fired from DC; attempts at boycotts; my name showing up on blacklists; people challenging me to debates; people writing and publishing diatribes based upon things I never said; people shouting at me at conventions; people showing up at store signings and hurling a steady stream of abuse; and much more.
Screw ‘em.

For me, living in a free society isn’t always a comfortable thing, and that’s the part we should appreciate–and often don’t. Just ask all the would-be censors who want certain books, certain comic books, certain TV shows, certain movies, to just go away or, even better, be driven away through means ranging from organized boycotts to legal prosecution. They’re all in favor of free speech, as long as it’s within their comfort zone. Why would anyone want to share any traits, on any level, with people like that? Lack of comfort is what you should be willing to deal with. That’s the price of a free society.

I’m always reminded that in 1776, a bunch of rich white guys signed their names to a piece of paper telling the king to sod off, knowing that it could cost them their property, their freedom, their lives, their sacred honor. And here we are, 250 years later, and we’re afraid to sign our names to our opinions because we don’t wanna get spammed or trolled?

I totally understand the attraction of anonymity. I can’t say, though, as I think it’s helped rational discourse in this country. I always flash back to that Disney cartoon with Goofy as a driver. He’s perfectly calm and rational and polite until he gets behind the wheel and he becomes an anonymous guy in a car…and then goes totally mental. I think the information superhighway is loaded with guys who wind up turning into outraged Goofys. I see discussion boards where people almost uniformly post under fake names, but it doesn’t come across like discussion. You know what it reads like? Road rage.

So fine. I choose to drive with the top down so people know who’s behind the wheel.

Others are, of course, welcome to do as they wish. Free society, after all.

- The Luna Brothers chat with Girl on Guy about life and comics:


- Brian Azzarello sat down with USA Today to talk about his new series ‘Spaceman’:
If someone were to review the new Vertigo Comics series Spaceman in the future when the book is set, it might go something like this: "Oh em gee. Vertigo duz it agin. Awsum."

A new language not too far from our own is just one of many themes explored in the sci-fi title reteaming the creators of the acclaimed Vertigo series 100 Bullets. Out today, Spaceman won't last 100 issues and 10 years, though — instead, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso are using a TV-like model with a nine-issue monthly miniseries before moving on to a second chapter. Or maybe a whole new idea.

"I wasn't sure if we were going to work together anymore," Azzarello says, adding that he and Risso started to hash out Spaceman around the time when 100 Bullets finished two years ago.

"I had the feeling where we'd probably just shake hands and say, 'Have a nice life,'" he adds. "It didn't happen that way. We were out and he said to me, 'What are we going to do next?' I was like, 'Whoa. You want to continue working together?' And he looked at me and went, 'It's not broke.'"

There weren't many sympathetic characters in their previous crime saga, unlike the big, hulking guy at the center of Spaceman.


- Charles Soule put together a free short comic on his website. Enjoy page 1 below and read the rest of the story here.
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- Brian Wood spoke with CBR about Wolverine: Alpha & Omega:
Quentin Quire, the purple-haired telepath who once led a student revolt at the Xavier School, returned to shake up mutant alliances in the recent "X-Men: Schism" miniseries. Even as he unwillingly begins a new life under Logan's tutelage in this month's "Wolverine and the X-Men" #1, it appears Quire has plans to further assert his intellect and power.

Launching in January, "Wolverine and the
X-Men: Alpha and Omega" sees the youth in revolt launch a full-scale attack on the new faction's leader. The five-issue miniseries is written by "DMZ," "Northlanders," and incoming "Conan the Barbarian" scribe Brian Wood with art by Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi. Comic Book Resources caught up with Wood for a quick chat about the series.

"Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega" debuts not long after the big shakeup in "Schism," which saw Logan reject Cyclops' vision for the future of mutantkind and return to Westchester to establish the
Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. Quentin Quire, also known as Kid Omega, traveled with Wolverine as a captive -- as of this writing, "Wolverine and the X-Men" #1 has just been released and it's unclear what Wolverine's plans for the notoriously rebellious student might be. Already, though, the January-debuting series will see Wolverine contend with Quentin Quire for control of the school.

"Logan and Quentin square off for sure, but its not the type of conflict you might be guessing at," Wood told CBR News. "This is pretty much a one-on-one type of battle, with Armor caught in the middle -- and it's a battle that's being waged entirely on Quentin's terms.  I wouldn't say he's interested in Logan's job so much as he's interested in just beating Logan at something.  It's irrational and represents only short term thinking on Quentin's part, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous.  It might actually make it more dangerous."

- Fabio Moon asks us to keep an eye out for his story in Dark Horse Presents #6. He also did the cover:
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- Peter Milligan speaks with io9, and answers the really tough questions :

Another alien question — who would win in a fight, Doop from X-Statix or Atrocitus?

I don't want to get Marveled up (because this is a DC interview) but it depends on what weapons they use. If the weapons are surreal, then Doop's going to win hands down. In a fair fight, Atrocitus.

Have you sketched out a potential crossover between Red Lanterns and Justice League Dark?
I haven't thought of that, but they do both operate in the DC Universe, but Justice League Dark are these occult magic users, and you might need a little more brute force to handle the Red Lanterns.

I was just wondering because the planet Ysmault definitely has a mystical reputation. That could have room for some crossover insanity.
It's a planet that's large enough to give you anything you want. Also, Madam Xanadu has the power of clairvoyance, which is the same as what Atrocitus can do with his blood magic. There's an interesting convergence of powers. But what's interesting about Justice League Dark is that they exist to deal with threats that the Justice League might not want anything to do with. With characters like Superman and Batman, black magic could pull the rug from out their feet, potentially. The JLD has its uses, as long as it stays together!
I also get asked a lot about writing John Constantine in both Justice League Dark and [Vertigo Comics'] Hellblazer. I quite like that some of the readers are enjoying him in Dark and then checking him out over at Vertigo. I get asked if it's difficult, will readers get confused. I think that's doing the average comic book reader a great disservice — the continuities aren't completely connected, but I think people are sophisticated enough to figure out that this character is used in two different stories.

Is there any way we can get more people to read Enigma? That's really one of my favorite things you've ever penned.
I was re-reading Enigma. This is the really early, early stages but I'm considering doing a sequel. So much has happened in the world since it came out, in terms of how gays are treated in the West. I'd like to highlight those differences of lives of homosexuals in the West compared to gays in Africa, the Middle East, and lots of developing countries.

- Here’s a Skottie Young original. OK, it’s from last week, but check out how awesome it is!
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- The Comics Journal Published the best interview you will read this month. One of the all time great comics publishers, Gary Groth, interviews one of the all time great comic creators, Robert Crumb. Here is just a tiny morsel of this massive interview:

You lived on a collective farm?

Well, when Ballantine Books wanted to do the Fritz the Cat book they gave me $10,000 up front. That was big money for us then. That was in ’69. And then Dana, my first wife, immediately wanted to go out and find a place to buy. And she heard about this place three hours from San Francisco in Potter Valley and went up there and looked at it, it was $18,000 for a five-acre place with a house on it, so she said, “That’s the one. I’m going to buy that.” We bought it, and then she had this idea, she had all these people, hangers-on and all that. She wanted to do this big garden thing and that was like early 1970, late ’69. Might’ve been in 1970 that I got roped into pitching in and helping out with this gardening thing.
It ended up a big disaster, ended up being all we could really manage was a small patch, a garden patch about maybe 30 by 20 feet. We couldn’t farm acres; we just didn’t have the knowledge. Nobody really wanted to work that hard in the hot sun. You know these hippies, they all assumed that somebody else would do that, that somebody else would slave in the hot sun, not them. They had more important things to do. [Laughs.] It’s a lot of work, a lot of work, and you had to do it all by hand, without machinery and stuff. Oy!
Who were these hangers on and where did they live?
Well, we had a big place there. I don’t know where they all came from. Some of them lived in shacks nearby. That was a really crazy time. It was all very unstable. People came and went; it was anarchy. I couldn’t handle it. I was no master at dealing with that stuff. And my comics were supporting the whole thing. When everybody was hanging around and taking up my time during the day I had to work at night. It was the only time that people weren’t hanging around. [Laughs.] I have the memory of this in my mind, sitting in my little cabin in Potter Valley with all these people just sitting around, wanting to be entertained, wanting to smoke dope. Just taking up your time. Trying to get some work done was impossible.
You described that situation to me once, working through the night after these hangers-on went to sleep, and I wondered when you got any sleep.

Well, I would work all night ’til like 5 in the morning, then sleep ’til like 1 in the afternoon. [Laughs.] That’s what I did.
You were unbelievably productive during that period.

Yeah, I’m not sure about the quality of all that stuff I did though. I kind of think the quality was declining in the early ’70s. My life was just too crazy and people wanting my attention all the time because I was Mr. Hippy cartoonist, and people wanting things constantly, I was involved in so much nonsense. [Laughter.] Plus, I was running around chasing girls, and wanting to fuck this one and that one. [Laughs.]
Given all that, it’s still utterly amazing how productive you were.
Yeah, but the work suffered. I think it suffered mostly from pot, smoking too much pot wasn’t good for me. LSD was very inspirational, but pot just kind of de-motivated me. The drawing got sloppy and careless.

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