Smash Pages Q&A: James Romberger

James Romberger has had a long career as a comics artist, writer and fine artist. His books like 7 Miles a Second and The Late Child have been published by Fantagraphics and Vertigo, his comics have appeared in the anthologies World War 3 Illustrated and MOME, his paintings are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum. Last year he wrote the book Steranko: The Self-Created Man, the definitive book about the cartoonist and his work, which he published through Ground Zero Books.

Romberger has two new comics on the stands. Now #7, the newest volume of the Fantagraphics anthology, features a four page comic written and drawn by Romberger. In addition, Uncivilized has just published For Real #1 by Romberger, which consists of “The Oven,” a 20 page comic, and “The Real Thing,” a 10 page essay. Both are about the life and work of Jack Kirby, his time as a soldier in World War II, his cancer diagnosis and treatment later in life, the ways he thoughts about and depicted violence. It’s some of Romberger’s very best work and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his many projects.

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Brubaker + Phillips prepare for next awards season with ‘Pulp’

The new graphic novel is due from Image Comics next May.

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have consistently turned out critically acclaimed, award-winning comics and graphic novels for what seems like decades now, from their work on Fatale and Criminal to this year’s big Eisner winner, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies.

It looks like that trend could continue in 2020, as Image today announced Pulp, a new Western graphic novel by the duo.

“When Sean and I decided to do something completely new for our next original graphic novel, he planted the idea of a Western in my head… And I found myself drawn to the era where that genre first hit big—the pulp magazines and the Great Depression,” said Brubaker. “I thought about all these writers telling fictionalized versions of the vanishing days of the Wild West, as their own world was going through one of its darkest hours… And suddenly I realized I had the makings of a really great pulp story, but one set in the real world. A story that I really wanted to tell.”

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DC deletes Batman image from social media after receiving Chinese complaints

An image promoting ‘The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child’ sparks complaints of ‘support of Hong Kong’s rioters.’

DC Comics deleted social media postings last week featuring a promotional image from the upcoming Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child one-shot by Frank Miller and Rafael Grampa after receiving numerous complaints from Chinese commenters.

The comments said the image looked like it supported the pro-Democracy protests currently occurring in Hong Kong. The Global Times out of China said it “implied its support of Hong Kong’s rioters,” noting that many critics saw “Batman’s gesture as supportive of Hong Kong’s unrest and violence.”

Grampa, the artist of the piece, had a one-word response to the attention the piece received: “Surreal.” Here’s the image in question:

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Check out holiday shopping deals from comiXology, Fantagraphics and more

Get Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on comics, merchandise and more.

Black Friday is here, bringing opportunities for comic fans to find that perfect gift or just a good deal. Here’s a rundown of some comic-related things to check out today, over the weekend and on Cyber Monday. I’ll add others as I see them, so be sure to check back.

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Bedside Press shuts down

The Canadian publisher shuts down operations after publisher Hope Nicholson admits to sexual misconduct.

Hope Nicholson, the publisher behind Winnipeg-based Bedside Press, has announced she’s shut down the graphic novel imprint. The closure came a few days after she admitted to sexual misconduct involving unwanted kissing against another creator.

According to the Twitter post, Bedside Press publications currently in distribution will remain so for the near future. “I will try my best to find publishers to take on future reprints of these titles,” Nicholson said in her statement. Books in production “will be assigned to new publishers before print.”

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Marvel will publish Ultraman comics next year

Agreement between publisher and Tsuburaya Productions announced at Tokyo Comic Con.

Marvel will bring the popular Japanese franchise Ultraman to comics next year. Marvel announced the agreement with Tsuburaya Productions, who own Ultraman, at the Tokyo Comic Con late last week.

“As one of the world’s most popular franchises, Ultraman has brought together some of the most passionate fandoms in pop culture today, and we can’t wait to bring his story to even more fans around the globe,” said Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski. “Like Marvel, Ultraman captivated generations by telling spectacular stories grounded in the real world, and it continues to be a beloved classic through its television shows, movies, toys, games, comics, and more. We are so thrilled to introduce new chapters to the Ultraman Multiverse next year.”

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Comics Lowdown: Con wars, comics in Spanish, new kids’ imprint

Plus: Asterix, Jason Lutes, Derf Backderf, James Romberger and more!

Creator Talk: At The Beat, Matt O’Keefe interviews Chris Eliopoulos about his graphic novels (Cow Boy, Cosmic Commandos), his picture books (Ordinary People Change the World), the difference between comics and book publishing, and how he began his career as a comics letterer—his lettering firm, Virtual Calligraphy, still does a lot of lettering for Marvel.

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Artist Tom Lyle passes away

The artist of ‘Robin,’ ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Strike!’ and many other titles suffered a brain aneurysm in October.

Tom Lyle, co-creator of Stephanie Brown from DC’s Batman books and artist of titles like Robin, Spider-Man and Starman, passed away today at the age of 66.

Lyle suffered a brain aneurysm in October, which required him to be placed in a medically-enduced coma and to have surgery to remove a brain clot. According to artist Phillip Sevy, funeral details are still being finalized.

Lyle’s artistic career began in earnest in the 1980s, when he worked on titles like Airboy and Strike! for Eclipse. In 1988, he and writer Roger Stern teamed up to create a new version of Starman for DC Comics, bringing Will Payton into the DC universe.

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Mignola + Howard revisit ‘The Crooked Man’ in new Hellboy miniseries

‘Hellboy & The B.P.R.D.: The Return Of Effie Kolb’ brings back a classic Hellboy storyline and characters.

Mike Mignola will revisit a classic Hellboy story in the upcoming Hellboy & The B.P.R.D.: The Return Of Effie Kolb. The story will serve as a sequel to “The Crooked Man” story that was published back in 2008.

“Sometimes you create a character, they perform their function, and that’s it,” Mignola said. “Other times you finish with them and they just refuse to get back in their box. Tom Ferrell is one of those characters. Even as I was writing The Crooked Man I knew there was a whole lot more to that guy. And Effie Kolb… It turns out there are worse things you can do to a character than turn them into a horse.”

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