Rich, Dewey head ‘Back to the Gutters’ in comics creator interview series

Vertigo editor Jamie S. Rich and artist Benjamin Dewey interview Joelle Jones, Jeff Parker and more in the returning interview series.

Vertigo Editor and comics writer Jamie S. Rich is heading back to the studio for another round of in-depth interviews with comic industry folks. “Back to the Gutters,” a follow-up to the original “From the Gutters” series, will feature both Rich and Autumnlands artist Benjamin Dewey, interviewing creators like Jeff Parker, Joelle Jones and more. The series is produced by Ryan McCluskey.

“Our intent with ‘Back the Gutters’ is to peel back the page a bit and show you the creators behind your favorite comics — both as artists and as people,” Rich said in a press release. “We’re going to dig down to uncover the motivations behind choosing comics as a profession, and the personalities that bring these stories to life, so that we can start to see the art and the artist as a singular unit.”

Rich’s hire mid-shoot as an editor at Vertigo required the team to recruit a new host mid-stream. “We started out interviewing Ben, who is just a terrific talent,” McCluskey said, “and the last three shows are hosted by Ben — because we lost Jamie to Vertigo in the middle of shooting.”

Here’s a list of who you can expect to see:

• Joelle Jones

• Sierra Hahn

• Jeff Parker

• Ibrahim Moustafa

• Robbi Rodriguez

• Randy Bowen (Bowen Designs)

• Emi Lennox

• Steve Lieber

• and Jamie S Rich … interviewed by his frequent collaborator Joelle Jones.

Watch the trailer below.

‘Sharknife’ creator Corey Lewis returns with bimonthly anthology series

‘Sun Bakery’ marks the first ongoing series from Press Gang.

Press Gang, a new publishing initiative from Floating World Comics and Study Group Comics, has announced its first ongoing series: Sun Bakery, a bimonthly anthology series by Sharknife creator Corey Lewis.

Described as “a one-man Shonen Jump-esque comics anthology,” Sun Bakery will run 48 pages and include “robo space adventure, paranormal skateboarding, breakdancing, and social swordplay.” The first issue will feature three stories: “Dream Skills,” “Arem” and “Bat Rider.” The first issue ships in April. Check out some preview art below:

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Daisy Owl creator returns to webcomics with ‘Peep’

Ben Driscoll‘s new webcomic, Peep, is about a rabbit who plays guitar in outer space:

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You can start reading Peep here. Driscoll’s previous strip, Daisy Owl, ended in 2010, but is still in our hearts.

Horrocks offers new print, original art on his website

Get a print of the cover to ‘Incomplete Works,’ his next collection due out in April.

Following quickly on the heels of the January release of Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, Hicksville creator Dylan Horrocks’ next work will be Incomplete Works. In conjunction, Horrocks is offering a print of the cover for $70 over on his website. Here’s the volume’s cover:

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It’s due out in April from Alternative Press. In addition, Horrocks is offering original art from both Magic Pen and his classic graphic novel Hicksville on his website.

New graphic novel answers the question, ‘What if only Black people had superpowers?’

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph launch a Kickstarter to bring ‘Black’ to life.

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph have teamed up to create a new graphic novel called Black: “In a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?” They’re looking to raise a little under $30,000 via Kickstarter to bring it to life.

Here’s a description of the story:

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

“With Black, we’re looking to tell a great story, but we’re also purposefully challenging the pop culture status quo, which is dominated by a White male aesthetic,” Osajyefo said in a press release. “Black tackles the very real and palpable issue of race, which is at the forefront in America and around the world. We are trying to confront the issue of race head-on by creating a world in which only Black people are superheroes — and the Black superhero trope isn’t subtly cast under a label of mutant, inhuman, or meta-whatever. It is also both thrilling and liberating to create the superheroes we’ve always wanted to see — and, frankly, be — outside of the entrenched publishing system.”

If funded through the Kickstarter campaign, Black will be available digitally to backers as DRM-free PDFs in monthly installments, starting in mid-2016. The limited edition print run of the six-chapter Black graphic novel is due out late in 2016. The campaign runs through Feb. 29. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page, their web site or this Washington Post article.

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Quoted: Todd Klein on breaking into comics via air conditioner user manuals

The award-winning letterer celebrates his birthday by discussing how he got his first job at DC Comics.

In grade school, a vocational test decided I should become a forest ranger. I thought that sounded okay, I loved the outdoors. In grade school I did well in math and science, but less well in high school with more competition. I didn’t head in the Art direction until senior year when I finally realized art class was my favorite, and had been all four years. I went to art school for two years, then ran out of money and had to get a mundane job to support myself. I worked at several paperwork jobs, and at one was able to use some of my art training to design air conditioner user manuals.

–Letterer Todd Klein, who turned 65 last week, explains on his blog how he broke into comics when DC Comics offered him a two-week stint filling in for a vacationing production artist. He says Vince Colletta “must have seen something in those air conditioner manual paste-ups.” Also, happy belated birthday to Todd Klein!

Quoted: J.H. Williams III on Mantlo and Golden’s ‘brilliance’ on ‘Micronauts’

The Sandman and Batwoman artist says if he had never discovered Micronauts, “I seriously doubt I’d be working in comics at all.”

I’ve cited in many interviews and general conversations just how this series impacted my childhood, I grew up a bit with those comics, and read them for as long as they were published. But ultimately what hooked my loyalty was the very beginning of their adventures, created by masters Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden. They were so very smart. If I had never come across their work on Micronauts I seriously doubt I’d be working in comics at all. Their brilliance on the title forever changed my direction, much to the dismay of many of the adults in my young life. However, along the way, I proved I was right. That deep down, from that very long ago discovery of the work on the series, I knew then that I was meant to do what I do now. And so when IDW announced they had garnered publishing rights for a new Micronauts series, and Rom as well (another very influential series), I had to reach out to them to see how I could be involved, even if only a little. To make an inner child’s dream come true.

–Artist J.H. Williams III, paying tribute to the creators of Marvel’s long-running Micronauts series from the late 1970s/early 1980s. Williams will do “a run of covers” for the new Micronauts series by Cullen Bunn and David Baldeón that kicks off in April from IDW Publishing.

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Z2 announces four new projects for 2016

Publisher announces new projects by Jarrett Williams, Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden, Sam Sattin and Chris Koehler, and Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand.

Z2 Comics, the publisher of Ian McGinty’s Welcome to Showside, Chris Hunt’s Carver and Miss Lasko-Gross‘s Henni, among others, has announced four new titles for 2016 with some impressive creative line-ups.

Probably the name I was most excited to see on the list is Jarrett Williams, who wrote and drew two volumes of the fun wrestling graphic novel Super Pro K.O.! (a third one is due out in April). His new book is about high school students who team up to fight “sinister, intergalactic vagabonds” in what will surely be a fun, action-packed book. Also of note are the wonderful Lasko-Gross and her husband, Kevin Colden (Fishtown, The Crow, I Rule the Night), who will collaborate for the first time on a story about intergalactic smugglers. Author Sam Sattin (The Silent End) teams with illustrator Chris Koehler (Wired, The Atlantic) for a story about dogs and cats living together, while Gabe Soria (Life Sucks, Batman ’66) and Paul Reinwand (28 Warlords) create a “rock’n’roll noir story” that’ll feature a soundtrack by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Arcs, with tracks inspired by the comics.

Artwork, release dates and additional details provided by the publisher can be found below.

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Hyper Force Neo by Jarrett Williams
April 2016

Hyper Force Neo, from Super Pro K.O.! creator Jarrett Williams takes readers along on the adventures of Dean Masters, a 9th grader tasked with leading a group of tech-savvy teens called Hyper Force Neo. Their Mission? Save New Sigma City and their high school from the sinister, intergalactic vagabonds known as the Dark Edge. With the use of their Hype Suits, Neo Keys, high-tech weaponry and over-sized Neo Mechs, Dean and his friends just may get the job done. The first issue of Hyper Force Neo will be a super-sized 48 pages.

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The Sweetness by Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden
May 2016

Set in the future, the first collaboration from the husband and wife creative team of Miss Lasko-Gross (Henni) and Kevin Colden (Fishtown) follows two bad-ass female intergalactic smugglers of a mysterious controlled substance who cater to the unique tastes of alien drug addicts.

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Legend by Sam Sattin, Chris Koehler
June 2016

What if a biological terror agent wiped out most of humanity, and our domesticated animals were left in charge? How would our dogs and cats set about ruling and rebuilding the world? Legend is the story of animals uniting to fight mutant creatures and attempting to restore the world their masters destroyed.

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Murder Ballads by Gabe Soria, Paul Reinwand
2016

A meditation on music, obsession and how far someone will go to see their vision become real, Murder Ballads follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failing record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter, fleeing the wreckage of his business and trying to save his crumbling marriage. Nate is given an unexpected chance to reverse his fortunes when, during a stop in a desolate rust belt town, he “discovers” Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two African-American brothers who play a raucous brand of doom-laden country blues. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Arcs is creating a Murder Ballads soundtrack, which will be released by Nonesuch Records.

McNamara, Hinkle slither over to Image for new edition of ‘The Rattler’

Creators Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle discuss the new edition of their crowdfunded graphic novel, coming from Image Comics in May.

Late last year Jason McNamara (The Martian Confederacy, First Moon, Continuity) and Greg Hinkle (Airboy) announced their crowdfunded horror graphic novel The Rattler had found a new home at Image Comics.

Inspired by true events from McNamara’s own life, the graphic novel will hit stores in March with a new cover and one new page. I spoke with McNamara and Hinkle about the new edition, how the Kickstarter campaign went and the potential for a sequel.

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