Palmiotti, Cooke’s ‘The Adventures of Dutch Courage’ arrives in Chicago beer stores

Palmiotti and Cooke’s story appears across six labels of “an incredibly complex Session Ale brewed with Juniper Berries and Lemon Peel.”

Jimmy Palmiotti and Darwyn Cooke have brewed up a new six-panel story that draws inspiration from the old Charles Atlas ads that appeared in comics starting in the 1940s. But you won’t find it at your local comic shop today — you’ll only find it in Chicago-area liquor stores.

As a part of Chicago-based Arcade Brewery’s “6 Pack Stories” line of beer, Palmiotti and Cooke’s comic appears on labels of The Adventures of Dutch Courage, “an incredibly complex Session Ale brewed with Juniper Berries and Lemon Peel,” according to the brewery’s website. Each panel of the story appears on one of the six-pack’s bottles, so you’ll want to drink them in the right order. Volume one of Arcade’s 6 Pack Stories” featured a comic by Jason Aaron and Tony Moore, and was released in 2014.

According to a post on their Facebook page, the beer will be available at three locations today, followed by distribution around Chicago by the end of the week.

12232940_959739507413708_3956213808627085804_o

Smash Pages Q&A: Dan Parent on ‘Kevin Keller’

KevinKeller_01-1nDan Parent is currently in the midst of stage of his long career where his hard work is reaping substantial reward. In addition to his great gains in the Archie Universe, Dan has a Kickstarter (Die Kitty Die) along with Fernando Ruiz that asks: “What happens when a longtime comic book character has come to the end of her run? You kill her! But how? That’s where the fun begins…”

Tim O’Shea: After a couple of years is it good to no longer be pigeonholed as the resident expert writing GLBT characters?

Dan Parent: Well, I don’t really mind. I mean, I do a lot of other work, but my work with Kevin Keller is probably my most important, so I’m happy to be pigeonholed there!

What are you most proud of in terms of your storytelling dynamics for the Archie Universe?

In addition to Kevin, my Archie/Valerie storyline was something I was proud of. And I’m happy that I’ve been allowed to take the Archie characters into more progressive territory than was allowed in the past.

Who do you regard as rising stars among the current roster of Archie creative talent?

Arch_K_A015nWell, Gisele Lagace is great, but she’s a rising star with her own webcomics.  And Fernando Ruiz is doing the best work of his career!

In what ways have you honed your storytelling skills in recent years?

More realistic dialogue, less slapsticky.

Am I right in thinking you take a great amount of effort in fostering a rapport with fans at cons. How critical has that been for your long-term success?

I have a great relationship with the fans at cons.  They give me a lot of insight about what they like and what they don’t like.  And they’re the people you want to listen to, because they’re the real fans and they know what they’re talking about.

Anything we should discuss that I neglected to ask you about?

Hmm.. you didn’t ask me…Betty or Veronica….and of course, it’s Veronica!

 KK_Jughead=n

Michel Fiffe in Praise of Jerry Ordway

Today Michel Fiffe took to his Facebook page to admire Jerry Ordway’s work–his Superman covers in particular.

Today’s inspiration: one of my favorite Jerry Ordway covers.

Adventures of Superman 439
Adventures of Superman 439: Today’s inspiration
When I asked Fiffe what makes Ordway so strong for him this was his answer. “The composition, the draftsmanship, the linework, the duo shade tones, the characters and the suspense portrayed, the color, the paper, the subjective nostalgia, the objective technical skill, the context of both the story and artist in relation to the title and its placement in the art form.”

I then contacted Fiffe offline to see if he could name for more covers of note, within minutes he did.

Adventures of Superman 424
Adventures of Superman 424

Back in 2013 Ordway revealed a cover that ended up not working, as well as the selected uncolored version.

Aborted Adventures of Superman 441
Aborted Adventures of Superman 441

 

Uncolored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441
Uncolored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441

 

Colored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441
Colored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441

 

Adventures of Superman 444
Adventures of Superman 444

 

Superman 44
Superman 44

Smash Pages Q&A: Bruce McCorkindale on Inking & ‘The Falling Man’

tfm

What I always hope is an interview grows organically and in this case it did. I went into this interview with inker and artist Bruce McCorkindale thinking we would discuss one thing when in fact I discovered he’d been an inker for Malibu for a number of years and I launched a whole separate discussion before all is said and done. We of course got around to also discussing his upcoming graphic novel The Falling Man.

My thanks to Bruce for his time.

Tim O’Shea: How did you start inking in the first place?

Bruce McCorkindale: I pretty much knew I wanted to work in comics since age 9, so I spent a lot of time practicing. My first published work was an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Festival” for New Media Irjax’s FANTASY ILLUSTRATED way back in ’84. The editor told me that the company went out of business before it saw print, but it turns out that it squeaked through! However, I didn’t find this out ’til about 15 years later! Around the same time, I went to a lot of comic cons, and got a lot of good response to my inking samples. Thus, I focused on inks, and got my first steady work from Malibu Comics in late 80s. They kept me busy for a good 10 years or so!

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

These days, the most challenging aspect of my work is finding time and energy to focus on creator-owned works. That’s really the most satisfying aspect of comics creation, but it’s not the most profitable. So, I divide my time between doing inking work, re-creations of classic comic covers, advertising/editorial work, and try to sneak in my own work whenever I can. Aside from finding time for this work, the other challenging aspect is trying to grow and improve. I never think I’m good enough, and I think I’m right!

Has there ever been one you could not successfully finish?

I’ve always been able to finish out comics work assigned to me. In terms of my own works, there are quite a few unfinished ones. However, I’m an absurdly patient guy (probably to a fault), and never give up on the ones I believe in. I’m currently working here and there on projects that have been in the works a long time…like, a decade long!

What do you find to be the most creatively satisfying aspect of the experience.

The most satisfying aspect is when I finish a piece of work that I’m really happy about (rare) and that other people enjoy as well. Those two things often happen, but not always at the same time! I also like when I tackle something I really think I can’t handle, and pull it off. That’s a great feeling.

Who are your influences?

My biggest influences, in order of appearance, are Dr. Seuss, Charles Schulz, Marvel comics from the 1960s-70s, and Bernie Wrightson. In the 80s, THE COMICS JOURNAL was a big influence in terms of exposing me to a lot of different creators trying to push the envelope in comics storytelling.

A lot of great folks worked with Malibu. Were there certain creators that stuck out from that era in terms of creators you inked?

My first gig with Malibu was TWILIGHT AVENGER, inking Terry Tidwell. Years later, Terry and I worked together in an illustration studio doing comic-style artwork for the editorial/advertising market, and we even did some animation work. We still keep in touch, and do freelance work together! I inked a lot of guys at Malibu – some of my favorites were Leonard Kirk, Mitch Byrd, and Gabriel Gecko (Hardman). A particularly fun job was inking a short DINOSAURS FOR HIRE story by Curt Swan. Curt’s Superman books were probably some the very first comics I ever read, so that felt very special. I met Curt at an Iowa con not long after the book came out, and he was extremely nice. He said a lot of newer guys weren’t very faithful to his pencils, and he appreciated the work I did. That meant a lot.

I am curious to learn more about in ways Bernie Wrightson influenced you. Also could you please give examples of The Comic Journal talent you found of worth.

I just fell in love with Bernie’s artwork right away. I went through a phase in the mid 70s where I was a little discouraged with mainstream comics, and Bernie’s work on SWAMP THING and in Warren magazines like CREEPY and EERIE just felt like a breath of fresh air. His illustration style was immaculate, but he also had a great sense of storytelling – a quality that I’m not sure he always gets as much credit for. THE COMICS JOURNAL exposed me to a the burgeoning indie scene that was happening in the mid-to-late 80s. That’s how I found out about people like the Hernandez bros., Daniel Clowes, and Art Spiegelman’s RAW magazine.

What can you tell folks about your Original Graphic Novel, THE FALLING MAN.

For the past few years, I’ve been doing a complete re-vamp of my graphic novel THE FALLING MAN. This is a book that I wrote and illustrated, with Phil Hester doing layouts. The book has has a complicated history. Back in 1997, it was planned as a 4-issue series for Jim Valentino’s Shadowline division of Image Comics. They put out one issue, then decided they didn’t want to take a chance on the other 3. The sales were actually pretty good for a somewhat unconventional indie (around 4500, I believe), but this was also around the time when the market, in general, was having an implosion. I eventually put the entire thing together as a single graphic novel for Caliber Comics in 1999, but wasn’t happy with the work I did. Around 2012, I decided that the only things I liked from the original were the script and Phil’s layouts, so I decided to take on the daunting task of re-pencilng/inking the entire thing, and adding color. As much as I love pure black and white art, this particular project really needs color to work. It has kind of an existential WIZARD OF OZ vibe, and color is a necessary element. I’m having to fit the work in between paying gigs, but my main goal is to not rush it, and do the best work I can. I’ve put a couple feelers out about it, but I’m really not even worrying about a publisher at this point. My hope is to finish up the entire book, and then think about where it should (or could) go. I have a few other brand-new projects I’m playing with too, but I feel like I need to get THE FALLING MAN out of my system first. I’m hoping to finally have closure with it sometime next year.

While brief what was it like to work with Hester?

Actually, Phil’s another guy I’ve kept in touch with for a long time, now! We’ve done a lot of work together. Our first team-up was on a story for DC’s BLACK ORCHID ANNUAL #1. I’ve also inked him on THE WRETCH, THE NAMELESS, FOOT SOLDIERS, and FOUR LETTER WORLDS. Most recently, I inked Phil on IDW’s GODZILLA: KINGDOM OF MONSTERS. I also did the inks and colors on a number of his covers for Dynamite’s GREEN HORNET series. He’s a phenomenal artist and storyteller, and very easy to work with. We have very similar sensiibilites, and get along great.

Tony Harris’ Special Moment with A Fan at NC Comicon

Tony Harris is a creator who has always fostered great relationships with his fanbase. This weekend he is at NC Comicon. I was impressed by a comment Harris made on Facebook.

This young lady stole the show- really an amazing moment for me.

To get the full context you need to visit genderthief’s (the fan) Instagram account.

gender

 

Must Read: Tom Spurgeon’s Initial Reaction to Paris Attack

Understandably Tom Spurgeon is still gathering his thoughts regarding the situation in Paris but his initial reaction is still a must read specifically for this line of thinking:

In terms of practical considerations if an entity coordinated last night’s attacks in a way that they have the complexity and power and intent that seemed to me indicated by my initial reading of last night’s on-the-ground news, this may present a real security issue for the festival in Angouleme that maybe wasn’t as reasonable to expect or fear for last year’s show.

Recent Wilfredo Torres Process Pieces for ‘Jupiter’s Circle’

In recent days Wilfredo Torres has taken to Instagram to post a few process pieces for Jupiter’s Circle and Smash Pages thought it would be great to rerun a few of them here.
SFX

Brikk

back

gentman

 

Smash Pages Q&A: Eric Corbeyran on Delcourt-Soleil’s ‘The Call of the Stryx’

Screenshot 2015-11-13 at 6.59.54 PM - Edited

This week saw the release of The Call of the Stryx Vol. 1, which features a dash of conspiracy, action, and unknown creatures. Kevin Nivek, an ex-head of the Secret Service, and Debrah, a mysterious young agent working for a secret organization must confront horde of beings named Stryx, who have infiltrated the highest levels of government and the military.

To mark the release I was lucky enough to interview writer Eric Corbeyran.

Tim O’Shea: How early in the development of The Call of the Stryx did the creative team decide upon setting the plot in the Mojave Desert?

Eric Corbeyran: Setting The Call of the Stryx in the Mojave Desert came naturally. It was a very explicit reference to the infamous “Area 51,” airbase. We loved the idea of a setting filled with paranoia, claims of hidden UFO wreckage, and secret alien communications. Though in our story it’s not about aliens, but Stryx! To go along with the setting we’ve appropriated the mythology about “the little gray men” and UFOs to create our own mythos for the Stryx.

Were there certain characters that grew on the creative team more over the evolution of the story?

From the beginning of the project we had actually established a strict narrative path for each character and we tried not to deviate from that line. However there was one exception: Jill’s character was born from our imaginations after we had already started The Call of the Stryx when she appeared in a short story published in Pavillon Rouge (a magazine published by Delcourt). We were so excited by what we created in these few pages, while also frustrated we couldn’t tell more stories about her, that we decided to integrate Jill into The Call of the Stryx beginning in the second arc.  

Each page is jam-packed with panels, is that due to the script or more of a function of the art team?

The traditional format for European BD is very limited in volume and the release schedule is very long – by that we mean that every year we deliver a 46-page book to readers. Since the first issue (in 1997) we decided to increase the impact of our issues by giving them a greater “density” than the average BD – more panels per page, more text and richer colors. This move was really appreciated by readers who were surprised by how much we packed into each issue. I think this choice was critical to the success of the series from its inception.

In constructing a story like this, what is the key to striking the proper balance between conspiracy and action?

The conspiracy plays a big role to the mystery surrounding the entire series, from the first panel to the last. With that in mind, I think of the conspiracy in The Call of the Stryx as a kind of fog that keeps the reader from knowing the entire story at once. The action however is more like a car – it’s possible to drive fast, certainly, but we pick-up the speed only when it’s necessary. Knowing how to drive fast through the fog, we think, is what’s been the key to The Call of the Stryxs success (laughs).

 

Smash Pages Q&A: Jimmy Palmiotti on AfterShock’s ‘Superzero’

SuperZero01_17_PreviewIt is impossible not to root for a new comic when it is pitched by Jimmy Palmiotti. Latest example is the AfterShock Comics creator-owned Superzero: “There is a lot of joy and craziness in Superzero and I think right away you will be rooting for the main character Dru, a teenage girl with a love of comics and everything superheroes.”

To mark the upcoming release, Palmiotti was kind enough to let me interview him.

Tim O’Shea: How important is it to foster a strong relationship with retailers in the run-up to the release of the first issue?

Jimmy Palmiotti: If people do not see the book on their store shelves, then in their mind it doesn’t exist, because a lot of comic fans do not read the internet as much as we think they and rely on their stores to keep them up to date and stock books for them. With any new company, it’s a lot to ask retailers to order heavy on something that is brand new, so its super important for them when ordering to see some familiar names to get a feeling for their initial order. For us, with Harley Quinn and Starfire coming out monthly, they might already have a bit of an idea what to expect with Superzero, but I’m making sure I’m available to them via social media to answer any questions they may have. For my whole career I’ve always been communicating with retailers about the work, and with these trusted relationships have been helping them set their orders as best as I can. With Superzero, we feel this book will appeal to the Harley and Starfire audience as well as the Kick-Ass audience. Look at the other books they have coming and you will see this is a creator-driven launch. So to directly address the question it is key to the success of the company to always work with the retailers. They are our partners in this at all times. Our success is dependent on them.

How enjoyable is there to be known as a part of the creative team with Amanda Conner that is known for creating fun lighthearted stories?

It’s a fantastic time to be working in comics where female leads are becoming normal and working with Amanda, we really are having a blast. This idea for Superzero is something we have had cooking for over six years and its really exciting for us to think we will finally get to entertain and tell the story we wanted to with this project in the initial launch of After Shock comics. There is a lot of joy and craziness in Superzero and I think right away you will be rooting for the main character Dru, a teenage girl with a love of comics and everything superheroes,  and hopefully get hooked at the idea we are presenting. The theme is how can a normal person become a superhero and we take it to places that are borderline insane…and at the same time ground the book is in a realistic world that everyone can relate to. I think this book is easily one of our best we have done and we hope everyone else thinks the same. The first issue will surely bring a smile to a lot of faces.

What makes this an attractive property for AfterShock Comics as opposed to some other creator-owned focused company?

Superzero#02_03_Preview-1
We could have gone to many different places with Superzero and each company offers a different deal as far as pay, royalties and ownership. We looked at what was out there and we wanted to partner with another company, rather than just own all of the property, because we just don’t have the time that we would need to self publish, promote, and push it properly. With a lot of companies, you have to do a lot of your own flag waving and with After Shock, they have a team onboard that is going out and doing the things we can’t do, leaving us to tell our story and do what is important to us on our end. As well, outside of the book, After Shock has a crew that can go out and take the property to other media, which is great, but for us, we don’t have any time but to focus on the book. Its great if they do get other media interested, but all we care about is that Superzero is the best comic book we can deliver. The decision to partner with After Shock was made easy because we already had existing relationships with Joe Pruett, Mike Marts and when we met the rest of the gang, we all got along great. This part of the business, the relationships, is key. A lot of time I have worked with publishers that once they get the book from you, you don’t exist anymore unless it’s a big seller. This is not the case with this crew. We are in it together all the way.

Care to elaborate on this gem “What comic creators really need is a brilliant experienced person to go out and sell licenses for creators and their work.”

What I was making note of was there are a lot of license conventions and designer cons and so on where the bigger companies like DC and Marvel license out their characters and art to companies to use for toys, games, statues, t-shirts, posters and a million other things and I wish there was someone that would look , as an example, at my creator owned work at Paperfilms.com and dig in and go out there and sell licenses of the characters to other types of media. For me to do it, which I do most of the time, it takes a lot of effort, connections and time that I just don’t have because of the work I put into the books. I could really use someone that knew what they were doing is all. I feel a lot of the properties are ripe for other media.

You liken Superzero to Harley or Starfire. In what ways do they share common traits?

Aside from the same creators writing them, Superzero is a good person wanting to help the world around her and has a good heart that even though things may go wrong, people can see where she is coming from. I also thing that Dru is also someone that wants better for those around her and is driven to make it happen, so they have that in common.

What can you tell me about the art team for Superzero?

Superzero#02_10_Preview-1We won the lottery as far as getting the perfect team on the book. On pencils and inks we have Rafael De Latorre who is one of the very few artists that can draw characters in their teens and they actually look their age, not something that is easy to do in comics. His storytelling skills are cinematic, and very telling of someone who has a great sense of set up and delivery and can convey body language. These were the key things we were looking for in the art and his facial expressions are so dead on we hate to cover a single line with dialogue at times. We also scored big time getting colorist Maiolo working with Rafael on this book. He sets a mood and a palette that captures the sun-drenched world that the story is set in, that being Tampa, Florida. He understands story and scene shifts and gives the book a painted feel that is just beautiful to look at. Rounding off the team is designer and letterer John J Hill, our letterer on Harley Quinn and now working with us on Superzero. John has some serious skills and the patience of the Gods working with us again. He simply is the best and we demand him for just about everything we do.

Is it too early to discuss supporting cast?

We meet most of the supporting cast in the first issue. We meet Dru’s mom and dad, sister, best friend and a couple of classmates. These are the important people in her life and a very colorful bunch at that. Her world is a small one that is about to get much bigger as she experiments and throws herself into some pretty insane situations. This book we keep the camera and focus always on Dru as we follow her and I think it works out just great. We get to see the people around her through her critical eyes.