Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt + Marie Enger

The denizens of St. Louis-based HEK Studios team up on a new anthology, which is up for funding on Kickstarter.

The depth and breadth of what you can do in comics and with comics — and I’m talking story-wise, design-wise and format-wise here — is virtually limitless. Sometimes it takes a particular project and a particular set of creators to remind us of this, and The HEK Treasury serves as just such a reminder.

The HEK Treasury is a creative project by the members of HEK Studios — Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt and Marie Enger. The three of them have a large assortment of credits within comics — Black Badge, The Sixth Gun, Dept. H, Super-Spy, Fhtagn and Loathing, Shadow Roads, Nosferatu! and many more. The Missouri-based creators formed HEK Studios in 2015 and have purchased a vintage Route 66 garage that they’re converting into “the first full-time exclusive comic book studio in St. Louis.”

In addition to their own projects with various publishers, they’ve decided to team up on a large prestige format hardcover (8 ¾  x 11 5/8 ). This deluxe collection will feature “all new epic, experimental science fiction, fantasy and genre short stories. The HEK Treasury will showcase each creator as they unleash new ideas, using experimental art and storytelling techniques.” The project went live on Kickstarter earlier this week, and the campaign runs for 30 days. If funded, the book will be delivered to backers in the fall.

I spoke with the three of them about The HEK Treasury, HEK Studios and what they hope to accomplish together with this project.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt + Marie Enger”

‘Deadpool’ returns by Kelly Thompson and Chris Bachalo

New series pits Deadpool against monsters and debuts in November.

Marvel’s infamous “merc with a mouth” will return this fall with a brand new series. Kelly Thompson and Chris Bachalo will team for a new Deadpool series that pits the wisecracking mutant against “the king of the monsters.” Which, I presume, isn’t Godzilla (although that would be cool).

Continue reading “‘Deadpool’ returns by Kelly Thompson and Chris Bachalo”

Curt Pires teams with his dad for ‘the most personal and raw comics I’ve been a part of’

Curt Pires, Tony Pires and Alex Diotto present ‘Olympia,’ coming in November from Image Comics.

Wyrd writer Curt Pires‘ next project is not only a love letter to superhero comics, Jack Kirby and Spielberg movies — it’s also very personal. His co-writer, Tony Pires, is also his father, who passed away from cancer, and they conceived the comic while Tony was in the hospital.

“We started working on Olympia just about three years ago when my father was first hospitalized as a means of giving us something to look forward to, to hope for, in dark times. All these months later the book’s finally coming out, even after he’s left us,” said Curt Pires. “Beyond any Extratextual reasoning I can throw at you, though, this is just good comics. Plain and simple. It’s a love letter to the Spielberg movies we loved so much smashed against the cosmic epicness of the Jack Kirby joints that laid the foundation of our modern entertainment landscape. These are the most personal and raw comics I’ve been a part of, and I hope you’ll join us.”

The stories they imagined together are being brought to life by artist Alex Diotto, who previously worked on Brigands and Southern Dog for Action Lab.

Continue reading “Curt Pires teams with his dad for ‘the most personal and raw comics I’ve been a part of’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell

The writer of ‘The Snagglepuss Chronicles,’ ‘The Flintstones’ and more discusses ‘Second Coming,’ his new series from AHOY Comics.

In the span of a few years, Mark Russell has written a series of comics that have rethought and re-envisioned a number of characters at DC Comics. From Snagglepuss to Prez to The Flinstones, Russell has rethought the characters and their worlds in new and novel ways, finding depths and concerns that are striking and thoughtful. Russell’s first books in comics were God is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now, with Shannon Wheeler, which were published by Top Shelf Comix. So religion has long been an interest of his.

His new book is Second Coming with artist Richard Pace. The first issue arrived last month from AHOY Comics, with the second issue scheduled to arrive tomorrow. The controversy around it has drowned out the actual book, which is a smart look at Sunstar, a Superman-like hero, and Jesus, the character from the Bible. It’s a shocking idea, but perhaps more startling is what Russell does with the idea, which is to explore the limits of superheroes, start a conversation around power, and consider what religion and change mean today.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell”

‘Crone’ fights one last time this November

Dennis Culver, Justin Greenwood, Brad Simpson and Pat Brosseau team up on a new comic from Dark Horse.

An old fighter fights again as Dennis Culver, Justin Greenwood, Brad Simpson and Pat Brosseau present Crone, coming this fall from Dark Horse Comics.

“This is a story I’ve long wanted to tell,” said Culver in a press release. “Crone is about facing death after a long life of regret and trying to rise to the challenge of making up for your mistakes when given one last chance.”

Continue reading “‘Crone’ fights one last time this November”

BOOM! Studios announces ‘Folklords’ by Kindt + Smith

New miniseries follows a young man whose “forbidden quest reveals the shocking truth about his world.”

Dept. H and Black Badge writer Matt Kindt is teaming up with Barbarian Lord creator Matt Smith for a new miniseries from BOOM! Studios. Folklords is about” a young man whose forbidden quest reveals the shocking truth about his world and turns everything he ever knew upside down.”

“Ideas usually sneak up on you. But this one came in a flash. As soon as my plucky editor, Eric, said the word ‘Folklords,’ I had an image of this teenage kid in a black suit and tie…walking through a small folk tale-style village full of gnomes, witches and trolls. It looked jarring, seeing that kid there. He was completely out of place. What’s this kid wearing a suit for? Is he living in a fairy tale? Why is he there?” Kindt said in a press release. “I’m not sure why the word triggered that image in my head but I didn’t question it. The question I did have? Who the heck are the Folklords? This kid…in this suit and tie…who doesn’t seem to belong? He’s going to find out.”

Continue reading “BOOM! Studios announces ‘Folklords’ by Kindt + Smith”

Smash Pages Q&A: Will Murray

The journalist, writer and Squirrel Girl co-creator discusses his work on Doc Savage, The Shadow and other pulp heroes — and his return to Squirrel Girl.

Will Murray has long been a journalist for Starlog and other publications, but he’s best known as one of the great pulp historians. Murray’s been involved with the recent reprints of Doc Savage, The Shadow and other characters. A few years ago, Murray had two major books published, Writings in Bronze, which collected a lot of his writings about Doc Savage and Lester Dent, and Wordslingers, a book about the pulp Westerns, and more broadly, about what the Western genre was and continues to mean.

All along, Murray has also been writing fiction, something that he’s spent more time and energy on in recent years. Besides writing multiple Doc Savage novels under the pen name Kenneth Robeson, Murray has written a Pat Savage novel, crossovers between Doc Savage and The Shadow, and books featuring The Spider, Tarzan and King Kong. Murray has also written a number of comics over the years, including co-creating one of Marvel Comics’ most beloved characters with legendary artist Steve Ditko – Squirrel Girl.

I spoke with Murray about his current projects, including John Carter and The Spider, his continuing love of pulp fiction and writing Squirrel Girl again.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Will Murray”

Smash Pages Q&A: MK Reed and Greg Means

The writing team discusses ‘Penny Nichols,’ ‘a graphic novel that will warm your heart while stabbing you in the chest.’

Penny Nichols is the new graphic novel from writers MK Reed and Greg Means about the making of a low budget horror film. The titular character is an aimless 20-something who stumbles across people making a movie and becomes involved in the production, taking on an increasing number of tasks, and in the process finding herself. It is a subtle and brilliant tribute to artists with day jobs, found family, and the passions that give our lives meaning.

Means is best known as the editor of the Papercutter and Runner Runner, and the person behind Tugboat Press. Reed is currently co-writing Delver, a comiXology original, and has written a number of other comics including Palefire, The Castoffs, Americus, Science Comics: Dinosaurs, Science Comics: Wild Weather. The two have collaborated before on the graphic novel The Cute Girl Network. Penny Nichols, drawn by artist Matt Wiegle, was just released by Top Shelf Comix, and the writers answered a few questions about the book.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: MK Reed and Greg Means”

Comics Lowdown: Chelsea Saunders wins Locher Award

Plus Riverdale 10 years later, UK war comics reprinted, and a Scott Adams controversy… again.

Awards: Chelsea Saunders, whose work is often published at The Nib, is the winner of the 2019 Locher Award for emerging editorial cartoonists. Hit that link for some good reading, because the runners-up have a lot of talent as well.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Chelsea Saunders wins Locher Award”