Comics Lowdown: CxC guest list unveiled

Plus news and updates on Noah Van Sciver, Ivan Brunetti, Thom Zahler, Hannah Berry and more.

Tom Spurgeon unveils the logo and guest list for this year’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival, of which he is the executive director. Here’s the roster:

That’s Derf Backderf, Peter Bagge, Kyle Baker, Darrin Bell, Howard Cruse, Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kat Fajardo, Emil Ferris, Ann Marie Fleming, Matt Fraction, Jennifer Holm, Kevin Huizenga, Nilah Magruder, Ann Nocenti, Laura Park, Dav Pilkey, Mimi Pond, Dana Simpson, Chris Sprouse, Leslie Stein, Tillie Walden, Connor Willumsen and Judd Winick.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sebela & Kambadais serve up crime in ‘Short Order Crooks’

If you read the Eisner-nominated High Crimes, you know Christopher Sebela has a talent for turning crime stories on their head, setting them up in interesting places with compelling characters. With Short Order Crooks, Sebala leaves Mount Everest behind and heads to Portland’s food truck scene, enlisting the talented George Kambadais and Lesley Atlansky to help cook up a story with equal parts comedy, crime and cooking.

With eight days left on the timer, Short Order Crooks passed its funding goal yesterday on Kickstarter. As they look ahead to their stretch goals, I spoke with both Sebela and Kambadais about the project, food trucks and more.

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Battle Angel Alita returns in new digital and print graphic novels

Yukito Kishiro’s post-apocalyptic classic manga Gunnm returns to English audiences with a new translation by Kodansha Comics and Comixology Originals. Known as Battle Angel Alita to English audiences, it was first published as a serial in Shueisha’s Business Jump magazine in the 1990s. This re-release is a digital exclusive through ComiXology Original and is free today for ComiXology Unlimited subscribers.

Battle Angel Alita on ComiXology

Battle Angel Alita tells the story of Alita, a female cyborg. Parts of her were found in a scrapyard and she was eventually assembled into a mercenary hunter-warrior with no memory and then as a player in the brutal sport of Motorball. Memories of life on Mars begin to return to her during combat.

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Faith teams with just about everyone in ‘Faith and the Future Force’ #1

Step aside, Rai — there’s a new Future Force coming from Valiant Entertainment, and their breakout character Faith is taking the reigns.

From the team of Jody Houser, Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson comes Faith and the Future Force, a ‘standalone event series” that will future a huge cast of Valiant characters in “an all-star expedition into the time stream that will shake the foundations of the Valiant Universe for all time.”

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Tommaso’s childhood creation slides into comics this August

‘Spy Seal,’ created by Rich Tommaso when he was 13, takes on snipers, assassins and more in a new series from Image Comics.

Remember creating comics when you were a kid? Y’know, guys like Web Man and Tarantula Kid, who were basically Spider-Man crossed with Batman and Robin, or Captain Fantastic, who had all the powers of the Fantastic Four? Not everyone imagined blanket ripoffs of other characters; Rich Tommaso of She Wolf and Dark Corridor fame created Spy Seal, a seal that’s also a spy, and in August, the character finds his way into his own comic.

“It’s wonderful and surreal to be working with material that I created as a 13-year-old kid,” said Tommaso. “I’m enjoying doing a spy story too—it’s a genre I’ve never explored in my adult career as a cartoonist.”

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Bingo Love’ creator offers advice on creating diverse comics

Plus news and updates on Jules Feiffer, MegaCon’s ‘Love is Love’ auction, Sophie Labelle and more.

Tee Franklin knows something that seems to eluded all of the Marvel honchos: How to make money on a comic by and about people of color. Franklin’s Bingo Love Comic, the story of a long-simmering romance between two black women, blasted past its Kickstarter goal of $20,000 in just five days and ended up with over $57,000 worth of pledges. This all happened just a few weeks after Marvel vice president David Gabriel told ICv2 “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity …They didn’t want female characters. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.” Although he backpedaled a bit, Gabriel’s comments raised a ruckus, but Franklin has some advice for him and the rest of the Marvel team: Draw inspiration from the women around you, hire people of color for your creative teams and advertise in channels that actually reach your prospective audience.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Helm’s Hasan and Caballero break out with Eisner nomination

Last June, the high fantasy series Helm launched through Crookshaw Creative’s website. Less than a year later, it has been nominated for a prestigious Eisner Award in the digital comics category alongside industry luminaries such as Colleen Coover and Chris Roberson. (See the full list of Eisner nominations.)

Writer Jehanzeb Hasan and illustrator Mauricio Caballero’s enthusiasm for their work is infectious. We talked about creating a high fantasy world that mixes steampunk, the comic’s video game origins, the animation-style look and feel of Helm, and plans for a print edition. We also talked about coffee as inspiration and Scarlett Johansson.

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Take a ride into your nightmares with Niles and Sampson’s ‘Winnebago Graveyard’

Check out a preview of the four-issue series, which arrives June 14.

Writer Steve Niles and artist Alison Sampson are hitting the road this summer in Winnebago Graveyard, a four-issue miniseries featuring satanists, creepy fairgrounds, conspiracies and more. The first issue arrives June 14.

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Image reveals Pride Month variant covers for ‘Deadly Class,’ ‘Shutter’ and more

All proceeds from these variant covers will go to the Human Rights Campaign.

As previously announced, Image Comics will celebrate their 25th anniversary and Pride Month in June with a series of variant covers that pay tribute to the LGBTQ community. All proceeds from the sales of these variants will go to the Human Rights Campaign.

Earlier in May Image revealed the covers for The Walking Dead, Redneck and several others, while today they share five more — for Crosswind, The Old Guard, Deadly Class, Black Magick and Shutter.

Check them out below:

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