Smash Pages Q&A: Ruth Fletcher Gage & Jackie Lewis on Oni’s ‘The Lion of Rora’

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To mark the recent release of co-writers Ruth Fletcher Gage and Christos Gage and artist Jackie Lewis’ original graphic novel, The Lion Of Rora (published by Oni Press), Fletcher Gage and jackiemakescomics were kind enough to grant me an interview.

Based on true events, the graphic novel tells the story of Joshua Janavel and the Waldensians, the first people in European history to rebel against their ruler for the purpose of religious freedom.

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Ellis, Warren Ellis declassifies his upcoming run on ‘James Bond’

Although he’s written his share of secret agents in the past — John Stone keeps popping into my head as I write this — Warren Ellis will soon get his hands on the ultimate super-spy when his run on Dynamite’s James Bond comic begins later this month.

Titled “VARGR,” the first story arc has Bond returning to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, to take up the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent. In his latest Orbital Operations email, sent out this past weekend, Ellis shared several details about his upcoming run on James Bond — which, as a commission via the Ian Fleming estate, will feature the secret agent from the books rather than the movies. Or, as Ellis put it, “This is meant to be Fleming’s Bond.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Eric-Nolen Weathington on ‘Modern Masters: Paolo Rivera’

While Eric Nolen-Weathington’s Modern Masters Volume 30: Paolo Rivera was released late in 2014, this has been my first opportunity to chat with one of my favorite interviewers in the comics industry about his latest projects. Added bonus, I had no idea that Rivera was mentored by David Mazzucchelli, so that added another layer of enjoyment for this interview.

For fans of Jim Aparo, there is good news about the long-awaited Modern Masters edition. More immediately though the next Modern Masters subject will be J.H. Williams III.

Thanks to Eric for the interview.

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Waid, Wu reveal ‘The Lipstick Incident’ in ‘Archie’ #4

Find out why Archie and Betty broke up Nov. 25.

Fans of the relaunched Archie series have two things to look forward to in issue #4. First, of course, is the addition of artist Annie Wu, who joins writer Mark Waid on the series, and second, the revelation of what exactly “The Lipstick Incident” was.

“Finally, the details of the #Lipstic​kIncident are revealed as we see what exactly broke up the power couple of Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper–and you’ll never guess!” Waid said in a press release. Waid and Fiona Staples, who drew the first three issues, have had fun teasing what exactly “The Lipstick Incident” is in the pages of the previous issues, and it’s nice they won’t keep us guessing much longer. Wu’s been doing some killer work on Hawkeye and Black Canary, so it’ll be interesting to see what she does in rebooted Riverdale. To get a taste, check out some preview pages below, along with all the various variant covers for the book

Archie #4, by Waid, Wu, colorists Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn, and letterer Jack Morelli, arrives Nov. 25.

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‘Nowhere Men’ returns with new artist Dave Taylor

Taylor takes over as artist from Nate Bellegrade with issue #7, which arrives in January.

Nowhere Men, the “scientists-as-rock-stars” comic by Image co-publisher Eric Stephenson, artist Nate Bellegrade and Einser award-winning colorist Jordie Bellaire, will return in January with a new artist, Dave Taylor (Batman: Death by Design, Judge Dredd, Prophet).

“It’s very cool to work on something you admire,” Taylor said in the press release. “My respect for the first series is making me work extra hard to fulfil Eric’s concept to the end, in fact, this is the best work I’ve done for years.”

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Zander Cannon’s ‘Kaijumax’ returns for second season next May

Trade paperback collecting season one arrives in February for $9.99.

Oni Press has announced that Kaijumax, Zander Cannon’s excellent giant monster/prison mash-up comic, will return next May for a second season. In addition, the first season will arrive in trade paperback in February, for the low introductory price of $9.99.

“You like monsters? YEAH! You like prison? MAYBE! C’mon in and join me for Kaijumax Season 2; the first trade is big yet cheap so people can jump aboard, and I will try not to brutalize or kill off any beloved characters this season. No promises,” Cannon said in the press release.

Kaijumax, which probably shares more in common with Oz or Orange is the New Black than it does a Godzilla movie, features a prison for giant monsters that’s made up of all sorts of interesting characters, from the various monster inmates to the guards who keep an eye on them. Its large cast includes some of the most inventive characters we’ve seen in a long time, both visually and personality wise, and it mashes together genres to create something that embraces the silliness and seriousness of both. If you haven’t checked it out, the priced-to-move trade may be up your alley.

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All You Need to Know: ‘Invincible Iron Man’ #1

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Iron Man needs some work…

I have a love-hate relationship with the comic works of Brian Michael Bendis. Wait, that’s too strong a sentiment; I have a like-meh relationship with his comics.

On one hand, Bendis is a well-respected, intelligent author who has reformed a lot of how comics are being written these days, done a few landmark runs with Marvel characters and has pretty much set the tone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, reading his books gets redundant, feels like you are going nowhere and doing nothing, and is choc-a-bloc with blithe dialogue that feels less like impassioned superhero speech than something overheard by a Starbucks barista. They can be a slog to get through at times, because they rarely feel like there’s going to be a payoff at the end of the storyline. Jonathan Hickman can be a similar slog, but at least by the end of the Fantastic Four run, for example, you’ve seen characters grow, change and come out the other side as new people. Bendis just feels like he puts the pieces back too carefully or breaks them irrevocably.

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Artists unite for ‘shiny and chrome’ Fury Road Fan Zine

Furiosa and the crew ride again in a new fanzine collecting fan art based on “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

One of the things I find fun about Tumblr is seeing how much influence pop culture has on the many artists I follow. For instance, “black suit” Daredevil was all the rage when the Netflix series debuted, while Mad Men tribute pieces had their day when the series ended. And let’s not even get into Donald Trump. But the one thing that’s really made a huge impact — I still see new images in my feed to this day — is George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Get a ringside seat for the ‘Muscle Temple’ comics anthology

Help drop-kickstart a new wrestling-themed comics anthology featuring Box Brown, Zac Gorman and more.

Comics and wrestling have been tag-team partners for years, whether you’re talking about comics starring wrestlers, wrestlers writing comics or even comic heroes fighting super villains in the ring. It’s no surprise that wrestling counts many comic creators among its fans, and several of those creators have come together to create Muscle Temple, an anthology of wrestling comics.

Spearheaded by Frank Gibson, the anthology features enough creators to fill a battle royal, including names from webcomics, alt.comix and animation. Together they will publish a “60ish” page, two-color comic featuring “funny and weird short comics and goofy illustrations about our love and passion … PRO WRESTLING!” The roster includes Box Brown (creator of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, one of the best wrestling-themed comics in recent memory), Zac Gorman (creator of the wonderful Magical Game Time), Jimmy Chang (whose Secret Item World webcomic I’ve been binge-reading over the last few days), Rosemary Travale (The Champ), Sam Alden, Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden of the now-defunct The Devastator, and many more.

They’re currently looking for funding via Kickstarter, with prizes that include limited edition prints, T-shirts and your very own stop-motion puppet by Rosemary Travale — and of course the book itself, which can be yours for $15 plus postage. Check out some art below, or visit their Tumblr to see more.

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