Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Andersen on ‘Stripling Warrior’

Andersen discusses his collaboration with James Neish, which is about two queer ex-Mormons who are charged by an angel to be the Hand of God on Earth.

When Brian Andersen and James Neish set out to kickstart one issue of their comic Stripling Warrior a few years, they had no idea that not only would it be a success, but that it would strike a nerve. Some of the press and the attention has been about the very idea of a gay Mormon superhero, but Andersen uses Mormon theology and stories similarly to how Catholic teachings have become so familiar to many of us through pop culture.

The series, which has now been collected into a trade collection, is about Sam Shepard and Fe Fernandez, two queer ex-Mormons who are charged by an angel to be the Hand of God on Earth. It sounds heavily religious, but no more so than many other comics that draw from different religious traditions, but it’s a book that also embraces superhero conventions. At its heart, the book is about two conversations. One is between Sam and Fe about how they never stopped believing, the church’s hatred towards them has meant that they refuse to accept this mission as face value, even as they seek to carry out their quest. The other conversation is between their spouses, Jase and Shonda, about identity and how their sexuality is vital to who they have become, but it does not define them because they are so much more than that.

Stripling Warrior is a book unlike anything else on the stands, and I spoke with Brian Andersen about the project, making a sex positive, inclusive story, and what he’s working on now.

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‘Beasts of Burden’ returns in August from Dorkin + Dewey

Guest artist Benjamin Dewey heads to Burden Hill to help Dorkin tell a tale featuring the Wise Dogs.

Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden has appeared as a series of miniseries and one-shots over the years, winning awards and sharing tales from the fictional town of Burden Hill, where a group of dogs and cats defend their world against supernatural threats.

In the background of these stories has been another group called the Wise Dogs, who seem to have a much bigger jurisdiction than just Burden Hill. Dorkin and guest artist Benjamin Dewey (The Autumnlands, The Tragedy Series) will explore this other group in Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men. Nate Piekos will letter the four-issue miniseries.

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Floating World Comics to publish Soto’s ‘The Secret Voice’ collection

The Study Group editor ‘will be hanging up his publishing hat’ to focus on making comics.

Comic book store-turned-publisher Floating World Comics announced this week that they will publish a collection of one of my favorite comics of last year, The Secret Voice, in the spring of 2019. Created by Study Group Comics editor Zack Soto, The Secret Voice is about a warrior monk named Doctor Galapagos and his battles with The Smog Emperor.

The Secret Voice is my own personal version of an epic fantasy saga,” Soto said. “Because I’m me, it’s a trippy, sometimes meandering affair that’s just as focused on the sense of space and atmosphere as it is on the big picture plot stuff. This project is a place for me to pour all my love of adventure & fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container. It’s about a big old fashioned land war driven by the invasion of a despot; it’s about a bunch of weird psychic warrior monks; it’s about wild kung fu magic battles; it’s about monsters and supernatural beings.. But it’s also about someone over their head and not being honest with themselves or the people they love, and figuring out how to own their mistakes.”

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C2E2: ‘Rick & Morty,’ ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ cross over this summer

Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Zub and Troy Little bring the two properties together in a four-issue limited series.

The stars of Adult Swim’s popular Rick and Morty will enter the world of Dungeons & Dragons this summer in a comic book crossover by Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Zub and Troy Little.

At this weekend’s C2E2 convention in Chicago, IDW Publishing and Oni Press, who respectively publish the D&D and R&M comic books, announced the four-issue comic book series, which will debut in August.

“I love Rick and Morty with a powerful love, and I’ve played D&D since the fifth grade,” Rothfuss said in the press release. “So when they approached me about writing a story with both of them together? That’s some serious you-got-chocolate-in-my-peanut butter $#!& right there. I’m in. I’m all the way in. I’m gettin’ that chocolate all up in the peanut butter. Like, deep in. All the way in. It’s going to be sticky and delicious.”

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C2E2: Joëlle Jones working on new ‘Catwoman’ series, statue

Catwoman’s new series puts her back on the streets against a new villain.

At C2E2 in Chicago this weekend, Batman artist Joëlle Jones announced two new projects involving Bruce Wayne’s fiancée, Selina Kyle, A.K.A. Catwoman.

First up, starting this summer is a new Catwoman ongoing series, written and drawn by Jones. The new series will spin out of the big Batman wedding, which is set to occur in Batman #50.

“But if you’re expecting a romantic tale set during a tropical honeymoon or focused on Selina and Bruce’s newly wedded bliss, think again,” DC revealed in a press release. “Catwoman’s back on the streets dealing with a mysterious copycat and taking on a brand new, as-yet-unrevealed villain in the Eisner nominated Jones’ debut storyline.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sloane Leong on ‘Prism Stalker’

‘It’s a weird sci-fi biopunk adventure about colonization, autonomy, the pain of desire and the wonder, power and horror of expression.’

Comics readers might know Sloane Leong as the artist of From Under Mountains. She’s also drawn fill-in stories for a number of comics, including Prophet, Glory and Bravest Warriors, and has contributed to gallery shows, but starting this week, she will be known for Prism Stalker.

The ongoing series launches next week from Image Comics, and the first issue is simply stunning. It manages to convey a lot of information about this world, much of it through suggestion. Her pages quite frankly do not look like most comics pages but are instead complex works of design that echo the musicality within the story and defining the pacing. The story itself, which is about language and culture, memory and what is passed down, could not be more relevant today. Like the very best science fiction, the issue manages to depict something strange and truly alien, while drawing parallels to the present, the past and our own experiences.

For many, writing, drawing and coloring a monthly series is more than enough, but Leong is also finishing a graphic novel, A Map to the Sun, for First Second Books, and writing a regular review column for The Comics Journal. Happily, she somehow found the time to talk with me.

Leong will be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend at Table #208 where she’ll have advance copies of the first issue for sale. It will be available in stores on March 7.

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Image reveals many, many new titles at Image Expo

New projects announced from Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss, Rob Guillory, J.H. Williams and Haden Blackman, Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel, Annie Wu and more.

As they’ve done in previous years, Image Comics dropped a metric ton of announcements at their Image Expo event, held today in Portland, Oregon.

The line-up of announcements this year includes five new titles from Todd McFarlane’s camp, new titles from Chew creators John Layman and Rob Guillory, two comics from Christoper Sebela, the fact that they’ll publish the Netflix/Millarworld titles starting with The Magic Order and much more. No doubt there are interviews aplenty dropping around the internet on all these new projects, so I’ll start with the text of the press release, then add art and commentary as I find it.

So let’s get to it …

Blackbird by Sam Humphries & Jen Bartel
Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel team up to co-create Blackbird, a modern fantasy story best described as Harry Potter meets Riverdale. It follows a young woman named Nina who discovers a neon-lit world of magic masters in Los Angeles. Now they’ve kidnapped her sister, and Nina is the only one who can save her.

“Blackbird is a labor of love, a coming of age story and beautiful people doing insane things with magic,” said Humphries.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Alejandra Gutiérrez on ‘Twisted Romance’

The comics creator and designer discusses her work with Alex de Campi on the Image Comics anthology, how she came into comics and more.

Alejandra Gutiérrez has been posting comics and illustrations online for a while now on Twitter and Instagram in addition to her published art and covers. She’s shown a sense of design and fashion, a willingness to play with layout. Some of that may come from her background in design, but she’s clearly interested in multimedia, in playing with how people read the page and finding ways to tweak that.

Gutiérrez may wear her influences on her sleeve, but she’s also moved past simply imitating them and is clearly coming into her own. She’s drawing “Twinkle and Star” in Twisted Romance #2 written by Alex de Campi and so I asked her about how she came to comics and why she signed on to draw romance.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Katie Skelly brings ‘grotesquerie’ and spectacle to ‘Twisted Romance’

The creator of ‘My Pretty Vampire’ and ‘Nurse Nurse’ discusses the story she drew for Alex de Campi’s romance anthology, the romance genre, what it’s like working with another comics writer and more.

2017 saw the publication of My Pretty Vampire, which may be Katie Skelly‘s most acclaimed book to date. The writer-artist best known for books like Night Nurse and Operation Margarine has always worked on her own projects, so it was a surprise to some of us when it was announced that she would be collaborating with writer Alex de Campi on Twisted Romance, the new anthology series out this month from Image Comics.

Their story “Old Flames” opens the first issue of the series, which is out this week and I asked Skelly a few questions about the project, genre and how it fits in with her body of work.

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