Teenagers quest for porn in ‘Smutt & Jeff’

Kody Chamberlain, Gavin Guidry, K. Michael Russell and Rob Guillory seek support to publish a new comic about one boy’s mission to find porn. Pre-internet, of course.

It’s a rite of passage that every teenage boy likely went through in the 1980s, before the internet made it so easy — seeing your first porn magazine. Now Kody Chamberlain, Gavin Guidry, K. Michael Russell and Rob Guillory are looking to bring one such teen’s mission to life in Smutt & Jeff. And they’ve turned to Kickstarter to help make it happen for Jeff.

“Jeff is a typical teenaged boy spending the last week of summer vacation stressed about high school,” their website reads. “It’s a very familiar feeling of being a boy unprepared for the journey into a man’s world. After being mocked and ridiculed, Jeff is determined to find and steal the one item he’s told will transform any boy into a real man: His very first porno magazine.”

Check out some of Guillory’s character designs below; the Chew artist will also provide covers:

Character designs by Rob Guillory
Character designs by Rob Guillory

They plan for Smutt & Jeff to be a five-issue series, and they’re offering copies of the issues, cameos in the book and creative workshops to backer. See more on Kickstarter, and check out a preview of the book below:

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Hickman heads to space in ‘Frontier’

Hickman will write and draw a new Image Comics series, due in November, described as “like ‘Star Trek,’ but super depressing.”

Polygon has the scoop on a new title coming from Jonathan Hickman, his first to write and draw, I believe, since 2008’s “Pax Romana.” Andy Kuhn will assist with layouts.

Described as “like ‘Star Trek,’ but super depressing,” the comic will detail how Earth joined a peaceful galactic community — then got kicked out for being too violent. Eventually that galactic government finds itself at war, and agrees to let Earth back in if they’ll serve as cannon fodder during the war. So Earth sends their prisoners, who had been kept on the moon, to battle.

“I just wanted the story to reflect kind of how I feel about society right now,” Hickman told Polygon. “Like, why would we assume expansion is going to work out? I mean, I have hope, but that’s it, any expectation I had as a kid when I first started reading this stuff — that the future, or exploration, or colonization is guaranteed — is nonexistent … I have hope, but the idea that some species would take a long, hard look at humanity and think, ‘Yeah, those guys look awesome, got to have them in our utopian society, immediately’ seems like wishful thinking.”

While it has been some time since Hickman provided interior artwork for a series, it’s actually how he got his start, with the Image Comics miniseries “The Nightly News” in 2007, which he both wrote and drew. Even when he doesn’t draw a book, you can see his graphic design skills at work on covers and backmatter in “Manhattan Projects” and “Secret Warriors,” among many other titles.

“Frontier” kicks off in November.

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Check out Sam Beck’s ’11th Daughter’ and ‘Cadmus’

Creator unleashes two fantasy stories worth a look.

Last year I downloaded a comic called Cadmus by Sam Beck, a familiar story adapted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that Beck brought new life to through his storytelling abilities. The pay-what-you-want digital comic is still available on his site, and now he’s added a new comic, available in both print and digital, called 11th Daughter.

“It’s about a queen that is given a mysterious warning from her estranged brother to protect their ancient kingdom at all costs,” Beck said in an email. “It’s full color, and the cover is printed on French pop paper (Old Green Speckletone). The pages were sketched digitally, then printed onto bristol and inked over. After scanning them they were colored digitally.”

You can order 11th Daughter either in print or digitally from Beck directly.

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Christine Larsen unleashes the horde in ‘Orcs #1’

A treasure hunt goes horribly awry and a legendary hero discovers a mysterious island in the first issue of the self-published comic.

A treasure hunt goes horribly awry and a legendary hero discovers a mysterious island in the first issue of the self-published Orcs by Christine Larsen, which is now available on comiXology. Or, if you prefer print, you can buy it from her online.

Larsen has been creating fun comics for a while now, from her work on covers for BOOM!’s various Cartoon Network series to Valentine with Alex De Campi for Thrillbent. Orcs looks pretty wonderful, as you can see for yourself in the preview below.

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According to an interview at Forces of Geek, Larsen has more issues planned. “Currently, I have an additional four written, but I have an outline for a larger arc if I find I feel up to it and it looks like the readership is there,” she told the site. “The current sets of stories are episodic, so anyone can pick them up at any point and read them. I’m saving the bigger arc for if I feel daring, but I also may want to move on to new worlds by then. That’s the nice thing about self publishing, I can keep the future loose and see how the project is received.”

‘King-Cat Comics and Stories’ joins with Alternative Comics

John Porcellino’s long-running and well-regarded series, along with his Spit and a Half publishing imprint, joins with the publishing co-op.

John Porcellino’s long-running and well-regarded King-Cat Comics and Stories series will hopefully find its way into more comic shops, as Porcellino’s Spit and a Half imprint joins Alternative Comics’ publishing co-op.

From the press release:

Alternative Comics is very excited to announce that John Porcellino’s publishing imprint Spit and a Half, and its flagship title King-Cat Comics and Stories are joining our publishing co-op with the 25th anniversary 75th issue of King-Cat. The long-awaited All-Maisie issue features the life story of John’s beloved cat Maisie Kukoc, who lived with him for 15 years. The 48 page black and white digest will be the first solo King-Cat comic book to go out direct to comic shops through Diamond Comic Distributors bearing a barcode. King-Cat did previously appear in split standard comic book-sized editions paired with Joe Chiapetta’s Silly Daddy, some two decades ago; and, collections of King-Cat have long been available to the direct market through Drawn & Quarterly, and La Mano 21. King-Cat #75 will be in comic book shops in April, 2016.

Spit and a Half joins an impressive list of small-press publishers who partner with Alternative Press, including Study Group Comics, Hang Dai Editions and Floating World Comics.

And if you’re used to ordering directly from Porcellino, you can still do that; you can find information on ordering issue #75 on the King-Cat website.

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New ‘Beasts of Burden’ story due this year

The dogs and cat of Burden Hill return this year in a new story by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer and Jill Thompson.

The dogs and cat of Burden Hill return this year in a new story by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer and Jill Thompson. The “all-cat” issue will detail where Dymphna, the witch’s familiar who has allied herself with the protectors of Burden Hill, disappears to at night.

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“Dark Horse is mapping out the issue, and if all goes well we’re looking at a Spring release,” Dorkin said on his LiveJournal. “However, we have some blank pages to fill in the back of the comic, and we’re trying to see if anyone has any questions or comments for us to print in a letters page for the issue. Even if we only fill a page, that’s one less ad in the issue and a little something extra to read. Right now we only have one letter. Eep.”

The Eisner Award-winning comic from Dark Horse Comics stars a group of dogs and cats that investigates supernatural events in their town. Beasts of Burden began as a recurring feature in the Dark Horse Book of … anthologies before graduating into its own miniseries. The animal protectors have also teamed up with Hellboy and appeared in Dark Horse Presents.

Update, 2/11: Dark Horse issued a press release on the return of Beasts of Burden, which you can find below with art:

Dorkin, Dyer and Thompson Discover What the Cat Dragged In!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MILWAUKIE, OR—Evan Dorkin (Eltingville Club, Milk and Cheese), Sarah Dyer (The Dark Horse Book of Monsters) and Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother) return to the characters that won them the Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Publication for Teens with a new one-shot comic: Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In!

This standalone adventure is a perfect entry point for readers new to the award-winning series. When curiosity gets the best of Burden Hill’s cats (and one reluctant raccoon), sleeping demons are awakened and black magic is unleashed on the town of Burden Hill.

Multiple award-winning comics creators Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson first introduced these very special investigators in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings and the other Dark Horse Book of . . . anthologies, for which they won coveted Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Painter.

In 2009, the beasts of Burden Hill received their own miniseries, Animal Rites, which garnered widespread critical acclaim. In 2010, they met up with Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, cementing these unlikely heroes in the pages of Dark Horse history.

The one-shot Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In (MAR160030) is in stores May 4, 2016. Preorder your copy today at your local comic shop!

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‘Sharknife’ creator Corey Lewis returns with bimonthly anthology series

‘Sun Bakery’ marks the first ongoing series from Press Gang.

Press Gang, a new publishing initiative from Floating World Comics and Study Group Comics, has announced its first ongoing series: Sun Bakery, a bimonthly anthology series by Sharknife creator Corey Lewis.

Described as “a one-man Shonen Jump-esque comics anthology,” Sun Bakery will run 48 pages and include “robo space adventure, paranormal skateboarding, breakdancing, and social swordplay.” The first issue will feature three stories: “Dream Skills,” “Arem” and “Bat Rider.” The first issue ships in April. Check out some preview art below:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Wade von Grawbadger

Over the years Wade von Grawbadger has made a name for himself by bringing out the best of whoever’s work he happens to be inking. The Eisner, Harvey and Inkwell award-winning artist/inker’s most recent work includes Batman/Superman with Robson Rocha and Astro City with Gary Chaloner. Always of note, though, is his work with Stuart Immonen. The duo have worked together on New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, All-New Captain America and Star Wars, just to name a few titles, and as von Grawbadger describes below, their tight collaboration has helped the inker become more versatile. The duo will work together again on the upcoming Empress, written by Mark Millar.

A year ago you were reintroduced to the awesomeness that is Matthew Clark. What makes his art so great?

There is a life and character to his art that is infectious to me. Many can draw a cool face, but Matthew’s have the depth of thought behind them. Subtle information about the personality is evoked that many can’t quite accomplish … and it’s cool! He also has a great graphic sense; his use of blacks really crank up the drama.

What do you most enjoy about inking the recent issue of Astro City?

Inking over Gary Chaloner was great fun, mostly because it was a challenge for me. He’s out of my usual wheelhouse, forcing me to stretch and use inking muscles I don’t often use. His characters have so much life to them. It was simply a lot of fun.

How gratifying is it to be inking Star Wars prior to the film’s release?

How do you quantify something like that? To be in the conversation when one of the more heralded films in a long time is about to hit the scene is an honor, to say the least. There are so many people getting attention for their work on Star Wars-related books right now, I can only say that I am extremely proud to be among them!

A few days ago you ran some of your work from 2009. How has your work evolved over the years?

Thanks in no small part to Stuart Immonen, I have become more versatile. He changes his approach often to fit how he sees a particular project. So if you look at Ultimate Spider-Man, Next Wave and Star Wars, you will see a strikingly different take on each. This forces me to keep up! We have long email conversations about ideas for the the take on a given project, and then it’s an evolution. I may think I know what he means but don’t, and make adjustments based on his suggestions, or I may do something slightly different that he feels fit the situation and he adjusts. Other changes have come as tools or inks change or are discontinued. It’s a never-ending battle to keep current!

Anything we should discuss that I neglected to ask?

I recently did part of issue 28 of Batman/Superman over Robson Rocha that’s due out in January that was a blast. Intense detail and fun figure work. I love that sort of style and don’t get to do it that often. Check it out!

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Quoted: J.H. Williams III on Mantlo and Golden’s ‘brilliance’ on ‘Micronauts’

The Sandman and Batwoman artist says if he had never discovered Micronauts, “I seriously doubt I’d be working in comics at all.”

I’ve cited in many interviews and general conversations just how this series impacted my childhood, I grew up a bit with those comics, and read them for as long as they were published. But ultimately what hooked my loyalty was the very beginning of their adventures, created by masters Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden. They were so very smart. If I had never come across their work on Micronauts I seriously doubt I’d be working in comics at all. Their brilliance on the title forever changed my direction, much to the dismay of many of the adults in my young life. However, along the way, I proved I was right. That deep down, from that very long ago discovery of the work on the series, I knew then that I was meant to do what I do now. And so when IDW announced they had garnered publishing rights for a new Micronauts series, and Rom as well (another very influential series), I had to reach out to them to see how I could be involved, even if only a little. To make an inner child’s dream come true.

–Artist J.H. Williams III, paying tribute to the creators of Marvel’s long-running Micronauts series from the late 1970s/early 1980s. Williams will do “a run of covers” for the new Micronauts series by Cullen Bunn and David Baldeón that kicks off in April from IDW Publishing.

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