Dark Horse to bring Nintendo’s ‘ARMS’ to comics

Crazy fighting game gets a graphic novel next fall.

Dark Horse Comics will turn ARMS, a fighting game for the Nintendo Switch, into graphic novels beginning next fall, the publisher announced via press release.

If you aren’t familiar with ARMS, it’s a pretty funky game featuring fighters with long, stretchy, Slinky-like arms. Using the Switch’s motion controllers, a player can guide the arms to their target in midflight, among other moves. The game is filled with characters like Spring Man, Helix, Ribbon Girl and Lola Pop, mnay of whom will no doubt have their stories explored more fully in a graphic novel.

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First Second announces new ‘Maker Comics’ series

Robyn Chapman will edit the line that taps into “DIY energy.”

Graphic novel publisher First Second announced today a new series of “DIY”-type books called Maker Comics.

“Comics is THE medium for visual instruction—there is no better way to offer step-by-step directions for complex tasks,” their Tumbler post reads. “For perfect examples, look no farther than the safety brochure on your next flight or the instructions that come with your IKEA furniture. With Maker Comics, we pair visual instruction with narrative. Each volume has its own characters and story. And seamlessly woven into that story are instructions for five to ten fun projects that readers can complete themselves.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kim Dwinell on ‘Surfside Girls’

The animator discusses her first graphic novel, surfing, the ocean and more.

Kim Dwinell has been teaching and working in animation for years, but this years she’s written and drawn her first graphic novel, Surfside Girls, Book One: The Secret of Danger Point. The book, which is out now from Top Shelf, is a beautifully painted young adult mystery/adventure story. Two 12-year-olds, Samantha and Jade, live in the sleepy beach town of Surfside and become involved in s series of strange occurrences that include the titular Danger Point, ghosts, the town’s history, and a group of boys who find what they think is a baby pterodactyl.

There’s a timeless quality to the adventure, but Dwinell is also threading other more complicated stories in the background, stories of the town, of the history of California, and the result is a book that manages to capture some of that spirit and energy found in Scooby Doo and a lot of other old mystery stories that so many of us fell in love with as kids, and establishing a rich setting. This is Dwinell’s debut book, but the way she uses design and layout throughout show just how much she understands about how comics work. Summer is over, but I reached out to Dwinell to talk about the book, her background in animation, and the ocean.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Étienne Davodeau on ‘The Cross-Eyed Mutt’

The French creator discusses his latest graphic novel from NBM, a very serious comedy about a security guard at the Louvre.

Étienne Davodeau’s graphic novel The Cross-Eyed Mutt, recently published in a translated version from NBM, has a hilarious premise. Fabien is a security guard at the Louvre and when he meets his girlfriend’s family, they tell him that they have a painting from their ancestor. “Would our ancestor’s painting have a spot in the Louvre or is it an insignificant piece of crap?”

The book is the latest in a series of graphic novels published with the Louvre, and Davodeau uses the situation as a chance to tell a story that, like his Lulu Anew and The Initiates, manages to both poke fun at eccentrics and deeply honor unusual ways of looking at the world – sometimes simultaneously. It is a book that is profound and joyful and very funny about what we love about art and museums, about what we remember, how we see ourselves, and in the end, how we live our lives.

The Cross-Eyed Mutt is in short, a very serious comedy, and it is one of the year’s best books. Thanks to Terry Nantier and Stefan Blitz at NBM, I had a chance to speak with Davodeau about spending time in the Musée du Louvre, his own thoughts on art, and whether we might be able to get my great-uncle’s work into the museum.

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‘Plain Janes’ returns in 2019

The former Minx title finds new life in a collection coming from Little, Brown.

Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg still have one more P.L.A.I.N. Janes story to tell, and it looks like it’ll come out in 2019.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, Little, Brown has acquired the rights to Plain Janes, a pair of graphic novels originally published as part of the Minx line by DC Comics. Little, Brown will collect the first two Janes stories and an all-new third story into one volume.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jennifer and Matthew Holm on ‘Swing It, Sunny’

The duo discuss their followup to 2015’s ‘Sunny Side Up’ from Scholastic’s Graphix imprint.

Jennifer and Matthew Holm have been collaborating for years now on two series of graphic novels for kids, Babymouse and Squish. The two have also made board books and a picture book together, and separately worked on other projects. Matt co-wrote and drew the recent Marvin and the Moths and Jennifer is also a Newbury Honor winning author of prose novels like The Fourteenth Goldfish and Turtle in Paradise.

In 2015, Scholastic’s Graphix imprint published Sunny Side Up, a stand-alone graphic novel about girl spending the summer with her grandfather in Florida. Sunny is back in a new book Swing It, Sunny, which picks up where the first book left off with Sunny facing middle school. I reached out to the duo by e-mail and we spoke about the book’s autobiographical elements, how they work together and what the heck swing flag is.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet on ‘Josephine Baker’

The duo discuss their work on the biography of the actress, dancer and Civil Rights activist.

Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet have been working together for a number of years, though American readers likely first read them in 2012 when SelfMadeHero/Abrams released Kiki de Montparnasse, which was awarded the Audience Prize at the 2008 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Bocquet is a writer, editor and former journalist with a long list of credits both in and out of comics. Muller, who goes by “Catel” has received a number of awards for her solo work and her collaborations including the 2005 Audience Prize at Angoulême for Le Sang des Valentines, and the 2014 Prix Artémisia for Ainsi soit Benoîte Groult.

The two have set out to tell the stories of great women and their most recent book is a biography of and tribute to one of the great figures of the 20th Century, Josephine Baker. Perhaps more beloved in France than in her home country of the United States, she was a dancer and actress. Baker fought her whole life for Civil Rights and was a member of the French Resistance. At the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, she told the crowd, “I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents, but I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee.”

The result is Josephine Baker, a lengthy book with more than a hundred pages of bibliography and supplemental material. It is also a visual masterpiece and perhaps Catel’s most inventive work to date. The two were kind enough to talk about the project and answered their questioned together. Thanks to Maya Bradford at Abrams for arranging this.

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Koyama Press announces new titles from DeForge, Degen and more

Koyama’s spring 2018 line-up includes new graphic novels from Jessica Campbell, Michael Comeau, A. Degen, Michael DeForge, Ben Sears and Fiona Smyth.

Koyama Press announced their Spring 2018 releases over the weekend in conjunction with the Small Press Expo, including new books from Jessica Campbell, Michael DeForge and Ben Sears, among others.

According to the publisher, it’s “our biggest season, in terms of page count, ever! We are immensely excited to bring such a spectacular selection of comics to you this Spring!”

Here’s a rundown of what to expect …

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Smash Pages Q&A: Chris Grine on ‘Time Shifters’

The creator of ‘Chickenhare’ discusses his latest all-ages graphic novel from Graphix, dealing with grief, not talking down to kids and more.

Chris Grine’s first graphic novel was Chickenhare, which was published first by Dark Horse Comics and then was reprinted in a new full-color edition by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, along with its sequel. This year Scholastic published Time Shifters, which, like his earlier books, is written, drawn, colored and lettered by Grine.

But this one is a leap forward in terms of his art and storytelling. On one level, the book is a wild adventure story about a boy who gets caught up with a misfit band that is jumping from one universe to another. On another level, it is a story about grief and loss told in a very real and raw way. The book manages to be both very silly and wild, and a great adventure story, but never shies away from the sadness at the core. Grine and I talked about the book’s tonal shifts, grief and never playing down to kids.

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