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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Z2 announces four new projects for 2016

Publisher announces new projects by Jarrett Williams, Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden, Sam Sattin and Chris Koehler, and Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand.

Z2 Comics, the publisher of Ian McGinty’s Welcome to Showside, Chris Hunt’s Carver and Miss Lasko-Gross‘s Henni, among others, has announced four new titles for 2016 with some impressive creative line-ups.

Probably the name I was most excited to see on the list is Jarrett Williams, who wrote and drew two volumes of the fun wrestling graphic novel Super Pro K.O.! (a third one is due out in April). His new book is about high school students who team up to fight “sinister, intergalactic vagabonds” in what will surely be a fun, action-packed book. Also of note are the wonderful Lasko-Gross and her husband, Kevin Colden (Fishtown, The Crow, I Rule the Night), who will collaborate for the first time on a story about intergalactic smugglers. Author Sam Sattin (The Silent End) teams with illustrator Chris Koehler (Wired, The Atlantic) for a story about dogs and cats living together, while Gabe Soria (Life Sucks, Batman ’66) and Paul Reinwand (28 Warlords) create a “rock’n’roll noir story” that’ll feature a soundtrack by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Arcs, with tracks inspired by the comics.

Artwork, release dates and additional details provided by the publisher can be found below.

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Hyper Force Neo by Jarrett Williams
April 2016

Hyper Force Neo, from Super Pro K.O.! creator Jarrett Williams takes readers along on the adventures of Dean Masters, a 9th grader tasked with leading a group of tech-savvy teens called Hyper Force Neo. Their Mission? Save New Sigma City and their high school from the sinister, intergalactic vagabonds known as the Dark Edge. With the use of their Hype Suits, Neo Keys, high-tech weaponry and over-sized Neo Mechs, Dean and his friends just may get the job done. The first issue of Hyper Force Neo will be a super-sized 48 pages.

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The Sweetness by Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden
May 2016

Set in the future, the first collaboration from the husband and wife creative team of Miss Lasko-Gross (Henni) and Kevin Colden (Fishtown) follows two bad-ass female intergalactic smugglers of a mysterious controlled substance who cater to the unique tastes of alien drug addicts.

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Legend by Sam Sattin, Chris Koehler
June 2016

What if a biological terror agent wiped out most of humanity, and our domesticated animals were left in charge? How would our dogs and cats set about ruling and rebuilding the world? Legend is the story of animals uniting to fight mutant creatures and attempting to restore the world their masters destroyed.

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Murder Ballads by Gabe Soria, Paul Reinwand
2016

A meditation on music, obsession and how far someone will go to see their vision become real, Murder Ballads follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failing record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter, fleeing the wreckage of his business and trying to save his crumbling marriage. Nate is given an unexpected chance to reverse his fortunes when, during a stop in a desolate rust belt town, he “discovers” Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two African-American brothers who play a raucous brand of doom-laden country blues. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Arcs is creating a Murder Ballads soundtrack, which will be released by Nonesuch Records.

McNamara, Hinkle slither over to Image for new edition of ‘The Rattler’

Creators Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle discuss the new edition of their crowdfunded graphic novel, coming from Image Comics in May.

Late last year Jason McNamara (The Martian Confederacy, First Moon, Continuity) and Greg Hinkle (Airboy) announced their crowdfunded horror graphic novel The Rattler had found a new home at Image Comics.

Inspired by true events from McNamara’s own life, the graphic novel will hit stores in March with a new cover and one new page. I spoke with McNamara and Hinkle about the new edition, how the Kickstarter campaign went and the potential for a sequel.

Continue reading “McNamara, Hinkle slither over to Image for new edition of ‘The Rattler’”

Comics Experience launches digital comics line

Four new titles hit comiXology on Jan. 13.

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Comics Experience, the online school/community aimed at future comics creators that’s run by former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt, will begin publishing digital comics by its members and alumni later this month.

The comics will be sold through comiXology starting Jan. 13 and will include:

  • Past the Last Mountain by Paul Allor, Louie Joyce, and Gannon Beck, which “brings together an unlikely trio of fantasy creatures in a story of unity and survival.”
  • Karma Police by Chris Lewis, Tony Gregori, Jasen Smith, and Nic J. Shaw, “a bizarre generation-spanning mystery full of murder, intrigue, reincarnation and even luchador demons.” LUCHADOR DEMONS!
  • Wretched Things by Devon Wong, Ken Perry, and John Hunt, which features “a world where The Vermin reign supreme.”
  • Deluge by JD Oliva and Richard P. Clark, a crime drama set against the backdrop of a post-Katrina Gulf Coast.

“ComiXology offers us a unique way to get even more fantastic content to more fans around the world. And the more truly great creator-owned and controlled projects getting published, and that’s just good for everyone,” said Comics Experience founder and CEO Andy Schmidt in the press release. “The Comics Experience Digital Publishing program is the latest way for us to help bring new, talented creators to audiences around the world and put them in front of the industry’s largest publishers.”

This initiative follows the one announced last year where Comics Experience teamed with IDW Publishing to publish comics by members of their online community. That one brought titles like Tet and Gutter Magic to the publisher.

Check out covers from the new titles below.

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2016: Year of the (Black) Beetle?

Francesco Francavilla takes to Twitter to tease the return of ‘The Black Beetle,’ his well-regarded pulp comic from Dark Horse.

Our long, national nightmare may soon be over, as creator Francesco Francavilla teased on Twitter the return of The Black Beetle. Francavilla posted an image of the pulp hero with the hashtags #TheYearOfTheBeetle and #BlackBeetleReturns.

The Black Beetle originally appeared on Francavilla’s website back in 2009, then Dark Horse brought him to comic shops in 2013. Their first miniseries, Black Beetle: No Way Out, received many accolades (including an Eisner nomination for best miniseries) and appeared on several “best of the year” lists. But a second miniseries, “Necrologue,” was scheduled but never made it out of the gate. But it looks like that might be changing this year:

No word yet on when the excellent series will return, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for it.

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Lemire’s ‘Roughneck’ skates into stores in 2017

Lemire returns to small-town Canada for a new graphic novel from Simon & Schuster.

The prolific Jeff Lemire, who has left his stamp on monthly comics from DC, Marvel, Image and Valiant in recent years, returns to his graphic novel roots in October with Roughneck.

Update: According to Lemire’s blog, Roughnecks will now arrive in April 2017.

Originally announced in 2013, the graphic novel is written and drawn by Lemire. Like his Essex County series, this one is also set in small town Canada. Here’s how Simon & Schuster described the project back in 2013:

“Derek is a former hockey tough guy whose quick rise to the NHL was cut short when a brutal on-ice incident left him banned from professional hockey for life. Now, four years later, Derek has returned to Black River, his hometown in Northern Ontario, not far from the Moose Cree First Nation, where his mother grew up. Derek’s slide into alcoholism and depression is interrupted when his long-lost sister, Annie, returns home trailing a violent ex-boyfriend. Together, the two escape to the woods, where they struggle to reconnect with the traditions of their Cree ancestors in order to escape their past and gain redemption.”

This is definitely something to add to the “Comics I’m looking forward to” list for 2016.

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Valiant teases 2016 slate: Bloodshot Island, new Archer & Armstrong, more

Get a glimpse of what the future holds for Ninjak, Divinity and more.

With 2015 winding down, Valiant Entertainment has released several teasers for upcoming storylines and returning titles from the publisher. Of note: Jeff Lemire, Mico Suayan and David Baron journey to “Bloodshot Island,” while Matt Kindt and Diego Bernard plan a siege for Ninjak. And oh yeah, Archer and Armstrong return! I’m really looking forward to seeing what Rafer Roberts does on the title.

Check out all the teasers below …

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‘The Rattler’ strikes again at Image Comics

Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle’s crowdfunded graphic novel finds a new home.

Following a successful Kickstarter in 2014, Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle’s The Rattler has slithered over to Image Comics for a “mass market” release.

Inspired by true events from McNamara’s own life, the horror graphic novel is about a guy whose fiancée vanished without a trace and, 10 years later, he starts hearing her voice.

Continue reading “‘The Rattler’ strikes again at Image Comics”

Vaughan, Martin, Vicente debut new pay-what-you-want series ‘Barrier’

The first issue of the “unconventional drama about violence, language and illegal immigration” is available from the Panel Syndicate site now.

Following the teaser from last week, Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente have launched another pay-what-you-want digital series, the five-part Barrier.

In an email from their Panel Syndicate imprint, the creators described the comic as an “unconventional drama about violence, language and illegal immigration.” The first 53-page issue is available now for download from the Panel Syndicate site.

Barrier follows the award-winning The Private Eye, which the three creators launched in a similar manner back in 2013.

Check out some preview art from Barrier by Martin and Vicente below.

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Valiant partners with publishers in Spain, Italy and France

Comic fans in France and Italy will soon have access to Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger and the rest of Valiant’s comic line in their native tongue.

Comic fans in France and Italy will soon have access to Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger and the rest of Valiant’s comic line in their native tongue.

Today Valiant announced partnerships with Italy’s Star Comics and France’s Bliss Comics for print and digital translations. In addition, they’ve also announced a long-term extension to their partnership with Spain’s Aleta Ediciones. Along with the comics, they’re also planning creator appearances at various conventions in Europe.

More details are available in the press release below.

Press Release

Valiant Entertainment is proud to announce new foreign-language publishing partnerships with three of Europe’s preeminent publishers of comic books and graphic novels – Spain’s Aleta Ediciones, Italy’s Star Comics and France’s Bliss Comics – for print and digital translations of Valiant’s award-winning superhero library.

Valiant and Aleta, whose inaugural line of Spanish-language Valiant titles debuted earlier in 2015, will soon begin a long-term extension to their partnership with an expanded array of series encompassing many of Valiant’s most acclaimed titles.

Meanwhile, Valiant’s newly announced publishing partners in Italy and France will begin publication in both print and digital in early 2016 with new editions of best-selling series including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong, Divinity, Quantum and Woody and many more.

Additionally, each publisher will be introducing Valiant’s line of titles to fans in Spain, Italy and France with appearances and promotions at some of the largest conventions across Europe.

“Valiant has a large, vibrant, and ever-growing fan base throughout Europe. Each of these publishers has been specifically selected for the quality of their foreign-language editions and their extensive knowledge of their respective marketplaces,” said Russell A. Brown, Valiant’s President of Licensing, Promotions & Ad Sales. “In concert with our new publishing partners at Aleta, Star, and Bliss, we look forward to bringing Valiant’s beloved library of characters to fans in print and online in Spain, Italy, France and beyond.”

Aleta Ediciones has already begun to publish 10 of Valiant’s most notable titles, including Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior and Harbinger. Aleta is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks since 1996, based in Valencia, Spain. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, Aleta publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including Invincible, Tex, Dylan Dog, Aliens, Predator, Terminator, Robocop and Xenozoic by creators like Alan Moore, Tiziano Sclavi, Frank Miller, Robert Kirkman, Mark Schultz, G. R. R. Martin, Michael Avon Oeming, Alfonso Font and Paul Grist.

Star Comics is one of the leading Italian publishers active in the comic field. Since its foundation, Star Comics’ mission has been to encourage the diffusion of comic books as a form of entertainment and as a cultural phenomenon by making comic books available to all readers in Italy. Star Comics was founded in Perugia by publisher Giovanni Bovini in 1987. Its first publications were translations of several Marvel Comics series including Spider-Man, X-Men and Fantastic Four. Since that time, Star Comics has gone onto produce foreign-language editions of titles by DC Comics, Image Comics, and Wildstorm, in addition to the first Italian language line of Japanese manga. In just over 25 years, Star Comics has published more than 500 titles including monthly series, limited series and standalone books.

Bliss Comics is a relative newcomer to French publishing. Bliss is dedicated to bringing Valiant’s fan-favorite series to France starting in 2016. With an incredible number of talented creators working on Valiant’s strong, diverse characters and epic stories, Bliss looks forward to introducing Valiant’s award-winning universe to new French readers as well as longtime comics fans.

Bliss Comics, Star Comics, and Aleta Ediciones are just the latest additions to Valiant’s growing roster of international publishing partners. They join OVNI Press Editorial in Argentina, HQM Editora in Brazil, Tencent in China, ShoPro in Japan, Kamite in Mexico, Viverra in Russia, and Büyülü Dükkan in Turkey in bringing Valiant’s award-winning library of superhero titles to an international audience.

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Download Chris Schweizer’s paper Nativity set

The Crogan Adventures creator is offering more than 30 figures with a backdrop you can download from his web store.

Crogan Adventures creator Chris Schweizer has created a paper Nativity set that he’s offering for free via his online store. [EDIT: Actually it’s a “pay what you want” model, as Gumroad does give you the option to send Schweizer some money when you download it).

The expansive set includes more than 30 3-D figures with a pretty awesome backdrop, which you can download and print out on card stock (the heavier the better, Schweizer advises). He’s also selling the original art from the set as well. Growing up my mom collected various Nativity sets, but I don’t remember her having any that went quite this far into Biblical canon — her sets never included the Little Drummer Boy, Salome or ‘lil John the Baptist, for instance, even if they did occasionally receive visits from my Star Wars figures and Hot Wheels.

Throughout December, Schweizer will do a write-up each day on one of the characters on his blog “At our house, we’ll be using the set like an advent calendar with my daughter, introducing one new figure each day,” he writes. “If you’d like to do the same, I welcome you to use these write-ups as your guide for which characters to introduce in which order, with the write-up to give context.”

You can check out images from the set below.

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Not lying: Skybound taking preorders for Lying Cat statue

The breakout character from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga will soon be available in all three dimensions.

Lying Cat will soon leap from the page straight to your shelf, as Robert Kirkman’s Skybound has announced they will produce a Lying Cat statue in early 2016.

Featuring the breakout character from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga, the statue will be hand-painted and 8″ tall statue. Skybound began taking pre-orders for the $75 statue on Friday; it will only be available online. You can pre-order it here.

No word yet if it will act as a miniature lie detector.

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Lying Cat

Ok, probably not. Check out a prototype of what it will look like below.

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