Smash Pages Q&A | Shaenon Garrity on ‘Willowweep Manor,’ ‘Skin Horse’ and more

The editor, web cartoonist and writer discusses her latest graphic novel and the end of her long-running webcomic.

For 12 days, we’re looking back at the 2021 that was in the world of comics, with interviews, commentary and more. Check back often!

Shaenon Garrity has been working in comics for years. An editor at Viz Media, she’s a longtime web cartoonist starting with Narbonic, which she launched in 2000, and she’s been a comics critic for nearly as long in the pages of The Comics Journal and other publications.

Garrity currently makes the webcomic Skin Horse with Jeffrey Wells, and this year saw the release of the graphic novel The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor, which she made with Christopher Baldwin. The book stars Haley, a lover of gothic romances who finds herself in a gothic romance. Except it’s not, and she has to find a way to navigate her way through a very different kind of story. The book is wildly inventive and laugh out loud funny, which are two things that I always expect from Garrity’s work.

We spoke recently about gothic romance, mad scientists and ending her long-running strip Skin Horse next year.

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Rest in peace, Ryan ‘Bode’ Bodenheim

The artist of ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘A Red Mass for Mars,’ ‘Bloodshot’ and more passed away Dec. 20 at the age of 44.

Artist Ryan Bodenheim, who sometimes went by the nickname Bode, passed away Dec. 20 at the age of 44. A cause of death has not been released.

Over the course of his career, Bondeheim worked on projects at Marvel and Valiant, on titles like Black Panther, Bloodshot and Ninjak. But fans might best know him from his work with Jonathan Hickman; together they co-created several Image series, including The Dying and the Dead, Secret and A Red Mass for Mars.

“Ryan made the work better,” Hickman wrote in his newsletter. “It’s why I loved working with him. I think that’s the highest compliment you can pay a creative partner, and over the past decade it was such a joy to watch him also grow as an artist.”

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Can’t Wait for Comics | A ‘Timeless’ end to 2021

This week brings new comics from Jed MacKay, Kev Walker, Jeff Lemire, Doug Mahnke, Mike Mignola, Rob Williams, Laurence Campbell, Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins and more.

Welcome to Can’t Wait for Comics, your guide to what comics are arriving in comic book stores, bookstores and on digital this week. It’s a quieter week for sure containing less debuts and less comics overall than your typical Wednesday..

I’ve pulled out some of the highlights below, but for the complete list of everything you might find at your local comic shop and on digital this week, you’ll want to check out one or more of the following:

Also, as a reminder, things can change and what you find on the above lists may differ from what’s actually arriving in your local shop. So always check with your comics retailer for the final word on availability.

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12 for ’21 | 2021 Year in Review

Shane Bailey looks back at the year that was for comics in 2021.

For the next 12 days, we’ll be looking back at the 2021 that was in the world of comics, with interviews, commentary and more. Check back often!

I went into this planning on writing about all the great books that came out this year, and there were a lot, but I can’t actually do that because I honestly can’t remember what came out this year compared to the last and the year before that. Part of this is the timelessness of comics. This year I’ve read a lot of older works combined with the new and they all kind of blend together into this huge mass of enjoyment for me. I’m not saying each wasn’t memorable and had worth of its own, but instead that there were so many great books that helped me go on this year that I can’t name them all. They all deserve to be celebrated. This year comics gave me hope. They really always have.

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Hulk + Thor collide next year in ‘Banner of War’

Donny Cates and Martin Coccolo set two Avengers on a collision course in a five-issue crossover that begins in April.

Two Donny Cates-written characters will cross over next year in Hulk vs. Thor: Banner of War.

The story, which kicks off with an “alpha” issue from Marvel before erupting into the Hulk and Thor monthly titles, will find the two Avengers brought together by “mysterious circumstances.” And then the fighting starts.

“Well, I was a little surprised that Marvel approached me to write this, if I’m being honest. I’m mostly known for writing very small, very quiet, intimate comics, so I had to—ha!! Sorry. Couldn’t keep that up. Yeah, this is gonna be bonkers as hell, guys,” Cates told Marvel.com. “We’re going to break EVERYTHING! Happy birthday, Hulk and Thor! Hope you enjoy MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF VIOLENCE!” 

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Smash Pages Q&A | Mike Cavallaro talks ‘Free Speech Handbook’

The creator of ‘Nico Bravo,’ ‘Parade (with Fireworks)’ and more discusses his work in adapting Ian Rosenberg’s ‘The Fight for Free Speech’ into a graphic novel, his ‘comics graffiti’ approach to the art and more.

For the next 12 days, we’ll be looking back at the 2021 that was in the world of comics, with interviews, commentary and more. Check back often!

Mike Cavallaro is the artist behind the new title from First Second Books’ World Citizen Comics, Free Speech Handbook: A Practical Framework for Understanding Our Free Speech Protections. For people who know Cavallaro as the creator behind the acclaimed Nico Bravo graphic novel series, it seems like an odd project, but Cavallaro’s entire career has been marked by the way he moves from one project to another, adjusting his style and approach for each.

Cavallaro has drawn a number of graphic novels including a pair of fantasy stories with Jane Yolen (Foiled! and Curses! Foiled Again!), a dark science fiction tale with Adam Rapp (Decelerate Blue). Cavallaro made two different projects with J.M. DeMatteis (Impossible, Incorporated and The Life and Times of Savior 28). That’s in addition to his own work, which includes the Eisner nominated Parade (with Fireworks) and his work as a member of Act-i-vate.

Free Speech Handbook is based on Ian Rosenberg’s book The Fight for Free Speech, which looks at ten landmark court cases that defined the First Amendment and relates them to contemporary controversies and cases. Like all of the World Citizen Comics books, it tackles a complicated topic in a way that tries to give people an understanding of not just what it means, but of the history behind it and the people who took up the fight for freedom. Cavallaro was kind enough to talk about making nonfiction, what makes Mark Siegel such a great editor and how Frank Frazetta inspired his style for this book.

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Fund Me Friday | ‘X-Maschina : The Futuristic Holiday Horror Comedy Comic’

Help bring a story about Santa fighting killer robots to life.

Ho ho ho, and Merry Christmas Eve! With Santa’s big day just one day away, there’s no better time to support X-Maschina : The Futuristic Holiday Horror Comedy Comic and help bring it to life on Kickstarter.

Steve Urena, Misty Graves and Lane Lloyd are telling that classic holiday story about Santa’s battle with a bunch of angry, homicidal robots in this science fiction/horror/comedy comic.

“Teaming up with Lane Lloyd and Misty Graves has made this Grinch love Christmas,” Urena said. “Together we combined our favorite things: horror, humor, science fiction and Christmas to create the perfect holiday concoction that we hope turns into a Holiday tradition.”

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AEW’s Nyla Rose will make her comics writing debut next year at Marvel

Rose teams up with Steve Orlando and David Cutler to tell a story about a recently resurrected character.

Nyla Rose, professional wrestler and former AEW Women’s World Champion, will make her comic writing debut next year on Marvel’s Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1.

Rose will co-write the story with Steve Orlando, who we recently learned will take over Marauders, while David Cutler will draw the one-shot.

But wait, you’re thinking, isn’t Thunderbird dead? Well, sure, but this is the X-Men we’re talking about, and in the Krakoa era, it’s easier than ever to get a second chance at life for Marvel’s mighty mutants. If you’re behind on your X-Men reading this week, you may want to catch up before reading further.

[SPOILER’S WARNING …]

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TCAF will return as an in-person event next June

The Toronto Comics Arts Festival will host both an in-person and virtual event June 17-19.

The Toronto Comics Arts Festival have announced their 2022 dates, as well as their intention to return as an in-person event. TCAF 2022 is planned for June 17-19, offering “a unique combination of both real-life and virtual events.”

Like most conventions, TCAF cancelled their live event in 2020 when the pandemic struck. Last year they held a completely virtual event.

“Following on the success of last year’s extensive range of virtual programming, TCAF will bring together the best of both worlds for 2022, offering one-of-a-kind virtual events alongside a new and improved online marketplace for global visitors, as well as the triumphant return of in-person programming, events and creator exhibition for local attendees,” their statement reads.

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Seeley + Campbell + Terry head ‘West of Sundown’

The new horror/western series from Vault Comics arrives in March.

Tim Seeley, Aaron Campbell and Jim Terry will team for a new comic next year “that mashes up Hammer Horror and Sergio Leone,” according to Seeley.

West of Sundown, announced today by Vault Comics, will feature Seeley and Campbell as co-writers. Terry will draw the comic, which will be colored by Triona Farrell, lettered by Crank! and designed by Tim Daniel.

West of Sundown is about the great mythologies of the old world slamming into the folklore of the new world…the legends of Europe, and the birth of the American beast,” Seeley said in the press release. “And, taking that theme as a skeleton, we’ve draped it with the sewed together skin of Sergio Leone Westerns and Hammer Horror films. Gritty sunsets meets foggy nights. The gothic graveyard meets Boot Hill. What horrors lie in our shared unconsciousness, and how do we stuff them all into a too-tight corset?”

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Smash Pages Q&A | Natasha Donovan on ‘Borders’

The artist and cartoonist discusses adapting Thomas King’s short story into a comic, working digitally, the often-thankless work of mothers and more.

Natasha Donovan has been working for many years as a picture book artist and cartoonist. She drew the Mothers of Xsan series of books written by Brett D. Huson, and the graphic novel Surviving the City, written by Tasha Spillett. She’s contributed to many anthologies, including This Place: 150 Years Retold and The Other Side: An Anthology of Queer Paranormal Romance. She also drew a story in the upcoming Marvel’s Voices: Heritage #1.

Donovan’s new book is Borders, an adaptation of the acclaimed short story by Thomas King. The fable-like tale is about a mother and son traveling from Canada to the U.S. to visit family, and when asked their citizenship at the border, the mother responds “Blackfoot.” It’s a book about strength, resisting categories and the imaginary lines that divide us. Adapting and drawing the story required a fine touch, and Donovan was masterful at depicting silence, telling it from the point of view of a child who doesn’t quite understand what’s happening, but is reflecting back on these events years later. It’s a striking book in so many ways.

Donovan was kind enough to talk recently about the book and how she works.

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Can’t Wait for Comics | Into the multiverse with ‘Avengers Forever’

Check out new comics and graphic novels arriving in shops this week from Jock, Katie O’Neill, Junji Ito, Jason Aaron, Mahmud Asrar, Aaron Kuder and more.

Welcome to Can’t Wait for Comics, your guide to what comics are arriving in comic book stores, bookstores and on digital this week. As we approach the end of the year, you’d expect the Wednesday haul to get a little lighter, but there’s plenty of comics and graphic novels to enjoy this week between holiday parties and Hallmark movie marathons.

I’ve pulled out some of the highlights below, but for the complete list of everything you might find at your local comic shop and on digital this week, you’ll want to check out one or more of the following:

Also, as a reminder, things can change and what you find on the above lists may differ from what’s actually arriving in your local shop. So always check with your comics retailer for the final word on availability.

Continue reading “Can’t Wait for Comics | Into the multiverse with ‘Avengers Forever’”