Three Things | Outlaw’s Apprentice, Woodland Creatures, They Can Talk

Check out three things to see, to support and to read today.

1. To see: Chris Schweizer teases Outlaw’s Apprentice

Over the past few months in various online places like his website, on Facebook and through his Patreon, Chris Schweizer has started to share artwork for a new project — Outlaw’s Apprentice, a “high-adventure fantasy series in the spirit of some of my favorite types of stories: swashbucklers, episodic westerns.”

It looks fun as heck:

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Sakai and Schweizer re-team for a new Usagi Yojimbo ornament

The hand-crafted wooden ornament is limited to 200 pieces.

Stan Sakai and Chris Schweizer have teamed up again to offer a Christmas ornament featuring Sakai’s signature creation Usagi Yojimbo (and his signature, too, if you’d like).

This is the second year that the duo have teamed for an ornament featuring a festive version of the samurai rabbit. While Sakai provided the artwork, Schweizer handcrafted each wooden piece. When he’s not drawing comics like The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton, Schweizer creates and sells wooden pieces and papercraft, like this Die Hard Christmas ornament and this collection of Santas from around the world.

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Mail Call | ‘That Texas Blood’ returns with a new story arc in June

Today’s round-up includes announcements and previews from Marvel, DC, Skybound, Image, Dark Horse and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

That Texas Blood, the excellent small-town noir series by Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips, returns next month from Image Comics with a new story arc that delves into Ambrose County’s past, “blowing off some of that desert dust and seeing what lurks beneath,” Phillips said.

That Texas Blood #7 will arrive in comic shops on June 30.

“Returning to Ambrose County and these characters is like going home in many ways. They feel like old friends more than old creations and none more so than Sheriff Joe Bob Coates. I’m beyond excited to explore a bit of Joe’s past in this next story arc as we travel back in time to 1981. We’ll see new places, meet new people, and explore ideas we haven’t before. I’ve always believed that the beginning years of any decade are the hangover of the previous one, and I am absolutely thrilled that we are allowed to dissect this over the next six issues with our merry band of Ambrose Countians,” said Condon. “But don’t be fooled, we aren’t viewing the past through rose-colored glasses. I’ve said before that Texas is America’s mystical land, but every fantasy world has a minotaur lurking in the dark or a dragon breathing through smoking nostrils over armor-clad corpses. Our Texas is no different. The shadows there stretch to the horizon, devouring all light. But there are some who see the darkness and strike a match to light the way. I hope that you’ll join us on our trip down Highway 90, into the heart of Ambrose County and into the dark depths of the past. But don’t you fret, we’re not out of matches yet.”

Check out the first issue’s covers:

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Starks + Schweizer head to Hollywood for ‘The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton’

The new ‘Whodunnit?’ series starts in June.

Six former sidekicks of a terrible TV will team to solve his murder in The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton, by Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer, who previously worked together on Mars Attacks! The new series from Image Comics/Skybound will start in June.

“I’m so excited to be working with Skybound again on another great action-comedy series,” said Starks. “This time I get to do it with my best friend, America’s best kept cartoonist secret and three-time Eisner nominee Chris Schweizer. Chris came to me and suggested the remarkable title which we crafted into the tale of six former kid TV sidekicks trying to solve the murder of their awful human TV mentor. Sort of like Knives Out meets Once Upon A Time In Hollywood? If there are two things I love to write, it’s charming dummies and action, and this book is full of both plus rising stakes, escalating nonsense and a lot of fun. Comics should be fun, so we made a fun one!”

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Chris Schweizer shares an unfinished ‘Crogan’s Escape’

The Crogan Adventures creator posts a PDF version of the fourth book to his Patreon, saying it’ll never be finished.

Chris Schweizer, creator of the Crogan Adventures series of graphic novels that were published by Oni Press, has shared an unfinished version of a planned fourth volume on his Patreon.

“It’s not finished, and it’s not going to be finished, but I thought that I would put together a digital book sharing what I have: a finished version of an unfinished book,” Schweizer wrote about Crogan’s Escape. “It’s got (almost) finished pages, pencils, roughs and synopses, enough to get a sense of the overall book, as well as a few design bits and an introduction to contextualize the whole thing.”

Crogan’s Escape would have followed Crogan’s Vengeance, Crogan’s March and Crogan’s Loyalty, which were published between 2008 and 2012. Each volume focused on a different member of the Crogan family tree — which is filled with pirates, legionnaires, gunfighters, private eyes, flying aces, lion tamers and more. The first volume starred “Catfoot” Crogan, a sailor turned pirate, while this unfinished fourth volume starred Daniel Crogan and is set in 1920s China.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Chris Schweizer

The ‘Mars Attacks’ and ‘Crogan Adventures’ creator discusses his latest book from First Second on how to fix your car.

Chris Schweizer has been making comics for years and remains best known to some for his series The Crogan Adventures, which was not just three graphic novels but six radio plays as well. He’s made a number of other comics and illustrations over the years including the art book 555 Character Drawings, he made the graphic novel The Creeps, and has worked on other comics projects including the recent Mars Attacks. He’s regularly posting illustrations and short comics on social media and his Patreon. His new book is Maker Comics: Fix a Car.

Part of the new Maker series from First Second books, it’s a departure for Schweizer, which we talked about. Not just an instructional manual, the book is the story of Ms. Gritt who is running a Car Club and teaching a cast of teenagers about car maintenance and repair, about how various parts of cars and trucks operate and offering valuable information. Schweizer is masterful at integrating both these elements together, crafting an ensemble story with large blocks of information, and I was thrilled to get to talk with him about the book, how he works and his many projects.

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Starks + Schweizer conspire to bring back ‘Mars Attacks!’

New series featuring the zany Martians from the 1960s trading card series begins in October at Dynamite.

Dynamite Entertainment and Topps have found a way to make me want to buy a Mars Attacks! comic — and their names are Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer.

Starting this October, the duo — who are also best friends — will team up to revive the 1960s-trading-card-series-turned-1990s-feature-film, which, as the title implies, features Martians attacking Earth.

Mars Attacks! is coming back to comic stands and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” said writer Kyle Starks. “I’ll be bringing my two-time Eisner nominated trademark humor and action to this totally awesome and classic franchise.”

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Chris Schweizer walks into Mordor with latest paper figure set

Download and print out Frodo, Gandalf, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic ‘Lord of the Rings,’ as imagined by Schweizer.

One of our favs, Chris Schweizer, is back with another papercraft set, this time featuring the iconic members of the fellowship who ventured out with Frodo to fight evil jewelry in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings novels.

After a simple download, you can print, cut and then display Frodo, Gandalf, Boromir and the rest on a table or shelf of your choice.

“With this set, I wanted to get away from the iconography created by the Jackson films, as a reminder that any adaptation or illustrations of a book are just interpretations and the only true canonical version is the one in your head,” Schweizer said.

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Fund Me Friday: Zombie cop, gothic romance and more

Check out — and help fund — projects from Felipe Smith, Hope Nicholson, Chris Wisnia and more.

As crowdfunding continues to be a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors and connect directly with fans, comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. Here’s a look at a few recent campaigns that caught our eyes.

Death Metal Zombie Cop Issue #1

Creators involved: Felipe Smith
Deadline: Aug. 18
Goal: $22,000

What to know: Smith, who’s previous work includes All-New Ghost Rider for Marvel and Peepo Choo for Kodansha/Vertical, kickstarts his first creator-owned series. He says he’s been working on it for five years. The story revolves around two L.A. police officers, rookie Marco Miranda and his disillusioned training officer, Rhonda Riley. There’s also Death Metal Zombie Cop, “L.A.’s deadliest Urban Legend” who proves to be very real. Smith warns that the book will contain graphic violence and course language.

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Comics Lowdown: Analyzing gender representation of 34,476 comic characters

Plus: Calexit sells out, climate change comics, Adam West as the Dark Knight, Becky Cloonan, Gerald Way, Jay Baruchel’s thoughts on Canadian superheroes and more!

A fascinating study takes a look at the gender representation of 34,476 comic book characters. Journalist Amanda Shendruk asks, “Female characters appear in superhero comics less often than males — but when they are included, how are they depicted?”

Wonder Woman gif by Nicole Dirksen

She examined 34,476 different characters. The study results were published with a plentiful helping of graphs, graphs, and more graphs looking at everything from the types of powers a character has, to the gender make-up of their superhero team, to the naming scheme and frequency of character’s aliases. Some of the findings include:

  • The data suggest that less-physical powers — such as empathy, intellect, and telepathy — tend to be more represented among female characters. Men however, often have highly physical powers, as well as those that involve gadgets.
  • 30% of all teams have no women, and only 12% have more female team members than male. The majority of those 12%, however, are exclusively female teams.
  • A full 30% of male characters with gendered names get ‘man’ in their name. That number is only 6% for ‘woman’. However, ‘girl’ is the third-most common gendered name for a female character (13%). ‘Boy’ only shows up sixth for males (5%).

The study was then topped with very cute pixel art by Vancouver’s Nicole Derksen.

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Hobos punch toward paradise in Starks’ ‘Rock Candy Mountain’

New image series from Kyle Starks to feature hobos, magic, punching and the Literal Devil.

Kyle Starks, creator of the high-octane books Sexcastle, The Legend of Ricky Thunder and Kill Them All, has a new book coming from Image Comics in April — Rock Candy Mountain. Image describes it as an action comedy, filled with “epic stakes, magic, friendships, trains, punching, kicking, joking, a ton of hobo nonsense, and the Literal Devil. Yeah. The Literal Devil.”

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Cats break out the jugs and washboards in Chris Schweizer’s latest papercraft

Chris Schweizer wants your desk to be festive for all holidays, not just Christmas. Following last year’s Paper Nativity set, he’s created a fun, fall-themed Black Cat Jug Band.

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