There?s lots of fanboy rage this week over the Civil War shipping delays; personally I do not like fill-in issues, so I think Marvel is doing the right thing. As for ATR, no delays this week, lets get right into it:
The Peter Milligan Marvel Knights Namor project we announced last week is entitled ?The Depths? and has been described as ?Moby Dick meets the Heart of Darkness.?
Milligan also has an upcoming Wildstorm series entitled The Program, as well as a new Vertigo series called The Bronx Kill. So there will be lots of upcoming projects for all the fans of his work, myself included.
This Has A ?Want To Bet Namor Won?t Be Wearing The Green Speedo In This Series?? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten
Get Those Hands Off Me
Steve Horton (he?s a magazine writer (SCRYE, INQUEST GAMER), as well as the author of the GROUNDED ANGEL webcomic at http://www.komikwerks.com) has a new comic coming out from Image in 2007 entitled STRONGARM.
Steve sent us a teaser about the series:
- It is a near-future totalitarian state. Two twin brothers take radically different paths in life. Rob becomes a bicycle delivery boy. Nick goes underground and leads a resistance movement against the military regime. One day, Rob delivers a package in a dark alley and is beset upon a vicious assassin with a pair of disgusting, biomechanical arms. It’s only by a stroke of pure luck that Rob kills his attacker. The arms, however, have a life of their own and slither from the dead assassin, attaching themselves to Rob and taking over his mind…
We also got some preview art by series penciller Dave Ahn:
Over on his website, Mike Grell has been giving readers ?directors commentary? on some of his classic comic book runs. He recently wrote a commentary on the Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters series he did back in the day for DC comics.
It is insightful and entertaining to say the least, here is an excerpt:
- I have to give credit where credit is due. The entire concept spun out of a conversation I had with Mike Gold, and he asked me if there were any characters at DC that I really like well enough to come back to the company and do work for DC Comics. And I said, “Well you know, I always felt that I had done such a crappy job on Batman”, that I’d love to try my hand at it again. But I knew that, at the time, Frank Miller had DARK KNIGHT in the works. And Frank and I had talked about this at some length and I said when Frank is done with it you could put a period at the end of that sentence, because that will be the definitive Batman for years and years to come. And I was right.
Gold said, “Well, what about Green Arrow?” and I said, “Well I always loved the character”, he was my favorite comic book character. He said, “Think of this: Green Arrow and as an Urban Hunter.” And I’ll tell you, he might as well have just taken me out and bought me some crack because I was hooked!
That was it, Green Arrow as the Urban Hunter.
This Has A ?Give The Man Another Run On Green Arrow Already!? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten
Watch Them Explode
Boom studios sent us some amazing cover pics for their upcoming books: Ninja Tales, X-Isle, and Hero Squared ? all coming out this November. We also have some sweet art from the latest issue of Savage Brothers ? on the stands now!
Back on the Street
John Romita JR is planning a return to the Amazing Spider-Man monthly title after his run on the Eternals with Neil Gaiman is over, but right before that he will be pencilling an arc (or mini series) of Daredevil or the Punisher (or possibly both).
This Has A ?He Sure Knows How To Draw Mean Street Thugs? Factor Of Eight Out Of Ten
Mockery is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Everyone remembers CapvsBats right? He?s the guy who brought us a whole slew of brilliant parodies like this:
ATR: How did you start doing the parodies you are well known for? How do you go about the process? Do you pick “hot” storylines or just whatever lends itself to parody?
CVB: I credit two sources for the inspiration of my parodies. First is Seanbaby of www.seanbaby.com whose hostess fruit pie commentaries and Superfriends pages pretty much set the bar for Superhero humor. When I created my first parody – the Hostess ID Crisis, I was definitely tipping my hat in Seanbaby’s direction. The other inspiration is Tim O’Neill who used to do the Comic Remixs for http://www.popcultureshock.com. Tim’s parodies were awesome!
For the actual technical aspects of my work, check out my tutorial on my site http://www.capvsbats.com/Parodies/Tutorial.htm
For the Writing process, I usually look for a topic or comic that is really hot on the messageboards – like decompression in comics and then find a way to apply messageboard angst towards my parody.
For instance there was a real temptation to do something with the whole New Spider-Man costume thing, because, let’s face it, that thing sux the donkey, but I just couldn’t find the time. (Being a new dad has made making the parodies a lot tougher.)
Sometimes I get suggestions from other people, and I would like to take a second to thank two people who have helped me like this in the past: Blair Marnell and Chris Sims of http://the-isb.blogspot.com/
ATR: Do you enjoy the books you parody? Is it a loving homage or more of a criticism of those books?
However, I have been able to make fun of comics I’ve enjoyed. It’s just tougher. I found the Villains United Parody very hard to write because Gail Simone was doing some great things in that book. Same thing for the Wolverine parody. Of late, there are so many good comics coming out, that I don’t really have a clear candidate for a parody (except Miller’s Batman and Robin – which is begging for one.)
ATR: Tell us about Flashback Universe – what is the premise of the story?
CVB: Well, we’re doing a sort of DC Showcase/Marvel Premiere type of thing where the first 6 issues will feature 6 different characters from our Flashback Universe and can be read in any order. If you just read one, cool. You have a complete story. If you read all six however, you get some nice Easter Eggs for having done so.
In the first story, we focus on Saturn Knight and Lady Nemo. They used to date in High School, and for Saturn Knight, Nemo is that one crazy girlfriend he’s never gotten over. Other than that, the story is just a way to introduce readers to a ton of characters that make up the Flashback Universe. This brings me to whole reason I chose this genre.
The basic storytelling goal for this project is to just *drop* the reader into a fully fleshed out universe of heroes and villains and show that having an underlying continuity is NOT a bad thing – it just has to be treated as an ornament and not an underpinning. This is something Grant Morrison or Bill Willingham do so well, and yet people always go apeshit if you suggest it on a messageboard. Heck, to date myself, Bill Willingham was doing this sort of thing in Elementals 20 years ago before he started doing it again in Fables.
Bottom line, I want to recreate the experience of opening that first Marvel or DC or Ultraverse or WhateverVerse comic and realizing that there is an entire universe of stories and characters just waiting to be discovered. That’s a fun feeling, and I think it’s missing today. The closest thing to it is Godland and Invincible both of which are great.
CVB: There are just so many reasons that make publishing online better – Scott McCloud really covered this pretty well in Reinventing Comics. Check this out:
More Cost Effective, because you don’t pay for printing, and never have to worry about how many copies to print. My *break even* threshold is about 6% of what it would be for a printed comic. A typical new comic has to capture 15% of the current market to break even (and a quick look at the Diamond chart will show you just how many indys don’t do this.) By contrast, I only have to capture 5% of the current downloader market to breakeven.
Longer Shelf Life – a comic in a shop is only on the New Release rack for a week. After that, it’s shelved in the last month’s rack right beside those unsold copies of every CrossGen book that ever came out. Chances of being discovered like that are nil to nada. On the internet, the first time you find something, it brand new. Even if it’s ancient. I bet there will be a ton of your readers who will be exposed to Seanbaby for the first time because of this article. To them, it will be brand spanking new.
Easier to find product – Google vs Diamond Distribution, who would you trust to help your customer find your product? Also, the *walk-in* traffic can’t be beat – In the last month, I’ve had 153 people who just *stumbled* on my site via some arcane query in Google. When was the last time 153 strangers stumbled into a comic shop in one month?
The Future is
the Net – I am a .Net Web Developer who used to be a Dish Washer in a cafeteria. My life is a living testament to just how the much utilizing the internet can change your fortune. I think it would be nice if comics could benefit from the internet as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to have comics as freely available on the net as music is with iTunes? I’m trying to get us there.
And the final reason, Internet girls vs Comic Shop girls. U-decide.
As to why I didn’t use PDF – well, because it’s just not a good way to read comics on your pc. CDisplay is simply a million times better. The masses have voted and CDisplay has won. Anytime a comic company tries some online initiative with some kludgey Flash interface, it never succeeds. Even CrossGen, who had a fine online initiative, really didn’t get this.
Flash and PDF are just too awkward. The number of adopters of CDisplay has gone from 700 to 15,000 in 2 years with nothing but the underground backwaters of the internet promoting it. My project is really the first *light of day* promotion for this software. My goal, besides being a successful comic publisher, is to *push* CDisplay onto as many pcs as possible.
ATR: Tell us about your artistic collaborator on the project.
CVB: His name is Pierre Villeneuve, and I’m going to let Pierre speak for himself:
- I am the artist on
Flashback Universe Presents
- providing artwork not only for the comic itself, but designs for the characters as well. I came up with the visual approach that we are using in the comic for another project, but when Jim saw some samples in my online portfolio of what I had done, he asked that we develop that style into what is now the Flashback Universe.
I have been working in animation for years and used some of what I learned on various animation projects to try to come up with a unique look to make it stand apart from other super-heroes/comic book series published at the time. This project is very exciting, not only because of the characters/universe we are creating, but because we are exploring a new approach/delivery system than what is normally used. Also working with Jim has been great. We think alike when it comes to what kind of comics we love and want to produce.
One of the challenges of the cbr format is the temptation to always use wide horizontal panels because of the shape of the computer screen. I realized that I was using less and less vertical panels while working in this format. But as I progress, I am getting more comfortable with the “canvas'” size and am varying my panel layouts/playing with the page format more. Although the format has some restrictions, it also offers some freedom. We are not restricted to using 22 pages like a standard print comic. A cbr comic can be as long or as short as we think is necessary. So a page that was originally scripted as one page, can be split into multiple pages or taken out entirely if Jim or I feel it is needed later on.
Although I worked mostly in animation, I am slowly making my way into the world of comics. I pencilled a few projects besides Flashback Universe Presents and I am always looking for some more fun/challenging projects to work on.”
I would like to add, Pierre Villeneuve was one of 36 artists who answered my ad on DigitalWebbing.com. There were a lot of guys in the running, some are current artists for DC – but what won Pierre the spot was his enthusiasm, professional attitude and ability to embrace new concepts. So many artists were like, “…So if this never gets printed, how will you get paid…” They just don’t get this whole internet thing.
ATR: How often is the book updated? Is it free? What plans do you have for the future of your online books? Would you ever want to see the feature collected in print?
CVB: We plan to start with one issue every two months and then move to monthly schedule as resources permit. Whether they are ever collected and printed would be something that someone else would have to initiate. For so many guys, the end result is getting published – they never think about what happens after that, so they end up sitting at lonely, lonely tables at conventions trying to sell their comics to people who ignore them as the walk on by. Not really something I want to get involved in.
However, if someone like Erik Larsen said, “Hey, I’ll publish this for you…” then I guess that would be cool. Not really sure what the point would be though. BTW, I use Erik as an example only because, like me, he’s a big, big fan of Woodgod!
This Has A ?I?ve Said It Before And Ill Say It Again: I?m Reading A Lot More Webcomics These Days? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten
That?s it for this week. I?ve been toying with the idea of an all art preview edition of ATR ? no scoops, no interviews, just cool preview art. What does everyone think? Email me and let me know.