by Orion Tippens
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artists: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics Publications
Start release: 2013 – ongoing
Frequency: monthly, ongoing
Jughead is hungry…for human flesh?!
Yes. Afterlife with Archie is set in an alternate, less cartoonish continuity of popular Archie comics, where the small town of Riverdale is overrun with a horrific zombie epidemic; after local teenage witch Sabrina casts a necromancy spell in an attempt to revive Jughead’s dog, with unintended consequences. Living death spreads throughout Riverdale, sending America’s favorite teenager, Archie, and his non-infected friends fleeing for their lives. Their youthful life of milkshakes and sock hops is now a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
Who would have thought that Archie Comics could be a source for modern horror, suspense, and drama? Yet here we are – and the result is terrifying, brilliant, and fun.
As a fan of horror and comics, I was hooked from the opening page. Not so much for the tired gimmick of zombies; but the attention to what makes the best of this sub-genre wonderful: the stage environment and the players present. We have suspense and supernatural horror mixed with casual social commentary. When done well, any overplayed genre can be made fresh and enjoyable.
Plus, I love the biting and screaming.
The Continue reading
(Another winning write-up by Orion, folks! Do the Doctor Who comics live up to the TV show’s greatness? Does the story’s young-female Doctor Companion function as a Mary Sue for a middle-aged British writer? Are comics readers and DW fans ALL Special Snowflakes? Read on, and find out…)
by Orion Tippens
ADC Comic of the Day: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Pencils: Johnny Broxton
Published by: IDW Publishing
Released: Dec. 2013
Notes: One-shot, self-contained story
The Doctor meets…Doctor Who?!
After a mishap send the TARDIS astray, our favorite Time Lord stumbles upon a world most familiar to us readers.
This is our real world, or as the Doctor puts it; a world of “anti-fiction,” “non-fiction,” and “un-fiction.” Here, all of the exciting moments in the Doctor’s life are passed off through stories, through a fictional TV show called “Doctor Who” staged with special effects. “Doctor Who” is well-received by its huge fandom base, very popular at geek conventions, and a growing oncoming merchandising storm.
The Doctor is Continue reading
by Mike Hansen
With all the recent noise about a newly discovered page from The Killing Joke that was redrawn to be less graphic (and no, in no way does this imply that the Joker is a rapist, you sick bastards: she was shot in the belly), I thought I’d post this cool ad I came across recently from 1988:
I dig the logo – it wasn’t used in the actual comic. I wonder who designed it.
(Count me as one of the readers who prefers the original fantastical colors to the 2008 edition’s recoloring. The original colors added another dimension to the storytelling, while to me the newer colors give the book a more flat, illustrative quality. I like them both, but I’d rather read a comic than just look at the pretty pictures.)
by Mike Hansen
I hadn’t intended to do another Up-or-Down so soon, but I’ve gotten several requests for more, and since they’re easier to do as I’m organizing my comics and cleaning up my place, why not?
As I’ve mentioned, in the late 1980s-early 1990s DC Comics was on to something truly special. Few publishers at the time were turning out classic after classic (Dark Horse is the only one that comes to mind) and, though I was too young to appreciate it at the time, DC proved beyond a doubt that comics post-Watchmen/Maus/Dark Knight Returns were validated as true literature.
One of DC’s earliest projects to demonstrate this was 1988’s Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, one of their first U.S.-published comics works (along with The Sandman). A strange, short tale about unintended consequences and beauty in a violent world, Black Orchid was the first story to reveal the sophistication of Gaiman’s later self-contained works (his early Sandman stories were strange, cliffhanger- and superhero-populated affairs) and McKean’s sense of story-as-design he later applied to Arkham Asylum and Cages.
The 1993 trade paperback (1st printing). Note the DC logo blotching an otherwise beautiful cover.
THE GOOD: The 2012 oversized Deluxe hardcover edition of Black Orchid is Continue reading
by Mike Hansen
Writing by me, artwork by Elvin Hernandez, lettering by Amador Cisneros!
(I should mention that these are the pages produced for our limited-edition teaser comic that we debuted at Comic-Con: although they appear to form a complete sequence, several are actually cherry-picked from the full 24-page script so Elvin could choose the best pages to show off his skills in time for the Con. There’s a LOT more that we haven’t shown you yet – but hopefully we will soon.)
Click to make bigger:
Here’s some more of Elvin’s character-design work:
by Orion Tippens
(Mike here: Orion KILLED it with these sweet pics from the 2013 Emerald City Comic Con. I’m just going to post these in random order: together, these photos really capture the essence of walking a convention floor. Click on each photo to make it superbig. How many of the brilliant creators in these photos can you name? And yeah, I probably should’ve tried to post these a couple weeks ago: I’m polishing up the final draft of a script that’s being drawn for Comic-Con. More in a bit…)
The 1st Spider-Man Fantastic Four appearances – never to be touched again by human hands.
Poison Ivy vs. Batgirl
hint: webcomics genius.
Fauhawk Superman vs. old school Lex Luthor!
Writer of great DC comics of the past, now a voice for creator-owned books and digital publishing.
Wil Wheaton surrounds himself with love.
If you don’t own all of his comics work, you really should. REALLY
Did anyone actually PAY $1000 for a year-old Walking Dead comic?!
Extermination has never been so colorful, and huggable.
Looked at this and I thought, what would be the worst thing you could bring home to show the wife and kids after a day at a comic con?
artist on one of the better-selling New 52 DC series.
hint: you may have a tattoo of his artwork.
Just letting you all know, Invincible is the greatest superhero epic story ever!
hint: Okay, this one’s a freebie.
Only at a comic or related convention is this considered normal.
Emerald City con life.
hint: Really nice Image artist…
…doing what he does best.
hint: one of Image’s best-selling artists.
It’s not a comic con without some huge tower of geek apparel for sale.
I’ll post the creators list after this break:
by Mike Hansen
Spidey’s gettin’ grabby.
Several websites have reported on a Connecticut group’s plan to hold a public burning of videogames, CDs, and DVDs in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Here’s the best writeup: the CBLDF’s take on the situation.
For many others, however, the impending destruction recalls the past incineration of all kinds of creative works, from Beatles records to — of course — comic books, that some adults thought had a negative influence on youth. In reality, there is no proven link between gun violence and video games, but that has not stopped lawmakers and media commentators from trying to blame them for virtually every mass shooting by a young male since the Columbine massacre in 1999. Of course, this requires ignoring the fact that millions of people around the world, of all sexes and ages, play and enjoy a wide spectrum of video games that some would consider violent without embarking on real-world killing sprees.
Remember when Harry Potter books all went away after a few loonies burned them? Yeah, me neither.
The Hollywood Reporter talks about the settlement of one lawsuit between the producers of the TV show Smallville and Warner Brothers, after the judge ruled that the case had enough merits to warrant a jury trial:
The case touched upon a sensitive issue in Hollywood: so-called “vertical integration.” The producers contended they were deprived of significant profits when WBTV allegedly undersold the series to affiliates the WB Network and then The CW instead of licensing the series to outside companies.
This reminds me of the problems reported by several Vertigo series creators, who complained that DC cockblocked media offers that would have made them good money because Warner Brothers wanted to give the media rights to its own production companies (which never produced anything). Not cool.
And finally, a verdict in a California rape case involving an outdated law and impersonation to trick a partner into sex:
“A man enters the dark bedroom of an unmarried woman after seeing her boyfriend leave late at night, and has sexual intercourse with the woman while pretending to be the boyfriend,” the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal said in Wednesday’s ruling. “Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes.”
So now that Doctor Octopus’s mind is in Peter Parker’s body, does that mean every time he has sex it’s rape? I hope Marvel clarifies this, and soon…
by Mike Hansen
It’s not comics, but it applies to comics as much as text books: Here’s a fantastic, award-winning essay on copyright and piracy, and how modern technology will make books as easy to copy and share as music and movies. (Don’t fear the length: it’s a smooth, fast read.)
Here’s a taste:
Neil Gaiman thinks that releasing a free digital copy of American Gods (2001) increased sales by three hundred per cent, and he no longer fears piracy. ‘It’s people lending books. And you can’t look at that as a lost sale,’ he says. ‘What you’re actually doing is advertising. You’re reaching more people. You’re raising awareness … And I think, basically, that’s an incredibly good thing.’ But he doesn’t know. Cory Doctorow says half a million free downloads of his Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) helped the book through five physical print runs. ‘Giving away books costs me nothing, and actually makes me money,’ he says. Maybe he knows. There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence. But nobody really knows whether that kind of strategy will work for all books and all authors, or whether it will work for long.
Most comics get scanned and uploaded to the internet as soon as they’re released, but a digital screen (even a tablet) is still not preferable in most cases. Comixology and other services have developed some workarounds for the unusual size and shape of comics pages and panels, but few comics are optimized for digital viewing – at least, for now. The future’s going to be very interesting indeed…
by Mike Hansen
Another year down already? Man, where does the time go? I miss the days when I could pack in a zillion things in one day and collapse at night, instead of just trying to make progress on a few things until the day’s over. Is this what old people feel like?
I was thinking about writing what I thought of comics in 2012, but I honestly don’t have much to say. (Which probably explains the lower frequency of posts on this site in the last several months!) There were a lot of good comics in 2012, and a few great comics, and way too many comics that could have (and should have) been better. The bottom line, though, is that I LOVE COMICS, and that’s never gonna change. Putting words and pictures together as a flexible, hybrid storytelling language is the most creative and direct way of communicating and entertaining people. Thanks to the internet, more creators are reaching more people. With digital publishing and print-on-demand, the costs and barriers of entry for both producers and consumers of comics are dropping. It’s only gonna get better, folks.
(And VERY SOON, I’ll be sharing some NEW comics work of my own. I’m finishing a script for a story that’s being drawn RIGHT NOW. Can’t wait to share it.)
Have a happy and safe New Year’s celebration, everyone!
by Mike Hansen
Who wants some freshly baked bread? Mmmm.
A few weeks ago, a grade-9.9 copy of The Walking Dead #1 sold for over $10,000. That is INSANE for any comic under 50 years old, much less one from a decade ago – I mean, even a 9.8 copy of Giant-Size X-Men #1 is offered at only $4,000 at Lone Star Comics! The Walking Dead is one of the few series that still has demand outpacing supply, despite the zillions of reprints in various formats (including Walking Dead Weekly, which even included the original letters pages!). I have a feeling that there’s a small group of very rich comics collector/investors out there buying this, probably the same folks who have been pushing up the prices of key 1930s-1960s comics like Action Comics #1 or X-Men #1 or whatever.
On the other end of the scale, folks are finally waking up to the fact that the first appearance of Deadpool in New Mutants #98 is WAY overpriced. I’ve been talking about this for years now – while most Marvel comics sell 10,000-50,000 copies these days, in the early ’90s they generally sold hundreds of thousands of copies. NM #98 is one of the most common back issues in comics history, but retailers have hoarded copies and jacked up prices because of a brief resurgence of interest in Deadpool stories after the Wolverine movie came out. Now there’s a website devoted to this absurdity! I love it.
The fact is, Continue reading