Writer and artist Vanessa Davis has been a fixture online with her site Spaniel Rage and her book of the same name has recently released a collection of short stories and diary works called Make Me A Woman. Published through Drawn and Quarterly, the book reflects the last five years of her work and life since the publication of her first solo book back in 2005.
In that five years, Davis has moved cross country, explored relationships and her Jewish faith, and of course been a productive artist with regular contributions to Tablet magazine.
WonderCon 2011: Vanessa Davis Talks The Style Of Make Me A Woman
The pages of her work are often crammed with images and text, as likely to break out of the confines of the normal grid as to ignore it entirely. In line with this, her characters are often exaggerated and rough-hewn, joined by Davis’ curlicue text in crowding the borders of each page and panel. Read More...
For writer J.T. Krul, when it comes to plotting the Teen Titans, it's all about family. The current lineup includes regular members Superboy, Red Robin, Ravager, Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, and Impulse, and for Krul "[It's] all about how these young characters are trying to become heroes," each confronting their own various challenges in the path to becoming the adults they will one day be.
Back in October of last year, the writer signed on as a DC exclusive writer and has since been scripting Teen Titans along with Green Arrow. He was equally effusive then as he is now when talking about joining the DC stable of writers as he was when we caught up to him at WonderCon:
"To say I am thrilled about the exclusive at DC would be a gross understatement. I’ve loved each and every project I’ve worked on so far and am excited to know that I’ll be writing for them, and specifically for Green Arrow and Teen Titans, for the long haul. The company is jam-packed with amazing people all working to put out the best books possible each and every month, and I couldn’t be happier about joining the team - officially.
In recent months, Krul has been Joined by former Birds of Prey artist Nicola Scott on TT doing everything from crossing the book over with the Tim Drake-starring Red Robin to introducing the new addition to the team, Solstice back in issue #90. With this last new Titan, Krul notes that there's a unique satisfaction to creating characters within the DCU and and a specific kind of thrill to bringing them into the Teen Titans.
“Blue Estate is a state of mind. It’s also the name of a race course, and also is associated with a blue house.” So enigmatically proclaims Blue Estate creator and co-writer Viktor Kalvachev, a series whose debut issue hit stands recently accompanied by no small amount of attention. The new Image series features “an alcoholic hit man and a desperate starlet dodge Russian mobsters, Italian gangsters, ninjas, hippies and the L.A.P.D. in a scheme to steal millions from a psychotic action movie hero.”
WonderCon 2011: Viktor Kalvachev Describes Blue Estate
The 12-issue series has an interesting assortment of creative talent behind it, including Kalvachev who’s worked in the past on titles like DMZ and Pherone, as well as artists Nathan Fox (Invincible Iron Man, Pigeons From Hell), Toby Cypress (Batman/Nightwing), and Robert Valley (character designer on the upcoming Tron TV series). Jumping into this mix is Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Andrew Osborne whose credits include films like Get Shorty, Pulp Fiction, and similar self-aware crime films as sources of inspiration for Blue Estate.
The points of cinematic reference as pretty direct as well, as Osborne explains that the very first issue has the feel of a Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) film, with rapid-fire cross-cutting between the principal characters being thrown at the reader in the early pages before the book settles down to the particulars of the eccentric crime thriller plot.
That plot begins with former actress Rachel Maddox who ropes private eye Roy Devine into a case involving her crooked, washed-up action star husband, Bruce, and his many entanglements with the aforementioned crooks, hippies, and ninjas.
WonderCon 2011: Andrew Beale Describes Blue Estate's Storyline
Such an eclectic story deserves an equally unique production process. According to one of the series’ artists, Toby Cypress, Kalachev provided the art team with models and sculptures as reference points for the characters of Blue Estates. Kalvachev started with 12 sculptures and meticulously photographed the faces for his team so that the cast would remain recognizable from creator to creator. Read More...
Hope the title character of writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner’s Witch Doctor never has to pay you a visit—because it usually means you’ve got a bad case of the supernatural horror plaguing you. Seifert describes the new 4-issue miniseries, coming this June from Image’s Skybound imprint, as a “horror medical drama,” featuring the exploits of former medical doctor turned practitioner of the black arts, Victor Morrow, who is tasked with curing the supernatural ills—the possessed, the zombies, the vampires—of the world.
Maybe you didn’t hear, but writer J.T. Krul’s recent run on Green Arrow has been tying into a certain little DC title called Brightest Day. Something about the return of a certain Forest Elemental?
For those of you not keeping score, post-Cry For Justice, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) has been living in a mystical forest which sprung up in the middle of his hometown, Star City. Banished from the city proper for murdering Prometheus, and no longer in charge of his own company, Queen Industries, Ollie has taken to fighting crime in the confines of his new patch of territory.
It’s weird when you realize that in its 60 years of publication, having graced newspapers worldwide, having made the leap to both the small and big screen, that Charles Schulz’s beloved strip Peanuts is only now getting the graphic novel treatment thanks to BOOM!’s new all-ages imprint, Kaboom and the recent release of Happiness Is A Warm Blanker, Charlie Brown!. Adapted by Schulz’s son Craig, and Stephan Pastis, the book features art direction by Paige Braddock and Andy Beall, with art by Bob and Vicki Scott. Beall and Braddock were on hand at WonderCon to talk about Happiness and the enduring strength of Peanuts.
Typical of the great Peanuts strips, Happiness is about the anxieties of one of its ageless grade school characters, in this case Linus, whose grandmother is visiting and apparently hates his beloved blue blanket. “But really, it’s about the insecurities that we all have and what it takes to get us through the day,” says Beall. At the same time, Beall thinks the 96-page book is about the things that we love and how they prop us up in their unique ways.
For Paige Braddock, creator of the Jane’s World comic strip, founder of Girl Twirl Comics, and an avowed lifelong Peanuts fan, Happiness represented an opportunity to expose Schulz’s creations to an all-new audience that might not otherwise encounter Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, or Charlie Brown through the ever-dwindling newspaper circulation.
This week (on 4/20), Marijuanaman debuts from Image Comics, the brainchild of singer Ziggy Marley, with assistance by writer Joe Casey and artist Jim Mahfood. MTV Geek caught up with Marley recently at WonderCon and chatted with him about his first comic book project:
"He's (Marijuanaman) up against an evil pharmaceutical company and their villain Cash Money, and they have this whole battle because the pharmaceutical company wants to keep selling the artifical stuff and the eco-guys want to use he natural stuff...but he's just a superhero just like Superman and any of those guys. His powers come from a plant."
Marley had praise for his fellow talents on the project, saying of Mahfood's work: "I really love his art...it's deep, it's deeper than just drawing figures." As for Casey, Marley first ran into his work in a very interesting way:
"One day I was reading a comic with Superman and Batman, and I saw this dialogue that had some lyrics from my father, and I was like, 'who wrote this?' So I flipped back to the front and Joe Casey's name was on it; and so I said he must be the right guy, because he understood the philosophy."
Fan campaigns to save their favorite shows has become a familiar thing on the Internet...and in the case of Project Fringe Friday, it might have possibly helped that TV series get renewed for another season!
Well, fans are taking up a new cause: Project Alice, and saving their fave sci-fi show V. We caught up with V Executive Producer Scott Rosenbaum at WonderCon recently to chat about the show...and he was well aware of, and supportive, of Project Alice:
WonderCon 2011: Scott Rosenbaum Talks Project Alice
"The V fans have been great so far, emailing the network, emailing the studio, Project Alice...it all makes a huge difference."
Project Alice on Facebook has over 3000 members so far, and is growing. The page urges fans to show ABC and Warner Bros. that they support V and want to see it renewed, and have made available an online petition that they can sign (as of this writing it has over 4,000 signatures). Project Alice also makes "fan bulletins" on YouTube to help spread the word: Read More...
Last weekend’s Oni Press panel at WonderCon briefly became the Tyler Crook Appreciation Panel as new work was shown off by the soon-to-be prolific artist of Petrograd and Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D.
But let’s rewind a bit: attending the panel were Crook, along with writer/artist Brian Hurtt (The Sixth Gun), and nerdcore rapper Eugene Ahn (aka Adam Warrock), with Oni Sales and Marketing Director Cory Casoni moderating.
The panel kicked off with Casoni and Ahn talking about the latter’s recently released free to download "Oni Press Mixtape." Ahn credits the origins of the mixtape with the constant, joking harassment by Oni editor Charlie Chu for the rapper to do something with the publisher involving his music. Ahn has been familiar with the Oni family of creators for a while, with many of them participating in Ahn and blogger/humorist Chris Sims’ podcast "War Rocket Ajax."
Ahn’s participation in the podcast has come to an end in recent months with his recent tour in support of his still-fledgling music career. In fact, until last year, Ahn was a lawyer practicing out of New York before he decided to pursue his music full time after the release of his first full-length album, The War for Infinity. Both Infinity and the Oni Press Mixtape meld Ahn’s passion for both sample-heavy hip hop and comics. Specifically, with Oni, the rapper has tailored each track to a specific title from the publisher’s catalog. Read More...
During the WonderCon panel for the upcoming sci-fi series Terra Nova, the guests talked at length about the show, some of its themes, and the difficulty of shooting in Australia on the Gold Coast. But the one issue they didn't touch on was the repeated delays of the show, which was originally supposed to bow last August, then this May, and has now been pushed back to this Fall. Instead, it was a very upbeat vibe from cast members Stephen Lang (Avatar), Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars), executive producer Brannon Braga (Star Trek), and executive producer/director Alex Graves (Fringe, The West Wing) as they discussed a show Braga describes as a "post-modern, sci-fi western."
Allow me to add, "with dinosaurs."
From the footage shown, the show has a mix of influences, from James Cameron's record-smashing blockbuster to Land of the Lost. From the official synopsis: Read More...
Recently at WonderCon, MTV Geek caught up with Larry Kenney -- who provided the original voice for Lion-O -- about the new ThunderCats animated series from Cartoon Network. What's it like for Kenny to play Lion-O's father Claudus this time around? "It's not that hard for an actor because we all become our fathers," Kenney told us. As for the new Lion-O, Kenney hinted:
"I think in the new series fans are going to find that Lion-O needs to be reined in more than in the original, because in this one he's a bit cockier."
Marvel is keeping the events coming in the year that they've dubbed "MMXI" with this summer's "Schism" event running through the X-titles which was teased a few weeks back. On stage at WonderCon to talk about the general outline of the event were C.B. Cebulski and Axel Alonso along with writers Jason Aaron and Rick Remender.
"Schism," which begins in July, will pit Wolverine against Cyclops for, at this point, undisclosed reasons. In recent years, the characters have grown reliant and to a certain extent loyal to one another after decades of mutual dislike and ideological splits. During "Messiah CompleX," Cyclops enlisted Wolverine to become the field leader of a new X-Force, carrying out Black Ops missions against threats against the dwindling mutant population. More recently, Wolverine has formed his own secret version of the squad over in the pages of Uncanny X-Force in secret, in order to insulate the X-Men leader from the actions of the new team.
The Greg Land art we saw earlier this month featuring Cyclops' visor cut into thirds is from Prelude to Schism, a 4-issue mini which will be written by Aaron, with art by Frank Cho, Adam Kubert, Alan Davis, and Daniel Acuna. From the lineup of artists, it has the sound of some of the recent "X" anthology titles like To Serve and Protect, focusing on individuals and small groups of characters as they're affected by the latest upheaval in their lives.
At this year’s WonderCon, Mattel continued their touring schedule with a stop in San Francisco for the big show. At their booth, Mattel revealed a few new figures from their various lines. While the big reveals are being saved for SDCC, these sneak peeks still got fan’s salivating.
Neil Gaiman (Coraline, The Sandman), actor Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and director Toby Haynes (Doctor Who, Being Human), were on stage at WonderCon this weekend for a discussion and Q&A on Doctor Who, lead by Chris Hardwick.
Gaiman, who is writing the 4th episode of the new season, said that his episode was originally slated to be filmed for last season – but he had to change his script because the original didn't have the character of Rory, who was wiped out of existence for part of last season. He said he enjoyed working Rory back into the plot to play off of Amy.
The popular comic book writer and novelist also had words of praise for Matt Smith’s doctor, feeling that Smith is the first Doctor to feel ancient vs Eccleston's hardened soldier and Tennant's "pretty white boy."
As for the experience of writing an episode of Doctor Who vs. authoring comic work, Gaiman said that the main difficulty with TV scripting is that he can give an artist anything to draw with an unlimited budget. But those minor inconveniences pale, no doubt, to his opportunity to write the show whose mythology he said he was familiar with before Greek or Norse ones.
ThunderCats producers Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender), art director Dan Norton and Larry Kenney — who was the original Lion-O in the 1980s version — were on-hand at WonderCon this weekend to talk about the new show. We also got to look a a new trailer for the series, one that decidedly had the flavor of Lord of the Rings. Sure, a lot of the elements from the old series were there — but it was clear this was a ThunderCats that has grown up with its devoted fans.
ThunderCats WonderCon 2011 Trailer