The Mix : What are people talking about today?
It was late and below freezing, but when has that ever stopped real fans?
Well over a hundred people braved the elements to attend the midnight launch of The Dark Tower at the Times Square Midtown Comics, where writer Peter David and artist Jae Lee were on hand to sign copies.
Before midnight, Jae and Peter set up to sign– they were going to have to sign a lot of books. How many, you ask?
Bo Hampton’s graphic novel Sight Unseen from Image is currently in the running for a Rondo Award in the best horror comic/graphic novel category. The writer of Sight Unseen is Robert Tinnell, who is writing EZ Street for ComicMix; Hampton and Tinnell are also co-creating Demons of Sherwood for ComicMix.
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert will be appearing at the New York Comic Con February 23rd at 4:30 PM. The Colbert Report host will be supporting his new Oni Press comic book miniseries, Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen. Based on Colbert’s undistributed science fiction epic Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure and the inspiration for the series of Tek Jansen animated shorts on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen is a five-issue miniseries set to arrive in comic shops this March.
Unbeknownst to Mr. Colbert as of press time, the television star also will be receiving his appropriate due in the first of the new series of Munden’s Bar adventures set to debut at the same time. Written by John Ostrander and drawn by underground comix legend Skip Williamson, this story is a tribute to the late Munden’s Bar contributor Del Close, who also served as a teacher-mentor to folks like Colbert, Ostrander, Williamson and this writer.
Cheryl "was ecstatic to receive a few e-mails about my initial search for black female comic creators from people who wanted to add names to my list. Unfortunately, I hit a bit of a brick wall when I attempted to discover recent information on some of the names given… Black women are out there creating, but unlike our peers, we have the tendency to create in a vacuum. And while other creators use message boards and activist organizations to wisely network and receive emotional support, we post our thoughts and creations on individual websites and then wonder why various activist organizations don’t reflect our viewpoints or interests…
The Ormes Society would be a bit of a stepping stone or gateway. It’d be a place where black female comic creators and fans could (1) find each other (2) share our creations (3) talk about topics that are important to us and (4) gain the courage needed to bring those thoughts and creations to the larger comic reading/creating audience. It would also be a place for editors, fans and fellow creators to find us and share their thoughts about our work and about topics that pertain to black women in comics (both in the pages and behind the scenes)."
Books about comic books and comic book characters have grown in volume over the past few years. While some, such as Bob Handelman’s biography of Will Eisner, have received mainstream notice, many others fly under the radar.
Texas-based publisher BenBella Books has begun including comic book characters in their SmartPop series of essay collections. They dipped into the world of four-color heroes last year with collections pondering the X-Men and Superman.
Just out, in plenty of time for May 3’s release of Spider-Man 3, is their latest volume Webslinger: Unauthorized Essays on Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Essayists include comic professionals, science fiction authors and other pop culture mavens. Guest editing is television writer and former DC and Marvel Comics editor Gerry Conway, who wrote a long, celebrated run of Amazing Spider-Man and provides some personal insights into the character in his introduction. The other writers are Darren Hudson Hick, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Robert B. Taylor, Lou Anders, Richard Hanley, Matthew Pustz, Michael A. Burstein, Joseph McCabe, Keith DeCandido, Robert Greenberger, Brett Chandler Patterson, J.R. Fettinger, Adam-Troy Castro, Paul Lytle, David Hopkins, Robert Burke Richardson, and Michael Marano.
SmartPop will also devote volumes to Wonder Woman and Batman, although neither are scheduled.
Kyle Baker is bursting with pride upon the completion of his latest work. Quoth he on his blog, "It took longer than I expected, but it’s only THE MOST IMPORTANT GRAPHIC NOVEL OF ALL TIME BY THE GREATEST CARTOONIST EVER! Yeah, I said it. What! We’ll be putting together some preview pages and interactive e-goodies with our new publisher, Image Comics, over the next weeks in order to prepare humanity to withstand my wonders!"
Not that he has an opinion or anything. Of course, in Baker’s case it’s well justified.
Former DC editorial assistant Valerie D’Orazio, who caused quite the stir late last year with her multi-post series "Goodbye to Comics," has written her second post about Supergirl wherein she expounds upon her belief that the best way to change a System for the better is from without, not within, particularly if the System perpetuates institutionalized sexism (and she does a nice job of differentiating between that and actual individual sexism).
One of the more eloquent voices working on changing institutionalized sexism from without belongs to Mely of Coffee and Ink (hat tip to Michelle Bacon for the pointer), who’s worth quoting in full (beneath the fold).
On the anniversary of the day Jack Kirby left this world, his longtime friend and colleague Mark Evanier has announced his planned two-volume biography of the King. The first volume, says Evanier, "will be a very nicely printed art book with a simpler but quite complete version of the Kirby biography. The volume will also be loaded with rare Kirby art, all of it in reproduced in full color, much of it shot from the original artwork.
That needs a bit of explanation. Many of the pieces will consist of black-and-white artwork in pencil or ink but we’ll be printing them in color so that you can see all the pencil marks, corrections, smudges and in some cases, notes in the margins. There will also be plenty of pages that print Jack’s art in pencil form and, of course, color pieces and some things you’ve seen before but not in the way we’re going to present them. This book will be called Kirby: King of Comics and it will be released in October of this year by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., which is one of the world’s most prestigious publishers of high quality art and illustrated books. It’ll be a hardcover volume, 9" by 12-1/2", all in color and with a gatefold and all sorts of nifty features that we hope will make it worthy of its subject."
Mark is also seeking "interesting and special Kirby art to include in the book… I’m most interested in pieces that are either historic or early… I’d like to locate the original art to some early pieces and especially to things that weren’t done for Marvel, or were done for DC in the forties or fifties. I’m also trying to find intricate pencil pieces and one or two really spectacular pages from the Fourth World material." Please contact Mark if you have anything along those lines.
Peter David, writer of stuff, was able to take a few minutes between bowling, barfing babies, and boarding a plane to Maine to explain what’s germaine and urbane (and other words in the same vein) about the new Dark Tower series, going on sale tonight at midnight. Oddly, even though I’ve known Peter for over two decades and have been his webmaster for almost five years, this is the first time I’ve ever interviewed him…
Q. Assume I know nothing (always a fair assumption) about The Dark Tower. For those folks out there who’ve never read The Dark Tower or any other works by Stephen King, or just know his works from the movies, can you sum up what the heck’s going on here? What things do I need to know about the story that will make it accessible to me? Or will the comic be fully accessible to those who know nothing about The Dark Tower or even Stephen King?
A. You don’t really need to know anything about the series (well, aside from how to read) than anyone required when the very first Gunslinger novel was published. Basically, Dark Tower is a blend of fantasy and iconic western heroes, detailing the life’s story of Roland, the last of the Gunslingers of a long-ago city called Gilead, and the circumstances that forged him into the hero he eventually became.
Q. So this is more of a true dark fantasy than King’s usual horror?