Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Q&A with Nightworld creators Adam McGovern & Paolo Leandri

Hitting a comic book shop near you on August 6th is the new Image comic series Nightworld. Masterfully written by Adam McGovern and brought to life with a kirby-esq quill by artists Paolo Leandri. The story deals with a hellspawn cast of lost souls. It's hellspawn against evil and of course it's action. Colored by Paul Pope's One Trick Rip Off colorist Dom Regan. I was lucky to get an advanced copy of the series and interview the creators. Here's how it all went down:

TFQ: HOW did you come up with this story?

PAOLO: Nightworld was created a dozen years ago for a very specific purpose: to take me out of anonymity, I tried to think of the much commercial comic book I could conceive. The blend of gothic horror and superheroes was very on-trend in those days but has been demonstrated to hold well today too, since with the help of Adam this book sees the light!
ADAM: When I first saw Paolo’s pages I was enchanted -- in a good and evil way :-). I sensed this could grow into the kind of pop lore that would establish Paolo’s talent in the U.S the way it deserves to be, and our creative process became telepathic…or maybe he just cast a spell!

TFQ: You started a kickstarter fund for this comic. Was this your first experience with Kickstarter? How was that process?

ADAM: It was my first experience, and a satisfying but exhausting one. I didn’t realize that begging was a full-time job :-), but you really do have to call on all your contacts and any communities that might be interested -- in this case, horror fans, admirers of the Kirby legacy, etc. Kickstarter is great for pre-testing what kind of audience is out there, and our cult certainly came together to put us over the line.

TFQ: So many people describe this comic as Kirby-tastic but besides the linework, the character designs reminded me so much more closely of Mignola (accepting of course Kirby's wide range of influence). How do you feel about all this feedback? 

PAOLO: The artwork has been described also as a mix of Kirby and Charles Burns or as Mike Allred under the influence of hallucinogens! I hope it does not come out as something too bizarre for a wide audience.

Mignola is one of my favorites of the Modern Age artists, it may not be so direct an influence on Nightworld but both Mignola and I are fans of classic horror movies so this may explain some affinity in the characters’ design.

I'm not interested in cloning Kirby (it would not be possible anyway!); the first story was done 9 years ago, in the time since I have minimized the use of crackle, squiggle and muscles done with slashed lines. My influence is a blend of Golden and Silver Age (Ditko, Colan, Romita Sr., Everett, Crandall, Maneely). I sure think that the classic style of comics is something to defend but I'm not a revivalist, I try to use it to make stories that fit the modern age and serve as a starting point for future evolution; in fact I came up with the slogan “pure comics for now people”!

TFQ: What were the major influences behind this story?

PAOLO: Both The Demon and Satan’s Six by Kirby, Hellboy, and Universal horrors of the 1930s.
ADAM: The inspirations I myself drew from were Mexican vampire movies of the 1950s and ’60s, and the undersea nature-documentaries of Jacques Cousteau from the 1970s. I would see both on TV as a kid and the monster movies featured a moody, dignified vampire named Nostradamus and often had luchas fighting monsters. Nightworld’s hero Plenilunio looks like a merge of the vampire-lord and the lucha-hero, along with kabuki -- Paolo’s creativity comes from multiple sources that only a genius like him would relate to each other. But the melancholy of those period-piece vampire flicks, and the poetry of Cousteau’s continual voiceover on scenes of the alien world of the sea, were what I mainly had in mind when the “voice” of this comic came to me. Plus a century of pop-culture, occult beliefs and even news on real-life wars and fashion trends (which you’ll see some of in Issue #2), shredded and pasted back together in this surreal saga.

TFQ: How did you come to release through Image Comics? 

ADAM: I had interviewed Erik Larsen for the Jack Kirby Collector magazine, and was joking with a friend about how Erik told me he planned to bring the undeveloped characters Kirby created to Image as new comics -- including my all-time fav Kirby character name (for a kind of sasquatch), “Thunderfoot, Last of the half-Humans!” :-) -- my friend and I were reflecting on this with admiration at a New York Comic Con in the mid-2000s and then Erik, whom I’d never seen at that con, walked passed us as if summoned. So I showed him an early proof of Nightworld #1, and he asked if Paolo and I would like to do a story for The Next Issue Project, his series of retro comic anthologies. We did an “Alias the Spider” story that appeared in “Crack Comics #63,” then two years later we had a chance to work on one of the Kirbyverse characters ourselves. That didn’t work out due to licensing issues, but Erik was all the more eager to make new legends, so he looked again at Nightworld and championed us while we finished the other three issues of the first miniseries. A few more years later and Nightworld is ready -- a fable about characters who are capable of great evil or good to choose between, but a lesson to us ordinary fans and creatives to never give up on what’s possible!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SDCC and Sexism

There's been a lot of press about the sexism at SDCC. The internet blows up often with sexist comments about how certain female cosplayers should accept that they will be touched, mistreated, cat-called, etc for choosing to dress in their favorite characters attire. Especially if that attire is  is more like that of Wonder Woman's. My question is, why does it take a comic-con for people to realize that women are judged on appearance. I'm shocked that it comes up every year and that people every year react just as badly all over the internet. Here are some quotes from a forum on facebook known as COMIC BOOK COLLECTING. Your's truly was actually kicked from this group a few weeks ago for calling attention to sexist attitudes and comments on the forum and bringing it to the attention of the administration. They verbally bashed me publicly then kicked me. A number of female members of the group protested for my treatment and were met with the same hatred. So my good friend Nevs decided to check out the group. On the subject of the SDCC were the following comments:  (Names are hidden from the quotes to protect these people from the angry backlash they actually deserve. I choose not to harass others simply because they harass me. These comments are from both men and women. It's fairly easy to tell which are which.)

 "Women dress half naked and go to comic con filled with nerds and geeks most who have never kiss a girl and wonder why they get stared at and pictures get taken??? Are you fucking kidding me? I mean don't get me wrong women deserve to get respect but cut me a break.... You know what you're doing ladies stop dressing up like that or don't go or stop complaining...."

"*sighs* It's an old debate, how women are portrayed in comics. Booth babes are hardly limited to only comics (car/boat shows, anyone?) and men can be just as sexualized as women. I dare any straight woman to not stare at a guy who's well built and wearing a skin-tight and/or revealing superhero costume. I would. When it turns to groping or taking pictures of questionable positions, then there's a problem, but cat calling or leering is kinda expected."

"There's no moral behavior for men and women, we are all animals, when it comes to sex, so deal with it.."

"i really dont want to hear about the way females are drawn in comics either. even going back to the complaint about barbie. how she was a figure woman could never hope to have. what was boys playing with at that time? he-man. look at his figure. really? so your saying its ok for boys to think you have to look like he-man? its not really any different."

"How many threads about this do we need? As a WOMAN and a cosplayer I find these woman pushing this annoying. Comic Con has great rules in place. But they protect -everyone- not just people with girl parts. So if you need rules specific to people with girl parts, that is horribly unbalanced and silly."

That's a whole lot of disturbing right there. Do people not realize that this happens to women everywhere on a daily basis? Not just the petite and pretty but to women of all shapes, sizes and ages?? Of all walks of life! What shocks me is that so many people do not know how often it happens in daily life for us ladies. This isn't simply a Comic Con issue. This is a continuing, oppressive tactic used against women to victimize and demonize. Ladies you are judged on how you look and dress. That double edged sword has not disappeared beneath your curves or your fashion. Whether you dress what is deemed conservative or provocative, the way people react (which by the way is out of your control) is blamed on you. How's that for a slice of unfair reality?

As a gal, this sort of sexism affects my daily life. I am a fairly conservative dresser day to day, but that doesn't detract from the negative attention I receive. When I go out in the evening, I get dolled up and dress in what some would call skanky. I get the same attention daily regardless of what I am wearing- Negative attention & comments. Generally from men but there are also the sneers from the other women who have internalized this misogyny. Regardless of the hour, regardless of where I am. (Except for my apartment unless I accidentally change in front of the open window... lol) Yet blame is placed on the lady and responsibility ultimately falls on her rather than the aggressor. Comments have been floating around forums all over the interwebs akin to "well why did she wear that if she didn't expect the attention". Makes me wanna vomit. Serious vomit, not just word vomit.

On top of all this Comic-con sexism, there have been a disturbing amount of tumblr posts. Selfies like the one below with women holding signs proclaiming that they don't need feminism and why. Well some say why...others just kinda piss on the word feminism. They general state silly untruths like the photo below. I've blacked out her head to save her any further embarrassment. I mean, we all do and say stuff that we later regret. This is probably one of those things for her, or at least it should be.

This is what happens without proper education.
I'm use to seeing statements like this which honestly is really sad. Seriously do people not even know what feminism is? It's not about the almighty vagina! It's not about supremacy. It's about equality for all no matter gender, race or sexual orientation. Oh and probably something else in there too I neglected to sum up in that tiny sentence. That's the basics though. There are lots of different groups that will claim the term for themselves while ignoring this basic fundamental sentiment. That's not feminism.  Anyone who tries to tell you that feminism is about having lots of abortions, taking away the rights of others or getting special treatment just for women, doesn't know what feminism is. GUESS WHAT THOUGH?!?! Now you do. So the next time someone you hear someone say that they're not a feminist, you can explain to them why YOU ARE. :D

Monday, July 28, 2014

Supreme Blue Rose #1 by Warren Ellis & Tula Lotay

I've been anticipating the release of this book. I got a sneak peak from Image a little while back. I saw the beautiful cover and the illustrations of the first four pages. Beautiful. Tula Lotay who's previously worked on The Witching Hour and Elephantman brings the elegance to this story with her ethereal pen.

Let me just impress the truth upon you that I would never have picked this is up if it hadn't been for Lotay's amazing contribution. Firstly, I'm not a fan of Warren Ellis. I'm not a fan of his "press" personality and I'm not a fan of his writing. Sure he's had his hay day but I take issue with anyone who self-proclaims to be one of the best comic book writers of all time. He certainly doesn't pop up in my mind when I think of great writers. Sadly, whatever talent he did have to captivate an audience, seems to be slipping away. The first issue of Supreme Blue Rose lacks substance. Ellis appears to be trying so hard to keep what he wants to write about a secret, even he doesn't know where this story is going. Nor can he convey it respectfully. Ellis also told CBR and a number of other comic book review sites that he intended to create "A new floor on top of Alan Moore and Rob Liefeld's house," he goes on to say “And, since I had some time on my hands that year, I emailed Image, and we got my friend Tula Lotay involved—and her work will be a revelation to people."

Not I'm not shocked he wasn't up to anything but I do find it shocking that as usual, he think he can hold a candle to some one like Alan Moore. Thank god Lotay was involved so that this comic wasn't a complete waste of time.

So this is a reboot title. Supreme originally ran on Image in the 90's by Moore and Leifeld, among other artists. It looked like shit but had some following.  I thought I'd share some annonymous comments with you that I found over the interwebs at various locations. I don't normally do this but for Ellis, I'll make an exception. First up is a comment from the Front Towards Gamers site:

"Supreme Blue Rose #1 is bloated & boring with terrible artwork, does anyone actually care?"
Obviously I don't agree with the comment about the artwork but it's a pretty big departure from Leifeld (who I dislike and make the brunt of my jokes on perspective). However if you were a big fan of the original Supreme Blue Rose, this would confuse the fuck out of you. Major Spoilers negative comments were: 

"There is a lot of dense storytelling and plot points that are not explained, which may turns readers off along the way."

A slightly more positive comment from Comic Book City Podcast:

"Even with all the praise I could give Ellis’ writing in the book, it wouldn’t be as memorable without the amazing talent of Tula Lotay."

With the exception of praising Ellis, cause that's kind of impossible here, I mostly agree with that last opinion. God I'm bored just talking about this book. I would really like to see Tula team up with someone like Brian K. Vaughan or someone who is actually an amazing writer like Gaiman. Hell, I'd like to see what comes out of her own head in terms of writing. It seems unfair that she gets stuck with Ellis, who she clearly outshines. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

All-New Doop #4 by Peter Milligan

Look how cute!!! I want one!
I've read some negative comments about this mini-series. People calling it pretentious when I thought the whole book was just plain good fun! Thought it was doing a bit of clever mocking and included some Ingmar Bergman references. I suppose people unfamiliar with Bergam's work may be confused by the book in the same way that people often get confused when reading the Sandman series. If they have no background in mythology or Shakespeare things don't make perfect sense. Among other references, Sandman went on for a while.

Me? I thought the series was brilliantly new and fun. I liked hearing Doop speak broken English. This is sort of a Doop origins story. You get to meet Mama Doop and find out why she dislikes her little squishie so much! She blames him for Papa Doop's disappearance. At the end of this issue though, there is a little hint that X-Statix may be coming back with a new series. Wolverines mentions that it's good to see them again and that maybe they should make a come back. Anarchist replies "Maybe we will, maybe we will". I really hope so and I really hope that Allred comes in to do it again. Thoughts? Opinions? I'm excited for the future!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sin City: The Big Fat Kill

Another oldie but a goodie I chose to write about. I've read this one a couple times but I stumbled on a copy on the cheap at Monster comics. It was a sweaty day and I had to force myself out of the house. Finding cheap comics is my specialty... mostly because I'm cheap.

Sometimes I have a hard time reading Sin City. Mostly because of all the abuse towards women. The Big Fat Kill is one of the books that begins kinda like a domestic abuse revenge story. It can be hard to read. The script that falls out of the mouth of Johnny Boy is textbook classic abuse. It's disturbing how accurately Miller wrote Johnny Boy. He blames his victim for his abuse. It can be difficult to read. Although he is punished for his crimes I've always had a bit of an issue with revenge. However, I choose to see the death of Johnny as defense because let's face it, some people do not know when to stop. That being said this if fiction and I don't believe in murder whether a judge approves it as justice or not.

ANYWAY.... I still really like this book because the ladies of old town. I like the idea of these ladies keeping their own laws away from pimps and corrupt police. This is one of the reason why I still find Sin City as a female friendly book. You may not approve to prostitution but Sin City is a dangerous place. Better to be self sufficient. Guess what? In reality women all over the world feel like that. These women look out for each other in a world that refuses to look out for them. I wish this country would take care of our sex workers. sigh.

Wow I just got depressed. That can happen after reading Frank Miller books. Of course, you can now buy the entire collect edition of Sin City in the Big Damn Sin City book that recently came out to help promote the movie for A Dame To Kill For. I suggest that if you have 70 dollars to throw at it. Of course, you'l have to read it over a desk because you're not holding that thing up in bed.

Saga #21 *SPOILERS*

Every time I get my hands on the latest issue of Saga, I feel like it's been a year since I had my hands on the last one! Always takes me a few minutes to jog my memory on the previous events. Usually the cover lends itself to that task. Do you remember what happened in issue 20? It was an awfully large development! Robot Prince IV's lovely wife was murdered and his new baby boy stolen! However Prince IV doesn't even know it happened, let alone his new baby boy has been born because he's held as a hostage on Sextillion. Well, he doesn't realize he's being held hostage. I guess there is a slight difference there.

Meanwhile in wedded bliss last, Alana is succumbing to the depression of working on the Open Circuit and quickly becoming a drug addict. So far Marko seems to be doing a fairly good job of keeping purple batgirl at bay. She's come on a lot more strong and made her feelings known but Marko has played ignorant of her obvious motives. I wonder when Alana will find out.

What kind of developments do you want to see? We already know from that Marko and Alana are doomed to break up. I think however, that they will get back together. That's kind of Vaughan's style is it now? It's like misdirection... I keep feeling like batgirl is actually some inter galactic spy who is suppose to quietly bring Alana and Marko in. Especially since she asked to meet Alana. Theories?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eye of Newt #2 by Michael Hague

The story of Newt continues on. Together with Morgan Le Fey, he encounters all kinds of mystical creatures. Of course fantasy stories aren't complete without trolls and goblins.  Although, these trolls are nice and helpful. So are the giant talking frogs. Morgan however, is kinda of well.... annoying. Horribly annoying and negative. She really doesn't have any redeeming qualities but she's really strong and knows what she wants. She's just not a real good conversationalist because she's always insulting people. She's forceful, but she knows what she's after.

66 year old Hague has had a very extensive career. Titles he is credited to have illustrated include The Wind in The Willows, The Hobbit, The Wizard of Oz and about 70 more. This is his first graphic novel ever, to be released as a four part mini series. This beautiful story is suitable for children and I think you should go buy it for your kid... like right now.