May 08, 2013 | 5:13 p.m.
“Odd Duck,” by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon, chronicles the quirky friendship between two ducks — Theodora, who swims with a teacup balanced on her head, and her scruffy neighbor Chad, who loves astronomy and snow angels. The tale is a celebration of strangeness, says Castellucci, who admits to being a bit of an odd duck herself. Castellucci has made a name for herself across media as former indie rocker (then known as Nerdy Girl and Cecil Seaskull), filmmaker, opera libretto writer and award-winning author of books and graphic novels, including “The Plain Janes,” “The Year of the Beasts” and “First Day on Earth.” For “Odd Duck,” the Canadian writer teamed up with artist Sara Varon (“Robot Dreams”) to create the story’s whimsical format — a sort of hybrid between comic and picture book (take a peek in the gallery […]
April 10, 2013 | 11:18 a.m.
Dark Horse’s “The Adventures of Superhero Girl” — available now — collects a comic strip that Faith Erin Hicks wrote and drew for the Halifax alt-weekly The Coast for several years beginning in the late ’00s, about a well-meaning, super-powered Canadian gal who doesn’t get enough attention for all the good work she does. The same could’ve been said about Hicks a few years ago, though not so much anymore. One of the most in-demand cartoonists in the business, Hicks has three other books coming out this year besides “Superhero Girl,” and says that she’s in a place in her career right now where she’s turning down illustration assignments. That’s a long way from where Hicks was when she began “Superhero Girl,” at a time when she says she was “poor and desperate enough to spend an entire day working […]
March 06, 2013 | 2:31 p.m.
Young artists looking to break into comics might want to take a page from David Marquez. Based in Austin, Texas, the illustrator is one of the industry’s fastest-rising stars, working alongside veteran writer Brian Michael Bendis on such titles as “Ultimate Spider-Man” and “All-New X-Men” and working in his second graphic novel, “The Joyners in 3D,” after arriving on the comics scene only three years ago. Soon after college, Marquez got his start as an animator for Richard Linklater’s 2006 rotoscoped film “A Scanner Darkly.” His first graphic novel “Syndrome,” co-written by Daniel Quantz and R.J. Ryan, was released by indie publisher Archaia Entertainment in 2010, soon followed by “Days Missing Vol. 2: Kestus” in 2011. His work earned him a nomination for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer award, given out each year at the prestigious Eisner Awards, and […]
Dec. 13, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.
It’s hard to imagine someone better suited to adapt Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” as a graphic novel than Scottish crime author Denise Mina. After studying law at Glasgow University and researching a doctoral thesis the University of Strathclyde on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, she taught criminology and criminal law before publishing her first book, “Garnethill,” about a woman who wakes up one day to find the body of her therapist boyfriend in her living room and herself a suspect in the murder. “Garnethill” won the Crime Writers’ Assn. John Creasey Dagger for the best first crime novel and was the start of a trilogy completed by “Exile” and “Resolution.” Her resume also includes plays and, of course, a stint writing “Hellblazer,” in which she took John Constantine to Scotland. Her work is […]
Nov. 14, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
Bill Willingham can trace his love of mythic fiction all the way back to his childhood, when he first became fascinated with comics starring a certain hammer-wielding Norse god. “I assumed Thor was just another Marvel superhero made up just like Spider-Man…. But one day my brother insisted that Thor, in his terms, was ‘stolen’ because the same character is in the encyclopedia,” Willingham said. Determined to prove his brother wrong, he checked the encyclopedia. “And sure enough, there was Thor, right there, wonderful mythological character. That just kind of opened my mind and probably started my love of folklore and mythology right there, just the realization that these modern stories we’re reading can be drawn from old sources, and that those old sources are wonderful…. That stayed with me forever, the fact that just normal guys like me can […]
Oct. 05, 2012 | 3:01 p.m.
According to ancient Jewish mysticism, there are 36 people, called lamed-vavniks, who are divinely chosen to save the world. This Kabbalistic legend served as the inspiration for “The Thirty Six,” a comic by writer Kristopher White. The book’s hero Noam is a member of the 36, armed with Moses’ staff and charged with protecting the other 35 — some of whom don’t even know they’re lamed-vavniks. White funded the first volume of the story through Kickstarter, and the comic was recently a finalist in the Burbank International Film Festival‘s comic book and graphic novel category. Hero Complex caught up with White to talk about “The Thirty Six.” HC: Can you talk a little about the book’s inception? You mentioned a Sunday school class? KW: Absolutely! For several years after college, I taught Sunday school at Temple Israel of Hollywood. It […]
Oct. 02, 2012 | 5:27 p.m.
It’s been 50 years since Madeleine L’Engle’s heroine Meg Murry first lay awake in her attic on “a dark and stormy night” in the pages of “A Wrinkle in Time.” The novel, which followed Meg on a fantastic journey to save her father, became a touchstone for several generations of young readers enchanted by the idea of using a “tesseract” to travel through space and time. A new adaptation from graphic novelist Hope Larson brings L’Engle‘s story to life in gorgeous black, white and blue comic panels in “A Wrinke in Time: The Graphic Novel” — out today from Farrar Straus Giroux imprint Margaret Ferguson Books. Larson, best known for her middle-grade graphic novels “Mercury,” “Chiggers” and “Salamander Dream,” is signing books on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles. Hero Complex caught up with […]
Oct. 01, 2012 | 3:18 p.m.
Graphic novelist Mark Siegel intertwines themes of obsession, loss and redemption in “Sailor Twain: The Mermaid in the Hudson,” a new book from First Second. “Sailor Twain” transports readers to the misty decks of the Lorelei steamboat, whose captain finds a wounded mermaid in the Hudson River. He becomes her nurse, and she becomes his secret muse. Meanwhile, the boat’s seemingly lascivious owner keeps a siren-related secret of his own, and an enigmatic writer may hold the answers to both men’s questions. Siegel, primarily known for writing picture books for children, released the nearly 400 charcoal-drawn pages of “Sailor Twain” as a web comic over two years. Hero Complex caught up with Siegel to talk about the book, out in hardcover Tuesday. HC: This book is nine years in the making. Can you tell us a little about that journey? […]
Sept. 14, 2012 | 1:56 p.m.
It’s been a big year for Louie Del Carmen, director of Cartoon Network’s new series “Dragons: Riders of Berk” — based on the 2010 DreamWorks animated feature “How to Train Your Dragon.” He is also a story artist on the studio’s upcoming animated feature “Rise of the Guardians,” due in theaters Nov. 21. And he debuted the second installment in his comic series “Steel Noodles” at Comic-Con International this summer. Though Del Carmen began working in animation more than 15 years ago — his credits include “Rugrats,” “Kim Possible” and “Kung Fu Panda” — his entry into the world of comics has been fairly recent. Hero Complex caught up with Del Carmen to talk about “Steel Noodles,” which follows an old man and a mysterious girl who must evade would-be captors and survive on a desolate planet. HC: How did […]
Sept. 04, 2012 | 5:12 p.m.
Eliza Frye’s debut graphic novel “Regalia” is the result of a rash decision to quit her design job at an advertising agency and start making comics. After the initial planning and writing of the story, Frye started drawing her first comic, “The Lady’s Murder,” one page every day until it was finished a month later. ”The Lady’s Murder” was nominated for an Eisner Award, and her first book, “Regalia,” includes that story along with seven others that explore themes of love, death, power and family. Hero Complex caught up with Frye, who studied character animation at CalArts and holds a degree in Japanese Literature from UCLA, to talk about her art. HC: You mention in your book that your entry into comics was almost on impulse. You just quit your job and started drawing? What gave you that kind of courage? EF: My […]