graphic novels

Oct. 10, 2013 | 12:17 p.m.

‘Battling Boy': Paul Pope pits boy-god hero against monster siege

Paul Pope's "Battling Boy" (featured image)
“Battling Boy,” by alternative comics creator Paul Pope, follows the self-dubbed Battling Boy, the son of a warrior god sent to save a city under siege by deadly monsters. The young hero arrives in Arcopolis with a magic credit card, a book called “The Encyclopedia Monstrosity,” and a dozen enchanted T-shirts, each bearing a different animal totem, which allow him to become clever as a fox, strong as a Tyrannosaurus rex, powerful as a gryphon, etc. Meanwhile in Arcopolis, a girl named Aurora mourns the death of her father, the city’s jetpack-wearing hero Haggard West, and makes plans to take up his quest. “Battling Boy,” out this week from First Second Books, is filled with secret science laboratories, sci-fi ray-blasters, bandage-wrapped monsters and plenty of beast-bashing action. For Pope, the project is a mash-up of everything he loved as a child. […]
Sept. 10, 2013 | 5:05 p.m.

‘Boxers & Saints': Gene Yang blends Chinese history, magical realism

'Boxers & Saints' (featured image)
It’s hard to know whom to root for in Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel diptych “Boxers & Saints.” At once humorous and heartbreaking, the books’ 500 combined pages examine both sides of the Boxer Rebellion in turn-of-the-century China, seamlessly weaving magic and history to tell two interconnected stories. “Boxers” follows Little Bao, a peasant boy who learns kung fu and harnesses the power of the Opera gods to free China from the “foreign devils” — Western soldiers and Christian missionaries. “Saints” tells the tale of Four-Girl, an unwanted daughter who finds acceptance (and a proper name — Vibiana) among the Christian missionaries and their Chinese converts. Both protagonists are haunted and inspired by visions of historical figures — Joan of Arc for Vibiana and Ch’in Shih-huang, China’s first emperor, for Little Bao. “Boxers & Saints,” out today from First Second […]
Aug. 28, 2013 | 1:49 p.m.

‘Delilah Dirk & the Turkish Lieutenant': Tony Cliff inks an adventure

'Delilah Dirk' (featured image)
Tony Cliff’s swashbuckling heroine Delilah Dirk finally has a graphic novel of her own. “Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant,” out this week from First Second Books, follows the globe-trotting, sword-swinging, treasure-stealing character across early 19th century Turkey, where she meets Erdemoglu Selim, a timid tea aficionado who finds himself unexpectedly caught up in Delilah’s misadventures (not to mention her flying sailboat). Cliff first introduced the character in 2007 in the 28-page short story “Delilah Dirk and the Treasure of Constantinople,” which earned an Eisner nod. Another installment found itself in the “Flight: Vol. 5” anthology. Delilah may remind readers of such adventure heroes as Indiana Jones, Lara Croft and even Adele Blanc-Sec. The daughter of a famous Greek artisan and a British ambassador, Delilah’s worldly childhood was filled with sword-fighting, archery and a dash of aristocracy — skills she puts […]
July 22, 2013 | 11:49 a.m.

Comic-Con: Chuck Palahniuk announces ‘Fight Club’ sequel

"Fight Club" author Chuck Palahniuk. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl–Stephens)
Chuck Palahniuk is penning a follow-up to his hit novel “Fight Club,” which was famously adapted into the 1999 David Fincher film of the same name, the author revealed at Comic-Con over the weekend. The sequel will take the form of a serialized graphic novel. Palahniuk confirmed the project on his official fan site, writing, “It will likely be a series of books that update the story ten years after the seeming end of Tyler Durden. Nowadays, Tyler is telling the story, lurking inside Jack, and ready to launch a come-back. Jack is oblivious. Marla is bored. Their marriage has run aground on the rocky coastline of middle-aged suburban boredom. It’s only when their little boy disappears, kidnapped by Tyler, that Jack is dragged back into the world of Mayhem.” FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Palahniuk’s breakout book, “Fight Club” […]
July 10, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.

Exclusive: Hello Kitty gets her first comic, launches fan-fiction contest

"Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland" (featured image)
Hello Kitty may be new to the Comic-Con scene, but she’s aiming to make a splash. Japanese merchandising company Sanrio is making its debut at San Diego’s annual pop culture expo this year, complete with a Hello Kitty graphic novel, a fan hub and pop-up shop at Petco Park’s Comic-Con Interactive Zone, a fan-fiction contest, a booth on the convention floor, Comic-Con-exclusive collectibles and appearances by Kitty White herself. Sanrio’s ubiquitous feline already has her own stationery, apparel, jewelry, cartoons, video games, wine and even a jet, but Viz Media’s “Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland,” which will be sold during the convention at the Sanrio pop-up shop, marks the character’s first foray into comics. The 48-page “Fashion Music Wonderland,” which takes its theme from Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” includes three wordless stories by Jacob Chabot (slated for a signing at the Viz Comic-Con […]
July 08, 2013 | 6:02 p.m.

Steven T. Seagle reveals the secrets behind ‘Genius’

'Genius' cover (featured image)
Comics writer Steven T. Seagle has had great success in his collaborations with Danish artist Teddy Kristiansen. Together they created the DC Comics series “House of Secrets” and the semi-autobiographical book, “It’s a Bird,” which earned Kristiansen an Eisner Award for best painter/multimedia artist in 2005. So it’s not surprising that they’ve teamed-up again for the graphic novel “Genius” from First Second Books. Ted Marx, the protagonist of Seagle and Kristiansen’s story, is a one-time prodigy physicist struggling to recapture his youthful glory when he learns about a profound discovery by Albert Einstein that the scientist kept secret into death. As Marx struggles with the knowledge he has acquired, he must also learn how to connect with his own wife and children. The Times’ David Ulin said the book “becomes a paean to the examined life, the life of the […]
May 08, 2013 | 5:13 p.m.

‘Odd Duck': Cecil Castellucci’s quirky tale celebrates strangeness

'Odd Duck' (featured image)
“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.

‘Superhero Girl': Faith Erin Hicks harnesses the power of the Web

Faith Erin Hicks (featured image)
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.

Marvel’s David Marquez talks X-Men, Spider-Man, 3D graphic novel

Comic artist David Marquez is a rising star at Marvel Comics. (Photo courtesy David Marquez)
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.

‘Dragon Tattoo': Denise Mina on Larsson, feminist crime fiction

Dragon Tattoo (featured image)
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 […]
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