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 […]
Aug. 23, 2012 | 11:25 a.m.
When Sina Grace stepped down last week as editorial director of Skybound Comics — “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman’s imprint at Image Comics — it was to take a “leap of faith,” Grace said. Now, Grace has his hands full with “Not My Bag,” an autobiographical graphic novel about the horrors of working in a high-end department store. Grace is also releasing an exclusively digital comic “Self-Obsessed” next month and continues to illustrate “The Li’l Depressed Boy,” a music-driven series about a lovelorn ragdoll boy. “The Li’l Depressed Boy, Vol. 3: Got Your Money” hit shelves this week, and a preview for “Not My Bag” appears in last week’s “The Walking Dead,” No. 101. Hero Complex caught up with Grace, who begins touring in the fall to promote “Not My Bag.” HC: You’ve been editorial director of Skybound for […]
Aug. 14, 2012 | 12:05 p.m.
Patrick Ballesteros didn’t have to look much further for inspiration than his own childhood when he illustrated “The Adventures of Super Bunny and Giant Cat Bear and Charlie,” a children’s graphic novel co-written by Kevin Staniec. The story follows cape-wearing, adventure-seeking Super Bunny, his pint-sized pal Charlie and her pet broccoli, and Giant Cat Bear (who is really a panda) as they plan a trip to the moon. The art in the kids’ comic story is in keeping with the pop culture illustrations Ballesteros sells on his website and at comic conventions — a unique blend of imagination and nostalgia. Ballesteros and Staniec co-founded an independent publishing house called Treehouse Bandits and are celebrating the release of their second book, “How to Catch a Cloud,” this week. Hero Complex caught up with Ballesteros to talk about Treehouse Bandits, superheroes and […]
Aug. 03, 2012 | 2:10 p.m.
In her graphic novel “Shuteye,” released earlier this year, writer and artist Sarah Becan weaves together six mini-comics that explore themes of dreams and reality. Each eerie story seems to wake up from the last, giving readers a glimpse of the fuzziness experienced right after a deep sleep filled with vivid dreams. “Shuteye,” which found life after a successful Kickstarter campaign, is Becan’s second novel. Her first, “The Ouija Interviews,” was produced with the help of a 2009 Xeric Grant and depicts cute and humorous conversations with dead people. But Becan is best known for her artistic forays into the world of food. She has been regularly publishing her food-and-health Web comic “I Think You’re Sauceome” since 2010. Hero Complex caught up with Becan to talk about “Sauceome,” “Shuteye” and the surreal blur between dreams and reality. HC: “Shuteye” is […]