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 […]
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. 28, 2012 | 6:12 p.m.
Chris Giarrusso’s comic characters might possess super powers, but they really have more in common with Charlie Brown and his “Peanuts” crew than the Man of Steel or the Caped Crusader. Giarrusso, whose previous titles include the adorable “Mini Marvels” and “The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks,” says his work is inspired by the classic newspaper cartoon strips he read growing up. His latest comic series features a pint-sized hero named G-Man, whose magic cape endows him with super strength and the power of flight. It’s a bright, all-ages story that leaves out the violence endemic to the superhero genre at large and instead offers a glimpse into the everyday perils of growing up. Hero Complex caught up with Giarrusso to talk about “G-Man.” HC: How did G-Man come about? What inspired you to write this character and this comic? […]
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 […]