March 10, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Acclaimed cartoonist Gene Luen Yang is heading to DC Comics this June for his very first ongoing monthly comic book project, and he’s starting in a dream position. He’s taking over “Superman” from outgoing writer Geoff Johns, who thrust the book back into the spotlight when he took over last year with artist John Romita Jr., a staple of Marvel Comics making his first appearance on a regular DC title. Yang joins the team as part of a line-wide rehaul at DC Comics that includes 24 new titles and fresh creators on many of its established series, and his presence is a strong indicator of DC’s renewed focus on quality stories by bold minds in the industry. The writer and artist of such graphic novels as the Eisner Award-winning “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers & Saints,” Yang often explores culture […]
March 03, 2015 | 8:00 a.m.
After nearly five years working under an exclusive contract at DC Comics, Jeff Lemire is a free agent again, and 2015 looks to be a landmark year for the prolific comic-book creator. In addition to new for-hire projects at Valiant (“The Valiant” and “Bloodshot: Reborn”) and Marvel (“All-New Hawkeye”), Lemire is working on four creator-owned titles: “Descender,” “Plutona” and “AD: After Death” at Image, and “The Black Hammer” at Dark Horse. Debuting Wednesday, “Descender” is the first of Lemire’s new creator-owned books to see release, a science fiction ongoing with artist Dustin Nguyen that follows a boy robot, TIM-21, as he makes his way across the galaxy on the run from anti-machine bounty hunters, armies and more. “I had wanted to do more science fiction,” Lemire said. “I had finished a book for Vertigo last year called ‘Trillium,’ which was […]
Dec. 18, 2014 | 12:40 p.m.
While interviewing writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila Del Duca about their creator-owned Image Comics series “Shutter,” the first thing that stands out is how often they make each other laugh. There’s a relaxed, friendly energy between the two collaborators that is clearly evident, even through the filter of a conference call, and that personal connection has translated to outstanding creative chemistry on the comic-book page. Keatinge and Del Duca have two very different histories with the medium. A Los Angeles native, Keatinge grew up in an area heavily populated with comic shops, and can’t recall a time when comics weren’t a part of his life. Del Duca was raised in Missoula and Billings, Mont., where comic shops were scarce. She was exposed to the medium through the Internet and the early days of webcomics, but it wasn’t until college […]
Oct. 14, 2014 | 4:28 p.m.
Cory Doctorow’s short story, “Anda’s Game,” was released in 2004, but it’s only become more relevant in the past decade. Exploring the concept of “gold farming” in video games — the practice of amassing virtual wealth that is then sold to less patient players for real-world currency — Doctorow’s tale offers a fascinating look at video game economies through the lens of a young female gamer. “Anda’s Game” has gained greater gravity as economic and gender dynamics shift in the video game community, making now the ideal time for First Second to release “In Real Life,” a graphic novel adaptation of the story. “I think science fiction’s signature move is predicting the present,” says Doctorow. “If you take stuff that’s already latent and clearly important in the world around us and write about it as though it were something that […]
Oct. 06, 2014 | 1:06 p.m.
Nothing was going to stand in the way of Matt Kindt writing “Ninjak.” Despite a full plate of ongoing series (“Mind MGMT” for Dark Horse, “Rai” and “Unity” for Valiant) and the upcoming “The Valiant” miniseries, Kindt carved time out of his schedule to work on a pitch for a new “Ninjak” series, knowing that the opportunity would pass him by if he didn’t work fast. “I basically begged Warren [Simmons, Valiant editor-in-chief] to let me do it,” says Kindt. “If there was one Valiant character I would want to do—if I could only do one—it would be Ninjak. And the only issue was would I have time to do it, because I had taken on ‘Unity’ and ‘The Valiant,’ and Warren was just worried about my time.” “I told him to let me pitch it, let me work out an […]
Oct. 03, 2014 | 11:16 a.m.
Few new properties have landed with the immense impact of Paul Pope’s “Battling Boy,” the vibrant, exhilarating 2013 graphic novel that introduced readers to the son of a god, the daughter of a superhero, and the rich fantasy world they inhabit. Combining the best elements of ancient mythology, pulp science fiction, Japanese manga and American superhero comics, Pope created a multifaceted narrative with true all-ages appeal, moving away from the gritty maturity of his earlier work and embracing a more youthful, fun-loving approach to comics storytelling. The transition proved to be a major success, earning Pope an Eisner Award this year for “Best Comic for Teens” and making “Battling Boy” the foundation for a larger line of titles from Pope and publisher First Second. “I’m reactionary in the sense that I see voids,” Pope said. “I felt like, editorially, a […]
Sept. 04, 2014 | 6:22 p.m.
Valiant Comics’ latest superhero project, “The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage,” marks major steps for the publisher. It’s the first time a female character has been the central character of a Valiant title, and it’s also the company’s first book headlined by a female writer, with Jen Van Meter taking the reins to deliver a supernatural love story with rich emotion and a creepy atmosphere. The five-issue miniseries debuting this week spotlights Dr. Shan Fong — known in more colorful circles as Dr. Mirage — a paranormal investigator with the ability to communicate with spirits. She regularly helps people deal with their grief thanks to her extraordinary ability, but the one person she really wants to talk to is the one person that is nowhere to be found: her deceased husband Hwen. A new case presents an opportunity for Shan to reconnect […]
Aug. 13, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.
A feminist icon in a genre dominated by male characters, Wonder Woman has always been a pioneer in superhero comics, and this week, she boldly ventures into new territory with her first digital comics series, “Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman.” An anthology in the vein of the recent “Adventures of Superman” and “Legends of the Dark Knight” titles, this new series allows creators to tell stories set outside of DC’s New 52 continuity, giving them the chance to put their favorite versions of Wonder Woman on the page. The Superman and Batman anthologies have produced some of those heroes’ most captivating stories over the last two years, and based on the creative team for “Sensation Comics” No. 1, it’s very likely that Wonder Woman will see the same kind of fortune. Writer Gail Simone penned an exceptional two-year “Wonder Woman” […]
July 29, 2014 | 3:05 p.m.
Paolo Rivera won two Eisner Awards for his lush work on Marvel’s “Daredevil,” but he hasn’t produced regular interior art since leaving that title in 2012. This October, he returns to monthly comics with “The Valiant,” a new miniseries written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt. Uniting Valiant Comics’ superhero characters against a threat that has evolved through time, this project gives Rivera freedom to stretch his creative muscles in a fledgling comic-book universe, and early preview pages and concept designs promise all the detail and dynamism of his work at Marvel. Born and raised in Daytona Beach, Fla., Rivera was introduced to comic books by his father, Joe Rivera, a painter of custom motorcycles who kept assorted issues around the house. “I grew up in Florida not too far from Disney,” Rivera says. “I was a kid who could […]
July 22, 2014 | 12:00 p.m.
“Comics isn’t like being a doctor, where you need to have all this schooling and technical knowledge,” David Lapham says. “You just have to put in the work.” The creator of the acclaimed crime series “Stray Bullets,” Lapham has certainly logged the hours, getting his start drawing comics for the first incarnation of Valiant Comics before beginning his seminal independent series in 1995. A comic-book fan from an early age, Lapham devoted a year to sharpening his craft and sending out samples to publishers, a strategy that put him on Valiant’s radar. He received a major comics education at the publisher, where he was immediately put to work drawing such comics as “Ultimate Warrior’s Ultimate Workout.” “When I left that day, they didn’t think I was going to come back,” Lapham says regarding his first day at Valiant. “Everyone was […]