Wednesday New Things: Incidentally, Comic Con Starts Tomorrow

This is mostly a collection of the work Emily Carroll has published online, with one story exclusive to the collection. Although that art is a little too loose and a bit too cute, this preview was spooky enough that it seems like its worth a shot. 

I was trade waiting this one, but I got caught up a few weeks ago, and the first arc was so good I don't think I can wait for the next trade. Preview here.

Although some of the stuff that Marvel is doing to make its books more diverse seems a little bit cynical (no matter what Tom Brevoort says, at some point Sam Wilson will stop being Captain America and Thor will go back to being a dude) the increasing number of solo books for characters like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and now Storm, suggests that the publisher is at least slightly more than nominally interested in responding to criticism about representation in its products. The pedigree on this one is not quite as high as on some of those other books, but Greg Pak knows how to write a comic book and Victor Ibanez's is certainly a serviceable artist. 

Chatter: Bryan Lee O'Malley on What He Learned From Osamu Tezuka

From his TCJ interview with Dash Shaw:
I don’t know if I learned anything from Tezuka! I don’t know if I know anything at all. I just like his drawings. Everything is round and squishy and feels alive. He conveys motion so well. I can’t even approach that, but he’s like a mountain peak that I can keep looking up at to remind myself how far I have to go.

Wednesday's New Things: Seconds

1. Because of the just ended World Cup, I've been thinking a lot about the summer I spent in Washington D.C. four years ago. In some ways it was much like this one, a summer in a new place, with new friends, still trying to figure out what exactly I was doing, while the world's biggest sporting event was going on in the background. I was working at the National Archives, in the building they call Archives I, which is on the National Mall, near the Smithsonian Museum of Art. In the afternoons, after leaving the consistent 60 degree chill of the Archives, I used to like to go to sculpture garden across the street, take my shoes off, stick my feet in the fountain, and read. It was a good summer. 

Because I was an intern, I could stretch my lunch break a little bit longer than an actual employee, and I used to walk the few blocks up to the Chinatown metro stop to take the train over to the Fantom Comics stall at Union Station, which I recall being a good store for its small space and sort of weird location. That was the summer of Marvel's Heroic Age event, and I was doing a lot of buying, energized by a bunch of new #1s and a storyline that seemed at the time like it represented a real change in the status quo. (oops.) It was also the summer of the excellent and underrated Scott Pilgrim movie, which was preceded by the release of the also excellent sixth volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim comic, Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. Because it was put out by a regular book publisher, that book was released on a Tuesday; I was so excited about it that I made two trips to the comic book store that week. 

Almost exactly four years later, we're seeing Seconds, O'Malley's first major project since then. In some ways, the heady mantle of well-crafted teen angst comic has been passed to Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, who have had O'Malley draw variant covers for the first issues of two separate series in the last 18 or so months. But the solicitation for Seconds sounds like a Scott Pilgrim-like premise applied to a character who is an actual adult, rather than a fake one. There are advantages to this approach and there are disadvantages to it; one of the things that I love is the idea that there's more than one way to do a thing, particularly when you've done that thing well in the past. Others, I'm sure, feel differently. Anyway, given that O'Malley is both a name creator and a real talent and that Ballantine is putting the book out (it, too, officially came out yesterday), this is one of the major comics releases of the year. 

2. Speaking of Gillen and McKelvie, there's new Wic+Div this week. It's a good 'un, and I'm crazy about this Chip Zdarsky cover. This pair is in the top tier of mainstream comics creators in part because they have a sense of humor about their work. 

3. There are a lot of things that are amazing about the Fantagraphics reissues of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse comics, not least of which is the fact that there was a time when Mickey Mouse was primarily an actual character in the cultural imagination, rather than an iconic logo representing a major multinational corporations. Seeing that there are releases like this is important for me; I've been writing about comics for a half-decade and reading them consistently for a whole one, and I'm only now starting to really open up to the breadth and history of the medium.

4. Finally, this one, from Ryan Burton and John Bivens, looks like a fun one. I think we might be living in a golden age of floppy-formated comics. 

Process: Terry and Rachel Dodson

The Dodsons have posted, in three parts, their process for a recent Legendary Star Lord variant cover to their blog, the Bombshellter. See the rest here

Coming Soon To A Spinner Rack Near You: Men of Wrath

Jason Aaron is working with Ron Garney on Men of Wrath, a creator owned miniseries for Marvel's Icon imprint, due out in October. The announcement came exclusive via CBR, so rather than include the watermarked cover, here's a bit on the book's background, from Aaron:
I love westerns. I'm a big western fan. I just watched "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" again the other day for the 100th time. I'm especially a fan of all of Clint Eastwood's westerns from the Sergio Leone stuff through his own westerns and in particular "Unforgiven."  
I always like to think of "Unforgiven" as if Eastwood is playing the same guy he played in all these other movies, the Man With No Name, or Josey Wales, or whatever; everything has kind of led to this portrayal. Character wise that's a far more interesting guy; Once you get to the guy who's at the end of his life and has done all of this horrible stuff and is looking back over his life and wondering what was it for? What did I do? That's a fascinating character to dig into. 
I also love the cinema of the the 1970s back when you could have an action movie with an old man as the lead. You don't see too many of those any more. So it's a combination of those and I'm sort of fascinated by those kinds of characters.
Now Ira Wrath is a very different guy than Earl Tubbs. His motivations are very different. A lot of their problems both stem from family, but that's really a theme of a lot of stuff I've done over the years. Family was one of the main overarching themes of "Scalped." That's something I'm always interested in.
The original idea for "Men of Wrath" really started with my own family history. My great, great grandfather stabbed a guy to death in an argument over some sheep. That's the opening scene of "Men of Wrath." Then his son, my great grandfather, died of rabies. Those are kind of my country roots and they inspired the Rath family in this book 

The cycle of violence in the book starts with the same thing, a stabbing that may or may not be justified. There's questions about it. It's certainly not a cold blooded murder, but that starts something. From that, the ball begins rolling and kind of gets worse and worse with each successive generation until it culminates in the present day.