o FOC Incentive A: For every five (5) units of NOV141191: KING FLASH GORDON #1 ordered/received, retailers will be eligible to purchase one (1) KING FLASH GORDON #1 RARE LIEFELD VIRGIN INCV edition at a net cost of $2.00 apiece, featuring artwork by Rob Liefeld.
o FOC Incentive B: For every five (5) units of NOV141209: KING THE PHANTOM #1 ordered/received, retailers will be eligible to purchase one (1) KING THE PHANTOM #1 RARE LIEFELD VIRGIN INCV edition at a net cost of $2.00 apiece, featuring artwork by Rob Liefeld.
Earlier this week we ran a piece with writer Matt Wagner interviewing Michael Uslan about Justice, Inc #5. Now we get the other side of that conversation as Uslan gets Wagner to talk about Django / Zorro #2. Both books came out this week from Dynamite.
MICHAEL USLAN: The Zorro pulps, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Guy Williams, the Zorro feature films from Sony, the Zorro serials, Zorro the Gay Blade … Which is YOUR Zorro and which source material and actor influences your Zorro?
MATT WAGNER: Growing up, I of course knew the Disney TV show starring Guy Williams but the version of Zorro that first really knocked me for a loop was the original screen incarnation. When I was about 12, one of our local UHF cable stations featured a Sunday evening Silent Film Theater program and it was there that I first saw the amazing Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in all his glory. Fairbanks is, in fact, solely responsible for our visual perception of the character since Zorro’s description in the original pulp novel, The Curse of Capistrano, is quite different. Over the years, I’ve absorbed so many different versions of this first Caped Crusader with 1940s The Mark of Zorro starring Tyrone Power being a personal favorite. As a result, I feel that my version of Zorro is a distillation of all these many vintages … including Isabel Allende’s fabulous 2005 novel.
MU: Give me your short review of the Django movie based on what you felt the first time you saw it.
MW: I was lucky enough to get to see this at a press screening and, when the credits finally ran, you could feel the wave of visceral excitement ripple through that audience of normally staid reviewers. The film exemplified Quentin Tarantino’s uniquely exhilarating cinematic style and was also, to my mind, his most straight-up heroic story to date. And how great was it to see a black action star take his much-deserved victory strut at the end of the film? It’s a sequential motif that we’re so used to see white cinematic heroes embody and it really made a statement about the lack of diversity in mainstream action films.
MU: Does Tarantino’s story-telling and directorial style influence your graphic story-telling and art choices?
MW: Of course we’re trying to capture Quentin’s trademark style in this crossover series. But the somewhat overstated fact that comics are not film comes into play quite often. For instance, one of Tarantino’s favorite story-telling motifs is the use of a non-linear narrative. In a film, this works so, so well by reaching out and forcing the viewer to become more engaged in the story as they try to place the sequence of events in order. In comics, though, it just doesn’t work quite the same way due to the periodical nature of comic book publication. The reader is regularly interrupted from the narrative flow by the month-long gap of time between issues; they already have to re-orient themselves every time they dig into a new chapter. So, my solution to try and meld both Quentin’s fondness for shifting perspectives with the reality of comic-book structure is to feature a series of changing narrators that alternate with each issue. Thus, as in Quentin’s films, the reader is forced to become engaged and figure out from whose point-of-view each chapter is told.
MU: What are the pitfalls and prizes of writing a team-up comic book/ graphic novel?
MW: As I’m sure you know, Michael, the key is to provide a balance of focus between our title stars … and yet still make the story seem consequential. There has to been a strong narrative reason these two characters crossed paths and the encounter has to leave its mark on both of them.
MU: To you, as both a writer and an artist, what is the balance of words vs. pictures in a comic book story? 50/50? 75/25? 90/10? Why? How most effectively do you marry the two?
MW: Oh, man … this is art—the are no rules! Some stories call for a lot of verbiage and others call for a more visual narrative. Over the course of my career I’ve done stuff that’s been described as something closer to an illustrated novel … and I also once did a whole issue of Grendel that featured only one short caption, the first half of which was featured on Page 1 with the concluding portion of the caption appearing on the story’s final page. I think it’s important as an author to “listen” to a story as it unwinds in your head. Any strong narrative will create its own goals and rules … in effect telling you how it needs to be told. With comics, as so many other mediums … the sky’s the limit!
MU: How did you choose your tone and the portrayal of violence and gore in this work — dealing with characters who have very different philosophies of such — and moving from the medium of film and its audience to the medium of the comic book and its audience?
MW: When I first started writing Zorro for Dynamite, I was insistent that we needed to make his adventures more geared towards a modern audience and that meant upping the violence quotient. I certainly didn’t want my take to be “Dark Zorro” but we needed to portray his crusade as something more daring and dangerous. We needed to leave behind the bumbling soldiers of the Disney show and show the very real effects of a brutal military occupation. I know people tend to focus on the intense violence of Quentin’s films but I’d argue that his movies are in fact morality fables about people trying to escape from that violence. Pulp Fiction’s real heroes are Butch and Jules, one of whom rises to the occasion to become a hero while rescuing his own enemy and the other, a brutal man who renounces his violent past and seeks a new kind of redemption. Kill Bill is a revenge story … but its basis is an assassin who seeks to forswear her deadly profession once faced with procreating a life of her own. As I said earlier, Django Unchained is Quentin’s most straight-up heroic movie so far as our fearless warrior braves monstrous dangers in order to rescue his beautiful princess from the ogre’s den. Again, doing these crossover projects is all about striking the perfect balance and, despite some differences of approach (which I do address at one point) our two heroes in this adventure are basically out for the same thing—JUSTICE!
MU: What western TV shows and movies did you love growing up?
MW: My dad had one show that he insisted on watching each and every week—GUNSMOKE! Personally, I was more partial to The Lone Ranger.
For more on Django / Zorro #2, click here.]]>
Warren Ellis joins the public domain superhero Project Superpowers party at Dynamite with a new superhero comic, Blackcross, written by Ellis and drawn by Colton Worley. It all looks a little conspiratorial…
All small towns have secrets. All small towns have ghosts. Blackcross, in the Pacific North West of America, has more secrets than most. And it is being haunted by something impossible. BLACKCROSS, a supernatural extension of the PROJECT SUPERPOWERS mythos, is a ghost story about something reaching out from the other side of the night, through the forest and mist of this remote town, to grasp at the hearts of a handful of people who may not find out that they’re the targets of a strange killer until it’s much, much too late.
Covers include the Jae Lee cover above as well as others from other current collaborators of his Tula Lotay, Declan Shalvey and Jason Howard.
Ron Marz, writer of John Carter: Warlord of Mars #2, talks with Jeff Parker about Flash Gordon #7, both on sale December 10th
RON MARZ: How great is Doc Shaner? No, seriously, HOW GREAT?
JEFF PARKER: Now I know how you felt when those awesome pages from Adventures of Superman rolled in. It’s Doc’s world, we just run around and add sound effects to it! There are plenty of people who can draw excellently now, maybe more than have ever worked in comics. But Shaner just soaks the panels in personality, and that’s not something everyone can do. You get invested in his stories, and the characters are real for you. I just wish I could send the books back in time for me to read in those years I desperately wanted something like this.
RM: That Jordie Bellaire ain't too bad either, huh?
JP: Honestly, I think a lot of colorists would fumble Doc’s art or be intimidated, and Jordie is never intimidated, once she’s on a project she gets possessive and the art essentially becomes hers at that stage. She’ll do whatever it takes to make it good storytelling color. His stuff needs a combination of a light touch and bold choices, and that’s what she does -- it truly is a dream team. I think a lot of it is because she’s a good cartoonist, though no one ever sees her drawings. She knows the point of a story page, and how to set mood and push emotion.
RM: I know for me, when I get to collaborate with the right art team, on the right project, it's not even work. Has Flash Gordon been like that for you?
JP: Exactly. It just clicks like some amazing machine that does even more than what it’s supposed to do. As a result I may have gotten too sparse with my panel descriptions because I think Doc is just reading my mind anyway, and so is Jordie. Panel 3: Flash does that thing! Jordie, I think you can tell what overall palette THIS requires.
RM: I'm a big fan of pulp stuff as both a reader and a writer. Flash Gordon isn't specifically pulp, but it's of that era. Do you feel like you have to do anything in particular to make these characters resonate with a modern audience?
JP: I figured the best thing to do was to really treat it like no one has ever heard of or read Flash Gordon before, that we’re starting from scratch with all the basic stuff the same. If you dote on how long it’s all been around, you’re going to handle Flash like he’s an old serious hero and it’s going to feel tired. Start with Flash young and fresh and with an infectious energy. Some of the story changes I made were to get a better balance of the three main characters so readers could get more from them.
Zarkov is a brilliant thinker who never lived up to the potential everyone expected from him until the moment he pioneered space travel. Dale is a science writer, so now she doesn’t have to have the science explained to her, she can understand Zarkov much better than Flash, and she’s incredibly crafty as someone who makes a living in such a field has to be to survive. Flash is the olympic level athlete who is also a dilettante -- he’s great at everything that doesn’t matter in our world, but makes him The Boss on the colonies of Mongo: sword fighting, gymnastics, climbing, diving and so on. In Kings Watch, I made him the one that flies the rocket to Mongo instead of Zarkov as in the original, because the title hero should be the one driving the story, not getting pulled along. His real strength/power, though, is that he cares about people.
RM: Obviously Alex Raymond casts a very long shadow on Flash Gordon. How do you honor his legacy without becoming imitative?
JP: Well, you put amazing artists on it, which we’ve done! Raymond was one of the most influential artists to grace our medium, so that had to be top notch. For my part, I tried to bring back a lot of the elements that often get thrown out in modern versions, and find a way that it all makes story sense. If I’d try to do it exactly as he had, it wouldn’t honor him, finding the ways to bring it to life and get readers fired up, that’s following what he really did.
RM: Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the 1980 Flash Gordon. Way too campy for my taste. I'm even a huge Queen fan, and the song doesn't appeal to me that much. Does this make me a bad person?
JP: It divides comics creators in a polar way, that’s for sure. I had the album, I love that Queen got so into it. I enjoy the movie even though it’s not the approach I’d do. I mean, Lorenzo Semple Jr. wrote it, and I’ve also followed him on Batman ’66! I don’t like Flash being a football player and all that, like wearing a shirt with his name on it. But man, the cast -- first I’m a Max Von Sydow fanboy, and it has Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed nailing their characters of Barin and Vultan. So I’ve still done some shout outs to the movie in the comic. We actually tried to cherry pick all the stuff we like from various versions. And Flash’s relentless positivity was something I liked about that version. It helps set him off from so many other heroes now, who are all trying to be antiheroes. Flash is about as pure hero as you can get.
Check out Jeff Parker's FLASH GORDON and also Ron Marz's JOHN CARTER: WARLORDS OF MARS, both have new issues on sale 12/10/14 from Dynamite Entertainment! Also, check out Parker's mini-series KINGS WATCH featuring Flash Gordon.
Also, check out an extended preview of FLASH GORDON #7 right here!]]>
Fred Van Lente, writer of Magnus: Robot Fighter #8, talks with Frank Barbiere about Solar: Man of the Atom #7, both on sale now.
FRED VAN LENTE: It’s been a while since we’ve checked in, and I’m happy to report the arc of this book is still awesome. What’s the most exciting or surprising thing you’ve discovered about Erica on this journey?
FRANK BARBIERE: Really just getting to know the character has been the best part. You come into any project with these preconceived notions of how you want a certain “character” to play out—basic values like “he/she is afraid of spiders,” etc., etc. It’s when the book really gets going and the character, pardon the romantic phrase, comes “alive” you start to really see them. I love comics because you get to see an artist interpret acting and really bring someone to life on the page—this starts to inform my writing as I see who the person is and how they physically act. We had a lot of ideas for Erica to be a more relatable, artistically-driven Solar and I’m glad I’ve had a chance to really show who she is in these newer issues. With all the origin stuff out of the way, we’re given a chance to shower her acting and solving problems, and that’s really shedding some light on the core of her character. I’m still surprised by the ways thinking like she would, i.e. not necessarily the “punch my problems” method, has led to some solutions to the story’s various challenges. Issue #8 will see a big step for Erica.
FVL: Erica has stowed away on an alien spaceship to try and get herself back to Earth from deep space. She doesn’t initially realize these aliens got their asses handed to them by her father, the previous Solar, and so they take an immediate murderous disliking to her. What’s the craziest thing you did in college?
FB: Haha, this is why you’re the best interviewer. I was really happy to get a chance to show some of what actually went down with these aliens and Phil because we’ve been teasing it from the very beginning. It’s great to be far enough along in the series where we’ve got these long-term payoffs starting, and hopefully shows our readers we have a plan. Also, I’m a pretty lame dude so I’d have to say the craziest thing I did in college was try to move a mattress down the street by taping it to the roof of my car. It did not go well.
FVL: Erica commandeers a (seemingly) well-meaning robot to lead her through the massive ship, even though he remains chummy with his alien masters. If you had a giant robot at your command, what are the main tasks you would cede to it? Would any of them involve making Gold Key group editor Nate Cosby do stuff? Like punch himself, perhaps? Please show your work in your answer.
FB: I would make the robot a sweet chef and have personalized meals for life. Yes, that’s how I roll. Also give Nate Cosby a giant wedgie.
FVL: Erica’s dad, Solar 1.0 Phil, continues to follow her around as a Science Ghost, giving her advice. Great interplay between the two. Who would you most like to haunt and give advice to after you exploded? Remember, because you are a Science Ghost, you can haunt people in the past as well as in the future.
Also, the response “I’d rather just not explode” is not allowed.
FB: The verb we tend to use during “internal discussions” is “Caspering.” Or at least I say that. Hmmm, I would like to just be present and watch the world change … maybe some kind of future descendent, my own kid … tell them what’s what, try to teach them about the world. Well, I don’t actually want kids so that’s not gonna fly. Man, I’m just gonna haunt you through text message, Van Lente. Check your inbox.
For more on Solar: Man of the Atom #7, click here.]]>
Frank Barbiere, writer of Solar: Man of the Atom #7, talks with Fred Van Lente about Magnus: Robot Fighter #8, both on sale now.
FRANK BARBIERE: You’ve certainly done a lot of plotting for Magnus and we’re starting to see a lot of big payoffs, like Magnus breaking down on his “big reveal” in this issue. How does it feel to see that stuff paying off? Has anything changed while working on the book that has become different or unexpected?
FRED VAN LENTE: From the very beginning this Magnus storyline was crafted with a beginning, middle and an end, and now that we’re entering the final act it’s cool it’s gotten such a nice reception from fans and critics. It has actually gone more or less as planned, which is a bit unusual for me.
The nice thing about doing stories in this field is you can read stuff in the news that you can then incorporate into your stories. When I first read about “Roko’s Basilisk” a few months ago I realized I absolutely had to incorporate it into Magnus, and that’s just what I did.
FB: This book has been a treat to look at since day one thanks to the very talented Cory Smith. I notice you’re very into big moments, whether it be double page spreads or awesome splashes (like Magnus killing “himself”). Has working with Cory changed the way you approach pacing the pages with “big art?” What’s your favorite moment so far?
FVL: Yeah, Cory is the best. He is great with spreads in general but it’s funny I’ve started doing them more with the rise of digital, and I realized the way pages are sized to fit in screens in a way that can’t replicate the impact of a DPS on the physical page. As physical page is where my income comes from, I do feel like it’s an added value for the folks who’ve stuck with analog.
FB: How closely have you stayed with Magnus mythology? As I said, I know you did a lot of research and read a lot of Gold Key … what’s your favorite thing you drew from the original Gold Key book?
FVL: We deviated quite a bit from the original Gold Key stuff, partially because of how the science of robotics and computing have evolved since the 1960s, partly to give it our own fresh take. A lot of stuff, like Senator Clane and the Gophs, come from the series. I guess the biggest shout out to the OG series is in this issue, where 1A’s hideout, both here and the original, lies deep below the Arctic Ocean.
FB: What’s one of the big moments or scenes from Magnus so far that you couldn’t wait for people to see? How did people react? I know as writers we tend to anticipate reactions from readers … was there anything that got a reaction or do people tend to just roll with it?
FVL: It’s fun that people have taken to H8R, Magnus’s jive-talking robot sidekick, so much. He was a bit of a throwaway gag that has morphed into a big part of the series. I perversely like taking things that are absurd and shouldn’t work and making them work, and that’s definitely been rewarding in this instance.
For more on Magnus: Robot Fighter #8, click here.]]>
Here are the Reddit AMA highlights from yesterday’s AMA with Bernard Derriman, the Supervising Director of the Show. Derriman has also done a lot of work on the Dynamite comic series as well. The interview touches on both and is pretty insightful.
Score issues of the comics and check out the full interview!
Hi Bernard! Thanks for doing this AMA. I’ve been loving the comic. How exactly did your partnership with Dynamite come about?
The creator of Bob’s Burgers, Loren Bouchard really liked the idea of seeing Bobs as a comic. The studio that creates Bobs, Bento Box Entertainment, reached out to Dynamite who were a great fit to produce them. Also, one of the driving forces of the comic in the studio was Bob’s Burgers Animation Supervisor Tony Gennaro. His passions in life are baseball and comics, so he was really excited to work on this project – then go home to his new batting cage.
Hi, Bernard! You have made some amazing contributions toward both the show and the comics! First of all, when did you realize that animation was your field of interest? Secondly, what are the similarities and differences for formatting episodes and comic strips? It seems like a hefty process! Thank you so much and keep up the good work! :)
Around the time I was finishing school, I found an ad to work at Walt Disney Australia. I could draw and I had no desire to go to college, so I applied and got a job there. So I kind of fell into animation, in a way.
The similarities are that both the episode stories and the comic stories begin with writers pitching their ideas to the creator of Bobs, Loren Bouchard. He picks the ones he likes, gives a bit of input, and then sends the writers off to flesh the stories out. The biggest difference between the two is in the show, we rely on the voices of our great cast – the big challenge with the comics was trying to have the characters have that same voice, but on paper.
I love that the Belchers are a family with high points and low points. Were there / are there character rules or guidelines that are used by the writers on the show and in the comic? Everything is just so well flushed out and consistent while also being complex, and that is one of the things I love about the show. Thank you!
There are no hard rules or guidelines but having worked on the show for 5 seasons, the writers instinctively know what the characters would do or wouldn’t do. For instance, the writers would never have Bob high five Teddy because it would be totally out of character for him – it’s not written anywhere, they just know he wouldn’t do it.
I now look forward to someone pointing out the time that Bob high fives Teddy sometime in season 1.
Who is your favorite member of the Belcher family and why? Who is your favorite character outside the Belcher family? Also, why?
I really like all the Belchers, and while a boring answer I don’t really have a favorite. Although when it comes to drawing them, I think Bob would be my favorite.
My favorite outside the family is probably the closest to the family, and that’s Teddy. Teddy is voiced by Larry Murphy, and his ad libbing at records is always hilarious – a lot of it which makes it into the episodes. Animation Supervisor Tony Gennaro’s favorite character is Hugo – he said mainly because of his voice (he is voiced by comedian Sam Seder) but also his humanity.
Why don’t Linda and Gayle’s glasses have outlines?
This is a fantastic question. I wasn’t involved in their designs, but going by the other characters designs I’ve worked on, it would have to do with making the glasses less obtrusive on the character’s faces. Linework and color on glasses can make them bulky – like Tina’s – so to make them appear finer, it’s best to do that without outlines.
Any exciting people doing voices in the new season?
We have a lot of now regular guest stars returning – for next month’s Christmas episode we have both Jordan Peele and Bill Hader coming back to voice new characters, and in that same episode we have the legendary Carl Reiner doing a voice!
Bob’s Burgers comics are available in comic shops everywhere or at Dynamite’s DRM-Free Digital Store.]]>