Travel Foreman’s Zuerst Science Fiction Magazine Is Almost Ready

Long-teased and hinted about, Travel Foreman has started to talk more openly about his comics anthology ‘Zuerst Science Fiction Magazine’, which will see him debuting a bunch of new characters and stories. This will include, as CBR note, ‘The New A-Holes’, which looks like a pretty canny take on the Power Rangers concept. Look upon them:

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There will also be all manner of other things going on, as you can see in the CBR article linked above. This character, also, looks faintly familiar, right?

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I had no idea that Foreman had been working on some creator-owned stuff, but this is ace news. He’s best known probably as the most prominent artist running Animal Man with Jeff Lemire, as well as a run on Immortal Iron Fist and a number of other projects at DC too. His idiosyncratic take on action, movement (and anatomy, deployed to horrifying effect in Animal Man) marked him out above the typical DC house style, and won Animal Man more plaudits than perhaps any other DC title of the New 52 era.

More updates on Zuerst will likely follow here. Keep an eye out! He predicts it’ll come out either the end of this year, or start of the next.

Interview: Ryan K. Lindsay Hoofs it to Kickstarter for ‘Deer Editor’

You guys, you guys! Deer Editor is a comic about a crime journalist who is also a deer!

So that’s likely got your attention. Written by Ryan K. Lindsay, drawn by Sami Kivela, lettered by Nic J. Shaw and edited by Dan Hill, ‘Deer Editor’ is a digital-only comic which hit Kickstarter a few weeks back. Quickly reaching the target of $1000 and then some, the story will only be made available online for the time being. If you back the comic at $1, you get the comic. YOU GET THE COMIC! That’s the sort of pricing which is unheard of on Kickstarter.

Ryan’s been making some waves in comics recently – he has a new series launched over at Monkeybrain, and was recently one of the contributors to Vertigo’s ‘CMYK’ anthology series, telling a story about boxing and revenge. But for this new story, he’s got such a simple setup that I just had to get in touch with him and find out more! And, gent he is, he agreed – read on to find out all about Deer Editor, and head on over to Kickstarter if you like the sound of it!

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Steve: What’s the basic premise of Deer Editor?

Ryan: Bucky is the editor of the crime beat at ‘The Truth.’ He’s also a deer. This issue sees him chase down a story involving a John Doe killer, a key to a public locker, and what might be the biggest narrative of political intrigue he’s ever covered.

The book is a black and white tale told in 48 tablet pages.

Steve: What defines Bucky as a character?

Ryan: Besides his rad antlers, the fact he’s incredibly dogged and has a true north on his moral code. Bucky finds a thread and won’t stop pulling until the sweater is gone and eventually the emperor has no clothes.

Steve: How early on did the idea of “oh, he’s a deer” come along to the story? Did you have the character planned out first or the story?

Ryan: The book came about because of a discussion of embarrassing typos. As soon as I typed the words ‘Deer editor’ the character came to me pretty fully formed. From there, it’s just polishing and finding out what sort of deer is he, how does he go about his business, etc. But the core trapping of ‘journalist’ + ‘deer’ were instant inception points. Then the story formed around him pretty smoothly.

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Steve: What kind of tone does the series have? Is this a world where nobody really minds that, y’know, their editor is a deer?

Ryan: Yep, no one minds at all. But the tone of this book is a serious crime story. There’s a heavy influence of Polanski here (especially CHINATOWN) with a soupçon of TERRIERS somewhere in there.

Steve: You’ve worked in comics journalism yourself for a while – did that develop your interest in telling a story about a journalist? (or is that just a coincidence?)

Ryan: I wanted to be a journalist for years. I have a misspent youth of writing movie reviews in a ledger, and writing reviews of basketball games I’d watch on TV. I was a huge word nerd and journalism scratched that itch as much as fiction did, and still does. I was finishing high school, and planning to go into journalism, when I got into a conversation with a guy who told me journalism was a hard game to crack. He asked me why I wanted to do it and I said because I liked writing and wanted to parlay into fiction eventually. He asked what else I wanted to be and I said the other option was teacher.

He told me to be a teacher and write at night. And here I am.

Steve: How did artist Sami Kivela come onboard the project? What does his style bring to the story?

Ryan: I was introduced to Sami by ‘Canadian Gent’ Ed Brisson and we haven’t looked back since. Sami has a great ink style for B&W and I’m a huge fan of his expressions and body language. The fact he can make a deer’s face show a range of emotions says a lot.

Steve: Why take the project to Kickstarter?

Ryan: I like Kickstarter. It’s a good distribution platform as well as a way to rally the crowd. The big thing for me, and for this campaign, is all the extras. I could put the PDF up on my site and hope traffic finds it but that’s a drop in the ocean. I could, and will, go the ComiXology Submit route but that’s just a few extra drops. What this campaign allows us to do is offer all these crazy extras and make them exclusive. The RKL Script PDF won’t be available for purchase anywhere else. The Talking Pin Ups won’t be done anymore after this campaign ends. It’s fun to really support the people in kooky ways who have come out to support us.

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Steve: How much research into Kickstarters and their pitfalls did you do before setting up this one? You seem to be aware of the now-infamous international shipping trap, and you also chose to complete the comic before bringing it to crowdfunding?

Ryan: Oh, man, I’ve been watching and loving Kickstarter campaigns for years. I’ve backed a tonne of them, and if you were to laboriously go through my twitter feed, you’d see loads of me talking about what works and what doesn’t and getting annoyed when people do the “wrong” things – PDFs of single issues for $10, that sort of thing. It does my head in.

So for this campaign, I’ve very keenly wanted to run it the way I want to see a campaign run. Cheap thrills, fun extras, lots of free downloads and stuff at checkpoints and stretch goals. And, yes, I avoided that international shipping because I have no desire to run the whole gamut of printing, packaging, and posting just to make a sub-$1 profit – or on the flip, put the issue up for $20 (or more) just to make a slightly more decent profit. I have no interest in that at all.

I did my due diligence, I read articles about people’s success, and their failure, and I then set out to do my best. I’m sure I’ve already made my own mistakes, but I don’t seem to be in the hole just yet.

Steve: There are lots of people involved with the book – you’ve invited Dan Hill on as editor. Do you find that you write best when you have an editor overseeing the project?

Ryan: I find everyone writes better when they have an editor, yes. Dan Hill is a good friend and my first reader on pretty much everything, and I’ve started bringing him in as editor because he’s got a wickedly sharp brain for story engine structure and character motivation, and he always asks me the right questions to get me around (or under, or phased through) barriers I’m facing.

I think everyone making comics, at any level, should bag themselves someone they trust to look over the work, make notes, and ask them a tonne of questions.

Steve: Not everybody comes up with a story concept and then holds back on immediately launching into a full series – Deer Editor is a one-shot, rather than an ongoing. What’s the intent of the story? Do you plan to use this to possibly launch further stories with the character down the line?

Ryan: Yep, I’ve gone for a one-shot, to start with because it’s feasible. It’s feasible to plan, write, get an artist down with, and draw an audience for a one-shot. People are more likely to invest a $1 into a PDF of a complete story than they are for just 1/6. I doubt I could Kickstart a whole mini, or ongoing, so I am being realistic. I think, and I hope, this is a smart move. You gotta pay your dues, and show you can close, so a one-shot is a perfect entry point.

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From here, oh, absolutely I have more stories to tell. I’ve already written the next script. If I have my druthers, I’d love to write Bucky for a long time, actually, in just a series of 1-3 issue stories.

Steve: What else are you working on at the moment? Where can people find you online?

Ryan: Headspace at Monkeybrain with Eric Zawadzki, Sebastian Piriz, Marissa Louise, and Dan Hill is still trucking along. #4 drops at the start of September, after a longer wait than we wanted, and it’s our best issue yet. It’s this weird pause in the grander narrative to explore character and location and really make the escalation into the end of the whole mess truly matter.

I also just had a story in the Vertigo anthology Magenta, from the CMYK Quarterly. It has Tommy Lee Edwards art, John Workman letters, and is called GLOVES. You can probably still find a copy on your LCS’ rack if you dig.

Beyond that, I’m angling a few new one-shots and pitches, all at various stages but I’m not one to tease so I’ll leave it be for now, but trust me when I say things are coming, and they are F.U.N.

As for online, you can catch me on twitter, and hit up my online HQ, I’m on tumblr here, or you can hit me up on facebook, where everyone is!

Every Panel Ever: Panel Five

What’s the best way to get people interested in comics? Show them some comics. Every day The Spire posts a comics panel, with the ultimate goal of one day having posted every single panel which has ever been written, drawn, edited, inked, coloured, and lettered. It’s, y’know, obviously going to happen.

Here’s Corey Lewis.

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Who is best known for his own series Sharknife, but has also done bits and pieces elsewhere as well – with some of the most manic, unexpected stuff turning up at Marvel. He did a couple of shorts for the X-Office, including a Longshot story which provides the panel above. This is, y’know, an absolutely crackers story, with dimension hopping, music, robots – everything thrown in.

It may well be the only time Longshot has ever been bearable.

Just one panel and you KNOW you want to read the rest, right?

DC/Becky Cloonan Provide an Introduction to the Class of Gotham Academy

DC have released a trio of Becky Cloonan-drawn teaser posters which each reveal a little detail about the cast of the upcoming ‘Gotham Academy’ series. With each one spotlighting a different character, here’s a first proper look at what each of the main characters will be bringing to the series. To wit: swarthy gazes abound.

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Obviously we’re all very disappointed by how buttoned-up that shirt is. This has been noted.

Best known, of course, as Goth Academy, the series will be co-written by Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, drawn by Karl Kerschl, and coloured by Romain Gaschet – who is doing a particularly brilliant job with the interiors, actually. Cloonan highlighted his work recently on Tumblr, and it looks spectacularly atmospheric and gothic.

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But onto these characters – we have the main character here, who is obviously called Olive Silverlock, along with brother/sister Kyle and Mia ‘Maps’ Mizoguchi. See how each character has something in the image to symbolise their character? Olive is the golden girl who heads to Goth Academy on a scholarship, Kyle is a world-class tennis player and sports fan, whilst Maps is nicknamed so because she’s an aspiring cartographer.

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All very nice! Gotham Academy opens doors in October.

Dark Horse Are Adding a Load of All-Ages Graphic Novels to Their 2015 Lineup

As reported by Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly, Dark Horse Comics have committed to a stronger push for all-ages content in 2015. The company have released news of four incoming graphic novels suitable for all ages which’ll publish across the start of next year, all under the keep of editor Sierra Hahn.

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The first of these is Rexodus, a series which posits the idea that dinosaurs didn’t go extinct – they instead left the Earth and settled on a different planet. Dinosaurs weren’t stupid, you see – they were highly intelligent creatures, and build ships to flee the Earth before it was decimated by something called ‘the black blood’. The series, by James Farr and Jon Sommariva (based on a concept from Eric Lee and Paul Wizikowski, character designs by Sean “Cheeks” Galloway) looks at what happens in the present day once scientists realise what was really going on – and the dinosaurs come back.

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The next is a reprint of Rod Espinosa’s Courageous Princess, which was originally released in 1999 by Antarctic Press. This is about Princess Mabelrose, an unorthodox princess who is more content causing trouble than dressing up nicely and attending fancy balls. Distanced from her home after a series of events, she wanders through the mystical and fantastical elements of her Kingdom as she attempts to find her way back. There had been rumours that he was planning to relaunch the series with new stories, and perhaps publishing all the older volumes at Dark Horse will eventually lead to those new stories at the end? Keep an eye on that one.

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Samuel Teer and Hyeondo Park’s Veda: Assembly Required is the story of an orphaned girl called Veda, who lives and works in a giant factory. It’s a rough life, until she finds she has the ability to talk to machines – promptly befriending a robot called ‘Assembly’, who teaches her the Laws of Machines, she finds herself heading off on a deadly adventure. This is set for March 2015, and I believe marks the first published work from Teer.

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The fourth story for 2015 will be ‘Return of the Gremlins’ from Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson and artist Dean Yeagle. I believe this is collecting together the previous comics by the duo, which took the Roald Dahl characters and span them off into their own world – the above cover is taken from their previous three-issue miniseries of the same name. This new collection will be in hardback format.

You can find further details about the move at the Publishers Weekly article above – but it’s good to see the company ensuring that they have a strong lineup of all-ages titles as they move forward.

Every Panel Ever: Panel Four

What’s the best way to get people interested in comics? Show them some comics. Every day The Spire posts a comics panel, with the ultimate goal of one day having posted every single panel which has ever been written, drawn, edited, inked, coloured, and lettered. It’s, y’know, obviously going to happen.

We’ll start with the really good panels, of course – and I’ll share where you can find the comic in full.

This panel looks very silly on the face of it.

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And it is, of course. But it’s also surprisingly poignant. This comes at the end of Grant Morrison’s Batman run, with the panel essentially offering a chance to take stock of what the character has left in his life. He’s got the cow his son insisted come live in the Batcave (Bat-Cow) and his cat. He’s got, of course, the cave himself.

But he doesn’t have anyone else. He is, once more, the lone hero. Morrison’s run is all about this, more or less – the focus of the run, thematically, is replication of an ideal. Can other characters take on the Batman mantle? Can a daughter live up to (and escape) the shadow of her father? Does the cycle of vigilantism ever end? And so forth. Here we have Batman, staring out at what he’s left with. Sure, he can be reminded of the silliness his son brought into the world, but here he’s more focused on the Batmobile.

This was a Batmobile designed for two, and now has no function. Batman’s alone again, and he has to start everything up anew. As Morrison tends to hammer home whenever he does superhero work-for-hire, there is no end to the battle.

This comes from the end of Batman Incorporated Vol 2, by Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn and Dave Sharpe.

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