Andy Hirsch’s All-Ages Western ‘Varmints’ Comes to First Second

As spotted by Robot 6, First Second this week announced that they will be the publishers for an all-ages western from writer/artist Andy Hirsch, ‘Varmints’. Is there a single part of the prior sentence which doesn’t fill you with glee?

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Hirsch is best known perhaps for his work over at BOOM! Studios, where he’s been with KaBOOM! for a little while, working on books like Adventure Time and Garfield. Varmints, however, is a story entirely his own. Previously self-published via, it appears, Gumroad, this will now take the form of a collected graphic novel, which folds in the previously released issue, adds in extra pages amongst them, and then adds on a whole new section for readers, I believe.

The story follows a sister and brother duo as they blaze a trail across the ol’ Wild West, encountering many unbelievable things along the way – such as giants, as you can see in the preview below.

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Giants wearing bears! Yee-haw.

In the interview, Hirsch sayeth:

Opie and Ned’s relationship is central to the story, and a frontier setting provides a good way to isolate them at times and force them to interact one on one. Also, Westerns are rife with mythmaking and tall tales — that built-in measure of exaggeration is perfect for the tone I’m going for. Events can escalate to cartoonish degrees, but the characters are still grounded in (a version of) the real world, keeping them relatable.

Or maybe I just wanted to draw a bunch of horses. There’s really no telling.

Making him THE FIRST ARTIST TO EVER SAY HE LIKED DRAWING HORSES.

Varmints will be published through First Second… at some point. I’ll let you know when I find a date for it.

Preview: Stacey Lee’s Pages for Silk #1 over at Marvel

Marvel seem to have this recurring thing going on where, when they announce a raft of new books all at once, one or two get lost in the process. This time round, it seems to be ‘Silk’, which takes the newly-introduced heroine and throws her into New York for her own ongoing series. But, as in these pages from Stacey Lee, the book looks like it could be really fun! So let’s give it a little attention now.

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Cindy Moon was introduced, I believe, as the second person to get bitten by the same spider that turned Peter Parker into a hero. The spider jumped to her after him, then got crushed or whatever, and she also gained the same powers and abilities. But! Then she was stuffed into a cupboard for some supernatural reason and only just allowed back into the real world in the run-up to the current Spider-Verse event. She’s been a love interest to Parker subsequently, and is currently co-featuring in the weird pointless first five issues of the Spider-Woman series.

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All of that leads us to this series, however, so we can discard everything and start fresh, eh? An Asian-American (and a female Asian-American, at that) Cindy gives a little representation to readers who barely ever get any attention in Big-Two comics. And based on Lee’s art here, it seems like we’re getting a whole mix of John Romita Jr (mainly in that rock-solid jawline of J. Jonah Jameson), David LaFuente,  and Bryan Lee O’Malley. Her art is pretty brilliant here, the sort of gravity-ignoring use of perspective and anatomy that lends itself so perfectly to Spider-Man characters.

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The preview gives us three scenes, each of which force Lee to take a different storytelling approach, and it’s a veritable showcase for an artist I’d not heard of before – but who is now firmly on my radar. I love the quieter moments here, and the little touches like the curvy question mark around Cindy’s head in that third page. This has got a lot of quirk to it, but a consistent one which gives the character depth and interest. I had no idea who Cindy Moon was, but these pages really get me excited to see who she’ll turn out to be.

Silk #1, written by Robbie Thompson and coloured by the wonderful Ian Herring, is out in February.

Dark Horse Just Reminded Me of ‘Nanjing: The Burning City’ from Ethan Young

Sometimes publishers send out PR just to remind you that a book exists and is still coming out on schedule, which is why today I’m writing out just a little bit about Ethan Young’s August-releasing graphic novel ‘Nanjing: The Burning City’.

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The book takes place during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, which took place just before World War II broke out. During their invasion of the country, Japan seized and raided several cities – with one of the most well-known attacks being the Nanjing Massacre of 1937.

Young’s story is set just after that attack, as two Chinese soldiers, trapped in the city and cut off from their army, try to escape. As Dark Horse put it:

After the bombs fell and shook the walls of Nanjing, the Imperial Japanese Army entered and seized the Chinese capital. Through the dust of the demolished buildings, screams echo off the rubble. Two abandoned Chinese soldiers are trapped and desperately outnumbered inside the walled city. What they’ll encounter will haunt them. But in the face of horror, they’ll learn that resistance and bravery cannot be destroyed by the enemy.

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This is a harder, grittier style of artwork than Young’s other most well-known work, the webcomic ‘Tails’, and looks to be a far tougher story – but a fascinating one, if nothing else. Nanjing: The Burning City is due out from Dark Horse in August this year.

Have You Heard About This Graphic Novel, ‘Hinges’? Looks Amazing

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I only saw this because of a piece in Multiversity’s excellent ‘All-Ages Week‘, but Image have a graphic novel coming out next month called ‘Hinges’, and it looks mint. By Meredith McClaren, this 112-page story will be the first volume of the Hinges series, and follows a girl called Orio, as she enters a new city called ‘Cobble’.

Joined by a guide called Bauble, she explores her new surroundings, meeting the residents of the city who turn out to be an array of walking dolls, puppets, and stuffed animals. The only catch to her wander around Cobble? That Bauble’s got some kind of secret agenda going on, and it might justbe the sort of secret agenda that leads to trouble.

Seriously, though, cram some of this artwork down yer:

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I absolutely love that the puppet still has their strings attached, and follow her around as she walks through Cobble. It’s an unusual touch that just throws everything that little bit off-balance – it’s kinda creepy, and unsettling. The chewed-up word balloons, also, are an indication that Hinges, although an all-ages comic, isn’t going to be a happy-go-lucky romp.

This looks utterly involving, and I can’t wait to get a look at it next month.

Kate Brown’s Back! ‘The Unicorn and The Woodsman’ Arrives in 30 Days

Following a great run on “Tamsin and The Deep” with Neill Cameron for The Phoenix Magazine, Kate Brown’s just announced a new comic which’ll be launching January 31st. It’s called The Unicorn and The Woodsman. See?

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Told in rhyming verse, this is a twenty page story at 240 x 170mm which looks, if my maths is correct, to be about the same sort of size as Becky Cloonan’s trio of self-published books. My maths, let’s just repeat, barely just scraped a B grade at GCSE, and everybody says GCSE’s are well easy now. So take that with a pinch of salt.

The story follows, as you’ll be able to see from previews pages posted below, a unicorn who is just chilling out in a  forest, as is the wont of unicorns. When attacked by a group of shady archers, however, it has to run for it’s life – presumably seeking out help from that most noble and trustworthy of all forest-dwellers, the Woodsman.

This seems quite similar in style to the trailer she worked on for The Tower of London a while past, with that distinctive style of lettering and ominous spatters of pure pastel colour amongst the otherwise black and white setting. It’s been a while since we’ve seen new work from Brown as both writer and artist, so this’ll be something to look out for at conventions – and UK retailers later in the year.

One note she makes, as you’ll likely see repeatedly over the first half of this year at least – in accordance with the new VATMOSS ruling which took hold this year, she will not be making the comic available digitally. To see why, take a look at this post.

To see unicorns, however, scroll down:

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T’Bubs’14: Sam Read and Caio Oliveira Wrap Up ‘Exit Generation’

Sam Read and Caio Oliveira’s four-issue series ‘Exit Generation’ will be concluding at this year’s festival, with the arrival of the fourth and final part of the story. A sci-fi story about humanity trying to leave the planet – and other races arriving – the self-published series has managed to put out four issues in just about under a year. That’s impressive.

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The series launched at last year’s festival, and now concludes this year. Perhaps highlighted by Oliveira’s surprisingly detailed, intricate worldbuilding, the series features some superb artwork and lovely colours from Ruth Redmond and Marissa Louise. The premise, as well, is a slight twist on a familiar story, and is as thus:

It’s 2055 and Jack is bored.

20 years ago most of Earth’s population abandoned the planet in search of a less crowded place to live.  But rather than descend into chaos, the world they left became a paradise, free from poverty, war and crime.

In this utopia Jack spends his days hanging out with his friend Mo, and obsessing over action movies and punk records, longing for some real excitement.  But then a bunch of extra-terrestrial visitors arrive, and Jack’s wish is granted…

But enough of such things – let’s show you some pages from right at the start of the series, eh?

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You’ll be able to find Sam and the fourth issue at his table at Thought Bubble from tomorrow – but you can also head to his site here to find out more.

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