SPIDER-MEN03/09/12 @ 2:08 pm EST
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COMICS BEAT INTERVIEW - BILL WILLINGHAM BRINGS LEGENDERRY TO LIFE11/27/13 @ 3:35 pm EST
This June - history will be made for the Marvel Universe.
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art by SARA PICHELLI
Cover by JIM CHEUNG
ON SALE THIS JUNE!To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com
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BLEEDING COOL INTERVIEW - COMIC BOOK MENíS WALT FLANAGAN ON CRYPTOZOIC MAN11/27/13 @ 3:34 pm EST
Coming in January this year, Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure will see writer Bill Willingham
and artist Sergio Fernandez Davila
take on a host of Dynamite’s most recognizable characters for a seven-issue re-imagining. Not only will the story have characters as diverse as Green Hornet, Vampirella, The Six Million Dollar Man and Red Sonja all in the same story – the story will be set inside a giant world created by the creative team, based around the steampunk genre.
To find out more about the series, I spoke to Willingham about how the project came about, how he built up this new world for the series, and his plans for the characters going forward. The Beat: Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure takes characters from a whole range of genres and contexts and places them within one steampunk world. How did you first come onboard a project like this?
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a place where I had enough room in my schedule to work on something new. That time is still not quite upon us, but Nick and I have been itching to work on a book together for Dynamite for years now. I wasn’t able to bring something brand-new and creator owned to the table since there’s a lot of work to put into building a new series from the ground up.
Initially, I wanted to work on a series that borrowed characters that no one else was using at the time to avoid having to deal with continuity and where they all are in their current books. All of the characters that appear in Legenderry are characters that are currently being used, so Nick got a little creative and that’s where the steampulp idea came from – a place where I could create new versions of these characters in my own way that was separate from everything else going on. The Beat: How do you view the concept of steampunk, personally? Have you written within the style before?
I have not written within the genre before, but not really for any other reason than I dislike the term “steampunk”. The “steampunk” genre embodies brilliant aspects from the works of HG Wells and Jules Verne who wrote of adventurers, discovery and action. They were not punks. Punks instead fit into the subgenre of cyberpunks because cocky punks are exactly who they were and one of the reasons that I never warmed up to the genre as a whole.
I call the genre steampulp since it more accurately describes the vibe that I’m going for, but I expect that the time to change the name of the genre has long past and my redubbing of it won’t catch on. The Beat: How much input did you have in the individual design of the characters, and of the general aesthetic of the miniseries itself?
As much as I wanted. At least that’s the impression I got, but I haven’t yet really had to test the limits, since the character designs and art were so well done from the starting gate that I asked for very few changes. I requested things like, “I’d like to see her hair a bit longer, or his coat a bit longer, or I see Zorro’s sword as being a skosh thinner.” Nothing major.
Also, so far, I’ve never had to ask for a correction of any of the artwork Sergio has done for the actual story. He seems to start at wonderful and adds quality from there. The Beat: When you take on a story like this, how carefully do you plan out the World which the characters inhabit? How important is it to you that you get the details of the city, and the society, and make sure everything fits together?
The world building part of any story, especially for a tale set in an entirely invented world, is perhaps the most important part of said story, at least in the planning and pre-planning stages. It’s also the most rewarding part for me. It’s like putting together an intricate 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle, with no picture on the box to guide you. It’s a combination of decision making and then extrapolating all of the possible results of those decisions. I love it. Getting all of the details right is vital. If I can’t make the world, and every important part of it, interesting and detailed and engaging to me, I can’t ask a reader to believe in it. The Beat: Are there any details in particular which you’re excited to see realized in the story? Bill:
A few. First the look of The Big City (that’s actually its name), where the story starts out. Having the art in for the first two issues, I already see that Sergio has delivered more than my notes and imagination asked for. I got just a glimpse of the skyship Victory at the end of Issue Two and that again delivered wonderfully on my expectations. We’ve yet to get to Landing, the Miracle Science City, which comes along in issue four (or is it five?), which is the steampunk era view of what the future must look like. The Beat: Was it tricky to fit certain characters into the same universe? I can’t imagine fitting The Six Million Dollar Man into a Victorian setting would be easy, for example.
I thought fitting the Six Million Dollar Man into this world would indeed be the greatest challenge of the bunch. He turned out to be the most fun to adapt and is currently my favorite character in this world of the best possible characters. The Beat: Will you be getting inside the head of any of the characters like Vampirella, Red Sonja, Green Hornet, etc. – or will the story be viewing them from a distance?
Yes. Deeply so in at least one instance. But I’ll divulge no details. Sorry. The Beat: The story seems to be a large-scale mystery, with pieces being put together each issue. What kicks off the narrative of Legenderry?
It is a mystery, yes, which is to say, it’s a mystery who the villains are and what they want with the MacGuffin character, the woman who leads us from one of our heroes to the next. But it’s also a chase against time, where the adventure leads us on a tour of the entire world of Legenderry. The Beat: We’ll be following a young woman as she interacts with various characters in turn throughout the series – do you view her as the guide for the reader? The classic stories associated with steampunk are usually works by people like H.G. Wells, which are all about a guide/adventurer heading off and introducing the reader to all kinds of new ideas and sights.
I so want to answer this question in detail, but I’ve already said too much about her. She’s not the guide. She’s the treasure everyone seems to be after. But why? The Beat: Although this is a complete seven-issue storyline, do you think you could ever be tempted back for another story set in this world, at some point in the future?
Yes. Why create a whole world just for seven issues of anything? I always want to explore further. http://comicsbeat.com/interview-bill-willingham-creates-a-legenderry-world/
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Walt FlanaganBLEEDING COOL INTERVIEW - GAFFEN AND MCVEY ON WRITING GRIMM FOR TV AND COMICS11/27/13 @ 3:32 pm EST
is an average, everyday comic shop manager… that also does a podcast, is on AMC’s Comic Book Men
, has drawn Batman
for DC Comics
multiple times, appeared in multiple movies and has this third creator-owned series with Bryan Johnson
on the shelves now. That’s what happens when you go to high school with Kevin Smith
and turned him onto comic books in the first place. Flanagan sat down with Mike Raicht
to talk about Cryptozoic Man
being published by Dynamite Entertainment
. MIKE RAICHT: How did Cryptozoic Man come to life for you guys?
WALT FLANIGAN: The Cryptozoic Man design/ idea came from the old 1980s plastic man Saturday morning cartoon. I picked up the entire series on DVD at a close out store for 5 bucks about 2 years ago… on one the episodes plastic man faced off against a villain who was half man half Bigfoot… I thought that was so cool… and if a man who is half Bigfoot is cool? How about A man who is than 1/4 Jersey Devil, a 1/4 Loch Ness Monster as well as part Bigfoot! Even cooler! MR: Following your other two collaborations, Karney and War of the Undead, when did you decide this book was the next book to pull the trigger on?
WF: It’s actually something that took a lot longer to bring to life than I thought it would have…But when the producers on comic book men started saying AMC wanted to see a pitch to a publisher…that’s when the ball really got rolling. MR: You guys were able to launch this title in an amazingly unique way with a televised pitch session with Dynamite. I can’t imagine the pressure of that.
WF: I get nervous enough sending in a pitch over e-mail without having to worry about television cameras in the room. Do you think this type of launch can ramp up the pressure or have you guys remained calm about the whole thing? Yea, I imagine our way of pitching the book to dynamite was the first time in comic book history that a pitch was filmed for a television show.as far as pressure? It was a bit nerve racking in the actual pitch. I certainly didn’t want to hear Dynamite wasn’t interested and that have that seen on national tv. MR: How would you describe launching a brand new title?
WF: It’s so fun when you can create a new character and universe to work in…there are no limits or restrictions. So you get to go crazy a bit! MR: You both have both done this before having launched both Karney and War of the Undead at IDW together. Is there anything you learned from those experiences which you brought to this book?
WF: Not really… The one thing we learned since Karney and War of the Undead were released is we were in a position to market the series in a different way than we did with those other 2 series from IDW. Since the release of War of the Undead, Bryan and I started a podcast along with an old friend named Brian Quinn of the hit TV show impractical jokers called “TELL EM STEVE DAVE” and we have slowly built a very loyal, supportive listener base that really came through for us in ordering the Cryptozoic Man set. We marketed the book substantially through our podcast and sold a lot of comics. I can’t thank those listeners enough who ordered the book in support of Bryan and myself. MR: You guys clearly have a pretty tight relationship to begin with, but from experience, co-writing can have some amazingly fun highs and be complicated and difficult at other times. How is it working as a writing team?
WF: Well, first off there’s no way I can call what I do as co- writing… I just offer some suggestions or more so visual suggestions… Bry does all the writing. I just came in at the beginning and offered more a plot or outline to Bryan… he’s done all the heavy lifting as far as writing goes. MR: How do you guys handle it?
WF: I gave him some character designs, some plot points i wanted to try to get in there and lay out some things i wanted to draw in the series and let Bry go to town. MR: Obviously, with you on art you have the final say, right?
WF: I guess so but if Bry felt strongly about changing something I drew or didn’t draw? I’d do what he asked. MR: I love the out of this world sci-fi, horror mix you have going on in this book. What would each of you consider your main influences while working on this title?
WF: Thanks… Wow. So many things I can point to as influences… From Swamp Thing, to Warlock, to the Animal Vegetable Mineral Man… The list goes on and on… Let’s just say any Marvel comic from the 70s and every DC comic from the 80s is an influence as well as the old television show “In Search Of” MR: What is the best thing Brian brings to your partnership?
WF: His insane, skewed but often very subtle weird outlook… Sometimes the creepiest thing is the most subtle thing he wrote on the page… I love that. MR: How would both of you recommend Cryptozoic Man to those looking for something new to try at the comic shop?
WF: Hmmmm, how about “You looking to take a trip”? Wanna sit in on the strangest tea party the universes have ever seen? Than give the cryptozoic man a go. It’s your ticket to the creepiest cosmic spookshow ever witnessed!” MR: Do you have more Cryptozoic Man planned beyond the initial 4 issue arc or are you going to develop a new property together?
WF: I guess that’s really up to dynamite more than us if we will see more cryptozoic man. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/11/25/comic-book-mens-walt-flanagan-on-cryptozoic-man/
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NEWSARAMA INTERVIEW - CREATIVE VISIONS: ROBSON & GISCHLER ON NOIR'S SHADOW-Y GUEST STAR11/21/13 @ 2:44 pm EST
The television series Grimm
is a hit and has built a loyal fan base. So when Dynamite Entertainment
started putting together the creative team for a comic book series based on the show, they did the smart thing… the got two of the show’s writers to do the scripts. Marc Gaffen
and Kyle McVey
sat down with Jim Zub
to talk about the Grimm Universe, writing Nick Burkhardt’s
adventures and keeping the fans happy. JIM ZUB: What themes or characters draw you to Grimm?
MARC GAFFEN: The biggest draw for us is that Nick’s story is, at its root, a simple fish-out-of-water story. The idea of a hidden world right in front of our faces has always been a fascination. And it leaves us with a lot of room to pull from history and bend it to our will. “Oh you thought Ancient Egypt was weird before, let us tell ya a little something about that.“ It’s fun. From Fraggle Rock to the X-men, the discovery that things aren’t always as they seem and a character trying to make sense of the insanity always resonates with people. JZ: Are there any favorite episodes that spring to mind?
MG: I think we both have a great fondness for an episode from the first season called “Tarantella”. It introduced the the Spinnetod creature. The creature wasn’t just some senseless monster, but someone that has to kill in order to survive. You feel for the Spinnetod because death is a necessary part of their life cycle. That kind of conflict has become the lynchpin for this latest season of the TV show and we hope that we’re bringing that same sense of dimension to the characters in the comic books. Drama resides in shades of grey…and we love that. JZ: I know fans of these properties can be sticklers for detail. How often do you find yourself re-watching episodes as you’re working away on a script?
KYLE MCVEY: Oh boy, you just mentioned one of the biggest fears any writer/genre writer has. People love the material so much that they have far longer memories than us when it comes to the little details. Make no mistake, in that regard the Grimm fan base are no slackers. They know their stuff. So we are always very cognizant of that fact. We want to give them something new but have it be informed by all that has come before us. It can be tough to keep it straight. JZ: Do you worry about making a comic like this appealing to a casual reader, someone who hasn’t watched the series before?
KM: We talk about this all the time. It can be tricky pleasing the hardcore Grimmsters’ thirst for a growing mythology while providing new readers with a welcome entry to the series. At this point in the run, we’re doing a couple really exciting, self-contained issues that play just like an episode of the show. They’re a great entry point for new fans before we go off the rails for Nick’s next globe-trotting arc. But we do try to tow the line and let the reader know what’s going on in each issue. Give them a little taste of what this world is all about before we toss them in the deep end. JZ: This issue seems to be playing with superhero-comic tropes more than the typical fantasy ones of the show. How did this story come about?
KM: We both grew up HUGE DC/Marvel comic book fans and here we’ve been given this world to play in where there are people hiding among us with secret abilities. Sound familiar? So it was nice to ditch the fairy tale set up and tackle the Grimm world from another angle. We live in a society where we’re constantly inundated with super hero’s in the media and in some cases (ie. The Rain City Superhero Movement) people have actually taken it upon themselves to live out their super hero fantasies. Imagine being a young Wesen, inbued with these amazing abilities, how could you resist the urge to suit up? JZ: How tightly do you write your comic stories – Are they full script with panel counts and detailed descriptions or more outline-style for the artist?
MG: We tend to be very detailed when we write a script. We specifically describe the shots we’re looking for. But at the same time we always tell the artist he has free reign if he has a better way to visually get the panel across. Comics are a highly collaborative medium — with the artist, inker, letterer, and our editor — and in the end the best idea, no matter where it comes from, wins. JZ: Do you have any particular writing habits or routine?
MG: Kyle and I are actually complete opposites when it comes to writing habits, but it is also very beneficial. I’m a morning writer, all my creativity runs from 8am to 3pm – but after 3 I usually become brain dead. While Kyle is a night writer. So we break the outline of an issue or an arc together, then I’l work on the script in the morning and send it off to Kyle in the afternoon, where he’ll work at it all night. JZ: What other projects, comic or otherwise, have you got on tap for 2014?
KM: Besides the comics, we have a couple things we’re really excited about next year. We currently have a film called “ReEnactment” that is in preproduction and slated to film next Spring. It’s a horror comedy in the same vein as “Evil Dead” or “Slither” that revolves around a bunch of Confederate Zombies that come back to life seeking REVENGE! Come on. Admit it. You know you’ve always wanted that movie. We’re also in the midst of writing an episode for “Grimm” that should be airing some time in March. And if we’re lucky, we’ll get to keep writing comics. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun so far. www.bleedingcool.com/2013/11/20/pleasing-the-hardcore-grimmsters-gaffen-and-mcvey-on-writing-grimm/
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NEWSARAMA INTERVIEW - EDDIE ROBSON & GARTH ENNIS TALK RED TEAM11/21/13 @ 2:43 pm EST
As this week’s Creative Visions
column with guest-writer Eddie Robson continues, today he sits down with writer Victor Gischler. Gischler has done plenty of work for publishers like Marvel Comics, but recently has been doing work for Dynamite.
While his newest series, Noir
, stars the lesser known noir heroines of The Black Sparrow and Miss Fury, the first issue starts out with another hero from the era that Gischler is familiar with: The Shadow.
Robson talked with Gischler about the mini-series, with the first issue on stands now, and talks about The Shadow’s appearance, with some teases of what’s coming up. Eddie Robson
is a new mini-series, so give us the pitch, please! Victor Gischler
an Indiana Jones
style treasure hunt adventure story, but with a tone and elements that we'd associate with noir, murder betrayal and so on. The first issue guest stars The Shadow, and the adventure continues with a couple of lethal ladies known as The Black Sparrow and Miss Fury. Robson
: How did this book come about? Were you given any of the elements? Gischler
: It started with a pretty casual remark to Joe Rybandt. I was writing an arc of The Shadow
and introducing The Black Sparrow, and it was right around the same time that the first issue of Miss Fury
debuted. I thought it would be cool to get those two crazy gals together to see what might happened. It went from there. Robson
: How did you handle writing The Shadow
? We all know who he is – but what’s his character? Gischler
: Basically, I kept two things in mind.
1. You have to give these characters trouble. It gets boring fast if everyone is having a nice day. You need some trouble to stir things up. The Shadow is a pretty confident guy. What if something undermined that confidence? What if his powers were a bit on the blink? That was how I started my thought process when approaching the project.
2. It's not just The Shadow. It's Cranston too. I wanted to get into his head a bit. You have
to have The Shadow. Obviously. But there are times I find Cranston a little more interesting. Robson
: What were you looking for from Andrea Mutti’s artwork on this? Gischler
: Something to fit with the noir mood. I think Mutti's art and Vlad's colors combine really well to accomplish this. Robson
: What else have you got coming up? Gischler
: The first issue of Clown Fatale
just came out a couple days ago and is my homage to (and parody of) grindhouse exploitation cinema and is just ridiculous in the best way, I think. 47North is also serializing my epic fantasy novel Ink Mage
on Amazon.com. Some other things are in the works too but not quite ready to share yet. Eddie Robson is the writer of Dynamite's The Art Of Sean Phillips, as well as Doctor Who: Skyjacks! and Captain America: Living Legend (both with Andy Diggle) and forthcoming strips for 2000AD. He also writes radio comedy for the BBC - his series Welcome To Our Village, Please Invade Carefullyis available from iTunes and Audible - and Doctor Who audios for Big Finish Productions. You can find him on Twitter: @EddieRobson
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COMIC VINE INTERVIEW: ELLIOTT SERRANO TALKS TO VICTOR GISCHLER ABOUT NOIR #111/21/13 @ 2:42 pm EST
We continue our ongoing column where Dynamite creators talk about their craft together here. Today we have Eddie Robson, whose retrospective on The Art of Sean Phillips
is in stores now (not to mention Captain America: Living Legend
), chatting with Garth Ennis, writer of Red Team
and more for Dynamite.
The pair talk about the final two issues of Red Team
– and about what’s to come for the team when they return for a second series. Ennis also drops some hints about what’s to come for him in 2014 from other publishers, including a return to a Marvel character. Eddie Robson
: This is the penultimate issue of Red Team
. What kind of a wrap-up can we expect? Garth Ennis
: On the one hand you've got quite an intense action sequence, as Red Team struggle to survive a firefight with a much larger and better-equipped force. On the other, what they've been up to over the past six issues has to be resolved with their position as officers of the NYPD- along with the question of just who Eddie and Trudy have been telling their story to. Robson
: What have you enjoyed most about Red Team
: Developing the characters, watching them plan their incredibly risky undertaking and then try to live with the results of it. A big part of that has been working with Craig Cermak, who's brought the characters to life in a way that few artists could. Robson
: Is there going to be any more from Red Team
in the future? Ennis
: There'll be a second series, which I'm working on right now: It's called “Double Tap, Centre Mass,” which roughly translated from ballistics-speak means "two bullets through the heart". Robson
: It seems like it’s a good time for crime comics these days. Ten years ago there seemed to be hardly any. Do you think that’s true and if so, why do you think it is? Ennis
: I never pay too much attention to whether the time is right for any particular story; I tend to just think them up and do them. One or two can certainly kick the door down for more. Robson
: What else have you got coming up? Ennis
: 2014's going to be a busy year for me. First up there's the aforementioned second series of Red Team
From Avatar, I've got Rover Red Charlie
starting next month and another new series, Caliban
, in February. My Crossed
arc for next year is called “The Thin Red Line,” which is the story of the initial outbreak – that begins in Crossed: Badlands
The same month sees the third series of Dicks
, with John McCrea, and looking further ahead there'll be a new War Story
ongoing series from Avatar and a Punisher
mini with Goran Parlov. Eddie Robson is the writer of Dynamite's The Art Of Sean Phillips, as well as Doctor Who: Skyjacks! and Captain America: Living Legend (both with Andy Diggle) and forthcoming strips for 2000AD. He also writes radio comedy for the BBC - his series Welcome To Our Village, Please Invade Carefully is available from iTunes and Audible - and Doctor Who audios for Big Finish Productions. You can find him on Twitter: @EddieRobson
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ELLIOTT SERRANO: Hey Victor! Thanks for chatting with me about NOIR #1! Where do you see the book fitting in with Dynamite Entertainment's other books in the "noir" line?BLEEDING COOL INTERVIEW - THE SHADOW AND THE GREEN HORNET THROUGH THE EYES OF BATMAN PRODUCER MICHAEL USLAN11/21/13 @ 2:39 pm EST
Dynamite has an excellent stable of pulp books and this fits squarely into that period pulp genre of the 1930s-40s. It's what makes it so cool to be able to have a book in which we have both the Shadow and Miss Fury. Dynamites pulp line includes some of the strongest most entertaining books out there if you ask me. ES: Did you have a choice in the characters you could use in the debut issue?
It was actually a discussion of the characters that led into the idea for NOIR, so they came first. I was casually kicking around the notion of Miss Fury and Black Sparrow getting together with Joe and the idea just seemed to take on a life of its own. He later tossed in the idea to kick things off with The Shadow as a guest star which I thought would be very cool. ES: How familiar were you with The Black Sparrow before you started writing her adventures?
Actually, nobody was familiar with her at all. I invented her for my run on The Shadow and she came together well enough that we wanted to see her again. I take it as a compliment that she seems like the sort of character that's already been around for a while. I'm not sure what the future is for The Black Sparrow, but I'd love the opportunity sooner or later to delve into her back story. ES: We see as much of the "heroes" out of their costumes as in them. Do you find them to be more compelling as "civilians" than as their alter-egos? Or vice-versa?
Both. I find Cranston just as interesting as The Shadow. We know what the Shadow's powers are, but I wanted to explore a little bit what it means to be a wealthy man about town and what sort of "powers" that entails. Some issues of the arc have them almost entirely in costume ... less so in other issues. Also, when a couple of characters go for a drink or something like that, it just seems slightly silly to have them in costume. Also it's kind of fun to dress up the characters in 1930s-40s attire. I spend an odd amount of time Googling women's vintage clothing. ES: It's funny, but doesn't The Shadow have the ability to "cloud the minds of men"? Does the power not work on women? (Insert joke here)
I'm not going near a joke here with a ten foot pole. I'll let readers invent their own. But it was established in the REVOLUTION arc of The Shadow (in which the Shadow was having a little trouble with his powers) that The Black Sparrow was one of those rare individuals who is immune to Shadow's powers. I think that makes for much more interesting interactions between them if he doesn't have all of his usual advantages. ES: How much research did you do in coming up with the story of the Knights Templar?
I actually saw something on the History Channel about the Newport Tower and from there Google and Wikipedia took me the rest of the way. I used the basics of the research but then twisted things around for my own purposes. Anyone who knows about the different theories of the Newport Tower will easily be able to see what I've used and where I've departed to create my own kick-ass action adventure story. ES: There are betrayals, double-crosses and constant changes in alliances. How do you keep track of everything?
Character things like alliances and betrayals I have no problem remembering. It's details I often forget, and I'm constantly checking previous issues to remind myself what I've done. It's not so bad for something like a 5-issue mini, but if I ever do a five-year run on a book, I'll probably have to dedicate a wall in my office for some kind of elaborate flow chart. ES: There's a very cinematic, serial adventure feel to your story. What films, if any, influence your storytelling?
Absolutely. Adventure "treasure hunt" films like Indiana Jones and National Treasure provide a very basic blueprint of the style of story I'm going for. But the difference here --as the title suggests -- is the tone. A little grittier. A little more noir. What if Raiders of the Lost arc had been directed by Billy Wilder? I like to think of those possibilities. What if National Treasure had been directed by Sam Peckinpah? ES: What's your dream line-up in the "noir line"?
I don't really know what the plans are beyond this first arc. But the real dream for a book like this is that the line-up could always be changing. Sparrow and Miss Fury this time ... maybe Miss Fury and Green Hornet next time. Or The Back Sparrow and Doc Savage. You could crack open a beer and daydream about the possibilities all day. ES: Thanks for taking the time!
Happy to! NOIR #1 is now on sale, as is ARMY OF DARKNESS: THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN TPB by Serrano.
Elliott Serrano is a freelance writer and resident "geek specialist" for the Chicago Redeye (redeyechicago.com/geektome). He has been dubbed the "King of Geeks in Chicago" by tv/radio personality Laurence Holmes (NBC5/WSCR 670AM) and "Chicago's Clark Kent" by Eisner Award winner Gene Ha. You can follow him and learn about the ways of the Force on Twitter (@ElliottSerrano).
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Michael UslanBLEEDING COOL INTERVIEW - PAUL TOBIN ON HOW AN ELEVATOR RIDE LED TO WRITING THE BIONIC WOMAN11/21/13 @ 2:39 pm EST
is probably best known as one of the producers of the Batman
movies and a regular on all of the Comic Book documentaries. Some may know that he was the first to teach an accredited course in comic book folklore. But did you know that Uslan’s first attempt at comic book writing was back in 1975 on the Shadow
for DC Comics
? So it has to be an amazing trip to end up back on the Shadow
almost four decades later. Uslan chatted with Jai Nitz
about the Dark Nights
series and more. JAI NITZ: Michael Uslan is writing The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Knights. Michael, what was your first attempt to write a comic script? The trustworthy Internet says it was for The Shadow in 1975 when you were trying to produce a film adaptation.
MICHAEL USLAN: I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time (Unabashed Stan Lee-type plug: For the full story, read my auto-biography, THE BOY WHO LOVED BATMAN, published by Chronicle Books) and became the alternating writer on the mid-1970′s DC Comics “Shadow” classic series under the mentorship of the legendary Denny O’Neil. My first ever pro script was The Shadow #9 (cover by Joe Kubert!) followed by The Shadow #11 (cover by Mike Kaluta) which featured the one and only meeting of The Shadow and The Avenger. From there, I wrote a plethora of DC mystery comics, the most notable being “Hopping Down The Bunny Trail” for The Unexpected. This story has since been named: One of the top nine horror comic book stories of all time;
One of the scariest comic book stories ever;
The Best Easter comic book story ever; and maybe
One of the Sickest comic book stories ever!
Then, I created the DC Comics version of BEOWULF (recently revived in the pages of both Wonder Woman and Sword of Sorcery) and got to write BATMAN… my dream come true since age 8! I was also honored to be the first person to write “The Question” after creator Steve Ditko’s departure… AND… I got to work with artist Alex Toth! JN: You’re known for producing all the Batman films and for being a famous comic book fan before it was cool. But The Shadow and Green Hornet are radio/pulp characters. Did you love radio serials and pulps as much as comics?
MU: They are all intertwined along with the movie serials of the 1930′s to 50′s. Superman aside, it was almost impossible to get comic book super-heroes on screen or on TV in the years following the demise of the movie serials. When WJRZ in Newark, NJ began re-broadcasting old-time dramatic radio show on Sunday afternoons, it lit up my imagination and gave me the closest thing to super-heroes outside of Zorro on TV. I’ve always loved the fedora-clad men of mystery. I attended the world’s first ever ComiCon when I was in 7th grade, and the night cosplay was born there, I was dressed as DC’s 1940 Sandman… fedora, cape, and gas mask in place! Additionally, my comic book writing has included The Shadow, The Green Hornet, The Sprit (both in color and in black & white), The Question, and a pulp-version of Batman I created in my hardback graphic novel in 2004, DETECTIVE #27. All fedoras! JN: Did you approach Dynamite with the idea for Dark Knights, or did they come to you?
MU: Nick and I had been talking for years about finding some ways to work together. He liked the notion of the guy who wrote the one and only meeting between The Shadow and The Avenger back in The Shadow #11 in the mid-70′s, being the guy to write the first meeting of The Shadow and The Green Hornet. And I totally wanted to write The Shadow again after some 35 years! I was also friendly with The Shadow’s driving creative force, Walter Gibson, and had the advantage of having spent time with Walter talking Shadow, learning many things that I could inject into my writing. JN: What’s Dark Knights about? Can you give me the Hollywood pitch?
MU: A threat so titanic that it forces The Shadow to team-up with The Green Hornet! A plot so deadly that it involves real events in history and such famous and infamous people as Woodrow Wilson, Rasputin, J. Edgar Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Nikola Tesla! An unstoppable power will plunge the world into darkness… and no one but our two crime-fighting icons can stop it! JN: Is it time for a new Shadow movie? Or should we just be happy that Orson Welles was the best who ever lived and his radio Shadow will always be the best in our mind’s eye?
MU: The Shadow is such a classic character! His prose novels are being reprinted two per month and Dynamite has several Shadow comic book series underway. He’s as relevant today as at any time. I wrote DARK NIGHTS, cinematically in three acts. That, to me, is written as a movie. Sure, be it feature films or a quality television series, The Shadow belongs in the eye of the global public. JN: What’s next for you at Dynamite? What other projects do you have upcoming?
MU: I just did a fun Batman story with artist Dave Bullock for BATMAN BLACK & WHITE #2. If you haven’t seen the cool trailer for it, go to youtube and search: Batman black and white silent knight. We’ve had almost 51,000 views so far on youtube alone! Next up for me will be a graphic novel/comic book story of historic proportions. From the guy who brought you “Archie Gets Married,” here comes… “FAREWELL BETTY & VERONICA!” Riverdale and its inhabitants will never be the same!
For Dynamite? I’ll just have to wait and see if Nick calls. He has an inkling there are a couple of Shadow team-ups I would love to do when the time is right… a great villain I would like to have The Shadow battle… and even a property that was a favorite of mine as a kid that I think he just may have the rights to now… Who knows? But it has been a blast working with everyone at Dynamite! They were supportive, helpful, and real pros. www.bleedingcool.com/2013/11/18/the-shadow-and-the-green-hornet-through-the-eyes-of-batman-producer-michael-uslan/
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BLEEDING COOL INTERVIEW - JIM ZUB, THE SWORD AND SORCERY GO-TO GUY11/14/13 @ 11:25 am EST
The TV series The Bionic Woman
was a hit back in the 1970′s but didn’t do so well when redone a couple years back. But what television couldn’t do, Dynamite Entertainment
can. The first story arc of the Paul Tobin
written run is being collected and Jai Nitz
sat down to talk to the writer about how he got involved and what he has planned for Jaime Summers
. JAI NITZ: Did you watch the original Bionic Woman series when it aired? How did that play into your take on this book?
PAUL TOBIN: I did watch some of the original series when I was younger, so I already had a love for the character and the world she lived in. Some of that made its way into the series, but Dynamite and I were really interested in bringing a freshness to Jaime, a feeling that she lived in THIS world, so my method was to write her as if she was a new plant from a vintage seed, as it were. JN: Paul, you’re known for Bandette and Colder and other fan favorites. What attracted you to this book?
PT: Every book I’ve ever worked on, every book I create, my thing is always character… what makes a person tick, why they do the things they do, and more importantly what they do when they’re NOT saving the world, because I need to believe in them before I care about the story. Character comes first for me. It’s what gives credence to the stakes. JN: Is your take more Philip K. Dick or Paul Verhoeven?
PT: My take is always Paul Tobin. I think it’s important to avoid too much thinking about someone else’s style / presentation when I write. I don’t want to do my version of their works. JN: How did you come to Dynamite?
PT: Nick Barrucci and I met in an elevator while heading off to a convention party, and we discussed me maybe doing some work for Dynamite. We were both a little tipsy at the time, but it still sounded good in the morning. So we went for it. I’m a big pulp fan, and so many of the best pulp characters, the best characters overall, are under the Dynamite umbrella… it’s just a natural for me to dip my fingers into the pie now and then. JN: I’m always fascinated with how writers write. We know there’s no skeleton key to unlock all the secrets, but talk about your process. How do you write a script?
PT: The first thing I do is conceive the basic plot. What’s happening. WHY it’s happening. How the bad guys get involved. How the good guys get involved. Just the basics. I write that up in a paragraph or so, mulling it over to make sense. After I feel good about it, I expand on it, bringing it up to between a half page or a full page of basic events. Then I begin the process of breaking it down into what happens on each page… basically how much space I can “spend” on each event. After that, I break the individual pages down into panels with rough staging / dialogue, etc. Then it’s just a matter of going through and formatting it, bringing it to life, so that other people (editors, pencillers, letterers, colorists, pretty girls at coffee shops) will understand what I’m talking about. JN: This is the first Bionic Woman TPB. Do you feel it stands alone, or should readers look for the last five issues to really get the whole series?
PT: It could work as a stand-alone, but work BETTER to have the whole run. JN: What’s next for you at Dynamite? What other projects do you have upcoming?
PT: Dynamite and I are still discussing next projects. Meanwhile, I’m still doing my Eisner award winning Bandette
, and there will be more Colder
with Juan Ferreyra over at Dark Horse. Speaking of Dark Horse, I’ll be releasing a Prometheus
comic as part of a big crossover with Aliens
. And a Witcher
comic from Dark Horse as well. There are a couple of upcoming releases from Oni… graphic novels. And I have an Adventure Time
series coming out soon, which has been a lot of fun. Fairly soon, I should be announcing my next novels, because my Prepare To Die! novel was by no means my last. And there’s some projects in other media as well. And at least 3 comic titles that haven’t been announced yet. So… quite a lot, really! www.bleedingcool.com/2013/11/18/paul-tobin-on-how-an-elevator-ride-lead-to-writing-the-bionic-woman/
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Jim ZubBLEEDING COOL INTERVIEW - VICTOR GISCHLER TALKS FEMALE PULP HEROES AND HIS NEW SERIES NOIR11/14/13 @ 11:20 am EST
is building quite a name for himself as a comic book writer working on titles such as Skullkickers
and Samurai Jack
as well as award-winning cartoon Makeshift Miracle
. Jai Nitz
caught up with Zub to talk about fantasy comics and what the writer has in store for his readers in the near future. JAI NITZ: Jim, you’re known for SKULLKICKERS, but you’ve got SAMURAI JACK coming out from IDW and PATHFINDER from Dynamite. You’re making quite a name for yourself as a sword & sorcery go-to guy. What attracts you to the genre?
JIM ZUB: I love the supernatural and mythic elements at the core of great fantasy stories and, as you might imagine, it guided my reading/watching/playing all through my youth. Magic, monsters, and fantastic new places grounded by direct conflict and intense emotions. Fantasy as a genre really pushes all my buttons. JN: What’s your favorite under-the-radar piece of fantasy entertainment (book, movie, comic, game, etc.)?
JZ: They were popular in their heyday, but I don’t feel like the “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser” novels get their due nowadays. The series is classic pulp fantasy with a wicked balance of action and humor. It was definitely a big inspiration behind Skullkickers, my action-fantasy-comedy series at Image. JN: Are you afraid of getting pigeonholed as the “sword guy” in comics?
JZ: As recent as about 6 months ago that kind of thing worried me, but I’m realizing that being “known” for something is better than not being known at all.
Superhero stories have almost as many mythic elements as any sword-swinging tale, so I don’t think I’m cut off from other opportunities. A good story involves engaging characters and plot, and that should hold true regardless of genre. I hope my writing stands out on those levels above and beyond just being pigeonholed as “sword & sorcery”. JN: Tell me about PATHFINDER. You’re ten issues into your run. How do you feel about the issue-to-issue story and the macro arcs in the book?
JZ: Building personalities and back stories for the six iconic characters in the Pathfinder group and juggling their individual goals issue by issue has been a really fun challenge. When I’m building the plot for the series I’m rarely worried about how I’m going to fill the page count. The world that Paizo has put together is richly textured and has so much potential. It’s more about focusing on the characters and the part of the world they’re in rather than worrying about having enough material to work with.
If I do my job well than it should read like a great gaming session filled with memorable characters and new twists on the classic dungeon-delving paradigm. The Pathfinder fans seem to be responding well to it and comic readers who are coming to the property for the first time are getting on board even if they haven’t played the game, which is really satisfying. JN: It would stun me if you weren’t a roleplay gamer. Have you played the Pathfinder game, or do you play other pencil-and-paper RPGs?
JZ: Oh yeah, big time. I’ve been playing tabletop RPGs since I was around eight years old, starting with my older brother and cousins and carrying through high school, college, and beyond as much as time allows with dozens of different groups. I love the “interactive story building” elements of gaming and feel it’s been key to improving my ability to create characters, build plots, and come up with fun and unexpected scenes in my comic writing.
If you name an RPG, chances are that I’ve played it at some point or another, Pathfinder included. JN: I still play D&D with the same group of guys I’ve played with forever. But I find the things that make D&D great (spontaneity, our unique humor, etc.) don’t translate well to comics. Was it tricky to find that balance on PATHFINDER or your other books?
JZ: I think it can be tricky, absolutely The spontaneous nature of the gaming table obviously has to give way to a more structured plot, but I try to inject the little character moments and mix up the action in ways that can resemble the madcap action of rolling dice at the table.
I make sure that everything I write for the Pathfinder comic could happen in a game (general stats, spells, etc.) but make sure the personality and motivations of the characters comes first. The structure of the game should provide a strong storytelling foundation, not a straitjacket of limitations holding it back. JN: Talk about Sean Izaakse and Ross Campbell, the art team on PATHFINDER. I think they’re amazing. How are they at bringing your story to life?
JZ: Sean has been a wonderful collaborator on the series. His storytelling is top notch and he makes sure each character is clear and appropriate for the scenes I put together. “Team” books can be really tough to illustrate, especially when the action starts, but Sean makes it look effortless. Even when there are characters weaving in and out of battle against a horde of monsters, it’s never visually confusing or muddy. JN: What’s coming up in the present and future from Jim Zub?
JZ: I’m committed to Pathfinder through the third story arc and we’re talking about the possibilities beyond that.
Samurai Jack at IDW will be running for at least 10 issues, though if sales are strong my fingers are crossed that we can make it an ongoing series.
The fifth arc of Skullkickers will be coming out from Image in early 2014.
I have several creator-owned projects brewing at different publishers that I’m excited about and am hoping at least 1 or 2 of those will be announced soon.
In short, I’m happily busy and looking forward to 2014. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/11/13/jim-zub-the-sword-and-sorcery-go-to-guy/
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career has been built around gritty/edgy storytelling. Whether in his novels like Gun Monkeys
or Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse
or his comic work on anti-heroic characters like the Punisher
, Gischler has always had a noir feel to his work. Jai Nitz
sat down and talked to the writer about his new pulp filled series Noir
for Dynamite Entertainment
. JAI NITZ: Vic you’re writing NOIR at Dynamite. It’s an ass-kicking girl team up. Who’s your favorite ass-kicking girl in fiction (or reality)?
VICTOR GISCHLER: You know, with characters like Red Sonja and Miss Fury (and now Black Sparrow!) Dynamite has a pretty good roster of ass-kicking ladies. I’ve also always been a huge fan of the Katee Sackhoff portrayal of Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica. There’s just something about that combination of tough and sexy that really hits the target. Uma Thurman in KILL BILL is pretty kick ass too. I think there is a sub-category of female characters in comics and movies and literature unofficially known as “I dig her but she scares me.” JN: You’re a novelist and comic writer known for crime works. Everyone should read your novels and comics to see your unique blend of humor and blood. What are some of the movies or TV in the genre you like the most?
VG: Something like The Rockford Files for TV. Jim Rockford is always getting his ass kicked, yet he comes out on time (more or less) every week. As a kid, I stayed with my grandparents a lot, and they were the first people on their block to have cable TV. (Back then that was like a whopping 14 channels or something.) The result is that I saw a lot of old movies that were a big influence on my story telling. Noir films like DOUBLE INDEMNITY and westerns like SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON. Those influences were huge … as well as old sci-fi movies like LOGAN’S RUN and PLANET OF THE APES. Words “B movie” and “Pulp” figure strongly among things that influence me. JN: You’ve worked on a few different titles at Dynamite. How did NOIR come to be?
VG: It was kind of an off-handed comment to Joe that two kick-ass female characters like The Black Sparrow and Miss Fury should team up together. The idea just clicked. It was one of those ideas that really pitched itself. Then it was either Joe or Nick that tossed in the idea we should toss The Shadow into the mix to kick things off. It was really a friendly organic kind of conversation and before I could say BOO I was scripting. JN: You’ve enjoyed success at Marvel, Dark Horse, and Dynamite while still writing novels. What does a Gischler comic script look like? How do you write a comic script?
VG: When I first started writing at Marvel, I was given a script and told “This is what they look like.” I haven’t deviated from that format since although I’ve come to realize formats vary wildly from one creator to another. Some panels I’m almost like the director of a film and I want the character to stand a certain way with certain things visible in the background and it’s very detailed. Then in other panels I might write “Character A punches character B” and let the artists decide which way is best to present that. If I catch myself getting overly detailed in a description and I think I might be stepping on the artists toes, I’ll pull it back a bit. A good artist will make MER look good, so it’s always smart to give them enough room to let that happen. JN: Can you describe NOIR in one sentence for a newbie?
VG: A rollicking Indiana Jones style adventure with a gritty noir vibe. JN: Talk about Andrea Mutti and what he brings to the table. You’ve worked together before right?
VG: Actually, it’s out first time teaming up. I’m thinking of a specific panel in the first issue in which we are close up on Black Sparrow smoking a cigarette and the vibe is very noir. I think that’s what Mutti brings to the book is a visual sense of what “noir” means. JN: What’s next for you at Dynamite and other companies? What other projects do you have upcoming?
VG: Nothing solid with Dynamite yet, but I had a good talk with Nick at NYCC about what sort of thing I might do next, and I’m eager to clear my schedule so I can do the next big thing … whatever that might be. Dynamite has a stable of great characters and they’re always coming up with new things. For Dark Horse, the next issue of KISS ME, SATAN should be hitting soon and also the first issue of CLOWN FATALE my homage to and parody of 70s exploitation and grind house films with a goofy twist. And currently, Amazon’s 47North is serializing my epic fantasy novel INK MAGE. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/11/12/victor-gischler-talks-noir/