Monday, March 30, 2015

Royal Jelly: April 1st 2015

UFOlogy variant by Alison Sampson
Space Riders 1 (of 4)
Cluster #3
Feathers #4
UFOlogy 1 (Alison Sampson variant)
Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. 1952 #5 (Of 5)
Neverboy #2 (Of 6)
Lady Killer #4 (Of 5)
Arkham Manor Endgame #1 (One Shot)
Convergence #0 (Of 8)
Names #8 (Of 9)
Dying And The Dead #2
Poet Anderson The Dream Walker #1 (Of 3)
Return Of The Living Deadpool #3 (Of 4)
Spider-Gwen #3
Convergence #0
Dark Ages

Attack On Titan Before The Fall Volume 4
Attack On Titan Volume 15

Michael Moorcock Library Volume 1 Elric Of Melnibone HC

Hey it's that time again, time to publish my pull list for this week's new comic book day. As usual in the world of comics, we have a lot coming out but I do my best to let you know everything that I am grabbing. I also like to include a lot of new titles which I think will be of particular interest and keep you all up to date on past series which are making it to trade or hard cover release!

As they have threatened it for a number of months now, DC is finally starting the whole Convergence thing. It starts with issue zero this week. They claim that this is the biggest story in history of the DCU. You just might want to take a look at this. I know I will. Also from DC is Arkham Manor Endgame one-shot with cover by Rafael Albuquerque who you probably remember from the media stir recently over the Batgirl #41. However, you should really remember him from all the amazing art he's done over the years, personal favorite being American Vampire.

From my new favorite label Black Mask comes neon space odyssey Space Riders. You can read my full review right HERE.

From Darkhorse we have the continuation of Neverboy. Please check out my interview with creators HERE if you haven't already.  Then we've got more Lady Killer, and the conclusion of Hellboy and the BPRD 1952.

Image is bringing us a new title with UFOlogy #1 with this amazing variant cover by Alison Sampson. This cover might be super hard to get with a 100 copy order requirement. yeeesh! I'll just cross my fingers.

From Marvel we've got the continuation of Spider-Gwen and Return of the Living Deadpool. Both have some of the best art I've seen from Marvel in a long time. Very pleased with both of these.

For the Manga fans and Attack on Titan fanatics, there are two volumes finally being released. Is it just me, or do you feel like you have an extra long wait for these?

Titan releases Michael Moorcock Library Volume 1  beginning with Elric Of Melnibone. This collects the first adaptation of the Moorcock classic.

Finally, I just want to remind everyone that my favorite series of 2014 is being released in trade this week! Pop was such an awesome mini series, if you had not picked it up in singles, you are going to want to put this on your pull list now.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Space Riders #1

I have been anticipating this one for a LONG time. Bloody Disgusting recently called it "Fucking Sublime" but all I can really say is "Alexis Ziritt nailed it". You will be blown away to this neon colored homage to the greats of comic legend. While Bloody Disgustin's article compared Ziritt's style of illustration to Kirby, I kept seeing elements of Ditko. For whatever reason I'm more reminded of Strange Tales. Anyway....   It's all wrapped up in a story which rides the rails of action. It's pretty fucking fun. Space Riders is being released by Black Mask Comics who has been really busy lining up an amazing year of releases. I can't express just how satisfied I am with Black Mask right now.

So Captain Peligro is a Spanish, one-eyed captain who sadly, got stranded on a planet. His old employer the E.I.S.F. decides to dig him up for a mission to prove himself once more. One of the conditions is that he doesn't go trying to enlist the help of his x-first mate. The whole thing is too much fun. Fabian Rangel Jr and Ziritt make an excellent team and I hope they plan on working together again in the future. I know I've got my eye on Alexis Ziritt, that's for certain.

You can expect to get your copy of this April 1st!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Mike Carey: ALL about John Constantine

A few things: you probably know that I'm a gigantic Hellblazer fan. HUGE. You may also know that one of my favorite writers from the series is Mike Carey. You may have also remembered my outrage when DC did the worst thing I could think of: they pulled the Hellblazer title from the Vertigo universe and pulled John Constantine into the New 52 at the beginning of 2013. Now recently, DC announced that they have decided to end that universe and give John Constantine back a spotlight more deserving of him. The new title will begin this spring entitled John Constantine: The Hellblazer. I couldn't possibly be more excited about anything else this year because HELL, one of my favorite people Riley Rossmo is going to be illustrator on this monster and Ming Doyle will be writer! This team has got me pumped! So.. long story short, I wanted to talk to a Hellblazer legend and expert on the history and future of John Constantine. So here's my chat with Vertigo legend Mike Carey.

TFQ: Mike, you held the second longest run of any Hellblazer authors and wrote many of my favorite Hellblazer stories. I wanted to ask your thoughts on the history of Hellblazer along with how he feel about the current title Constantine and the upcoming relaunch Constantine: The Hellblazer. But first what are your thoughts on the last relaunch of Constantine ? What kind of criticism do you personally have?

Mike: I felt like it was a missed opportunity in a lot of ways. John works brilliantly as an ongoing protagonist in a Vertigo milieu. And he works as a walk-on savant stepping out of the shadows in superhero books. Whether he can be made to work as a protagonist in his own solo book in a superhero universe is a different question, and harder to answer. I'd say the jury is still out.

TFQ: How do you feel about the decision to pull John Constantine into the New 52 universe? And how does it feel knowing that universe is coming to an end?

Mike: I absolutely followed the logic of having John at play in the DCU. That was where he started out, and on one of his early appearances in Swamp Thing we saw him mixing with superheroes on the Monitor's space vessel. But I don't think there was any compelling argument to end the Vertigo monthly in order to start the DCU book. Marvel had already made a very convincing case in the Ultimate books for having multiple versions of the same character be in circulation at the same time. Fans weren't puzzled by parallel, mutually exclusive continuities. They took them in their stride. Ultimate Spiderman was over here, and regular Spiderman was over there. All good.

So it seemed to me that an axe had been dropped for no good reason.

The Constantine book has gone up and down in quality as any ongoing book will do. But I've never been able to warm to it because it killed its older brother in order to get itself born.

TFQ: I'm a big fan of Ming Doyle. I'm also a huge fan of Riley Rossmo so for the first time since the end of Peter Milligan's Hellblazer run, I'm actually really excited about a new Constantine title. There is promise to restore him to his original character. How do you feel about the new series and do you have any predictions?
Mike: Ming is amazing as an artist. I'm less familiar with her as a writer. One thing that's certain is that during its Vertigo run every writer was able to re-invent John Constantine in ways that suited their own storytelling styles, while still keeping some core of the character intact. There aren't that many characters who are robust enough to stand that kind of manhandling. So I'm definitely prepared to give this a shot, and I'm curious to see what kind of John Doyle and Rossmo will give us.

TFQ: Would you ever consider writing Hellblazer again if the opportunity arose?

Mike: In a Vertigo context, yes. Not in the DCU. I'm probably all done when it comes to writing ongoing books in a shared continuity with a line-wide editorial mandate. It's fun, but you have to dedicate a big chunk of your waking life just to staying on top of what's what.

TFQ: What are your favorite Hellblazer stories of any that are out there?

Mike: My all-time favorite is still HAUNTED by Warren Ellis - utterly superb horror, and the best manifesto for a new take on the character that any writer has ever come up with. Of course, Ellis didn't stick around for the long haul so it's impossible to know what his Constantine would have been like if he'd helmed the book for three or four years or more. But I'm betting it would have been magnificent.

I also love Jamie's run on the book. The Family Man was insanely good.

And Suicide Bridge was a lovely one-off.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Djet on Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker!

If you are a child of the 90's like me, then you probably remember a band called Blink 182 and a man called Tom Delonge who sang in said band. Well in the last couple months Tom announced that he was leaving the band to explore other interests. One of those interests happen to be the world of comics. In 2014 Tom released a short film called Poet Anderson The Dream Walker and this April Magnetic Press will release the mini series is inspired the film. The three part mini series introduces Poet to the world of the dream and is beautifully illustrated by the talented Djet. I was so taken with the beauty of this world I wanted to talk to Djet and find out a little bit about his process. Keep in mind English is not Djet's first language and although I cleaned up the sentences slightly, I wanted to keep as much of his original sentiment as possible.

TFQ: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got involved with this project? What is it like working with Tom Delonge on his vision?

Djet: It happened through a phone call, when I was asked to work on the comic adaptation of the work of Tom Delonge. The implication is made for itself because I was immediately captivated by the history and the visual of the cartoon. I received guidance on the process for the comics by Tom and Ben, via my editor. Which was much easier to understand the ins and outs. The rest is up to the power of the pen. I have not much interaction with Tom, but they let me know if he likes my work (or not: D)

TFQ: How did you begin the character design. Did you have a clear vision what each of the characters would look like?

Apart from Poet and his alter ego, Jonah, I did not have an immediate vision of how to treat the characters. Because we set myself a story that is still different from what is done in the cartoon. It explores the first steps of Poet in the dream world and the first figures that accompany it. Ayo, for example is a complete creation in this universe. They gave me references and images to the design as seen in the comic. The difficulty was being able to recognize my style while maintaining the graphic Poet.

TFQ: Where did you find inspiration for the dreamworld in Poet? 

Djet: The inspiration for the universe was already in place. I could not change it!!! Subsequently, I have a universe that is in line with the original work, with less of a dark side! So I could adapt easily to this dream world.

TFQ: Are there any other artists or books which contributed to how you developed this vibrant world?
Djet: In the work that I love is where I find my inspiration in general and to the cinema with Terry Gilliam, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, or Baron Munchausen (my favorite), novels as the Windwalkers Alain Damasio, Neil Gaiman and recently the work of Sean Murphy. I also work with the « Cabs workshop », designers friends scattered over France. We communicate via internet and they give me the right advice when needed. They are a good source of inspiration and support for a work of this magnitude.

TFQ: What are the challenges you face when illustrating a book that also lives in animation?

There are so many challenges on a project like this. The biggest challenge is to make it as vibrant and dynamic as the animated version. For one, it must combined several ideas. It is a work more amusing elsewhere. I find it exciting to find the angle that can represent several ideas without any show (it will not always happen). Then make sure that will not be just a command. And finally, give the best, because I quickly stress on what people may think of my work, so I don’t want to regret it with half effort. It's not over yet !! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Royal Jelly: March 24th 2015

Arkham Manor # 6 (of 6)
D4VE #2
Curb Stomp #2 (of 4)
The Empty #2
Jem & The Holograms #1
Nightbreed #11
Multiversity Ultra #1
Rumble #4
Walking Dead #139
We Can Never Go Home #1
Wytches #5

Low TP

Angel of Elhamburg GN Vol 1

Gyo Deluxe HC

It's a pretty exciting week! As far as floppies go, we've got the continuation of some great series like D4VE, which found a special place in my heart. The Empty continues this week with it's second issue along with Curb Stomp. I encourage you each to check these out immediately!! You know, before you can't get a copy.

From Black Mask Comics we have  a new debut series called We Can Never Go Home. See all the details and my full review of it HERE.

One new series I'm excited about is Jem and the Holograms! I've been posting pictures on facebook about this for months. IDW is releasing this monster tomorrow from creative team Kelly Thompson and Ross Campbell. I'm pretty much expecting this to be an adult version of my one of my favorite childhood cartoons. It's been explained that the sexuality of the characters isn't typical or linear so I'm excited to see what's what. I'm hoping this will be a modern and inclusive story!

For all you DC fans out there, I'm sad to let you know that the conclusion of Arkham Manor is out this week! I've really enjoyed this mini. I hope to see more of Shawn Crystal illustrating my favorite DC characters soon!

From the world of manga there's a new series being released to us English mouthers. Manga sensation Aki's The Angel of Elhamburg. I'm excited about this medival type story because it unfolds through the eyes of an angel. You probably remember my obsession with Angel Sanctuary.
In addition, my favorite manga writer and artist Junji Ito's marine & body gore horror Gyo is being released in a hardcover deluxe edition. If you loved Uzemaki,you'll love Gyo.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Exclusive Interview with the Creators of Neverboy!

Recent Darkhorse mini series caught me offguard. I had not heard much about it's release until the week before. I was going over my pull list to see this curiously named creature of a title. Neverboy begged some googling and as soon as I caught sight of the cover I knew I had to read this book. Artist Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust) and writer Shaun Simon (Killjoys co-creator) team up to bring you a psychedelic journey across the boarders of reality. Former imaginary friend Neverboy has joined ou reality and made a life for himself. However he can only keep his grip on our world as long as he takes our drugs, be it whatever he can get his hands on. Things start to slip when the drugs run out and reality fades.

I was so personally taken with the beauty of this initial issue that I decided to contact Tyler and Shaun. Both of them gave me some insight into this fantastic world and their process.

TFQ: First off, can you tell me how you teamed up with artist Tyler Jenkins for this project?

Shaun: I had an idea of the art style we needed for the book but didn't have an artist in mind. Sierra, our editor, was sending me lists of great artists and right around this time my brother in law told me to check out this book, Peter Panzerfaust. Tyler's art stuck out to me. He has these thins lines that makes the characters look fragile. I got in touch with him and told him about the project and he was interested.

How did you come up with the concepts behind Neverboy? Has the story been brewing in your head a long time?

Shaun: It started with the question, "what happens to an imaginary friend if the child who created him dies?" I came up with the name and started figuring out who this character was. A book like this can easily wander off into the surreal and I wanted to keep it, Neverboy's story, grounded in the real world. The surreal stuff has more of an impact when it's used sparingly.

It has been in my head for a long time in various incarnations. At one point he was part of a group of people like him but his story always stuck out. I felt it needed to be told on its own.

TFQ: How deep into fantasy will Neverboy take us? What can we expect to get into here?

Shaun: Every issue has fantastical elements to it but, like I said, I didn't want to overdue it and get away from Neverboy's story.

In issue 2 we meet Neverboy's counterpart. Julian Drag is an artist turned taxi driver struggling to find inspiration. He's having a seriously bad day and about to do something about it when a certain imaginary friend comes crashing into his life. 

TFQ: Can you tell me how you developed the look and feel of Neverboy, especially when things get surreal towards the end!

Tyler: This is a hard question to answer. I don’t have a specific process for developing the look of things. In these instances, I knew where we had to go with it and then I “research”. Basically this means looking at cool stuff, stuff that may be semi related, and just feeling my way. With the color waves: oil spills, oceans, waves, drowning, exploding fish tanks, etc ,etc. Nothing specific but all informing the feel of things. and then just drawing until it works out.

TFQ: Can you tell me a bit about what artists or pieces have influenced your artist style?

Tyler: I have a list of artists that have inspired and informed me. They evolve continually and are different year to year. but some reoccurring, even constant, inspirations: and I would say these are the ones I would say my style is most informed by:

Guy Davis (his Marquis is masterful)

Jordi Bernet (Torpedo)

Goran Parlov (Punisher Barracuda,…)

R.M. Guerra (Scalped)

Glyn Dillon (Nao of Brown)

This is maybe the short list, but there are tons of other artist I am inspired by and regularity look at.

TFQ: How does working on Neverboy differ from some of your previous work like PeterPanzerfaust ? Do you take a completely different approach to each book or is the process similar?

Tyler: The process is similar, actually. I thumbnail out the page in small, maybe 1/4 size. Then I lay out the panels on the final are board and pencil it. I pencil super super rough. sometimes just circles for heads, and then Ink it. doing most of the work and detailing with the ink. To paraphrase something Guerra said in an interview: I use the pencil to organize the page only. then draw it with the ink.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We Can Never Go Home #1

Black Mask is a fairly new label (formed in 2012). Their next year of releases is looking pretty amazing. I've been keeping up with the buzz including the new Black Mask TV which is something I'll go into on an entirely separate post. Right now I want to talk about this story - issue 1 of We Can Never Go Home. It may seem like your average super powered teenager story but it's clever script (and kick ass music references) will suck you in regardless of how tired you are of super powers.

For me, the super power plot has lost it's shine. I think that's one of the reasons why I stopped reading They're Not Like Us. Overly dramatic rehashing of stories written repeatedly over the last few decades. This story takes us away from that. These aren't super heroes and the focus isn't on their powers but rather the real challenges that kids can face... like abusive parents and creepy boyfriends who don't know when to stop and school bullies.

Writers Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon have managed to bring a tired theme to a new place we can all enjoy. Artist Joshua Hood brings the characters Maddie and Duncan to life with vibrant colors. All the frustration and complications of growing up in suburbia have found there way into yet another awesome comic book. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of this one.

You can get your copy next Wednesday! March 25th!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Royal Jelly: March 18th 2015

Batgirl #40 (Entire issue by Bengal!!)
Sharper #1 (Darkhorse)
Giant Days #1 (Boom!)
Kitchen #5
Chrononauts #1
Invisible Republic #1
Alex + Ada #13
Spread #6

Usagi Yojimbo Saga: Vol 2
Lazarus Vol 3
Prophet Vol 4

Hey all! I'm moving this week so I may be posting a lot less because I'm soo swamped with work and packing! Luckily there are lots of great books coming out Wednesday to read. I want to mention that Bengal's Batgirl is finally hitting the stands after weeks of anticipation!! Make sure you get your copy whether you read Batgirl or not! I know I will!

I could neat new series starting up. The Boombox imprint from Boom Studios releases Disney animator Lissa Treiman's first comic book mini series Giant Days! All the while Darkhorse is at it with a new interstellar adventure called Sharper!

Two great trades from Image: Prophet Vol 4!!! OMG YES and Lazarus Vol 3!!

Mark Millar's Chrononauts finally comes out  while also from Image Comics we have Gabriel Hardman's new on-going illustration gig Invisible Republic!

Soo much to look forward to but I'm afraid it's back to work for me! :D Until later and keep reading !

Friday, March 13, 2015


I know I'm always following this fairly rigorous pattern of Pull List, Review, Interview, Review, Interview, Pull List, etc. However I don't actually feel like reviewing anything today. I don't have anything mind blowing to say about anything I've been reading the last week or so. Not yet anyway. Perhaps it's simply because I haven't finished reading the larger volumes such as Jodorwosky's The Metabarons which I can only read 50 or so pages at a time because of the demanding backlog of singles I'm suppose to cover for the future.

Then I also try to keep up with my weekly subscriptions. The books I subscribe to monthly which I read purely for enjoyment although sometimes I will write about them too. Those such subscriptions include (but are not limited to) the current runs of Silver Surfer, Spiderman & The X-men, The Kitchen, Spider Gwen, Shutter, Thor, Lady Killer, Feathers, Saga, Dark Engine, Names, Return of the Living Deadpool, Hellboy & the BPRD, Sandman Overture, Rasputin, Nightbreed, Spread, Dark Gods, Arkham Manor, Low, Colder, Bitch Planet, Lazarus, Multiversity, Rumble, Manifest Destiny, Annihilator, and new ones like : Descender, Neverboy, Curb Stomp, The Empty, (and I'm sure I'm missing a SLEW of ones I recently added). WITH NEW TITLES BEING ADDED EVERY WEEK. Of course some of these die off as limited series do. They are always quickly replaced. You can kinda see how it's difficult to keep up and honestly, sometimes I just want to enjoy the read, not critically think or write about it.

On top of that I'm constantly reading advanced copies from every publisher you can imagine yet I don't have time to write about all of them! GAH! Talk about scatterbrained. So what am I looking to read in time for next week's release?!? Chrononauts, Giant Days and Sharper all debut next week. I promise I will try my best to have them read this weekend and up before Wednesday! :D WILL TRY!

So, what are you reading?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Laura Zuccheri on The Sword of Glass

Humanoids has done it again. They've been bringing the English speaking audience original translated content from all around the globe. Next month they bring us The Sword of Glass. Since the very announcement of the release, I've been jumping up and down in anticipation and of course immediately called up my local comic book retailer and pre-ordered a copy. Humanoids has collected the book in it's entirety for the first time in English and pressed it into their classic hardback. The Sword of Glass can be yours on it's release date, April 15th!

This is one of the most beautiful science fiction/fantasy books I've ever seen. A book that the original Humanoids such as Moebius could be truly proud of. In particular, this book endeared itself to me with it's marvelous creatures and forests. It's something I would have expected out of an 80's anime and reminded of me my childhood. In a way it reminded me of Nausicaa due to it's strong female lead and interesting beastiary. However, the story does remind me of old manga and anime, it looks nothing like manga. Illustrator Laura Zuccheri has a completely original voice, drawing from stark realism and mixing it with pure fantasy. The end result is beautiful. So beautiful that it won her the The Grand Guinigi Award for Best Art at Lucca Festival (Italy). 

I contacted Laura with some questions about the book which she answered. I am very happy to share it all with you! Be sure to get your copy on April 15th. Pre-order now!

TFQ: Can you give me a little background on the making of The Sword of Glass and how it all came together? How did you come up with such fantastical looking creatures? They are so unique and beautiful!

Laura: Every inspirations comes from my place in Italy. I live now in Germany but my home is in a little village between Bologna, Ferrara, and Modena North of Italy. Here, there is a beautiful country side, full of history, old medieval castles, churches, old houses, swamps, trees and animals...What is very special is the fog that creates strange atmosphere and light...In this strange place, with little villages around and sleepy people. I grasped ideas of architectures, objects, and characters..This flat environment is special because it is out of the globalization tastes and it gives me the opportunity to make something different. For example, speaking of Karelane I mixed up the old red country houses of my place with the architectures of the white cities like Lecce in Puglia and Noto in Sicily...Concerning of creatures, I picked inspirations up from every kind of objects , people, dogs, monkeys, every kind of shape that remind me of something interesting...

TFQ: The Sword of Glass was originally a French publication, how do you feel about it being translated into English and distributed to a wider audience?

Laura: Being in USA next month is fantastic. My unknown place, life, experiences will be shared with people who lives very far from my culture and my country. I'm very happy, I worked so hard on this project with passion and enthusiasm.

TFQ: In the book, we get to see Yama as a child and an adult. What is it like to draw a character from their early years into adulthood? Is it a heavy challenge?
Laura: I love drawing real character, who grows, improves and learns like in the real life....I grasped the idea of Yama from one of my friends, I like her peculiarity in being a woman out of the conformism, elegant but in the same time funny.

TFQ: What was it like to work with Sylviane Corgiat?

Laura: Sylvane and I are friends, we met each other 9 years ago in Paris and we started to work on this project...It was a pleasure and it was easy work with her, she was very open to my ideas and she's a very good writer...I had a great opportunity!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Royal Jelly: March 11th

Shutter 10
Southern Cross #1
Walking Dead 138
The Surface #1
Howard the Duck #1
Spider Gwen #2
Silver Surfer 10
Spiderman & the X-Men#4
Thor #6
Hellbreak #1

Final Incal
Metabarons Genesis Castaka

Humans Volume 1 Humans For Life TP
Copperhead Volume 1 A New Sheriff In Town TP,

So there are a few spoilers from some of last week's issues in here. I thought I'd remind everyone (while reminding myself) what is going on with my favorite series right now.

So the big question in the Marvel universe (or at least one of them), WHO IS THOR? We know it's not Thor's mom as of a couple issues ago but we're still in the dark. Tomorrow however I'm more concerned with Silver Surfer #10!! At then end of last week's issue Norrin lost the powers cosmic!! 

It's a big day for Marvel because the continuation of Spider Gwen is coming out along with the new Howard the Duck!!

From Image we've got a few new titles including Southern Cross #1 that has a bitching cover by the wonderful Becky Cloonan and also The Surface #1 with story by Ales Kot art by both Langdon Foss & Jordie Bellaire.

On top of that Cullen Bunn's new series debut's tomorrow from label Oni Press. You can read my interview with Cullen right about.... HERE!

Finally, for those of you obsessed with Alejandro Jodorowsky, Humanoids has done another round of printing some pieces of the Jodoverse. We've got the Final Incal with illustration by Jose Ladronn. This edition does not include the pages completed by Moebius which I believe are only included in the deluxe over-sized edition. The we've got Metabarons Genesis: Cataska. This story takes place before the Metabaron's existence and follows the lives of the Cataska, lawless space pirates! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Ramón Pérez on All-New Hawkeye

You may have heard that Hawkeye has a new creative team. You also may have remembered my review of issue #1 from last week. I wanted to get some inside information on the new series for my readers so I contacted Ramón Pérez and he graciously agreed to answer a few questions about the new series. Check it out!

TFQ: Can you tell me about how you got the gig for the All-New Hawkeye?

Ramón: I was contacted by Sana Amanat, the series editor, with whom I had worked before on John Carter: The Gods Of Mars. We had been looking to collaborate again, and when Jeff Lemire had suggested me as an artist for the series, she was happy to extend the invitation to work on the series!

TFQ: In the first issue, you use two very different styles of artwork for the present and then for the flashbacks. How was this decision made and will it continue through the series?

Ramón: The two distinct styles were my choice as I wanted to separate the past from the present in a visual manner. I like the challenge of pushing myself stylistically as well, so it was a natural choice on my part. The present day storyline I wanted to keep in tune with the Fraction/Aja run, to give readers a sense of familiarity. With the past on the other hand I wanted to evoke that sense of memories, that hazy unclear way we often recall the past, the watercolour washes and loose lifework was a perfect way to achieve this. A balance of both styles will carry on through this storyline.

TFQ: How do you decide how to depict a well loved character like Hawkeye as a child?

I thought of his childhood based on what I knew, and Jeff’s script, and certain things came to mind; where he grew up, foster homes, foster parents, the violence, poverty, how this would also affect his clothing and grooming: simple, low maintenance. With that in mind, a picture of a young Hawkey quickly painted himself in my mind.

TFQ: Are there any characters you are dying to draw and will they make an appearance in the All-New Hawkeye series?

Ramón: So far I am more than content with the immediate Hawkeye family… they’ll keep me busy enough as is ;)


Friday, March 6, 2015

Exclusive Interview with James Harvey on Bartkira

A little while back I interviewed James Harvey about the release of Masterplasty by Image Comics. A gritty one-off about a new surgery, the master of all plastic surgery that could make your most beautiful. This artist and story teller has been working on another project this whole time. A project you may or may not have seen in your local comic shop. Bartkira is a collaborative project retelling the Akira, page for page with Simpson characters.. but don't let me explain it, let's ask the man responsible for spearheading this project.

TFQ: A lot of us are familiar with the on-going project but for those of us who are less familiar, can you tell me how this all began?

James: Bartkira is a long form-experiment where myself and thousands of collaborators from all over the world have taken Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and replaced the characters with characters from The Simpsons. Bart is Kaneda and Tetsuo is Milhouse. We’re about 75% of the way through redoing the entire 2146-page comic series, and we’re just putting the finishing touches on our take on the movie trailer. We’ve had about four gallery shows in America and the UK, and our first exhibition in Tokyo is about to happen starting this weekend.

It started when the fine artist Ryan Humphrey redrew a couple of scenes in Akira with Simpsons characters- fittingly, the first was the scene in volume 3 where Akira’s powers finally awaken. I got incredibly excited about this and asked Ryan if I could spin this off into a group project and he said yes.

It’s way bigger than I could ever have hoped for it to be, and I can’t believe it still has this much momentum well into its second year. Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira is such a rich feast of ideas and it’s been wonderful getting to interface with it in such a prolonged and intimate way.

TFQ: This is the third installment of Bartkira, can you tell me a bit about the talent we will see in this volume?

James: Yeah! We’ve got pages by Cameron Stewart, the Eisner Award-winning artist/writer behind the recent Batgirl reboot for DC. We’ve also got Nick Sumida, who put out a brilliant collection of comics called Snackies last year. He’s one of the funniest cartoonists working today and it’s great to have him in the book, if only for a short cameo.

The cover is this awesome collage that features the work of about 6 different artists- including UK artist CROM, and Lily Bernard, the creator of Nickelodeon’s Puffin Rock, who made her contribution out of plasticine. It also incorporates work by Blair T. Kerr, an artist out of the Bronx who works in this abrasive, chaotic style that looks the way 80’s Public Enemy sounds. His work was a big inspiration on how the rest of the cover came out.

The back cover is a photograph of a mind-boggling cake made by Kylie Mangles, which depicts Ralph Wiggum in cross-section- his skeleton and innards clearly visible. She made it for her own purposes but she let us use it on the back cover. It’s kind of perfect.

There’s so much incredible work on the interior. Just glancing through, some pieces that stick out are by Jacob Chabot, K. Thor Jenson (who I’ve been a fan of since I was about 15, so it was good to get him in), Tyler Landry, Stephen Morrow. Me and Ryan are in there, too, with Ryan reprising the sequence that kicked the whole thing off.

TFQ: Each volume of Bartkira showcases a range of talent from the graphic novel community, how do you go about choosing contributors?

James: I have a mission to get Ryan Humphrey to have at least five pages per volume, but besides that I don’t have much criteria for choosing collaborators. So long as you can hold a pencil, you can do it. Actually, one entry to one of my projects in 2009 was done by a homeless guy drawing using the mouse in his local library. I think this thing gets its power from the range of different types of approaches and levels of skill. I’d love to see more people work with sculpture or collage or puppets and so on. The spaces fill up really fast, though.

Kate Sullivan, who organised the animated trailer, had a totally different set of criteria for her project- it was like, "don’t bother applying unless you’re amazing and you can make this look EXACTLY like The Simpsons.” I really can’t wait to see how it turns out.

TFQ: What are some of your personal favorite contributions to Bartkira?

James: Without a doubt, Cameron Stewart’s contribution in this volume we’re about to drop is one of the all-time greats- it's really a perfect example of what I hoped this thing would be. It’s like fine art. I also love all the work I got the mysterious to do for it. Such a rich style that guy has! If it’s a guy. WHO IS DUMP COMICS

Natali Koromoto was one artist who I reached out to specifically- I have her wicked Simpsons postcards on my wall and it would have been a mad oversight not to have her in there.

Sarah Burgess is one of my favorite UK cartoonists and she did some really awesome work in Volume 2, which ended up not getting used due to an editing SNAFU where two people got assigned the same pages. It’s on the blog, though, if you want to look for it.

Kristina Collantes is a genius artist who I was lucky enough to get for volume 6. Her BF Tom Neely did great work in volume 6, too. They both worked on THE HUMANS for Image. Kristina inks stuff for me sometimes, too. I feel really lucky that I get to collaborate with Kristina because we’re kind of each other’s biggest fans.

Frans Boukas did a lot of work for us, too. He’s like a punk version Geof Darrow. His style is so intricate! Again, I feel incredibly lucky that he chose to get as involved as he did. Not only did he produce a ton of amazing artwork for volume 6, he also brilliantly edited the Bartkira zine that Floating World Comics put out (all proceeds go to Save The Children).

Frans brought Simone Nemes on board who did a lot of really wonderful work for us, too. But! I’m forgetting like a thousand people here.

TFQ: How can people get their hands on Bartkira, if it's not readily available at their local comic book retailer?

James: The zine that Franz edited is still available from Floating World’s website. It encompasses work from all 6 volumes, so it’s still the definitive Bartkira-in-print article. There was also a very limited edition zine that myself and Hannah Chapman (Comic Book Slumber Party) put together to coincide with the volume 2 launch, but good luck getting hold of that.

Besides that, you can read everything we’ve finished so far at Go!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

All-New Hawkeye #1

I know a lot of people have been very upset about Matt Fractions leave of Hawkeye. The series has been great, you know except for that really long spell there between issues... but all things come to an end and in comics it happens more often. All good things seem to come to an end even before they're hit their anticipated peak. That being said there is plenty of applauding for Fraction's Hawkeye. Entertainment Weekly having posted a farewell three days ago stating in the headline that Fractions Hawkeye had changed Marvel comics. Whether or not that is true, what IS true is that it's been three years and only 22 issues. :/ That's got a lot of people disappointed and although I can only make observations or believe rumor, I bet it's one of the reasons Marvel's pushed the shake-up. Fraction admitted last year to not wanting to even finish his last Hawkeye script. I dunno, I don't really care either. I mean, I loved his Hawkeye but as a comic fan, I understand that these things happen. I'm not going to run around cursing Fraction or Lemire who happens to be taking over.

So, I read the All-New Hawkeye and I.... liked it. Yeah I liked it okay? It's not the same as Fraction's and it's not going to be. It's actually kinda dark and maybe a bit twisted in there but I like that. I go for that stuff. I also like the artwork. I know people were kind of freaking out but they've made a clear and intelligent decision with the artwork to allow people to ease into the change. By letting snippets of memories to be told with a different brush and then using a style similar to Aja, they have made a fantastic meld. I've seen some criticism on how the change in artistic style in one issue is distracting or disorienting. I do not fall in line with this belief. You can't be paying very close attention to a story if the change in artwork throws you off or confuses you. It's a lovely way of showing versus telling in my opinion.  I loved David Aja's Hawkeye but this is nice too. Calm down. Don't be throwing stones here. It's a new story but it's not a bad one.

Anyway, Lemire is on a roll right now with Descender debuting yesterday from Image and the amazing prestige series The Valiant from of course Valiant Comics. I think we should be clapping for Lemire, not wailing about the loss of Fraction.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Balak on Last Man!

About a year ago this cover that caught my eye. The character design intrigued me and reminded me of some images I recalled from my childhood, that would have been the 80's. I quickly learned that the book was only available in French. My French is deplorable.  I was disappointed to say the least. Fairly recently I received a press release from First Second announcing their 2015 titles and BEHOLD!! there was THAT cover. They plan to release the first three volumes of the series Last Man in English this year. I read them all.. immediately.

This is some of the most fun I've had reading so far this year. I LOVE this series. It is very much inspired by Japanese Manga and reminded me mostly of Naruto, which of course I'm a huge fan of. Last Man follows the story of a small boy's wish to compete in a great fighting competition when a strange man enters their village. This man becomes the boy's partner and together they compete in the great tournament. This story combines some elements of fantasy and a whole lot of mystery. Naturally I decided to go to the artist of this awesome series and ask him a few questions. French artist Balak gives me some insight into the making of Last Man

TFQ: First of all, can you tell me how you came to work on this project? 

Balak: Bastien and I know each other since more than 10 years. We hung out at the same message board about comic book and animation;; then we went to the same animation school in Paris (Les gobelins) were we met Michael Sanlaville. Bastien gave up animation to focus on comics and was quickly successful. Like 4 years ago he asked me to work with him on a project influenced by manga. Since we share the same love of large natural breasts, it should have been a hentai thing. But we gradually decide to go with a non porn book, since it seemed to us a good opportunity to tell a huge adventure. But basically; it was just that; I came to work on this project because I like big breasts.

TFQ: Last Man's story reminded me largely of Naruto. However the artwork took me to a different place. What was your inspiration artistically? 

Balak: It's mostly Bastien's style, and Michael. They have similar taste in drawings: Bastien is a huge fan of Richard Corben or Bill Waterson, but it doesn't really shows in his art. He was very influenced by the french comic book artist Merwan Chabanes; too. Michael loves Akira Toriyama and fist of the north star, as well as french artists like Uderzo or Janry. It's a weird personal mix of all that kind of influences.

TFQ: Do you find yourself influenced by other artists ?

Balak: We are standing on the shoulders of everybody that has come before us; and all the artists that gave us the taste to draw. My influences are mostly Japanese. But I love Canadian or American comic book artists/ I think that; for example; Stuart Immonen is the greatest artist alive when it comes to super hero comics/ A tie with Olivier Coipel.

Since I'm mostly a storyboard artist, what grabs me first and foremost is how good an artist is using his storytelling skills and to me, Japanese are the best with this.

TFQ: There were physical communicative interactions between characters that are wordless very often in the story. Is it a challenge to convey these subtleties in the illustration alone? 

Balak: It 's typically where comics are so exciting/how to lay out a page, a pacing; how a succession of drawings that convey emotion, and to me if you are literally reading the drawings, without the help of words, you are achieving something really unique with this medium. Sometime comics can be over explanatory, the text don't allow the drawing to tell the story. But maybe it's because I'm french and I have mime DNA in my blood/ I don't know.

TFQ: What's it like to know that your work will reach a whole new audience of people now that it's being published in another language?

Balak: It's just plain awesome! Your main goal as artists is to reach out as most people as possible. But knowing that it s available in English is very special: we are children of the US culture, and Last Man is a reflection of that; we're very curious and excited to see how Americans readers will react to this.

Book one in the Last Man series comes out March 31st! Be sure to get your copy of Last Man: The Stranger.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vox by Matteo De Longis

Italian illustrator and designer Matteo De Longis  has taken art books to a new level. By packaging his edgy gallery of modern rock & roll idols into the size of a 12" vinyl album, it fits perfectly between your Joan Jet and Joy Division records. (Yes you can like both those at the same time thank you very much).

This sexy look book is inspired by glam rock both modern and old. Metteo paints vivid and provocative images using real life models for inspiration. Some of those models aren't even human, they're cars, planes and of course, musical equipment calling from all ends of the electric spectrum. If you're confused where to house this beautiful book, then you best be like this comic book loving vinyl addict and house your eye art with your ear art. This book will not be out of place even if you suffer from my kind of categorizing OCD.

A truly stunning masterpiece, Matteo's work is made available by Magnetic Press. You can currently purchase the book online through the Magnetic Press Webstore however you will see it in a comic shop near you tomorrow! I hope to see a lot in the future from this inspired Italian illustrator.

Royal Jelly: March 4th 2015

Cluster #2
Feathers #3
Lady Killer #3
Hellboy & The BPRD #4
Neverboy #1
Names #7
Dark Engine #7
Descender #1
Nameless #2
Saga #26
All New Hawkeye #1
Return of the Living Deadpool
Princess Leia #1

Alex + Ada Vol 2

It's looking like a pretty kick-ass start to the month! From Image we have the continuation of Dark Engine, a whole new story arc starting up. For those who are interested in the series but haven't started it yet, the first story arc is now available in trade paper back from Image Comics. Dark Engine is one of my favorite series. A complex time travelling adventure illustrated by one of my favorite artists John Bivens.

From Image Comics we also have the continuation of Saga with issue #26 and a brand new title I have been lusting over since it was announced, Descender with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen. This science fiction tale is about an android boy. The artwork is blowing me away. I want all the variant covers.... ALL THE COVERS.

Also from Image Comics is Volume 2 of Alex + Ada, a sort of "boy meets robot" love story that dives deeper into what it means to be sentient.

From Archia/Boom we have the third installment of Feathers! That adorable fairy-tale-like mini series about a boy covered in feathers. It's full of mystery and adventure for all ages and currently sitting as one of my favorite mini series of 2015.

From Marvel comics we've got a HUGE list of thing but I've narrowed it down to just the few that I'm interested in. Princess Leia #1 caught my interest along with the All-New Hawkeye which is written by Jeff Lemire. Finally we've got the awesome mini series Return of the Living Deadpool written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Nicole Virella. If you missed it, please check my interview with Nicole and her amazing and unique artwork right HERE.

From Magnetic Press we've got Vox, a rock & roll inspired look book by Italian illustrator and designer Matteo De Longis. This deluxe hardcover is cleverly made to look like a record! Fits in nicely beside them too! That's where mine is sitting. I will be posting an article on the book later today!

Finally I just wanted to mention that Lady Killer #3 is also released tomorrow. I got to chat with artist Joelle Jones on her process and the creation of this wicked Darkhorse series. You can read out chat right HERE.