Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Comic Feed 4/26/12

Zak Penn jumps into a new medium, pissed off planets in a dystopia future, and Marvel takes on young readers.

It’s a mad, mad world in today’s Comic Feed.

Screenwriter Extraordinaire Jumps into Comics

Screenwriter Zak Penn, the name behind The Avengers, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra, and The Incredible Hulk and Syfy’s Alphas, is expanding his horizons and taking the leap into the comics genre. Iconic characters are no match for Penn, who sold his first screenplay, Last Action Hero, at the age of 23.

Published by Avatar Press, Penn will be joined by Scott Murphy (screenwriter of Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and artist Michael DiPascale (Lady Death) to bring the six-issue miniseries Hero Worship to stores in July 2012. The story is about the ultimate celebrity, an indestructible superhero called Zenith, and what happens when one fan’s unhealthy obsession leads to the development of powers all his own.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about Zak Penn bringing his debut comic project to Avatar,” says publisher William Christensen. “Zak is an incredibly gifted and inventive writer, and Hero Worship is a fresh perspective on the entire genre. It’s slick and innovative, taking risks like every great Avatar title should. Let the other Brand-X companies tell the same-old, ‘Guy-in-Tights-Punches-Another-Guy-in-Tights’ stories; here at Avatar, Zak’s got the freedom to blow all the doors off their hinges.”

Carbon Grey Returns with Volume 2

The creative team behind Carbon Grey has come together to continue the story of the Sisters Grey with Carbon Grey Volume Two: Daughters of Stone. The three-issue monthly miniseries, co-written by Nguyen, Paul Gardner, and Khari Evans, with art by Nguyen, Evans, and Kinsun Loh, is available for pre-order in the April issue of Previews (cover A by Khari Evans and Kinsun Loh, cover B by Hoang Nguyen) and will be in stores on June 6.

Funding for this latest book was made through a Kickstarter campaign that met its goal on April 14th. The detail and craftsmanship that goes into each issue is what necessitated the campaign. "A lot of research goes into every page, whether it's a costume designs or different settings," said Nguyen. "I want to make sure that it's believable. My inspirations comes from looking at fashion, photography, architecture, industrial and set design. I like to go beyond the norm and bring something new and different to my drawings."

Completing the Carbon Grey series, volume 1 is available in trade paperback, and a two-issue mini-series Carbon Grey: Origins, as well as The Art of Carbon Grey, an oversized hardcover book featuring the artwork from the series, hit stores in February and March 2012.

Don’t Feed the Planet

I love me a dystopian universe. There’s just something about man vs. environment. Image Comics’ new Planetoid, out June 13th, pits man against planet in a desolate time. Writer/Artist Ken Garing says, "The world of Planetoid is that of a vast, abandoned industrial landscape. The story, however, will revolve around the efforts of the planetoid's inhabitants as they struggle together against extraordinary odds in the hope of building something new out of the devastation." Hard to do when the planet you land on is alive and pissed.

The color palette alone will make this book worth every moment and every penny, with a “splash of human blood amidst the monochromatic grays and rusts of the planetoid.”

Issue #1 was an exclusive digital comic on Graphicly, but now will appear in print by Image Comics, and is available for pre-order in the April issue of Previews. Each of the five full-color monthly issues will be 32 pages long, with no ads, for $2.99.

Avengers in Banking 

Back in the days when I was teaching a teen manga group at the local library, I found it difficult to get parents to understand why comics, graphic novels, and manga are not useless fluff. I offered up examples like a manga version of the Bible, a manga about understanding the basics of statistics, and explained that reading a comic is still reading. RIF!

Marvel and Visa have teamed up to take another step in using comics as a teaching tool. Avengers Saving the Day #1, available on Practical Money Skills Canada, is teaching kids to save money. Spider-Man and the Avengers teach financial skills in a comic that features budgeting worksheets and financial terms. Of course, the new comic is still action packed and is available in eight languages.

DC Nation App Targets Young Readers

It kind of irks me when I see a 10 year old with an iPad. Jealous much? Maybe. DC Comics is capitalizing on this new trend and has launched the DC Nation app. An all ages app offering content “based on the popular Saturday morning programming block from Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the free app features thousands of pages of kid-safe content including free, first issues of three of the all-time greatest kids’ comics Batman Adventures #1, Superman Adventures #1, and the multiple Eisner Award-winning Tiny Titans #1,” according to a DC press release.

But wait…there’s more. DC is also launching the new DC Nation Super Spectacular magazine. The magazine will be offered throughout the summer and offer youngsters new comics based on DC Nation shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Exclusive content from the app program and sneak peeks will be available in the magazine, along with exclusive game codes from magazine sponsor LEGO® Batman™ 2: DC Super Heroes, a new game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

I Want to Go to There

A new documentary, Cartoon College, spotlights the The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont and the few who are invited and make it through their painstaking studies and critiques. 20 of the world's most promising aspiring cartoonists and graphic novelists are invited each year.

Over three years, filmmakers Josh Melrod and Tara Wray interviewed famous names in independent comics, including Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Scott McCloud, Francoise Mouly, R. Sikoryak, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware, met comic book store owners, museum curators, critics, librarians, and college professors, and found out what it takes to make it in the world of indie comics. The West Coast Premiere of Cartoon College will be at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday, April 29th.

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