And once more it is that time of week when Richard and Joe offer up links and news spotted over the last few days with Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense):
Steve Ditko, RIP
Very sad news broke over last weekend as we learned that one of the absolute gods of the comics medium, the reclusive genius Steve Ditko, had passed away at the end of June, but the new was only confirmed over the weekend. The co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange among so many other works across the decades, Ditko’s work is remarkable, mould-breaking stuff and still an influence for many a modern artist working in the medium. Studying under Jerry Robinson at the famed Cartoonist and Illustrators School in NYC, he created and worked on a huge variety of characters and comics for different publishers, including the legendary Witzend anthology created by the equally legendary Wally Wood. There are numerous tributes all over the media and social media, most of which say it better than I can – here’s just one, as the Washington Post talks to Neil Gaiman about Ditko.
An absolute comics genius, now gone from us to walk the Cosmic paths beyond this vale. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
Thor in Black
I had heard a new Men in Black spinoff movie was in production but I had missed hearing that Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, is playing a major MiB character, and has now been glimpsed in the iconic black suit, white shirt and black tie. At least we think he has, it is hard to tell as MiB agents can use their neuraliser to rework the memories of those who have seen them, so not sure how much belief we can put in anything! (via CBR)
(pic via Coming Soon)
McHugh talks 2000 AD
The excellent Maura McHugh talks to the Irish Examiner about her recent collaboration with Emma Vieceli to craft a Judge Anderson tale for 2000 AD’s all-female creator Sci-Fi Special (which we heartily recommend reading!).
Myriad’s First Graphic Novel Competition
In case you missed our post earlier in the week, Myriad Editions announced the winner of their First Graphic Novel Competition, which gives new talent a terrific chance to show their work in progress off to expert judges and the publisher, with the winner receiving a chance to work with Myriad with a view to publication (in fact not only have previous winners gone on to be published, several runner-ups were so high quality they too were published). Jenny Robbins won for Biscuits (Assorted) impressing the judges. We look forward to seeing the finished result in due course (more details on our earlier post here).
R.L. Stine writing graphic novels
R.L. Stine, the hugely bestselling author of a vast swathe of fantasty for kids and young adults, including the extremely popular Goosebumps series, has signed a four book deal with Boom! Studios for graphic novels. Given the enormous “brand” recognition (sorry, I hate using that term, but you know what I mean) of Stine’s name and the fact that comics works for younger readers are still pretty much a growth area, this sounds like a pretty canny move for both author and publisher, and will doubtless delight many new young readers. The first graphic novel is expected from Boom! sometime in 2019. Stine collaborated with artists German Peralta and Daniel Johnson on a Man-Ting graphic novel for Marvel last year. (via Publisher’s Weekly)
The wonderful Gal Gadot made a visit to Inova Children’s Hospital in Virginia, to cheer up some very seriously ill children, but she opted to do it in her full Wonder Woman costume, delighting youngsters and the medical staff alike. As the BBC article notes many huge stars have made morale-boosting visits to hospitals, including Tony Stark’s Iron Man, and as I recall from the old Inside Star Trek vinyl album from the 70s (which yes, I still have!), DeForrest Kelley used to make hospital visits to Star Trek fans. It’s good to be reminded of things like this when too often we seem to see nothing but bad when we read the news. Well done, Gal, I bet you cheered up a lot of youngsters who really needed that boost.
I imagine a lot of us are very happy to learn that Billy Dee William is – finally – returning to his role as the super-smooth Lando Calrissian, with Billy set to appear in the JJ Abrams-helmed Episode IX. I also imagine a lot of us wondered why he wasn’t in the first two of the new trilogy, but let’s not dwell on the negative, the main thing is Lando is back in the main Star Wars sequence, and that makes me, and a heck of a lot of other fans I am sure, very happy! (via The Hollywood Reporter)
Matt Kindt Kickstarter
Matt Kindt, creator of some truly fascinating comics works, has a Kickstarter running for a new project, a new, stand-alone Mind MGMT comic with a read-along record:
“I grew up loving read-along book and records like Planets of the Apes and Pete’s Dragon and I’ve always wanted to experiment with this format to tell a comic book story in a new and unique way. Audio stories and read-along records have been made before, but, as far as we know, no one’s ever told an original story with a read-along comic book and record for adults. So I’ve decided to bring back MIND MGMT for a stand alone story and accompanying vinyl record with a twist, and make comic book history along the way.
Dark Horse Comics has been the publisher of MIND MGMT and they’ve been a great home for the series. All six volumes of the series are in print today and I’m thrilled with their support. But they don’t make records.
Are there others out there, like me, that have a love of this storytelling format, and interest in an original comic book story and read-along vinyl record? We’re about to find out!”
Phoenix’s Joker origin movie greenlit
Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker origin movie has been given the greenlight by Warner Bros. The movie will be a standalone entry rather than part of DC’s attempt to build their cinematic universe, with a lower budget than most comparable superhero movies from DC or Marvel (a mere $55 million, a vast sum to most Indy film-makers, but comparitively small for this kind of movie). No details yet, although rumours are that as a standalone it may be free to be much darker than the main DC films. Shooting beging in the autumn, although no projected release date has been confirmed yet. (via The Hollwyood Reporter)
(a classic Joker scene from The Killing Joke, art by the great Brian Bolland)
Dead or alive, you’re coming with me, creep
Neill Blomkamp (director of District 9), is working with original Robocop co-writer Ed Neumeier on a new film based on the original outline for Robocop II that was eventually ditched in favour of the Frank Miller scripted film, which was a pretty big mistake (it stunk like last week’s fish). The film follows on from the original – and let’s be honest, pretty much classic – Robocop film and is expected to riff on social and satirical elements that were such an important (and often enjoyable) part of the original. (via BoingBoing)
We got an early glimpse of Chuck’s Zachary Levi in costume as Captain Marvel in the forthcoming Shazam movie. I have such a soft spot for the Big Red Cheese, he was one of my faves as a kid – kid me preferred him to Superman, because to a child he had two superpowers, one being all the flight, strength, etc but the other was that he was a kid who could become an adult with a magical word. When you are 8 that seems amazing – an adult, that means nobody telling you about bedtimes and homework!!! That power seemed as brilliant to me as his superheroic ones. It didn’t hurt that his stories tended to have a lot of fun and heart in them too. (via Live for Film)
G Willow Wilson to write Wonder Woman
Some late news breaking just as we were finishing off this week’s Stuff: I’m delighted to learn that G Willow Wilson is going to be writing our favourite Amazon for DC from December, working with artist Cary Nord. Wilson has been absolutely brilliant with her run on Ms Marvel, showing powerfully that you can have story arcs which engage deeply with readers, plenty of action, plenty of character development but mix it with diversity and deliver a huge success. This has rightly earned her and her artistic collobrators much praise, awards and good, strong sales for Marvel (especially reaching out to a younger, female audience, which is a great thing for mainstream comics and we need more of).
(Mike Allred’s art for the 40th anniversary of Ms magazine, echoing their first issue which featured the famous “Wonder Woman for President” cover. Go, Team Comics, change the world!)
Sadly, this being the wretched state of the world we seem to now live in, it also means the vile little hate-filled trolls boil with anger at women being more prominent in creating or starring in comics and even angrier at ethnic and other forms of diversity. I see some are already taking potshots in advance at the news of Wilson writing Wonder Woman. Well to hell with them, these so-called fans aren’t fans, unless they are fans only of supervillains, because they certainly do not honour the values our four coloured heroes stand for (and if you don’t, how can you consider yourself a fan?).
Despite her iconic status WW has not always been the easiest character to handle just right, but I think Wilson must be one of the most qualified comics writers to tackle Diana and writer her in the way she deserves. As with Jodie Whittaker taking over the TARDIS I have no time for the haters, I’m a long-time fan and I have a very good vibe at this news, I think she will bring not just great storytelling abilities but an honesty and intergrity the character needs, and there’s every chance that as with Ms Marvel this is a work that could reach out to demographics who don’t read a lot of mainstream superhero comics, and that’s a good thing for the industry.
SLCZF this weekend
A reminder that this Saturday, 14th July is the return of the South London Comic and Zine Fair, taking place in Stanley Halls, South Norwood. We hear nothing but good things from people who have been to previous SLCZFs, so if you are in town we highly recommend going along to offer your support to some great indy comickers and zine makers (and pick yourself up some affordable delights at the same time!).
On a related note one of our faves, Douglas Noble, dropped us a line just as we were finishing off this week’s Stuff round up to say he has a new comic, An Awful Imp, which he will have for sale at SLCZF tomorrow. From the description:
“An Awful Imp is a new horror comic by me consisting of two parts. In Oh, Mister Hopkins, we meet the Witchfinder General at the very beginning of his career. Who is calling at the window, and what can he see through the bars of the jail? In Vinegar Tom, we follow the path of the famous familiar: hearing stories of the lives he has affected. What does his shadow lie upon, and how can we track his passage? An Awful Imp is a comic of the dreadful patterns of history, written in rumour and blood. It’s a story about lazy beginnings and terrible endings.”
If you’re not able to visit SLCZF at the weekend it is also available to order from Douglas’s webstore.
Portsmouth Comic Con
The first Portsmouth Comic Con earlier this year, organised by our old chum and Tripwire editor Joel Meadows, was a resounding success, and I’m pleased to see plans already afoot for a second con next spring, with early bird special ticket offers now live. for the event which takes place over “Star Wars Weekend”, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of May. Over 5000 people attended the first con, and it boasted guests such as Louise and Walt Simonson, Frank Quitely and Rafael Albuquerque, and celebs from cult TV such as Red Dwarf , Doctor Who and A Game of Thrones.
Tom Gauld marks off important scientific festival dates for New Scientist:
Oh why not – let’s have another Tom Gauld, this time for the Guardian Reviews (given a recent study that found UK author’s earning have dropped yet again, this is a bittersweet piece):
Maria Stoian for The Nib comments on Trump’s visit to Scotland during his UK visit, here’s a snippet, click here for the full strip: