Denver Comic Con 2014 Interview – Yanick Paquette

We were just walking around Denver Comic Con, minding our own business, when Yanick Paquette decided to be the coolest guy in the world. About a month ago, we decided to spotlight our favorite guests at the convention, and Yanick was quite impressed with our research on his piece. When we met him at the convention, we saw not only his extreme talents, but his charisma at work. After chatting it up for 10-15 minutes at his booth, watching him draw a commission for Jean Grey, he asked us if we would like to interview him the following morning. YES! We tried to play it off cool, but we were really excited to meet him. One day and a full night of research later, we were ready to go. We discussed everything from Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman: Earth One to independent books and colorists. He is a full transcription of what went down when Robert and Sherif sat down to interview Yanick Paquette.

Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 articles

 

Hush Comics: You just got back from an insane touring schedule in Europe. How does the comic book convention scene abroad compare to how it is in America?

Yanick Paquette: Well, a few years ago, in Europe, you would not charge for sketches and it was more about meeting the fans, I guess. The way I see it, the modern convention, the American structure where fans come and pay for sketches and fans interact, is really the model for everybody now. Except maybe France, who will always resist. In the U.K. for instance, the shows are getting bigger, better and longer. This is the case in the United States, too. Here, it is the third year in Denver. It is a pretty decent, huge show. In Montreal, I’m from Montreal, and there were little shows trying to pop up now and then and there were crappy shows and they didn’t last. We have a show in Montreal. I’m not sure how many editions there are, maybe the 5th edition. Now there is some traction.

I am doing a lot of shows, only because my schedule allows it. As I’m not doing a monthly book, I can agree to more. For instance, in August, I am going to Argentina. Eduardo Risso has a small show there. He’s invited just a few people. That is going to be fun. I’m doing Malta. I’m doing a few other shows abroad. [This weekend] it is Charlotte for me. I’m all over the place. It’s good. When I started doing comics, the idea was, ‘Can I get a living out of just drawing? That is good enough if I can get a living out of drawing. Not even a big living, just drawing and get some money.’ That was good enough. But it turned out it’s a way to travel now, so I am traveling all over the place. That was unexpected, but it’s great.

HC: Checking out your Twitter feed, we see that you do as much promoting of other creators as you do for yourself. Is there any work out right now that you feel that the world needs to know more about?

YP: There is Jeremy Bastian, over there. He has a booth here. He is doing something called Cursed Pirate Girl. His stuff is absolutely amazing. He is shy and gentle, and he works his thing. It’s, of course, not Marvel and DC, because it is way too good. He’s been doing his thing forever. Now he is getting some attention in Europe. Obviously that kind of material will work super well in France. I think he is getting there now. Everyone should be aware of this man’s existence because he is just a miracle.

Taken from Jeremy Bastian's Blogspot. Buy Cursed Pirate Girl here.
Taken from Jeremy Bastian’s Blogspot. Buy Cursed Pirate Girl here.

HC: A couple of months ago you expressed the need for DC to start trying to keep their elite colorists in their staple. Can you go into some detail about how much a colorist contributes to the work of the book?

YP: It is a massive contribution. I’m not going to give names, but I’ve been colored by people who have just destroyed my entire month of work. As you open a book, it is the first thing you see. You don’t see the story, because you have to read it. The picture takes some time to acknowledge, but the color is the first thing that is going to punch you in the face. A good colorist can help you with the story telling, can push forward the understanding of the page – the atmosphere and everything. I’m inking myself. I’m penciling and inking, and the only other guy on the team is the colorist. It’s a two-man operation. There’s a lot that I leave for him to do, and it’s truly a team effort. Back in the day, in the 80’s for instance, colorists could do 10 or 20 books a month. It didn’t matter because it was just flat, simple color. But now it is complex stuff. And when it is complex you can really screw it up. [Doing his best colorist impression] ‘I’m going to airbrush everything. I’m going to paint over things.’ Sadly, there are a lot of people in DC and Marvel, mostly at DC, that is part of the problem that will go into not-so-great coloring.

It is obvious that talent is required and talent has to be recognized and paid accordingly. I couldn’t say if DC pays the colorists less than Marvel. I think DC, in general, will pay more. We have overseas royalties. I think they treat the artist better, but the colorist’s stature is still part of the production department more than on the art team, which was the case for both DC and Marvel. Years ago, Marvel did change that structure. DC I’m sure will, sooner or later, follow into that legal structure with their colorists because it won’t make sense. They are always on the same bracket, but it has been a few years that DC hasn’t complied with that new definition of what the colorist should be. When you have your name on the cover and the little on the royalties, it’s not going to be huge money for anyone, but it is a symbol that you are part of team and that you are responsible for the success or the failing of the product. And we recognize that.

On that subject, when I went out and said that [referring to colorists getting paid], Bleeding Cool, spun the story saying that I’m challenging DC to pay. But it isn’t confrontational at all. I have total faith in DC to do it. If anybody needs to take a breath and play ball it is the writer and the artist. That world is a pie. DC allows a piece of the cover price to be split between the art team. I am asking to revisit the pie. Let’s take a bit of my money, of the writer’s money, and the inker’s money, and let’s share that with the colorist so he is part of our team. The challenge might be to get some of the writers and artists to give. It’s more the art team that I challenge to recognize the colorists.

HC: So speaking of colorists, are there any who you specifically love and would really like to work with?

YP: I’m working with Nathan Fairbairn for… He’s my man. We have been working together for a long time. He was working with me, and Chris Burnham, on Batman Inc. We work together because of our friendship, because we have been working together for a long time and because I trust him totally. We have a good working relationship of respect. He brought forward that it’s not so cool [colorists not being paid]. Especially, Wonder Woman: Earth One has a long shelf life. Who knows how much it is going to sell? It wasn’t so fun for him to come aboard on this and not get any piece of it. In part, it was for him that I came forward saying that we should change. I had a hard time to convince him to stay on Wonder Woman. ‘I need you! I don’t want to go onto 120 pages with someone I don’t know.’ It’s very intimate. My artwork is super intimate. I spend so much time and it is very personal. And you are inviting other people in your bed to share this thing with you, you don’t want someone that you don’t trust or that you don’t know who will screw this stuff up. When Nathan was not sure, I had two other options: Dave Stewart, who is absolutely a miracle, probably the best colorist there is, and Laura Martin. Laura is also an absolute magnificent colorist. I’m glad that we ended up working out something with Nathan for this. As I do a page, I feel confident that my man has my back if something goes wrong, and if he is there, the page is going to look good. He boosts my confidence.

HC: Perhaps your most notable signature your crazy panel layouts and how you split up the panels with different elements of the story. What was your inspiration to do this?

YP: It started a little bit before Swamp Thing. I did an issue of Wolverine: Weapon X called “Insane in the Brain” by Jason Aaron. The story goes that Wolverine is trapped in this asylum and he is getting pushed towards madness by this evil guy. Every panel in that book is crooked. It doesn’t look like it if you look at the book, but none of the corners align. Everything is slightly off balance. As you get crazier and crazier, the stuff gets more crooked. There are a few pages where he snaps out of it and he comes to his senses, and then everything is super straight. It is super-subtle. I’m pretty sure nobody really saw that, but they might feel it on the subconscious level.

WOLVERINE DOES THIS LOOK CRAZY

When I do crazy stuff, it is for storytelling purposes. In Swamp Thing, the first script came in from Scott [Snyder], a great script, but pretty down to earth. It was a 10-page script and a guy talking. To me, when I thought about Swamp Thing, I thought of an Alan Moore crazy, wild thing. In my own relationship to Swamp Thing through the years, I discovered, my first artistic love was Berni Wrightson on Swamp Thing. And then I discovered my first love in writing was Alan Moore on Swamp Thing. And then I got to do Swamp Thing. For me it was something personal. It was like coming back home, almost like a full circle. To me, that book had to reflect my past, the past guys who were on Swamp Thing, and my own relationship to comics. I had to put their name in there and also part of their style. The script was very down to earth. So I figured that maybe just the panel layout could be enough to give you a sense that this is not going to be like other comics, it would be pushing forward in trying things in terms of story telling. So I made a code for everything that happened in that story. If the Green is acting on reality, if the Rot is acting on reality, if you are in the Green… When Abigail is there, the panels are not straight. They are more angular because she is more hard edge, now. All sorts of details like that. You can combine, or you can dial down the fact. But they are always aligned with what is happening in the story. It didn’t take that much time that every single thing in Swamp Thing was bizarre, so every single panel was bizarre. You give what you got. It was really freeing.

At first, I did that by doing something different to reflect what Swamp Thing should be. But I wasn’t sure if people would buy it at all. Maybe it was too confusing. There are things that are challenging. But people absolutely loved it. After 2 years, as I am doing my layout for Wonder Woman, I can’t do straight borders. It isn’t the same set of codes, because what I did on Swamp Thing was for Swamp Thing. It is harder to plan with Grant [Morrison] because [Wonder Woman: Earth One] is a long story.  It is hard to see it in its entirety because I don’t have the script for the whole story. It’s hard to plan the element of design. But I try to do other things that I feel are cool.

HC: Your resume is full of work with fantastic writers, even before the New52. Are there any writers who you have worked with at your days with Marvel that you would like to reconnect with?

YP: When I worked with Jason Aaron, that was the absolute best. I’m talking to you Jason! That script was so intelligent. I had fun with Matt Fraction, too. I was lucky enough to do Uncanny X-Men, which was a self-contained story, so I really made that mine. It was very packed with emotion. There were impossibly deep emotional moments. In comics, you can end up having people fighting for 3 or 4 pages. I don’t care for violence; I don’t find it exciting. What I find exciting is these impossible emotions. In that issue of Uncanny X-Men, Dr. Nemesis goes back in the past. He has to meet his mother and father then sees his father dying. His mother is dying, too, but she pregnant, too. So he delivers himself out of his dying mother. He is always pristine white; he is like Mr. Perfect. But the last few pages, he is coming out of his mom’s bedroom with himself in his arms, his coat is full of blood. What are these moments? They are so intense. They give you goose bumps. Swamp Thing was full of those moments, too. There are huge sacrifices. It’s a love story. But it was crazy and weird at the same time with profound moments. I do comics for those moments.

dr nemesis

HC: Let’s talk about Wonder Woman. How does it differ from the monthly series?

YP: First of all, it’s Earth One. So, you know the other Earth One’s, it’s kind of like Marvel’s Ultimates. There are no rules. You can reinvent stuff. Archetypes and elements can come back because they are expected by readers. Because of that, you can play with those. We have free-reign to do whatever we want. Outside of continuity we can do anything. Wonder Woman somehow has a hard time getting a movie for herself or attention beyond the T-shirts and lunch boxes and figurines; to get her to mainstream solo status like she was in the 70’s was very hard. You can do that with Batman or Superman, but not Wonder Woman. People were like, ‘You should do the regular series! She needs help now.’ I love Azzarello’s work. I think it is great. I don’t think she needs that much help in the New52. All the usual revolutions, the big changes for the characters, like Batman for instance, The Dark Knight Returns was not part of the continuity. It was a futuristic story, like an Elseworld. I don’t think Elseworlds existed in the time of Frank Miller. But that thing was so strong, it defined what Batman was. He is now the injured vengeance-ridden kid. Same for Kingdom Come that really rebalanced everything with the DC Universe. If you look at all the films of Marvel, it is not the Thor of the regular series, but it is the Ultimates. It is the Mark Millar work that makes it to the screen. But then again, these alternate stories were so efficient and make so much sense because they have the liberty to redefine what they are in the context of today. Now, even the regular books, which are not the Ultimates, are tainted with the stories of The Avengers, stories of Aaron, and they have all been Ultimate-ized. You almost can’t tell them apart anymore. It is a revolution for a character. Try it outside of the box, and if it is good enough, the box will absorb it.

HC: How does drawing for a script oriented like Scott Snyder on Swamp Thing differ from a writer like Grant Morrison?

YP: It is hard to tell, because I am really proactive as an artist. I’ll take a lot of liberty. I consider my domain to be more than drawing what they ask. I am going to claim some land, for creation purposes. In the case of Scott, at first I had a full script. OK, we are going to do concept drawing – like the panel borders. My job was to tell the story but also push my own graphic agenda. In the case of Grant, Grant will give you a script with very basic dialogue. He will think about the big chunk of concept and all the craziness. Sometimes he locks attention to the little detail. ‘In this scene, these guys need to walk to one place or another,’ just the physicality of the mundane story telling aspect. And you will give this to your artist to make it make sense. You need to trust your artist and to give them some rope. I figure that is why he is always working with the same 5 or 6 guys because he trusts us to bring the kind of script he is giving us to a place where he is satisfied on which he can do the last pass before printing. It is a trusting, touching moment that he gives me so much room. You have to trust him too to bring that ship to the port at the end, because sometimes I’m sending pages and I’m not exactly sure where it is going to land. I trust him the way he trusts me. Because he works with the art finished, he adapts himself to what he gets. In my case, he never asks for redrawing. If I make a decision to fix something that I feel will work better, he doesn’t mind. It is always a work in progress until the last minute. He is always able to react to the art and be creative. As I do a page, I know Grant will make something out of it.

HC: Your first monthly gig was Wonder Woman. The coolest thing I remember about it was the armor with the eagle head.

YP: I did not invent that costume.

HC: I thought I had seen an earlier armor version but not one with the American flag and the eagle helmet.

YP: It’s been a while. I know that in that run of Wonder Woman, I did invent the Fortress of Solitude with the huge flying coliseum with animals in there and armor galleries. It was the new Invisible Plane, because that thing could turn invisible also. I remember designing that. Maybe I updated the armor, but I wonder if it wasn’t Adam Hughes who did it for the cover. Or maybe it’s a spin on an Alex Ross design. It’s funny that today I get to do Wonder Woman again after all these years in probably the most different context possible. Back then, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to learn in front of everyone. A lot of those pages are like [he groans]. The idea was just to get the stuff done on time. That was the challenge of the day. Learning the craft. Getting my stuff done on time. There are a lot of pages in there that I am not proud of. But I was unknown, so that was the deal. Now I have the chance to represent the character, but with no deadline, and prestige format, with a massive writer. Now I know exactly what I am supposed to me. I am fully armed and geared for the process. I am going to redeem myself.

HC: DC Collectibles is releasing a Wonder Woman Art of War statue in the image of your Wonder Woman in October. Did you have a hand in the 3D design for that?

YP: Yeah, I did the design. So, I did the turnaround. Funny thing, though – that costume that I designed for Wonder Woman, not to spoil any of the story itself, but she came to the island with that design from the man’s world. Most of the story is a flashback from before that where she doesn’t wear that. I don’t know how that is going to play out. There are still a few pages to come that I have to draw still. It might very well turn out that the design for the statue is like two pages worth of what is going on in that book. She actually wears another costume. I designed that a long time ago, way before I had a decent chunk of script. If I had to redesign it again, I might have used the version I’m using in the book, which is a little different. But yeah, I did the turnaround. That was my first statue. I had no idea how to do it.

yanick statue

HC: It’s cool to see that you actually had a hand in designing.

YP: Because it is a statue, they ask the artist ‘Can you figure out a pose? Can you figure out a design?’ Action figures [are different]. They did a huge Swamp Thing with the wings. It is a massive toy. They sent me a box of those that made me pretty happy. But that, I had nothing to do with. All the design is obviously mine. There is a page in Issue #8 when he is coming down at the Rot with the wings. It is a massive toy. It is bigger than everyone. It is part of the New52 set of toys. I don’t know the scale, but Swamp Thing is just a monster so he goes in the massive monster box.

Swamp Thing Wings

HC: I know everyone is asking you when the book is coming out. Can we assume that since the Wonder Woman statue is coming out in October, there might be something around the corner?

YP: No. I haven’t done all the pages. I have good chunks of stuff to do. I feel like October might come a bit too soon. Maybe DC’s promotional department might want to gather a bunch of Earth One’s together for a big event. I know Gary [Frank] has another Batman [Earth One] going and there’s another Superman going. I think it is in their ballpark. They will find a way to sell that thing at an appropriate moment. I have a feeling that it might be at the very beginning of 2015. My goal is to finish it this year. I have been on it too long. I over-think. Working with a flexible deadline, I am doing my best. At the end of the day, the extra perfection that I have managed to put in there is the one that takes the most time. Without it, I would have totally done the book super fast and nobody would recognize there is a little…  If I would just give it up, nobody would care, except for me. I could make that book super fast. That’s the problem with a long deadline, I want to do the best and then it takes even more time.

HC: Working on a non-monthly book, it must allow for a more balanced lifestyle. We were wondering what hobbies you have on the side?

YP: I do travel a lot. I do a lot of conventions. That’s what I do. I used to do a lot of music. I write music and record it. There is some stuff online.

HC: I actually fell asleep to the Swamp Thing soundtrack last night.

YP: The Swamp Thing is a more orchestral film soundtrack. When I write serious stuff it’s mostly string quartets. But I’ve been writing a long time. With convention schedules, you travel and then come home and then I’m exhausted. Then I have to do two or three pages. It’s just a lot. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll say yes to too many people in terms of shows this year. But I will survive and I will take it as a warning.

HC: How did you get into writing music?

YP: It was a hobby when I was a kid, reading and writing music. In my teens I would write stuff. The things I really enjoy, there is no market. Classical or Baroque music – nobody cares for that. I went into Biology first and then I had a reality check and figured it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I considered Music for about an hour and half and then I went into comics instead. I may have ended up doing a movie score or having an orchestra. But there are so many good guys in movie scores; it’s such a huge market. I didn’t want to do jingles for advertising. I figure I will keep my music as pure as I want with no compromise. I’ll do my own thing for myself. I don’t need the public for that. I’ve posted it online because people have said, ‘You should post it online. It’s funny.’ But it’s for me really. And with the comic aspect, I’ll play ball a little bit more. And I did at first. Now I’m pickier with what I want. And maybe because I can do whatever I want in comics, I don’t feel the need to write music anymore.

HC: You have worked on a lot of established franchises. We wanted to know if you had any interest in doing something creator owned for an independent publisher or are you with DC forever?

YP: Honestly, I am looking for a creator owned in a very serious way. As I look at the industry now, DC and Marvel, every book you do, you can rest assured that the next book, even though you do your best the book is going to sell less. They are never going to sell more unless you kill a character or you put Jim Lee in the book. Every book will sell less than the one before. That trend has been going on with every single book of DC and Marvel for the past 5 or 10 years. The only places where I actually see growth is in the independent. Granted they start lower, so they have room to go up, but they do. They offer something different, something fresh. A few years ago when people would come in with a portfolio who were prime for DC, I would push them to try Image or do something independent and then come back to DC with that name. Now I am seeing the opposite. Get to DC or Marvel and make a name for yourself, then go to Image and cash in. Do something you own. From that point of view, if I would do something at Image and sell five times less, but do more money and do whatever I want. I don’t have anything against spandex and superheroes. I’ve done it a lot and enjoyed it as a kid. But it is a limited a genre. After a while you have told the story you wanted to tell. Spandex guy punching another spandex guy. I have done all the angles. I want to tell other kinds of stories. In other media, in movies or books, you get all different stories and they sell to different markets. But comics have been trapped into one mainstream, one little type of fiction. It makes no sense. But now Horror is coming again, I may not want to do pure Horror stuff.  I won’t tell what I am looking into because I am not sure myself. I think the typing is good with miracles like The Walking Dead. Which is a fluke. You can’t say, ‘[In his best American accent] Oh! I’m just gonna do The Walking Dead. That seems like a profitable business plan.’ It’s a fluke! It’s something weird. But what happened is that people in the mainstream, and when I say mainstream, it’s not comic mainstream. This is not mainstream. This is a little bubble of weird geeks. The true world realizes that The Walking Dead came from a book. They enter into a comic book store with no geek preconception about qualities of DC and Marvel and the rest are amateurs. They don’t care for that. They’ll look and maybe by Chew or Saga. The readership has expanded. That is why The Walking Dead and some of these independent books are getting good numbers because it is fresh readership. It is fresh blood. It is people from the outside world coming and seeing that we are doing something that kind of makes sense.

HC: Our wrap up question is, what can fans except to see you in soon and where is the best place to reach you?

YP: I’ll be Charlotte this coming weekend. I’ll probably do New York. I will be in Portland this year, too. I will be in Malta for the Italian people who may read this. I’ll be in Argentina. There is a show in Montreal. I’ll drop by there and say hello. I am fairly easy to reach over Twitter and Facebook. I am pretty well-versed in the Web 2.0. [Also check out his DeviantArt page to see some of his beautiful commissions!]

 

Paquette Interview 1

 

 

 

Comicpalooza 2014 – Greg Capullo Interview

Comicpalooza takes place in Houston, TX.  This year, Hush Comics was given the honor of going as press, our first time for doing so.  Read all of the accounts of what happened on our site! 

While we were here at ComicPalooza, Batman artist Greg Capullo was been nice enough to sit down and chat with us a bit. For those who don’t know Greg, he has been a workhorse in the industry for over twenty years. The panel he had was as fun and engaging as it was informative. We’ll give you a full break-down when we do a “Respect My Craft” article on him, but for now, just know that he is pretty much a legend to Spawn fans, where he drew nearly 150 consecutive issues. In 2011, he was brought onto DC for a secret “Batman-related” project – which ended up turning into the New52 relaunch Batman title book, where he and writer Scott Synder have changed the game. This was our first interview, but we had such a fun time with Greg that our nerves quickly went away; here’s what he had to say:

 

Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza articles

Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza 2014 articles

 

Hush Comics: “It’s great to see creators who are in love with Batman as we are. What really got you into the Dark Knight as a kid?”

Greg Capullo: “It’s tough to say; I mean, I didn’t realize at the time that the TV show was so campy. I took it very seriously. When Batman whipped out his Bat-alphabet soup container to collect a bowl of alphabet soup because he realized that certain letters were missing, and that it contained a message, and then he brought it back to his Bat-cave where he had an actual alphabet soup message-analyzer there to where he poured the soup in there and the message came out on a conveyor belt… I thought that was the coolest. So my love affair began that way, with Batman, with all that corny stuff, man.

HC: So this is a question I like to fantasize as a fanboy is, if you could redraw any classic Batman story, what would you do?

GC: Uh, its tough man because, you know, the classic ones are the ones that you don’t want to touch.  Right?  So, I would say nothing man because if they are a classic that means they are already done the right way.  So I never really like it when they come in and redo Psycho.  You don’t need to redo Psycho.  Alfred Hitchcock had that locked down perfectly.  What do you need to do.  So, I mean, I love Dark Knight Returns.  So, you go “Well maybe you want to redo that?”  No!  It’s perfect.  Ah no, I’m interested in doing new stuff and making those become classics.

HC: We’ve have met Todd MacFarlane before and he was probably the first celebrity…

GC: I’m sorry.  I’m sorry about that so…

HC: He is really one of the coolest guys in terms of like expressing individuality and not saying, “Oh, its too big, you can’t do it.”  So what’s it like to work with him as opposed to working for DC who kind of has guidelines of what you can do?

GC: When you are doing something for a publicly owned company, I mean, you have to answer to shareholders and there are certain guidelines you have to adhere to, right? So, I understand why Marvel who is owned by Disney has their way and why DC who is owned by Warner Bros. has their way, but Image Comics, you own it, so no one can tell you what to do.   You don’t have anybody saying it’s wrong.  If you write it that way and you draw it that way, it’s the way you wanted it, so it’s right, and you don’t have to worry about the companies that have shareholders to answer to, so everybody loves that freedom.  But, you don’t have characters cool like Batman, so if you want to live your childhood dream and touch that character, you have to take the rules and come with it.

HC: How about Todd as a person?  What is he like to work with?

GC: Terrible, terrible.  Todd is one of the worst people I have ever had the displeasure of working with.  The man never showers.  Never nearly as often as I feel that he should, and socks, Todd.  That’s what I would say to you.  One word is: socks.  Wear them.  Use them.  Socks.  In the winter, use socks.

No, no, I’m just kidding, man.  Todd’s like my brother man, you know, he came to our wedding (referring to his wife, Jamie) and his son filmed our wedding while we were there.  Todd is a good friend.  We got along well because we think a lot alike and we have a lot of the same sensibilities, so my time with Todd was a pleasure.  The hardest thing about working with Todd was because he has the name that he does and the stature that he has, you can become overshadowed by that a lot.  So I had to think of it as, I’m working for Walt Disney because sometimes his name would warrant stuff and I did it entirely, but his name has got to be on it because it’s a brand.  He became so big, it’s a brand.  But Todd as a person, I like a lot.

HC: So speaking of that, the New52 isn’t the first time you worked on Batman, right.  You guys did a crossover with Spawn and Batman.

GC: Well, Todd did that. with Frank Miller.  I only contributed the pin-up.  So I didn’t touch that. It was funny because, I forgot what convention we were at, maybe it was Phoenix, and he announced, made the big announcement, (in his best McFarlane voice) “we’re gonna make the big announcement”, the new Batman/Spawn team up sequel to that, and it never happened.  So I was geared up to do that and I did another pin-up, or mock cover, with Spawn and Batman but that is the extent of it.

HC: So DC Collectibles just dropped the first series of designer series…

GC: Yeah, the broke all over the place. They had to go back to the factory and make all new ones.

HC: Really?! (like an idiot, I said this)

GC: Cuz they dropped ’em!

HC: Ohhhh….

GC: You just said, they dropped.  The figures, they just dropped them.  They dropped and shattered and now they are being redone.  Yeah, no, the dropped.  They came out.  And they look cool.

HC: So, it’s really the first designer series that DC has done, except for Jim Lee.  But in terms of a new set of characters designed specifically by an artist.  So did working with Todd help you with that because I know you did some stuff with MacFarlane Toys, right?

GC: Right, well I did nothing to contribute to this process.  They wanted me to, but I’m too busy drawing Batman, and they offered me money and I said, “Oh, it’s not enough money because I’m very busy drawing Batman.”  So, they actually, they just took existing images that I contributed to the book and turned those into toys.  I had nothing to do with it.  Other than taking all the credit.

HC: The Court of Owls, just the concept of them, is probably one of my favorite things that has come out of the relaunch.  How well was it received when you first brought the idea to the table?

GC: Well Scott, was the first guy to bring it to the table.  He is the writer and it’s his idea.  Apparently they like it because they committed to doing eleven issues of it.  DC loves Scott and I.  I won’t say that they will let us do absolutely anything, but it seems so far that way, they will let us do absolutely anything.  So, we are going to do, the next big thing, and you heard it here first, it’s a Batman/Barbie team up.  Yeah, yeah.  It’s going to be filled up with elicit sex and, nah, I’m just kidding!  They like it and they like what Scott is doing and listen, we are making them money.  They listen to us a little more now.

HC: I see you guys working as a modern day Marv Wolfman and George Pérez.  Is there some type of bond there that you want to take after Batman?

GC: Well Scott says all the time that he wants to work with me forever, and I go “Well, you realize I’m much older and I’ll die before you.”  We got plans on doing other stuff afterwards.  It’s sorta like if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.  In the same breath, I’m sure he has the opportunity to work with other artists, because writers can produce so much more than an artist, and there are other author’s I’d like to work with, too.  I am sure that that we will do projects away from each other, but we have big plans to stay with each other as well.  But like Robert Kirkman’s always said, “Let’s work on something in the future.”  That would be fun; I would like to do that.

HC: The use of panel space in issue #5 of Batman where he was trapped in the maze, that particular set of panels is what I use to brainwash all my friends to read comics.  Was that Scott’s direction, or was that just you kicking in the door saying “I’m gonna do something crazy.”

GC:  Are you talking about the rotation of the book?  That was my idea because when I read a story I try to accentuate what the writer is trying to do.  Now, the reason that that idea was born, it would have never happened if Scott hadn’t written the page, the last page, where Damien was on the rooftop with Gordon, because that to me was the return to normalcy.  Because if that page hadn’t happened, I couldn’t have done the full rotation and it was only going to be partial.  To me, I would have never had tried to get that done.  By reading that story though, it would be perfect because you’ll be twisted around the maze like Batman and then the reader will be brought back to reality along with Damien, and so that was one of the ones I had to kick and scream about, but they listened to me and it was a great success and I throw it in their face every chance I get.

HC: How about the homage to the original Bill Finger from the original Detective Comic #27 that you had on a huge panel on Batman #24, even down to the purple gloves? What that also you?

GC: No, no. That’s Scott. I’ll be honest with you, Scott knows a lot more about the whole Batman mythos than I do. He’s read a lot more Batman comics than I have. A lot, lot, lot more, so those throwbacks and hollerbacks – those are usually his ideas. I didn’t even know about the purple gloves. I go “What, is this an homage to Michael Jackson? Wouldn’t that be glitter? I don’t know, what does the purple mean?” So that’s all Scott, man. He knows all that’s happened and that’s him going, “Here’s what we need to do” and he sent me the cover and that’s how that happened.

HC: Zero Year, it’s been crazy. It’s been so long, it feels like we’ve been since zero year [of the launch].

GC: Tell me about it! I can’t wait to finish!

HC: The transition from Bruce Wayne into where Year One takes place has been one of the most interesting times, but one that hasn’t really been explored; how does it feel to be creating Batman canon?

GC: We’re both happy. That’s where the nerves come from of wanting to be so good. We want it to stand for a long time. At this point, I’d like to say we’re too tired to worry about it. We’re doing it, and we’re doing our best, but of course it’s cool! I’m just so involved in actually making it that I don’t even take the time to even consider what you just asked me. That’ll be a year from now, or two years, or ten years, that I look book and say, “Wow! I contributed to that; that’s cool!” But when you’re doing it, you’re just too close to see that kind of picture.

HC: We saw you on Ink Master last year during the DC-themed episode

GC: Heavily edited. I kicked that one kid’s ass up and down and they cut it all out. But they had to give the big lines to Ollie [regular judge, Oliver Peck], ya know “Get your ass to Garfield!” Yeah, okay, well I said cool stuff, too.

HC: [Laughs] Do you have any nerd tattoos?

GC: I don’t think I like anything enough to want it tattooed on me because eventually I’ll hate it. Even when I was in bands, my singer goes, “you should get a guitar!” Maybe one day I’ll hate the guitar. My wife’s off-screen looking at me going, “What about [my name]?” Well, then my next girlfriend’s name would have to be Jamie, so that really cuts down on my playing field.

HC: You do a lot of side projects. You were a guitarist?

GC: I was. I don’t pick it up anymore because I realize how much I suck now, but I used to practice like four hours every day.

HC: Are there any other side stuff you’ve gotten into? I know you’ve done some CD art, and a Halo 3 controller.

GC: Yeah, the most recent was Five Finger Death Punch, but I don’t have a lot of time for extra stuff, and as I told you about with the toys. Contractually, I can’t do anything comic booky. The only stuff I’ve done outside [recently] is: Season 3 of The Walking Dead poster, the Five Finger Death Punch album and REVOLVER cover with Slayer vs. Slipknot. Apart from that, it’s just mostly being locked down doing Batman.

HC: After fifty issues (the number of issues he has signed on to do Batman for), are you just going to kick your feet up and see what else is out there?

GC: Well, they pay me so much I can kick my feet up now (in his fanciest accent). Just kidding about that. I don’t plan stuff too far in advance. There was a near mid-air collision at this airport I’m flying out of (Seriously). So I can make all these plans and then the planes collide, I’m dead, and then there’s nothing after Batman #33. I don’t usually plan that far; life usually takes you in an unexpected direction anyway. I’ll still do some comic stuff, but maybe I’ll slow down the pace a little bit so I can have some family time. I don’t have anything concrete. There’s no tablets etched out saying “here’s what Greg’s gonna do next.” What happens, happens and we’ll see what life tells me to do.

“Respect My Craft” – Yanick Paquette

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

 

dcc font

Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Yanick Paquette

Profession: Penciller

Notable WorkWonder Woman (1998-1999), Batman Inc V1 (2011), New 52 Swamp Thing (2011-2013)

“It’s so rare that I’ve been able to really let loose upon drawing flowers and plants and these kinds of visuals, that you don’t get drawing, say, Spider-Man or Batman. This book gives me access to this potential. On the personal side, I love nature. I collect bugs. So for me, it’s a challenge because it’s something I’m not used to drawing, but it’s something that I’m really enjoying getting to do.” – Yanick Paquette

 

Yanick Paquette has two things going for him: he is an amazing artist, and he has a weird name. Take it from somebody who knows, having a weird name helps you stand out. Paquette can thank his French-Canadian heritage for his unique. Growing up in Montreal, Paquette got his first taste in comic books when he rescued a Chris Claremont/John Byrne X-Men issue from the trashcan. Most may recognize the name from his work alongside Scott Snyder in the New 52 Swamp Thing book, but Yanick Paquette is actually quite the renaissance man – you can take his moonlighting as a baroque composer as an example.

Yanick got his start in the industry by contributing to several different titles like Xena: Warrior Princess: Year OneJLA: Tomorrow Woman and Warrior Nun Areala – ya know, the normal stuff. It gets better, though. One of his first publicized pieces of work was the 1999 Harem Nights – an erotic book whose story centered around “the erotic travails of a gorgeous harem slave under a nefarious spell that forces her to achieve orgasm with a willing partner a day.” It’s a far cry from the work on Wonder Woman that was published that same year. His first monthly piece in the business, Wonder Woman really gave Yanick the spotlight to showcase his skills for a wider demographic to see. He was the first to draw the famous Wonder Woman Battle Armor as we know it today (the first incarnation from Wonder Woman #10 in 1987 was decidedly more classical) and the Diana that he drew was sexy, but without showing too much skin. More importantly, the arc that he pencilled, Devastation, marked a distinct turning point in the series, which took a noticeably more realistic approach to its art after Yanick and colorist Patrica Mulvihill joined the creative team.

ww armor

What I appreciate so much about Paquette is his appreciation for colorists in the industry. Casuals fans might not realize it, but typically in the production of a comic book, the “artist” title is broken down into three jobs: a penciller (whose name you see adorning the issue), an inker (some pencillers insist on doing their own inking) and a colorist – the latter of which breathes the life into the piece. No matter how beautiful the pencil-work is, it really isn’t complete without the genius of the colorist. When DC made a creator’s survey, Yanick advocated that colorist receive royalties, and their names displayed on the cover next to the writer and penciller – a statement made at the expense of telling DC how it is losing to Marvel. It’s great to see that type of team appreciation within the industry that can only come with an understanding of the bigger picture.

When Yanick got the gig as a penciller for the New 52 relaunch of Swamp Thing, I had no idea it would be the journey that it turned out to be. Paquette considers himself very much a student of the old school, inspired by the original portrayal by creator Bernie Wrightson and the psychedelic vibe of that era. Luckily for us, the great working relationship between himself and writer Scott Snyder allowed him to have a vintage vibe to the art, but still carry a dark, modern story. The supernatural element of Swamp Thing allowed Paquette to experiment. From the panel layout to the symmetry before the Green and the Rot, Yanick brought just as much passion and originality to his art as powerhouse Scott Snyder did with his writing.

swamp thing no4

That being said, Paquette has never shied away from being in the company of great writers. In addition to his Swamp Thing run, Yanick has been fortunate enough to work with amazing writers: Robert Kirkman (Ultimate X-Men), Jason Aaron (Wolverine: Insane in the Brain), Matt Fraction (Uncanny X-Men), Mark Millar (Civil War: X-Men) and even the legendary Alan Moore (Terra Obscura) – the latter of which has been heralded as having written arguably the best Swamp Thing stories ever. The experience between each team differs depending on the writer. Some give specific scripts, some give vague ones. Scott Snyder likes to let Yanick draw out the fight scenes, and then create the dialogue around it. For example, Grant Morrison, who Paquette has collaborated with on Batman, Inc.The Bulleteer and 7 Soldados da Vitória with, gives very little script, and actually challenges Yanick to help create the story with his art, which then inspires Morrison to add on to the original scope to fit his vision. So not only is Paquette supplementing the story with art, he is, in essence, creating the story as well.

tumblr_n36cm8fhy01s07m1jo1_1280

Yanick is extremely methodical; he actually prefers not to do monthly titles so that he may perfect his product. So it should come to nobody’s surprise that the Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel that he and Grant Morrison were working on has been delayed until 2015. In a recent interview with CBR, Morrison said that Paquette is twenty pages into the 120 page book – when you see the panels he has created thus far, you’ll know why. The retitled Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince with Grant Morrison uses unique panel structuring to add Greek designs to the layout, similar to the way Swamp Thing did. In the meantime, DC Collectibles has released the first statue based off his work; he made such a mark on Wonder Woman that he was awarded his own Art of War Statue – joining such company as Jim Lee and George Perez (whose 65-issue run on the series is the longest of any writer in the book’s history). Yanick also appreciates the benefits of social media, and is frequently posting drawings and other adventures from his convention cycles. Fans seem to also appreciate the interactions and his commissions can be found all over tumblr.

tumblr_n2gexgoNbs1shy74to1_1280

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (DC Comics). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with former DC editor, online columnist and Sideshow Collectibles Project Editor, Janelle Asselin.

Shut Up and Take My Money: Greg Capullo Court of Owls Action Figures

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item:

DC Comic Designer Series: Greg Capullo Series 1 Figures

What it is:

Today, the first four figures from the new Designer Series are released. The first to get the treatment is Greg Capullo’s Batman (written by Scott Snyder, and really just the best DC Comics book out for the last three years. The first set of four to be released are: Batman, Nightwing, Talon and Nygma (Riddler), the latter of which appearing in the Zero Year storyline (happening right now!), while Nightwing and Talon are brought to life from earlier storylines (Death of the Family and the already legendary Court of Owls). Each figure comes with appropriate props: Batman with Batarangs, Nightwing with escrima sticks, Nygma with his staff and Talon with daggers and a Court of Owls mask. I know these are supposed to be collectibles, but there’s nothing that can convince me that I’m not supposed to take Talon and Batman out of the box to make them duel each other. The design is pays homage to Capullo’s craft just as much as it does to the progress DC Collectibles has made over the years.

How Much it Costs:

These figures are a little pricier than normal, netting about $25 per figure – give or take a few depending on where you get it. Right now, you can find the figures at most any outlet, but with this being the first edition of the new Designer Series, I expect that these will become highly coveted collectibles in no time.

Is It Worth It?:

Collectors will not hesitate to pick these beauties up and fans of the comic book will instantly have a unique souvenir to remind them of this superb book that inspired them. That being said, they are on the expensive side – it seems to be the way figures are getting now. It will be hard to justify buying the whole series, especially with a second series on the way in October. That being said, the Talon figure is just so detailed, it would be hard to pass up getting, as there are no other DC Collectibles for The Court of Owls. I expect these will sell out soon, and prying them form the fingers of greedy fanboys could be much costlier.

 

Bottom Line:

Buy these. Buy two. One to play with and one to keep in the box to brag about to your friends. The Nightwing and Nygma figures are dope, but let’s be real; Batman and Talon are the real show-stoppers here. How cool would it be to buy a bunch of Talons and descend upon Gotham with only one Batman to stop them? …This is bad news for my wallet, guys.

Emerald City Comic Con 2014 Preview

In just a few days, we will be escaping our day jobs to visit Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con! It will be our first out-of-state Comic Con since 2012, when we went to Comic-Con International. We were initially stoked for ECCC just for the sheer amount of guests coming, but when the programming was released just a couple days ago, we are now ecstatic! In preparation for the Con, we’re going to be highlighting the guests that will be coming and the panels that we’ll be attending. We’ll be writing live from the event, so if there is anything crazy happening, you’ll hear it straight from us.

It was so difficult for us to narrow down the list of things we want to do. If it were up to us, we’d do everything, but Emerald City Comics Con is so ridiculously awesome, the Adrian and I will simply not be able to do everything (or will we??). Here’s a list of the stops we absolutely have to make:

Guests:

Comic Books:

Jim Lee: Legendary artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee will be stopping by on one day only. His art from X-Men to Batman: Hush, all the way to the ongoing Superman: Unchained has been phenomenal. At cons, he usually holds his own drawing workshop where he holds Q&A while he sketches. It’s the best thing ever. We are looking forward to seeing him again at ECCC. Check out our profile on Jim Lee in our weekly piece “Respect My Craft.”

Scott Synder: Batman has been written by more writers than I can count, but there’s something insanely special about Scott Synder’s New 52 run of him. Synder, whose work on Detective Comics: Black Mirror and American Vampire has scared the pants off readers, has been superb on Batman. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a Batman comic book. Meeting the man who created the Court of the Owls will be quite the treat.

Gail Simone: Gail is one classy lady. She is the strongest female presence in comic books today, writing DC’s BatgirlRed Sonja and now Tomb Raider. We love her color commentary and she recently reached out to us on Twitter when we spotlighted her in our weekly “Respect My Craft” article. She’s good stuff and I can’t wait to hear what kind of stories she has for us!

Matt Fraction: This guy just might be the funniest writer in the biz right now – or a giant perv, the jury is still out. I religiously follow Hawkeye and Sex Criminals.  He manages to capture perfectly relatable situations and turn them into ridiculous stories that you can’t find in a book. Sadly, he’s a much bigger deal than he makes himself out to be; a lot of people don’t realize how much he’s had his hands on in the recent Marvel universe (Fear Itself, FFFantastic Four… a lot of F’s).

G Willow Wilson: A Colorado native who has spent most of her adult life in Egypt? Sounds like somebody I want to be friends with! Her graphic novel Cairo, as well as past novels Alif the Unseen and The Butterfly Mosque, have accredited her as a unique storyteller with insight on Muslim culture while still having a keen sense of American humor to tell the stories with. Her recent start in Ms. Marvel has shot her near the top of my list. Check out our profile on G Willow Wilson in our weekly piece “Respect My Craft.”

Very Honorable Mentions:

Chris Burnham (artist for Batman Inc.)
J. Scott Campbell (artist, famous for Spiderman, Danger Girl and Gen 13)
Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer for Captain Marvel)
Kyle Higgins (writer for Nightwing)
Jeff Lemire (writer/artist for Trillium, Underwater Welder)
Ed McGuinness (artist for Superman/Batman, Amazing X-Men, Nova, etc)
Dustin Nguyen (artist for Heart of Hush, Lil Gotham)
Jimmy Palmiotti (veteran writer & artist, will be releasing the graphic novel Denver)
Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo)
Tim Sale (artist of Batman: Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Spiderman: Blue)

TV/Movies:

Whedonverse: At past conventions, we’ve been lucky enough to meet J August Richards (AngelMarvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Clare Kramer (Buffy), and Nicholas Brendan (Buffy). This year, we are chomping at the bit for a fanboy/fangirl moment to meet Faith and Wash! Eliza Dushku, who played Faith in BTVS and Echo in Dollhouse will be there. Joining her will be Alan Tudyk, who played Hoban Washburne in Firefly/Serenity and Alpha in Dollhouse. We are so stoked, because we will also get to see J. August Richards and Clare Kramer again (who we actually gave rock candy meth to when we dressed as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman for Denver Comic Con last year). Whedonverse!The Wire: They might be representing different shows now, but I know a planned Wire reunion when I see one. Chad Coleman (Cutty) and Lance Reddick (Daniels) will be joining us. The Wire is one of our favorite television dramas of all time, and to meet Lt. Daniels and Cutty would be a highlight for sure.Steve Amell: This badass archer from CW’s Arrow will be making a one day appearance. Besides headlining one of the best comic book to television adaptations EVER, he’s also one of the funniest celebrities on Facebook. It would be awesome to meet the man under the hood.Very Honorable Mentions:

Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG, Breaking Bad)

See all the special guests here.

Programming:

Copyright Infringement and the Fair Use Defense

“What does copyright protect? What is infringement? When does “fair use” protect me? What happens if I infringe? Join attorney Caitlin DiMotta for a primer on copyright infringement, the fair use defense, & how to understand the difference.”

Fanfiction of the Whedonverse – LIVE!

“Not all fanfiction is bad. Some is just written that way. And some is so bad you may need therapy. Join us as we read aloud the worst in Whedonverse fanfic plots, puns, grammar, & super sexy scenes with Bobby Roberts, Benja Barker, & Kara Helgren.”

Hip-Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining

“This program discusses the intersections of Hip-Hop and comics, from rappers and graffiti artists utilizing super-heroic imagery and adopting fantastic alter-egos to comic creators utilizing the rich visual vocabulary of hip-hop in their work.” Note: Check out our “Diggin’ Through the Crates” articles for more info on comic book references in Hip-Hop.

30 Years of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

“Join Andrew Farago, author of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History, Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo, and Mirage Studios alumnus Michael Dooney as they look back on three decades of Eastman and Laird’s TMNT!”

Genetic Engineering: Star Trek versus Reality

“From eugenics (Kahn and Star Trek Into Darkness) to manipulating DNA in embryos (The Auguments on Enterprise), genetic engineering was invented by science fiction, but how far behind is science? It is closer than you think! Join Professor Ilana S. Lemann, author of the upcoming book All You Need to Know About Disability Is On Star Trek, for a fascinating look at the science in science fiction.”

Making Your Own Comics

“Jimmy Palmiotti, Becky Cloonan, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey talk candidly about how they got their first comics off the ground. Be prepared to take notes – we’ll cover tough topics like collaboration, print vs. digital, finding an audience, and importantly, the money stuff!”

ECCC Costume Party

The Clock King and other villains have hatched a plot utilizing costumed decoys and they’ve chosen Emerald City Comicon as the place to select their team of miscreants! You’ll see various costumed attendees walking the showroom floor during the convention… Now see the best ECCC has to offer from multiple comics and cosplay-related categories. Judges will pick winners from each category and the audience will determine the best overall, who then will join a masters’ round of veteran cosplayers for a final showdown and ultimate prizes. Costumed audience members may also be selected to come onstage to show off their creations for prizes. Temple Fugate hosts what is always a highlight of the weekend.

Join The Corps!

“The Carol Corps. Find out what the fiercest & friendliest fandom is all about! It’s a powerful movement happening in comics right now and you can be a part of it! Join Prof. Ben Saunders as he speaks with Captain Marvel scribe Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ms. Marvel author G. Willow Wilson. They’ll talk about the origins of “The Carol Corps”, it’s Ms. Marvel-inspired offshoot “The Kamala Korps” and what’s in store for the future.”

Check out all the programming here.

Outside the Con

Carol Corps Celebration

At the Seattle Museum of Flight, there will be a celebration celebrating Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and their creators. So Kelly Sue DeConnick and G Willow Wilson will be there! It’s a great way to kick off the convention and visit the flight museum at the same time.

Explore the Town a Bit

We’ve never been to Seattle, so we’d love to spend some time outside the convention exploring. The Space Needle is a must, as is the fish market. Without a car, our options are a bit limited, but if you all know of any places in Seattle worth checking out, please pass us along some info. 🙂

ECCC Cinema Series

Each night of the convention, ECCC will be showing a movie that stars one of their special guests. The guests will have a Q&A session while watching. At $25/person, it’s a bit steep of a price for a movie and some Q&A, but the thought of watching Serenity with Alan Tudyk is hard to pass up… aside from that awkward moment at the end there. Leaves on the wind and all that.

Going to Emerald City Comic Con? Have any topics you want us to cover while we’re there? Care to share any tips about Seattle in general? We want to hear it!

Comic Book Reviews 12-31-13

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Injustice: Gods Among Us (DC Comics) #12 – A

All of those who have been reading the series digitally, ahead of times, now you can pat yourself on the back and say “I told you so.” Gods Among Us has been much more than a video-game adaptation, and this issue is the best one yet. Superman has completely lost his marbles, and Batman seems to be the only one who has the gall to deal with it. We’ve reached the end of “season one,” but it’s only the beginning of the end for this world under the iron rule of Superman. The Batman-Superman bromance comes to in end in a BAD way. I can’t recommend this series enough! – S

Other Reviews:

Boom! Studios:

Revelations #1 – B

Image ushers in the New Year with the brand new mystery-thrillers series, Revelations.  The series opens in Vatican City, Rome one stormy night.  A potential successor to the Pope is dead – impaled on iron fence spokes after taking a long fall from a cathedral window, dropping a mysterious object on the way down.  Enter Charlie Northern, a long-time atheist, fan of hardcore sucker for conspiracy theories and London detective.  Charlie is asked by an old friend and member of the Catholic Church to investigate the mysterious death of the would-be Pope.  By the end of the issue it’s obvious that the circumstances surrounding the death are sure to keep Charlie busy for a while.  For any fans of the Da Vinci Code or National Treasure stories – this series is for you.  While I’m not a crazy fan for the religious themed plots, I’m never bored by murder mysteries.  Paul Jenkins (writer) peppers in just the right amount of intrigue and teasers to keep this series on my radar.  That and Charlie’s hilarious inner monologues.  The real seller for Revelations though – the art work.  Humberto Ramos (art), Leonardo Olea (colors) and Edgar Delgado (colors) present jaw dropping panels.  The detail and contrast is worked in very nicely in environments that are inherently dark and dreary.  I’m looking forward to experiencing Charlie’s unraveling of the mystery and soaking in more gorgeous panels in future issues. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Superman Unchained #5 – B+

Superman Unchained has had the honor of having the best creative team in comic books, with writing by Scott Synder (BatmanAmerican Vampire) and art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Batman: Hush, New 52 Justice League). This series has suffered from being under-developed, but that stops in issue five. This issue has finally picked up steam, and there is phenomenal dialogue between Wraith and Superman before things get real. This isn’t your father’s Superman. No longer the Blue Boy Scout, Superman has no blind allegiance to the U.S. government. Wonder what it would be like if Superman fought somebody just as strong was. Oh, and a huge nod to Jim Lee playing with watercolor on flashback scenes, as they are simplistically beautiful, as well as the first appearance of Jim Lee’s Batman in over a year. Every comic book fan should hop on board with Superman Unchained. – S

Batman: The Dark Knight #26 – C

The entire issue had no dialogue, but it still says a lot. Chronicling the story of a family torn by tragedy, a girl is taken from the safety of what little family she has left and forced into child labor. The ring leader is none other than the heartless Penguin. Batman catches wind of the scene and investigates, only to be trapped by Cobblepot and Co. The story tells itself with subtle imagery and great inflection. I’m not sure who the Voiceless are, but I’m intrigued enough to find out – something I haven’t been able to say for another Batman title since the New 52 launch. – S

Damian: Son of Batman #3 – C

Andy Kubert has regained a bit of momentum in this third issue, but there’s still not enough going on here to really sell it home – and with one issue left, I really don’t know where this is going. Damian is struggling with being a non-lethal Batman, and one of our Bat-family members kicks the bucket. I love the outfit and the thought of Damian trying to bring Gotham back under Bats protection, but I’m kinda over it. Even the re-appearance of “The Joker” couldn’t pique my interest. I will finish out the mini-series because there is only one issue left, out of respect for Damian, but I’m not expecting much else to come from this series that should have been buried along with Damian Wayne. – S

Dead Boy Detectives #1 – C-

Based off Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, the two ghost detectives Edwin and Charles are back at it in their own series, Dead Boy Detectives. The debut issue has our duo following a young girl at a art show robbery. They narrowly save her from death and, as a result from her near-death experience, she is able to see them. It’s not a very engaging book thus far, and I’m struggling to see how much more in depth this mini-series can get when there have already been two adaptations of Dead Boy Detectives. Here’s to hopng that we’re not beating a dead horse or dragging Neil Gaiman’s name around for exposure. – S

Justice League Dark #26 – D

In this issue of Justice League Dark (Forever Evil tie-in), the Dark team (Pandora, Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine) are confronted face to face, or rather consciousness to consciousness, with Blight. The dialogue within this issues is corny to say the least; the art however, was a semi-redeeming quality, especially within the first few opening panels. Most of the dialogue wasn’t intriguing or fascinating, and the story itself was moving at a fairly slow pace. With very little action happening within the story until the end, I wouldn’t recommend continuing this story over others. – E

Dark Horse:

Bad Blood #1 – D-

Bad Blood is the story (sort of) of cancer patient/college student/former footballer Trick.  He sulks around and his best friend Kyle tries to cheer him up. Trick gets bit by a vampire who proclaims that Trick has poisoned blood.  But then the vamp immediately bites and kills Kyle.  Trick feels bad, tells the police what happened, and then tries to find the vampire on his own when that doesn’t work.  In theory, this comic seems pretty cool.  In reality, it didn’t take a bite out of me (trust me, that pun has more personality than this comic).  The main character doesn’t evoke sympathy for his bad health.  We don’t know what kind of cancer he has; at least a nod to maybe leukemia would have made the title ironic in the first issue.  Also this vampire, he comes out of nowhere and claims to have been eating rodents underground for centuries and that he fears the living world?  That just doesn’t make much sense.  And after his killing spree, he is never to be seen again.  The only redeeming factor about this issue was the nod to the modern age.  Trick tries to find the vampire and wonders whether he should check Facebook or Craigslist.  It seems that would be where one would start in today’s times.  Otherwise, there was no connection to plot or characters in this first issue.  The 2nd issue will really have to step up to keep me interested. – A

Dynamite Entertainment:

Twilight Zone #1 – C

Nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu…bong!!  The Twilight Zone was brought to us via comics this week.  Issue number one explores the life and times of Trevor Richmond, a successful and savvy businessman that’s grown bored with the routine he’s worked himself into.  Looking for a change, Trevor seeks out one Mr. Wylde who heads an enterprise that specializes in giving people “new lives.”   Lives that guarantee full and thorough dissociation from the previous – even in a person’s physical appearance.  The plot thickens when we learn that Trevor is not just bored with his life; he’s in fact seeking an escape.  With all the wealth he’s been earning for his company, he couldn’t help but skim some of the lucrative profit for just himself.  Trevor and Wylde strike a deal that will sever all ties Trevor has to his current life and send him back out into the world scot-free and with no risk of repercussions of crimes previously committed.  In good Twilight Zone fashion, there is a twist.  We’re left with an intriguing cliffhanger on the very last panel that’s got me anxious for the next issue.  Other than the allure of the Twilight legacy, there’s nothing outstanding with the issue itself.  The artwork is fairly basic, characters are archetypical and the story is heading down a fairly predictable path.  The comic book medium may not be the ideal place for a franchise like The Twilight Zone, as I flip back through #1.  I’ll pick up the next issue, but if I’m not blown away by pages end I’ll likely opt to continue to get my Twilight Zone fix from the good ol’ black & white series that’s been blowing minds for over 50 years now. – T

Image:

Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth #8 –B

Ok, I’ll admit, this is the first issue of Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth that I have read.  But I think it says a lot that because of this one issue, I want to go back and read the first seven issues.  It is well drawn and colored and hilariously funny.  The inside cover alone had me rolling, with explanations of who different characters were, including Mohagany Davis Jr., possibly the daughter of Sammy Davis Jr.  The jokes are off-color and not appropriate at all, despite the main character being a little boy, who, because he is ugly, constantly wears a bag over his head.  It reminded The story got a little confusing for me, especially because it was a Christmas issue, and I felt I was missing a lot of background, but overall I laughed throughout the entire read. – A

Marvel:

New Avengers #13 – C

Issue 13 of New Avengers Inhumanity arc continues the story of the Illuminati (Black Panther, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Tony Stake, and Doctor Strange) and the eventual collisions of universes – referred to as The Incursion. Personally, I enjoy how grim this story is. It’s clear that everyone is willing to sacrifice almost everything for one reason or another- the Illuminati to ensure their survival, and Doctor Strange to restore his power to the level it once was. This book brings a dark and somber element to the comic book world, which makes it very easy to get sucked into the story. I can see big things getting ready to happen in the Inhumanity arc, yet I struggle a little bit with how quickly they switch between universes and which group belongs to which Earth, at times it can be a bit overwhelming. I would recommend sticking with this story, though, especially because it is the beginning of a brand new arc where things are beginning to reach their climax. – E

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7 – C+

Women make the best super villains.  That’s not a slight at the female gender.  On the contrary – it’s a compliment.  A successful super villain has to have drive, ambition and a ruthless passion to be the best at what they do.  Janice of the evil Beatle-team exemplifies these traits in issue #7 of The Superior Foes of Spiderman.  From the first panels, readers venture back in time to the humble beginnings of Janice and her “job.”  She pulls a sweet rope-a-dope as a pre-teen at a “friend’s” birthday party all the while being encouraged by her mobster father, Tombstone.  We skip ahead in time and continue to witness the makings of a superior villain in Janice as she graduates from college (head of her class) and quickly makes a name for herself at a reputable law firm – all a means to an end to becoming the super-villain leader of her own crime syndicate.  The comic as a whole is light hearted and fun to read.  Janice is a dynamic character and one that’s easy to root for; mostly due to the humorous nature of the issue.  The downside to all this is the obscurity of the characters.  Granted, I’m not a die-hard Spidey fan.  Even so, I was left wanting more insight and background on the supporting cast.  The banter was entertaining at least.  This origin story issue is a good read, but I’m going to need some conflict in the next issue if Nick Spencer (writer) wants to keep this fan onboard. – T

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 1 A, 1 B, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.33

Marvel Comics: 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.00

Independents: 2 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.25

Funniest Panel of the Week:

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #8
Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #8

Epic Panel of the Week:

Injustice: Gods Among Us #12
Injustice: Gods Among Us #12

Cover Art of the Week:

The Superior Foes of Spiderman #7
The Superior Foes of Spiderman #7

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, Adrian Puryear, Taylor Lowe and Evan Lowe