What if we explored time the way we did space—with expeditions manned by our best and brightest as the whole world watches on live television? That’s the premise behind Chrononauts, a new Image Comics series by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, The Secret Service) and Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, The Wake).
Tag: Comic Books (11-20 of 165)
October was a pretty good month for comics. Hardly a week went by without a number of great titles hitting the stands, both digital and physical—so many, you may have missed a few. So before you dive ahead into November, take a look at these comics that came out in October. It’d be a shame if you missed them.
- Renowned graphic novelist Dave Gibbons became the United Kingdom’s first comics laureate this week. Gibbons—the co-creator of and artist behind the acclaimed Watchmen series—received the title from Comics Literacy Awareness, a U.K. nonprofit that seeks to use comic books to promote child literacy and reading. Gibbons will begin his two-year ambassadorship in February. “He will be championing the role of comics in getting children to read as well as visiting schools and attending training events for staff and education conferences,” according to The Guardian.
Gibbons’ influence on the genre has been well-articulated by Lev Grossman in Time, who called him “one of the major comic book artists of the 21st century, or the 20th, or really any other century you care to name.” Gibbons has also worked on esteemed titles like Green Lantern, Batman, and 2000AD.
- While Gibbons champions the power of comics for young people, writer and anthropologist Dana Walrath says they have the potential to benefit another generation, too. Earlier this month, writer and anthropologist Dana Walrath illuminated how comics can play an important role for the elderly in a TEDx Talk called “Comics, Medicine, and Memory.” After her mother fell victim to dementia, Walrath discovered that graphic novels were the optimal storytelling medium to entertain and engage her. She contends that most of the memories Alzheimer’s are able to retain are visual—similarly to very young children—and that the “visual-verbal combination [of comic books] makes up for some of the memory loss and lets content stay sophisticated.” Walrath penned a graphic memoir last year, Aliceheimer’s, chronicling her experiences with her ailing mother Alice. [GalleyCat]
- Speaking of the accessibility of comics for everyone: Offering a free Humble Bundle of Star Wars digital comic books, Dark Horse is.
Last week, the comics publisher democratized a collection of Star Wars graphic novels with the release of a massive digital package at a pay-what-you-want price. Dark Horse says, “fans of the epic sci-fi franchise can pay what they want for up to $190 worth of digital comics, all while supporting a great cause.” Buyers (or freebie-grabbers) can choose whether they want their contributions to support Dark Horse or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Download it now, you should—the offer began last week and continues until Oct. 29.
- For more comics reading, consider picking up the bestseller The Best American Comics 2014, a comprehensive compilation of the latest and greatest in graphic novel publishing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s annual collection spotlights comics from print and digital mediums, fiction and nonfiction, in and outside of the mainstream. This year, comics scholar (yes, that’s a thing) Scott McCloud guest-edited the anthology with Bill Kartalopoulos. McCloud is the author of the classic 1994 comics primer Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.
Let’s start with a question: Are you reading Sex Criminals? Because you should be. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s comic about a couple who can stop time whenever they have sex—and therefore turn to a life of crime—is both hilariously raunchy and deeply heartfelt, frank in its language but never titillating. That’s always been the sort of metajoke with the book—if you only give it a cursory glance, it’s easy to write off as prurient and crude, but if you take the time to read it, you’ll be met with a thoughtful story that’s actually about sex, and not just full of it.
Created by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag, Strong Female Protagonist is a highly acclaimed and much beloved webcomic about Alison Green, a superpowered teen that used to fight crime as Mega Girl. But after a crisis of conscience leaves her wondering how much of a difference she can really make by punching bad guys, Alison decides to pack up her cape and go to college to try to help the world in other ways.
Equal parts dramatic and comedic, the series has been running since 2012 and you can read it all for free here. But maybe digital isn’t your thing. Maybe you want to enjoy Strong Female Protagonist in a way that doesn’t require batteries, or one that’s easier to lend to friends. You’re in luck.
After a successful Kickstarter last summer, Strong Female Protagonist is coming to print. Released as a graphic novel that will be distributed Top Shelf Productions, the self-published book will include the first four issues of the web series, along with some bonus material. It’s well worth checking out, and it’s indicative of the kind of bold and interesting things happening in the world of webcomics.
Strong Female Protagonist: Book One will be available in December 2014.
It’s a sad fact that books are still regularly challenged and banned by various groups, both public and private, in the United States. But it’s heartening that organizations like the American Library Association and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are committed to fighting that censorship—especially this year, when the ALA is focusing its annual Banned Books Week—September 21 to 27—on comics and graphic novels.
Granted, that attention cuts both ways. While comics are now being taken seriously as literature, they’re also being challenged and banned along with literature. Below is a list of 10 essential graphic novels that have been deemed, at some point, unworthy of First Amendment protection. Taken together, they’re a measure of just how far we have to go when it comes to freedom of speech—and how far comics have come, in terms of popularity as well as their ability to embody everything from satire to education to poignancy. READ FULL STORY
For all of its many faults, one of the best things this spring’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had going for it was Emma Stone in the role of Gwen Stacy.
The film’s script, unfortunately, didn’t really do her any favors, up to and including—here’s your spoiler warning—her death at the end of the film. Purists might disagree; they’d cite the fact that the film stays true to the comic-book source material and that it was a watershed moment for comics. They’d be right about those things: That’s what Gwen Stacy does. She dies. But with each passing year, it seems less like necessary canon and more like missed opportunity—as a new comic book released this week shows.
Americans have bought 5,618,000 graphic novels in 2014, Nielsen Bookscan reports—a 10-percent increase over last year. The rising success of the genre can be attributed to reliable fan favorites (The Walking Dead, Batman and Diary of a Wimpy Kid), the comeback of manga (Attack on Titan, Naruto, and One Piece), and breakout bestsellers like the space opera/fantasy series Saga (Image Comics), which topped lists in both its digital and paper formats. Similarly, Diamond Comics Distributors reports a near 4-percent rise in year-to-date sales and a near 6-percent rise in year-to-date units moved. The graphic novel business, including digital and periodical comics, made more than $870 million in 2013. [Publishers Weekly]
Other news indicating a resurgence in graphic novels is FilmNation Entertainment’s purchase of the film rights to The Undertaking of Lily Chen, a dark novel about “corpse brides” that “was inspired by an Economist article about the tradition of post-mortem marriage in China.” The New York distributor plans to turn the Danica Novgorodoff work into a Chinese-language movie, reporting it has had success in similar Chinese ventures before. [Mediabistro]
Another bestselling novelist is in the making his enthusiasm for the military known: James Patterson is donating 180,000 of his hardcover books to American troops. “Every day the men and women of our armed forces sacrifice on our behalf. I can’t think of a more deserving group to receive these books.” [USA Today]
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