Category Archives: Comic-Con

Interview: David Ury and ‘Everybody Dies: A Children’s Book For Grown-Ups’

David Ury and "Everybody Dies: A Children’s Book For Grown-Ups"

David Ury and “Everybody Dies: A Children’s Book For Grown-Ups”

Daivd Ury is really onto something. Who is David Ury? you may ask. Most likely, you’ve seen him around, getting throttled, axed, murdered, or most notably, having an ATM fall on him in AMC’s critically-acclaimed “Breaking Bad.” Yes, he’s one of those character actors that you like but might not know unless you’re looking in the right places. Ury has definitely been working hard. You can catch his hilarious collaboration with his alter-ego, Kevin Tanaka, right here:

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Filed under Books, Children's Books, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Death, Illustration, Interviews

Comic-Con 2014 Interview: Charles Yu

Charles Yu is the author of the novel “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe” and the short story collections “Third Class Superhero” and “Sorry Please Thank You.” In 2007, Yu won the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award. When discussing Yu’s work, Italo Calvino comes up as does Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut. What strikes me is Yu’s flair for a natural and casual humor mixed in with philosophical musings and various games with language and narrative. You can read my review of “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe” right here.

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Filed under Charles Yu, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Fiction, Interviews, Sci-Fi, science fiction, Time Travel

Comic-Con 2014 Interview: Gene Yang and THE SHADOW HERO

It is an honor and a privilege to interview Gene Yang, known for “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers & Saints.” And now he and Sonny Liew offer you “The Shadow Hero.” With all the unpacking, literally and figuratively since Comic-Con, I finally share with you this interview. You really can’t say enough about Gene Yang. He has opened up a great path for others to dare to follow. Yeah, he’s that big of a deal.

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Filed under China, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Gene Yang, graphic novels, Interviews, Sonny Liew

Comic-Con 2014 Interview: Michael Cho and SHOPLIFTER

Michael Cho laughed with recognition when I compared his character, Corinna Park, with Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly. Granted, it is by no means an exact match but the two are kindred spirits in many ways. There is something very appealing and relatable about Corinna Park. In Cho’s debut graphic novel, “Shoplifter,” we observe a young woman’s struggle to find her place in the world. We appreciate that struggle as well as the increasingly disconnected world we live in. You can read my review here.

Random-House-Michael-Cho

Cho is an illustrator, cartoonist, and writer whose previously published work includes “Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes,” a collection of sketches depicting Toronto’s cityscape. Born in South Korea, he has lived in Canada since he was six.

Seth, author of “Palookaville,” has said, “Michael Cho’s ‘Shoplifter,’ his first graphic novel, is a joy to behold–so beautiful it will make all other cartoonists weep with envy.”

In this interview, Cho speaks to the impatience of youth and life in the big city for young people. This is part of an unfolding story. Cho is looking forward to pursuing this narrative further with other characters. “Shoplifter” is the first of five graphic novels with intertwined themes.

“Shoplifter” has two-color illustrations throughout and is available as of September 2, 2014. It is published by Pantheon, a division of Random House. To pre-order, visit Random House right here.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Interviews, Michael Cho, Pantheon, Random House

Comic-Con 2014 Interview: Paul Tobin on THE WITCHER and PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE

Paul Tobin is a comic book writer who is known for his work with Marvel Comics, among a full roster of other works. With Dark Horse Comics, Tobin has worked, with his wife, Colleen Coover, on BANDETTE; with Joe Querio on THE WITCHER; and with Juan Ferreyra on COLDER as welll as PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE. For this interview, we focus on the writing in The Witcher and chat a bit about the Aliens Predator Prometheus crossover event.

From THE WITCHER by Paul Tobin and Joe Querio

From THE WITCHER by Paul Tobin and Joe Querio

Based on the popular book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher is an action role-playing video game developed by CD Projekt RED and published by Atari, Inc. Selling millions of copies, the short stories by Sapkowski feature a fantasy world inspired by Polish folklore with supernatural themes. The next game release is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, set for February 24, 2015, and it will make the perfect companion to the trade paperback release of The Witcher graphic novel.

Look for the trade paperback of The Witcher Volume 1 to come out on September 24, 2014. For more details, visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.

As Tobin explains, he breaks everything down by panel while making sure not to crowd the artist. Panel by panel breakdown is essential in many ways, not to mention continuity. We take a close look at some panels that set up an important plot point: the introduction of the character, Marta, hovering in the distance, who Jakob is inextricably linked to.

From PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra

From PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra

And we talk about Tobin’s Prometheus: Fire and Stone. It was Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie’s brilliant idea to bring together all the writers on the crossover event. While each writer had a separate stand-alone book to work on, getting together allowed them to share ideas and actually make each other’s work better.

Tobin acknowledged that he’s a very private writer but he loved this format with ideas flowing back and forth in a supportive environment. It will make reading all the books that much smoother. This blockbuster crossover event begins with Tobin’s Prometheus: Fire and Stone.

Look for the first issue of Prometheus: Fire and Stone out on September 10, 2014. For more details, visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Paul Tobin

Comic-Con 2014: Randy Stradley and Dark Horse Comics

Randy Stradley talks here a bit about Dark Horse Comics. He partnered with Mike Richardson to create Dark Horse and has led the way in its development. Stradley shares some thoughts on the first time Dark Horse made an appearance at Comic-Con. It was pretty humble way back then.

Looking forward, Stradley pointed to twelve new creator-owned properties that had just been announced. Among new Dark Horse projects to look forward to is Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club 2,” a big step beyond his 1996 novel, full of supernatural spookiness, set for a 10-issue run debuting May, 2015. Brian Truitt, at USA Today, provides an insightful interview with Palahniuk about this new project right here.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can find at Dark Horse. For more information, visit Dark Horse Comics here. Some of the news you can find, like Dark Horse taking home five Eisner Awards this year, follows:

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Randy Stradley

Comic-Con 2014: On Being A Third Class Superhero

Comic-Con 2014: Star Wars Display

Comic-Con 2014: Star Wars Display

Comic-Con is many things: a focal point for learning about pop culture and a place to buy and sell pop culture. It is a fascinating place to be to observe a concentrated segment of consumer culture. With an estimated attendance this year topping off at 160,000, Comic-Con International: San Diego is an instant village. Not everyone is there for exactly the same reasons. But, at the same time, even the academically-inclined that claim that they are there only for the serious panel discussion, must admit to this event being like going to Disneyland.

You are there, caught in the sweep of humanity, and you can’t help but feel that you are part of something bigger. This is a mega-community all mashed together with various views and agendas. To be fair, I like to give credit to everyone for all the hard work they do. There is so much on display, with so many issues at play all at once. On the most basic level, we have a huge number of humans all seeking something. The only way it makes sense for me is to set up guideposts for myself ahead of time and go to the things that matter most to me. And, like a grand museum, you will only manage to see part of what you set out to see.

We’re only human, right? We are more complex than we give ourselves credit for. Comic-Con is not a bunch of rats set loose, even if it may seem like that at times. We are human. Comic-Con seems like one big spectacle sometimes but, just like they say about going to school, traveling, and life in general, you get back what you put into it. The thing to remember about Comic-Con is that, at its roots, it is about fandom and a love for comic books is at its core. If you gather together a group of young (and not-so-young) people who are sensitive to seeking out something more, whatever that might be, you’re on a good track right there. That something more, whatever it might be, will be an anchor, a gateway, a portal, all at once.

From Charles Yu’s Third Class Superhero:

I know this is as good as it will ever get for me and it’s not that good. I have a small heart, a dark heart, a heart filled with exactly equal amounts of good and evil, one that is weak and will take us only so far, but for now it propels us higher and higher and higher.

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Filed under Charles Yu, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Media, pop culture

Comic-Con 2014: A Celebration of Walt Kelly and POGO

Pogo-Walt-Kelly-Comic-Con-Panel-2014

The pure magic of Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” comic strip defies easy description. It appeared in newspapers around the country and galvanized thought among the thoughtful. His strange and beautiful comic strip was, in its day, “Doonesbury,” “The Simpsons,” and “The Jon Stewart Show” all rolled into one, times ten. Its satirical bite was so effective that newspapers would opt for either the innocent joke version or go for the political version of the comic strip. Has Walt Kelly been relegated to the margins? That is where many an odd genius will dwell only to be rediscovered. Thanks to Fantagraphics Books, the Pogo comic strips are getting their due.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Pogo, Political Cartoons, politics, Walt Kelly

Comic-Con 2014: Jane Austen’s 200-Year-Old Franchise and Other Stories

To label the works of Jane Austen as a 200-year-old franchise is like plucking the wings off a butterfly, isn’t it? Well, it was said, without too much irony, at one panel discussion at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Sure, there was some irony, since we’re all comedians now with impeccable timing, but the intent was to strategize on how to get the most out of Austen. And what would Jane Austen have to say about this? Producers would be interested to know, especially if she could pitch to them a new show. Franchises just aren’t what they used to be. Original content is scarce.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Transmedia, Trends

Comic-Con 2014 Interview: Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley is a wonderfully observant cartoonist. There wasn’t anything quite like her comics journal, “French Milk,” when it was first published in 2007, and it has grown in stature ever since. It’s a fun read, first of all. It’s also a gentle push forward in what the comics medium is capable of. Knisley has created a number of other works with that same personal quality. Her more recent notable work is “Relish,” published by First Second in 2013. In this work, the narrative is tighter and the drawing more refined in keeping with the book’s structured theme. For this interview, there is some comparison of these two works and some thoughts on what lies ahead for comics.

Lucy-Knisley-Relish-First-Second.jpg

We begin with thoughts on M.F. Fisher, a master at storytelling that made a fine mix of memoir and writing on food. Fisher’s first published book was “Serve it Forth,” in 1937. And, like the title implies, the pages within contain words that express an uncanny zest for life, and food. Nowadays, it seems like we’re all foodies. But only a few can claim to be standard-bearers to Fisher to any degree. I started thinking about that in terms of what Knisley is doing and that is where our conversation takes off.

You can find out more about Lucy Knisley by visiting her site here as well as visiting our friends at First Second Books right here.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, First Second, graphic novels, Lucy Knisley