Pay Attention! Comics News Round-Up 06/07/10

Unknown Soldier The guys at the Meltcast interviewed Joshua Dysart about Unknown Soldier. Skip to around 39:00 to hear Dysart's bit. Dysart sounds younger than I'd expected. I'm sad Unknown Soldier is going away, because it was pretty much my favorite Vertigo book during its run. I even liked it more than Joe the Barbarian and Hellblazer. If you haven't read it, you definitely should. You should also listen to this interview. He talks a bit about his upcoming work, too. The most shocking part, I think, is when he talks about the way trades work. Vertigo books live and die by their second trade. If that second trade doesn't make a killing, then the series gets the axe. He also has some strong opinions on the Direct Market and the way comics are marketed, all of which are entirely reasonable. When he says that he's heard rumblings that DC is rethinking the policy of trading everything they produce. Is it just me or does that sound like commercial suicide? The Direct Market works, to a point, but it's still serving a small audience. A hit book sells one hundred thousand copies to a couple thousand stores. Shouldn't expansion, and aggressive expansion at that, be the rule? Willingly closing off a distribution channel seems almost like giving up, like they're saying, "Welp, we got the fanboys… I guess that'll have to do." That sort of thinking makes me itch. That's not rethinking so much as second-guessing.

This Town Needs An… Bruce Timm is well loved, and with good reason. In the first of a couple of Comics Comics-related links, Frank Santoro shares a couple of scans of Timm's color guide for Mad Love. The interesting bit is that Timm's approach to coloring was done in reaction to 1994 Image books. Those books were, depending on your POV, garish and hideous or totally awesome. Timm wanted something that was in direct opposition to that, and maybe a bit more classical in nature. No one creates comics in a vacuum, and a lot of books are direct responses to others, whether it was an in-comics fight over whether or not Lockjaw is a dog or an Inhuman (he's a dog) or Alan Moore's post-Watchmen work. Sometimes these comics about comics turn out well, as in the case of Flex Mentallo, and sometimes they don't, but it's always nice to see the motivation behind some of this stuff, even if it is as simple as "this is ugly, let's do better."

Jonah Hex doing high kicks.

You Put A Hex On Me Frank Santoro of Comics Comics strikes again, this time with a look at DC's re-issue of Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Luke Ross's Jonah Hex #1. He's not fond of overly photo-referenced comics, and he's pulled a few panels from the book to show exactly why. I gotta admit, I liked the issue, but he makes a compelling argument. Ross is a good artist (catch him on Captain America these days), but the poses in Hex look a little too posed, and a little too planned. My taste in art runs more toward Jordi Bernet, Cameron Stewart, and Frank Quitely these days, with a dash of Chris Bachalo. I really like people who break away from cold hard realism and embrace some of the cartoonier aspects of comics art. Bernet's art has served Jonah Hex exceedingly well without being… unrealistic? Does that make sense? Sometimes there is a certain level of realism to be found in going unrealistic.

Aw Hex yeah!

Aw Yeah! In related Hex news… J. Bone drew a great picture of everyone's favorite Confederate cowboy. Maybe having a scarfaced gross-eyed cowboy would be a bit much in Tiny Titans, but hey… why not.

Hope Floats Kelly Thompson interviews Hope Larson! The interview is largely about girls and comics, due in part to a survey Larson recently did. There are a few excerpts from the survey in the post, and all of the points Larson makes seem like no-brainers for me. I don't want to do the two women involved in this interview a disservice by paraphrasing anything, so just click through and check it out. There's a lot of common sense advice in there. There's also a few trolls and scrubs in the comments, so be wary of where you scroll.


Mesmo Discovery Sean Witzke at supervillain looks at Rafael Grampa's Mesmo Delivery and finds that it says plenty on the subject of artistry and gives him plenty to say about the artist and exploitation comics. A quote: "This is angry young man comics, showing how he can do this and they can’t. And it works. It’s legitimately an announcement of Rafael Grampa’s name being on something is automatically worth your dime." Witzke points out that Grampa walks a fine line between putting his own opinions down on paper and having a character have opinions of his own. Sometimes that sort of thing is overt and overbearing in comics, and sometimes it isn't. Judging by what Witzke is saying here, Grampa manages to do it in such a way that you aren't entirely sure that Grampa is talking about his own opinions on art. What you can be sure of, though, is that Grampa is firing a shot across the bow of comics. "Pay attention to me," Mesmo Delivery is saying. "You ain't never seen nothing like me before."

Giant Killing Brandon Thomas gives us a spoiler-free Anatomy Lesson of the last issue of Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura's I Kill Giants. This series was one of my favorites when it came out, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about double dipping and grabbing the Titan Edition to go along with the little trade on my shelves. Thomas pulls apart what Kelly does to make the story to work and pack the story with emotional weight. Read the post and read the book.

Look at his face, he's gorgeous!

Twilight Lettering I can't really salt people for liking Twilight. Considering about half of the books on my shelf, I think it's safe to say there's a little bad taste in everyone but me all of us. But–what's up with the lettering in the Twilight Graphic Novel? Kiel Phegley at CBR asked Kurt Hassler, publishing director of Yen Press, and Brigid Alverson highlights his response at Robot 6. It's… a flimsy answer, basically amounting to "There was a reason, but no, I'm not going to tell you why the artist put a word balloon over a character's face." C'mon son.


David Brothers writes for 4thletter! for fun and for video game companies for a living. Life is weird, and he can't really complain, but that doesn't stop him. He talks about comics, rap, and food on his Twitter.


  1. That Hex in Tiny Titans piece requires an "AW, YEAH!"

  2. DC/Vertigo has very wierd Trade policies. I’ve noticed that the first volume trade usually goes for around $9.99. Great deal. Then the second volume goes for $17.99 or more with the same page count. They actually have lots of different price points and I can never really figure out the formula. Whats that about? If the success of a series is tied so heavily to the trades, why bother with publishing floppies? Seems like Vertigo stuff is just born to be in trade form. At least thats how i love to read them. 

    My first reaction is that everything should be in trade. But then again, there are some duds that no one will miss. I buy 95% of my comics in trade form, so i’ll guess i’ll miss out.

    Twilight–now thats just weird. I like that they got away from using cliche’ed comic fonts, but the balloon over the face is just silly. There are better ways to do that without trashing your own art.  


  3. The comments section on that Hope Larson interview makes me want to blow my brains out. No wonder women hate us so much. And by us I mean men in general. And yes I realize they don’t all hate us but after reading those comments I hate us so there’s that.

  4. @RoiVampire: LMAO!

    LMAO! Nothing says awkward like a Jonah Hex drawn by Art Baltazar. Somethin musta’ happen to him during those years of unemployment. XD.

  5. I want a Tiny Hex sketch!

  6. @drakedangerz: if you go back in time to when he was unemployed he’d have done it for food. XD!

  7. The first trade from Vertigo is a loss leader.  They can’t price all volumes at $10, or they’ll lose money, but if they can hook you on the first one, the subsequent trades will make up for the cost.

    The issues subsidize as much of the production of the books as possible.  Unlike Image and other creator owned books, Vertigo pays their creators up front, and that can be expensive.

  8. Mesmo was so sweet! We need more Grampa

  9. @josh cool. I always wondered about that.

     @david I can kind of see where your coming from about the rethink of putting all DC books into trade format, but if the books themselves don’t perform well at all, I could see holding off on a trade until there’s a demand for it.  That’s just from what I see on the surface.  There are still many things that I’m ignorant to in regard to the comic market.

  10. I think this is my new favorite iFanboy column. David Brothers is the man!