Pay Attention! Comics News Round-Up 06/28/10

What do you think, should we do a creator-centric version of Pay Attention! this week? I like news and reviews as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's nice to get it right from the horse's mouth. Let's see what I can come up with…

G Willow Wilson x CAFU - Vixen

-The Intersection of Capes and Headscarves G. Willow Wilson is a writer whose work I've enjoyed off and on. Cairo, her Vertigo graphic novel with M.K. Perker, was a great read. Ian Burns over at The Comics Journal recently posted a three-part interview with the writer (ichi, deux, tres), and she proves to be just as interesting and engaging as her comics writing work. She talks about the intersection between her faith and her writing, the way her fanbase has split up and the interesting similarities between the segments, and how it's easier to write for the New York Times than for comic books. This is a great interview. Willow has a lot of interesting opinions, and "hyperpraxis" is exactly the thing that appeals to one of Grant Morrison's Whorrisons like me.  She also speaks about how she came around to doing comics, what she got right and wrong in Air, and several other topics. All three posts are worth reading.

-This Precious Life Comics criticism heavyweight Joe "Jog" McCulloch posts a transcript of his 2008 interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley, who you may know from a little book called Scott Pilgrim? This is a 7,500 word beast of an interview, but, like Wilson's, a great one. I never knew that Ai Yazawa's Nana was an influence on Scott Pilgrim, nor the specific ways manga had an influence on the formatting and storytelling O'Malley's work. "Manga-influenced" is too broad, too vague of a descriptor to really mean anything to me. The specifics of the influence and O'Malley's interests help to connect a few dots that I couldn't have before now.

Ian Boothby - Simpsons x Futurama

-Genre Bending Rodriguez Tom Spurgeon interviews Ian Boothby, writer of The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis. I had a couple of Simpsons comics when I was a kid, and also a Radioactive Man or two. I hear about Bongo Comics every once and a while, but this is by far the longest piece I've ever seen about one of their works. Spurgeon is an effective interviewer, quizzing Boothby both on how things work behind the scenes, how the comics fit into the larger context of Simpsons fandom, and the less-than-obvious differences between the show and the comics. Boothby spends some time talking about how the voices and dialogue are an integral part of The Simpsons, and how losing that hurts the comic, so you have to make up for it by finding new ways to tell a lot of jokes. This is the kind of no-brainer thing I'd never thought about, really. I'm sure that it can be mapped to something like Buffy, but I'm nowhere near familiar enough with Buffy in comics or television to say one way or the other.

-Not Strictly Comics Deanne Cheuk isn't a comics creator, but judging by what's in this interview on Design*Sponge, she's a fantastic artist. Behind-the-scenes stuff is always interesting, and seeing what Cheuk uses to create her work was enlightening. I particularly appreciate her comments on being blocked creatively. If you're busy working, you don't have time to be blocked. At a certain point, stories, or art, or whatever, just pour out of you. A lot of her advice is applicable to comics creators, as well. "Create–don't imitate!" is something that results in better work. I mean, sure, you've read every issue of Avengers or X-Men ever. That's nice, but what new can you bring to the table? Just doing cover versions of Roy Thomas or Kurt Busiek stories is boring. Aspiring creators! Read this and pay attention to what she says.

-One More Incredible Try Paolo Rivera shares some art from the upcoming "OMIT" story in Amazing Spider-Man. No commentary here, man. Rivera's art speaks for itself, doesn't it?

David Aja - Iron Fist-The End of Iron Fist David Aja shares some art from the end of his run on Immortal Iron Fist. Aja was one of those artists that redefined a character and did it with style. I think that page for page, Aja's issues of Immortal Iron Fist had 2010% more awesome pages than your average Marvel comic. I don't mean just in terms of splash pages or cool scenes. Anyone can do those. I mean those pages where Aja works in a nine-grid shot of Danny Rand flipping around a building, or the page here where Danny realizes that all Iron Fists die at age 33. It's the sort of thing you can't emulate. You can only try to do something completely different than what Aja did.

-Brandon Graham Corner Here's some Brandon Graham links for you. You probably don't want to click these at work, just in case. Graham's latest Livejournal post runs the gamut as far as art goes, from Wizard of Oz to Akira Toriyama to Katsuhiro Otomo. I'd kill a man dead for a legit version of the Otomo stories he posts. He's done a couple of posts for Inkstuds, as well. Check them out here and here. Graham is one of those guys who I could listen (read) talk about comics forever. There's something about his approach that makes his views really interesting. The connection between the comic by Locke that he posts and Masamune Shirow's Appleseed is something I never would've been able to pick up on, much less how Shirow's art influenced Locke's. I think a history of comics done by Graham, one that was very idiosyncratic and focused around his interests, would be great. It'd let us see which comics are in his DNA, what he got out of them, and so on. His way of thinking about comics is what makes King City the hands down best monthly comic on the stands, too. Even panels that are wide open and visually empty are still stuffed with puns, injokes, and insane storytelling.

-Todd Klein Knows Logos Todd Klein took a look at a few decades worth of Hulk logos and we get to reap the whirlwind. Ah-one, ah-two, ah-three, ah-four.


  1. Sigh…Superheroes don’t wear their undergarmets on the outside.  And certainly no-one who actually lives in that universe would think so.

  2. @MikeFarley: Sure looks like they do to me.

  3. Superman and Batman definitely do.

  4. No, they wear trunks over tights. Are swimming trunks underwear?

  5. Cause that’s a lot less weird.

  6. @MikeFarley: So they’re swimming trunks? I’ve been reading comics for almost 30 years and I’ve never heard that one.

  7. I’m not saying they’re swimming trunks. I’m just saying that just like swimming trunks look like they could be underwear but aren’t, the trunks that superheros wear are also not underwear.

    And this kind of meta-comment doesn’t make much sense to me from people who live in a world filled with super-people who’ve worn variations on this kind of costume for 70 years.

  8. At the same time, for context, the JLA is in a small rural village in a fake country in Africa. Superheroes don’t come around there much, or hit up Africa in general really at all, so it’s not that odd that one thing the people there would wonder is "What is up with those wacked out clothes?"

     And some swimming trunks look a whole lot like underwear to me. They’re just colored differently (if you’re lucky).

  9. Fair enough. And I think that a "they’re dressed fuinny" joke is fair game.

    The underwear thing is just a pet peeve of mine.

  10. I just drooled a little over those Aja pages.

  11. @MikeFarley Is the comment any more sensical than the same sentiment attributed to headscarves/wraps that have been around for HUNDREDS of years, yet some people still don’t know how to react to them?

  12. What a shitty panel.  Is that from Rise of Arsenal or Superman 700, and in the surrounding panels is someone walking the earth and/or "scoring" drugs?

  13. ACTUALLY:  Superman and Batman’s original uniforms are based off the circus strongman outfits from WAY back in the day, so they aren’t undergarments OR swim trunks, they are just oddly shaped outterwear.  I wouldn’t doubt it if Batman had some lightweight kevlar involved either.  Bullets don’t bounce off his nutz like Superman’s so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some extra protection in that area or Damian Wayne might have never made it this far!