Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Creator Roundup

This week Dan Hipp does zombie Zelda, Greg Rucka talks Shakespeare, Bryan Lee O’Malley goes freaky friday, Peter David condemns anonymity, The Luna Bros do girl on guy, Brian Azzarello creates a new dialect, Charles Soule gives away a story, Brian Wood goes SNIKT, Fabio Moon presents a cover, Peter Milligan asks the hard questions, Skottie Young didn’t actually post anything this week and Robert Crumb gives an interview that will bring joy to your inner nerd.

- Dan Hipp wishes you a happy Hallowe’en:

- Greg Rucka comments on John Orloff’s film Anonymous, about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s got nothing to do with comics, but Shakespeare is awesome. Here’s a taster:
Caught this piece on NPR this morning, Renee Montagne interviewing John Orloff regarding the movie Anonymous. And aside from the very many reasons to stick a thumb in the eye of the Shakespeare Didn’t Write Shakespeare debate, one thing was savagely clear to me. It’s apparent at the end of the piece, if you read or listen to it – Orloff doesn’t stick to his guns. He’s claiming de Vere wrote the plays, but at the end of the interview, he claims authorship isn’t the issue – it is, he says, “What we’re really doing is having a question about art and politics and the process of creativity. And that’s what the movie is about. It’s not about who wrote these plays; it’s about how does art survive and exist in our society.”

There are two things that really stick in my craw about this whole thing. The first is the basic premise that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays; an argument – in this context – that is entirely contingent on the conceit that only a nobleman could have developed the literary chops to create such enduring works of art. I find this, at its root, a classist argument, a reductive argument, and an inherently snobbish one, to boot (and was hardly surprised to discover that Antonin Scalia is another supporter of the argument – he practically makes my point right there; that Mark Twain would believe the same I find much harder to swallow, but, as 
Randy Newman once sang, “Pluto’s not a planet anymore, either.”) I find it petty. This is the same kind of argument that extends today, in variation, to declare that genre fiction isn’t “real” literature, or that, God forbid, someone who never attended college cannot possibly write a work of merit.

Wonder what Orloff would think about someone coming along fifty years after his death and claiming he couldn’t have possibly written any of his works, because he didn’t have the right parents, or go to the right school, or because he never even visited the 
forest of Tyto. (If that’s too oblique, I’ll explain – Orloff wrote the screen adaptation for the second Legends of the Guardians motion picture.)

- Bryan Lee O’Malley goes Freaky Friday for hallowe’en, swapping Ramona and Kim’s attire:

- Peter David goes on a rather interesting tirade about anonymity on the interwebs. It’s a good little read:

For the startling number of people here who post under their own names. Who make the same choice that I routinely make wherever I put my thoughts out there, be it here, other websites, or in print: to attach my name to my opinions. To not hide behind the comfort of anonymity. Even though this course of action has subjected me to: people trying to get me fired from Marvel; people trying to get me fired from DC; attempts at boycotts; my name showing up on blacklists; people challenging me to debates; people writing and publishing diatribes based upon things I never said; people shouting at me at conventions; people showing up at store signings and hurling a steady stream of abuse; and much more.
Screw ‘em.

For me, living in a free society isn’t always a comfortable thing, and that’s the part we should appreciate–and often don’t. Just ask all the would-be censors who want certain books, certain comic books, certain TV shows, certain movies, to just go away or, even better, be driven away through means ranging from organized boycotts to legal prosecution. They’re all in favor of free speech, as long as it’s within their comfort zone. Why would anyone want to share any traits, on any level, with people like that? Lack of comfort is what you should be willing to deal with. That’s the price of a free society.

I’m always reminded that in 1776, a bunch of rich white guys signed their names to a piece of paper telling the king to sod off, knowing that it could cost them their property, their freedom, their lives, their sacred honor. And here we are, 250 years later, and we’re afraid to sign our names to our opinions because we don’t wanna get spammed or trolled?

I totally understand the attraction of anonymity. I can’t say, though, as I think it’s helped rational discourse in this country. I always flash back to that Disney cartoon with Goofy as a driver. He’s perfectly calm and rational and polite until he gets behind the wheel and he becomes an anonymous guy in a car…and then goes totally mental. I think the information superhighway is loaded with guys who wind up turning into outraged Goofys. I see discussion boards where people almost uniformly post under fake names, but it doesn’t come across like discussion. You know what it reads like? Road rage.

So fine. I choose to drive with the top down so people know who’s behind the wheel.

Others are, of course, welcome to do as they wish. Free society, after all.

- The Luna Brothers chat with Girl on Guy about life and comics:

- Brian Azzarello sat down with USA Today to talk about his new series ‘Spaceman’:
If someone were to review the new Vertigo Comics series Spaceman in the future when the book is set, it might go something like this: "Oh em gee. Vertigo duz it agin. Awsum."

A new language not too far from our own is just one of many themes explored in the sci-fi title reteaming the creators of the acclaimed Vertigo series 100 Bullets. Out today, Spaceman won't last 100 issues and 10 years, though — instead, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso are using a TV-like model with a nine-issue monthly miniseries before moving on to a second chapter. Or maybe a whole new idea.

"I wasn't sure if we were going to work together anymore," Azzarello says, adding that he and Risso started to hash out Spaceman around the time when 100 Bullets finished two years ago.

"I had the feeling where we'd probably just shake hands and say, 'Have a nice life,'" he adds. "It didn't happen that way. We were out and he said to me, 'What are we going to do next?' I was like, 'Whoa. You want to continue working together?' And he looked at me and went, 'It's not broke.'"

There weren't many sympathetic characters in their previous crime saga, unlike the big, hulking guy at the center of Spaceman.

- Charles Soule put together a free short comic on his website. Enjoy page 1 below and read the rest of the story here.

- Brian Wood spoke with CBR about Wolverine: Alpha & Omega:
Quentin Quire, the purple-haired telepath who once led a student revolt at the Xavier School, returned to shake up mutant alliances in the recent "X-Men: Schism" miniseries. Even as he unwillingly begins a new life under Logan's tutelage in this month's "Wolverine and the X-Men" #1, it appears Quire has plans to further assert his intellect and power.

Launching in January, "Wolverine and the
X-Men: Alpha and Omega" sees the youth in revolt launch a full-scale attack on the new faction's leader. The five-issue miniseries is written by "DMZ," "Northlanders," and incoming "Conan the Barbarian" scribe Brian Wood with art by Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi. Comic Book Resources caught up with Wood for a quick chat about the series.

"Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega" debuts not long after the big shakeup in "Schism," which saw Logan reject Cyclops' vision for the future of mutantkind and return to Westchester to establish the
Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. Quentin Quire, also known as Kid Omega, traveled with Wolverine as a captive -- as of this writing, "Wolverine and the X-Men" #1 has just been released and it's unclear what Wolverine's plans for the notoriously rebellious student might be. Already, though, the January-debuting series will see Wolverine contend with Quentin Quire for control of the school.

"Logan and Quentin square off for sure, but its not the type of conflict you might be guessing at," Wood told CBR News. "This is pretty much a one-on-one type of battle, with Armor caught in the middle -- and it's a battle that's being waged entirely on Quentin's terms.  I wouldn't say he's interested in Logan's job so much as he's interested in just beating Logan at something.  It's irrational and represents only short term thinking on Quentin's part, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous.  It might actually make it more dangerous."

- Fabio Moon asks us to keep an eye out for his story in Dark Horse Presents #6. He also did the cover:

- Peter Milligan speaks with io9, and answers the really tough questions :

Another alien question — who would win in a fight, Doop from X-Statix or Atrocitus?

I don't want to get Marveled up (because this is a DC interview) but it depends on what weapons they use. If the weapons are surreal, then Doop's going to win hands down. In a fair fight, Atrocitus.

Have you sketched out a potential crossover between Red Lanterns and Justice League Dark?
I haven't thought of that, but they do both operate in the DC Universe, but Justice League Dark are these occult magic users, and you might need a little more brute force to handle the Red Lanterns.

I was just wondering because the planet Ysmault definitely has a mystical reputation. That could have room for some crossover insanity.
It's a planet that's large enough to give you anything you want. Also, Madam Xanadu has the power of clairvoyance, which is the same as what Atrocitus can do with his blood magic. There's an interesting convergence of powers. But what's interesting about Justice League Dark is that they exist to deal with threats that the Justice League might not want anything to do with. With characters like Superman and Batman, black magic could pull the rug from out their feet, potentially. The JLD has its uses, as long as it stays together!
I also get asked a lot about writing John Constantine in both Justice League Dark and [Vertigo Comics'] Hellblazer. I quite like that some of the readers are enjoying him in Dark and then checking him out over at Vertigo. I get asked if it's difficult, will readers get confused. I think that's doing the average comic book reader a great disservice — the continuities aren't completely connected, but I think people are sophisticated enough to figure out that this character is used in two different stories.

Is there any way we can get more people to read Enigma? That's really one of my favorite things you've ever penned.
I was re-reading Enigma. This is the really early, early stages but I'm considering doing a sequel. So much has happened in the world since it came out, in terms of how gays are treated in the West. I'd like to highlight those differences of lives of homosexuals in the West compared to gays in Africa, the Middle East, and lots of developing countries.

- Here’s a Skottie Young original. OK, it’s from last week, but check out how awesome it is!

- The Comics Journal Published the best interview you will read this month. One of the all time great comics publishers, Gary Groth, interviews one of the all time great comic creators, Robert Crumb. Here is just a tiny morsel of this massive interview:

You lived on a collective farm?

Well, when Ballantine Books wanted to do the Fritz the Cat book they gave me $10,000 up front. That was big money for us then. That was in ’69. And then Dana, my first wife, immediately wanted to go out and find a place to buy. And she heard about this place three hours from San Francisco in Potter Valley and went up there and looked at it, it was $18,000 for a five-acre place with a house on it, so she said, “That’s the one. I’m going to buy that.” We bought it, and then she had this idea, she had all these people, hangers-on and all that. She wanted to do this big garden thing and that was like early 1970, late ’69. Might’ve been in 1970 that I got roped into pitching in and helping out with this gardening thing.
It ended up a big disaster, ended up being all we could really manage was a small patch, a garden patch about maybe 30 by 20 feet. We couldn’t farm acres; we just didn’t have the knowledge. Nobody really wanted to work that hard in the hot sun. You know these hippies, they all assumed that somebody else would do that, that somebody else would slave in the hot sun, not them. They had more important things to do. [Laughs.] It’s a lot of work, a lot of work, and you had to do it all by hand, without machinery and stuff. Oy!
Who were these hangers on and where did they live?
Well, we had a big place there. I don’t know where they all came from. Some of them lived in shacks nearby. That was a really crazy time. It was all very unstable. People came and went; it was anarchy. I couldn’t handle it. I was no master at dealing with that stuff. And my comics were supporting the whole thing. When everybody was hanging around and taking up my time during the day I had to work at night. It was the only time that people weren’t hanging around. [Laughs.] I have the memory of this in my mind, sitting in my little cabin in Potter Valley with all these people just sitting around, wanting to be entertained, wanting to smoke dope. Just taking up your time. Trying to get some work done was impossible.
You described that situation to me once, working through the night after these hangers-on went to sleep, and I wondered when you got any sleep.

Well, I would work all night ’til like 5 in the morning, then sleep ’til like 1 in the afternoon. [Laughs.] That’s what I did.
You were unbelievably productive during that period.

Yeah, I’m not sure about the quality of all that stuff I did though. I kind of think the quality was declining in the early ’70s. My life was just too crazy and people wanting my attention all the time because I was Mr. Hippy cartoonist, and people wanting things constantly, I was involved in so much nonsense. [Laughter.] Plus, I was running around chasing girls, and wanting to fuck this one and that one. [Laughs.]
Given all that, it’s still utterly amazing how productive you were.
Yeah, but the work suffered. I think it suffered mostly from pot, smoking too much pot wasn’t good for me. LSD was very inspirational, but pot just kind of de-motivated me. The drawing got sloppy and careless.

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