Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creator Roundup

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This week, Dan Hipp goes were the wild things are, Charles Soule gives free advice, Jo Chen paints a giant axe, Peter David stands up for nerd rights, Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood tease Conan, Jim Rugg sells some girl on girl, Peter Nguyen paints a red, conical bra, Alan Moore speaks, which is always good, Dave Johnson Does not Jest, Sara Pichelli listens to Karma Police, Cameron Stewart is not just an artist, and Ben Templesmith defaces classic literature.

Dan Hipp wishes everyone a happy thanksgiving:

- Charles Soule gives some advice on writing. It's pretty good. Here's some of it.
I was asked a question today by one of my Facebook friends, a very nice person who used to work in comic book retailing but whose shop closed down within the last six months or so.  This person (and yes, I’m being gender-neutral, so please forgive some slightly tortured phrasing) used to be able to read all the free comics they could stand, and now has a big, story-sized gap.  They thought they might fill it by trying to write, and asked me if I had any tips for starting to write stories.  It was clear that they wanted to write a book of some kind, fiction, and I this is what I told them, slightly edited:
  • - So, writing a book.  First of all, it’s hard, and it takes a long time.  My suggestion is to start with something small, just a short story.  Think of them as a sketch (or more realistically, a series of sketches) before you jump into the main event that is writing a full-length novel or comic.
  • - I would structure each story as a separate exercise, within which you’re working on a different element of telling a story.  Each one will help you to understand how your brain comes up with ideas, and will also limber up your brain so it can come up with ideas.

Joss Whedon's blog points to Jo Chen's cover for the first Buffy Season 9 HC:

- Peter David finished his Fan/Pro bill of rights. Here's a morsel, but you definitely wanna check out the full thing.

Right the First
Fans and Pros have a right to a mutual understanding of what is expected and required from each when it comes to the giving and receiving of autographs.
1) Fans have a right to know as early as possible—preferably in the convention advertising and certainly no later than via clearly posted signs at the pro’s table—what will and will not be autographed. (EX: only materials purchased at the table as opposed to items that the fans have already acquired.)
2) Pros have a right not to be embarrassed by, or be made uncomfortable with, unauthorized materials brought for signature (EX: that jerk who brought Emma Watson an 8 x 10 of a paparazzi photograph angled up her dress) or the nature of the object to be autographed (EX: body parts). By the same token, pros should be willing to sign any material that they themselves are selling. If the pro charges for autographs, there should be no hidden costs; a price list, while not required, is extremely helpful.
3) Particularly during advertised, limited-time autograph sessions, the pro should have the right to not have any one individual attempt to monopolize his time. For that matter, the fans have the right not to have to stand there and watch some guy tell the pro his life’s story. In cases of convention-sponsored autographs sessions, conventions should provide one or more monitors to be responsible for keeping the line moving so that pros don’t have to be the bad guy and fans don’t have to shout at their fellow fans to keep moving, and to cap the line so that the pro is not required to remain overtime.
4) Unless there is prior notification otherwise, fans have a right to have their books personalized. If they desire personalization, they should say so up front so the pro doesn’t have to guess. Nor should pros have to guess at the spelling of names. Don’t assume the pro will figure out that your name has a silent “q.” Complicated names should be presented on pieces of paper for convenience. If your name is on your badge but it’s spelled wrong, do not expect the pro to intuit that. Pros should not be asked to sign potentially inflammatory messages because the fan thinks it “will be funny” or “he’ll appreciate it.” (EX: Dear Jim: Why didn’t you show up, you asshole? Best wishes.)
Becky Cloonan gives us a sneak peak of Conan:


- Becky and
Brian Wood had a chat with Newsarama about Conan:

Nrama: There’s a variety of different breeds of pirate. How’d you go to pinpoint just who Bêlit is and what she’d be like?
Wood: I think its safe to say that Bêlit is in a category of her own. Also, I’m not writing her as any sort of pirate stereotype. There is actually so much information in the first part of the source material, especially when you are poring over every line like a crazy person like I am. Every adjective is a clue, a piece of the puzzle, and there is a huge amount of subtext there. But again, it’s a short story and we have 25 issues to fill, so the real trick is to build Bêlit out from what she is already into something much more well-rounded and complete. It seems like sacrilege to even say such a thing, but it’s true.
In her, you have a pretty cutthroat pirate; you also have a demanding queen, and an incredibly sexual person. She draws a bead on Conan (and to a degree finds a way to fetishize his ethnicity, which is a fascinating thing as a writer to play with) and goes after him hardcore. But that’s just the first step. How do they, as a couple, evolve over some two years? What s it about her that makes him want to stick around for that long, and vice versa?
Cloonan: Bêlit is a little tricky, visually- she’s this tough as nails pirate woman who runs around topless and kills people. At first you think, how can this not be awesome to draw? But she could easily turn into a character who’s only purpose is to be cheesecake, the chick who is clinging to Conan’s leg. I think the real trick with Bêlit is to really show her as the driving force of this story. She is the most feared pirate in the waters surrounding Kush. She is frightening and powerful and sexy, and I’m trying my hardest to make her all of these things. Without Bêlit, this story would be nothing.

- Jim Rugg has a new Afrodisiac print on his website:

Peter Nguyen paints an awesome Wonder Woman:

Alan Moore is a guy that you know is going to say something good every time he opens his mouth. He opened it for the Guardian - heres a taster:
It all comes back to Moore – a private man with knotty greying hair and a magnificent beard, who prefers to live without an internet connection and who has not had a working telly for months "on an obscure point of principle" about the digital signal in his hometown of Northampton. He has never yet properly commented on the Vendetta mask phenomenon, and speaking on the phone from his home, Moore seems variously baffled, tickled, roused and quite pleased that his creation has become such a prominent emblem of modern activism.
"I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn't it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction."
"That smile is so haunting," says Moore. "I tried to use the cryptic nature of it to dramatic effect. We could show a picture of the character just standing there, silently, with an expression that could have been pleasant, breezy or more sinister." As well as the mask, Occupy protesters have taken up as a marrying slogan "We are the 99%"; a reference, originally, to American dissatisfaction with the richest 1% of the US population having such vast control over the country. "And when you've got a sea of V masks, I suppose it makes the protesters appear to be almost a single organism – this "99%" we hear so much about. That in itself is formidable. I can see why the protesters have taken to it."

- Dave Johnson shows off his cover for the upcoming Abe Sapien collection:

Sara Pichelli has been listening to Karma Police:

Cameron Stewart has a chat with Comics Alliance about working with Mike Mignola, the upcoming year of the monster and writing comics:
CA: You're best known to comics readers as an artist, having drawn to much acclaim books like Seaguy, Batman and Robin, Catwoman and Suicide Girls (a favorite among ComicsAlliance readers). But you have written comics, perhaps most notably your webcomic SinTitulo. Can you tell us a bit more about your writing background, aspirations and how you came to be co-writer with Mignola on B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism?

CS: I've always had the intention to write as well as draw - the first portfolio that I distributed when seeking comics work included a small mini-comic that I wrote and drew. But in the course of my professional career I've only ever been hired as an illustrator, mainly because I've never really actively sought writing work because I've been focusing on improving my drawing abilities. Now that I'm confident that I'm at least competent as an illustrator and visual storyteller, I'm interested in creating my own stories. To meet this need, several years ago I began working on my online graphic novel SinTitulo as an exercise for myself in developing my writing skills and crafting a long-form story. The response has been very positive, culminating in several award nominations and winning a 2010 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic.

Around the same time, I was hired by Ubisoft (along with my studio mate Karl Kerschl) to produce a comic based on their Assassin's Creed video game series, and despite being approached mainly for our illustrative skills, Ubisoft also granted us the opportunity to write the story. Again we were met with strong critical response, with many reviews praising the story as much as the artwork. Shortly after publication of Assassin's Creed: The Fall, Scott Allie contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in returning to the B.P.R.D. universe and taking on writer/artist duties.

Ben Templesmith painted a cover of Bram Stoker's Dracula - he literally painted it right on the cover of the book.

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