With the news that Faith Erin Hicks is getting close to completing a new graphic novel, The War At Ellsmere, it might seem odd to be running a review of her previous graphic novel, Zombies Calling. Really I should have reviewed this when it came out last fall from Slave Labor Graphics or more recently when it won a Joe Shuster award for Hicks (although I did get a chance to interview Hicks right after that news came out so I guess I'm not a complete slacker.) But you know what, I'm doing it now. So um, there! I mean over there... look over there!
Oh, you're still here I see. I guess a little bit of Grover-style misdirection isn't going to work with you, is it?
I've had You So Loco: the Second Crying Macho Man Collection book by Jose Cabrera to read and read again this summer and it's about time I get on my ass and write the review for it. I interviewed Jose Cabrera about his comic earlier this year and my impression of his work hasn't changed much. He likes to take bits of pop culture (and political figures as well) and mix them up, usually with a visual pun.
Back in January of this year, I reviewed Runner's Paradox by Steve Peters. I think it's fair to say I didn't love it. Very recently, I received a review copy of Peters' newest book, Awakening Comics #0. You can read a preview of it here.
Randy Reynaldo is back with another issue of his all ages adventure comic, Rob Hanes Adventures. Issue 11 is titled "Rob Hanes and the Pirates" and is a quick-paced adventure story putting the main character Rob Hanes through an adventure in a thinly veiled version of North Korea and its movie-obsessed dictator. There's a preview up at ComicSpace here.
Clint Hollingsworth creates the adventure saga, The Wandering Ones, which has been on Keenspot for its entire existence. The comic is set in the future after a manmade disaster leaves most of the world's population dead. With more than 8 years of updates it's pretty epic in scale now. I caught up with Hollingsworth about still working on the strip, sticking with Keenspot and what's next.
In the early half of the "naughts" Barry T. Smith appeared in webcomics with Angst Technology, a funny webcomic about a small videogame company. He also created a webcomic about paintball called Weakend Warriors and one about a comic book shop called Sorry, We're Open. All were pretty solid efforts and he certainly had a decent-sized audience for the time (for example, Angst Technology showed up at #9 on the initial "Most Read" list we did in 2003). He took a pretty big break from comics and only recently returned with his comic called InkTank. I've been enjoying the new comic and was happy to get a chance to interview Smith about his return.
I noticed this month that the webcomic Ménage à 3 had posted a note that it's archives were now searchable by dialogue and was surprised to see a link not to the OhNoRobot service but one I had not heard of before... WordOwl. WordOwl was created by Peter Spicer earlier this year and it compiles transcripts and provides a searchable index for several webcomics (11 at present).
How to Draw Stupid and Other Essentials of Cartooning by Kyle Baker is one of the more entertaining how-to books I've read this summer. The somewhat thin volume (clocking in at 111 pages) is really well written -- if a little thin on practical tips and guides to actual cartooning techniques. I mean well written in the sense that it's an enjoyable read, even if you don't learn a thing from it. Baker is just funny, especially in his cartooning, but even in the straight-ahead text portions of the book.
Pear Pear is an innovative, wordless webcomic created by Peter Donahue, Erin Donahue and Sal Crivelli. There is a lot to like from the clean and simple icon-driven website to the intriguing ideograph-in-balloon speech that the characters use. Maybe most impressive of all is the investment of real personality in a pear and a mug. Artist Peter Donahue is the creator of this month's cover art at ComixTalk -- I got a chance to interview all three by email.
What is the creative team behind Pear Pear? And what do each of you do on the comic and website?
I have a lot of reviews of how-to books on tap for August but Facial Expressions: Babies To Teens; A Visual Reference For Artists by Mark Simon is probably the most unique and possibly the most valuable. It's a big book, 256 pages (with a free Internet supplement available), and entirely filled with reference pictures of, you got it, babies to teens. Each model tends to get between 2 to 4 pages of 2 1/4 inch to 2 1/2 inch square head shots with a tremendous variety of expressions and poses. Other chapters include a skull gallery, hats and headgear, a phonemes gallery (mouth shapes for various sounds), and an age-progression gallery (shots of the same model over a wide range of years).