"X-Men Guernica" -- a marvellous reworking of the Picasso by DeviantArt's Theamat, who was participating in an "Alternate Reality Character Designs" contest on The Line it is Drawn!. I've grabbed a thumbnail here, click through for the full-size (including a massive high-rez suitable for desktop wallpaper).
Matt sez, "The School of Library and Inoformation Management at Emporia State University (Kansas, USA) unveiled a comic book aimed at generating newfound excitement for librarianship and increasing the awareness of the many opportunities that an MLS/MLIS degree can provide. From the same team that created Library of the Living Dead and Monster Clash, Supreme Librarians in Metaspace is a promotional comic that highlights the many facets of librarianship in a quirky, tongue-in-cheek manner. This resource encourages librarians around the world to take a look at the profession in a new light. And maybe have a laugh or two while doing it."
Back when I worked at mental_floss magazine, I wrote up a short article on the life of Cheng I Sao, a 19th-century Chinese woman who rose from prostitution to became one of the most successful pirates of all time, commanding a fleet of thousands.
It's a great tale, though I'd almost forgotten about it until writer Natalie Kim twittered at me recently to tell me about a project that mental_floss story had inspired. Working with artist Robin Ha, Kim has turned the story of Cheng I Sao (also known as Cheng Shih) into a short comic in Secret Identities Volume 2, an upcoming anthology of Asian-American superhero stories. Here's what Kim wrote about why the story of Cheng I Sao/Cheng Shih was interesting to her:
To summarize, Ching Shih was an actual woman who lived in the 19th century and worked as a prostitute. Eventually she married a pirate and when he died, she took over and was one of the most successful pirates of her time. (To add to her badassery, after her husband died she married her adopted step son!) The British tried to get rid of her but she proved elusive and ended up living a very long and prosperous life.
The story struck me as so unusual because most stories about Asian women are how they had been physically abused but remained ultra loyal to an elusive man and their reward is that they sprout into a beautiful blossom flower.
Jonathan Fetter-Vorm's Trinity is a nonfiction book-length comic for adults about the birth of nuclear weapons. It covers the wartime events that spawned the idea of a nuclear weapons program, the intense period of wrangling that gave rise to the Manhattan Project, the strange scientific town in the New Mexico desert that created the A-bomb, the tactical and political decision-making process that led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the unspeakable horror experienced by the people in those cities and the existential crises the Nuclear Age triggered for scientists, politicians, and the world at large. Though this is primarily a history book, Trinity is also a pretty good nuclear physics primer, making good use of the graphic novel form to literally illustrate the violence of atoms tearing themselves apart, and the weird, ingenious, improvised mechanisms for triggering and controlling that violence.
I think Trinity is a very good book. It manages to be short and straightforward without being crude or lacking nuance. Fetter-Vorm does a great job of bringing the personalities involved in the bomb's creation to life, and to show the way that human relationships -- as much as physics -- resulted in the bomb's invention and use. He walks a fine, non-partisan line on the need to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, opting instead to lay out the facts in a (to my eye) fair and neutral way that neither argues that the bombing was a necessity, nor that it was a callous whim from a military apparatus that wanted to test out its latest gadget. Read the rest
Chris Sims, Laura Hudson and Colleen Coover have executed as series of "Great Comics That Never Happened" for Comics Alliance, and they're fabulous. Exhibits A and B: Great Comics that Never Happened: Batman and Jay-Z Solve 99 Problems! (Chris Sims), and Great Comics That Never Happened #21: Jack Kirby's 'My Little Pony' (also Chris Sims) (Hudson has a good line on Christmas-themed work).
The Cussing Channel has produced a Dark Knight Joker supercut, featuring all the on-camera Heath Ledger scenes. It rather stopped me in my tracks -- Ledger really put in an astounding performance, something that is underlined three times in red by ten straight minutes of Ledger doing his thing.
Rules: Just The Joker, just the on-camera dialogue. Now, there are many shots in this film over the Joker's shoulder, with the focus on the character he's talking to... those lines didn't make it... only the clips where the Joker is the focus of the shot (otherwise this becomes a 30-minute affair).
Here's some lovely news: DC is bringing out an all-ten-volumes-in-one-slipcase edition of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Gaiman writes, "I’m thrilled. You have no idea how long I’ve been asking DC to do one of these. (Er, about 16 years.)"
Cecil Castellucci -- indie-rock star, young adult author, and all round cool-ass polymath -- has joined forces with illustrator Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) to produce The Year of the Beasts, an extraordinary hybrid of young adult novel and graphic novel. Beasts is the story of Tessa and her younger sister Lulu, townie girls in a place where holidaymakers come for the summer, and the year they discovered boys. The carnival comes to town every June, and Tessa and Lulu go, and it is young Lulu, not Tessa, who finds herself kissing Charlie, the boy that Tessa has had a crush on forever. The summer yawns before them, as the sisters and their friends navigate the stormy, irrational seas of romance and hormones and coming of age, in a prose narrative that lays its characters' hearts raw and bare in that way that Castellucci is so good at.
Interleaved with these prose chapters are chapters from an allegorical graphical story, a comic about a girl who has become an avatar of Medusa and must attend high-school, despite the fact that when the scarf covering her snake-hair slips, she turns her schoolmates to stone, just as she has done to her parents. These comic-book chapters are a mystery to be solved by the riddle, which comes together in the final chapter.
Year of the Beasts is one of those stories whose earlier chapters are a kind of greased slide that makes the reader hurtle faster and faster toward an unseen landing, hinting at different possibilities until the climax is revealed in a thunderbolt, and it is at once inevitable, unforeseen, and terrible. Read the rest
This weekend, I took my daughter to the Kapow! comics fair in Islington, London, and happened on the Upside Comics booth. Upside is a charitable trust that promotes literacy using comics. They run comics-creation workshops for kids, produce pro-literacy comics, and bibliographies of great kids' comics. They're looking for donations of comics and graphic novels, as well as cash, time and expertise.
Upside Comics use comics and graphic novels to promote literacy for children and young people. We support reading, creative writing, design and illustration.
Upside Comics is a small charity with support from the Big Lottery. The organisation was started by people working in schools and youth charities who love comics. We believe that literacy is the key to childrens' future success and happiness.
Ken Macleod and the European stem cell research consortium OptiStem have produced a CC-licensed educational comic about genomics called "Hope Beyond Hype." It's available as a free download, or as a &gbp;1 hardcopy, with translations to follow in many languages.
'starts with the true life story of two badly burned boys being treated with stem cell generated skin grafts in 1983. We then follow the successes and setbacks of a group of researchers working together to use stem cells to cure blindness, whilst being introduced to knotty issues that are part of the process, including stem cell regulation and the controversial ethical issues surrounding the subject. Whilst some of the story lines sound like science fiction they are in fact all true, despite the fact the script was written by the well-known Scottish Science Fiction writer, Ken Macleod. Comic book artist Edward Ross illustrated the script with his clear, friendly and attractive artwork, whilst stem cell researchers from OptiStem provided the real-life examples of their research and experiences.'
Macleod is a hell of a science fiction writer, and he's awfully good at comics, too.
Rolling Stone just announced something that we have known for a long time: Ed Piskor (our own Brain Rot cartoonist) is a hell of a talented cartoonist. I have an advance copy of his upcoming book, Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker, and it is a masterpiece.
I'm going to be interviewing Ed on Gweek when his book comes out. For now, here's the publisher's description:
They say "What You See Is What You Get"... but Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle could always see more than most people. In the world of phone phreaks, hackers, and scammers, he's a legend. His exploits are hotly debated: could he really get free long-distance calls by whistling into a pay phone? Did his video-game piracy scheme accidentally trigger the first computer virus? And did he really dodge the FBI by using their own wiretapping software against them? Is he even a real person? And if he's ever caught, what would happen to a geek like him in federal prison? Inspired by the incredible stories of real-life hackers, Wizzygig is the thrilling tale of a master manipulator - his journey from precocious child scammer to federally-wanted fugitive, and beyond. In a world transformed by social networks and data leaks, Ed Piskor's debut graphic novel reminds us how much power can rest in the hands of an audacious kid with a keyboard.Read the rest
Zack sez, "If you've ever seen the sociopathically-detailed artwork of James Stokoe, you'll want to support his new graphic novel written by Mark Andrew Smith, SULLIVAN'S SLUGGERS, which pits a baseball team against an army of flesh-eating monsters. A trailer and information on the book is available on the Kickstarter page -- which has already exceeded initial donation requests in about a day.
Long past their former glory, the minor league Sluggers get an invitation to play a baseball game in a cursed small town. After the 7th inning stretch, the sun goes down, and the dysfunctional teammates find themselves fighting for their lives against a town of flesh-eating monsters!
Now, it's up to coach Casey Sullivan to help his team escape from being the next dish in the town's terrifying feeding frenzy!
Eisner & Harvey Award-winning graphic novel author Mark Andrew Smith joins forces with Eisner nominated illustrator James Stokoe for a gripping roller coaster of a graphic novel, packed with shocks, gore, and screamingly outrageous humor, when America's Favorite Past Time becomes one team's ultimate nightmare!
Matt sez, "Hey, it's Matt at the Disinformation Company, and I thought that you'd enjoy the lengthy interview I did with Warren Ellis for the DisinfoCast. We talk about aliens, space travel, the singularity and more. We even squeeze in a second or two for talk about comic books."
Our own Ed Piskor's Wizzywig -- a graphic novel that is a fictionalized account of a Kevin Mitnick-type hacker and his run-ins with the law -- will shortly be available as a beautiful hardcover from the good folks at Top Shelf Comix, who put together the excellent book trailer you see above. Here are my reviews of the original single-chapter volumes:
Read the rest
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two volumes of Ed Piskor's comic-book historical hacker drama, Wizzywig. Wizzywig is the story of Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle, a fictional hacker who's part Mitnick, part Poulsen, and part mythological. Boingthump is a preternaturally bright, badly socialized kid who discovers a facility for technology that's egged on by his only pal, "Winston Smith," a would-be Abbie Hoffman who is obsessed with the potential to use Boingthump's discoveries to monkeywrench the machine.
But soon enough, their roles are reversed, as Kevin's relentless pursuit of knowledge and power scares Winston so much that he tries (without success) to put the brakes on Boingthump's crazy ride through the phone system and the nascent Internet. The story blends fiction and fact, dropping in a Blue Box-selling Jobs and Wozniak (Boingthump picks the trunk-lock on their car and steals a Blue Box) and Cap'n Crunch, along with plenty of fictional BBS scenesters and grumpy computer-store owners. The backgrounds are filled with nostalgia PCs -- Atari 400s, Apple ///s -- and old Bellcore manuals.
The illustration and storytelling style reminds me a lot of Harvey Pekar (with whom he's collaborated on American Splendor), jumping backwards and forwards in time, switching points of view, going inside and outside of the characters' heads.