Creator Roundup

This week, Dan Hipp ask's what time is it, Fabio Moon is amazing, Warren Ellis talks about the importance of the comic script, Jim Rugg get's his Street Fighter on, Eric Canate and Sean Phillips show us their processes, Becky Cloonan previews another page of Conan, Dave Johnson likes lobster, Robert Kirkman is a thief, Peter Nguyen likes the cat, Andrew Robinson gets it on like Donky Kong, Hickman talks Ultimates, Ryan Ottley joins the Academy and Phil Noto gets out the claws.

- We kick off with our weekly dose of

Fabio Moon has few new pieces to show off, including this one:

Warren Ellis discusses the function of a comic script:
This may seem obvious, but give me a minute. I think it’s often misunderstood.
A script is a set of instructions to the artist(s), letterer, editor, colourist if applicable, and designer if applicable. This set of instructions is intended to present the mechanics of your story with the greatest possible clarity. Adhering to a precise format, as in screenwriting, is not necessary. Presenting a script whose operation is clear to everybody is the requirement.
This set of instructions must surround your story to the extent that you feel necessary and comfortable. Some writers produce reams of panel description because they require fine control of the artist, letterer and colourist to meet their vision of the story. Some writers boil their description down to a telegram because they require only that the most basic requirements of the panel be met in order to achieve their goals.
Both methods, however, and everything in between, are about manipulation of the artist. That sounds grim, doesn’t it?

Jim Rugg designed a poster for the Street Fighter IV World Championships:

Eric Canete has begun posting videos of his process, including this one:

'HoN' 01 110112 - 13:33.9 from Eric Canete on Vimeo.

Becky Cloonan posted yet another Conan preview page:

Dave Johnson reveals the cover of Lobster Johnson #2:

Robert Kirkman chatted with EW about Thief of Thieves:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what else can you tell us about Thief of Thieves?

ROBERT KIRKMAN: Well, it’s a fine comic book, if I do say so myself. It’s somewhat of a crime-caper comic about a professional thief named Conrad Paulson. He is one of the greatest thieves who’s ever lived, but he’s gotten to a point in his life where he realizes that he’s chosen his professional life over his family life and greatly regrets that. He’s got an adult son who is kind of following in his footsteps but doing a horrible job, and he has an estranged wife that he is still very much in love with. Our story picks up when he is trying to turn his back on his profession and rekindle his relationship with his wife and trying to fix his son’s horrible predicament.

You’ve said that the way you worked on this was inspired by your experience in the writers’ room of the Walking Dead… I almost said the Grateful Dead then, which might have been even more interesting…

[Laughs] It takes just
three weeks of us not doing interviews every week about the show for you to forget the name!

Yep, sorry. But could you elaborate on what you meant by that?

Absolutely. I’ve been spending a lot of time in writers’ rooms since the very first season of the Walking Dead and I’ve been somewhat enchanted by the process. It’s a very cool thing to have writers working hard to improve a story together as a group. It’s not something that usually happens in comics. So I got the idea to do the series that way, to have an overall story and then get a sort of writers’ room of people together to help map out what’s going on with the characters and tighten the story up here and there. It’s kind of a cool little experiment.

To clarify, this process has involved more people than just yourself and [Thief of Thieves writing collaborator] Nick Spencer?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s a few other people involved, but we haven’t announced their names must yet. But the first six issues are written by Nick, based on my initial series outline and quite a bit of conversations between the two of us. That kicks us off and then we’ll be rotating from arc-to-arc with various writers that are in the group.

Peter Nguyen posted this Catwoman:

Andrew Robinson got it on like Donky Kong for his WhatNot post this week:
donkey bong

Jonathan Hickman spoke with CBR about taking on The Ultimates:
When he accepted the assignment to write "The Ultimates," Hickman knew he would be writing the adventures of some pretty powerful characters, so the writer wanted foes that could test the mettle of these formidable heroes. To that end, he created the Children of Tomorrow, a race of humans who, thanks to high technology, have evolved several centuries in the span of less than a year. The developer of that technology and leader of the Children is the Ultimate Universe's incarnation of Reed Richards, who recently decided that he's going to solve the world's problems regardless of who gets killed or destroyed in the process.
Hickman, who writes the monthly Marvel Universe adventures of Reed Richards in "Fantastic Four" and "FF," welcomed the chance to pen his villainous, teenaged Ultimate Universe counterpart in "The Ultimates." "He kind of exists as the logical extension of, 'What if Reed made completely non-empathic decisions?' So what if they were bad for the rabble? He's a fascinating character," Hickman told CBR News. "Brian Bendis introduced the idea of a villainous Reed in his 'Ultimate Doom' trilogy, and I thought it was perfect. The first thing I said to [Brian] was, 'You're not going to kill him, right?' He told me he wasn't, and the end of 'Ultimate Doom' worked out perfectly because we were able to use it to set up our 'Ultimates' relaunch.
"I think Ultimate Reed is a fantastic character," Hickman continued. "The Children in general are a good Ultimatization of what was a really great Mike Carey idea, The Children of the Vault, introduced in his 'Super Novas' arc of 'X-Men.' I think he, and they, make for a different kind of villain than what we've seen, in that Reed and his followers are essentially, completely, utterly and totally correct. They do not see these as evil decisions. They just happen to be bad for the apes that are left on the planet," Hickman said with a laugh. "They're centuries more advanced than every one else. Just look how far the human race has come in the last 20 years compared to the 60 before, then to the 100 before that. And, in parallel with that, you can see that we're rapidly evolving culturally, as well, even though it doesn't feel like it some days. Reed and the Children represent that to a ridiculous degree, and it's just a whole lot of fun."

Ryan Ottley painted the White Violin for Sindiecate:

Phil Noto has heaps of great new stuff this week, including these beauties:

Sean Phillips shows as his process for Fatale art:
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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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Creator Roundup

This week Dan Hipp solemnly swears he’s up to no good, Mark Waid talks about Marcos Martin, Dave Johnson gets the ink out, Charles Soule talks about being helpful, Becky Cloonan goes vampire, Eduardo Risso talks about Brian Azzarello, Chrissie Zullo captures dualism, Christos Gage writes angsty teens and Peter Nguyen graws a seascape.

Dan Hipp is up to no good:

Mark Waid has a chat with ComiXology about Daredevil and Marcos Martin:
Speaking of the "we", can you talk a little bit about the artists on the book, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin? Were those guys already on board with Daredevil before you? Was it a package deal when you started talking to Tom Brevoort about the book?

Yeah. Either Brevoort or Wacker or both assembled them, I'd bet Wacker. Marcos and Wacker are pretty good pals, and both artists were already on board by the time I signed on. I couldn't have been happier with that. I'd never worked with Paolo before, and I was a little nervous because I wasn't terribly familiar with what the process of working together was going to be like. I met with him and at the Orlando Megacon last year and he got it immediately, I knew we were on the same wavelength because he was all about storytelling. He didn't care about splash pages, he didn't care about some two-page spread he could sell for a lot of money at conventions. He wanted to tell a story.

Now, both of these guys are suffering through the adjustment I'm having to make as a guy who has written 22 page stories his entire career and is suddenly having to write twenty page stories. It probably doesn't seem like it would be that big a deal, and I'm not whining...but it is a bigger deal than it would seem. Every single storytelling rhythm I have, having written comics for 25 years for a 22 page's instinct by now, my gut knows where I should be by page six, where I should be by page 17. All those rules are out the window, and unfortunately for both Paolo and Marcos, I've been temporarily solving this problem by cramming 22 page stories into 20 pages. That's not a solution. They, to their credit, have gotten my back 100% and they are not afraid of denser material. They still find ways to open it up and surprise me, Marcos in particular.

It seems to me like people still haven't grasped how special Marcos Martin is.

He's groundbreaking. He's absolutely groundbreaking in the way he approaches storytelling, in the way he approaches layout. When I work with him it's a very collaborative process. I was giving him plot first, dialog after the pencils just to give him a little bit more elbow room to storytell but he found it was slowing him down because he really felt like he needed more of the details. So I started giving him full scripts, and even with a full script, he would blow it all up and then put it back together. Which is all fine! He would ask first, sure, but he was turning out these layouts that were moving things around, putting in a new emphasis. The opening to his first full issue was originally a two page sequence that he turned into four, with Daredevil reaching down for the flash drive, the lion growling and stuff. That was his invention, that was not quite what I had called for.

Dave Johnson draws a sumi girl:

Charles Soule has a cracker of a post on helping out. here’s a taste:
Sort of an odd post to write, because the subject matter is a bit of a tightrope walk.  I’ve been extremely fortunate with comics writing so far – I’ve had some incredible opportunities, and I think a large part of that has been that I’ve had a few people in the business who were further ahead in their careers than I, who decided to help me out in large or small ways.  That could be anything from advice on the business to a critique to a publishing deal.  There are a ton of people I could name, but my list is starting to get so long that I’d be in danger of skipping important people.  Basically, my feeling is that you don’t get very far in comics if you don’t get the occasional leg up from someone higher up the ladder.
I think that it’s important to pay that forward – Haley Joel Osment and Kevin Spacey taught me
that much, at least.  (They also showed me a bit about telling believable stories to police detectives and a great deal about how to craft a successful performance as a sad, child-sized robot.)
(Yeah, that was an A.I. shoutout.)
Anyway, when I get asked to look something over, or to give advice on breaking in, or to talk about page rates or similar questions, I do my best to find time to answer.  I did a long Q&A session over on reddit’s comic book board recently, which was great because I was able to reach thousands of people in the same time it would have taken me to explain all that stuff to just a single person over email or at a con.  You can see that here, if you’re interested.

Becky Cloonan posted the cover for the upcoming Dracula book she provided illustrations for:

Eduardo Risso sat down with Comics Bulletin to discuss Spaceman, 100 Bullets and working with Azzarello:
Chudolinski: What is your working relationship with Azzarello like? I think most people tend to think the writer pens the script, hands it to the artist and that's all. Nevertheless, I get the feeling that might not have been the case here. How did the two of you trade ideas back and forth while working on particular stories?
Risso: Building a team is not simple. That's why, in my case, when I see that the relationship works I try to keep it. I believe that, over time, a good team can get wonderful products from which we all win -- companies, readers and ourselves [the creators].
Now, my relationship with the writers has always been the same. I try to show that they can trust my graphic narrative [for everything] that they want to tell. That is, if the writer asks me [for] A and B, I give A, B, C and D, so that he can pay more attention to the dialogue and [trust me completely for] the task of graphic sequences.
Chudolinski: In 100 Bullets, were there stories that got cancelled and were never published? Did DC Comics ever censor your work?
Risso: There were no canceled or censored stories. We always had complete freedom on the part of the company.
Chudolinski: You're one of the few artists working in superhero comics these days that has fans both within the mainstream DC/Marvel world and the European comics world, especially among the Italian and Spanish fan bases. If we can get you to speculate for a minute, what is it about your art that draws in readers from so many different geographical areas?
Risso: I can’t say that there is anything in particular [that I do] to attract readers. I would summarize in a few words -- professionalism and respect.
Chudolinski: What are some of the movies and books that have had an influence on your work and your life?
Risso: [With] Spielberg's ET, I remember there was a break in my way of thinking about comics. A book I read in my youth, Juan Salvador Gaviota, influenced my life. I guess many others have done [the same], but [these in particular] left an important mark on me.

Chrissie Zullo added some more art to her blog, including this Black Queen/White Queen:

Christos Gage chats with CBR about Avengers academy and Angel & Faith:

Peter Nguyen posted this pic of Aquaman on his Tumblr:
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