Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three times the interviews

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but there’s this little event going over at Top Cow now called “Artifacts”. Ring any bells?

Sarcasm aside, one of the great selling points on Artifacts isn’t just the fantastic story (so far) that’s being architectured by Ron Marz, but he’s working on a rotating team of artists. Recently it was announced that Jeremy Haun (Detective Comics, Berserker) will join the rotation, picking up where Whilce Portacio leaves off.

Blog@ spoke briefly with Marz about the artists he’s been working with and the great chemistry between story and art, as well as working with Jeremy Haun.

Blog: Okay, so, first it was Michael Broussard, then Whilce Portacio, and now Jeremy Haun — who approached who about working on Artifacts? You or Jeremy?

RM: Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik was the matchmaker here. When he knew Jeremy was signing an exclusive with Top Cow, Filip called me up and asked what I thought of Jeremy taking the last on the third arc of Artifacts. Took me all of two seconds to say yes, as Jeremy is somebody I’ve been wanting to work with for a while. We actually talked about working together last year, but I don’t think either of us expected it to fall into place this quickly.

Blog@: Some say Whilce Portacio is doing some of his best work in a long time working on Artifacts, what is it about this story you think that elevates these artists to a whole other level?

RM: I certainly agree, I think this is some of Whilce’s strongest stuff ever, but I’m a bit biased obviously. Whoever I’m working with, whatever project I’m working on, a big part of my job is to play to the artists’ strengths and give them something they’re excited about drawing. Comics are a visual medium, so the scripts need to be as visual as possible. Otherwise, what’s the point? I also think you have to mention Joe Weems on inks and Sunny Gho on colors. They’re both bringing their best as well, so they make a great team with Whilce.

Blog@: Who’s on your shortlist of the artists you’d love to have on the final installment of Artifacts? Or do you already have somebody in mind?

RM: My shortlist has one name on it for who should draw issue #13, and that’s who’s drawing it.

Artifacts: Volume 1 is on sale now.


It’s been a while since Ted Naifeh has dabbled in the world of his series Courtney Crumrin.

Over at Naifeh’s site, he presents a few preview pages for the upcoming for the upcoming Courtney Tales 2. Newsarama has got the exclusive interview with Naifeh, as well as the first look to the cover, as well as the official name: Courtney Crumrin Tales: The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

Blog@: You’ve written another Aloysius story before, what made you want to write another about Courtney’s mysterious uncle?

Ted Naifeh: The first one was really part one of a two parter. I wanted to resolve that story, and this book does exactly that.

Blog@: Without giving too much away, where does this story take Aloysius?

Naifeh: The story explores the roots of my little magical world, where it came from, why it’s there, and what Aloysius’s role is in it. Aloysius is a pretty mysterious character in the main series, and I wanted to reveal some of his secrets. I’d like to think this story addresses why he’s such a lonely old man.

Blog@: Does this tie into any of Courtney’s adventures?

Naifeh: It will in the next Courtney adventure. I start digging more deeply into the back story of Courtney’s world, the community of witches and warlocks in the town of Hillsborough. Some of what comes up will have direct bearing on Courtney’s life.

Blog@: Who are some of the new characters we’ll get introduced in this tale? Any old favorites coming back this round?

One of the characters I had fun with in the last story was the pulp hero Goose Daniels. But since he was transformed into a goose at the end, I needed a replacement. So he has a confederate that comes looking for him, and ends up getting press-ganged by the Anti-Sorcery Society to take his place. Another character that shows up is Aloysius’s grandmother, who was briefly mentioned in Courtney vol 3 as the first witch in Hillsborough. It’s through her that some of the world’s back-story is revealed.

Blog@: Do you feel your style has evolved since last dabbling with Aloysius?

Naifeh: I tried to make it as similar as possible, but I’ve acquired new influences, and I can’t help it if they shine through a bit. It’s not a jarring difference, at least. Just a bit better.

Blog@: Tell us about some of those new influences.

Naifeh: In my promotional trips to Europe, I had had the honor of being exposed to some truly amazing artists. Sergio Toppi is a real artist’s artist. He’s been around forever, and you can see his influence on Bill Sienkiewicz as well as french artist Phillipe Druillet, who I used to adore back in the early Heavy Metal Magazine days. The new one is named Roger (which sounds much more romantic with a French accent), artist of Jazz Maynard (ditto). His lines are so incredible, so elastic yet under precise control.

Blog@: You took a break for a while doing Good Neighbors with Holly Black, how does it feel coming back to the world of Crumrin?

Naifeh: Like returning home, really. Courtney’s world is as comfortable to me as my own bedroom. I’m looking forward to adding some new flourishes. But I really had a ball working on Good Neighbors, trying out some Toppi-style line work (which was ill-advised, but I eventually got some really nice results out of it), and getting to do real fingers instead of Courtney’s spikes or Polly’s nubs.

Blog@: Do you foresee an end to Courtney and Alyosuis’ tales?

Naifeh: I foresee a stopping point. But that doesn’t mean I’m done with them forever. In this new volume, I added a single story element that completely changes their world, and that makes me want to explore the world a bit more. I have a definite conclusion for the Courtney Crumrin series, which is pretty final. But it’s not like Courtney’s going to die or anything. So we’ll see. As for Uncle Aloysius, this second volume concludes the Anti-Sorcerer Society storyline. I’d love to continue his adventures if I have time. But I want to explore new worlds as well. Princess Ugg is calling to me, demanding that her story be told. And there are others.



Recently over at Jill Thompson’s twitter, the famed cartoonist and comic artist posted this painting of Wonder Woman that she had done. But what does it mean? Blog@ had the chance to speak with the acclaimed creator on her thoughts about the design and could this be the beginning of something?

What some people might not realize is that Thompson’s first gig into mainstream comics was actually on Wonder Woman in the early 90’s. “Well, getting to work on an iconic character right off the bat, with a comics legend like George Perez writing the story is a pretty great memory,” Thompson stated. “I remember tackling a page that had something like 19 panels on it. I doubt if I’d be able to do that now!”

I love Thompson put a little Greek homage into her design here. I think it’s a good balance of armor and a bit of the flair from the original design. “I think Wonder Woman is a strong, sexy warrior,” she said. “A hero. But also very regal. I was doing a character design to go along with a pitch I’ve had in for a OGN at DC for a while, so it’s not a redesign because I was trying to say something current costume – it was one of the ways I’d approach it in the story I want to tell.”

In addition to Thompson not deviating from the famous color scheme, she adds a bit of practicality to the costume. “If you’ve ever worn a bustier [author's note: I have not, but I can imagine what it is like] and moved your torso in it, you’re not going to be able to do much practical fighting if there aren’t any straps. I love to design clothing. I’d give her lots of variations on a theme. Nothing drastic, but focus on her as the costume and not just the costume as the costume.”

Another thing I really dig is how she incorporated a bit of might and magic into this design. She then states what and who Wonder Woman is to her. “I think she’s someone who is sure of herself. She’s a warrior who operates on her own set of rules. She’s been raised by warriors, and she’s royalty, so I think that gives her an air of superiority that maybe hasn’t been addressed. She’s commanding. I’d love to do that.” She continues with “I showed her having slain the creature because I love mythos, magic and adventure, and my story has a good deal of that in it.”

I can’t be the only one out there that thinks this would be a great idea. Jill Thompson is hardly a stranger to magic and myth. Add an Amazonian super heroine in the mix, and you’ve got gold. What do you think, readers?

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