This is Issue 15 of Comics Squee. Each podcast our panelists, fighting crime in a future time, discuss the comic books, graphic novels, and general sequential art geekery that excites them.
I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. Joining me are regular squeesters: April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls Meetup in San Diego; and John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at JohnWOliver.com
Taking the revolving 4th chair this issue is our guest Batton Lash, creator of the Supernatural Law graphic novels. His art credits include work on the titles Grave Tales, The Big Book of Death and others. Batton also wrote the notorious Archie Meets the Punisher cross-over comic. His newest project, First Gentleman of the Apocalypse, is serialized in ACES WEEKLY – a digital only comic art magazine.
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: Why I love Kickstarter, in 20 tangents or less ; conspiracy in near future London; some love for the legacy of Charlton Comics; and putting the fun back in sex and violence.
This online crowdfunding site lets creators, like our guest Batton Lash who has used it for his last few books, get funds from their fans directly in order to publish their book. Or game, etc. The fact that there is a popular source to help support the patronage model is awesome. Bringing the arts back to their roots where the fans of the arts are the patrons of the arts.
It’s like artist alley at San Diego Comic-Con ALL. YEAR. ROUND! *kermit arm flail* (seriously, Chriss was totally doing kermit arms)
Chriss’ 5 Rules For Picking Good Kickstarters to Back:
There are risks to supporting any Kickstarter and there are rules you should follow when choosing which projects to back. The language focuses on comics, but they can be applied to any Kickstart.
- They must have artwork. That artwork needs to be for the book they’re Kickstarting. If there’s art, but none of it shows pages from the book, you’re taking a huge risk that they’ll actually ever finish it.
- They must prove they have a product to sell.
- The Kickstarter needs to say how the money will be used. This shows they understand the business and know what they’re doing. That they’re not expecting your patronage to send them on a vacation – you’re backing their art not taking responsibility for their bills.
- The Backer rewards need to be reasonable. For $5 you get a thank you and a bookmark. For $10 you get a PDF of the book, a thank you, and a bookmark. For $20 you get a physical copy of the book, plus everything at the lower levels. A Kickstarter’s asking you to pay $50 just to get their 32 page comic? I. Think. NOT.
- Their video needs to show that they can explain their project. That they have a clear vision. That they have passion. That they have focus.
Batton Lash: Charlton Arrow magazine
This was the brainchild of Fester Faceplant (real name). He was going to publish it originally, but stuff happened and Mort Todd (late of Cracked magazine) took over. Several greats got together and put on this tribute to Charlton Comics; Paul Kupperberg, Barbara Kaalberg, John Byrne, and many others.
When Steve Ditko let Spider-Man he went to Charlton. Because they left him alone. They page rates were low, the paper quality was lousy, but they left their creators have free reign. It was there Ditko created such now iconic ‘DC’ characters as The Question, Blue Beetle, and The Atom.
Charlton Arrow is a tribute to those days of creators running wild at Charlton Comics. It was originally a one shot issue, but they’re now doing a second.
The magazine is distributed by direct mail only. You can subscribe at Morttodd.com.
John: Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight by Alex de Campi (writer) and various artists
This was mentioned briefly as few shows ago when we had Alex de Campi on. Grindhouse is a series of two issue arcs that are in the style of old Grindhouse flicks. So you get a full story, beginning and end. Volume one has 8 issues. So Tweet and email Darkhorse if you want more.
These are over the top stories that play with violence and sexuality. It’s very visceral and fun. Grindhouse doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a fun story. The four stories are “Bee Vixens From Mars”, “Prison Ship Antares”, “Bride of Blood”, and “Feast of the Devil Dolls”.
There are even phony movie posters for pretend flicks in the back of each book.
- 3a) Tangent 1: Everyone Taller Than You is Older
- 3b) Tangent 2: I Eat Your Flesh. I Drink Your Blood
April: Smoke by Alex de Campi (writer) and Igor Kordey (artist)
It’s another Alex de Campi title. We didn’t plan this, really. April just read these issues today because she’d borrowed them from Chriss.
This is a near future, satirical intrigue story that has the sensibilities and feeling of the 1980s back-stabby, intrigue movies. The story is that Britain is on the verge of collapse and they’re going to be taken over by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the movers and shakers are trying to figure out how to avert that. And they go about it by killing some of the old guard and taking some hostages. And it’s up to this tall, thin, albino man who’s a government assassin to figure out what’s going on.
What Chriss really loves about the assassins in this is that they identify themselves to their victims and apologize before killing them.
The other main character is a woman who’s a reporter at a tabloidy paper who’s trying to get the information she needs for this article that’s going to blow up the secrets of the government.
The series ended after three issues, with an explosion that left the impression that the bad guys had won. The sequel, Ashes, resolves the story and continues the intrigue with a science fiction plot. Darkhorse puts out a volume called Smoke and Ashes that collects both.
There’s a great sense of humor to it. And a sensibility that’s as much a commentary on now.
Question Time: Name 5 Comic Book Lawyers
- Harvey Dent
- Alana Wolf (from Batton’s Supernatural Law series)
- Jeff Byrd (from Batton’s Supernatural Law series)
- She Hulk
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next
Ant Colony by Michael deForge
Finish catching up on his backlog of Mind Management by Matt Kindt
Reading some of the original Little Orphan Annie comics, which were more satirical and critical of big government and unethical corporations than you’d realize if you’d just seen the movie or musical.
- Batton Lash:
Looking forward to a lot of comics history books like Comic Book Creator