Yesterday, someone asked me why I hadn't posted something about last week's shooting in Colorado, and I replied that I thought it was a great tragedy, but that between Twitter and Facebook, it had been trivialized enough without someone else clogging up the Internet with his condolences.
What I will say, though, is that better gun control laws could have prevented this.
I have no problem with someone owning a rifle to go hunting.
I have no problem with someone owning a pistol for protection.
I should think it's obvious from the name, though, that assault weapons have one purpose, and that is to hurt people. Lots of people, in a hurry. These are weapons designed for war, not for hunting or for making sure your home is safe. They are designed to do as much damage as possible, as quickly as possible.
There is no reason for anyone outside the military or the police to own them, and there's no reason for anyone to be allowed to have any gun without a rigorous background check.
I had a post-SDCC email exchange today that made me realize something:
After traveling down the coast for the world's biggest comic book convention for two decades, this year's con was the best time I've had in years. Part of that was due to my decision to hold the majority of my meetings at my hotel, but even more so, I think it was because of all the wonderful people I spent time with.
Starting with these guys:
I had the great honor to be one of the judges for the 20th annual Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, joining a group that included Andy Mangels, Michel Buster, James Robinson and last year's winners, Danny Amitai and Yuval Sharon of Comics N' Vegetables in Tel Aviv, and cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed the experience. Judging the 19 nominations took almost a whole day, but it went by in a flash, because everyone involved – including Joe Ferrera of the Bay Area's own Atlantis Fantasy World – was such good company.
During the days and nights that followed, I got to meet and hang out with some truly brilliant people, and whereas I'm often counting the minutes until I'm on the flight home, I was actually a bit sad when it became clear my time was running out Sunday afternoon.
So, in no real order, I just want so say thanks to everyone who made this year's convention so insanely awesome:
Ed Brubaker, Mel Tomlin, Joe Harris, Howard Chaykin, Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Rucka, Joe Casey, Gary Whitta, Darick Robertson, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, Jonathan Ross, Charlie Adlard, Ted Adams, Lorelei Bunjes, Scott Dunbier, Thierry Mornet, Guy Delcourt, Joe Keatinge, Emi Lenox, Chris Giarrusso, Gregg Schiegiel, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Frank Fosco, Nate Bellegarde, Cory Walker, Jennifer Davidson, Charity Southworth, Tom Spurgeon, Jonah Weiland, Jann Jones, Steven Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Joe Kelly, Brea Grant, Zane Grant, Chris Ryall, Dave Gibbons, John Layman, Carr D'Angelo, Marc Silvestri, Bridget Silvestri, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio, Robert Kirkman, Sina Grace, Brenda Feldman, Shawn Kirkham, David Andry, Ken Garing, Steve Seeley, Michael Moreci, Jenny Frisson, Ulises Farinas, Ryan Ottley, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jeremy Haun, Richard Starkings, Rob Guillory, Bill Schanes, Dave Hawksworth, Gabriel Rodriguez, James Boone, Shaquille O'Neal, Helen Leigh, Susie Giroux, Jamie Parreno, Monica Garcia, Jonathan Chan, Tyler Shainline, Mike Guerrero, Jana Cook, Brittany Matter, Todd Martinez, Jennifer de Guzman, Ron Richards, Buffy Seipel, Josh Flanagan, Conor Kilpatrick, Scott Tuft, Dan Hipp, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Dallas Middaugh, Ben Wolstenholme, Daniel Lopez, Francois Hercouet, Sandy Huffaker, Fae Desmond, Eddie Ibrahim, Charles Brownstein, and of course, all the fine gentleman I mentioned a bit earlier.
No doubt, there are names I'm missing here – or worse, that I forgot – but even if I only spoke to you for a few moments, you absolutely contributed to what a truly terrific week.
Finally, my apologies to Ron Perlman. Some of us may have been a bit drunk.
Due to a technical mishap, we didn't have a chance to show these covers off doing our panel on Saturday afternoon, but I'm really excited about Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo's upcoming Great Pacific series.
As noted last week, Dexys' One Day I'm Going to Soar, is something of a masterpiece. Kevin Rowland and his band performed some of the songs from the album on Later... with Jools Holland just before it was release, and I've collected them all here, along with Holland interviewing Rowland on the same show...
We announced a lot of cool stuff today, but one thing I'm personally excited about was finally telling people about the book I've been developing with Nate Bellegarde and Steven Finch (aka Fonografiks). As the image says, it's called Nowhere Men and the first issue is out this November. And for those not at today's Image Comics Experience panel, we showed the following teaser, as well:
If you're in San Diego for Comic-Con International, the IMAGE COMICS EXPERIENCE panel is tomorrow. For anyone in need of reasons to attend, well, I could give you nine of them right this very second... but I don't want to ruin Christmas.
I can tell you, though, that there will be nine insanely awesome creators with me for this panel.
Plus a baker's dozen of announcements.
If you've liked what we've being doing at Image over the first half of 2012, you are definitely going to like where things are heading in 2013.
And your first glimpses of what's coming up will be at this panel.
Getting ready to hop on a plane down to San Diego, but wanted to follow up on last Friday's post by noting that I'll be hosting a panel this Saturday at 2 pm in Room 25ABC. Now billed as The Image Comics Experience, it's basically our big announcements panel.
Sure, there will be other announcements at the con... but if you were there last year, this is the panel where we announced Brian K. Vaughan was returning to comics to collaborate with Fiona Staples on Saga.
Haven't done one of these in a while, but it's not for a shortage of great records, not least of which is the absolutely stunning return of Kevin Rowland and Dexys Midnight Runners (just "Dexys," in the band's most current incarnation), One Day I'm Going to Soar...
1. Dexys -"It's O.K. John Joe," (One Day I'm Going to Soar, 2012)
2. Future of the Left - "Robocop 4 - Fuck Off Robocop," (The Plot Against Common Sense, 2012)
3. Blur - "Under the Westway," (single a-side, 2012)
4. Charles Bradley - "The World (Is Going Up in Flames)," (No Time for Dreaming, 2011)
5. Fiona Apple - "Anything We Want," (The Idler Wheel..., 2012)
6. Richard Hawley - "Seek It," (Standing at the Sky's Edge, 2012)
7. Graham Coxon - "Advice," (A+E, 2012)
8. Beachwood Sparks - "Forget the Song," (The Tarnished Gold, 2012)
9. Miles Kane - "Colour of the Trap," (First of My Kind EP, 2012)
10. The Dandy Warhols - "The Autumn Carnival," (This Machine, 2012)
And if you aren't familiar with the soul stirring sounds of Charles Bradley, by all means make yourself acquainted with them now:
It's good to have Beachwood Sparks back again, too, and this is a lovely video for a majestic song:
I suppose congratulations are in order for Joe Keatinge: His head-turning work on Rob Liefeld's Glory and his own Hell Yeah! have landed him a gig at Marvel, chronicling the earliest adventures of cosmic heavy Thanos in Thanos: Son of Titan. If you've been following Glory and Hell Yeah! – both of which have trade paperbacks collecting their initial arcs out in August – you know already know that Joe's one of the most exciting new writers in comics. If you're not familiar with Joe, though, and you haven't checked out Glory and Hell Yeah! – you should rectify that immediately. Both series are insanely awesome and while Thanos: Son of Titan is essentially retroactive continuity for a character that has been around since the early '70s, Glory and Hell Yeah! take place right here, right now. If you can't wait for the trades, both Glory #28 (Joe and artist Ross Campbell's sixth issue) and Hell Yeah! #5 are out later this month.
And speaking of Thanos: The vast majority of all Thanos stories – not to mention the best – have been written by Thanos' creator, Jim Starlin. Among my favorites are his appearances in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2, but for most fans, the mother of all Thanos stories is The Infinity Gauntlet, which grew out of stories Jim set up in Silver Surfer #34-38 and The Thanos Quest miniseries. The Infinity Gauntlet was followed by three other Thanos-centric series: The Infinity War, The Infinity Crusade and The Infinity Abyss. If you're into Thanos, every one of those series is recommended reading, along with Thanos: The End and Jim's run on Captain Marvel.
Jim Starlin has done a lot of amazing work that doesn't involve Thanos, though, and the most recent of that is 'Breed III, the final installment of the 'Breed series he began in the mid-'90s. The first two 'Breed miniseries were published by Malibu Comics under their Bravura banner, but 'Breed III came out from Image. We collected the first two volumes of 'Breed in 2011, and the third volume will be out in August. Jim has been virtually synonymous with cosmic comics since the beginning of his career, and in my opinion does them better than almost anyone, and if cosmic epics are your thing and you've somehow missed out on 'Breed – you really should check it out.
And here's a final thought:
Joe Keatinge and Jim Starlin are separated by many, many years, but at the same time, they have something in common. I'm not talking about Thanos, either, although I guess there is that, too. However, if you completely take Thanos out of the equation, the one more important thing they share is the passion they bring to their creator-owned work. There's nothing wrong with writing cool Thanos stories by a long shot, but if you want the pure, undiluted creativity and imagination of two comicdom's best? Get your hands on the books I just name-checked above. You won't be disappointed.
Since it's the Fourth of July, I thought I'd run through my top 10 favorite Captain America covers.
1. The Avengers #16 (1963) - Jack Kirby
I don't know why, but even though this issue of The Avengers was over a decade old when I saw its cover for the first time, I was instantly drawn to it. Part of the reason may be all the other characters displayed on the wall behind Cap, but I think the whole image is just fantastic. The fact that Captain America assembled a new team of Avengers from former villains – Hawkeye, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch – made this one of my favorite issues of the series, too.
2. Marvel Double Feature #16 (1976) - Larry Lieber
This is a reprint of Tales of Suspense #92, and while I like Jack Kirby's original cover, too, I find this version superior. Many of Marvel's reprint books from the '70s featured new or slightly different covers, and some of the covers – including some that Kirby re-drew himself – are hidden gems.
3. Captain America and The Falcon #210 (1977) - Jack Kirby
I have a thing for floating head covers and thanks to that ghastly visage of The Red Skull, this is one of my favorites.
4. Captain America #248 (1980) - John Byrne
Dragon Man was a villain I always wanted to like, but generally speaking, the stories he was in, either in Fantastic Four or The Avengers, never did much for me. He looked cool, though, and in my opinion, never cooler than on the cover of this issue from John Bryne's all-too brief run on Captain America.
5. Captain America #113 (1969) - Jim Steranko
Virtually all of Steranko's Captain America covers are classics, but this is the best in my opinion. A lot of that has to do with the coloring – I think the dark tones capture the mood quite well here – and the image of Rick Jones (dressed as Bucky) broken down and crying is really powerful.
6. Captain America #286 (1983) - Mike Zeck
I honestly don't remember a thing about this issue, but the cover has stuck with me since I first saw it. Absolutely incredible image by Mike Zeck, and one of a number of great covers he did during his run. Deathlok never better.
7. The Avengers #151 (1976) - Jack Kirby
This is right around where I first started buying The Avengers, way back in the '70s, and like #16, this issue signaled a change in the team's line-up. The cover has very little to do with the story inside, but it's still a great image.
8. Tales of Suspense #94 (1967) - Jack Kirby
Cap vs. Modok and A.I.M. – 'nuff said!
9. Captain America #101 (1968) - Jack Kirby
I like this one primarily because the awakening Sleeper looks so sinister. Earlier Sleepers were not nearly as cool as this version, and the way it's emerging from that stone casing, with The Red Skull gloating over his presumed triumph in the foreground really sells this image for me.
10. The Uncanny X-Men #268 (1990) - Jim Lee
The cover of an X-Men comic was just about the last place you'd expect to see Captain America back then, but this image is one of the most enduring from Jim Lee's run on The Uncanny X-Men in the early '90s. I'd long given up on Marvel's mutants when this issue first came out, but that cover pulled me back in, even if there is no scene even remotely like that in the entire issue.