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El GorgoGreat Googly Moogly! Writer Mike McGee and artist Tamas Jakab are prepping the third issue of their creation, El Gorgo! If you’re already on board with the “world’s greatest Luchador gorilla” read no further, but if you haven’t checked out these whacked-out, Kirby-inspired, cosmic adventures yet, what the heck are you waiting for?

The creators put each issue up on the El Gorgo! website for free-reading, but they also create a print version for those of us who still like to hold printed matter in our hands. And the print version is nice too - quality paper and vibrant colors make El Gorgo leap from the page. And since he has enough power and courage to kick a dinosaur in the face, you’d better duck.

The color cover and the first 11 pages of the impending third issue - “The Hour of Dagon” - are up at the El Gorgo! site right now. They’re in black and white, but they’ll be in color when the issue’s finished.

If you’re feeling like the third issue might be too difficult a spot to join in, fear not. Mike and Tamas have posted the complete first and second issues of El Gorgo! for free-reading.

Read More | El Gorgo Site

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TMNT Movie PosterSomeone break the pizza out—we’re having a party with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Media conglomerate Viacom (which owns Nickelodeon, MTV, Paramount) recently purchased the rights to the crime-fighting crew for a cool $60 million. Previously owned by Mirage Studios and 4Kids Networks, $10 million of the payment went to terminating the rights 4Kids currently has, which was set to naturally expire in 2012 (because Viacom doesn’t quite have the patience to wait three more years).

Inking the expensive deal comes 25 years after creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman (Mirage Studios) self-published the very first TMNT comic. Cowabunga!

To justify the price tag, Viacom plans for an upcoming 2012 film, as well as an accompanying CGI television series. Oh those businessmen—they’re so savvy.

Read More | Bleeding Cool

starbuckMike Friedrich was one of the talents of the 1970s and 1980s who changed the comic book business for the better. Dean Mullaney, Phil Seuling, Bud Plant and several others belong on that list as well as several people I’m forgetting. Mike started out as a comic book fan, became a freelance writer for DC and Marvel, transitioned to publishing with his own company (Star*Reach) and later became an agent, turning Star*Reach into an agency representing artists and writers. As a freelancer, he knew well the contracts (and contractual problems) at the major companies. As a publisher he provided an alternative venue for creators to pursue projects DC and Marvel either didn’t want or wouldn’t let the creators own. That may not sound like a big deal, but back in the day if you wanted to tell stories outside of the standard Marvel-DC superhero template, or found yourself on the outs with those two companies, you had almost no alternatives until Star*Reach and Eclipse came along.

When Friedrich became an agent he was able to turn his experience loose on behalf of other creators to negotiate better deals. I’ve read comics Mike wrote, I’ve read comics that he published, and a couple of times I’ve been across the virtual negotiating table from him. [I won’t name names, but at the initial Ultraverse Founders conference in Scottsdale AZ, he quite rightly had his client wait in the hall while he finished negotiating via phone his client’s UV contract. My job at the time was to nod sycophantically and supervise the snack trays for the conference; Dave Olbrich did the actual nuts and bolts negotiating.]


Simpsons158Chuck Dixon has been responsible for some of the manliest comic books in the direct market. From his work on Airboy to Punisher and Batman, his characters know how to take a punch and keep punching back (sometimes accessorizing with big guns).

Dixon is now at Bongo Comics where he writes Simpsons Comics. When you’re working on corporate comics, you’re always answerable to the corporate owners about how best to handle their characters. When you’re working a licensed property—whether it’s Farscape, Star Trek, or Terminator—there’s yet another corporate layer added into the “Please me” mix: the corporation that controls the license. Sometimes the actors step in as well. A well-known Star Trek actor had it in his contract that artists couldn’t draw the top of his bald head too pointy. That’s right: he had baldness approval. So it’s never easy working on licensed properties and I admire those who do it and do it well. Like Chuck Dixon.

At first glance, he might seem an odd choice for The Simpsons universe—the Batman writer tackling America’s favorite yellow cartoon people—but he’s a professional writer and that’s what they do: write. In Simpsons Comics #158, Homer is outraged that his newly won hot tub violates the Homeowner’s Association rules so he’s convinced to run for President of the Association in the conveniently upcoming election. Once he wins, it all goes horribly awry in the best Simpsons manner.

Read More | Chuck Dixon's Blog

The Hunter follows a one-man-tough-guy army bent on revenge named Parker. After a job goes bad and his wife tries to kill him, Parker sets out to take back what was his and set things right. Parker’s world is New York circa 1962, a world before cell phones, before VHS, before the Beatles; a place where the bad guys and the good guys stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the police department, the political arena, and even the subway slums.


JK Rowling versus Stephenie Meyers

Bluewater Comics recently announced a JK Rowling edition of their Female Force series, set for a December release.

Unfortunately for Harry Potter fans, Twilight creator Stephenie Meyers is ahead of that curve, having her own biographical issue released in November.

While I have not had the privilege of reading the Hilary Clinton nor Sarah Palin issues, I just can’t bring myself to give the series a chance. Maybe it’s the awkward art, or perhaps it’s just the title, Female Force—whatever it is, I can’t imagine as to why either sets of fanatics will be willing to shell out money for it. Let’s see if the Potterheads and Twihards prove us wrong.

Read More | E! Online

HoneyYou might already know Lester Dent. He’s the creator of Doc Savage (which he wrote under the pseudonym of Kenneth Robeson). Doc was a very successful pulp hero (and later star of a line of equally successful paperback reprints of his pulp adventures). Sadly, the magical success of Doc in the pulps has never transitioned well to neither comics nor the movies.

What you may not know is that Dent also wrote a hard-boiled crime novel called Honey In His Mouth. It doesn’t star Doc Savage.

One of my favorite publishers, Hard Case Crime, publishes hard-boiled crime paperbacks. Some of them are new, but some are reissues of old classics that are worth rediscovering again. Their backlist of stuff is incredible and includes works by Lawrence Block, Richard S. Prather, David Drake, Max Allan Collins, Roger Zelazny and Donald E. Westlake. All their books feature great cover paintings that recall the classic hardboiled style of paperbacks from a couple of generations past.

Read More | Hard Case Crime

AX

What a week, huh? Disney bought Marvel and everyone’s wondering how this will finally address their pet Marvel peeve. Before you get all fan-ish with what this means now and will mean in the future - they own the Ultraverse! They own Crossgen! They have to do this! They have to do that! They can hire Alan Moore! They’ll clean up Marvel! They’ll rollback prices!  You should run over and read Steven Grant’s very perceptive take on the buyout in his Permanent Damage column. He’s a sharp guy and he makes excellent points.

In the meantime, there was other stuff for avid lurkers to check out and peruse in their spare time. Let’s take a look:


KGB

American Virgin and Pixu writer/artist Becky Cloonan has just launched the site for her latest web comic, KGB.

Hwan Cho, Cloonan’s friend and collaborative mind behind the series, said of the comic, “[It’s] an epic tale within the Korean music scene in the 90’s. Full of sweat, love and DANCE!”

Set to premiere next week, September 9, the site currently lists and profiles the characters of the story; the comic is expected to be updated weekly.

Read More | KGB Comic

Dethklok

The Alliance of the Serpent, a cult that uses inbreeding of royals to bring about the Anti-Christ, finally has the vessel they need to create a rift in the fabric of the universe. That vessel is William Murderface, the ill tempered, self-loathing bassist of heavy metal superband, Dethklok.

Who are Dethklok you ask? Why none other than the incompetent, inept, and metal stars of the hit Adult Swim cartoon, Metalocalypse. Dethklok consists of the aforementioned Murderface, Front Man and lyrical genius Nathan Explosion, Lead Guitarist Skwissgar Skwigelf, Rhythm Guitarist Toki Wartooth, and Drummer Pickles. The band has a fanbase that is so devoted that they often put themselves in physical danger to see the band.  The band’s actions have attracted the attention of an “illuminati” like organization called the Tribunal, who constantly try to destroy Dethklok only to have the plan (most times literally) explode in their face. Okay now that that’s out of the way, back to the review…


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