Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
So without further ado, let’s get to it ...
Comics rallies around Clowes after LaBeouf plagiarism allegations
“The comic book world is a tough business. If you’re a celebrity with a comic, it already has a residue of shit on it because so many shit celebrity slash wrestler slash race-car driver slash who-gives-a-fuck books have already tainted the possible audience for it. This is not a get-rich-quick thing, it’s not a way to prolong my career – I would like the same fans that I respect in comics to like my books, and I know the only way to get there is to earn it, and the only way to earn it is to come up the same way everybody else does, as much as I can.” --Shia LaBeouf in a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone about his comic book efforts
I guess one way to get those fans to like your stuff is to plagiarize from sources you know they already like. In case you missed it amongst the Duck Dynasty scandal news, LaBeouf made headlines last week for lifting heavily from Daniel Clowes' Justin M. Damiano for his short film HowardCantour.com.
Shortly after the film was released online last Monday, BuzzFeed published a post on the similarities between the short and Clowes’ comic. After that, LaBeouf took to Twitter to apologize, using words which were found to be in part taken from a four-year-old Yahoo! Answers post. (The film also has been taken down). He apologized again on Twitter, this time "borrowing" the words of Tiger Woods, Kanye West and former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The About page on LaBeouf's Campaign Book website was discovered to be copied from Dan Nadel’s PictureBox website, and apparently the comics he was hoping would "earn" him respect were also plagiarized.
Of course, nothing rallies the comic industry better than a Hollywood douchebag plagiarizing from one of its best, as numerous posts on blogs, Tumblr, Twitter, etc, have shown over the last few days. Here are a few. (JK Parkin)
Police nab the Kuroko's Basketball harasser
Tokyo police arrested 36-year-old Hirofumi Watanabe this week on suspicion of sending more than 400 threatening letters, one of which contained a potentially lethal dose of poison, to retail stores, exhibit venues and other sites connected with the popular manga Kuroko's Basketball.
Watanabe was arrested as he was mailing a batch of letters (police say there were about 20 in his backpack) and he has apparently admitted to the crime, saying he was jealous of the success of creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Kuroko's Basketball is much beloved by the makers of doujinshi (fan comics), and most doujinshi events connected with the manga were canceled over the past year, so fans greeted the news with relief, and a number of events have been scheduled already. (Brigid Alverson)
The return of Casanova
Fans of Matt Fraction, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s Casanova (which launched at Image in 2006 and moved to Marvel’s ICON creator-owned line in 2010) will be happy to know that it will return in 2014, it would appear. In a recent Tumblr post, Fraction noted that Casanova Vol. 4 will be “the first script i write in 2014”. This is welcome news to readers, considering that Avaritia Vol. 3 wrapped in the middle of 2012.
As much as I appreciate Fraction’s Marvel work, his strongest writing is clearly in his creator-owned efforts. He himself admitted in another recent Tumblr post that Casanova "remains the hardest thing I’ve ever written."
While swimming through Fraction’s deep water Tumblr (man, when does the guy have time to write, given all the gems he shares on the social media platform), I also learned from an April 2013 item that "the main story by Moon and me will be backed up by shorts created by Michael Chabon and Bá. He keeps saying ‘Like TALES OF ASGARD’ and I’m not sure if he’s kidding or not." Chabon writing Casanova tales along the lines of the classic "Tales of Asgard" intrigues the hell out of me.
Yet another project to look forward to in 2014. (Tim O'Shea)
Adventure Time! creative team has the golden touch
Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, the creative team behind the Adventure Time comics, head off in a new direction with The Midas Flesh, a space opera that incorporates the Greek myth of Midas and the golden touch. Amazingly, this comic combines these two ancient genres and, through the power of good writing and good art, makes them into something fresh and new. The spaceship is crewed by two women and a lizard; Joey is the captain, Fatima, who wears a headscarf, is the navigator, and Cooper, the lizard, is the engineer. The setup isn't entirely clear, but they seem to be some sort of guerrilla remnant of a defeated civilization heading through space on their own, and they are targeting an empty planet surrounded by obsolete defenses: Earth.
Earth is empty because King Midas turned everything to gold, and North, Paroline, and Lamb's retelling of that myth brings it new life: Midas is a lonely widower who perks up when Silenus shows up asleep under a tree in his yard, having somehow stumbled over there in a drunken stupor. The two party hearty for ten days, then they go back to Silenus's home, where his son, Dionysius, offers Midas one wish. That wish destroys the planet: Everything Midas touches turns to gold, and everything that touches that gold turns to gold, so the whole planet is quickly overcome, something that is depicted in an amazing series of panels. The comic ends on a cliffhanger note, as Joey heads to the surface of the earth—and instant status as a golden object.
Everything about this comic is great. The art is smooth, the writing is witty, and the paneling and layouts are varied and effective, telling different parts of the story in different ways and keeping the reader moving. This is the first series in BOOM! Studios' new imprint, BOOM! Box, and it's a promising beginning. (Brigid Alverson)
"Everything’s coming up Culver"
As a fan of Dennis Culver's work on the excellent Edison Rex, I was thrilled to see that Dark Horse Presents will soon feature a new story by the cartoonist -- Davey Jones and the Mystery of the Monocle Men.
Here's the pitch: "In the small seaside town called Ishmael Bay, two kids, Sadie and Jackson, throw a message in a bottle into the ocean to summon the supernatural pirate hero: Davey Jones. They solve mysteries and have adventures." Culver's clean, fun style has made Rex one of my favorite comics of the year, and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in this new tale. (JK Parkin)
Marvel Studios finds an Ant-Man
It is ridiculously cool that Paul Rudd has been officially announced as Ant-Man for the upcoming feature film. I have said it before and I will say it again, if Marvel can sell the public on Ant-Man as a full length, live action feature film and create a success, then Marvel Studios can officially sell ice to Eskimos. It's such a weird character with an unsexy power and a convoluted history, the fact that he'll be as well known as Daredevil (at the very least and hopefully more favorably) is pretty amazing.
Considering they have Edgar Wright as a director, we know this movie will have the pop and pizazz a comic book feature should have. Now, with Paul Rudd on board, we know this movie is going to have a strong comedic center which will probably make 'the guy who shrinks' more palatable to moviegoers. As far as I can tell, however, the official word from Marvel is that Mr. Rudd will be playing "Ant-Man," leaving us with the question of which man behind the big silver helmet will we see? (Carla Hoffman)