RIP: Sergio Toppi

We’ve lost another great one: news spread today that Italian art master Sergio Toppi had passed away at age 80. Toppi got his start in advertising (and his sketchy, geometric styleed the way for the familiar the mid-century advertising look) but contributed comics to such magazines as Linus, Corto Maltese, Un uomo un’avventura, and Il Giornalino in Italy and l’Histoire de France en bandes dessinées and La Découverte du Monde in France. Best known for single stories rather than series characters, in recent years he worked exclusively with the French publisher Editions Mosquito. Archaia is bringing out a US edition of his retelling of the Arabian Knights, Sharaz-De later this year. A selection is below.

Marvel release a first look at All-New X-Men #1

Stuart Immonen’s artwork is one of the key selling points to, well, anything he is involved with, and All-New X-Men #1 is no exception. The premise of the book is that the original five members of the X-Men – Angel, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman and Beast – have come to the present for some reason (no, there’s no sign of other founding X-Men Shortpack and Sage at this point in time). They are in the present, and they are… in the present. And Stuart Immonen is drawing it! So now you know the premise of the series in its entirety.

The regardless point being, Marvel have released some of Immonen’s pencils for the first issue of the series, written by Brian Michael Bendis. And unsurprisingly, they’re spiffing, corking, and several other 1960s adjectives.

Must Read: Shaun Tan on ideas and art

Drop everything! Paul Gravett has interviewed Shaun Tan! The Oscar winning artist of The Arrival, The Lost Thing and many other picture books is one of the most admired illustrators working today, and although Tan’s work often ends up being “comics” in that it is sequential, pictorial storytelling, as this interview makes clear, doing anything like comics is only something he backed into:

More on comics journalism and Symbolia update

Erin Polgreen’s iPad-based magazine of comics journalism, Symbolia, gets previewed as part of Christopher Borelli’s look at the rise of non fiction comics journalism. Polgreen was in town a while ago and showed us some samples of the project — not only was the lineup of creators impressive, but Polgreen has the smarts and focus to make Symbolia a must-read.

Aquaman gets Robot Chicken variant cover

Due to his comedy stylings in the upcoming Robot Chicken DC special, Aquaman gets his own Robot Chicken variant cover for issue #12. We actually find this gaudy cover quite invigorating.

Cartoonist leaves publisher in tears over plans to film sex with others

Surprise! It’s Shia LaBeouf and his girlfriend Karolyn Pho, who handles the business side of LaBeouf’s Campaign Book comics publishing company. LaBeouf is making a Lars Von Trier film called Nymphomaniac which may require him to film actual sex acts, which is a step up from the torture and blinding and other miseries which actors in von trier films must often endure. Whatever happens, we’re sure Shia will make a comic about it.

Kick-Watch: Ottaviani and Nourigat cover consciousness

Not to get all trippy on you, but Wisconsin Public Radio is producing a six-part radio series and a comic book on understanding understanding. It’s called Meet Your Mind: A User’s Guide to the Science of Consciousness. The comic is by Jim Ottaviani and Natalie Nourigat. Ottaviani is well-known for his comics unpacking science, so this sounds like a winner. To pay for the comic, WPR is using, what else, Kickstarter. Since Kickstarter is really one big pledge drive, it all makes sense.

Trailer watch 2: Harris and Morazzo's GREAT PACIFIC

A few days ago CBR rolled out the exclusive revealof the trailer for GREAT PACIFIC, an Image series comics out in November that deals with the (real) great garbage pile floating in the Pacific and ecological issues.

To be blunt, we like this trailer better than many we’ve seen, and the main reason is the great score. According to Harris, he got one of his old pals from film school to actually write the music. And wow…that makes a difference.

Webcomics alert: Thunderpaw

Future comics by Jen Lee. Expect to see this everywhere by the end of the week. Amzing.

Trailer watch #1: Avengers vs X-men

A hardcover collection of AvX is coming out this November. And here’s the trailer. And here is the copy that they sent to run with the trailer detailing all the extras that you get for your $75.

Youth uses Wolverine claws to injure comrade

Here’s a new one for the comics-related crime blotter: A Utah teen has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he used replica Wolverine claws to attack a friend.

No one knows why Kristofer Ryan Huff, 19, set into his 20-year-old roommate with the claws….and also a knife. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that the victim was dating Huff’s mother, who was also injured in the attack.

Kibbles 'n' Bits, August 21, 2012: Casey gives readers a jolt

§ Okay, okay: Joe Casey clears up that whole Butcher Baker controversy we told you about last week. It seems there WILL be a collection, and the series really was meant to stop at issue 8 (which just appeared after a long gap.) It was Casey’s plan to give readers a jolt by leading them to believe this was going to go on a while and then KA-BLAM!

Yeah, it was always meant to be eight issues and done.  It’s one story. Actually, I kinda felt like readers might’ve been keying into the fact that it might not be an ongoing, infinite series simply because, even at issue #5 or #6, I still wasn’t giving them any kind of temporary closure moments, as you tend to do on a monthly book. You’ll build in those minor end points every two, three or four issues. It’s part of the accepted macro-structure of a series that’s meant to deliver “continuing adventures” or however you might want to frame it. “Butcher Baker,” in its execution from month to month, was much more novelistic in its shape.

But it all comes down to the way stories are delivered. When you’ve got an audience that’s as savvy as most audiences have become, it’s tough to shake them out of their complacency and really take them on a ride. Even movie audiences are now “trained” to have an inherent sense of a movie’s shape.  They know it’s going to be roughly two hours long, a lot of them even have a sense of the Hollywood three act structure, so most of the fun of being told a story is already significantly affected by all of that “pre-knowledge.” Well, I wanted to see if I could mitigate some of that. Shit, I hope it worked…

Golden Age artist Fran Hopper found alive

Recently, comics herstorian Trina Robbins and Ladies Making Comics’ Alexa Dickman teamed up to find Golden Age Fiction House artist Fran Hopper was alive and not yet lost to the sands of time. And now they have a photo. Hopper, 90, is shown next to a self-portrait she painted back in the ’40s.