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§ Nice art: I love Jeff Lemire. I love Dean Ormston. I love Black Hammer. I also love Spanish artist David Rubín, who’s truly one of the most imaginative stylists working in comics today. So it is wonderful that CBR previewed Rubín’s character designs for Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil, a Black Hammer spin-off coming next month as a four issue mini series.

The world of Jeff Lemire & Dean Ormston’s Dark Horse Comics Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer is set to expand this October with Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil, a four-issue miniseries by Lemire and artist David Rubín. The spinoff series stars Lucy Weber, the daughter of the Black Hammer, searching to learn more about her father, which leads her to the villains confined in Spiral City’s asylum. With the first issue about a month away, CBR has a special look at Rubín’s expressive character designs for the heroes and villains of Sherlock Frankenstein, along with insight from the artist.

 

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§ Is branding the root of all evil?

Not too long ago, Apple dropped the name “store” officially from its retail stores, changing the nomenclature from Apple Store to Apple store (yeah, it confused us a bit, too). Now, things are changing again—Apple SVP Angela Ahrendts explained that Apple’s retail stores will now be called Apple Town Squares, complete with Genius Groves, “plazas” for hanging out, “forums” for collaboration, “board rooms” for smaller group meetings, and “avenues” for curated retail opportunities.

§ I guess The Savage Critic website is no more. Retailer and Beat contributor Brian Hibbs runs down the history of this “foundational” website and the people who came on board:

I had a decent run, I think, of doing the snap review thing — a couple of years where I was mostly weekly, but eventually I started to flag.  I thought I could bring in Jeff Lester to make up for me flaking, but in reality that mostly meant trying to offshore everything on to Jeff.  And then we added Graeme, and it became the same thing even more.  Even Graeme’s lovely wife Kate got sucked in, redesigning the site, and ending up with me thinking “Ah, she’s handling all the backstage stuff forever, right?” Even our big expansions, where I tried to invite lots of wonderful, active, smart bloggers to come be part of this “brand”, it was mostly me trying to avoid work myself — if I have 7 guys each posting weekly, then I can post a lot less, right?  Hell, this continues to this very day where the utterly fantastic John K (UK) basically single-handedly keeps this thing running with real content.  All I ever do is say “Hey! I wrote another TILTING”.  Even the weekly shipping list thread?  It has my NAME on it, but its been written by my manager Doug Slayton for like the last three years.

Hibbs says a new blog with shipping lists will be coming soon, but The Savage Critic has been sunsetted as a standalone website – the entire archives can be found here, however. I’m glad a lot of historic writing by Hibbs, Graeme McMillan, Abhay Khosla and more has been maintained for now! The internet is so fleeting you guys.

§ THR interviews lawyer Christine Valada about her late husband, Len Wein, who died on Sunday.

Her husband loved his work, but he wrote for himself, Valada said.  “He wrote the stories he wanted to write,” she said, pointing out that the one time he wrote in order for fans to be happy was when he changed Thor’s love interest. He got an earful both when he made the original change and when he caved to fan displeasure and changed her back. 

“And that was the point at which he said, ‘I write for me. I wrote the kind of stories I want to read,'” she said. “He felt that reading comics, as he did when he was a kid, would make him a better person and he wanted to pass that along to his readers as well.”

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§ Andrew Wheeler reminds us that Rick Geary is awesome of a review of The Black Dahlia:

Geary seems to be drawn to the unsolved, complicated cases the most — not the ones where we know what happened and who did it, but the ones where we can almost tell what happened, where there are some suspicions but not proof, the ones that are a bit frustrating, the ones where we’re pretty sure a murderer completely got away with it. Black Dahlia is deeply in that mode: whether Short was killed by a gangster or an angry boyfriend, he got away entirely. (And he’s probably dead now, which is as much getting away with anything that anyone can ever do.)

 

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§ Here’s a very strong review of GG’s I’m Not Here by Chris Gavaler:

Judging from the content of her website alone, I would predict that GG will be a major comics voice of the next decade. She’s already realizing that potential with her first full-length graphic novel, I’m Not Here, released this month from Koyama Press. The novel is one of the richest and gently disturbing I’ve read in recent years. Its young female protagonist goes unnamed as she navigates the streets and hallways of her and her aging parents’ suburban homes and the memories of her second-generation immigrant childhood. No narrating voice grounds the story, so events move from the present to various moments of the past and possibly future without guiding explanations. By speaking only in dialogue, the main character seems to have no more insight about herself and her troubled situation than does the reader. We travel with her, suffering the same confusions that define her life. All we know for sure is the isolating distance she feels from her increasingly estranged mother.

 

§ An article entitled 15 Comic Book Panels Marvel Doesn’t Want You To See sounds dire, but when it’s by Brian Cronin it’s actually pretty good. Remember that time Bruce Banner almost got raped in the shower at the YMCA? Those were good times!

§ There’s been a lot of turmoil at Geek Girl Con this year, and executive director Michele Carrico Domingo has stepped down, Geek Wire reports. Jeanette Hotes-Aprato has taken over as interim director. I don’t know the ins and outs of this story, so I’ll direct you to the GeekWire story.

§ Apparently if you sign up for Chester Brown’s Patreon, you not only get pictures of his blistered john henry, you also get secret comics that sounds really cool. Damn, there is nothing in life that comes without a strange and terrible price.

§ Cartoonist Matt Madden hasn’t journaled in a year and he breaks his silence! Madden and wife Jessica Abel (who is Illustration Chair at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts moved to Philadelphia a year ago with their two grade school aged children, and Madden is something of a stay at home dad he writes.

With Jessica being the primary breadwinner (she’s juggling her PAFA job with her popular online courses like the Creative Focus Workshop while at the same time wrapping up the third and final volume of Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars), I have found myself in the role of full-time homemaker. This decision is largely practical—there’s just no way Jessica can do more than she’s already doing and since I don’t have a regular job it makes sense for me to take over the family stuff (in fact I’ve been doing most of it for several years)—but it’s also in part because I feel like I’ve hit a career wall that has left me discouraged and at a loss as to how I can ever make a living doing the stuff I love to do. (Again, just take a look around online and you’ll see that I have a lot of company in this conundrum). It’s not that I ever expected to be able to sit around and do nothing but make experimental comics (though how I’d love to!), it’s that I’ve been putting on all kinds of hats over the last 20 years to make a living—translation, comic book coloring, editing, writing textbooks, and above all, teaching—and none of those “responsible” and “real” jobs have lead to anything more than a measly adjunct professor’s level of existence. I am lucky to have the pressure taken off of me for a few years so that I can attempt to ease back into the working world on terms that I’m happy with. And I’m aware of how fortunate I am to have the leisure to even think about this stuff—this is not an I-hate-my-life post by any means.

Cute cartooning couples are awesome, but when both are freelancers, it puts a lot of stress on everything. The spouse with a steady job is a secret of how a lot of cartoonists make their comics; it’s kind of a dirty secret of the industry, or maybe just a secret. Or maybe not a secret at all?

§ Whatever happened to Gerard Butler????????
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He looks sad…like something is missing in his life, like being mentioned on The Beat. I hope I brought a smile to dear, dear Gerard’s day.