This February, Onslaught Unleashed! Check out the promo image!
A short quick list this week, but so many good reads. Here are a few Comic Hot Picks from InvestComics.
Another death this week in the comic book world, well not exactly that kind of death. Death in the form of “Endless” in Action Comics #894. Death makes her way into the realm of the DC Universe. This very popular character first appeared in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman run in Issue number eight 21 years ago. Yes that’s right 21 years ago! If you weren’t around to remember this incredible run by Neil, you need to pick up the trade now! But for now, the first appearance will cost only $20. That’s $1.05 increase per year! Yes that’s not much, but with talks of a Sandman television series coming, this price will increase more than $1.05 per year.
Sticking with DC here, here are a some comics that should be on your watch list this week. Check out Teen Titans #88 for the first appearance of Feral Boys from the new team of J.T. Krul and Nicola Scott. Also take a look at Justice Society of America #44 from the new creative team of Marc Guggenheim and Scott Kolins. JLA: The 99 #1 comes out with the introduction of The 99 into the DC Universe. Check out these comics with the new creative teams and first appearances.
The last Comic Hot Pick this week, The Trial of Captain America in Captain America #611.
….As always, thanks to Comics Price Guide.com for the pricing of comics within this article.
See you next week, Invest wisely.
Last week the New York Comic Con knocked the InvestComics Hot Picks off track for the very first time in 3 plus years. The NYCC was worth breaking that streak, we’ll just have to start a new one starting right……..now. Great news for Spider-Man fans, Carnage is back! Maybe not so great news for Peter, but check out the new Carnage #1 headed your way this week. There will be 4 covers for this one. Jump on the rarest of the 4 variants and hold on to it. Carnage fever will heat up like it did back in the early to mid nineties. Amazing Spider-Man #344 (1991), drawn by Mr. himself Erik Larsen introduced us to Cletus Kasady. Comics Price Guide lists this comic at $15. Cletus later becomes Carnage in Amazing Spider-Man #360 (1992). Spidey #360 gives us the cameo of Carnage, as Amazing Spider-Man #361 gives the first full appearance. The full appearance will cost you $18 and the cameo will cost only $4. Considering how hot Carnage became at one time, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this villain heat up once again.
Going from one extreme to another, Batman villain Ragman never quite fit the bill as a hot commodity as Carnage did, a good villain nonetheless. So Ragman Suit of Souls #1 comes out this week. What does this mean for the collector? Absolutely nothing probably, but if you want to be on top of things, look for Ragman #1 from 1976 with a cover by legend Joe Kubert. The self titled number one issue was Ragman’s first appearance. This comic, like the first appearance of Carnage comes in at the $18 mark. So herein lays the question. You have $20 to spend; you have 2 first appearances to choose from. On one side you have an extremely popular villain from Marvel that has the potential to breakout once again, or you have a lesser known (less popular) Ragman that has a Joe Kubert cover, and is almost twice the age of the 1992 book (34 years old). Ragman being the older comic will probably be the harder to find in better shape, and is a Bronze Age comic. Ragman wins because of the age, the number of the issue and Kubert cover. Look for Ragman #2 while you’re at it. That issue is the origin issue. It’s only $14, another nice book to have in your collection.
A few more books to check out this week are; Kick Ass 2 #1. Do you really need an explanation of this comic? Vertigo Resurrection #1 from Warren Ellis. With names like Ellis, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Lee attached, once again, an explanation? And finally Thor’s bro gets his own book Loki #1. He’s a bad dude, and appearing in his sibling’s movie next year.
That’s it for now. Remember to check out InvestComics™ TV. A lot of very cool guest coming up!
See you next week. Invest wisely.
Your First Look At AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES #1!
Marvel is pleased to present your first look at the extra-sized Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes #1 (of 4), a to upcoming animated television series “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!” premiering Wednesday, October 20 at 8:30 p.m., ET/PT on Disney XD. Visionary scribe Chris Yost joins forces with rising-star artists Scott Wegener and to assemble the greatest super heroes of all time- ! Captain America ! Thor! Hulk! When the world’s most evil villains attack, and must join forces to stop them! Plus, don’t miss a second story featuring everyone’s favorite archer: Hawkeye!
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes #1 is perfect for all ages and is a great introduction for new fans to the greatest super heroes of the Marvel universe.
AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES #1 (of 4) (SEP100552)
Written by CHRISTOPHER YOST
Pencils by SCOTT WEGENER & PATRICK SCHERBERGER
All Ages …$3.99
FOC – 10/14/10, On-Sale – 11/3/10
To find a comic shop near you, call www.comicshoplocator.com <http://www.comicshoplocator.com/>
, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com <http://www.marvel.com/>
Name: Erik Hendrix – Publisher/Creator/Writer/Editor in Chief/Consultant/Slightly Insane
Date of Birth – Aug 1975
Recently, I’ve launched Carpet Bomb Comics along with co-founder Michael Nelsen, where we’re releasing our own books such as Faction and the Citizens (and more) under the Carpet Bomb Comics name, working on web comics such as Doc Immortalis, Capetown Chronicles, Hulk Vs. Bizarro, and Unfiltered, helped to produce two magazines, Zedura (I’m the editor in chief and Michael is the creative director) and SP! Nexus Magazine, and plenty more all while working a full time day job, supporting my family, and being a general menace to society.
1. What comic (character) would you love to have total creative control over? And why?
(EH) Does it have to be a single character? Aww…. Having total creative control over the Uncanny X-Men has been my dream as long as I can remember since it’s the series that first turned me into a true comic book fan and collector. As far as a single character goes, I would say Havok (Alex Summers) because with the exception of Mutant X, he is one of the single most underutilized and underappreciated characters in the X-Universe.
2. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
(EH) Control over the mystical arts (Dr. Strange style, of course).
3. Do you have a routine that you follow before or during work?
(EH) I HAVE to listen to music while I work. Music takes me out of reality, letting me channel others.
4. Who is your favorite creator to work with?
(EH) Michael Nelsen. When one of us is stuck, the other can help push ideas into unique directions.
5. In your opinion, do you feel that the movie industry is doing a good job with Comic Book movies?
(EH) I think the movie industry has a tendancy to over “Hollywood” comic book ideas which can stand perfectly well on their own. The fact that every major comic book film ends with the death of a villain rather than building a roster, characters are combined, dilluted, etc… They need to learn from examples such as 300 and Watchmen where the ideas were left generally intact that movies CAN be successful and stay true to the original ideas.
6. What comic book hero/villain do you want to see on the screen?
(EH) Dr Strange… the right way.
7. “If I wasn’t in the comic book industry, I would be working… ?”
(EH) Where I’m already working! I’m a full time order manager with Cisco with heading on 20 years of experience in supply chain / transportation / logistics and have a degree in information systems / programming. Sleep is for the weak!
8. What advice could you give to a creator trying to break into the industry?
(EH) Never assume that your work alone will get you into the industry. It’s a combination of skill, luck, tenacity, and self promotion. Those who think they can write their opus and it will magically get them a contract and tons of money are fooling themselves. Those who blame their lack of luck in the industry on others (I didn’t get a job because I don’t know anyone or I don’t write or draw like blah blah blah) are also fooling themselves. You need to take the decision out of the industry’s hands by putting out quality product, promoting the hell out of it, and never apologizing for it. 99.9% of the time, you’ll have to pay your dues by working back end deals which may never pay, but they could lead to the one that does. Too many creators lose their chance at “making it” because they’re waiting for someone to hand success to them. Not gonna happen, so go make success for yourself.
9. My best investment in life was…
(EH) My pen drive, ha ha… Best way to keep track of your ideas is to keep them all electronically someplace. I made the mistake of writing about 300 pages of a novel on paper. Not surprisingly, it’s easier to write new comic scripts than to take the time to transcribe a book!
10. Have anything you’d like to plug?
(EH) Faction and Citizens issue 1 are both on presale right now through June 22nd. You can get all of the information on how to pre-order over at carpetbombcomics.com/store. We also have a kickstarter.com project going (look up Carpet Bomb Comics Launch) to help us bridge the gap between funds, presales, and printing costs with fan support! Also, the first issue of Zedura magazine with me as the EIC is hitting the shelves any day now and the next issue will be ready for SDCC ~ come find the magazine and our Carpet Bomb Comics books over at the Arcana booth. Why Arcana? Besides the magazine (they are the publisher of Zedura Magazine), I also have four projects in development with them for books which will be released in 2011. By LBCC (Long Beach Comic Con) in October, Carpet Bomb Comics should have a couple of other projects launching plus more issues of Faction and Citizens. Everything is kept up to date at carpetbombcomics.com.
Carpet Bomb Comics ~ Details at http://www.carpetbombcomics.com/store/
Kick Starter Campaign ~ Details at
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466133772/carpet-bomb-comics-launch. Runs through June 20th.
(EH) Chris Claremont showed me the way, Mike Carey, Brian K Vaughan, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, and Bill Willingham showed me how good comics can be, and Robert Kirkman showed me that you can do it your own way and have success.
Digital or Paper?
(EH) Paper! I believe that digital comics have their place, but there’s nothing quite like flipping through a printed book, and, as a creator, you can’t beat the feeling of holding something you created in your hands.
This week we’re going to look at a few quick picks then get to the main attraction. The main attraction is a legend and he’ll be coming out with a Batman book. More on that in a minute, first some quick picks…
Brightest Day from DC comics continues to absolutely burn up the charts. This week we get origin of Aqualad in issue #11. Marvel releases 8 number one issues this week. That’s 8 different number one issues, as in 8 titles. One of which has 8 variant covers. Is it the 90’s again?? Let’s take a look at a few of them. Shadowland: Spider-Man #1 would be the most fun as far as the back issue’s go. This issue will sort of re-introduce us to Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. The solicit from Marvel states that this issue will set a new path for Shang-Chi. So with that, if you want to get your collector paws on Shang-Chi’s first appearance, you’ll have to look for Special Marvel Edition #15 (1973), brought to you by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin. Comics Price Guide.com has this comic listed at the $80 mark. Maybe a bit high for some collectors right now, but karate, and kung-fu comics were a hot item at one time. Will Marvel bring back the coolness again? Two words… Iron Fist.
Chaos War #1 will be a sellout. This comic will be coming from 2 very talented and awesome creators; Greg Pak, and Fred Van Laente. Deadpool fans have a new Max title. Merc with a mouth in a Max book? Deadpool Max #1, yes this will be fun. As the Thor movie draws nearer, the more Thor we seem to be seeing. Ultimate Thor will be debuting in his own title; Ultimate Comics: Thor #1. This comic will see a second print in a few weeks, which brings us to our 8 variant cover comic. Uncanny X-Force #1 will go total 90’s style and have a cover for each one of you brothers, sisters, and cousins, maybe one for the dog too. 8 covers?? Is this really necessary? So if you want to flip at least one of these comics, look for two of these variants, IF you could get your hands on them. Look to buy the Retailers Premiere Edition, which is the rarest of the 8 variants, and then you have the second most scarce out of the bunch and that’s the Marko Djurdjevic (spell that right??) variant. Get these, CGC them, get the 9.9 grade, and bingo you’re in the money.
Now on to our Main Attraction this week, if you’re a horror fan and you know comics, then you know Bernie Wrightson. Simply put, this is THE horror artist of all comic bookdom. Check out Bernie’s web site right here to learn more about him, and see some of his amazing work. One day the comic world needs to see a Bob Heske/Bernie Wrightson Collaboration, now that would be awesome.
Speaking of awesome, a “lost” Batman story drawn by Bernie comes out this week. Batman Treasures #1 will not only give us fans the lost story but a reprint of Swamp Thing #7. Funny DC decided to reprint Swamp Thing #7 from 1973 within this comic, because it also happens to be the first time Bernie actually drew Batman in a comic. Think they did that on purpose? The first Batman art from Bernie cost only $60. That is a beautiful comic to own. No doubt about this one. Now it’s important to know that this isn’t the first time that the horror master has touched the Batman character. The very first time Bernie Wrightson’s name appeared with Batman was actually in the self titled comic, Batman #237 (1971). He wrote this comic, and this is truly his first batman work. Issue #237 also happens to be the first appearance of the Reaper…..how fitting. This Gem cost only $120. There you have it, two Bernie Wrightson Batman comics you should really own. Actually, add another 4 comics to this list. If you collected comics back in the 80’s you’ll remember a comic named Batman: The Cult. This amazing 4 issue limited series was so hot back in the 80’s that it would have cost you an easy $50 to buy all four issues. Yes the markets were a bit crazy then, in today’s market each issue will cost about $3.50. The creative team on this series consisted of; art by Bernie, inker Jim Starlin, and writer Bill Wray. It was a great miniseries back then; it belongs in your stash today.
Bernie Wrightson’s first professional works are DC’s House of Mystery #179 (1969) $120, and Chamber of Darkness #7 (1970) $40 for Marvel. These too need to be in your stash today.
Watch InvestComics next week for some cool stuff regarding New York Comic Con. InvestComics will be there!
Until then, see you next week, Invest Wisely.
12 Questions with Cover Artist Extraordinaire Duncan Long
Look up “Duncan Long” in the dictionary and you’ll find him right between the words “AWESOME” and “TALENT”. The multi-faceted freelance writer/illustrator has authored 13 novels with prestigious publishers Avon Books and HarperCollins, as well as written 60-odd technical books and how-to-manuals for Paladin Press, Delta Press, Lyons Press/Globe Pequot, etc. He’s also ghostwritten over a dozen titles for TV, radio and stage celebrities.
But it is as a standout illustrator where Duncan has recently been making a name for himself. Noted for the dreamlike, whimsical quality of his work, talk show host Victor Thorn called Duncan “one of the three best graphic artists in the entire world.”
Heady praise, but well deserved. Duncan has created cover and interior illustrations for leading publishers, national magazines, and adorned websites and CD covers. Perhaps a reviewer at 3D Millennium (M3 Corp., Inc.) put it best:
“To call (Duncan Long) a prolific artist would be an understatement, at best. Get yourself a snack and settle back while Duncan takes you on a wild ride through worlds only he has dreamt of.”
Wow! I’m opening a bag of barbeque chips right now … RR-RIP!
1. Tell us about your latest project, “Werewolves of New Idria.” What is New Idria? And how did you hook up on this project with first-time graphic novelist John Chadwell?
(DL:) John started the project as a traditional novel with an eye toward the movie script (or it might be the other way around – probably you should ask John which came first). Anyway, he posted on a group we’re both in that he was looking for someone to do concept art for the movie script, so I contacted him. He liked what I was doing, and I created a series of concept illustrations of some of the scenes and characters in his story.
In the past, John had worked with Ron Shusett (the writer/creator of the Alien franchise as well as Total Recall and other movie scripts), so the two of them did the script for Werewolves of New Idria. From there Moonstone got wind of the project, and the graphic novel was the logical win/win product for both parties.
2. What was your experience working with Moonstone? What is the plan to market and distribute the book?
(DL:) Joe Gentile and Tim Lasiuta at Moonstone are pretty laid back and easy to work with. When I asked if they had any restrictions on content or subject matter I should avoid, I expected to get this lengthy styles guide. Instead, just, “Do whatever you want.” That’s hard to argue with (ha).
One interesting thing that Moonstone did was to give the pictures a “wide format” layout, so the reader is presented with a double-page illustration having more or less the dimensions of a wide-screen movie. I think that was a stroke of genius given that there may be a movie spin off. On the flip side, since most of my work is in a portrait layout, I’ve had a little trouble from time to time laying out pictures so they spread outwards instead of up. (John has been a help here, drawing on his movie-making experience to steer me clear of cliché layout.)
Marketing… I am not in that loop. But we are all talking the graphic novel up and self promoting with the big push to come with the actual release of the title.
3. You pretty much draw everything: science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, Christian, and children and young adult books. Which is your “signature” genre — the one that best defines your style and art? And which is the most challenging to draw?
(DL:) Each illustration will present challenges of its own, and sometimes even unique challenges. I think perhaps that’s why I enjoy illustration work so much. It is always different and changing, offering new challenges. Like a high-wire act without a net, with a different sized wire strung between two unknown points. Of course I do wear a parachute!
Fantasy and science fiction are my favorite subjects. However, there can be a wide range of subjects within most genres so things aren’t quite as cut and dried as one might think. Also there’s a tendency to mix genres – hybrid creations – with elements of, say, horror coming into science fiction or what was once fantasy sprinkled into crime novels or romances and so forth.
So one never knows where the next dragon might show up.
4. Tell us about some of the books and magazines you’ve done covers for. Which have been the most successful, and which are undiscovered gems that we should go out and buy and put in a lock box?
(DL:) I think the two I did last year for Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine turned out well. One of these I’d already done just for fun and posted it to my website, and the art director stumbled upon it and bought the magazine cover rights. Then the magazine asked me to create another illustration (of a crystal dragon and gal) which I enjoyed doing and which was one of those pictures that I step away and mutter with joy, “Did I do that?”
Sometimes the work just seems to take off, everything works, and it looks great. Those are the times I love what I’m doing. Probably the best way to see the gems is to visit my online portfolio which I update regularly.
5. You are also an internationally known author who has written both fiction novels and non-fiction books. What are some of the titles you have written, and who were your publishers?
(DL:) Yes, many people ask, “Are you the same Duncan Long that wrote <insert title>?” People are often surprised I write and do book and magazine illustrations. But the simple truth is that I started as a writer/illustrator so it isn’t quite as much a mystery as one might think at first. As I got better at both, I occasionally branched out and just did either the writing or the illustration work instead of doing both. Right now I’m mostly doing illustrations. I find them more demanding than writing, but the projects are generally completed more quickly and I can then go on to the next. I guess I’m a little less patient than I once was.
I started in the publishing business by creating a self-publishing mail-order company. But those books were embarrassingly crude, even at the time (let alone today). So now I mark my first “real books” as being the firearms books published by Paladin Press (starting in the 1980s). My first novel was Anti-Grav Unlimited published in the late 1980s with Avon Books. Other novels include the 9-book Night Stalkers action-adventure series with HarperCollins and a science fiction trilogy Spider Worlds, also with HarperCollins.
6. Did you do your own book covers?
(DL:) With the non-fiction, most covers I did with a few exceptions (including some very sad, crude ones with a publisher which shall remain nameless and who is now out of business) were created from illustrations I created for illustrating the text.
All my novels have someone else’s artwork on the cover. That might seem odd, but I wasn’t doing the digital artwork when most of my novels went into print. Too, most big publishers try to keep the author away from the cover work because writers tend to want everything just as it is in the book – which often won’t work well for a book cover. A good book cover illustration needs to give the flavor, not a list of the exact ingredients. And in the case of authors, they are cooks better kept out of that kitchen.
7. Who are your favorite authors and artists? And what genre of book is Duncan Long most likely to read on the beach?
(DL:) I am a science fiction fan from way back. Robert Heinlein has always been a favorite and I grew up reading everything from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Arthur C. Clarke.
I’m not too loyal to authors though, and tend to keep picking up books and reading a bit until I find one I like – and then read it through. There’s a tendency that most people feel (myself included) that once you start a book, you have a duty to keep reading no matter how uninteresting it may prove to be. I’ve tried to break myself of that habit. Life is short, and there is a wealth of books available these days. So if one isn’t working for me, I move on to one that does.
Andrew Wyeth and Norman Rockwell would be the two big influences with my illustration work. But there is an explosion of young, talented artists coming up the ranks. I sincerely believe this is going to be looked back upon as the golden age of illustration work, even though most people are unaware of what’s going on in the business.
8. How do you create your art – with ink pen and brush or computer-generated? Where did you receive you training?
(DL:) I am self-trained (the School of Hard Knocks). The only “art training” I got was in grade school, and most of that was of the “color inside the lines” sort. However I displayed an artistic ability that teachers encouraged from about 4th Grade on, so in a way my natural talent was nurtured and encouraged both at home and at school, even though I got no actual training to speak of. I think that did make a big difference.
Oddly, I do have a Master’s degree in music composition. Go figure.
As a kid I worked with water and oil paints. But the pen and pencil proved to be my weapon of choice and these were used for my early illustration work.
Since I was also writing, I had a computer early on and after playing with a free “paint” program (whose name I have long since forgotten) which came with a scanner, I started playing with it. From these I used the computer for illustrating my tech manuals. One time an editor at Delta Press called and asked how in the world I had obtained the photos of a rare firearm I’d written about. When I told him they weren’t photos but drawings, he about fell out of his chair! That’s when I knew I was on the right track with digital art.
9. Do you work on commission? How does a creator go about hiring Duncan Long to do the cover or sequential art for their book?
(DL:) I generally work with a standard contract: half payment up front and half upon completion of the project. So normally I work for money, though on rare occasions I’ve had authors trade musical instruments and other odds and ends. As with most artists in the publishing industry, I generally work for a straight payment rather than for royalties on a sale. I’m a “work-for-hire” kinda guy!
Basically clients visit my site and see my pictures. If the artwork looks like the style they’re wanting, they contact me by phone or email and we go from there. Usually once I know what they want, I give them a price. If it’s in their budget, I send them a contract which can be negotiated over (as to rights and so forth). Once that’s settled and they make the first payment, I send them rough sketches and then move on to the actual illustration, sending them low-res versions as I progress along the way. Usually in a week or two they have the illustration they need and I get the final payment.
What’s amazing to me is how quickly the process of doing the cover illustration can go. One week we sign the contract and sometimes the next week that book is “in print” as an e-book and POD (print on demand) edition. The speed is just amazing, in large part thanks to my ability to deliver drawings and the finished cover to the client via the Internet.
And sometimes I’m amazed at how slowly the work goes when a committee gets involved (Gah!).
10. Anything you’d like to promote? What websites can we visit to see your work and keep up on your latest and upcoming projects?
(DL:) Best bet is to visit my site: http://DuncanLong.com I try to keep the
11. And where can we buy your books?
(DL:) Well, it hurts to say this (because I see few if any royalties from the sales, and I do have Scottish blood in my veins), but the best bet is to search my name on Amazon.com. I think the ability to buy books used via Amazon.com is one of the marvels of the 21st Century. But perhaps my mind is easily boggled.
12. Last question – the late-great Johnny Carson was once asked what he’d want the epitaph to read on his tombstone and he quipped “Here’s Johnny!” What would Duncan Long’s epitaph be?
(DL:) “Duncan isn’t here” would likely be most ideal. Or maybe, “He said his back was killing him…”
As Woody Allen noted, the thought of your funeral isn’t as troubling as the fact that you have to be there for it.
I suppose the best would be just my name etched on the headstone. Let those visiting my resting place decide the merits of the man, or even wonder who the stranger buried there was and what he once did.
Better still, put one of your illustrations in stone. Then visitors would know the man buried before them was truly an artist! Thanks for the interview, Duncan. May the muse always remain with you.
An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST. Bob wrote The Night Projectionist, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series Cold Blooded Chillers. Bob’s trade paperback Bone Chiller (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: Final Prayer was also released in late 2009. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.