Category Archives: Features

The Con of the Art

Super-hero comics artist Aaron Lopresti made an interesting and disconcerting discovery late last month when browsing through listings on eBay. He happened upon an online auction for a piece of original comic art he’d crafted — the cover for New X-Men #19 (2005), featuring the characters Magik and Hellion. The seller described the piece as being pencilled and inked by Lopresti and as being “published original art on 11×17 comic art board.”

There was just one problem. Lopresti knew the seller didn’t have the piece in question because he still had it.

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A Cup of DCAF

Eye on Comics hit the road Sunday and headed to the capital of the neighboring province for the debut of a new comics festival. Held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival — or DCAF for short — was the brainchild of comics retailer and 2012 Eisner Awards judge Calum Johnston.

“The opportunity was there,” Johnston said at the free show Sunday, noting his store, Strange Adventures, didn’t have any significant events in August. “We always wanted to put on something like this.”

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Comic Artist Admits to Child-Porn Charge

Two years to the day after child pornography was found on a thumb drive linked to him, Josue Rivera, 39, better known as artist Justiniano to comics readers, has admitted to the crime.

Rivera was arrested in May 2011 and charged with illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree after an investigation by the police department in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that began July 16, 2010. The pending case detail listing on the State of Connecticut’s judicial branch website indicates Rivera has pleaded guilty to the charge after original pleaded not guilty. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 5, according to the website.

The charge arose after images depicting child pornography were discovered on a thumb drive that had been provided to the staff of a funeral home that was handling Rivera’s father’s funeral arrangements.

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Comic Artist’s Motion to Suppress Denied in Child-Porn Case

Josue Rivera, 40, better known to the comics industry and readers as the artist Justiniano, has failed in his effort to have evidence in the child-pornography prosecution against him tossed out.

The Connecticut resident was arrested May 10, 2011, and charged with illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree. The charge arose as a result of a discovery on a thumb drive the artist allegedly provided to the staff of a funeral home that was handling his father’s funeral arrangements.

A search of court documents revealed Rivera’s defence filed a motion with a court to suppress the thumb drive evidence, arguing it was obtained by police by way of an illegal, warrantless search. Hearings on the motion were held Feb. 23 and March 8, and Superior Court of Connecticut Judge Robert Devlin denied the motion in a decision issued March 19. Devlin’s written decision sets out the facts of the case, revealing how the images of child pornography were discovered.

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Eye on the Eisners: Flashbacks

The 2012 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are set to be presented in about a month and a half. Earlier this month, I posted a review of one of the nominated works, having just picked it up a short while before. Of course, I’ve written about a lot of comics released in 2011, and I figured this would be a good time to reproduce some relevant comments and link back to the original reviews of what would turn out to be Eisner-nominated work.

This is but a small sample of some strong work that was done in the field in 2011, and all of the nominated works and creators are worth checking out.

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Holy Moley!

DC Comics and Geoff Johns have been criticized recently after it began to spread the word about plans for its Shazam! property in its New 52 lineup. A backup feature (penned by Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank) introducing the new take on the World’s Mightiest Mortal is set to begin in Justice League later this month. The backup will be titled “The Curse of Shazam!” and as Johns has revealed in interviews, he and DC are renaming the super-hero character. Instead of Captain Marvel, the hero will be called Shazam. Johns argued many people outside of the niche market of super-hero comics know DC’s Captain Marvel by his magic word anyway. It can be presumed DC isn’t comfortable with “Marvel” being in the name of one of its iconic heroes anyway. Purists will no doubt be disappointed, but I see the logic behind the decision (even if I think Johns is selling readers short).

Fans of the character also expressed their trepidation when DC released a preview of the new Shazam (seen at right). Now sporting a hood, the teaser image would seem to make it clear this is a darker, more intense take on the Big Red Cheese (who will no doubt no longer be referred to as such in the New 52 — if “Captain Marvel” throws people off, the cheesy slur hurled by his enemies must be perceived as befuddling as well). Of course, it’s been known for some time Frank would be the handling the art chores for this reinterpretation and revival. Given his involvement, it was a safe bet we’d be looking at a grittier Shazam.

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve encountered a Darker Mightiest Mortal.

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I Wonder If Norman Osborn’s Middle Initial Is Dubya

Ever since Norman Osborn, AKA the villainous Green Goblin, emerged as an American “hero” in the climax of Secret Invasion in 2008, some comics fans and pundits have considered what or Osborn was meant to represent. Many speculated he and a darker tone in the Marvel Universe represented George W. Bush’s U.S. presidency. Marvel writer Matt Fraction confirmed the analogy outright in an interview about his work on Invincible Iron Man (in which Osborn figured prominently for a time), but the last word really ought to be with writer Brian Michael Bendis, who seems to have used Osborn as a corrupt political and law-enforcement official in his various Avengers comics and events more than anyone else.

Bendis is at it again with his latest storylines in Avengers and New Avengers, bringing back Osborn and his “Dark Avengers” to oust the legitimate heroes. And in New Avengers v.2 #20 earlier this month, he and artist Mike Deodato seem to take a step closer to confirming the analogy.

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2011 Glass Eye Awards – Creators

As the Glass Eye winners for the best comics and graphic novel of 2011 get their pictures taken backstage and get scrummed by the Hollywood media, we ought to soldier on and continue to dole out these imaginary and meaningless awards. The time has come for Eye on Comics to turn its attention to the creators who crafted great comics, whose work was always at the top of our reading piles and who had a great year in 2011.

Obviously, readers should be cognizant of the fact these are just personal preferences based on the material I read through the year and what I recall. Furthermore, my choices are also based in part on how creators fared on multiple issues and/or projects in 2011. Your mileage not only may vary, it definitely will vary. As was the case with the first part of the Glass Eye Awards, I offer several “nominees” in each category with one singled out as the “best” of the short list.

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2011 Glass Eye Awards – Comics

We’re halfway through January already, so Eye on Comics is long overdue in presenting its picks for the best comics of 2011 and the creators who had the best year last year. Regular readers might note it’s been some time since the Glass Eye Awards were presented; there was no such feature on the site for 2010 comics and creators — just didn’t get around to it. But the Glass Eye Awards are back, starting here with the best comics of the year.

Now readers ought to bear in mind I’m a busy, busy man, and there’s no way for me to read all of the comics and graphic novels released over the course of a year. I haven’t even had a chance to read all of the comics and graphic novels I actually purchased. Furthermore, the “nominees” and “winners” as presented here are based on my best recollections, and my memory ain’t perfect. Now, with no further ado, the envelopes, please…

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I Can’t Believe We All Wore the Same Thing to Work

You’ve heard of crimes against fashion? Well, how you ever considered fashion for crime? Forget New York, Paris or Madrid. If you want to see the latest trends in super-villain fashion, you need to turn your attention to such unconventional locales as Gotham City and the Marvel Universe. Domino masks are so… Silver Age. One of the newer looks that’s in this season is Robotic-Insectoid Couture.

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So What Do DC Creators Think of All the New 52 Hubbub?

I’ve written a number of times about DC’s New 52 initiative, sometimes praising its boldness, the PR moves it’s made, even some storytelling choices. I’ve also criticized some of its decisions and missteps. But what I’ve written has been nothing as compared to what other comics readers and commentators have posted all over the corners of the Internet dedicated to comic books. Some have sworn off DC’s super-hero titles altogether, for example, and others dismissing the New 52 as a stunt that will fail from the start (though that argument seems to have been proven wrong already, at least from a short-term perspective).

DC officials have touted, defended and explained the New 52 and associated decisions, always trying to keep a sunny disposition as they do so. Creators involved with the 52 new titles have done so as well, both online and at various convention appearances this summer.

But what do they really think about the chorus of negativity that’s inevitably to be found online. The following panel from the upcoming Justice League International (written by Dan Jurgens and illustrated by Aaron Lopresti) might offer some insight…

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Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s Aluminum Siding Salesman

With the beginning of DC’s New 52 initiative this week and its corresponding same-date digital comics offerings, I’m put in mind of the fact that all forms of print publishing are seeing their businesses turned upside down and transformed by the digital age, struggling to adapt to the demands of the 21st century. As it happens, I was thumbing through a back issue I picked up for 52 cents at my local comic shop’s midnight release event for Justice League #1, only to find some similar language… but they’re words written two decades before the arrival of the new millennium.

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I Think the DeLorean’s on the Fritz

A word to the wise: in the eventuality that you invent a time machine, you ought to really make sure it’s a functioning time machine and not just a way for your friends to pull a fast one on you. Should you ever be lucky enough to travel back in time, keep a sharp eye out for details that might seem out of place in the chosen period. If need be, make a game out of it, like how people take a drink every time when watching an old, cheesy gladiator movie and they spot someone wearing high tops or a Timex. If you happen to spy such an anomaly, rest assured you haven’t actually pierced the space-time continuum. You probably just passed out on the couch and your friends dropped you in the middle of a Renaissance fair or a Civil War re-enactment weekend.

Case in point: DC’s line of Retroactive one-shots in August. And more specifically, DC Retroactive: JLA – The 70s #1.

When DC announced these one-shots a few months ago, I figured we’d see stories written and rendered in styles reflecting the title properties as they were in the periods in question, but as I read the new story in this issue — “Enter Justice League Prime” — writer Cary Bates quickly established that the story itself is set in the 1970s, doing so with what’s probably the most referred to and overused pop-culture reference of the decade…

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Lantern’s Light, Hornet’s Sting

I think I know of one reason why the Green Lantern movie hasn’t fared as well as hoped at the box office.

The movie’s star Ryan Reynolds has enjoyed a pretty comfy relationship with People Magazine as of late. He was named the mag’s Sexiest Man Alive this year, so with a big-budget tentpole flick in theatres this summer, People was bound to focus its peepers on the Canadian actor yet. In the June 27 edition, Reynolds took over the last page of the magazine for a regular feature in which a celebrity is offers quick answers to five questions. Among the topics are hangovers, greeting cards and mixtapes (does anyone even make those anymore?).

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