Tags Posts tagged with "Graphic Novels"

Graphic Novels

Comic Book fans everywhere have been trying to box the Civil War trailer into the Mark Millar graphic novel storyline and it has to stop.

I have had the same conversation three times this week. A friend will sidle up to me and say ‘I love the new Civil War trailer but it doesn’t look much like the comic book everyone has been banging on about for years’ to which I’ll reply by slamming my head on the closest desk or desk-like surface. I didn’t think we still had this problem. I’m going to let you all in on a secret right now: Marvel have been lying to us for some time. The comic version of Age of Ultron takes place in an alternate future where half the superheroes are dead. The comic version of The Winter Soldier involves Captain America using the tesseract (which is called the cosmic cube in the comics) to wish Bucky back to normal. None of it is like the comics, but there is nothing wrong with that.

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Apart from the obvious problems with Fox owning a third of the Marvel Universe, there are a lot of good reasons why Marvel Studios have decided not to follow the exact plot of the comic books. To follow the entire plot of the Marvel Universe would require Marvel to accurately recreate over sixty years chronologically, the majority of which is very dated. The budget required to recreate some Marvel events would be staggering and many heroes would barely get more than two lines. That being said, I have seen the argument floating around the internet that Civil War could just be a recreation of the comics as we have already had a lot of set-ups from previous films for the universe. It is the dumbest idea I have ever heard.

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Scroll back up to the top of the page and count the number of super heroes that you don’t know in that picture. Even if you are a major comic book fan, do it. You’re back? Good. I counted around seventeen heroes and villains in that picture that haven’t played a major role in a film or TV series. How confused do you think everyone is going to be when all of these super heroes suddenly appear from nowhere. There’s still people that think that the guy in the all black suit with a panther motif is Batman ‘finally joining the Avengers’. It’s Black Panther people. If you don’t know who he is, I wrote a handy guide right here.

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No, Civil War will be nothing like Mark Millar’s graphic novel but that’s fine because I personally believe it might prove even better. The Civil War graphic novel was immensely ambitious and was only just held together by a combination of good writing and an audience who were willing to suspend their disbelief to the point of insanity. Now we have two small forces fighting over a more personal matter. I know they are still doing the Registration Act with the Sokovia Accords, but the real fight seems to revolve around Bucky. This should balance the story and allow the it to be a lot more streamlined while giving all the involved characters enough screen time, even though it’s still going to be a struggle. Captain America: Civil War will be a good film no matter what it’s relation to the comic books is and if this article doesn’t convince you then maybe you should watch the trailer one more time.

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Frank Miller is writing the final chapter of his legendary 'Dark Knight' series, but after more than a decade, is Miller’s Gotham still edgy?

Only this week on his one-hundredth Fatman on Batman podcast, Kevin Smith stated that ‘The Dark Knight Returns is one of the greatest pieces of American literature’ and in all truth, I tend to agree with him. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns has become a cornerstone of modern comic books, setting a darker tone for all other comics to attempt to match. The sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, is good. A lot of people will tell you it’s terrible but this is more due to the fact that it is compared to its predecessor, and unfortunately it doesn’t really compare. Now Frank Miller has come out of the shadows once more and, with the help of Brian Azzarello, has begun the final chapter in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

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Frank Miller has always had a great vision of the world in the Dark Knight series and The Master Race is no different. Across the first issue we are introduced to a new world set ten years on from the original book. This is good as it allows Miller to incorporate a lot of different elements from modern lifestyle into the book, specifically texting and the friction between African-Americans and the police. This grounds the book in reality, much like the original series, which is something The Dark Knight Strikes Again sorely lacked. The latter half of the book follows Wonder Woman and her family. Diana seems to be coping a lot better in the semi-dystopian world than most other heroes, her redesign seems pretty light but it works well to show how she has stuck to her heritage. The final scenes of the book contain a serious reveal that I won’t spoil here, as it sends the entire story in a new direction, but it is refreshing and puts gives me a lot of hope for the rest of the series.

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However, the book’s pacing seems off. There’s far too long spent on world building and fluff whilst the actual plot makes few moves until the end of the book. That said, if you are a fan of the Dark Knight series, more world building will probably interest you. There are also some plot threads from The Dark Knight Strikes Again that are clarified and tied up, which serves to make the piece feel more like a continuation instead of stand alone. I also want to mention the mini-issue included alongside this issue. It’s important to note that the book is to be read before the mini-issue, as it continues the story slowly. The mini-issue focuses on the Atom, a hero I know little about, but it works really well to widen the universe and create a piece with further depth. I actually feel that the writing is much stronger in the mini-issue as the slow pacing feels much more fitting. The two pieces together create a good start to what I am hoping will be an extremely engrossing story arc. However, if that is happening it will require some more plot driven storytelling in further issues.

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The artwork, by Andy Kubert, sets Dark Knight III: The Master Race aside from the other two story arcs in the Dark Knight series which were both illustrated by Miller himself. I am not sure how I feel about this. The book doesn’t seem to contain the same tone as the previous pieces, which suffered from being a lot rougher round the edges. The issue feels a little too sleek in places, but if you’re more used to the modern style of comic books then this is probably more readable when compared to rest of series. I also understand that Miller may not be capable of working on the art anymore. He is becoming one of the elder-statesmen of the industry so this feels like a good compromise. The panelling and layout is smooth while changing things up just enough to give everything a distinctive feel.

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Where does Dark Knight III: The Master Race fit into the Dark Knight Trilogy? Well, in a lot of ways it’s far too early to say, but if the arc continues in this vein it will probably sit comfortably as the middle child of the series. My only concern is that this book feels a little more removed from Miller, both in the writing and the art, like the piece has been slightly rushed. This got me thinking. Is it possible that Miller is now in his own dystopia? Where the corporate masters at DC Comics are trying to manipulate his creative vision? Pushing out something that can be repackaged next March with to coincide with Batman V Superman? Only time will tell.

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This week Mark Millar's new comic book, Huck, hit shelves. With such high expectations, can Huck live up to the hype?

It’s easy to see why Mark Millar has such an esteemed reputation in the comic book industry. From his work with Marvel Comics, on award winning series such as Civil War and Old Man Logan, to his work on independent titles, such as Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Chrononaughts, Millar has always delivered high quality. Whenever he comes down from his mountain in Millarworld to deliver a new comic or graphic novel it is always cause for concern and excitement, will this be the series that breaks the Millar spell or the one that cements his place in the lineage of comic book history? This week Huck, Millar’s new series, hit the shelves and I couldn’t resist picking it up.

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Huck is a Superman story for the modern age, the title character is a slightly simple farm boy with the powers of super strength, speed and flight. The character of Huck is so sweet and selfless that you cannot help but fall in love with him, Millar really gets us on side quickly which is perfect as the issue ends with Huck’s exposure to the press. This final moment carries a lot of weight however I feel like it comes a little quickly. This is a problem that persists throughout the entire book as everything seems to pass a little too fast. I think this is due to a lack of dialogue as Huck is a man of few words and a lot of the issue is made up of silent panels. That being said, the story is strong and the scripting is thoughtful with an elegance rarely seen in comics. With all that said, Huck would not feel like good value for money were it not for the artwork.

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Huck’s artwork by Rafael Albuquerque is beyond anything that I normally expect in the world of comics. Every panel has a warm comforting glow to it that conjures up endless images of warm summers nights, fireflies and corn fields. In a few panels the pencilling is a little week but the colouring never fails to convey the emotions encapsulated within the piece. Panelling is very simplistic throughout, which isn’t a problem but can lead to the piece reading very quickly. A montage sequence in the middle of the issue exacerbates the problem to the point that the entire piece feels lacking in content.

huck_imageIs Huck Issue One a good issue? If you like quality over content, I would say yes. However, if you want value for money you may be a little disappointed by this Issue. There is no debate that this piece is strong, and it is certainly the first chapter in a great story that will surely get a large following over the coming weeks. I have to recommend this book, but if the quality was any lower this book would not be worth buying. Millar has managed another masterpiece but it will be how the series progress that will decide how Huck and Millar are remembered in the history of comic books.

With Back To The Future Fever gripping the world at the moment, has Bob Gale created a series that can sate your BTTF thirst!

Yeah I know I’m a few days later with this, but I like to think Doc Brown himself would probably miss the occasional important date in his calendar. If the endless throng of marketing hasn’t alerted you, last Wednesday was Back To The Future day as it marked the date that Doc Brown and Marty first travelled into the future. Seemingly, every sector of business attempted to cash in on the Back To The Future hype, including the world of comics. IDW, famed mostly for movie and gaming tie-in comics, chose last Wednesday to launch their new Back To The Future series written by Bob Gale, and drawn by various artists, which is filled with ‘untold tales and alternate timelines’ broken into short stories.

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Issue One focuses on Doc Brown with two stories based around the character ‘When Marty Met Emmett’, which tells the origin story about how he two heroes for met, and ‘Looking For A Few Good Scientists’, which gives us a window into Doc Browns time at university. The interesting things is, while both stories were originally thought up by Bob Gale, it’s John Baber and Erik Burnham that handle the majority of the scripting meaning that all three writers deserve credit. Both plots are funny and thought provoking, providing two new outlooks into the Back To The Future world. The second story suggests that Doc Brown worked on the Manhatten project, which is a terrifying prospect yet adds much more depth to the character. If either piece has a problem I would say there is relatively little action, the pieces lack a visual aspect as they are much more about the characters interactions however the team have found an interesting way around this.

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Both stories remain visually interesting with as each artist has a strong visual style that makes the piece jump off the page. In the first story, ‘When Marty Met Emmett’, Brent Schoonover plays with a slightly more cartoon-esq style that packs every scene, especially those involving movement, with action and character. While the second story, ‘Looking For A Few Good Scientists’ uses a more clean cut yet expressive style that complements the period the piece is set in. The issue as a whole has a very good visual style, but it will feel slow to readers used to the fast paced action of Marvel or DC. The panelling and lay out is pretty easy going, however a few sections do feel slightly over written with as speech bubble overrun the page.

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Back To The Future Issue One is a pretty awesome piece of fiction, that borders on fan-fiction at times. The style is good but it fills in blanks that simply don’t need to be filled in with low-action character pieces. However, these character pieces are very well written and are sure to be entertaining to any fans of the film series. I would probably recommend this to you if you’re hankering for some classic Back To The Future action but if you’re not a fan of the films you can let this time-traveling

Over the last week Marvel Comics have began to publicly criticised Donald Trump in an unlikely move for the company.

Marvel Comics have a weird relationship with American politics. The problem is, when you have a super hero that literally wears the American flag as their costume it’s almost impossible not to make a political statement. Marvel have been forced to acknowledge this over the years and it’s become quite a common thing to see presidents and presidential candidates appear in the pages alongside the Avengers and the X-Men. In the Ultimates series George Bush made a fantastic appearance supporting Captain America whilst the week after President Obama took office we saw him appear alongside Spider-Man. However, This week Marvel Comics have had one particular political figure on their minds, Donald Trump.

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It’s fair to say Donald Trump is an extremely controversial figure in the world of American politics at the moment and, while it looks unlikely he will achieve presidency, his campaign has become one of the most outrageous political events in recent history. It’s no wonder then that Marvel Comics want to come out against the Trump campaign as they pursue a more liberal and inclusive Marvel Universe with the All-New All-Different line up. With Trump, Marvel brought out the big guns, in the last week of comic book releases both Captain America and Spider-man, the futuristic 2099 version, have come out against Trump. It’s worth noting that Trump does have some supporters in the Marvel Universe as well, which I will get to in a minute, but first Captain America.

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Captain America Issue One came out last week and represented a landmark for the hero as Sam Wilson, also known as the Falcon, took up the shield making this the first series with a black Captain America lead. In the issue, Sam Wilson was besieged by the public as he attempted to point out several things wrong with American society. This political criticism then reached a climax as Wilson flew down to the Mexican border to aid a group of immigrants who were under attack by the Sons Of The Serpent, a racial hate group. The Sons Of The Serpent reveal themselves to be Trump supporters, proclaiming loudly that they cannot wait for the ‘glorious wall’ between Mexico and America. Captain America then proceeds to give the Sons Of The Serpent a good thrashing before saving the immigrants.

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The Trump reference in Spider Man 2099 was a little more on the nose as the main character, Miguel O’Hara declares that he’s worried about Trump. This marks a new decision from Marvel Comics as they have evolved from political reference, such as including Bush and Obama, to political commentary, with Trump. I, personally, like to believe this could herald a new era in which we begin to see Marvel tackle so truly big issues effecting the western world. Who know, years from now we could see Deadpool interviewing the president “Mr. President, how do you feel about chimichangas?”.

He's one of the strongest leaders in the Marvel Universe, soon to be played by Mike Colter in the upcoming Netflix series, but who is Luke Cage?

I know I was only saying a few weeks ago that Marvel suffers with a lack of ethnic diversity and since then I covered Black Panther, an African hero, and now I’m covering Luke Cage, an African-American hero. In truth, this is because both heroes are two of the most interesting in the entire history Marvel universe. Luke Cage has developed over the years from a background vigilante setting up the Heroes for Hire to a full time Avenger and father to the first baby born to two Avengers.

Origins

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Luke Cage, born Carl Lucas, was a member of a street gang when he was younger, early in his life he was framed for holding drugs he didn’t own by a resentful thug called Stryker. Luke, feeling like he wanted to turn his life around, agreed to a set of experiments in prison that led to him being granted super strength and bulletproof skin. Luke then broke out of prison and then, after a series of events and soul searching, set up an agency known of the Heroes for Hire with fellow hero Iron Fist.

Friends And Allies

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Luke Cage has worked alongside his life long friend Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, first as Heroes For Hire and later as Avengers. In recent years, Luke has become a fully fledged member of the Avengers, even leading his own team and changing certain aspects of how the team operate. Luke has also recently married fellow Avenger and Private Detective Jessica Jones, the couple have remained strong through a lot of major Marvel events, including Civil War and the Secret Invasion. The couple have a daughter named Danielle, named after Danny Rand.

Top Three Luke Cage Graphic Novels

If you want to read more about Luke Cage these graphic novels are great places to start:

New Avengers Volume One: Breakout

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Breakout marks the start of Luke Cages membership as an Avenger, it also represents a great moment in the heroes life as he finally resists his long time enemy, the Purple Man, and defeats him.

Secret War

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Nick Fury recruits Luke and a group of other heroes to deal with the rogue nation of Latveria, however Luke is the focus of a terrorist attack that unravels a plot that revolves that destroys Luke, among others, relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mighty Avengers: No Single Hero

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Luke Cage is put in charge of creating a New Avengers team to protect New York on a street level, this really displays Luke as a well rounded and experienced leader, like we’ve never seen him before.

Other Appearances

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Luke appeared alongside many other heroes in the Ultimate Alliance video games, he also appeared as a boss in the second game fighting alongside Captain America in the Civil War story arc. In the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series, a younger Luke stars with the alter ego of ‘Power Man‘ which Luke has used at various times when it has suited him. Apart from that, Cage as seen very little action in the multi-media world of Marvel, but all that could change this November as we might see the Hero for Hire become a household name!

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Marvel's Jessica Jones is not far away, but is it worth reading the graphic novel the series is based on?

We’re less than six weeks away from Marvel’s Jessica Jones hitting Netflix. After the amazing Daredevil run, the Netflix team produced earlier this year, Jessica Jones is set to be another piece of great entertainment. Unlike Daredevil, Jessica Jones has never appeared in any other form of media, and she has only had a few comic book appearances. That being said, back in the earlier naughties, Brain Michael Bendis decided to tackle the character in the series Alias. If you want to  learn a bit more about the character right now, the Alias series is a perfect start.

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If I am being honest, I’m a little biased when it comes to Bendis‘ work. Right from the very beginning of my journey through the Marvel Universe Bendis has been a constant companion. However, there is a reason for this, Bendis gets fans, in various interviews and commentaries on the subject Bendis admits to being a fanboy. Alias is all about Jessica Jones, a private detective who left the Avengers when she was younger, Jones deals with the darker side of he Marvel Universe. It’s worth mentioning the series is part of Marvel’s adult-rated Max series, so it’s understandable that the first arc revolves around of video taken of Captain America’s love life. Bendis manages to really drill into the darker sides of heroes and the realistic problems they would face in the real world. This is great to read, the style is also a little more complex which is nice to see and allows the piece to cover a lot plot and story very quickly.

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Michael Gaydos is insane. Genuinely, his style changes every couple of seconds, morphing and re-morphing into whatever type of art is required to support Bendis‘ writing. However, the paneling is everywhere, the style of the piece really makes the reader force themselves through as there is often a high ratio words to pictures which is tough for new comic book readers. At times the art helps here, but if the piece has a real issue it lies with the lack of pace. I think if you’re unsure with comics, as a lot of readers are, this could be a stretch too far.

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In the end, Alias Volume One is a great piece that aims to pull the veil of heroism off heroes and examine all the gritty details that brings the Marvel Universe to life. In that goal it fully achieves. However, the piece aims extremely high, with a more avant-garde style that I appreciate as a long time reader and a critic, but I fear could be off-putting to newcomers to the medium. Available for around £30 from third party sellers on Amazon and Forbidden Planet the entire volume comprises of Alias Issues 1-15, making it pretty good value for money. However, just in time for the new series, Marvel have repackage the series into shorter volumes that you can pick up for around half the price.

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With so many Marvel character's getting their own films, and an entire universe to draw upon, who should be next to hit the big screen?

There are around thirty super heroes films being released over he next five years, that’s insane! With so many movies both Marvel and DC are scrapping through their universes in an attempt to find new and interesting characters that the world will love. Like every other nerd, geek and comic lover, I have my own personal list of heroes I think belong on the big screen. I have decided to only include characters who have never had a cinema appearance and that Marvel have the rights to, although some of these characters are highly contested.

Number Five: Moon Knight

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Marc Spector, the Moon Knight, is a slightly off-beat alternative to Spider-Man or Daredevil. He is a schizophrenic who believes that he is being contacted by an ancient Egyptian God. The problem is, dealing with issues like schizophrenia on the big screen can be tough, especially with the majority of Marvel films being targeted at a younger demographic. However, if the Marvel boffins find a way to work with that aspect of the character, Moon Knight could present a fresh take on super heroes.

Number Four: Wonder Man

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I’m not Wonder Man’s biggest fan, he’s a smug actor with the ability to turn into a form of pure energy, making him extremely powerful and annoying. The thing is, over the last few years in comics, Wonder Man has become a vocal opposition to the Avengers, using his mastery of PR and the media to stage vocal debates against the teams activity. This aspect of the character could be explored and it could even lead to Wonder Man turning into more of a antagonistic character for the heroes of the MCU.

Number Three: The Sentry

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There are actually two heroes with schizophrenia on this list, Marc Spector and Bob Reyolds, the Sentry. Sentry is a fascinating super hero, with powers greater than the gods of Asgard, he was actually able to rip a god in two in the comics. Sentry is a good hero but he suffers with a split personality, known only as the Void. For all the good that Sentry does, the Void does almost equal evil. This could play out really well on screen and make for some great dilemmas between the Avengers and what they should do for the struggling hero.

Number Two: Spider Woman

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Now we get to the really good stuff, Marvel are looking for more interesting female characters and their is no one with a more interesting backstory than Jessica Drew, also know as Spider Woman. Spider Woman was a Hydra agent, brainwashed and powered up to fight for them, with a little help from other interested parties. She has a wide variety of powers and is constantly looking for redemption. This could be very interesting, and would work well with other spy characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Number One: Namor

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Right, I bent the rules a little bit here, truth is, no one knows who exactly owns Namor, the Sub-Mariner. He has appeared many times in the Fantastic Four universe, making him property of Fox, but he is a named member of the Avengers, making him property of Marvel, however he is also a mutant, making him property of Fox once again. This copyright dispute would probably end in something similar to arrangement Fox and Marvel came to with Quicksilver. This could mean we’d get a Namor in both the X-Men films and the Marvel Cinematic universe films. But this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, because Namor kicks ass.

The king of Atlantis, Namor has Thor-level abilities of strength, speed and agility. Unlike Thor, Namor is never humble, he fought alongside Captain America in World War Two and continues to fight along side the Avengers, but only out of mutual respect. If anyone does not treat Namor as the royal he is, then the Sub-Mariner will teach them some manners, often through some form of physical reinforcement. To see a character like this alongside the Avengers would be great. Imagine the fight once Iron Man turns around and refuses to bow down to him? Looks like someone will need some Namor-busting armour.

Writer and artist of the critically acclaimed Long Lost Lempi series, in a short interview about the British comic industry, Adam Vian reveals what it takes to make it.

The British comic book industry is currently going from strength to strength. With tonnes of great creators, utilising every form of social media and the growing number of comic conventions, it’s never been easier to make money with comics. As a big fan of the medium I have been keeping an eye on several up and coming independent artists and writers that I’m hoping to shine a light on over the next few weeks.

This week, I managed to secure an interview with, talented artist and writer, Adam Vian, creator of the Long Lost Lempi series, Snippets and SFB Games artist. Vian has been working the MCM Comic Con circuit for some time now in the comic village and has become a favourite of the independent comic fans. I wanted to ask Adam about his views and experience with the industry:

PL: You have been a part of the British indie comic book industry for some time now, how would you describe your experience from creating to marketing your piece?

AV: It’s been enjoyable to start from scratch with an idea, then slowly crawl towards a finished piece, followed by getting out to comic conventions to show it to people and meet other artists!

My background is actually in animation. I taught myself basics at a fairly young age, and eventually went on to study it at University. Meanwhile, I was learning to design video games with my programming brother Tom. We started doing it as a fun hobby, and it eventually turned into something that could make money. So that’s my actual job, currently.

Both my animation work and my videogame work helped develop my passion for character design, expressive posing and most importantly, storytelling. So my interest in exploring comics eventually grew from there and I decided I wanted to try something for myself.

Actual marketing has always been a bit of a non-starter for me. I try to go to events like the MCM Comic Con, and more recently Thought Bubble, to show people my comic, talk to other artists, talk to publishers, anything I can do that might help my comic in the future. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a couple of very helpful connections who have supported me along the way!

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PL: When connecting with your fan base and possible new readers how important is social media for you? Are there any sites that particular that have help you?

AV: I mostly work from home, so social media is an important day-to-day method for keeping in touch with everyone. Twitter and Tumblr have definitely been useful, for sure.

Actually, my Tumblr is a strange one, I sometimes gets thousands of reblogs when I draw Nintendo-themed fanart (something I enjoy doing quite a bit), but when I post something about Long Lost Lempi, I can get almost no response whatsoever! I’m not complaining, it makes sense, and it’s an important lesson about how hard it is to get people to care about something they’ve never seen before.

Twitter is an essential tool for keeping up to date with artists, publishers, companies, events and everything else! I’ve formed good friends and good connections on there!

The site that has been the most helpful to me, by far is Broken Frontier. In particular, they have a column called “Small Pressganged“, which has published flattering articles about me on a number of occasions. A big thank you goes to Broken Frontier Editor-In-Chief Andy Oliver, who has done everything in his (considerable) power to help share Long Lost Lempi with the world. I recommend reading Broken Frontier if you’re interested in UK comics in any way!Adam%20Vian%20Image%20Three

PL: Your art style is pretty unique, would you say there are any artists, either from the indie circuit or in the mainstream media, that have influenced you?

AV: Thanks! I think my art style for character illustration (and sometimes my video game design) is probably just a mix of cartoons I watched as a child. Bruce Timm (Batman the Animated Series) and John K (Ren & Stimpy) are two that might well have influenced me, but the big two are Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls) and Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack). Seeing those cartoons for the first time left a real impression on me, I learned the power of simple, bold, iconic shapes and expressive poses. I think they helped me form my “always find the most efficient and effective way to express this” mind set, which is very important for visual storytelling.

When it comes to Long Lost Lempi, there’s an influence who stands above everyone else. Tove Jansson is probably my favourite artist ever and easily one of my favourite writers too! I have a large collection of Moomin books – some novels, some illustrated books, and LOTS of comic books. Her black and white drawing style for the Moomin comic strip is exquisite, seriously – she truly understands black & white panel layouts.

She also has a gift for off-beat stories and strange-yet-appealing character design. There’s no denying Long Lost Lempi is simply my love letter to Tove Jansson. 

I didn’t want to directly copy her, and I do feel like Long Lost Lempi has its own identity, but even so. Moomin readers will perhaps recognise Lempi as an off-brand and slightly-more-friendly version of Little My. As for artists from the indie circuit, there are way too many to name, but two of my favourite, in terms of art style, are Joe Sparrow and Donya Todd.

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PL: How do you feel about the future of the British comic book industry, do you think it is growing or shrinking?

AV: It’s growing!!! It’s amazing! All you have to do is go to Thought Bubble in November and look around. 
So many amazing people making amazing comics.

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PL: I, like many others, came across you at he MCM Comic Village, how important has that been for you when marketing your work and making other contacts in the indie circuit?

AV: The MCM Comic Village is great. Even though the audience isn’t specifically an “indie comics” audience, the sheer footfall and general level of enthusiasm more than makes up for it. I think the London MCM Comic Con is easily the most popular event of it’s kind in the entire country. I meet a good variety of people there, and I’ve even had repeat customers over the years. Whenever someone comes back to find my table to ask for the next issue, that’s a big win for me, personally. I have made friends and contacts among the MCM regulars, too. There are quite a few artists you can expect to see in the Comic Village. I’ll be there in October!

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PL: Finally, do you have any advice for anyone planning to produce their own work? What should aspiring artists and writers be doing right now?

AV: I feel awkward giving advice since I’m not particularly successful myself, and I don’t want to be preachy, but I’ll try!

I think the trick is to be really honest with yourself. The first thing to do is truly find out how much you actually enjoy making comics. There’s no way to find out other than to get on with it and make something. Start small, I guess. Either way; if you truly enjoy it you’ll know, and naturally want to keep going. 

Creating an entire comic is daunting, and It’s definitely a bunch of work. But I think once you progress beyond a certain point, you begin seeing final piece in your mind and you’ll be inspired to keep going and finish it. 

Maybe.

It’s hard to describe the weird mix of pleasure and pain that is finishing a comic by yourself.

Anyway, once you have something, take it to events! Show it to everyone! There are lots of events in the UK where you can sell your comics – big things like MCM Comic Con and Thought Bubble, and a lot of smaller things too. There are also sometimes events at comic shops. For instance, Gosh! in London where you can meet other comic artists. You can even directly submit your finished comic to some comic shops, if they have a small-press section, to immediately see your work on the shelf! Don’t wait around to get reviewed, ask journalists yourself if you can send over your comic for review. I hope this is a little bit helpful!

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How can you get involved?

If you’re looking to pursue the industry it really is worth picking up Long Lost Lempi as it serves as a great example of the sort of work in the industry. You can also follow Adam on Tumblr at: http://adamvian.tumblr.com/ and on Twitter at: @SFBDim. If you want to locate your nearest convention try: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com and check out my article on the MCM Expo’s here.

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With Avengers: Age Of Ultron released this week it might be time for a marathon, gather your mates together and strap in because it going to be a long one!

The shared Marvel Cinematic Universe is insanely huge, to watch every piece of content in order would take several days when you include Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, Daredevil and all the short films used as DVD extras. So, how could you possibly run an Avengers marathon? I mean you couldn’t just watch the two Avengers films, but that’s only a beginner level marathon, you need something that’s going to last through the night! You could attempt all the main series films but it’s an almost impossible task.

For today, I’m going to stick with a Marvel Phase one marathon, covering the lead up to the Avengers. Maybe when Ant-Man hits DVDs I’ll have a crack at Phase Two, but for now this is, in my opinion, the best marathon you can attempt.

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I have already covered how to set up a marathon space in my previous ‘How to run a Star Wars marathon‘ article but there are some easy ways to tailoring your living room for an Avenger-thon. If you and your friends can pool your money, go out to your local toy store and buy some Avenger’s dress up gear, you can get Cap’s shield and Thor’s hammer for around £15 in stores and even cheaper online. The next thing you can pick up are standees, normally costing between £10-£20 these life size cutouts of the Avengers can be bought from Forbidden Planet and tonnes of online store. Now you’ve got all your friends dress as Avengers and a living room filled with standees pick up some finishing touches such as themed ice cube moulds and maybe even a few relevant comic books. If you put the work in you can get something like this:

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Now you have the room all set, it’s time to get to the films. I’m going to assume your starting the marathon around seven in the evening which will allow you to get everyone fed before attempting the Thor-level feat. The entire marathon will last 10 hours and 3 minuets, including twenty minute bathroom breaks between films. Here’s how it breaks down:

19:00-21:06: Iron Man

A really nice gentle start. This is a relatively short film from Marvel comics that your group should get through pretty easily. It’s all made easier by Robert Downey Jr.’s brilliant performance of course.

21:06-21:26: First Bathroom break

21:26-23:18: The Incredible Hulk

This will be one of the toughest films in the whole marathon, if your intending to have a drink and get some pizza in do it now. Also if your looking to cut a film from the marathon, this is the one.

23:18-23:38: Second Bathroom Break

23:38-01:43: Iron Man Two

If your drinking while watching your marathon Iron Man Two is a good one to knock back a few beers with. The film is very action driven and perfect for turning off your mind a little.

01:43-02:03: Third Bathroom Break

02:03-03:57: Thor

When watching this film I recommend having competitions over who makes the best Loki and Thor, mostly because everyone’s version of Thor is hilarious! This is a fairly short movie but it hits a little late in the evening so do your best to rally your fellow marathoners.

03:57-04:17: Forth Bathroom Break

04:17-06:21: Captain America: The First Avenger

As light begins to creep over the horizon and the Avengers inches closer and closer you need to really push your group though this film. Many people will tell you it’s once of the weakest Marvel films and while I don’t agree with that opinion at 4am anything would feel weak. If anyone wants to take a nap break let them do it here.

06:21-06:41: Fifth Bathroom Break

06:41-09:03: Avengers Assemble

Okay this is the big one! You have watched eight hours of films up to this point and the finish line is in sight. Wake everyone up, get them all fed and pass out some drinks, your about to cross the finish line in style! This shouldn’t be too tough to finish. Once you push yourself though, the cathartic pay off Avengers Assemble will feel like you have climbed your way to Asgard to be welcomed by Odin into the halls of Valhalla.

…please drop a note in the comment section if you give this a go and tell me how it plays out, marathoners assemble!