First up, Jimmy:
By JIMMY PALMIOTTI
What Am I Reading? First thing I want to say is “not enough,” and that is simply because of time spent working on three books at DC, a random book here and there at Marvel and overseeing the current projects sitting on my desk including the current Kickstarter for the “Denver” book and a screenplay called “Cursebreaker.”
My first read I have on my desk and I spend an hour a day with is “Manga Studio For Dummies.” I bought a WACOM Cintique to start doing digital art and I just loaded in the new MANGA STUDIO EX5 program into my computer. That all done, I realized I needed some help figuring out all the bells and whistles that go along with the program and the “For Dummies” series of books really come in handy for this.
What I do is open the program and page by page, do every single thing the book talks about till I am completely done and then do it again and again to learn it better. This book is clearly written for someone like me who always starts from the ground up with technology, so it’s proven invaluable.
I picked up the book at a used bookstore and have been writing all over it, as I do most instruction books. I think Amazon carries them and they have them used as well. I have to admit, I am a “how to” book junkie. I want to know how everything works. It’s an exhausting thing.
As far as comics, I have been reading the latest series from Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn from Image Comics called Alex + Ada and loving every minute. The story and art really complement each other and it’s one of the few books where I have no idea where the story is going, which is my biggest problem with most of the comics being made now, and especially the superhero books.
The series is set in the future and is about a guy named Alex who is given the latest android on the market, the X-5. I love all the small details in the world they are creating and how the people around him react to the notion of him owning this android. It has me hooked and I love it.
My latest step-back-in-time book I am reading is the hardcover collection of “The Weirdo Years,” by Robert Crumb. It is wonderfully politically incorrect and I am loving it. I miss the days when creators could go simply insane and not have the Internet jump down their throat because they aren’t portraying their favorite superhero/villain they way they like. It’s depressing how society really hasn’t gotten its shit together and figured out some shit is just funny for the hell of it. This hardcover is put out by Last Gaso and is just brilliant. It’s a complete pull back and examination of what makes Robert Crumb tick and, oh my god, the man has more fetishes than I have paperclips.
The book covers his work done for the series from 1981-93 and has to be seen to be believed. If you never picked up Crumb’s work, you are going to get a wonderful gift between these covers. I highly suggest this for anyone who needs a good laugh.
Last, I am buying each and every hardcover collection of the Milo Manara collections reprinted and put out by Dark Horse Comics. These are wonderful hardcovers, collecting a lot of hard-to-get stories Manara has done over the years and they are all finally translated for your enjoyment. You will not find a more beautiful line in comics and his work is probably the most erotic artwork ever in comics.
The range of material spans his entire career and the work gets better as it matures. My favorite in the collection is the “Indian Summer” graphic novel and the totally lewd series called “Click.” This is not for the kids on any level, but I will say this, a ton of women I know have been buying these books and for good reason. You will feel a bit naughty when reading them, but art should move you.
By HANS KARL
Guardians of the Galaxy, Brian Michael Bendis and various artists, Marvel. First off, I’m a huge fan of the character Rocket Raccoon. He’s a cranky little bastard, but he’s also smart and a kick-ass action hero! I started reading Guardians of the Galaxy back in May of 2008, when Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were re-booting the book. I seriously loved that series, and read all of the issues until it got cancelled.
When I heard that Marvel was once again bringing back GOTG, I was thrilled. I’ve read most of Brian Michael Bendis’ mainstream work over the last 12 years or so, and he’s turned out to be a great fit for this book. He’s a great writer. His dialogue style, which is often that jib-jabby and back-and-forth type of banter, kind of like screenwriter David Mamet, turned out to be a good choice for these characters. Part of what made DNA’s run so fun was the humor and the banter. Bendis has once again captured that sense of fun, and the hilarious vibe is back. We’ve also got huge space battles and lots of adventure! What’s there not to like?! This is in my top five books at Marvel right now. I am so looking forward to the movie version of GOTG!
All the Green Lantern books at DC (i.e., Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Red Lanterns): Cosmic superhero books are a genre of comics that I’m quite fond of. Even when I took a break from some superhero books a while back, I was still reading the cosmic comics that I can’t get enough of over in the Green Lantern universe at DC. I read Geoff Johns’ complete run on Green Lantern since he started with the character back in 2005, until he ended it in 2013. Then, this last year, all of the Green Lantern New 52 books got new writers and artists, and I’ve very much enjoyed them! I was skeptical at first, since this change of staff brought about HUGE changes to the GL universe that basically changed the status quo, and other major plot developments.
I won’t give away any spoilers, and just say that I think Robert Venditti, Van Jensen and the other writers/artists on these books have thoroughly surprised me with the direction they’ve taken here. I especially enjoy Billy Tan’s artwork on the main GL book! Oh, and just recently, the Blue Lantern Saint Walker is back in the spotlight. Love this character!
Lazarus, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, Image. I’ve liked several Image comics over the last several years, and Lazarus has been no exception. This is an intense and visceral book, and the implications for the future of our world are pretty scary here. There have been so many dystopian books/movies/comics coming out, that this genre can get old really quick. With Lazarus, writer Rucka and artist Lark have injected a fresh take on the jacked-up-world scenario, and they’ve created some very unique characters to boot. Basically, the world is divided up among families that control everything. Each family has a protector, or Lazarus, that does the bidding for that family. I don’t want to say much more, but this book is amazing! I’m also biased, since I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read that has had artwork by Lark. I was introduced to his illustrations back in DC’s Gotham Central, and I just can’t get enough of his style!
By JUSTIN GRAY
I’m all over the map with my reading. I’ve been devouring short stories by Jim Harrison and Russell Banks as of late. I need to balance my head with all kinds of varied material. I’m reading Chuck Wendig’s completely kick-ass “Blackbirds,” which actually shares some similarities with a comic Jimmy Palmiotti and I were writing for Wildstorm a while back. Wendig has an exciting prose style. Also I’m reading the excellent Silent City by my friend Alex Segura so you should check it out.
My non-fiction fix is the “Wisdom of Psychopaths,” by Kevin Dutton because the human mind fascinates me. The criminal mind in particular. The insight into everyday life and how there are so many kinds of psychopaths — some of them are reading this — is intriguing.
In the realm of comics I can’t say enough about Black Science by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White. It is a beautifully written and illustrated science fiction, time-travel thriller. I feel like Rick and I share a love of the same things so it is always great when I get to read his more personal work. I just started reading Great Pacific by Joe Harris and wonderfully illustrated by Martin Morazzo. It’s such a compelling premise about turning a trash heap into a nation.
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are longtime writing partners and Hans Karl is providing the music soundtrack to their new Kickstarter-driven project, Denver.
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