Monday, August 10, 2009

The Site's One Year Anniversary


Last August I started doing comic reviews on my own site with the help of my dad. Now it’s been a year so we’re celebrating the site’s one year anniversary. I got to review over one hundred comics in the past year, visit the offices of DC Comics, and go to the New York Comic Con and Wizard World Philly and sit down with creators at their tables and do some work. I got to meet a lot of cool creators and do some interviews with them and a lot of them have sent emails and copies of their projects all signed and stuff. It’s really cool that a lot of people read and like the reviews. My brother, Ethan, started doing reviews too a few months ago and likes it a lot.

I thought it would be cool to talk to people who work in comics about what kinds of books they liked when they were kids and what comics they like now. A lot of different creators responded and gave so many great answers. I hope you like them.

1. Did you read comic books when you were a kid and if so what were some of your favorite comic books/characters

Fabian Nicenza (writer of Cable/Deadpool for Marvel, Batgirl for DC): I started reading comics as early as I could remember in Argentina, because my older brother was reading a magazine called Antiojito y Antifas. Then when we first came to the United States in 1966, I read Superman, Batman, Archie Comics, Hot Stuff and Richie Rich. Then I discovered Marvel Comics and Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.

Daniel Way (writer of Deadpool and Dark Wolverine): I grew up being very poor so, even though comics at that time only cost 60-75 cents each, they were still a luxury. I did read a few, though. I remember a Spider-Man comic where he's fighting a guy named Sin Eater, where Daredevil interferes. I also read a Spider-Man comic featuring Puma. And I had an Iron Man comic that really confused me because it wasn't the "real" Iron Man--it was the other guy--the black guy?--with different armor.

Bill Rosemann (Marvel Comics editor): I began reading comics BEFORE I could read! My parents were nice enough to put comics into my hands at a very early age, right when I was figuring out what letters and words were, so by the 1st grade I was enjoying the adventures of my favorite heroes, which included Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers

Jeph Loeb (writer of Hulk, Ultiamtes): I read them all the time. I was mostly a MARVEL guy -- the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were my favorites. At DC I read Superman, Batman and oddly enough, DEADMAN!

Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics): Yes, I did. My dad, who didn’t read comics, introduce me to the world of Marvel and Spider-Man by buying me my very first Spider-Man comic. From that point I was hooked and read comics until I was about 12 years old. Up until that point, I loved everything Marvel and Spider-Man in particular. There were also cool offbeat characters like Deathlok and Conan, who I thought were the coolest things I had ever read up until that point.

Christos Gage (writer of Avengers Initiative from Marvel, Wildcats from Wildstorm): I did! I loved Godzilla, the Shogun Warriors, the X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man, and Captain America

Dan Slott (writer of Amazing Spider-Man and Mighty Avengers): When I was your age, my favorite books were MARVEL TEAM-UP, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and DETECTIVE COMICS.

David Liss (Author of The Devil’s Company and writer of the upcoming Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special).: I actually came to comics a little bit on the late side -- when I was a teenager. My favorites were Batman, Justice League, Punisher, Daredevil, Grimjack, and Nexus.

Erik Larsen (Image Comics founder, creator of Savage Dragon): I did. I liked a lot of Marvel Comics. Fantastic Four, Hulk and Spider-Man plus the old Fawcett hero Captain Marvel.

Mike Raicht (Co-writer, Stuff of Legend from Th3rd World Studios): My parents picked me up the old Marvel Star Wars comics when I was about 5. But I started really getting into them at about 7 or 8 years old and I was a huge Uncanny X-Men fan. I loved Colossus and Kitty Pryde. Pretty much everything X-Men was cool. Although back then you only had to follow the one book which made it a lot easier. I liked Alpha Flight as well.Especially Guardian and Sasquatch

Kazu Kibuishi (Creator of Amulet and Daisy Kutter, editor of the Flight anthology series)
Yep! Garfield was actually my favorite comic when I was a kid. I was also a big fan of MAD Magazine, though mostly because of the art of Mort Drucker.

Tricia Narwani (Editor, Del Rey Comics and Villard): My childhood would have been so much better if I’d discovered comics sooner. Parents, do not deprive your kids of comics! Otherwise their lives will lack all meaning, as mine did, until I stumbled upon Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in a comic book shop in high school. Once you’ve gotten into comics, though, it’s like when Peter Parker was bitten by the radioactive spider: You’re changed forever.

Todd Dezago (co-creator of Tellos, Perhapanauts from Image, writer of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man): I read comics as a kid--and still do! I loved the Justice League and remember wanting to learn as much as i could about all of those characters! Though I was immediately a big Batman fan, in the JLA I liked many of the secondary characters; Red Tornado, Elongated Man, The Atom...I also loved Spider-Man--especially when he teamed up with other characters from the Marvel Universe--and then I would want top learn all I could about THOSE characters too!

Joe Schreiber (Author No Doors, No Windows and Star Wars: Death Troopers): I always loved X-MEN and SPIDERMAN, and later on EC horror comic reprints (of course) -- like TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR. I found 'em at a flea market in my old hometown and bought all I could find.

Tom Brevoort (Executive Editor for Marvel Comics): Yes, I started reading comics when I was six years old. My first comic was SUPERMAN #268, and early on I mostly read DC titles. My favorite super hero at the time was the Flash. Eventually, I moved into reading Marvel titles as well, beginning with the Fantastic Four.

Tommy Lee Edwards (artist of 1985, Wolverine): My comics reading started in the mid-to-late 1970's, with stuff like Thor and Captain America and Silver Surfer. I was about three when the interest began. When I was seven or so, Marvel debut the G.I. Joe comic in conjunction with the newly popular toys. I ate that stuff up every month. As I got older and in to junior high school, my interests shifted toward the "art" side of comics. I was drawn to books featuring creators I admired, such as John Romita JR, Walter Simonson, and Howard Chaykin.

Erich Schoeneweiss (Production Manager/Editor Del Rey and Del Rey Comics) G.I. JOE. In fact G.I. JOE #31 is the first comic I remember. I bought it off a spinner rack and must have read it a million times. I then subscribed to the comic but it took too long to deliver in the mail so I eventually convinced my parents to start taking me to the comic book shop. It was the stereotypical shop, everything was a mess and in long boxes, the owner stank and was weird. But I was able to get my new issue of G.I. JOE each month and that grew to X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Batman, and so on. I eventually had a $100 a week habit in my mid/late twenties and new I had to seek help.

Kenny Lopez (Cover Editor, DC Comics): I sure did. I loved Batman, Green Lantern, and the Justice League. Spider-man as well.

2. What are one or two of your favorite comics to read right now?

Nicenza: I enjoy several mature reader comics put out by Vertigo (DC) such as Scalped and Fables. For superheroes, I really enjoy Green Lantern right now, the Superman titles and Secret Six by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott, too.

Way: Two of the books I really like right now are Captain America and Sweet Tooth.

Rosemann: Aside from every of Marvel comic, my two favorite comics are Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D. and Vertigo’s Scalped. Oh, and did I mention I love all the books I edit, like Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thunderbolts, War Machine, Dark Reign: Hawkeye, Dark Reign: Hood, Marvel Zombies 3 & 4, Timestorm, House of M: Masters of Evil and Avengers: The Initiative? I do!

Loeb: I read a bunch of stuff. Really like what Geoff Johns is doing on GREEN LANTERN. Sterling Gates on SUPERGIRL. Bendis on the AVENGERS. Mark Millar on ULTIMATE AVENGERS and WOLVERINE (OLD MAN LOGAN). All great stuff.

Quesada: I’m enjoying a lot of stuff out there, but I guess right now I really love reading the thrice monthly Amazing spider-Man books, Thunderbolts and Wolverine: Old Man Logan.

Gage: I read so many, it's hard to pick just a couple. I really enjoy INCREDIBLE HERCULES and all the FABLES books.


Liss: My two favorites right now are probably both by Robert Kirkman -- Invincible and Walking Dead.

Larsen: Scott Pilgrim, Invincible and the Walking Dead.

Raicht: I am having a great time following anything Green Lantern. Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Doug Mankhe and the rest are doing some phenomenal work. I also pick up Batman and Robin because I love Frank Quitely's stuff.

Kibuishi: I really like RASL by Jeff Smith. Aside from that, I enjoy reading the Moomin books by Tove Jansson, and the Osamu Tezuka books that are being reprinted right now.

Narwani: “The Unwritten” by Mike Carey and Peter Gross is my favorite new series. It’s about a guy whose dad based a Harry Potter-like character on him when he was a kid...and it brings all kinds of amazing magical events into his life. And Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s “Batman and Robin” has me all excited about Batman again.

Dezago: I really enjoy reading the fun Marvel Adventures books--Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and Marvel Adventures Avengers--as well as the Brave and the Bold comic!

Schreiber: I don't read as many comics as I'd like to. Right now I like Geoff Johns' GREEN LANTERN -- I also like Brian Bendis' work on THE AVENGERS. And IRON FIST, with Duane Swierczynski writing it. That's one hot book.

Brevoort: It's not at all appropriate for you yet, Liam, but I really, really liked Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of PARKER: THE HUNTER that just came out. Also, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600 was really good and really thick!

Edwards: I don't read any monthly comics right now, but still follow anything by my childhood favorites. I also read anything done by newer talent that I admire, or a friends' work. Recently, I read and enjoyed The Winter Men, Wolverine: Enemy of the State, and the latest David Mazzuchelli book (whatever it's called).

Schoeneweiss: So many comics aren’t written to be read as a comic but as the collected trade. So its frustrating that its hard to find just a good comic these days. Anything by Geoff Johns is a safe bet to be a great comic with a great cliff hanger ending. The Green Lantern book has been exceptional this year. And as much as I HATE what’s happened in the Batman books, I’ve really enjoyed Batman and Robin. Also, John Jackson Miller’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has been a great read for years now.

Lopez: The new Batman and Robin book, and Green Lantern. Old habits die hard.

3. What is your favorite thing about having a job making comic books?

Nicenza: Getting to write everyday and getting paid to do it has always pretty weird to me, but once the "dream come true" part becomes a reality, it's also a job. You have to do your job well to get paid to put food on the table for your family, so although it's really FUN work, it's still work.

Way: The freedom it allows me, in both my professional and personal lives.

Rosemann: I love the idea that the stories I help make not only might entertain a reader, but may also help them through a tough time by showing how heroes like Spider-Man or even Rocket Raccoon deal with bad situations. Marvel heroes don’t do the easy thing, they do the right thing…and that’s something we all can learn from.

Loeb: I love comics. I'm a fanboy -- so getting to make the thing I collect is the coolest!

Quesada: C’mon now, what do you think it is? Yup, I work in comics! Nothing can be cooler than that, seriously, can you think of anything? I spend my entire day, I mean my ENTIRE day, just coming up with ideas for our greatest characters and every once in a while, I find enough time to sit down and draw a few of them. It’s arguably the best job in the world.

Gage: That I get to get up every morning and make comic books, instead of doing something else I might not enjoy as much! I really feel lucky that I love my job so much.

Slott: Getting a chance to work with my childhood heroes-- and by that I mean BOTH my favorite comic book characters AND my favorite comic book creators.

Liss: My day job is writing historical fiction, so comics allow me to engage with an entirely different kind of storytelling. I love working in a world where the rules are so flexible and, in the truest sense of the word, fantastic. I also love the collaborative nature of working in comics. With fiction, you are entirely on your own. In comics, I am working closely with my editor and the artist, and I enjoy the give and take of the creative process.

Larsen: Everything. There's nothing that isn't fun. I get to write and draw all day long. What's not to love?

Raicht: I love finishing a story I've been working on and feeling like it has all come together. Especially when I get to see how the artist has interpreted the world we are working on together. Sometimes at the start of the process, writing the story can feel pretty daunting, so getting to the end and getting pages is in always awesome.

Kibuishi: There are so many great things about it that I can't pick just one! If I did have to pick one, it would have to be getting to meet so many wonderful people. Most of the people who I have met through this project have become very close friends, and they feel like family to me. I feel so lucky to get to be a part of it all.

Narwani: It’s like being a mad scientist let loose in a laboratory! As a fan, of course you have big dreams about the stories you’d like to read and the writers and artists you’d like to see collaborate, and as a comic book editor, you can actually make those dreams happen. Also, every day something cool and awesome and surprising from your talented writers and artists will cross your desk...and you’ll be one of the first people ever to see it. It’s a great feeling.

Dezago: Getting to tell my own stories about the characters that I love so much, that I grew up reading! It's fun to be able to hang out with Spider-Man and see him get out of the trouble that I come up with!

Schreiber: Well, I don't write comics (yet) but I think, like writing STAR WARS books, the big thrill comes from getting to play in an awesome sandbox of huge, iconic, well-known characters and make it your own in some way. Who wouldn't love to do that?

Brevoort: I get a lot of free comic books! And I get to work with a lot of talented people on all of these great, cool characters!

Edwards: I like making comics because I get to support my family doing something that I love. I love telling stories with pictures.

Schoeneweiss: Living a dream! When I got the box containing the SDCC exclusive copies of Talisman #0 we printed up and opened the comic to see my name in it…well, all I can say was it was an exciting moment. I think most creators or comics professionals have probably had that same feeling. Living a dream.

Lopez: Making comic books is the best job in the world. Hard to narrow it down to a favorite thing. For one thing, it's great getting to see the original art, especially back when I was hand-lettering and would get the pencilled art sent over. Also, knowing the stories before everyone else does. Finally, the really cool people you get to work with.

4. What cool comics would you give to a kid who wants to get into comic books now?

Way: I'm really impressed with the Marvel Adventure books, and what Andy Runton does in Owly is amazing.

Rosemann: Ultimate Spider-Man, Bone and Courtney Crumrin are all great places to start. Then, depending on which one of those you like, your friendly neighborhood comic store owner can recommend many more great reads. I always suggest that you not buy what’s “cool” or “hot”, but instead choose what most connects to you. Follow your heart and you’ll never be wrong. ‘Nuff Said!

Loeb: Those books I mentioned that I'm reading -- and of course THE HULK! HE RULES! Thanks Liam, I’m your biggest fan!!

Quesada: Well, that depends on their age. For younger kids I would say anything from our Marvel Adventures line or Marvel Illustrated line, have you read Wizard of Oz, wow is it good! For older kids, I would start them off with either Amazing Spider-Man or any of the core books from the world of Avengers. Books like New Avengers, Captain America, Thor or Iron Man. Aw heck, you know what, just go buy them all, you’re life will never be the same!

Gage: I love Owly. It's really an all-ages book in that people of any age can enjoy it equally. I'd probably also give them some Marvel Adventures comics, and the Marvel Essentials collection of Godzilla…still one of my all-time favorite comics!

Slott: Any of the books from the Marvel Adventures line-- and Amazing Spider-Man #600, of course. Congratulations on a wonderful first year, Liam and Ethan

Liss: I think it depends on the age of the kid. My daughter is eight, and she's already finding lots of comics that interest her -- Fashion Kitty, Babymouse, The Warriors. When she gets a little bit older, there will be plenty more. Kids today are lucky to have such a wide variety of graphic fiction to choose from.

Larsen: Bone, Captain Marvel Adventures and all of my old Marvel books from the
'60s. And Savage Dragon. You can't go wrong with that.

Raicht: I think Mouse Guard is a lot of fun, although it's not superhero stuff it is a fun little adventure. I also think Brian Vaughan's digest run on Runaways is a nice entry point for kids. It delivers everything a kid could want all on one team --aliens, mutants, time travelers, robots! Fun stuff. Of things I've worked on, I would gladly give a copy of The Stuff of Legend #1. Although there are some intense moments, I think parents and kids can have a fun time reading that one together.

Kibuishi: Besides Amulet?! Heheh. I would give them Bone, of course. Aside from that, there's Jellaby, Flight Explorer, and the upcoming Missile Mouse graphic novel by Jake Parker. I think young boys are really going to love that one.

Narwani: David Petersen’s “Mouse Guard” is one of the best comics series I’ve ever read. What kid is not going to be excited about The Lord of the Rings with mice?

Dezago: The Marvel Adventures Comics are always a lot of fun—I think. Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four, Marvel Adventures Superheroes, and the new Marvel SuperHero Squad is gonna be great!!

Schreiber: The classics -- SPIDERMAN, Ed Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA, HULK...they're all great!

Brevoort: Actually, I just gave my nephews a stack of Marvel Masterworks volumes collecting the earliest Spider-Man and Fantastic Four stories this past weekend. But there are tons of great comics out there for kids. If I had to pick a Marvel book to pass on to a potential young reader right now, I'd probably go with HULK.

Edwards: I've learned through experience with my own children on this one. I'd probably expose a kid to certain iconic Spider-Man stories. I'd also recommend they read Tintin and Bone. I can't really think of a decent modern comic for kids off the top of my head, unfortunately.

Schoeneweiss: Well, Liam has shot down a number of my suggestions (I cried a little when I learned he hated G.I. JOE #21) so I don’t know that my opinion carries much weight. I do think Stuff of Legend is absolutely brilliant. Cool, with lots of action, but also a really scary villain and tragic consequences for the heroes. Its like a Grimms Brothers fairy tale, dark and scary but fun and exciting at the same time. And the art is gorgeous.

Lopez: Hmm, depends on the age. For little kids, Tiny Titans. For bigger kids, Jeph Loeb's and Ed McGuiness's run on Superman/Batman. I'd also have to say Blackest Night and the other Green Lantern books.


Danny said...

congratulations on one year, kids! it is always a pleasure to read your thoughts on the books, and i hope to read them for a long time to come.

Marc said...

Congrats on a great first year! These interviews are wonderful, and they're befitting of everything you've been able to achieve with this site. I look forward to reading your impressions and reviews for another year, and hopefully even longer after that!

David Harper said...

Congrats on the one year anniversary! Hope you have many more years of comic book love in the future, and awesome post and collection of thoughts from all of those creators.

Markus said...

Keep those reviews and interviews coming, Liam. We're looking forward to each one of them!.. And oh, happy birthday to your blog! :D

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Anonymous said...

Man, my kids better be as funny and awesome as you too! Great job, boys!

Anonymous said...

You TWO. I meant TWO. Dangit. Stay in school!

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