Author Archive for Brian Cronin – Page 2

The Line it is Drawn – 2017 Artist Tryouts!

The Line it is Drawn – 2017 Artist Tryouts!

Here is the first week of Line it is Drawn artists. At the end of this piece, I’ll list the choices that these artists will pick from for the SECOND week. Then, next week, after the next week’s pieces are posted, you will all vote on your two favorites and then I’ll pick three more myself!

I must say, I’m really impressed with the quality of these pieces. Great work, everyone!

Sean Casinger

Chris Simmonds

Here is Chris’ website.

Brockton Fowler

Here is Brockton’s website.

Jared Witkofsky

Here is Jared’s website.

Ignacio Di Meglio

Here is Ignacio’s website.

Lee Hull

Chris Haizlip

Here is Chris’ website (Chris also runs the awesome Unpublished X-Men website).

Carina Guevara

Here is Carina’s website.

Casey Kruk

Daniel MacInnis

Here is Daniel’s website.

Jerome Tyler

Here is Jerome’s website.

Luke Marrone

Borja Martín

Simone Placchi

Here is Simone’s website.

Tyler Hayden

Here is Tyler’s website.

Jean Sinclair

Here is Jean’s website (well, ONE of Jean’s website – he’s got a bunch!)

T.J. Knight

Michael Sepesy

Julen Cendoya

Sebastian Jimenez

Robert Garcia

John Jennison

Here is John’s website.

Now, as for the choices for NEXT week! I think the idea I had in 2014 was the right one. You’re going to EVENTUALLY need to draw Batman on the Line, so why not just start now? So the choices for next week are all Batman team-ups!

60’s Batman and 60’s James Bond

Beavis and Batman!!

Batman and Dr. Who

Batman and Hulk. My two-year-old son had me pretend to be Batman while he was Hulk all day today.

Batman ’66 and Sean Connery’s James Bond

Batman vs the evil genius Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes): Calvin’s snow goons become animate & invade Gotham.

Batman teamed up with – or having to fight – Kabuki from David Mack’s Kabuki

Batman fighting Agent Smith in The Matrix

Batman and Doctor Thirteen vs. Spellbinder.

Batman teams up with Idris Elba/Stacker Pentecost to drift in a jaeger & fight kaiju

The Joker teams up with Conrad Veidt from “The Man Who Laughs”

The Dark Knight Ranger – Batman belts out “Sister Christian”

The Dark Knight Rider – Batman gets KITT as the new Batmobile

Batman and Marshal Law vs. Public Spirit.

Batman & Doktor Sleepless vs Cthulu

Batman & Doctor Zero vs Scissormen from Doom Patrol.

Adam West and Christopher Reeve team-up against Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill

Bruce Wayne teams with Patrick Bateman to hunt down The American Psycho

Batman & Squirrel Girl as Robin

Batman thinks the Runaways would be excellent additions to the Family — until he tries to lay down the law to Molly Hayes.

Batman & Darkwing Duck

Vampire Batman, The Count from Seasame Street, and Count Duckula

Batman V Nemesis

It’s Herbie the Bat Fury!

The Kill Shakespeare crew comes to Wayne Manor, convinced that a certain bust is the key to finding Will this time…

Batman & Axe Cop

Batman and POYO! find themselves in the Penguin’s crosshairs…

The Beyond Corporation is only a front for Ra’s al Ghul…”I know the Nextwave Squad are, detective, but I never thought YOU a fool!”

Batman & Power Rangers

Batman & Garfield

Batman & Flash Gordon

Batman & Stan Lee

Different versions of the Doctor (Doctor Who) teaming up with Batman from different eras.

Batman teamed up with Usagi Yojimbo.

Batman & Captain Pureheart

Batman & Professor Xum

Batman & Bill Finger vs. Bob Kane

Batman & Sailor Moon

Batman & Astro Boy the robot boy wonder

Batman & Zot

Batman & Cerebus

Batman & Dell comics The Owl

Batman & Richie Rich

Batman vs Kira & his Death Note

Batman teams up with Cutey Honey

Batman teams up with Magnus Robot Fighter

Batman & Grooble Man (DC’s Plop!)

Fun and light-hearted Batman vs Grim and gritty Batman

Batman meets the old pulp hero Black Bat.

Batman & Brock Samson

Batman & Applejack

Batman & Little Orphan Annie

Batman & Matt Murdoch vs. Harvey Birdman & Two-Face in a courtroom trial situation.

Batman & Dick Tracy

Batman & Joe Clark (the principal as played by Morgan Freeman in Lean on Me (1989)) disciplining Sams and Robin.

Batman & SheZow

Batman & Finn & Jake

Batman and (vs.?) the Outsiders (SE Hinton version)

Batman teams with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt

Batman and the OTHER Outsiders (The Joe Simon group)

Batman and Disney’s Gargoyles

Batman & Flaming Carrot & The Fat Fury

Batman & Kick-Ass

Batman Beyond works with the Knight Sabers (Bubblegum Crisis)

Batman teams up with Roger Smith (Big O)

Dan vs Batman

Sailor Moon expects an assist from The Tuxedo Mask, but gets The Batman.

Batman teams up with Officer Dana Cypress to solve the mystery of Revival in a single page.

Batman and Freakzoid vs The Great Cornholio

Batman/Tick team up

Can Batman ever hope to defeat the brilliant Walter White?

Batman vs Pinky and the Brain

Batman tries to match wits with Kira from Death Note

Batman vs Lupin III

Batman teams up with that Green Lantern that’s just a box to rescue a kitten in a tree.

Batman teams up with Michael Weston to take on the headless horseman.

Batman and Harry Dresden team up against Lo Pan

Batman teams up with Gandalf to defeat Darth Vader.

Batman and Moon Knight

Batman & Lady Knight ((Funny Books)

A Batman (Terry McGinnis) team up with Major Motoko Kusangi (GitS) would be beyond awesome! Batman/Psylocke would be ok too. 😉

Batman teams up with the Powerpuff Girls. No nemesis needed.

Batman & Prince

Batman vs Gannondorf (Legend of Zelda)

Batman works alongside Ash Williams from Army of Darkness

Batman teams up with Death (of the Endless), Death (of Discworld), and Death (of Supernatural’s four horsemen), to fight Apocalypse.

Batman and Maggie & Hopey vs. Strong Bad.

The World’s Greatest Detective teams up with the Freelance Police, Sam & Max!

Adam West Batman vs All Star Batman.

Batman & Popeye

Batman vs the Cthulhu mythos

Batman participates in a Hero team exchange program and works with Empowered.

Batman & the Hero Business

Batman & Flex Mentallo

Batman & Bluntman

Batman teams up with the Beastie Boys to fight for his right to party.

Batman and Power Girl’s cat!

Batman and Streaky the Supercat!

Batman and dead Uatu.

The impossible team-up! Batman and Wonder Tot, Girl and Woman!

Batman teams up with the Joker to fight for Bill Finger’s creator credit!

Batman teams up with an army of Adipose to fight off a Tribble invasion.

Batman and Ronin (Marvel)

Batman and Christopher Robin

Animated Batman with Darkwing Duck vs The Fearsome Fivesome

Batman and the Dukes of Hazzard

Batman and Morbius

Batman vs the Soprano mob

Batman and the Inhumans

Batman teams up with Red Sonja to defeat Ming the Merciless.

Batman and Jim Gordon with Walker Texas Ranger

Batman and Invincible vs the Legion of Doom

Wayne Enterprises showdown with Stark Industries

Bruce Wayne vs J. Jonah Jameson

Batman and Inspector Gadget

Batman Attacks the Valiant Universe

Batman teaming up with Power Man and Iron Fist

Batman and Moon Knight

Dark Knight Returns Crossover with the Watchmen

Batman vs the Sinister Six

Batman vs the Melter

Batman and the Confessor

Batman and the Great Lakes Avengers

Batman and Indiana Jones

Batman and Top 10

Golden Age Batman and Tom Strong

Batman and Jesse Custer

Batman and TMNT

Batman and Robin with Kick-Ass, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl

Batman and Kiss

Batman teamed with Jean Grey (preferably as Phoenix)! (Romantically or not is up to you)

Batman vs. The Shredder

…Batman meets Super Grover?

Batman meets Captain Klutz.

batman & robin ’66 teamed up with The Monkees! ✌️

I would love to see Batman fighting The Crazy 88’s from “Kill Bill”

Batman fighting crime on Sesame Street.

, Batman showing Superman how to take down Doomsday because, well, he’s Batman.

Batman and Captain Britain against Mad Jim Jaspers or the Fury.

Batman teams with BBC Sherlock to Catch Hannibal Lector

Batman vs. Janet Van Dyne (ala “Quiet or Papa spank” and Hank Pym’s wife beating moment)

Batman with the Fantastic Four vs. Doom and Mole-Man

Batman team up with Zorro and the DCUA Grey Ghost.

Batman teams up with Deadpool vs. Lobo

Batman vs Deadpool

Batman vs. Boba Fett

Batman teams up with the Tick to fight the Terror.

Batman with the Ninja Turtles facing Shredder

or what if batman + sailor moon VS Boba fett

Batman and John McClane team up in DARK KNIGHTS DIE HARD.

what if Batman teamed up with Ultraman to fight Megatron as drawn by Andy Kubert?

Batman and Moon Knight

Batman Vs. Sadako from the Ring

Batman Vs. the original Thunderbolts

DCAU Batman on Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Batman and Mego Spider-Man from Twisted Toyfare Theatre.

Batman and Don Martin’s Captain Klutz

Batman and Ant-Man

Batman and Mighty Mouse’s Bat-Bat

Batman and Blade

Batman vs Zombie Jughead

Batman and Captain Sprocket

Batman vs. the Red Baron

Batman and Pureheart the Powerful

Batman and pre-vampire Jubilee!

Batman and Charlie Brown vs the Kite-Eating Tree

Batman teamed up with the Gargoyles

Batman and the Powerpuff Girls vs. Him.

Batman and Santa Claus vs Heat Miser and Snow Miser

Batman and Raphael Vs. Shredder

Proto-Batman (red suit, wings) vs the Superman (bald villain of the Reign of the Super-Man story)

Batman and Conan the Barbarian team up against Cthulhu.

Batman and Mack Bolan, the Executioner. Or Batman and Marc Bolan from T.Rex.

Batman and The Avenger (Richard Henry Benson, the pulp hero from Justice Inc.)…wait, have they teamed up before?

Batman & Freakazoid

Batman & Danny the Street

Team-up between Batman, Nite-Owl, Midnighter, Moon Knight, and Nighthawk.

Batman & Archie’s Super Teens

Batman & Pinkie Pie

Batman teamed up with any or all of the Mane Six from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

Batman & Dark Claw (Amalgam Universe)

Batman and Shang-Chi join forces against Ra’s Al Ghul and Fu Manchu.

Batman & Squirrel Girl

Batman & the Mysterious Mare Do Well (MLP FiM)

Batman & Wile E Coyote in his ACME Batman suit

Batman & Die Fledermaus (the Tick)

Batman & Straw Man

Golden Age Batman & Robin meet the Minutemen (Watchmen)

Batman & Nite-Owl

Batman & V (for Vendetta)

Batman & Prez Rickard

Batman teaming up with the Real Ghostbusters against My Pet Monster, Alf and Kirby

I have always wanted to see a young Batman up against a young Dr. Doom.

Stanley and His Monster vs. Wild Dog.

Batman and WordGirl versus the Riddler.

The post The Line it is Drawn – 2017 Artist Tryouts! appeared first on CBR.

Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 6

Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 6

It’s our yearly Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar! Every day until Christmas Eve, you can click on the current day’s Advent Calendar post and it will show the Advent Calendar with the door for that given day opened and you can then click to see what the “treat” for that day will be! This year, we’ll be counting down my 24 favorite Batman Christmas comic book stories!

Each day, we open up a door and then put a panel from the featured story in place of the opened door.

Here is Day 6’s treat, #19 on the countdown.

Here is Day 1 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 2 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 3 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 4 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 5 of the Calendar.

The post Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 6 appeared first on CBR.

Fred Van Lente Day Review: Action Presidents Volume 1

Fred Van Lente Day Review: Action Presidents Volume 1

Another Fred Van Lente Day comes to a close (I think this is our, what, 12th Fred Van Lente Day? Maybe 13th? Crazy how time flies) as I celebrate the holiday by looking into the future and letting you all know how cool Action Presidents Volume 1 (which will be released on February 6th, 2018) is, by Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey!

One of the things that has always been impressive about Van Lente and Dunlavey’s work is the way in which they manage to avoid the books being strictly talking heads, which is a danger faced by any historical story. It is remarkable how good Dunlavey is at coming up with creative (and often hilarious) ways of making a scene feel full of life, even if it “just” reciting a simple fact.

For instance, an aspect of George Washington’s life that ended up playing a notable role was his civility, which he learned when he was a child. So, do note, that this a two-page spread explaining the lessons of civility that George Washington lived his life by. Again, a two-page spread about lessons of civility. Let me repeat, a two-page spread about lessons of civility. How boring can you get? And yet, with Dunlavey’s skills at work, it is becomes a hilarious two-pager…

The framing sequence for the book is a clever one that introduces Noah the His-Turkey, who (besides being a hilariously clever character) introduces the basic conceit of the book (and presumably all Action Presidents books), which is that the ACTUAL history is almost always going to be more interesting than the folklore invented about a historical figure. The goal of these books is to let kids know about as close to the “unvarnished” truth about George Washington as possible…

Luckily, since George Washington was a war hero (even before the American Revolution), this book has a lot of built-in action sequences that move things along at a crisp pace. The harder parts, from a narrative perspective, come later in the book when Van Lente and Dunlavey have to explain matters of policy in an interesting fashion. However, these are the same two guys who managed to make descriptions of old school philosophical positions interesting, so this is practically old hat for these guys by now and they pull it off beautifully.

A nice thing about the book, too, is that Van Lente and Dunlavey don’t shy away from the negative aspects of George Washington’s life, like the fact that he, you know, owned people. I think that they end up doing a fine job putting Washington’s slave-holding into the proper perspective, letting the reader know that it was a really bad thing.

The book comments on its own use of fart jokes, but they really do help to make the book appealing to a younger audience. Really, any time that Van Lente and Dunlavey can lighten the mood, they take it, which is a smart approach.

This is sharply written history of America’s first President, with hilarious artwork always keeping things lively – it’s highly recommended.

That’s it for this year’s Fred Van Lente Day, everyone! See you next year!

The post Fred Van Lente Day Review: Action Presidents Volume 1 appeared first on CBR.

Fred Van Lente Day Comic Legends: Who Were Coldmoon and Dragonfire?

Fred Van Lente Day Comic Legends: Who Were Coldmoon and Dragonfire?

In today’s Fred Van Lente Day Chat Transcript, I removed one exchange because I figured that it would make for a cool Comic Book Legends Revealed. Then I thought that I should just do a special edition for Fred Van Lente Day. What a treat!

Okay, back in 2011, Marvel released Point One #1, a one-shot that delivered a bunch of short stories that set up future Marvel stories (namely Original Sin, Avengers vs. X-Men, Matt Fraction’s Defenders and Age of Ultron). However, one story introduced two new heroes and didn’t seem to go anywhere. It was written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Salvador Larroca…

During the chat, reader Steve Baksa asked Fred, “What were the original plans for Coldmoon and Dragonfire from the marvel point one one shot?”

Fred replied, “I believe the whole idea with those characters were to get them on the page so they could be used for a Marvel mobile game in the Chinese market.

Said game never materialized, so that short story is the current long and short of Coldmoon and Dragonfire’s comic book career.

Thanks to Steve for the question and thanks to Fred for the answer!

Come back this weekend for the regular edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed!

Fred Van Lente Day will probably have one last bit before the night is over!

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Fred Van Lente Day Review: War Mother #1-4

Fred Van Lente Day Review: War Mother #1-4

When Fred Van Lente Day began, it was celebrated by the traditional review of a bunch of Fred Van Lente comic books. So we’re keeping that tradition alive with a review of his recently completed War Mother miniseries for Valiant. War Mother debuted during Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event with a one-shot. You see, in the future, things are sort of set-up, Jetsons-style, with rich people in the clouds and the dregs of society stuck on Earth. Ana is the “War Mother,” a highly trained operative of “The Grove” who is sent out to get the mechanical supplies that the community needs to survive. Her name is an ironic moniker. Since they can’t risk any biological matter reaching them from the outside, Ana is specifically barren. The community, though, provided her with a husband and a child. When she went on her mission in her one-shot, she encountered a young boy from the clouds. When she tried to bring him back, she was rebuffed, so she refused to return. The leader of the Grove then tried to kill her, but luckily Ana’s sentient weapons system (she gets a new sentient weapons system on every mission) stuck by her and killed him instead.

The miniseries sees what has happened since Ana has dramatically changed the society of the Grove. Without the leader providing the Grove with vegetation (his providing the vegetation was how he got to be the leader in the first place), their home is dying, so when a distress signal comes mentioning a new place to live, the people of the Grove want to go there. Ana insists that she check it out first, though. Then things get messy…

This is a miniseries filled with tough conflicts. Ana’s sentient weapons system is dealing with the difficulties of HAVING sentience and it is learning how to fear and doubt and stuff like that. Meanwhile, Ana’s own people are beginning to doubt her, including her own husband (the son she adopted from up top is also plotting against his new “father,” because he does not trust his motives). Stephen Segovia and Roberto De La Torre provide the art for the series, with colors from Andrew Dalhouse and Elmer Santos.

I really like just how messed up the questions are of who we SHOULD root for. Ana is clearly the hero, but her husband was taken from his ACTUAL spouse and forced to be with Ana, so can we really blame him for not being thrilled with that? Their “son” is the son he had with another woman! Can we really look down upon him for carrying on an affair with his original spouse? It’s interesting stuff.

This is a strong miniseries with fine artwork and a lot of strong humor, too, from the sentient gun, Flaco.


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Fred Van Lente Day EXCLUSIVE: First 13 Pages of Action Presidents Vol. 1!

Fred Van Lente Day EXCLUSIVE: First 13 Pages of Action Presidents Vol. 1!

Our celebration of Fred Van Lente Day continues with a wonderful Fred Van Lente Day treat! Here is an EXCLUSIVE look at the first thirteen pages from Action Presidents Volume 1, which is due to be released on February 6th, 2018, along with Action Presidents Volume 2 (which stars Abraham Lincoln). You can also buy both volumes together in a hardcover.

Enjoy these awesome preview pages by Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey.

The post Fred Van Lente Day EXCLUSIVE: First 13 Pages of Action Presidents Vol. 1! appeared first on CBR.

Fred Van Lente Day Chat Transcript

Fred Van Lente Day Chat Transcript

Happy Fred Van Lente Day, everyone!

Yesterday, we had a chat with Fred Van Lente. Here is a transcript of that chat!

Brian Cronin: Welcome, everyone to the Fred Van Lente Day chat extravaganza!

Fred Van Lente: Greetings, Ryan Dunlavey, as our special guest and audience member.

Brian Cronin: Yes, welcome, Ryan!

Ryan Dunlavey: Hey guys, I will try and keep up, I’m inking a page I have to get done today!

Fred Van Lente: Would that happen to be for the Comic Book History of Comics, Ryan?

Ryan Dunlavey: Nope.

Fred Van Lente: Oh, that’s tomorrow’s page then, huh?

Ryan Dunlavey: But I have to do that, too.

Brian Cronin: Fred, why don’t you tell us all about this cool upcoming project, Action Presidents, that I believe we’ve been discussing in FVLDay chats for 16 years now!

Fred Van Lente: It has indeed been a long-ass time. Basically, we somehow got it into our heads, once ACTION PHILOSOPHERS was ending around 2008 or so, that we could do two on-going non-fiction series at the same time.


Fred Van Lente: Do you remember that? We were young, ambitious and stupid.

Ryan Dunlavey: I was so dumb

Sparky Mularkey:: The best way to be.

Ryan Dunlavey: I tried drawing Action Prez with my left hand but it didn’t work out.

Sparky Mularkey:: Hahaha!

Fred Van Lente: Ultimately, however, we decided to stick to one, and that ended up being COMIC BOOK COMICS, a/k/a THE COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS. But we never forgot about ACTION PRESIDENTS. I wrote a couple scripts in the short story style, the same way we did ACTION PHILOSOPHERS.

Ryan Dunlavey: I found the John Adams script last month- I’d even drawn layouts!

Fred Van Lente: And we going to do all the presidents, it was going to be just like ActPhilo, really, with themed issues.

G.W.: Like War Presidents or… something?

Fred Van Lente: The first issue was going to be 32pp and be “The Awesome Encores” I think? “The Accidentals?” It was the four presidents who became president after the guy before them was assassinated.

Brian Cronin: That’s definitely a fascinating mixture

Fred Van Lente: If you guys can name all four I’ll be impressed.

G.W.: Johnson & Johnson

Fred Van Lente: Right. Andrew & Lyndon B

Brian Cronin: TR was one of the more famous ones.

Sparky Mularkey:: Uh, yeah! Those are all what i was gonna guess, too. Totally.

Fred Van Lente: One is kind of a synonym for “Useless President,” but is kind of a fascianting story in his own right. I’ll give you a hint: He has two first names!

Brian Cronin: And Arthur is the least famous of the bunch, but my wife and I watched Sondheim’s Assassins recently, so I have an unfair advantage.

Fred Van Lente: Ha! Yeah, Chester Arthur, who defied Roscoe P Conkling for Civil Service Reform. These are why I got into history comics you guys, to tell these pulse-pounding tales and make Ryan draw them. But at some point we got it into our heads to skip the whole floppy-comics angle and do them as OGNs instead. By the time we wrapped up COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS I had hooked up with super-agent Jason Yarn and he sold the series to HarperCollins in … I wanna say 2014? And we’ve been working on it ever since.

G.W.: I would like to keep seeing history comics out of you guys. Action Caesars!

Fred Van Lente: Octavian rules! Nero droolz!

Emy: Hey Fred, any plans to make Marvel Zombies a TV show?

Fred Van Lente: The problem with that, Emy, is that the rights to all those characters are tied up between two or three (if you count Netflix) different entities. In fact, when I took over MZ from Robert Kirkman, They specifically wouldn’t let me use any “big movie” characters in case little Timmy saw Spider-Man eating Aunt May’s face or whatever and Mom sent an angry letter. So that’s why I focused so much on the Machine Mans and Morbiuses and Howard the Ducks of the world. Who I like anyway. They’re like Marvel’s Chester Arthur! (Chester A. Arthur if you’re nasty)

Emy: Makes sense! Thanks, Fred!

G.W.: Also way out of his hands, but I hope if one of the shows ever did a Marvel Zombies ep they’d ask one of the comics writers to work on it.

Ryan Dunlavey: The TV version of Marvel Zombies would just be one of the Agents of SHIELD catching TB.

Foxrun: Are you a Dune fan?

Fred Van Lente: David Lynch’s DUNE is a secret fave movie of mine, it is equal parts lovely insanity and dull as dirt exposition. But I’ve never read any of the books.

G.W.: The dirt ISN’T dull, that’s why the book is literally dedicated to dry land ecologists.

Fred Van Lente: Nice burn, GW

G.W.: It’s not a burn, that’s the dedication. Herbert was a weird dude.

Brian Cronin: When can non-special people like myself get a hold of the first Action Presidents OGN?

Fred Van Lente: First of all, let us all hang our heads that we cannot all be as special as Brian.

Ryan Dunlavey: Action Presidents 1 AND 2 will be available everywhere February 6, 2018

Fred Van Lente: But you can get the first TWO Action President hardback OGNs on the same day

Brian Cronin: Oooooooooooh. Fancy.

Fred Van Lente: Vol 1: George Washington
Vol 2: Abraham Lincoln

Sparky Mularkey:: I’m adding those to my list, for sure.

Fred Van Lente: With TR and JFK following later when Ryan draws them. I mean, later in the year. ::suppressed laughter::

Ryan Dunlavey: I think Roosevelt will be on sale August/September.

Sparky Mularkey:: So, G-Wash is first because he’s the most famous Prez, right?

G.W.: Well, it IS an origin story issue…

Fred Van Lente: We actually did a “Proof of Concept” shorter version of George Washington for an anthology of educational comics from the great non-profit Reading with Pictures. You can still get that on Comixology, although the HC is much different.

Sparky Mularkey:: Is there gonna be an Action Presidential Pets?

Fred Van Lente: Sparky, we actually do have a lot of fun presidential pet facts in the books.

Brian Cronin: Acton Presidents Vol.1 is also narrated by a turkey!

Fred Van Lente: Yes! Noah the His-Turkey.

Fred Van Lente: (These books, I should add, are aimed at 4-6th graders, although I believe they are truly ALL-Ages.) Noah is partially inspired by Tad Lincoln’s pet turkey. He walked the White House grounds freely. Lincoln was also the first president to pardon a turkey. (Teddy) Roosevelt’s kids had a million pets, as did Teddy himself growing up. And Caroline Kennedy received a dog from Nikita Khruschev (whose name escapes me). The FBI wouldn’t let her have it until they checked its collar for bugs (seriously).

Brian Cronin: Ha! Pushinka, I believe, was the name of the dog.

Fred Van Lente: She was a daughter of Laika, first dog in space!

Brian Cronin: How do you write for a 4th grader? Aim for 7th grade? They tend to want to read books NOT meant for them, ya know? Or are you aiming for the 4th graders parents?

Sparky Mularkey:: I imagine writing for kids is a challenge. You certainly don’t want to underestimate them.

Fred Van Lente: Brian, mostly writing for kids who are younger is just toning down the vocabulary. You can’t talk down to them, but you can’t totally lose them with complex topics, either.

G.W.: Not that I think it’ll stop you two, but do you anticipate any pushback from readers of certain sensibilities if you do something with American presidents in the vein of, oh, that time you had Karl Marx throwing an incendiary grenade at capitalists? Are you being a little cautious over that?

Fred Van Lente: The presidents do have a lot of intense stuff going on just on their own without us embellishing. Washington was a slave owner … TR was a bit war-happy, at least before he became prez … And of course there was JFK’s womanizing, and his initial reluctance to get involved in civil rights (though he changed his mind about that) … he pretty much started the Vietnam War, even though his apologists like to dump that all on LBJ, he really was just continuing what his predecessor started. The challenge isn’t to moralize or harp on a particular political outlook, but to lay out the facts as we best understand them (with jokes). And let people — kids being, you know, little people –decide for themselves.

Sparky Mularkey:: Kids are little PEOPLE?! I mean, OK. Sounds made up, but OK.

Fred Van Lente: Ryan, can you verify?

Ryan Dunlavey: Yes, my children are actual people.

Fred Van Lente: But you’re their father

Ryan Dunlavey: AS FAR AS I KNOW

G.W.: I saw one of his kids at NYCC sitting near him, seemed either real or highly lifelike.

Fred Van Lente: I demand a blood sample a la JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING

Brian Cronin: You’re returning soon to the world of Archer and Armstrong, where you delivered two excellent series (A&A and Ivar). Can you tell us a little something about the upcoming Armstrong And The Vault Of Secrets?

Fred Van Lente: Absolutely. Basically I had come up with this idea a while back that Armstrong, being an immortal alcoholic, would collect a bottle of wine for every year of his life, which adds up to like 10,000 bottles. He keeps his wine collection in a sealed vault beneath the bar where he bounces in Manhattan, which he bought for $24 worth of wampum and 17th century porn. The vault is designed by his brother Ivar, the super-genius Timewalker, so it only opens for one hour once a year (to discourage Armstrong from drinking all the bottles in one sitting, which is a real danger) And Armstrong invites a bunch of his buddies — Archer, his girlfriend Faith, Quantum, Woody, Punk Mambo — to have a private wine tasting. Ivar is also along, reluctantly, for the ride.

Sparky Mularkey:: Sounds like a party!

Fred Van Lente: And a bunch of crazy villains catch wind of this and they decide to crash the party and steal the wine.

Brian Cronin: Very cool.

G.W.: Welp, that’s a good pitch, I’m sold (Or, I mean, I will be if I get Immortal Brothers: The Green Knight for Christmas so I’m not behind).

Fred Van Lente: Oh, and intercut between all of this is the story of Noah. I mean, the real story of Noah. The reason all religions despise Armstrong is that he was actually alive and a witness to all the things in their holy books and what total bullshit they all are. And Noah AS I AM SURE AS GOOD BIBLE READERS YOU KNOW the first thing he did after the Flood was…
…plant a vineyard. So that’s the earliest bottle in Armstrong’s collection. And we tell how he got it. Oh, and why Noah is a dick. But that’s all I’m telling! No more!

Brian Cronin: Any future plans for War Mother?

Fred Van Lente: Not that I am aware of? But the last issue of the current mini just came out so it’s a bit early to tell

Fred Van Lente: I am back to co-writing WEAPON X with my non-Ryan Dunlavey heterosexual life partner, Greg Pak. We have a lot of fun stuff planned there. Particularly if you like Sabretooth

Brian Cronin: Are you co-writing it the way you guys did Herc, where you trade off arcs?

Fred Van Lente: Not yet? I mean, it might come to that eventually but we are actually doing it the way we did the early Herc issues, with him doing one half and me doing the other.

Brian Cronin: Gotcha. I should have promoted this as a Weapon X chat, so we could have had 30 questions in a row of “Is Obscure Marvel Character X going to be in Weapon X?” “Is Obscure Marvel Character Y going to be in Weapon X?” etc.

Fred Van Lente: You know, that was every time I did those “X-Position Q&As” on CBR.

Fred Van Lente: There was always the one guy who wanted to know when we were bringing back Mimic. His avatar, was, of course, Mimic. A guy who was killed off IN HIS FIRST APPEARANCE and has never been seen since.

Sparky Mularkey:: That’s love.

Sparky Mularkey:: Is obscure yet fabulous Marvel character the Taskmaster going to be in the background of a big fight in Weapon X? To harness his power.

Fred Van Lente: No plans for Taskmaster, Sparky, sorry.

G.W.: I would ask about Delpyne Gorgon, personally.

Fred Van Lente: No plans for Delphyne, whom I adore, but we will be seeing some more Olympus Group in WEAPON X — they fly around in an Olympus Group ship they got from Amadeus Cho, after all!

Brian Cronin: Is there anything you can say about the future of Weapon X?

Fred Van Lente: We are in the middle of planning the next big WEAPON X arc, which will take us to some big anniversary/event crossover thingee that I don’t understand what it is yet. After that I’m not sure?
But I enjoy working on the book and readers seem to be digging it, which is cool.

Brian Cronin: Comic book anniversaries are always hilarious. “Celebrate the 47th anniversary of Giant-Size X-Men #1!”

Fred Van Lente: Let’s just say some big X-Villains are going to making their return to take on the team, some people I have never written before, and doing my best to make them memorable.

Brian Cronin: Oh, is it Obscure Marvel Villain Q? Or is it Obscure Marvel Villain R?

Fred Van Lente: No, these are the opposite of obscure actually. Not the X-Chester X Arthur. More Woodrow Wilson level.

Brian Cronin: If he was a comic book character, Garfield would have probably had a healing factor, so Arthur never would have become President.

Fred Van Lente: He could have fucking used one.

Brian Cronin: Which is the president where they probably could have saved him had people not dismissed the use of the then newly created metal detector? Was it Garfield?

G.W.: I thought that was McKinley. No wait that WAS Garfield.

Fred Van Lente: McKinley got it right in the gut and died almost immediately. Garfield’s doctors went rooting around in him for the bullet and basically killed him in their futile attempts to find it.

G.W.: That Mimic Guy is gonna be disappointed again that he won’t be featured as one of the big X-villains….

Fred Van Lente: I believe I was so sick of answering the same Mimic question that I finally told him: “ALL X-characters are Mimic, he’s been walking around impersonating them this whole time, since he faked his death”

G.W.: You did some Assassin’s Creed comics, I don’t suppose you have plans to do more, but have you followed the franchise any further? You had some nice things to say about it in an interview I read and I’m a total mark for it, so I wanna know.

Fred Van Lente: You know, I haven’t. I really liked the games and it was fun doing that one story. I handed the book off to the artist, Dennis Calero, who did a great job writing and drawing the second arc.

Brian Cronin: Quirk Books was nice enough to tweet about this chat, so we should give back and have you tell us a little bit about your first…what do you call graphic novels without art? …No-vels? Am I writing that right?

Fred Van Lente: I know, crazy concept, right? Yeah, my first prose novel, TEN DEAD COMEDIANS, came out this past summer. It’s about a bunch of stand-ups trapped on a tropical island who start getting mysteriously knocked off, one by one.
It’s a mystery, it’s a comedy, it’s a satire of the industry. It denounced Louis CK’s perversions before that was got popular, dammit

Sparky Mularkey:: Trend-setter.

Fred Van Lente: Also: It makes a great Christmas gift!

Fred Van Lente: And we are right now finishing up the first proof of my next novel, THE CON ARTIST

Brian Cronin: Ooooh

Fred Van Lente: It is a murder thriller set in the comic book industry. At San Diego Comic Con, in fact. So, perhaps RELEVANT TO YOUR INTERESTS.

Brian Cronin: How pun-derful of you.

Fred Van Lente: What’s cool is that the hero of the book is a comics penciller and the book is set up to be like his sketchbook, so there will be illustrations in the novel that are like his personal sketches of the action and they contain clues too to help solve the mystery.

Sparky Mularkey:: Wow, that’s really cool!

Brian Cronin: Who did the art for the book?

Fred Van Lente: The drawings will be by a particularly talented frequent collaborator of mine. He just signed the contract last week, so I don’t think I can say? BUT IT’S NOT RYAN. Oh heck, I don’t think Quirk will care. It’s the awesome Tom Fowler.

Brian Cronin: Very cool. Fowler is, indeed, awesome

G.W.: I liked him in Hulk: Season One.. Good Monicas.

G.W.: You’ve got Word templates for comics scripts on your site, does this mean you’re now going to have to hand out novel templates? Or at least recommend a way to use Scrivener for the purpose, since there are a few?

Fred Van Lente: I adore Scrivener and sings its praises whenever I can. I just use the straight up Novel template that comes with the program. Scrivener 3.0 just launched … last week, I think? It’s pretty damn awesome.

Brian Cronin: Speaking of non-comic book projects by Fred that still, for some completely unexpected reason, tie into comics, tell us about the TV pilot that you and your talented wife, Crystal Skillman, wrote that has been getting a lot of positive attention recently.

Fred Van Lente: Yeah, it’s called PAPER HEROES. And it’s a fictionalized account of the birth of the comic book industry in the 1930s. So, it’s like a MAD MEN for comics. And we did the pilot and it’s getting some heat which is very nice.
We did the play KING KIRBY together and this is the obvious inspiration for that, of course. We are finding a lot of resistance on the part of networks against spending the money on a period show, alas.

Brian Cronin: A fictionalized account of the birth of the comic book industry? Oh, so you mean the official account of the birth of the comic book industry?

Fred Van Lente: Ha!

Brian Cronin: “Bob Montana? He had nothing to do with creating Archie somehow!” “Bill Finger? What did HE ever do?”

Fred Van Lente: Well, MORE fictionalized! We start with the shutting down of Fleischer Studios, the mob is heavily involved … our main character is something of Jack Kirby/Will Eisner merged.
And we have characters based on Tarpe Mills, who created Miss Fury …

Brian Cronin: Very cool

Sparky Mularkey:: It sounds wild.

Fred Van Lente: And the Chinese-American creator of The Green Turtle, Chu F. Hing. So that’s been an interesting journey.

Fred Van Lente: And Crystal finally got her first comics credit a couple months ago– We wrote an “Adventure Time” story for Boom’s anthology. And we’re developing some other stuff as well, which is awesome.

Ryan Dunlavey: Crystal LOVES comics and is a fantastic writer, I’m surprised it’s taken her this long to do something!

Brian Cronin: You beat me to, “Speaking of Crystal, plug something of hers.”

Fred Van Lente: She has a big thing coming up, but that I don’t think I can talk about! Hasn’t been formally announced yet…In theater, that is, not comics — playwriting is her primary racket.

G.W.: Do you have any current comic recommendations you’d like to share? (Other than your various own books, of course.)

Fred Van Lente: Um… geez… That is a good question. This is not exactly a sympathetic whine, but I read so much for work I forget “Oh yeah I can read for fun, too.” Currently I’m reading BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens. I think that guy has a promising future. And BOY ON THE BRIDGE by Mike Carey?
It’s the sequel to GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, which I enjoyed very much.

Steve: I know I have just been lurking here, but I am excited about the new Armstrong series. I just told my brother your pitch and he is just as pumped. He also enjoyed that signing you did for me at NYCC 17.

Fred Van Lente: Thank you, Steve, that is awesome to hear! Thank your brother for me too!

G.W.: Yeah, thanks for being at NYCC and actually being at your table at the scheduled times.

Fred Van Lente: I am quite anal when it comes to scheduling (and many other things).

Ryan Dunlavey: Hey, Fred, tell them what we’re doing for the second Comic Book History of Comics series

Fred Van Lente: Oh yeah! The new series is coming out from IDW on December 20th.

And our variant covers are the WORLD History of Comics. #1 is India, #2 is Kenya… with more to come. And new Herstory of Comics features in each issue too.

Ryan Dunlavey: I’m drawing the Kenya one RIGHT NOW. Like, this very second

Brian Cronin: While chatting with his left hand!

Ryan Dunlavey: That is actually 100% accurate

Fred Van Lente: Wait, you just said you weren’t you lying liar

Ryan Dunlavey: I said I probably couldn’t get it done by Thursday.

Steve: I also am waiting for Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery to come in the mail from Amazon. I still have that Coaster that you had given me.My question is does writing humor come naturally to you? And what tips can you give a person to writing humor?

Fred Van Lente: Steve, it sounds corny, but the cornerstone of humor is truth. It’s an honest observation told in an unexpected way. That’s what I try to do, anyway.

Fred Van Lente: And the truth is… this has been awesome! Thank you all so much for coming out!

The post Fred Van Lente Day Chat Transcript appeared first on CBR.

Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 5

Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 5

It’s our yearly Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar! Every day until Christmas Eve, you can click on the current day’s Advent Calendar post and it will show the Advent Calendar with the door for that given day opened and you can then click to see what the “treat” for that day will be! This year, we’ll be counting down my 24 favorite Batman Christmas comic book stories!

Each day, we open up a door and then put a panel from the featured story in place of the opened door.

Here is Day 5’s treat, #20 on the countdown.

Here is Day 1 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 2 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 3 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 4 of the Calendar.

The post Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 5 appeared first on CBR.

Chat Now With Fred Van Lente!

Chat Now With Fred Van Lente!

The Fred Van Lente Day chat (the chat transcript will go up tomorrow, on Fred Van Lente Day proper) is now live!

Here is the address for the chat room.

The post Chat Now With Fred Van Lente! appeared first on CBR.

Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 4

Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 4

It’s our yearly Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar! Every day until Christmas Eve, you can click on the current day’s Advent Calendar post and it will show the Advent Calendar with the door for that given day opened and you can then click to see what the “treat” for that day will be! This year, we’ll be counting down my 24 favorite Batman Christmas comic book stories!

Each day, we open up a door and then put a panel from the featured story in place of the opened door.

Here is Day 4’s treat, #21 on the countdown.

Here is Day 1 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 2 of the Calendar.

Here is Day 3 of the Calendar.

The post Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar, Day 4 appeared first on CBR.