Mathbots by Blake Sims & Aaron Brassea

Categories:  Reviews

Mathbots
by Blake Sims & Aaron Brassea
Self-Published

Mathbots is a fun, short collection of quickly-drawn comics about a group of numberbots and their diabolical counterparts the functionbots. It’s about as good a mini-comic as there will ever be about math, so if you’re into math, pay attention.

The main story gets its momentum from a new development, the Square Rooter, which can alternately empower or destroy numberbots depending on the bot’s number. The functionbots seem totally unbeatable since they make all the rules, but by the end they’re taking blows with the rest of the ‘bots. It’s all just a matter of cunning.

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Interview: Mike Mignola Pt. 1 [of 2]

Categories:  Interviews

In the off-chance that there lingered any doubts about Mike Mignola’s legacy, Guillermo Del Toro’s 2004 cinematic adaptation of Hellboy firmly cemented the place of the artist’s flagship creation among alternative comics’ most widely-known and best-loved characters. The film’s runaway success also proved, for better or worse that, in the right hands, a indie comic character has as much blockbuster potential as its mainstream counterparts.

We sat down with Mignola in the center of the New York Comic Con, as the artist revved himself up for the much-awaited release of the film’s sequel, The Golden Army, which, by most accounts, is set to become one of those rare Hollywood blockbuster sequels that manages to show up its predecessor.

The artist happy spent his hectic weekend dividing time between promoting the film and his countless comics series, the latter of which, unsurprisingly, has been the target of a new explosion of readership, in light of the former.

Mignola was kind enough to carve out a few minutes from his busy schedule to talk about the movie, the books, and how he manages to ever get anything done in the first place.

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch 5/27/08

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

[Above, the New York Blech-out. Below, the rolling Dispatch.]

[But before that, a quick pleas from Brian H: send me your MoCCA party/panel/blabbity bloo announcements! dailycrosshatch@gmail.com. Thanks!]

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Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa

Categories:  Reviews

Three Shadows
By Cyril Pedrosa
First Second

Like their cinematic counterpart, horror comics have a long history of marginalization by mainstream audiences. It’s not difficult to understand why—for every story that utilizes the genre’s conventions as a jumping off point in search of some greater truth, countless seem to exist for the sole purpose of out-goring their predecessors. Where the visceral merits of the latter can certainly be gleamed when presented in a crowded theater with an extra-large bowl of popcorn in tow, translating shocks to sequential art is a herculian task, finding many books whose primary goal is shocking-mining ultimately coming up short even on that front.

It seems something of a disservice to suggest that Three Shadows might somehow be grouped in with such a subgenre—surely the creation of some manner of Fangoria fodder was not Cyril Pedrosa’s intent upon crafting the book, yet what the artist has managed to produce in the set up to his latest book are moments of ominous suspense rarely seen within the confines of the medium. Pedrosa’s book, however, never relies on the genre’s gory crutches. Instead the author is content to mount his suspense on more time-tested means of storytelling, utilizing old standbys like mood, tension, and atmosphere. With these tools at his disposal, the French artist proves himself a master of suspense in the book’s first-third, as the near-utopian happiness of the family of three at the center of the story is shattered by the arrival of the triad of titular figures.

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Interview: Mike Allred pt. 4 [of 4]

Categories:  Interviews

In this fourth and final part of our interview with alternative comics legend Mike Allred, we’ve got what you’ve no doubt been eagerly awaiting: more Madman movie talk. Huzzah! We talk to Allred about Sin City director Robert Rodriguez’s involvement, why the project has taken so long to get off the ground, and of course that ever important question: soundtrack, soundtrack, soundtrack.

[Part One]
[Part Two]
[Part Three]

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch 05/23/2008

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

[Above, what's he grinning about? Below, just your usual dispatch]

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You Don’t Get There From Here #5 by Carrie McNinch

Categories:  Reviews
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You Don’t Get There From Here #5
by Carrie McNinch
Self-Published

I’ve heard plenty of people say that diary comics are passé. The world has seen enough of them to know they can be dull and irritating. People are sick of diary comics because when it comes down to it they don’t care about your morning routine, where you buy shampoo, how much you love your cats, or what your stupid friends say to make you laugh.

But that’s just one perspective.

If you ask me, I’d tell you truly that I still like them a whole lot and here’s why: secrets. A cartoonist may be careful and guarded, trying their best not to seem as lame, but eventually they’ve got to hand the reader some private piece of information. In the end, it’s just too difficult to try and sound awesome every day, and I read for the day when they finally crack. It’s scary, but true. Diary comics are worth picking through, if only for the day the cartoonist decides they’ve got to reveal they secretly love their best friend’s girlfriend. Or they accidentally ran over a neighbor’s dog. Or they shot heroin with celebrities. It’s when they fill volumes with revealing anecdotes that you get really lucky. You might even be looking at a future Ivan Brunetti or Jeffrey Brown.

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Diary Drawing at The Centre For Recent Drawing

Categories:  Features, Interviews

[Paul Gravett addresses the room. More photos of the event available on Oliver East's Flickr set.]

The perceived wisdom is that, as a Mancunian, I’m supposed to hate London and all its fancy ways, but I’ve always been a big fan. I always say my favourite book is London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd. In truth I’ve never read it but it looks good on my shelf. So with a skip in my step and some comics to hawk, I headed to our nation’s capital for the opening of an exhibition of diary drawings at The Centre for Recent Drawing.

First stop was Gosh Comics, about a twenty-minute walk from Euston Station. I’d have liked to have interviewed a clerk or a manager, or maybe even a punter, but it was orders day and everyone was very busy. They were kind enough to stock five of mine, and it looked a very nice shop, but I got out of their way and left them to it.

I didn’t have to be at the gallery until five and it was one now, so I walked up to Shoreditch to visit Bookartbookshop. After just over an hour’s walk, I arrived a bit hot and flustered, but it was well worth it. My ancient Greek’s a bit patchy, but if there was a Greek goddess of art books, then she’s alive and well and running Bookartbookshop. Anyone who can pull a chilled bottled of white wine as if from nowhere is a winner in my book. With a panel to do later on, I had to decline, but any other day I would have drained it while bending her ear about the hundreds of books in her tiny shop. Crushes aside, it’s a very impressive collection that has augmented collections at the V&A and Tate amongst others. They currently have an exhibition in their window of comics from the Camden comics stall thing. She was kind enough to by 4 books off of me outright, which meant I had more beer money for later. Score.

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Interview: Gerard Way Pt. 2 [of 2]

Categories:  Interviews

Born in part from designs created while on tour with his platinum selling rock outfit, My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy team formed the basis of one of comics’ most welcome surprises last year. Way’s debut miniseries is alternately ominous, funny, and surprising, all while reflecting a deep appreciation for and knowledge of its roots, paying quiet homage to everyone from Jack Kirby to Grant Morrison

As Way acknowledged in the first part of our interview, comics are the artist’s first love, a passion which led him to study the form at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and intern at DC Comics. It’s a passion that’s made more than clear with Umbrella Academy.

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch 5/20/08

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

[Above, goodbye to an elder statesman. Below, hello again, Dispatch.]

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