DCC ’18 Showcase (Round One)
As promised (though, my apologies, quite awhile later than I said), this week I’ll be talking about five of the creators who are currently signed up as guests to appear at Denver Comic Con this year. My goal is to help familiarize readers with authors and artists whom they might not already know and point out what I think is some of their best work in case you want to catch up before seeing them on panels or just get to know their work. And if there’s any creator whose work isn’t mentioned here and you feel really must be, let me know and I’ll check it out! Without further ado, on to the showcase!
Frank Miller almost needs no introduction. Between Sin City, 300 and the Dark Knight Returns, Miller has left his mark not only on comics but the silver screen as well. He’s been a force to be reckoned with in the comics world for decades. He got his start at Marvel and DC in the late seventies before moving to Dark Horse Comics in the 1990’s and working on more independent, creator owned titles like 300 and Sin City. He has won a number of awards in the industry including the Eisner, Kirby and Harvey awards multiple times. His trademark style of violence, satire and dark, film noir elements make his work instantly recognizable and he is well loved by many comics fans. While I can’t claim to be the biggest fan of Miller, it is a real coup for DCC to be able to have him as a guest. Miller’s long presence in the industry and long time success in creating his own titles beyond just Batman and Daredevil mean that he’ll be an excellent addition to their already very good panels on comics.
<b>What to read: </b> Frank Miller has written a number of classic stories that readers should check out if they haven’t seen them before. If you’re a fan of superheroes, his take on Batman in Dark Knight Returns and his run on Daredevil are both excellent and take the character in dark, brooding directions which are difficult to match even now. If you want to skip the superheroes, I’d highly recommend looking at Ronin (a story about a samurai transported to corrupt, present-day New York City) or Sin City (a very film noir story of corruption, loyalty and the uglier parts of the city). Regardless, make sure you check out any panels that Miller appears on, he’s sure to be interesting!
Jody Houser is one of the relatively new creators who has quickly made a name for herself. And I mean new largely in the sense that she hasn’t been well known for decades, rather than that she was a sudden appearance. Houser first became known for the webcomic Cupcake POW! and followed that by writing for a number of different comics publishers including Marvel, Valiant, IDW and Vertigo.
<b>What to read: </b> The series for which Jody Houser is most well known is Faith, published by Valiant Comics. Faith follows the adventures of Faith Herbert, a young woman who goes by the codename Zephyr when she dabbles in some thrilling heroics. Originally part of a team of heroes known as the Renegades, Faith has gone off on her own to prove just what she’s capable of. In contrast to the focus on sex appeal that you generally find with female superheroes, Faith is a big girl and makes no apologies for her size or her sexuality. The focus is on her abilities and her efforts to help the people around her, making for an intriguing take on superheroes. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly worth a read.
Sanya Anwar is a Canadian freelance and comics artist who has previously worked on Ninjak for Valiant Comics, Assassin’s Creed for Titan and the Archie Comics. Recently, Anwar has been working on a self-created series, 1001, which re-tells the story of Scheherazade from the classic 1001 nights. As an up and comer, it will be interesting to hear her perspective on the panels and on making time for her own series.
<b>What to read: </b> Definitely check out Anwar’s 1001 series, it takes Scheherzade from the backseat and turns her into the star of her own story as she struggles to survive and take care of her younger sister in a very dangerous city. For fans of historical fiction and kickass heroines, it’s an excellent pick. So far Anwar has published three issues in the series, all of which can be read for free on her website here.
While he doesn’t have quite the history of Frank Miller in the comics industry, Brian Azzarello is a well known name for comics fans. Azzarello began writing for DC in the 90’s and made his name with the 100 Bullets crime series for Vertigo. Since then, Azzarello has worked on Batman, Hellblazer and the New 52 Wonder Woman series with Cliff Chiang. Most recently, he co-wrote the most recent Dark Knight Returns sequel (Dark Knight III: The Master Race) with fellow DCC guest Frank Miller. Azzarello is well known for his dark, noir style of writing and the knife edge morality of his characters. As a well known writer in the industry, it will be interesting to hear his perspective on the panels and hopefully hear more about the collaboration between him and Frank Miller.
<b>What to read: </b> While he is most well known for 100 Bullets and Wonder Woman, Azzarello has a new crime series called Moonshine that combines noir, supernatural elements and horror for a delightfully chilling take on mobsters and moonshine. If you’re a fan of dark and creepy, make sure you pick it up before catching Azzarello on the DCC panels!
Aubrey Aiese is an illustrator and letterer from New York who has won awards for her work on the Lumberjanes comic by BOOM! Studios. Like Sanya Anwar, Aiese is an up and comer who is mostly self-taught and is starting to make her name in the comics industry.I’m excited to see what she has to say for the panels as someone who is largely self-taught and is working her way up. She also has the most adorable picture of herself and one of her puppies. Not related, but still awesome.
<b>What to read: </b> Aubrey Aiese is most well known for her lettering work on the Lumberjanes series with Noelle Stevenson and a whole host of other talented writers and artists. Lumberjanes is the story of a group of girls who are at a rather unusual summer camp known as Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hard-Core Lady-Types. The girls run into all manner of creatures and trials in their quest to earn badges over the summer. Most letterers are the unsung heroes of the industry. If they do their job right, it’s a perfect fit that you may never notice. Luckily enough, Aiese’s skills are absolutely perfect for Lumberjanes and I loved all the hand lettering that she does, particularly in the first volume of the series. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Lumberjanes is an adorable must read!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek at some of the awesome comics industry creators who are guests at Denver Comic Con this year! If you get a chance, check out their stuff before you show up for the big weekend and make sure not to miss their panel appearances! I was impressed last year at the array of panels offered at DCC and expect to enjoy it even more this year! See you next week for round two!