- Matt Linton
Comics Collective Splash Page!
SPLASH PAGE (noun) - Often the first page of a comic, it is generally a full page image designed to introduce the story and draw readers in.
Creator Spotlight: Neil Gaiman
Today, Neil Gaiman is an award-winning and best-selling author. Writer of children's books (The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish; The Wolves in the Walls; Coraline), young adult novels (The Graveyard Book; The Ocean at the End of the Lane), short story anthologies (Fragile Things; Trigger Warnings), novels (Anansi Boys; Neverwhere), and occasionally comic books. His novel American Gods is currently being adapted into a successful live-action series on Starz (the first season aired in 2017, and the second is scheduled to begin airing in 2019). The recent indie film How to Talk to Girls at Parties was based on his short story of the same name. And Good Omens, an upcoming BBC series based on Gaiman's collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant is also set to air in 2019. That year, 2019, also marks the 30th anniversary of Gaiman's introduction to American audiences, The Sandman, a dark, horror-fantasy-mythology comic series that formed one of the building blocks in 1993 for DC's Vertigo imprint (along with Alan Moore's acclaimed run on Swamp Thing, the ongoing Hellblazer series began by writer Jamie Delano and artist John Ridgeway, and Animal Man by writer Grant Morrison and artist Chas Troug.
Now, twenty-two years after officially ending The Sandman (though he's returned for a few untold tales), Gaiman is overseeing a new line of Sandman-related titles from a relaunched DC/Vertigo. These books, which take place after the end of his initial series, include The Sandman Universe special, out this week, and four new ongoing series - House of Whispers, Lucifer, The Dreaming, and Books of Magic. Gaiman contributes the plot to The Sandman Universe and also uses the book to hand things off to the four writers who will carry the books forward.
The Dreaming (Si Spurrier/Bilquis Evely) - September 5, 2018
House of Whispers (Nalo Hopkinson/Dominike "Domo" Stanton) - September 12, 2018
Lucifer (Dan Watters/Max Fiumara/Sebastian Fiumara) - October 17, 2018
Books of Magic (Kat Howard/Tom Fowler) - October 24, 2018
Comic Pick of the Week: The Sandman Universe #1 (DC/Vertigo)
The Sandman Universe #1 might, on the surface, be a challenging read for readers new to the Sandman saga. Characters are pop up with the barest of hints as to who they are and what they do.
In the first several pages longtime readers are reintroduced to the Dreaming, the central location for the series, and many of its occupants, including the Librarian (Lucien), Merv Pumpkinhead, Cain, Abel, Matthew the Raven, and many others. While I would normally consider that a flaw in a new series, it's something very common to both Gaiman's writing overall, and the Sandman series in general - characters are meant to have a certain mystery and uncertainty. In other words, if you're not entirely sure you understand who everyone is and what their relationships are, that's not a bug, it's a feature.
Fittingly, this issue itself sets up several mysteries - one for each of the books that will spin out of it, as well as what seems to be an overarching one: What has happened to Dream of the Endless? For what is essentially a sampler of several other books, with Matthew the Raven flying seamlessly into each book, there is a pleasing consistency to the style and tone of each series that bodes well, I think, for the line as a whole. It feels complete and connected, with each story a smaller piece of a larger whole. Yet each also presents its own standalone premise and set-up that should allow readers to pick and choose the books they want to follow, while rewarding those who follow all of them at the same time.
The line-up of artists is equally talented, and simultaneously well-matched to their books as well as to each other. It's certainly not a sameness of style, as I never would have thought of someone with a style as clean as Evely matching with the rough, heavy black lines of Fowler, the jaggedness of the Fiumara's, or the playfulness of Stanton.
Picking up so far after the endings of some of the previous books (The Sandman, Lucifer) there are some inevitable spoilers for the endings of those books. If you're working your way through either of those titles currently, I'd recommend waiting until you finish those before checking out this book. Otherwise, dive right in and give yourself some time to fully understand what's going on.
This Thursday, August 16th from 6 pm to 9 pm the Michigan Science Center will be hosting their monthly After Dark event, this time focused on comics with MARVEL VS. DC. I'll be moderating/participating in a roundtable at the event with participants from Green Brain Comics, Vault of Midnight Detroit, and ComiqueCon 2018. There will also be a cash bar, over 250 hands-on exhibits, and more! The event is 21+ and tickets are $10 for Michigan Science Center members or $15 at the door or at Mi-Sci.org.
Friday, August 17th from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at Common Pub on Cass Ave. the Wayne State Comics Collective will be meeting to talk all things Vertigo Comics in honor of the imprint's 25th Anniversary this year. The meeting is open to everyone, so feel free to stop by. If you haven't had a chance to read anything yet, this will be a great opportunity to get some recommendations for where you might get started.
Speaking of awesome local events, ComiqueCon 2018 isn't until October, but the deadline for submissions to the academic track has been extended to August 17, 2018. From the CFP -
"ComiqueCon is a one-day celebration of the amazing work of female and non-binary comic creators. Join us in Metro Detroit for this one-of-a-kind event, and check out our featured guests, awesome sponsors, and talented exhibitors! This year's ComiqueCon will include an academic track with paper presentations and workshops related to the general theme of women in comics. Papers should be accessible to a general audience; please be sure to define your terms and give context for any theoretical or discipline-specific arguments you reference.
This year's special guests include Sara Alfageeh (Bingo Love), Heather Antos (Marvel's Gwenpool), Pénélope Bagieu (Exquisite Corpse), Vanesa R. Del Ray (Scarlet Witch), Vivian Ng (Adventure Time), Carolyn Nowak (Lumberjanes), Christina "Steenz" Stewart (Associate Editor at Lion Forge Comics), Katie Schenkel (Cardboard Kingdom), Jamila Rowser (co-founder of Geek Girl Brunch). There is NO REGISTRATION FEE for the academic track of this event!"
More info is available here.
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