The growth of digital comics apps for the iPad has created an exciting new market place for independent comics publishers. With regular sales promoting titles from smaller publishers, ComiXology does a great job of getting it’s readers to check and out and sample new titles with the convenience of a digital download. One such title which I was tempted to check out for the the first time recently is The Sixth Gun from Oni Press. A supernatural western it combines all your favourite elements of the classic wild west with a brilliantly gothic under current that would make HP Lovecraft or Mike Mignola proud. The man behind the title is writer Cullen Bunn, who you might be more familiar with from his run on Marvel’s Fear Itself, so I got in touch with him to ask just what the effect of digital sales are having on books like The Sixth Gun. 

Leinil Yu burst onto the comics scene in the late 90s after winning a Wizard magazine drawing board competition, but he followed that up with awesome runs on some of Marvel’s biggest titles like Wolverine and Uncanny X-Men. His spiky, unconventional style is part anime, part abstract but always phenomenally detailed and totally unique. However it was his work with Brian Bendis on Secret Invasion and Mark Millar on Ultimate Avengers that really helped bring him to the attention of mainstream comics fans. That latter run in particular helped build his relationship with Millar and developed into the fantastic creator-owned title, Superior, which was released via Icon Comics last year and is coming to a [no doubt explosive] conclusion very soon. With another collaboration with Millar called Supercrooks, launching soon I got in touch with Leinil to ask him about what it was like to work with some of the comics industry’s best writers and what was next for the man from Manilla?

MoonShot Comics coming soon to your iPad, PC or tabletIt’s an exciting time for small publishers on the iPad and we’re always excited to hear about new upstart ventures. The latest is Moonshot Comics, started by former Nickelodeon executive (and long time comics fan) George Lentino. It’s much more than just a new publisher though, it’s a one stop shop of digital expertise and creative thinking that is hoping to offer writers, artists and readers a new way of looking at and experiencing the world of digital comics. This is could be another fantastic option for those looking for something different to the traditional work of the big comic publishers and so ahead of it’s official launch this summer we got in touch with George and asked him to tell us a bit more about the Moonshot Comics Mission Statement!

We caught up with artist Paul Duffield (aka Spoonbard) back in August to talk to him about his work on the brilliant Freakangels with the legendary Warren Ellis. However with that weekly web series coming to an end last summer, Paul has not been one to rest on his laurels. He’s not only been drawing and writing his own series, The Firelight Isle, but also self-financing it via Indie Go-Go. For those who help finance there is the possibility of access to all sorts of behind the curtain exclusives, from blog posts and sketches to personalised prints! This kind of  independent spirited publishing is just the kind of thing we admire here at Pipedream Comics so we got in touch with him and asked him about how the experience of financing your own comic has gone and just what lessens he learnt from his time working on Freakangels.

Winter Soldier #2It’s another strong week for digital comics this week with the finale of the court of Owls storyline in DC’s Batman #6, a new creative team on Avenging Spider-man and another edition of the brilliant Transformers Autocracry from IDW hitting the digital newsstand. However for this week’s absolute must-read we are going to nominate a book which should really have been chosen a couple of weeks back when it was launched and that’s Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice from Marvel Comics.

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Brubaker’s creator owned series Fatale and Criminal here at Pipedream Comics, but that doesnt mean we ignore his ‘bill paying’ books like Captain America. Producing some of the best written stories coming out of Marvel in the last few years, Brubaker has helped breath new life into a character which could have ended up as something of a walking talking cliche in the new millennium. From the death of Captain America storyline, through to Bucky becoming the new Cap and beyond, they were all handled expertly as Brubaker tied his character in complex knots of conspiracy and intrigue, weaving disparate elements of the plot together into something that felt fresh and exciting. He followed that up with his recent run on Secret Avengers , which for a while was one of Marvel’s best kept secrets, (but has unfortunately gone a bit left field under the stewardship of Warren Ellis) however with Winter Soldier it is a return to that clandestine, spy-based style that made the early issues of Secret Avengers so exciting.

The story follows Bucky Barnes and his attempts to regain the memory of his time as a soviet super soldier (the titular Winter Soldier) and his relationship with the Black Widow. In the current arc the Red Ghost is releasing Soviet Super soldiers who have been sleepers since the end of the Cold War and it is up to Bucky and the Widow to stop them, and hopefully find out some more about Bucky’s past in the process. It’s like Tinker, Tailer, Soldier Spy but with added explosions.

The story is made darker and more brooding by the mixed-media artwork of Butch Guice. With plenty of ominous, shadowy characters lurking in complex, intricate backgrounds, Winter Soldier is that rare thing, a comic book for adults that doesn’t rely on explosive violence and extreme language to get it’s point across. Instead it relies on clever, well written stories and well paced, purposeful artwork. Oh and there’s also a 400 pound machine gun toting gorilla, but hey, it is still a Marvel comic – you’ve got to have a bit of fun in there too!

Winter Soldier is available on ComiXology or the Marvel Comics app priced at £1.99

Power Play comic coverWe’re huge fans of digital comic Power Play here at Pipedream Comics and it was one of our first nominations for the Pipedream Pull List back in October. With it’s mix of super heroes and X games style action this digital only title published exclusively on Comixology, it pushed the boundaries of what writers and artists were doing with the medium of digital comics (plus it was pretty darn funny too!) and we’ve been eagerly waiting a second issue ever since. So wondering just what was going on we got in touch with writer Kurt Christenson and artist Reilly Brown to out just when the Power Play crew would be leaping back on to our tablets!

It’s a been a strong week for new releases from big name creators this week with Image’s Thief of Thieves by Robert Kirkman and Garth Ennis’ Ninjettes from Dynamite both hitting the apps. However both of these failed to stand out when compared to the technicolour adventures of a boy named Finn and his stretchy, magical dog called Jake! That’s right, this week’s digital must-have is Adventure Time #1 from Boom Studios.

Based on the equally bonkers Cartoon Network show (which I have to confess I have never seen) Adventure Time is a tripped out journey to the wonderful World of Ooo where 13 year old Finn and his magical dog Jake have to thwart the plans of the evil Lich who wants to destroy everything. Along with Finn’s friends the Desert Princess (not the Dessert Princess), the Ice King, Princess Bubble Gum and Marceline the Vampire Queen Adventure Time‘s mental mix of surreal humour and eye-popping visuals (thanks to the brilliant Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb) may not be for everyone, but it is a true one of a kind book that will definitely warrant a second reading, if only to get your head around what the hell just happened! With a tone somewhere between Ren and Stimpy and Spongebob Squarepants you won’t read a weirder book this year, but it has a strange charm to it and a sense of true originality which you rarely get in comics, and for that reason I cannot recommend it enough. Plus, you get a great back up story by the very talented Aaron Renier, all about Prince Bubblegum which feature a scene with an elephant and a cinnamon bun in a sauna what more could you ask for?!

Adventure Time is available on ComiXology and via the Boom! Studios app for £2.49

In the macho world of super hero comics, it’s easy to forget that back in the Golden Age, romance stories were just as popular as the action adventure stuff. Even the greats like Jack Kirby cut their teeth doing romance books, but in the modern day they’ve become something of a rarefied breed. Thank goodness then for Love and Capes which combines the kind of modern superhero stories we know and love with a healthy measure of romance, and a generous dash of good old fashioned gags. Previously available online at LoveandCapes.com or in print from IDW, it is now released on ComiXology.

Love and Capes follows the adventures of Mark (aka super hero the Crusader), and his new girlfriend, book shop owner Abby. But unlike your trad superhero books, Mark reveals his secret identity to Abby in the first chapter, which allows writer/artist Thom Zahler to poke fun at  the traditional obliviousness of other superhero girlfriends. (There’s no Lois and Clark style stumbling around the fact our hero’s girlfriend can’t recognise him when he takes off his glasses here!) Taking a knowing (and loving) swipe at all manner of super hero cliches it focuses on the blossoming relationship between Abby and her new super-boyfriend, covering everything from super-powered ex’s to secret origins and weaknesses, making for a fantastic, hilarious read.

To find out more about Love in Capes and it’s new digital lease of life, I got in touch with Thom Zahler and asked him just how it felt to have a whole new audience about to get to know his characters via the iPad?

It’s been a milestone week this week as Image Comics celebrated their 20th anniversary. As a comics fan growing up in the early 1990s, I was a massive fan of all things Image and so it fills me with a great sense of pride and nostalgia to look back on what they meant to the comics industry and to me personally. As a kid my heroes weren’t sportsmen or movie stars, they were comic artists. I worshipped every pen and ink stroke of Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen and Rob Liefeld. I knew every panel of early issues of Spawn, Savage Dragon and Youngblood and still do to this day.

So when these three super-artists left Marvel in 1992 to form a new company alongside Jim Lee, Jim Valentino and While Portacio I had no idea what the significance was, or why there were doing it, just so long as I could get new and exciting books from my heroes – and what could better than them writing and drawing their own titles? I didn’t understand that they had left Marvel to pursue creative autonomy and would shape the future of modern comics by putting the emphasis on the creator rather than the corporation, I was more interested in searching high and low for every new Image release I could get my hands on.

We’ve gone Cow Boy crazy here on Pipedream Comics this month. With its brilliant mix of true grit and dryer than sasperilla wit, its been one of the most original books we’ve read in ages, and what’s even better is its all digital! Despite there only being a handful of pages posted on cowboycomic.net, it earned a spot on our Pipedream Pull List for last week and so I got in touch with artist Chris Eliopoulos and writer Nate Cosby to find out just how people are reacting to the adventures of Boyd the Bounty Hunter and what is next for the Boy and his Horse!