Hey Kids, Comics!

You love comics, right? And everybody loves free stuff. So how about some free comics? On the internet! It’s a lead-pipe cinch!

I’ve been reading a lot of webcomics lately, some of which have been running for a while and I’m just now catching up, and others which have just started. In no particular order, here are four webcomics you should definitely check out.

Bill Walko’s The Hero Business
Last year I raved about Bill Walko’s fantastic Wonder Twins fan art, but at the time I wasn’t aware of his ongoing webcomic, “The Hero Business.” Set in a PR firm that handles superhero clients, the strip has alternated between longer story arcs and done-in-one gags, but along the way Walko is gradually mapping out the boundaries of his world and how it works, and using some clever twists on the conventions of the superhero genre along the way. Well worth checking out. 

Justin Pierce’s The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
I was late to the party on this one. Justice Pierce has been doing “The Non-Adventures of Wonderella” for years, but while I was vaguely aware of its existence I hadn’t really sat down to read it until very recently. On the one hand, now I’m sorry I waited so long to get onboard, but on the other hand, I had loads of archived strips to enjoy all at once. Wonderella is the titular star of the strip, a vaguely familiar superheroic Amazon with a tiara and an invisible aircraft, but like the title says, the strip is about her “non-adventures.” She’d much rather go out for tapas or get a drink that fight the forces of evil, and really, who wouldn’t?

Doug TenNapel’s Ratfist
As I said on my blog years ago, Doug TenNapel is a creative genius. A lot of readers might know him for his work in video games (Earthworm Jim) or television (Catscratch), but it was his work in comics that first caught my eye years ago. If you haven’t read Creature Tech, or Earthboy Jacobus, or Monster Zoo, or Ghostopolis, then you owe it to yourself to pick them up. Seriously, they’re fantastic. Now, TenNapel is a man of firm convictions, and isn’t one to shy from sharing his beliefs. But as I said when I first raved about his work online, “TenNapel’s politics in real life, like his religious views, aren’t my own, but that doesn’t get in the way of my appreciating his work as among the best comics being produced in the English language today.” And now he’s serializing his new comic online, for free. So what do you have to lose?!

Faith Erin Hicks’s The Adventures of Superhero Girl
If you’re not familiar with the work of Faith Erin Hicks, you should be. Her webcomic Demonology 101 was all the rage a few years back, and in more recent yeas her OGN The War at Ellsmere was simply fantastic. A few months ago, Hicks started a new webcomic, “The Adventures of Superhero Girl,” about the adventures of, well, a girl superhero. The fact that many  of these “adventures” involve doing laundry, shopping, and watching TV, makes the strip all the more charming. Check it out, why don’t you?

Superman Meets Cinderella

That’s two great tastes that taste great together, if you ask me.

Now, if I could only think of some way of getting these two crazy kids together again…

(Thanks to the Daily Superman for pointing out this gem.)

Aw yeah, Super-Pets!

One of the highlights of every month around our house is the arrival of the latest issue of Art Baltazar‘s Tiny Titans, the all-ages title from the Johnny DC line. Consistently one of the best reads of the month, it’s at the top of the To Read pile both for me and for my six-year-old daughter Georgia. I like it because it is (a) funny, (b) beautifully drawn and written, and (c) makes great use of the DC Universe that I’ve spent so many years exploring. Georgia likes it because it’s a funny, well-drawn book about kid superheroes–but best of all, because we sometimes get to see their pets.

My kid loves animals, to put it mildly. And her favorite issues of Tiny Titans usually involve the “Super-Pets” in one way or another (she’s a huge fan of the Krypto The Super-Dog cartoon for the same reason). So when we heard last year that Baltazar was going to be doing a line of Super-Pets chapter books with Capstone, we were very interested.

And now they’re here…

There are six books in the line all together (and hopefully more to come), and in the week or so since they arrived from Amazon we’ve read more than half of them. They are FANTASTIC. Anyone who is familiar with the DC characters at all will recognize all sorts of clever little nods and winks, but for young readers who have never encountered that world before these serve as a great introduction. I recommend them to anyone, whether you’ve got kids or not, but if you do have kids then you must get them.

Capstone has posted a “trailer” for the line at YouTube, which is worth checking out if you still need convincing.

Check out the Capstone website for more information. And then go buy them, already! I want there to be more of these titles to come, and that won’t happen if this first round doesn’t sell!

Superman/Batman 80

Superman/Batman 80, the second part of the two-part “Worlds’ Finest” story that began in issue 79, is in stores now. Script by me, and art by the amazing Jesus Merino (ably assisted on colors by Blond). I’ve spent hours just staring at these pages (and in particular the spread on pages 16 and 17), and I can say without fear of contradiction that they look amazing. I’d love to post some of my favorite images, but will refrain, for fear of spoiling the story. But if you see it on the shelf, check it out. It looks great!

Review Roundup

Superman 707, my first issue as scripter, has been out for a little over a week, and there’s been a bit of talk about it on the internet in that time, on forums, twitter, and comic sites, but there are three reviews in particular that I’d like to point out. All are by reviewers whose opinions I’ve come to trust over the last few years, so the fact that they speak favorably about my efforts on Superman is encouraging.

Timothy Callahan, Comic Book Resources
Chris Sims, Comics Alliance
Graeme McMillan, Savage Critics

So thanks for the great reviews, guys! I look forward to seeing what you make of the next issue…

Kerry Callen’s “Super-Antics”

Kerry Callen brings the funny, showing us that “invulnerability doesn’t solve all problems.”

Me on TV

Last night, the local news on KXAN, the Austin NBC affiliate, aired a piece on me that they filmed last week. If you have any interest in seeing it, here it is.

Ty Templeton's Superman In Four Panels

As someone who is just starting out writing the adventures of the Man of Steel, I’m sure glad that that Ty Templeton is around to explain the basics.

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

I may have mentioned that I’m writing the Superman comic for a few months, but if you haven’t yet heard the news… Hey, I’m writing Superman for a few months.

A cursory glance of past entries on my blog will show that I am a huge fan of Superman, and have been since I was six years old. Back in September, I was absolutely floored when Superman editors Matt Idelson and Wil Moss gave me the chance to write a two-issue fill-in on the Superman/Batman title. But I had barely begun work on the second of those two scripts when they called with an even more awesome offer–the chance to write Superman, the flagship title of DC Comics that’s been running continuously since June of 1939. Well, how could I say no?

My first issue is Superman 707, which is in stores today. It picks up from the first chapters of the “Grounded” storyline that’s been running in the title for the last few months.

Last week, the Austin American-Statesman ran an interview with me conducted by Joe Gross, in which I got to rave at length about my love for the character, and about why he means so much to me. Statesman photographer Jay Janner did a portrait of me to accompany the piece, which I think says it all.

Seriously, y’all, I’m writing Superman, for crying out loud. Me, a guy who literally spent his entire childhood reading Superman comics, watching Superman cartoons, making up stories with my Superman Mego figures, even dressing as Superman. Don’t believe me? This isn’t a new thing for me…

That’s me in the back, still wearing on Christmas the Superman costume I wore for Halloween.

But I managed to convert all of my siblings to the side of the Man of Tomorrow, too. (The kid in the Spider-Man underoos is my cousin, so we forgave his pulling for the other team.)

Underoos were a godsend to a kid who insisted on dressing like Superman, and I kept wearing them long after I was really too old to do so.

And here I am, years later, in 2000 at DisneyWorld with my wife Allison Baker on our honeymoon. I was still at it, though it was skillfully hidden under red flannel.

And now I’m writing Superman. Who’d have thunk?

The good folks at War Rocket Ajax interviewed me recently for their podcast, and if you want to hear me bloviate about my favorite Superman stories and writers, and why I think Superman is as important for moral instruction as any religious figure, head on over and give it a listen. 

Superman 707, in stores today. If you live in Austin and want to get a copy defaced by me, come by Austin Books between 4 and 7PM, and I’ll be happy to decrease the value of a copy for you.