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Tag Archive: Jill Thompson


    

Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards saw their 29th presentation last night.  Celebrities including Community star Danny Pudi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Heroes’ star Greg Grunberg, and game show host Wayne Brady among several comic books greats were on hand to present awards for the past year’s best works in comics at San Diego Comic-Con 2017.

We previewed the nominees earlier this year here at borg.com.  One of our favorites, artist Jill Thompson, took all three categories she was nominated in this year–for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for her Wonder Woman: The True Amazon and Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In, for Best Graphic Album-New for Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, and for her Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In for Best Single Issue/One-Shot (with Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer).

    

Sonny Liew and his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), was the big individual winner, for Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Publication Design.  Saga also took multiple awards, earning its creators four awards.  Archie Comics received multiple wins for Erica Henderson and Ryan North for Best Publication for Teens for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Best Humor Publication for Jughead.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

More than 100 comic book artists came together over the past year to create what is one of the best joint art projects featuring superheroes that has come out of the industry.  And it’s all about the biggest superheroine of all.  Some of the best-known names in the world of comics volunteered an original work of art featuring Wonder Woman, penciled, inked, painted, or otherwise colored on a 75th Anniversary DC Comics Wonder Woman blank comic book cover.  It’s all for a good cause that gives back to, and in effect pays forward comic book creators that came before them.

It’s called the Wonder Woman 100 Project.  All proceeds of the auction of the original artwork will go to the Hero Initiative, an organization that helps out the comic book industry by contributing funds to individuals and their families in the event of medical and financial crises.  Most of the comic creators the fund helps were piecemeal workers in their careers over the past decades or those without any kind of retirement program.

    

And for those who can’t afford the original artwork, the Hero Initiative is creating a hardcover and softcover edition compiling all the covers that will be for sale in June 2017, with proceeds of those books also going to the Hero Initiative.

You’ll see some of the very best Wonder Woman images you’ll ever find.  Many are from well-known artists, but some of the finest works are showcased by more recent artists entering the industry.

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Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards will see their 29th year, to be announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con in July.  This year’s nominations have been selected, resulting in a banner year for Fantagraphics and Image Comics with 22 and 21 nominations, respectively.

We at borg.com never align with the Academy Awards, but always are happy to agree on Eisner accolades.  Artist Jill Thompson is nominated in three categories this year.  Her Wonder Woman: The True Amazon was our pick for 2016’s Best Graphic Novel, and is a nominee for the “Best Graphic Album-New” Eisner Award.  Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In was our borg.com pick for Best Single Issue last year, and Thompson, Evan Dorkin, and Sarah Dyer are up for the Eisner for Best Single Issue.  Thompson is also nominated for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist.

   

Kudos go to our friend, writer Jason Aaron, for his nomination along with artist Russell Dauterman in the Best Continuing Series category for The Mighty Thor (Marvel).  Other notable nominees are Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk for their Mockingbird series (Marvel) plus Cain’s nomination in the Best Writer category for that series.  The highest number of nominations went to Sonny Liew and his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), netting nods for Best Graphic Album–New, Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia, Best Writer/Artist, Best Coloring, Best Lettering, and Best Publication Design.  Archie Comics received nominations for Erica Henderson and Ryan North for Best Publication for Teens and Best Humor Publication for Jughead.

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Our borg.com Best of 2016 list continues today with the Best in Print and a bonus wrap-up of other year’s bests.  If you missed it, check out our review of the Top Picks and Best Movies of 2016 here, the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2016 here, and the Best in Television here.

Without further ado, this year’s Best in Print:

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Best Comic Book Series – Old Man Logan (Marvel).  With just enough backstory from prior series focused on the future world version of Logan/Wolverine, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino took us through the struggle of the superhero that survived all his contemporaries, only to be plunged into a parallel world where everything is familiar but nothing is the same.

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Best Graphic NovelWonder Woman: The True Amazon, Jill Thompson (DC Comics).  Writer/artist Jill Thompson is probably the best creator in comics today.  Her origin story of Wonder Woman is vibrant, and she presents a flawed, complex, and ultimately strong and fearless heroine.  The best Wonder Woman book we’ve ever read.

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Best Comic Book Limited Series/Best Crossover Comic Book Series – Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DC Comics/IDW).  James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II pulled together an impossible team-up of characters that ended up working great together.  An action-packed, nostalgic fun trip.

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Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Kindt, Dept.H (Dark Horse).  Kindt pulls together an incredibly nostalgic assemblage of the best action concepts: classic science fiction of the H.G. Wells variety, G.I. Joe Adventure Team-inspired characters, and a fun character study and whodunit that will have you searching out your old game of Sub Search.  We just hope he makes a prequel at some point so we get to see a similar quest with an old fashioned copper-helmeted deep sea diver.  A fun read month after month and the best writing comics have to offer.

After the cut we continue with the best in comics, books, and more from 2016:

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Ten years after Return of the Jedi, Topps trading cards editor and writer Gary Gerani was tasked once again to meet fan demand for more Star Wars trading cards.  Many years before he would create photo cards for a new trilogy of prequels, he would team up with Lucasfilm’s Steve Sansweet to showcase Star Wars as interpreted by some of the best artists that contributed to the films or would re-imagine the “Star Wars Galaxy” in their own styles.

The three resulting trading card series have been released in the 2016 addition to Abrams ComicArts successful hardbound series featured here previously at borg.comStar Wars Galaxy: The Original Topps Trading Card Series includes the works of more than 170 artists in more than 200 card reproductions, plus commentary by Gerani and an afterword by notable poster artist Drew Struzan.  Unlike the prior volumes in the series, only the obverse image from the cards, which featured the artwork, is included.

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You’ll find an incredible array of imagery by a surprising combination of artists, including rare images you will have seen only if you collected the original cards.  So you’ll find the work of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Ralph McQuarrie, Moebius, Drew Struzan, Dave Dorman, Al Williamson, Howard Chaykin, Mike Grell, John Eaves, Mike Zeck, George Perez, Jim Starlin, Dave Stevens, Walter Simonson, Gene Colan, Rich Buckler, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Schultz, P. Craig Russell, Dave Gibbons, Sergio Aragones, Boris Vallejo, Charles Vess, and Gil Kane.

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The volume includes the entire run of portraits created for Star Wars Galaxy specifically for the Topps cards by Joseph Smith–the original art was later bought by George Lucas for his personal collection.

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The best artwork in a graphic novel you will find this year is at your comic book store this week.  Seven-time Eisner Award winner Jill Thompson has created the definitive Wonder Woman origin story with Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, written and painted in the spectacularly vibrant manner only America’s most acclaimed writer-artist could create.

You may be familiar with Diana, Amazon Princess, and her ancient origin story, but this new version is a keeper–a storybook you’d read to your kids with lush colors and mythology steeped in classic folklore.  The action and storytelling are similar in execution to the best work of Alan Moore and his bold layouts, as well as the action and story development in Frank Miller’s 300–an easy comparison because of the setting and theme–yet Thompson’s story and art is far richer.  Thompson’s watercolor-painted comic pages and layout work is up there with the 1980s-1990s work of Mike Grell, and Wonder Woman: The True Amazon may very well be not only looked back on as the benchmark for all Wonder Woman: Year One attempts to come, it’s very possibly the best looking graphic novel from DC Comics since Grell’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters.

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Best of all, Thompson’s story is surprising.  For much of the tale Diana is anything but heroic.  An early subtitle was The Very Selfish Princess–should that give you a hint.  Thompson looked deep into the mythos of Wonder Woman–celebrating her 75th year this year–and asked “what did Diana go through to become this iconic figure?”

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One of the best world-building series and some of our favorite comic book characters are making a brief return to Dark Horse Comics this May.  Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s fantastic Beasts of Burden will make an appearance at your local comic book store in the one-shot story Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In.

When curiosity gets the best of Burden Hill’s cats (and one reluctant raccoon), sleeping demons are awakened and black magic is unleashed on the town of Burden Hill.

This is the same series that garnered Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Publication for Teens.  Dorkin and Thompson first introduced their animal sleuths in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings and made regular appearances throughout the “Dark Horse Book of” series, earning them Eisners for Best Short Story and Best Painter.  In 2009 the beasts of Burden Hill received their own miniseries, Animal Rites, and in 2010, they met up with Hellboy.  And Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers won the Best Single Issue Eisner in 2015.  Sarah Dyer joins the creative team for this latest story.

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We here at borg.com will brag up the Beasts of Burden series whenever we can.  It’s simply among the best writing and artwork that comic books have to offer.  Do yourself a favor and check out what we had to say here about the past stories in the series.

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Another banner year for comic books has come and gone.  You can find something for anyone and everyone at your local comic book shop, and the diverse selection of winners of this year’s Eisner Awards illustrates that better than ever.  The latest round of winners were announced this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con.

What’s better than to see winners that you would have selected yourself were you on the judging panel?  Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson can’t publish enough of their Beasts of Burden stories, and we previewed this year’s winner for Best Single Issue, Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers, last year here at borg.com.  We couldn’t agree more with this win.  Are you listening, Hollywood?  It’s time for an animated movie from this series.

We also like to be in sync with the critics.  Remember when we picked Greg Smallwood as our Breakout Artist of the Year here at borg.com back in 2013?  Greg was given the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award at this year’s Eisners.  We’re glad others want to see more of his work, too.

It’s also fun to see the rare repeat winners.  Our own borg.com writer Elizabeth C. Bunce shared a panel at Comic-Con with Raina Telgemeier, winner this year as Best Writer/Artist, when she won her first Eisner Award back at SDCC 2011.  Raina won this year for her book Sisters.

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And our own local comic book shop couldn’t seem to keep the new Lumberjanes series on the shelves this past year.  Lumberjanes was a multiple winner this year, scoring Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens.

Here is the full slate of 2015 Eisner Award winners:

Best Short Story: “When the Darkness Presses,” by Emily Carroll

Best Continuing Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image)

Best Limited Series: Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)

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Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson are back again with their expertly realized Burden Hill gang, the canine paranormal investigators and a feline familiar that earned them a Harvey Award and multiple Eisner Awards.  We’ve reviewed previous Beasts of Burden stories before here at borg.com and the animal stories are among the best of the outgrowth of shorts from Dark Horse Presents, the best anthology series around.

This time ’round we find the team defending Burden Hill from a giant monster.  Real or a specter?  A plan is hatched and the whole town of furry ones plays a part.

Here’s a preview of a few pages:

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Look for Beasts of Burden: Hunters & Gatherers in comic book stores everywhere March 12, 2014.

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Dedicated to Rusty, borg.com’s mascot, Krypto of my avatar, and my cosplay conspirator, whose smarts and curiosity would have fit right in to the Burden Hill pack.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce

My wife, Elizabeth C. Bunce, and I stumbled across a very good Dark Horse Comics anthology series several years ago all beginning with “The Dark Horse Book of…”  These nicely presented hardcover editions included a Hellboy story, other ghost or horror stories by the best writers and artists at Dark Horse, and ended with a story about a group of dogs and an orphaned cat.  The collections were each brilliantly drawn, brightly (or darkly) colored, and included exactly the right kind of tale for fans of ghost stories over gore.  The anthologies included contributions from the likes of Mike Richardson himself, P. Craig Russell, Keith Giffen, Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, Eric Powell, Brian Horton, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson.  Each anthology had a separate nice-and-creepy theme, including The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft, The Dark Horse Book of The Dead, and The Dark Horse Book of Monsters.

My favorite story in each anthology was by writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson, focusing on the dogs and the cat.  The dogs, Ace, Rex, Jack, Whitey, and Pugsley, and the orphaned cat (who they call Orphan).  These qualify as quiet stories, in that they were snuggly hidden in the back of these anthologies and meekly waited in the shadows of the louder and more mainstream stories in the front of these books.  But Evan Dorkin knows how to convey compelling story via animals like few others have mastered.  Likewise, Jill Thompson’s characters are expressive and animated, and leave readers begging for more.  Her watercolor style reminds me of Mike Grell’s work on Green Arrow, Warlord, and Jon Sable, and she probably has a more accessible style than someone like Alex Nino, whose God the Dyslexic Dog series is one of my favorites.

In The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, their 2003 story “Stray” focuses on a the group exorcising a doghouse that has become possessed in a somber and gulp-worthy series opener.  This of course was not initially intended as a series, yet Dorkin and Thompson continued their contributions to future books.  In The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft, the band of animal friends encounter a witch cat in the 2004 story “The Unfamiliar.”  In 2005’s The Dark Horse Book of The Dead story “Let Sleeping Dogs Die,” the merry band confronts the witch cat again, this time allowing her the chance to become part of the team.  In 2006’s The Dark Horse Book of Monsters, the animals encounter a werewolf in “A Dog and his Boy.”  Each of these stories is endearing and clever in a way you’d only find in the Dark Horse universe.

So last week at the comic book store I stumbled on a new Dark Horse one-shot Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch.  I did a quick flip-through and knew it looked good and familiar and so I added it to the pull-list stack.  It didn’t click until I started reading the three new stories to realize what I had:  more great Dorkin and Thompson, and the animal pack has a name now as the Beasts of Burden.  This new one-shot is actually composed of three stories from Dark Horse Presents issues #4, 6 and 8.  Two other compilations exist that I have yet to get my hands on, a Beasts of Burden four-issue mini-series and a crossover one-shot in 2010 with Hellboy called Hellboy/Beasts of Burden: Sacrifice.  Another edition, Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (2010) collects the stories Stray, The Unfamiliar, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, A Dog and His Boy, and issues #1-4 of the mini-series.

In Neighborhood Watch, the story “Food Run” follows our group protecting the neighborhood from a golem-like green goblin.  In “Story Time,” an old sheepdog called Wise Dog recounts the epic story to three local pups about a brave dog in battle with a “Weeping Angels” twist.  In “The View from the Hill,” Orphan has encountered a lost herd of sheep and although we hear no “bah-ram-ewe” uttered, Dorkin and Thompson enter the realm not of Babe but of the X-Files.  Will little Jack ever be the same?

Last year there were rumors that Beasts of Burden may have been optioned for an animated movie.  So long as Jill Thompson is illustrating and Evan Dorkin is writing this could be a great idea–a dark, but not too dark, animated animal tale to take on the same old animated offerings we get each year.  But the real challenge will be getting the human voices to match the inner thoughts of Dorkin’s dogs and cats as well as he writes it.

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