N-Man, Fury, Hypernaut at MoCCA!

The New Era Begins This Weekend…

[What was: and is no more. The original Image Comics Presents promo for N-Man, circa 1992. A new N-Man era begins this weekend!]

Having sat for a full twelve years on my respective part of what originally was 1963 — that’s twelve years on top of the interim six years between the 1992 creation of the 1963 series, and the 1998 legal agreement signed by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and myself dividing up our creative properties — I’ve had plenty of time to stew on every aspect of these creations, these characters, this peculiar genre of ‘retro-comics.’

(I vainly hope any naysayers out there realize that I’ve waited a looooong time to play with what has been my legal property, in deference to the long-harbored, long-nurtured hope that somehow Alan, Rick and I would see clear to repackage — and conclude, with a genuine ending to the whole 1963 saga — the original 1963 series. We know a lot of fans of that series wanted it, and still want it. I’m sure I’m going to take heat for what’s about to be unveiled, but I’ve been more than patient, more than tolerant, and more than generous in waiting and actively working to make sure a completed 1963 had every opportunity to come to fruition. Between the two of us, Rick Veitch and I have literally poured years of work into protecting, developing and working toward 1963 being collected and completed, through a plethora of publisher overtures, blind alleys and ‘we’re almost there!’ active creative work periods. In the end, it was all for naught — despite our absolute best efforts — and I hope everyone understands why I’m waiting no longer. ‘Nuff said.)

I’ve filled notebooks, legal pads and sketchbook pages with notions, pages, cover concepts, story outlines.

[Left: My sketchbook designs for the larval stage of the Molemoth -- it's a new N-Man menace, the voracious Vyrmix!]

I’ve charted entire histories for my clutch of characters — N-Man, the Fury, the Hypernaut and Commander Solo & Her Screamin’ Skydogs — and found that they fit nicely with a bevy of my own characters and concepts I’ve never had homes for: Curtis Slarch, Lo!, “The Big Dig,” and much, much more you’ve never heard of or seen because I could never interest a publisher in those projects, though I’ve pitched many of them over the years.

In fact, they all fit together nicely into what is now my own invented comics universe — the Naut Comics universe.

I do believe I’ve got plenty to bring to the table.

Since 1998, when Alan, Rick and I divided up the pie and I knew I was responsible for the future home for my quartet of ‘orphans,’ I’ve approached a number of my friends, peers and associates in the world of comics and writing, and asked if they’d be interested in playing in this particular sandbox, too.

Those who responded favorably (many declined, either because they weren’t interested, or didn’t get it, or didn’t want to engage with work-for-hire — which I completely understand — or didn’t wish to mess around with Alan‘s wake or possibly incur his wrath) have brought their own unique ideas and talents to the mix, and I do believe what’s come together goes much further than anything I’d imagined possible.

Only time — and you — can tell if I’m correct, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

In fact, I’m giving it my best shot.

That ‘best shot’ begins this weekend.

[Cover mockup: Tales of the Uncanny new launch, art by yours truly.]

* Since December 2009, I’ve been quietly working with CCS senior and — now — project co-editor Tim Stout and a circle of CCSers and fellow cartoonists and writers to create an odd but entertaining faux-history of the Naut Comics characters.

Tales of the Uncanny – N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History, Vol. 1 will be published later this year (we’re shooting for release in the fall).

* A special 16-page, full color and black-and-white preview of the project will be available at MoCCA this weekend.

[Right: Cover pencils by Jason Weekfor an "N-Man vs. Vyrmix" story]

I’m bankrolling this entire book project myself, and the results have knocked me out as all the elements continue to come together. I’ve the major hand in this creatively every single nanostep of the way — writing, drawing, inking, editing, and helming the whole confection with Tim‘s considerable help — and as these characters and concepts are my properties, I’ve also had to carefully structure a work-for-hire contract. I wish it were otherwise, but North American copyright law requires I embrace work-for-hire to retain all copyrights and trademarks. With the help of Jean-Marc Lofficier, I think we’ve put together a pretty good template to work with.

To ensure no one but me creates any new characters along the way, all character designs have had to come from my hand, or be done under my supervision. I don’t want to be acquiring or owning anyone else’s property or creative concepts. (That said, the deal is as progressive a work-for-hire arrangement as possible, patterned after the contracts signed for the Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud Arzach project I contributed to back in the early 1990s; more on this soon. I will detailing the ‘deal’ and my long-term hopes and plans for all this in a special essay next week.)

Originally, I’d hoped to have this faux-history book out in a self-published form sometime before the end of 2010.

My plan in late 2009 was to just print it in the CCS basement lab, as a modest squarebound self-published curio, in the hopes Rick Veitch‘s and my labors with Nick Barrucci at Dynamite on the planned bare-bones hardcover reprint collected 1963 might pave the way for my own venture. (I in fact, in one conversation, inquired whether Nick and Dynamite might be interested in my future work with my characters; Nick declined — we agreed to just work through the project at hand, the 1963 reprint.)

I proceeded quietly and very carefully, not wishing to in any way compete with, upset or derail the work Rick and I had underway with Dynamite, and checking every step (as necessary) with Rick, too, to make sure he was comfortable with my plans.

And, to curb any possible speculation — no, this project had nothing to do with Alan‘s decision to pull the plug on that reprint volume; and yes, I’ve — and have for twelve years — been entirely within my rights to proceed with such a venture in any case. 

When that year-long 2009 labor Rick and I had poured ourselves into unexpectedly crashed and burned early in January of this year, there was absolutely no reason to hold back any longer.

With Rick‘s full knowledge and blessings, I pulled out all the stops, cut bait, and have blazed my own trails.

[Above, left: Jay Piscopo cover rough, illustrating an N-Man story written by project co-editor Tim Stout and penciled by Dennis Pacheco; for the finished color cover art, and a teaser on the story via an excerpt from Tim's article on same, see the 16-page color preview booklet at MoCCA! Jay has done some absolutely terrific work on this project, and I'll show more of Jay's work tomorrow.]

I found a trustworthy co-publisher (Nat Gertler at About Comics), and Tim, myself and the team of contributors pulled together.

In the end run, what we’ve got is a 200+ page paperback book featuring an invented history of Naut Comics and its stars: The Fury, N-Man, The Hypernaut, Commander Solo, The Screamin’ Skydogs, Banana Man (!!!) and much, much more.

This concoction of articles, sample covers (from the pulp era to the present), sample pages and panels, completed comics stories, TV program and comics scripts, interviews, invented photographs, and more than I can tell has shaped up to be quite a lot of fun to make –

–and looks like it’s going to be even more fun to read.

Tomorrow: More Tantalizing Details of the New Tales of the Uncanny!

CCS at MoCCA, April 10-11

The CCS Previews Continue…

  • This coming weekend — Saturday and Sunday, April 10 & 11, 2010 at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue in New York, NY — is the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art MoCCA Fest 2010 (here’s the link with all the detaisl).
  • In what is becoming an annual tradition, The Center for Cartoon Studiespresence at the show grows every year — and this year, the CCS community has more tables than ever before, showcasing and selling new and vintage work by and from CCS students, faculty, alumni and community members.

    Continuing the preview of just some of what will be available at the various CCS and CCS community tables — but first things first. As you now know, I’ve got a book to plug today (and will do so again before we get to the weekend) myself, so here goes…

    [Tales of the Uncanny: N-Man & Friends, Volume 1 Preview back cover art by Katherine Roy; ©2010 Stephen R. Bissette, N-Man TM & ©1993, 2010 Stephen R. Bissette, by contractual arrangement with the original co-creator. All rights reserved. Katherine put in long hours working with Tim and I on this preview booklet -- we couldn't have done it without her!]

    * You want a copy of the Tales of the Uncanny: N-Man & Friends Volume 1 preview booklet/pack, you’re gonna have to hit the CCS tables!

    That’s the only way to get your signed copy, exclusively at MoCCA/CCS tables this weekend! More info tomorrow!

    * Note: I won’t be at MoCCA, but I’ve prepared and personally signed every copy — and most of the contributors have signed their pages/art, too.

    * Every purchase of the Tales of the Uncanny Preview gets a bonus signed copy of the long-out-of-print original Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/Dave Gibbons 1963 comicbook No One Escapes… The Fury! It’s a sweet bargain, available only at the CCS MoCCA tables!

    * CCS freshman Paul Swartz has been doing some amazing color comics work all year, and he’ll be debuting his latest creation at MoCCA. 

    Yesterday I kicked off with a preview of Lena H. Chandhok; Paul will be at MoCCA table G4 with fellow CCSers Pat Barrett, Beth Hetland, Nomi Kane, Emily Sauter, and Lena, natch, so be sure to make a beeline to G4 and savor the magic.

    Paul‘s latest magic is The Magnificent Mockingbird Presents: A Vanishing Act, “the story of a down on his luck Jazz Age vaudevillian named Irving Fleischman. For the most part, Fleischman is a hack, but, on one fateful night, he discovers that he is possessed of a strange and captivating power; a power that will make him a star and endanger his life…” Paul‘s still working away on the full story, but what I’ve seen thus far is simply stunning. He’s pulled together a tantalizing 10-page, full-color preview book specifically for MoCCA, and it’s well worth picking up. I mean, check out that page, above –

  • – along with the eye-popping art Paul has posted on his Flickr pages (click here to see more)!
  • * CCS freshman Nomi Kane — no relation to Bob Kane — will be at MoCCA with style to spare.

    Nomi is co-editor/co-creator of Tales from San Papel, which she’ll be selling alongside her MoCCA-debuting brand-new work, too!

    Nomi is rolling out “a little bitty highlight book I did about my family vacation to Austin, TX to attend South by Southwest, one of the world’s biggest music festivals,” a delicious minicomic for just $1.00 — highly affordable, and highly desirable.

    (I believe Jen Vaughn will be rolling out her published SXSW report, too, but I’m not positive about that; more info tomorrow, if I have it in time to post.)

    Even more desirable is Nomi‘s minicomic Love on Eight Legs, “a little excerpt from a story I have in the Pants! anthology” that Nomi has packaged on its lonesome for just $4.00. It’s the tale of a girl and her spider, and it’s a heartbreaker — not to be missed! Recommended reading if you’re a fan of the old Fleischer Brothers cartoon Cobweb Hotel, set in the spider’s hotel… 

  • Find out more (and see more of Nomi‘s comix and art) at BrewforBreakfast.com (click this link)!
  • Nomi will also be selling earlier works, including her stellar February 2010 (damn near new, still) anthology Tales from San Papel. I mentioned this western anthology yesterday, too, but must reaffirm what a neat read this is. Tales from San Papel features still-new stories by Pat Barrett, Casey Bohn, G.P. Bonesteel, Canto, John Chad, Lena Chandhok, J.L. DuRona, Jon Fine, Holly Foltz, Beth Hetland, Ben Juers, CJ Joughlin, Nomi Kane, Josh Kramer, Jesse Mead, Carl Mefferd, Monty Montgomery, Nick Patten, M. Sauter, Betsey Swardlick, Laura Terry and Jen Vaughn, most of whom will be at MoCCA themselves.

    I recommend you pick up a copy, and then tour the MoCCA floor to get the stories signed by their respective authors/artists, folks. It’s a sweet intro to the current CCS rogue’s gallery of cartoonists.

  • For more on Tales from San Papel – including a peek at my art for my story “Sand” — check out this Myrant post from February of this year,
  • as well as this one.
  • And — get this — every copy of Tales from San Papel has a scale model of the real-life, actual White River Junction, VT CCS Colodny Building on the back cover, a cut-out-and-assemble model of the Center for Cartoon Studies you can set up in your own home or studio.

    You can’t come to CCS? Bring CCS home with you! Speaking of which…

    * You want a hot-off-the-presses sampler of CCS talent? Tag Team is the comic for you!

    Tag Team is more than a comic — it’s a new game, it’s a process, it’s a new take on making comics that’s a reaction of sorts to the now-venerable 24-Hour Comics challenge, created with that kind of energy/focus/devotion without the rushed, sloppy quality typical of 24-Hour Comics.

    Tag Team is “a sweatshop-style comics anthology with an indie vibe” featuring brand-new work by Colleen Frakes, Robyn Chapman, Dennis Pacheco, Morgan Pielli, Sam Carbaugh, and Pat Barrett.

    This half-dozen steaming-hot brood of formidable 12-armed cartooning chops divided the comics-making process into six timed steps – and the result is Tag Team #1: A Collaborative Comics Anthology.

    OK, according to Tag Teamer Morgan Pielli, here’s how it works:

    “Six cartoonists gather in a circle, and the clock is started. At the end of each step, they pass the comic to the person on their left. At each step, they’re encouraged to develop the story, improve it, and put your own stamp on it—a process that in animation is called ‘plussing.’ Each person does every step once. And every person works on every story. By the end of the process, you have six new stories, all very different from how they were first imagined.”

    This you’ve gotta see — pick it up this weekend at MoCCA,

  • after you pop on over to the Tag Team website for more info. Learn how you can create your own Tag Team comic with a circle of fellow creators. Check it out!
  • * PS: I must also mention that Craig Yoe will be at MoCCA, manning a table with his latest works.

    Craig will be there with the amazing The Complete Milt Gross, which should be one of your ‘must have’ purchases of the show (if you’ve got the dough-ray-me to drop)! Craig will also have copies for sale of his other books, including The Art of Ditko, The Great Antiwar Cartoons, The Best of Sexology, the very handsome George Herriman collection Krazy + Ignatz in Tiger Tea and more. Craig writes that also at his table will be his “step-daughters Lizzie and Vickie + Danny Hellman!” There might be Hellman to pay if you don’t visit Craig‘s table — or rather, Hellman to pay if you DO.

    I mention this because I’m posting my complete review of The Complete Milt Gross this weekend at the CCS Schulz Library blog; I’ll post the link on Saturday, folks.

    Tomorrow: The Preview of MoCCA-bound CCS Comics & Comix Continues!

    1963 is TM and ©1993, 2010 Alan Moore and Rick Veitch, all rights reserved. Tales of the Uncanny, The Unbelievable N-Man, The Fury, Commander Solo & The Screamin’ Skydogs, Vyrmix, Molemoth and The Hypernaut, and all related characters, concepts and properties are TM and ©1993, 2010 Stephen R. Bissette, by contractual arrangement with the original co-creator; all rights reserved. MoCCA Fest 2010 poster art ©2010 Dash Shaw and MoCCA. All other artwork and titles are TM and ©2009, 2010 their respective creators, posted with permission.


    Discussion (8) ¬

    1. John Platt

      1. Awesome cover.

      2. This is almost worth buying last-minute plane tickets to NYC.

      3. MILT GROSS! (There’s also a lot of great Gross material in Yoe’s earlier book, Comic Arf.)

      4. I miss Don Simpson’s lettering.

    2. srbissette

      Don and I spoke a few times over the end of 2009 (as Rick and I tried to pull together all the rights issues on ’1963′); Don sounded great. He’s not missing comics, though, and is yet another vet of the industry who has thrived since LEAVING the industry… that said, it was terrific to catch up with him, and yes, I, too, miss Don’s stories, his art, and his lettering.

    3. cat

      i miss megaton man. :D

      also, WHOO HOOO!!! GO STEVE!!

    4. James Robert Smith

      There are some extremely talented folk there at the school. TALES OF SAN PAPEL looks like something I need to have.

      Good luck with the retro-comic! It’s great to see you at work again!

    5. srbissette

      Thanks, Bob, and note the links — I know you’re NOT at or going to MoCCA, and just about everything I’ve posted about this week is available online via the student’s respective websites. They’d appreciate the business and support, and you’ll appreciate the comix.

    6. Kit

      This should be at the very least a fascinating package, if the same degree of care and attention to design and production are taken as with the original 19*3 series, as opposed to About Comics’ other paperbacks.

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