One of the captains of the Prophet-ship, the creator of Old City Blues, dude nice enough to give us an interview. Giannis Milonogiannis is many things. Now he’s adding “charitable as fuck creator” to his resume, after dropping a beastly 350-page art book online. For free.
So 2013 is in the rearview, but what a year for comics, am I right? While Marvel had an impressive and diverse publishing initiative in Marvel NOW, DC alienated fans across the board with bland updates to their characters (save for Batman & Wonder Woman, maybe) and business practices that would seem right at home in the mid 20th century. Meanwhile, Image released a flood of new titles that only continued to improve their brand as the go-to company for independent, creator-owned fare. Paul Pope dropped his long awaited Battle Boy, comic legend Gilbert Hernandez dropped five new books, and we got another issue of Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve. We even got some “Event” books that weren’t half-bad. Hit the jump and check out what we here on Spaceship Omega thought was the 13 Best Comics of 2013, and make sure to agree/disagree with our rankings in the comments section!
Remember how last week I was all excited for life? This week is the glorious inversion of such a feeling. A viscous ladling of ennui is rattling around my belly, daring me to frown. There isn’t so much a reason for me to be sad, rather I’m just like “oh hey, I exist.” Eh, what can you do. Some weeks are more thrilling than others. So I turn to you, dare readers, in this newest of Monday Morning Commutes. Tell me what you’re enjoying this week. Inspire me. I beseech thee. And thee. And thee.
Hit the jump for my tepid chocies for the next seven days.
2012 was an interesting year for me personally. As many of you know, I spent a good portion of the year traveling, not only across the country, but across the world. At times OL was my lone tether to the bindings of our magnificently grotesque, yet powerfully addicting culture. That said, I had a profound experience outside of the bubble, much of which I have not taken the time to share, until now.
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Welcome back, friends. The Starship Omega plummeting through the Cosmos has returned, swerving out of the way of an errant cosmic calamity. We’ve finally regained cruising altitude, and a flesh-bot of your desired gender/gender combination will be along to massage your pinkish naughties soon. My name is Caffeine Powered, and I’m the Custodian and Lead Seminal Slinger aboard this Galaxy Cruise. Right here about this time, as I am ripped to the gills on a cheap Theraflu knockoff and fighting a lengthy head cold, I’m going to pontificate on what I’m enjoying this week. And so are you! That’s the whole gimmick behind this nonsense, Monday Morning Commute. More Theraflu!
My friends, welcome to the show. It’s been quiet around here at the Omega Level. For that I apologize. The past month has been a full-ass sprint towards the Grad School finish line. Due to this, I’ve all but dropped off the face of the Earth. I haven’t seen that son of a bitch Patrick Bateman since NYCC, and God knows without me keeping him in check he’s probably been returning a lot of video tapes. A lot of high school color guards being terrorized by a trench coat-and-smirk marauder. I haven’t even read a fucking comic book since August, folks. August. My life is a whirlwind, with only brief jaunts to the movie theaters and Borderlands 2 giving me respite.
Soon though! Fucking Thursday, this 50-page beast will be turned in. Then I’ll be able to relax. A bit.
This is Monday Morning Commute, the column where we diddle and jack it to the activities and loves that are getting us through this week. What are you degenerates digging at the moment? ATM? Ass to mouth?
There’re few things more depressing than watching creators lose the passion by which they were once driven. We’ve all seen it happen – the old dog, worn down by years spent chasing artistic success and financial stability and personal greatness, loses its love of the hunt. Instead of drawing fowl into the hunters’ scopes, these hounds are content with gum-delivering the birds that’ve already been blasted out of the sky.
And thus, we get comics and movies and music that get the job done, but without the zeal that we crave.
On the other hand, there’s nothing more beautiful than the sight of an up-and-comer in love with the creative process. This is the young pup who’s been told he’s too small for the hunt, but is just too damn scrappy to stay with the litter. So he puffs out his chest and snarls and barks as fiercely as he can. And just as he’s about to be dismissed by the tired hounds, the pup pounces on a swan from behind and rips out its goddamn jugular.
This is the image that comes to mind when I think of Giannis Milonogiannis.
Milonogiannis is a comics creator who’s making no small work of proving his worth to the pack. After being blown away by his contributions to PROPHET, I decided to investigate the other creations of the artist with the wonderfully-multisyllabic name. I was led to Old City Blues, the “cyberpunk police adventure” set in New Athens, 2048. I quickly devoured the first volume, and then went to the OCB website to feast upon the issues available online.
Gritty noir detectives, cybernetic mechs, car chases, discussions of consciousness – I just couldn’t get enough.
Hoping to satiate my rapacity, I contacted Giannis Milonogiannis and he was kind enough to answer some questions. Hit the hyperspace jump to check out this incredible young talent’s thoughts about his work, the current state of Greek comics, the digital/print discussion, and the process of seeking inspiration.
C’mon! Let’s join the hunt!
Man, I got myself that throbbing tip for the Brandon Graham and company Prophet. Despite owning all the single-issues, I went and snagged myself the first collection. $10.00? All in one tidy place? Fuck bills, buy comics. Ripping open that Amazon box, I was all kid like and shit, as if I hadn’t read the series already. Fantastic.
As a lifelong nerd, I occasionally delude myself into thinking that I’ve acquired superpowers. Truth be told, most of the time my faux-epiphanies are innocuous. So instead of jumping to my death in a moment of perceived super-flight, I just render myself nauseous after a hyper-metabolism delusion inspires me to eat fifty buffalo wings too many.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and I can’t disagree. I’m the type of moron that gives comic book fans a bad rap. But every now and then, my fantasies enable me to do something pretty rad.
For example, what would happen if I stopped thinking of myself as a hack-writer/petty-blogger? What if I started to believe that I could actually correspond with artists whose work I admire? And what if, in the midst of this Pepsi-drinkin’ daydream, I actually contacted someone in the hopes of sharing their words with the world?
Well, then we’d get a feature like the one I’m about to present — an interview with Farel Dalrymple.
As one of the founders of Meathaus, the creator of Pop Gun War, and one of the artists currently working on PROPHET with Brandon Graham, Farel Dalrymple is a comics creator worthy of respect and admiration. Despite his incredible workload, Mr. Dalrymple was gracious enough to respond to my semi-coherent questions. And this might just be the type of reinforcement that convinces that I do have superpowers after all.
Punch it into hyperspace to see Farel Dalrymple’s thoughts on comics anthologies, his current work, and even Type O Negative.
Last fall, Caffeine Powered started telling me about a comics creator by the name of Brandon Graham. He told me that he was hooked to this Graham fellow’s blog, as it featured some absolutely mind-bending artwork. Always the petulant younger brother, I scoffed at Caff-Pow’s suggestion that I visit aforementioned blog, and returned to my regularly scheduled activities (which probably consisted of drinking beers, listening to Mastodon, and playing Mario Kart).
At the time, the name Brandon Graham was whisked away to the mental data file I’ve labeled The Zillions of Things Caffeine Powered’s Tried to Foist Onto Me.
But by mid-January, the file was retrieved and brought to the forefront of my mindscape. After all, this is when Prophet #21 dropped. This comic – a relaunch of an early 90s Rob Liefeld series — massaged naughty regions of my nerd-mind that’d gone chaste for years. The panels before me contained images of kooky monster-beasts and bio-technology and gritty action, presenting them with a multicolored urbanity. After mainlining this single issue, I was addicted to John Prophet’s post-cryostasis adventures.
And when I realized Brandon Graham was the scribe of Prophet? Well, I called up Caffeine Powered and told him, “Goddamn dude, you weren’t joking.”
To atone for my sins, I reached out to Brandon Graham to see if he’d be willing to share some thoughts with Omega-Level. In the following interview, Graham reflects on inspirations old and new, teases prospective releases, and reaffirms the adage that the greatest rogues rock eyepatches.