2013
05.01

I’ve been drawing fight scenes more than usual recently - what action comic is complete without a few of them? – which got me thinking about some of my favorite comic book brawls. There are hundreds of superhero fights that I can recall quicker than people’s birthdays or important passwords and forgive me if I’m wrong, but I bet your memory’s probably  identical to mine. From the banal and obligatory to the inspired and well crafted, we’ve all seen a wide range of slugfests.

SD

Is it the choreography in service of mayhem? Is it an appreciation for impossible anatomy? Is it that smattering of blood on the corner of a mouth?  Is it not worth examining at all? Too late!

Kieron Dwyer 1

Captain America #345 by Mark Gruendwald, Kieron Dwyer and Al Milgrom. I have a soft spot for the Gruenwald-era Captain America. The Ron Lim drawn issues are great, especially Streets of Poison where Cap absorbs a warehouse worth of cocaine & gives Daredevil a beatdown, but the Dwyer issues are in a class by themselves (he had been drawing comics for about a year by the time this issue came out).

Kieron Dwyer 2

This Code-approved scene is half shoot out, half hands-on massacre. It was a 75 cent instant classic.

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Legion of Super-Heroes #4 by Keith Giffen, Tom & Mary Bierbaum and Al Gordon. This is about as abstract as a cosmic battle is ever going to be in a DC comic, but what makes it awesome is that it’s a fight between Mon-El (red, caped) and the Time Trapper (see: all that sand), meaning he’s fighting basically the concept of time itself (as well as the Superman editorial offices of ’90).

Keith Giffen

I used to dislike the impenetrability of these Legion comics. These days, I love it, especially if they were drawn by Giffen.

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Justice League Europe #11 by William Messner -Loebs and Bart Sears (plotted by Giffen same month as the Legion issue up there… wow!). This fight’s pretty brief, which should appease all those whiners who begin their sentences with “In real life, a fight wouldn’t last as long as–”.

In real life!

Bart Sears

Anyway, you wanna talk about brief? How about “One punch!” (If you got that reference, congratulations/shame on you).

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Orion #5 by Walter Simonson. This is an All-Fight issue between father and son, Orion and Darkseid. It’s an incredibly paced fight, this one. I’ll say it here: Orion contains many instances of innovative action-storytelling. It’s some of Simonson’s best work, and his love for the material only strengthens it. Toward the end of the run it gets a little wonky (when he has to draw regular people eating hot dogs or walking), but the majority of this run is page for page forward-looking superhero comics.

Simonson

No banter, plenty of speed lines. Is speed line porn a thing?

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Amazing Spider-Man #4 by Stan Lee and God Himself. Not only is this one of the best fights ever, it’s the quintessential Spider-Man story. It has all the staples: teen angst, young romance, awesome villain, humiliation during battle, worried aunt, hateful boss, public ridicule, wisecracks, isolation. You really don’t need to go further than this one issue; it goes off the rails after this.

Ditko page

Okay. Steve Ditko. There, I said it.

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The Uncanny X-men #173 by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek. Ah, the Smith run on the X-men, a highlight for many X-fans. His trajectory is interesting because, not unlike Dwyer, it was during Smith’s first year when he landed the gig that defined his career. He rocketed into fandom heights almost immediately, rode the X-wave for a year, then came close to burning out. This issue may be the apex of that initial run, but definitely the one that personally influenced me.

Paul Smith 1

I recently paid homage to this widescreen battle in a recent issue of Copra (the one where they also go to Tokyo), and although Smith was carrying over the style set forth by Frank Miller (in the Wolverine mini-series tied to this issue), it was this story that made an impression on me.

Paul Smith 2

Speaking of things I’ve recently tried to pull off, how about battle royal match-type of fights? I can’t think of any standout examples with a huge cast of characters (well, this milestone goes without saying). You know what? I don’t even wanna know. Somebody’s bound to say Secret Wars and I’m not ready to deal with their warped sense of history or taste.
BS

 

Isn’t it weird when an artist actaully knows some martial arts and then draws a step-by-step of what he knows but passes it off as a narrative? The O’Neil/Cowan Question had a lot of that. So did Mike Baron comics.  I get trying to be faithful to the art form of self defense, but sometimes I just want a clumsy pair of fists to operatically connect with someone’s cheekbone.

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“Honorable Mention” and “Runner Up” sounds wrong, so I’ll sidestep my personal Top Fight list to admit that, undeniably, the master of the superhero fight scene is Jack Kirby (oh, yes he is). Frank Miller is up there, especially when he’s the one drawing it (don’t deny it, you). Erik Larsen has cornered the market on big hands that punch things (tell me I’m wrong). Frank Quietly’s Authority had epically drawn moments of violence (okay, don’t tell me). Recently, James Harren has produced some of the best tighten-up-release carnage I’ve seen since Berserk (stop it).

And hey, you know I’m talking exclusively about American mainstream comics, right? I know all about some of the very best outside of that: Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy. Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit. The comics of Wong Yuk-long. These are all works of beauty, just like the list I laid out. Every knuckle, every grimace, every drop of blood, all modest examples as to why comic book fighting is so present, so central to the landscape. It represents what comics are so impossibly good at being, all in one shot: awkward and graceful and ridiculous.

KD

–Fiffe

2013
04.27

Copra 6 Cover

Copra #6 is now available! This is the second part of our Tokyo adventure, the brutal climax to the crew’s main mission: stop Vitas. Call it a boiling point, call it endgame, call it a reason for me to draw a lot of broken glass, but this concludes the first Copra story arc with a bang.

C6.BURL

C6.RAX

C6.WIR

C6.XENIA

Things don’t stop there. I have plenty of stories lined up, characters to introduce and established ones to explore: more comics in 24 page color bursts every month or so. For now, I’m very happy with the way this first arc turned out and I can only hope you feel the same.

Quick reminder: be sure to get the Copra Compendium (released by Bergen Street Comics Press); it collects the first 3, out of print issues.

Now back to the boards. See you in May.

–Fiffe

MAN HEAD

2013
04.03

ZEGAS #0

 

Zegas #0 is now available! This is the latest edition of short stories featuring the Zegas siblings, Emily & Boston, and by latest I mean that although the Zero Issue contains previously released work via webcomics: “Birthday”, “Cactus” and a couple more extra bits — most of it is presented in print for the very first time.

This early material initially lived online as a temporary solution while I figured out how to get it on to sheets of paper, and how to maybe involve a staple or two. I’m traditional that way, plus I had to feed my love for a page turn. It’s how I designed the stories to be seen, actually, and since they’re no longer available digitally, they can exclusively be read here.

Zegas.Zero.E

Just like the first two issues, Zegas #0 is a full color magazine-size comic book, 24 pages, signed by yours truly and numbered, limited to 400 copies.

Zegas #0 will be making its official debut at this year’s MoCCA festival in NYC on April 6th & 7th (we’ll be at Table F178but you can place an order now to make sure you get your copy!

For me, it was pretty cool to check in on these characters, albeit more of a revisit. Their stories still rang true, and it got me excited for newer ones. If you’ve read these stories long ago on your monitor, I hope you’ll feel the same. If these are completely new to you, I hope you like ‘em, too!

–Fiffe

2013
03.26

Copra.Compendium.Cover

Copra Press is proud to announce that we have teamed up with Bergen Street Comics Press to present the Copra Compendium! I couldn’t be more excited about combining forces with Brooklyn’s own Bergen Street Comics in this new publishing venture.

The Copra Compendium [BSC001] collects the first three issues of the new nearly sold out action series, 72 full color pages with a couple of new bits of extra art. It’s the perfect jumping on point and a good chunk of comics in one solid package. It will be making its official debut at this year’s MoCCA on April 6th & 7th, so make sure to visit Bergen Street Comics at Table F179 and Copra Press (Kat & myself) at Table F178.

Update: The Copra Compendium is now available for purchase directly from Bergen Street Comics Press!

–Fiffe

2013
03.11

COPRA #5


Copra #5 was delivered to me, box after box filled with the Tokyo issue, which leaves me little choice but to put it out in the world. So here it is!

BUY COPRA NUMBER FIVE.

This issue is why Copra came together as a team of misfit mercenaries –  a hunt, a showdown, a step closer to clearing their name. If you like rooftops and fistfights, this comic may have been made specifically for you.

Quick note: I’ll be attending MoCCA on April 6th & 7th in New York City. Drop on by and say hello if you’re in the area. I’ll have some new comics, some old comics, a little merchandise and a big debut. Also, it’ll probably be the only convention I’ll be able to attend for a while.

About Copra, this issue was beyond fun to work on and I hope that comes through. Thirty more days will pass, and I will see you then with the arc’s conclusion in hand.

–Fiffe

2013
02.11

COPRA #4

Copra #4 is here, ready and waiting for you! I’m really glad to see this one make it to my doorstep, completely ignoring the snowstorm we had recently. Not only that, but we finally get to see our Copra gang together, working in tandem to solve their problems more efficiently, the way friends are meant to be.

Great news! More stores are carrying Copra, so check them out if they’re in your area: Copacetic (Pittsburgh), Locust Moon (Philadelphia), Orbital (UK) and Nobrow (UK).

Copra #4. It is here. HERE.

–Fiffe

 

2013
01.13

COPRA #3

The third issue of Copra just showed up on my doorstep and is ready to go without a minute to spare! You can buy it here!

Continuing where the adventure left off, we meet some new characters who finally complete the Copra line-up to be reckoned with, as well as the next step in their on-the-run scramble. Bullets! Parades! Dimensional portals! Demolished bodegas! Colors! Ink lines! What more could you possibly want out of a comic?

Some of you have asked about a collected edition or about digital distribution. Those are distant concerns, faint possibilities that may or may not happen. I’m concentrating on putting these issues out on time, having them retain the quality I’ve set for them, and making each hard copy as special as possible. That much I am certain of.

I hinted at this last month, but Copra will very soon be carried by a few shops overseas. I’ll let you know the sordid details as soon as I get them. For now, these wonderful comic book stores are happy to carry Copra: Bergen St. Comics (Brooklyn), Floating World (Portland), Zanadu Comics (Seattle), and Mission: Comics & Art (SF).

Oh, yeah… and I also have the second printing of the first issue available! Grab it if you didn’t the first time around.

Don’t forget, pick up Copra #3 and I’ll see you next month, unless I end up posting about the art of the fight scene (or something that’ll give me an excuse to scan old comics) first.

–Fiffe

 

2013
01.05

So the new year has finally come and upon reflection, 2012 wasn’t so bad after all! I’ve been a [micro?] publisher for over a year now and have launched a new title: COPRA. Here’s a brief look back on the recent nods.

Tucker Stone included my comics – CopraZegas & Deathzone! - in his sharp, personal Best Of list for The Comics Journal. Tucker has been more than instrumental in getting me through those first few Copra issues by saving me from comic book cabin fever. Big thanks to Matt Seneca and Abhay Khosla, too.

Comics Alliance braved a massive look back in 5 parts, and Copra made the cut in Part 4 a.k.a. The Hellboy Memorial Awards. Major thanks to Dylan Todd, Chris Sims, Caleb Goellner, and Joseph Hughes for their continued support.

Comic Book Resources had a multi part list of their own, and my comics snuck in there thanks to Timothy Callahan and Sonia Harris. Timothy also  gave us his own Ten Best in his CBR column When Worlds Collide.

I T E M S !

Alec Berry, in his new position at CBR, gave Copra a nice critical write up, which echoed his overview in his podcast, The Chemical Box, co-hosted by Joey Aulisio (Chemical Box contributor Shawn Starr also reviewed Copra).

Jim Rugg and Ian Harker, their respective shout outs were much appreciated. I also spoke to Seth Jacob a little and Terrence Stasse Moreau broke it down, which is really a gross understatement considering all the thought and work behind his posts.

T H A N K S !

To all the new readers who hopped on board this last year! Oh, and Annie Koyama, Zack Soto, Adrian Johnson and Chuck Forsman have been nothing but super cool from the get go.

The biggest thanks go to Kat Roberts, who acts as the Copra Press house editor by proxy and a one-woman army of patience and inspiration.

Last but not least, Bryan Galatis and Erik Mallo have lent their talents to making those fun short video clips every time a new issue comes out. Here’s the latest.

And just for good measure, here’s the trailer for the previous issue, which didn’t grace – no pun intended – this blog all month.

I’m deeply touched and inspired to keep on doing my Copra thing thanks to all your awesome feedback. All you readers have been really great and I’m very excited to keep making comic books for you to read. Here’s to 2013.

–Fiffe

2012
12.19

I’ve sold out of Copra #1! Don’t worry, newcomers, I have a reprint underway. Second printing of #1 should be at my doorstep in a matter of a couple of weeks. I’ll re-list it and make a huge stink.

Thanks to Chris Sims, the Comics Alliance’s Holiday Gift Guide featured the Copra subscription. The CA staff has by and large been supportive, so this nod is really appreciated.

Over at Comic Book Resources, Ryan Ingram interviewed me about my superhero influences and my work habits.

Finally, and on the fringes of the world of Copra, Terrence Stasse has been writing several insightful breakdowns of my comics over at Dirty Fractals.

That’s it for this week, or until I have some Copra #3 action happening. Have a happy holiday, folks, I’ll be seeing you soon.

–Fiffe

2012
12.11

C O P R A # 2

COPRA #2 is here and it’s ready to go! This time around, the cast grows, the plot thickens, and the action continues (catch up with #1 if you haven’t already). But before you check out the preview pages below, a few things:

- Overseas Readers! I’m closing in on getting some COPRA comics in some London shops. It may ultimately be a quarterly affair but whatever happens, you’ll be the first to know!

- Reviews and Links! This has been an awesome and supportive month for COPRA. Reader response has been nothing short of flattering, and it’s been gathering some amazing reviews from Comics AllianceThe Comics JournalThe Chemical BoxComics Book Resources, and Comics Bulletin.

- Conventions! I’ll have a table at the Locust Moon Festival this upcoming Sunday December 16th in Philadelphia. For details & directions, visit their blog or their FB page.

Enough yapping. Here are some pages…

There you have it! Second issue’s here and I’m just warming up. COPRA continues to be a 24 page, full color monthly comic, so stay tuned. I have tons more characters, stories and choreographed mayhem to employ. See you in thirty.

 

–Fiffe