Comic fans and connoisseurs of the graphic arts, start filling your 2014 calendar. Austin's own indie media expo Staple! just announced a local mainstay and two rising talents of the alternative circuit as their guest list headliners. Expect undead Archie, time-stopping titillation and supervillains in braces.
No comic has caused more unexpected controversy this year than Archie. Well, Afterlife With Archie, featuring a zombie Jughead, wasn't exactly everyday antics in Riverdale, and it's been artist Francesco Francavilla who has dumped some shambling horror into Betty and Veronica's lives. He's also a two-fisted pulp blaster with his own comic The Black Beetle, and he's been turning heads in the comic store with his pop art-styled cover work for Marvel, as well as a two issue run on Guardians of the Galaxy. However, expect a lot of questions about how he brought cannibalistic revenant forces to comicdom's most anodyne corner.
Talking of controversy, Chip Zdarsky is an underground comic fave from his Prison Funnies and Monster Cops days (plus, in Canada he's famous as curmudgeonly columnist Steve Murray, purveyor of Extremely Bad Advice for the National Post.) This year, he's become an indie superstar for Sex Criminals, his collaboration with Marvel mainstay Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Uncanny X-Men). The tale of low-grade crooks with the world's weirdest superpower (when they orgasm, they literally stop time), it's been an unexpected smash. Plus, it's been banned from the infamously prudish iTunes store.
The big local name in J Hause, aka GhostHause, whose Supervillain Highschool Yearbook series of portraits is a mainstay of geek aggregator fodder. He also runs the local branch of artist meetup SketchBomb, and is hard at work on his upcoming steampunk title The Grove.
Staple! 2014 runs Saturday and Sunday March 1-2, 2014 at the Marchesa Hall and Theater. Tickets will be available on the door: $10 per day, or $15 for the two day pass. More info at www.staple-austin.org.