Tag Archives: aspen comics

Interview: Giuseppe Cafaro Discusses the Kiani Redesign

00b_FAK3-01-CMYKcrop[1]In early November Aspen Comics made the announcement they were changing up the look of their heroine Kiani when Fathom: Kiani Volume 4 #1 arrives February 11th. Alex Konat, Giuseppe Cafaro, and Wes Hatman were tasked with updating Kiani’s look and the title’s overall design.

In the announcement Aspen cited the growing female audience, and the evolution of their fanbase, an honest and frank admission that I wish we saw more of.

Yesterday, we talked with Aspen Editor in Chief and writer of Fathom: Kiani, Vince Hernandez. Today, we bring you part two of the discussion, as we got a chance to send some questions to artist Giuseppe Cafaro about some of what went into the redesign and the latest trend of new costumes for characters.

Graphic Policy: So the big news is you’re redesigning Kiani for her comic’s next volume out in February. When did you find out about the change, and get tasked with the redesign?

Giuseppe Cafaro: So, yes, there’s a great project behind the new Kiani volume that started during the end of this summer. Vince told me about the idea to bring Kiani on a new cinematic view and I loved that new way from the beginning.

00b_FAK4-02-CMYKcrop_1GP: How were Alex Konat and Wes Hartman involved?

GC: The whole “Fathom crew” was involved in this redesign. Alex drew the outfit for the first issue (that you can see also on his covers) and I’m drawing the concept outfit for the other issues. Wes is always one of the most important members of this project – he gives life to our ideas and pencils.

GP: What were the things you thought about when coming up with the new look?

GC: I was excited! Kiani is one of my favorite comic book characters since I started to read Fathom, and I’m so happy to have the possibility to work on these books and work on her redesign.

GP: Did you put thought into the utility and practicality of the outfit when coming up with the new design?

GC: Sure. There’s will be different environments and villains in this new story and her new design will be connected with what she needs to be the “bad-ass heroine” we know.

KIANI-V4-01c-Garbowska-2x3_1GP: What was the approval process like? How many versions were there?

GC: About the first outfit, we started from the design of Kiani: Dawn of War, beautifully drawn by Talent Caldwell. About the second design, I did 3 different versions and Vince approved one of those, but I think I’ll still do some little changes, with his supervision, on that new design.

GP: What are some of the character designs in comics that really stand out to you?

GC: I don’t like the classic “hero-suit” too much. I love a lot of the classic Image characters (Spawn, Witchblade) but I think that my favorite costume design is the Batman from “Batman: Noel” drawn by Lee Bermejo.

GP: With many of this year’s redesigns of characters practicality of the costume seem to be a priority. Why do you think this has become more of a focus of the artists today?

GC: I think that all redesigns actually come from generational change, not only in comics but also in movies and TV series. Sure, there are a lot of people who doesn’t like redesigns, but I think that it’s important to give new looks to our “heroes”.

GP: What comic projects do you have coming up?

GC: I’m working on Kiani interiors right now; I’ll draw all 4 books of this volume, as I did for the last volume. As for the future, I hope to continue to collaborate with Aspen Comics. It’s so fun and intense for me.


Interview: Vince Hernandez Discusses Aspen, Kiani, and the Changing Comic Readership

00b_FAK4-02-CMYKcrop_1In early November Aspen Comics made the announcement they were changing up the look of their heroine Kiani when Fathom: Kiani Volume 4 #1 arrives February 11th. Alex Konat, Giuseppe Cafaro, and Wes Hatman were tasked with updating Kiani’s look and the title’s overall design.

What was even more amazing was the honesty and transparency as to why this design change and update was happening:

And as our company and fan base continue to evolve, a new generation of readers will be introduced to this wonderful character, including a much larger female audience. We wanted to honor that spirit of progress by updating the look and feel of the series with an exciting new design.

In a year of major changes in the diversity of comic characters, this was the latest example that 2014 could be called “the year of the woman” in the comic industry.

We got a chance to throw some questions at the writer of Fathom: Kiani, Vince Hernandez, not just about the new direction, but also the changing demographics of comic readers and fans.

We have even more images of Kiani, and tomorrow come back for Part II, where we talk with artist Giuseppe Cafaro about the actual design process.

00b_FAK3-01-CMYKcrop[1]Graphic Policy: So the big news is you’re redesigning Kiani for her comic’s next volume out in February. How did you all come to the decision for the redesign?

Vince Hernandez: That’s correct, we’ll be ushering in a new look for the series both through the narrative and the visual aspect of the title. Like most ideas we have, this was derived from one of our production meetings, while discussing the new direction of Fathom: Kiani, and what we were looking to achieve with the final product. We’ve tried really hard to establish a library of titles that will appeal to the growing number of comic book readers, and that includes a large female audience. With this fourth volume of Fathom: Kiani, we tried to be mindful of this new audience while also staying true to the character and her rich history. This included a natural evolution to the character’s appearance that fits more with where she is in her journey. It’s all very organic to the story when you read it. I hope readers will agree.

GP: How many people were involved in the redesign process?

VH: Everything we do here at Aspen is a collaborative process, so everyone’s opinion matters. Usually, that starts in our production meetings and carries over into the individual discussions I have with the creative team, and all along the way I try to gather everyone’s opinions. For Fathom: Kiani, it’s like clockwork because Giuseppe Cafaro, Wes Hartman and Josh Reed know exactly what to do, since we’ve worked together on this title for quite some time.

GP: Were there any mandates as far as the redesign?

VH: No mandates, just to stay true to the character and the story, and our original discussions about the visual look of the series which includes covers, solicitation ads, and the approach to marketing the book for a wider audience.

KIANI-V4-01c-Garbowska-2x3_1GP: In the release announcing this you mention how the Aspen Comics fan base has evolved, and the much larger female audience. How closely does Aspen follow that? Do you have a good idea of what your readership “looks like”?

VH: I think so, although we’re always pleasantly surprised to meet new readers. The comic industry is growing larger and with that comes new readers and fans looking to enjoy our books. With the advent of more conventions and social networking, it’s a very fun time to be a comic book creator, as we can interact with our fan base directly. We try to stay current with that approach and evolve as our fan base does. One thing many people wrongly perceive about Aspen is that we have a mostly male fan base, because they see our female heroines on the covers and assume we’re something we’re not. We actually have a very strong and loyal female audience that we adore, and we’re very open to hearing our fans’ opinions. We’re here to entertain first and foremost, and with that comes a responsibility to be open to criticism.

GP: How do you feel the comic readership has changed over the years as far as habits and demographics?

VH: I think the comic readership has become much more attuned to challenging the status quo in terms of voting with their wallets, but I definitely wouldn’t mind even more change in that department. Right now there’s such a great influx of female readers and more of a focus on increasing diversity in the industry, but there’s still a large majority of readers that dismiss anything not by the Big Two. Those buying habits are hard to change, but thankfully I think it’s trending in the other direction now.

GP: This year’s big story for comics is diversity with numerous publishers headlining a lot more minorities in comics, and outright changing gender or race of characters. What do you see as the driving force behind that?

VH: I’d love to say that I think it’s all organic to the story and not part of a larger initiative to appeal to a demographic that has been under-served, but I wouldn’t be completely honest. But, then at the end of the day, anything that helps to add more diversity to the industry I can’t see as a bad thing–as long as it’s handled with respect and care for the story and/or characters.

GP: Do you think those changes are editorially driven? Number crunching/marketing driven? A combination?

VH: A combination, and I think it’s foolish to think that marketing doesn’t play a part in these decisions. Oftentimes, we as fans can get so caught up in the comics we love that we forget that publishers have to run as a business, first and foremost. Understanding market trends and areas of growth potential are essential to any good business model in the long term. Finding new readership is the best way to feed that growth, and publishers have to search out those new readers in these ways.

GP: Do you think the rise of self-publishing, Kickstarter, web comics, the explosion of indie books has helped pushed for greater diversity in the rest of the industry?

VH: Absolutely, and the benefit to that added diversity is that it puts the larger publishers in a position to not rest on their heels, which is a win for the overall quality of the work produced in comics. Being a published comic book creator doesn’t have the same value that it did a decade ago, now that anybody can publish their own work with enough determination. It makes for a more competitive playing field, and more options for fans to choose from.

GP: We publish monthly demographic studies of folks who “like” comics on Facebook. Do comic publishers consider that sort of thing when deciding what to publish and who an audience for a comic might be?

VH: You know, at this moment the correlation between a “like” on Facebook and a sale at the retail level to me hasn’t presented itself yet, but I think there are plenty of conclusions you can draw from the statistical data on Facebook. I think this is much more pronounced at the creator level, as I’ve seen some creators really build a solid revenue stream for their work due to their strong social media presence. As a publisher, we usually have to make our decisions much earlier, as we plan our production schedule far in advance. Once it hits social media we already anticipate a certain level of awareness for the property or title.

GP: Can we expect any other shake-ups like this for 2015 for Aspen?

VH: Well, the great thing about Aspen is that we’re free to really shake things up all the time, so I think Aspen fans can expect many more surprises in 2015, as we have some really fun new projects on the horizon!

Preview: Lola XOXO #5


Siya Oum – Story & Art

Aspen’s newest hit series continues!

Conrad arrives in Sinmora, and is shocked to find out that Lola’s life may be in danger. Meanwhile, a weakened and bloodied Wasteland Trading Co. finally find solace in a small town that may prove hopeful for a post-apocalyptic future ahead. However, Lola soon realizes that looks can be deceiving, and nothing is as it seems in the Wasteland—and this mistake could be her last!

One of 2014’s most exciting debuts, LOLA XOXO is ready to take you on an incredible adventure unlike any other!

LOLA XOXO #5 is in stores December 10th, 2014!


Aspen in January 2015


Peter Steigerwald – Story / Peter Steigerwald – Art

There IS life on other planets—THEY find it.

Abros and Ty are joined by the ZooHunter Minalara and her Dog and they confront the nefarious Qaurec in the jungles of Ygnn. Quarec intends to make them an offer they can’t refuse. Read issue three to find out! This issue features the first-ever comic cover by Cartoonist/Illustrator and Animation Director Chris Sanders! (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods)

Creator and artist Peter Steigerwald presents to you the newest Aspen hit series – THE ZOOHUNTERS!

THE ZOOHUNTERS #3 is in stores January 21st, 2015!

FC 32 pages $3.99

RETAILER NOTE: THE ZOOHUNTERS #3 will ship with two different covers by series artist Peter Steigerwald and artist Chris Sanders animation writer and director (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods). Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.


For every 10 copies of THE ZOOHUNTERS #3 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the alternate THE ZOOHUNTERS #3 cover by artist Peter Steigerwald, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional Peter Steigerwald alternate THE ZOOHUNTERS #3 Covers at net $4 each.

ZOOHunters-03a-Steigerwald-2x3 ZOOHunters-03b-Sanders-2x3 ZOOHunters-03c-Steigerwald-2x3


Frank Mastromauro – Story / Marco Lorenzana – Art / Wes Hartman – Colors

Prepare yourself to be – OVERTAKEN!

Alone on a strange new world, Will and Jessica Harden find themselves face to face against an enemy that is only out for one thing – their lives! Outnumbered and running low on weapons, their hope for survival is slim. But, if they can stay alive just long enough, help may arrive in the most unlikely of forms.

Written and created by Frank Mastromauro, featuring artwork by the talented newcomer Marco Lorenzana, OVERTAKEN is going to take your breath away and leave you gasping for more!

OVERTAKEN #3 is in stores January 14th, 2015!

FC 32 pages $3.99

RETAILER NOTE: OVERTAKEN #3 will ship with two different covers by series artist Marco Lorenzana and artist Jordan Gunderson. Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.


For every 8 total combined copies of the Lorenzana and Gunderson covers ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the alternate OVERTAKEN #3 cover by artist Elizabeth Torque with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional Torque alternate OVERTAKEN #3 covers at net $4 each.

OVERTAKEN-03a-Lorenzana-2x3 OVERTAKEN-03b-Gunderson-2x3 OVERTAKEN-03c-Torque-2x3

Aspen’s Kiani Returns February 2015 With a New Design From the Fathom Creative Team

Aspen Comics recently celebrated the ten-year anniversary of one of their most popular characters, Fathom’s warrior heroine Kiani. To help usher in a new direction for the character beginning in February for the release of Fathom: Kiani Volume 4, the publisher tasked current All New Michael Turner’s Fathom artist Alex Konat and Fathom: Kiani artists Giuseppe Cafaro and Wes Hartman to update Kiani’s visual look and her title’s overall design.

Fathom: Kiani writer Vince Hernandez explained in a release:

When Kiani was created in 2004, she was an instant hit with Aspen fans because of the depth of her personality and her unique character design. And as our company and fan base continue to evolve, a new generation of readers will be introduced to this wonderful character, including a much larger female audience. We wanted to honor that spirit of progress by updating the look and feel of the series with an exciting new design.

Fathom: Kiani Volume 4 #1 arrives in stores this February 11th written by Vince Hernandez with art by Giuseppe Cafaro and Wes Hartman, and all issues in this series will feature direct edition covers by Cafaro and Alex Konat, with Retailer Incentive Edition water-themed homage covers by Agnes Garbowska.


Preview: The Zoohunters #1


Peter Steigerwald – Story / Peter Steigerwald – Art

There IS life on other planets—THEY find it.

Abros Kel is a ZooHunter—a man who is hired to capture animals for zoos on alien worlds. He and his young son Ty have lost everything due to a tragedy, and together this uncomfortable pair set out into the stars to train Ty as a ZooHunter. Along the way they encounter scores of alien life-forms on far away worlds including Qaurec—an unscrupulous rival ZooHunter who is hunting Abros down. Can Abros and Ty stay one step ahead of his villainy and prove successful in their quest?

Creator and artist Peter Steigerwald presents to you the newest Aspen hit series – THE ZOOHUNTERS!

THE ZOOHUNTERS #1 is in stores November 5th, 2014!


Preview: All New Soulfire #8


JT Krul – Story / V. Ken Marion – Art

This all-new volume of Soulfire reaches its thrilling conclusion, as Malikai and his friends face off with their long-time adversary, Abel, along with his terrible, mechanized monstrosities. It’s a free-for-all that could threaten the future of magic forever!

ALL NEW SOULFIRE #8 is in stores October 29th, 2014!


Aspen Launches 350 Titles on Madefire

Madefire-AspenComic#CA9866DAspen Comics has announced the launch of over 350 new and classic titles from the publisher’s digital library available starting on October 23 on Madefire. Madefire delivers Motion Books, an interactive audio-visual reading format that combines art and sound for a new style of digital storytelling. The new titles will be available on both the Madefire iOS and Android apps for tablets and smartphones. Madefire Motion Books & Comics has been a 5-star rated app since launch and recently recognized in the iOS App Store as an Editors’ Pick, Best New Apps and Best of July (2014).

The Madefire Motion Book Tool was also recently launched to the public in July and has been continuously developed with the creator in mind. Taking static art a step further by incorporating movement, sound and depth to visual reading, the platform continues to push the limits in digital storytelling. New features have been introduced to allow for a more streamlined creative process like creating covers with a click of a button and animating art in a few simple steps. Publishing to the web has never been easier and can take as little as 5 minutes. The ease of sharing your story on a website or blog is also more fluid now with an embed code automatically created when the book is published, giving the creator control of where and how their story is told.

The first wave of Aspen Comics’ books on Madefire will cover a large variety of titles including Michael Turner’s Fathom and Soulfire, Executive Assistant: Iris, Lola XOXO in addition to a majority of the publisher’s past library of books. New releases such as Aspen’s upcoming The ZooHunters will also be available day and date on November 5. Aspen Comics plans to include titles from their all-new Big Dog Ink imprint soon as well.

Big Dog Ink Becomes an Imprint of Aspen Comics

Aspen-BDI-NYCC14Aspen Comics announced today that they’ve reached an agreement with fellow Independent comic book publisher Big Dog Ink to acquire exclusive publishing rights for BDI’s entire library of comic book properties, in addition to their past catalogue of titles. The deal will see BDI launch forward as a distinct imprint of Aspen Comics’ books and products, with owner/publishers Tom and Kim Hutchison continuing to be the creative force behind BDI’s unique set of original titles at Aspen.

Founded in 2009, BDI has seen a substantial growth within the independent comic book market in collaboration with a wide variety of up-and-coming artistic talent on a multitude of original properties such as Legend of Oz: The Wicked West, Shahrazad, Penny For Your Soul, Ursa Minor, Critter, Knightingail and more.

Under the terms of this new agreement between the two publishers, Aspen and BDI will be widening the access to BDI’s diverse lineup of original properties through several of Aspen’s existing channels, including at the retail and digital levels, in addition to Aspen’s online webstore.

Aspen and BDI have set a planned reprint release schedule for their existing library of books to feature new and re-mastered content, beginning with the re-release of Shahrazad in early Spring with more release dates to follow.

The publishers will also be utilizing their combined regional presence and bases of operation to build a broader convention appearance slate across more potential cities and avenues of promotion in 2015 and beyond.

ASPEN-BDI-IMPRINT Shahrazad-01-aspen-bdi

Preview: Fathom: The Adventures of Ernie


Written by Vince Hernandez
Pencils/Colors by Agnes Garbowska

A completely brand new and unexpected Fathom tale for fans of all ages! Join none other than Fathom’s Ernie the Seahorse as the playful ocean dweller finds himself wrapped up in a magical Aspen-universes-spanning adventure that will test his limits! For the first time ever, Aspen Comics’ is excited to offer fans and readers a unique comic and coloring book that includes a crafted full length story geared for children to color, plus added puzzles, mazes and other fun-filled activities for kids of all ages! It’s the perfect treat for the Halloween holiday!

Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.


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