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by Zachary Clemente
“The last story of the Greatest Generation”
Don’t let the semi-snarky headline fool you – I love me some Hickman Madness. Secret with artist Bodenheim was one of my favorite short series releases of the past two years and I adore both Manhattan Projects and East of West. Beyond his actual work, what really excites me is that Hickman seems to be utilizing Image’s platform in a way (or at least at a rate) that I wasn’t expecting. I shouldn’t be surprised though; he’s been doing it from day one. After releasing The Nightly News in 2006 with Image, we saw Hickman crank out Pax Romana, Transhuman, Red Mass for Mars, and The Red Wing all within a few years. It’s explosive and exhilarating and hopefully a trend that other creators will be afforded.
New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, THE AVENGERS) teams up with explosive artist Ryan Bodenheim (RED MASS FOR MARS, SECRET) for an all-new adventure series fraught with mystery, intrigue, and exotic end-of life care in THE DYING AND THE DEAD, coming from Image Comics on January 28.
The adventures begins in THE DYING AND THE DEAD #1 when a murder at a wedding sets off a series of reactions, unraveling secrets hundreds of years old. At great cost, a man with a dying wife is given the opportunity to save her. A lost tribe is reborn in another time. Seemingly unconnected events that force relics from the Greatest Generation to come together for one last hurrah.
“It’s not often that you work on something that feels almost perfect from day one, but working with Ryan again and how we’re both so in sync regarding the story, it really does feel like it could be something special,” said co-creator Hickman.
THE DYING AND THE DEAD (Diamond Code NOV140534) is a massive, over-sized, 60-page Indiana Jones-style high adventure that arrives in stores this 1/28 and will be available for $4.50.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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And here’s the official word on that new comic arts festival that people were alluding to at ICAF: Cartoon Crossroads Columbus or CXC, which will be a lot more than a CAF, really. The event will debut in 2015 as a two-day event (held October 2-3) and then grow into a four day festival in 2016. The show has a four person executive committee consisting of Cartoon Books’ Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer, Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon and Billy Ireland Library founder Lucy Caswell. Smith is the Artistic Director, while Spurgeon will be the Festival Director. Can you say heavy hitters?
You can read more about the event in the PR below. Obviously using the Billy Ireland library for a CAF-type event is a no brainer and given the muscle behind the show, it sounds like it will quickly move into a pre-eminent spot on the calendar. But, there is still the crowded calendar to contend with. There’s an existing show in Columbus, SPACE, which, while small, has roots that go back to the birth of the CAF with the Spirits of Independence tour. SPACE has staked out the spring slot, leaving October for CXC. While that’s a very crowded time slot, CXC is well placed to take advantage of cartoonists who may want to continue their tour after SPX, and perhaps on to the revamped APE.
At any rate, given the massive comics related resources located in Columbus, this is an exciting development, and another step on the growing importance of the CAF circuit for comics.
A tumblr has been set up here.
The Columbus, Ohio based Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) has announced its formation and intention to stage a four-day, yearly comics festival beginning in Fall 2016.
The group also announced the CXC Launch Event for October 2-3, 2015. The CXC Launch Event will be a two-day show split between the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (October 2) and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (October 3).
The October 3 portion of the event will be a one-day comics expo featuring up to 35 exhibitors.
The four-person Executive Committee for Cartoon Crossroads Columbus is:
* Lucy Caswell, Founder, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
* Vijaya Iyer, President and Co-Publisher, Cartoon Books
* Jeff Smith, Award-Winning Cartoonist and Co-Publisher, Cartoon Books
* Tom Spurgeon, Editor and Co-Publisher, The Comics Reporter
Smith will further assume the title of President and Artistic Director. Spurgeon will serve as Festival Director, and will relocate to Columbus in early 2015.
”We’re extremely excited to try and bring a first-class comics festival to Columbus, Ohio,” said Jeff Smith. “I’ve attended and enjoyed so many great shows over the years, and hope that CXC can take its place alongside them.”
”I share with the council members a belief in the comics art form and a love for the American Midwest as a great place for comics,” said Tom Spurgeon. “We also share a passion for the professional development and infrastructure issues facing so many cartoonists. We hope that CXC can become a positive force for a better community and more effective industry.”
The group’s organizational status, its advisory council members, its initial sponsorships, details on the 2015 Launch Event including exhibitor application information and initial plans for the 2016 Festival and beyond will be announced in early 2015.
A placeholder site can be found at cxcfestival.tumblr.com
A twitter account can be followed @cxcfestival.
Wait there is ONE MORE CON for New Yorkers! It’s called WinterCon and it will be held December 6th in Queens at the Resorts World Casino NY, which I’m told has a huge exhibition space. The event is put on by the folks behind EternalCon. It looks to be a pretty simple comics, cosplay and SF show, with comics guests Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, Billy Tucci and so on, and as well as Yaya Han.
Given the shopping focus for December, I’ve often thought this could be a successful time slot for a simple show, especially for those who subscribe to the “one for you, one for me,” gift buying strategy. The casino runs free shuttles to the venue from various boroughs and there is free parking, as the flyer says, so getting there shouldn’t be too hard.
I’ll be curious to see how this show does.
It’s been a long, long year of cons, with new ones springing up every where. The CAF season is winding up with Comic Arts LA on December 6th. A nice posted by Sophia Foster-Dimino has just been unveiled, and the exhibitor list is here. LA hasn’t been entirely successful for indie comics centered events, but with the very vibrant animation scene going on and so many cartoonists moving there to work in animation, I’m guessing the time is now for this.
Of course, con season isn’t REALLY over as you can see from this list. And there’s the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention December 19th, and the winter Comicket kicking off December 28th, and even more events listed here. AND see the next item.
Constantine’s production has been halted at 13 episodes, Deadline reports, but it may not be gone for good.
While NBC recently made a similar decision on freshmen comedy series Bad Judge and A to Z, I hear the circumstances are different. While Bad Judge and A to Z had been de facto cancelled, Constantine remains in contention for a second-season renewal.
NBC had to make a decision whether to keep Constantine in continuous production with little ratings information. While the series began production on a standard fall premiere production schedule, its launch was delayed until late October when NBC’s Friday genre block usually debuts, so the network had to make a call whether to order additional episodes after only four episodes had aired vs. at least seven, which is the norm for freshman series.
The Flash and Gotham, which debuted earlier, already have full season orders. Constantine ratings had been inching upwards, so it isn’t a hopeless case. That said, I am still dreaming of seeing the ghostly white flesh of The Spectre someday, so do the right thing, NBC!
§ In case you missed it, that half million dollar Tezuka Kickstarter missed the mark by a huge margin. Johanna Draper Carlson has commentary. DMP publisher Hikaru Sasahara will probably have more to say about his, as they are examining their whole Kickstarter policy.
§ A misleading headline obscures the fact that a piece of Corto Maltese art sold for a record amount—a record for a piece of HUGO PRATT art. A page from “Les Ethiopiques” sold for €391,800 ($485,500), more than twice the estimate.
§ John Kane looks back at TWILIGHT, a “prestige” mini series that came out from DC back in 1990, written by the greatHoward Chaykin and drawn by the great Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. DC is releasing a collected edition next month, and you may just want to pick it up.
TWILIGHT is the story of a bunch of people who all get what they want and it ends up doing none of them any favours whatsoever. The bunch of people in question are mainly rejigged DC sci-fi characters who had lain mostly fallow since the ‘50s and ‘60s. Tommy Tomorrow, Star Hawkins, Manhunter 2070, Space Cabbie, etc. Even Chaykin’s own Ironwolf appears briefly, and his ridiculous wooden space ship proves pivotal to events. (If Adam Strange seems conspicuous by his absence; Richard Bruning had first dibs there). There are plenty of new characters but the gist of the thing was that these were yesterday’s characters of tomorrow, today. Oh, you know what I mean.
So yeah, Watchmen for Adam Strange. In all the talk last week about Morrison and Quitely’s Pax Americana, I recalled that there have been a LOT of Watchmen-type reëxaminations of the superhero. Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack, John Ridley’s The American Way, Dawryn Cooke’s The New Frontier, The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski. NOT all of them are even negative. CALLING ALL THESES.
§ First Second editor Calista Brill remembers late copy editor Manuela Kruger.
§ Juliet Kahn interviewed Noelle Stevenson who will probably be an even bigger breakout comics star in 2015.
I don’t think that webcomics and Kickstarter and Patreon have made print comics obsolete by any means; god, no. If anything, we just have so many more paths to succeed. We’re defining this new wave of comics for ourselves. How can you not see how exciting that is? There’s no right or wrong way to do it. That’s why I like comics! They are limitless. There are people with webcomics who are pushing the limits of what comics can be — Emily Carroll, Ava’s Demon, etc. Some comics are made to be displayed digitally and it doesn’t degrade them. And there are innovations happening in print comics too. Anyone resisting that, clinging to some kind of idea of a golden age that we’re defiling somehow… well. That’s what’s becoming obsolete. Also I think one of the big sore points that the Sturm comic inspired — and honestly, the comic itself referenced this, so I think this may have been the point that it was trying to make — is that this idea of competition isn’t actually healthy for creativity. Someone else who succeeds isn’t ‘stealing’ your success. You gotta keep your eyes on your own board and do the best you can. The more good stuff exists, the better we make the field, and the more people can succeed within it.
§ I’m not sure if I linked to this before, but Megan Byrd
has a very useful The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Your Comic For Review
§ Tom Spurgeon interviews Andrew Farago about his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book and Farago touches on not TMNT affected so much of late-80s-early90s comics history
I could have spent a lot more time talking about the black-and-white publishing boom of the 1980s, but had to settle for making sure that I fit Dave Sim and Wendy and Richard Pini into the book. There was probably another full chapter to be had on the dual influences of Jack Kirby and Frank Miller on Eastman and Laird. And Tundra! Can’t forget about that. I’d have loved an entire chapter on Tundra and The Words and Pictures Museum and all of the fun stuff Kevin Eastman did during the Turtles’ biggest years. Every cartoonist I know swears that if he had millions of dollars, he’d start a publishing house and give all of his buddies all the money they needed so that they could focus on making comics without having any financial worries or editorial interference. And Kevin Eastman actually did that, and it was a wonderful, amazing, chaotic mess. A few all-time great comics came out of it, at least. Thank Kevin Eastman the next time you read From Hell or pull a copy of Understanding Comics off your bookshelf.
§ This interview reminded me that TMNT co-creator Peter Laird has a very active blog.
§ The Comics Reporter also ran one of those weekend listicles about Howard the Duck and I was reminded that the above comic is the favorite comic of 13 year old me until the universe ends.
§ Speaking of Howard the Duck, Steve Murray, whose pen name is Chip Zdarsky, get the Hometown Hero story of the weekend with “Marvel revives Howard the Duck with help of Toronto artist/”
§ Many people in my social networks were sharing this Name that Comic Book Artist quiz. I got 21/25 which, considering m profession, is pretty bad. I confess, I guessed the ones I wasn’t certain of by thinking “Who would be most likely to make that drawing error?”
§ Along similar lines, CBR is poling people on their all time favorite Wonder Woman artist. The top vote getters will Shock you! NOT REALLY.
§ And as for Wonder Woman, the new creative direction continues to be…controversial. Geek Mom Corinna Lawson writes Memo to DC: Wonder Woman Likes People. Honest And J. Caleb Mozzocco writes:
As a comics critic, I never quite know what to do with terrible comic books when I come across them. I never go out of my way to read a comic book that I suspect will be terrible without any mitigating circumstances, and, when I do read one, I then wonder if it’s better to just not mention it anywhere at all, under the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away school of thought, or if I should go out of my way to discuss the book and its negative qualities, so as to not let the only reviews of the book to get written by positive ones.
§ KONVENTION KORNER. Rob Kirby went to Short Run in Seattle and wrote a super chatty, comprehensive piece for Festival Season:
Tabling for me is above all a social event – I don’t make a living through my comics so I can be a little more relaxed and less mercenary about the money thing than others (though perhaps I could stand to be a little more mercenary, but let’s not talk about that now). MariNaomi and I have been friends for several years now, having met at APE back in 2008. She’s great to table with. She brought an extra tablecloth (I hadn’t thought to bring one) and shared snacks with me. She helped me through a couple of Square mishaps: I kept swiping the card wrong before finally getting the hang of it. I hadn’t tabled since SPX last year and was a little rusty. She didn’t mind if took off to take photos and hobnob a little (like John Porcellino, Zan Christensen and other cartooning people I know, Mari doesn’t like to leave her table too much). What more can I say, she’s the best. Her new book, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2D Cloud & Uncivilized Books), did brisk business all day long and yay, because it’s one of the finest books of the year and you should totally get it. And just because I’m biased doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to me on this.
§ BTW someone once complained to me about a con report here that began with getting up and getting to the train on time, and what he ate for breakfast and all that stuff. I find this kind of quotidian minutiae boring in most cases but for con reports it seems traditional! What do you think, readers?
§ Maia Kobabe has a list of Small Bay Area Comic Conventions that shows that the region isn’t entirely comics free.
§ 35,000 attended a comic in in Birmingham, UK that had nothing to do with comics, but did include stars from Red Dwarf and Breaking Bad. NEWSPAPER EDITORS: please include some teeny tiny mention of comics in your coverage of “COMIC CONS”.
§ Finally, according to my ancient obsolete RSS feed, John Jakala blogged for the first time in 10 months. Combine this with a coffee I had the other day with Matt Maxwell and the dream of the Aughts is alive in cyberspace.
Here’s a little holiday jam to get you in the mood for next week’s Turkey Marathon.
Rat Queens co-creator Kurtis J. Wiebe has posted a statement regarding his co-creator Roc Upchurch’s recent arrest for domestic violence after attacking his ex-wife. The upshot: Upchurch is off the book.
After a few days of reflection and going through a roller coaster of emotion, I’ve realized I’m not angry about this revelation. I’m deeply saddened. When you work with someone so closely on a project that is so personal, you are much more than creative collaborators, you become friends that feel like family. I have a lot of love for Roc Upchurch, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, at conventions and signings and quiet times over dinner when the crowds have gone away. Shannon and I have spent time with his wife, whom we admire greatly. With everything that has happened, I still care about and love Roc and my greatest hope is that in all this there is an opportunity to find help and for healing to take place in his family. They are never far from our thoughts.
I’m not a stranger to domestic abuse. I know that keeping abuse a secret and being afraid to speak about it are why so many people suffer in silence. It is a topic that needs to be openly talked about and there needs to be a feeling of safety and acceptance for those that come forward with their stories. It is why I am addressing this news rather than burying my head in the sand.
I want you to know that Rat Queens means the world to me on a personal level and my mission for the series is unchanged. I want to write stories about women that I see in my everyday life, about friendship and to make comics that include and embrace diversity.
As of today, Roc Upchurch will no longer be illustrating Rat Queens. This is going to be a transitionary period for the series as we rebuild and prepare for a new start. I am committed to Rat Queens, to stand by what it has always been praised for and to prove to the fans that they weren’t wrong in loving it.
Earlier today I quoted a piece that suggested that Upchurch would not undergo any repercussions for his actions. IN this case, that was incorrect.
Recorded at Publishers Weekly, it’s More To Come, the weekly podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.
Recorded live at Comic Arts Brooklyn, in this week’s podcast More to Come’s Calvin Reid interviews Jen Wang, co-creator of “In Real Life” with Cory Doctorow as well as the webcomic Strings of Fate; Belgian cartoonist Oliver Schrauwen, creator of Fantagraphics’s Arsene Schrauwen, a surreal fictional biography of his grandfather set in the then Belgian Congo; and Tim Lane, creator of the new Fantagraphics graphic novel The Lonesome Go as well as Abandoned Cars on PW Comics World’s More To Come.
Download this episode direct here, listen to it in streaming here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the Publishers Weekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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The US branch of the international literary organization PEN America is holding an auction of “Firest EDitions/Second Thoughts” tpo help support its mission of freedom of expression. The auction, to be held at Christies, includes first editions of various famed books annotated and signed by the origianl authors. Among the works p for bid on December 2nd, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel, in a special copy signed by original author Paul Auster and adapters Paul Karasik, David Mazzucchelli and Art Spiegelman.
The book is often considered a landmark of showing how the comics medium can transform even a celebrated literary work into a new and powerful mode of storytelling. A special panel spotlight on the book was held at CAB 2013.
And there’s video….
After some well publicized difficulties, artist James Jean has been back making great art for a while now. And better than ever, as this already sold out print Seasons may indicate.
I’ve long been awaiting Jeff Trexler’s analysis of the Marvel/Kirby Settlement, and he starts a two-part piece with Should the Kirby Family Have Settled? In case it hasn’t been explicitly stated enough, it was Trexler’s exploration of the potentially ground breaking work for hire aspects of the case that Kirby family attorney Marc Toberoff seems to have used to get the Supreme Court to even look at the case. To allow it to go to decision would have established an important precedent—but it was extremely risky for the Kirby heirs:
That’s not an unreasonable point of view, but it’s also not entirely fair. To see why, it can help to compare the Kirbys’ situation with that of the Siegel heirs in their own pursuit of a historic precedent. As we saw with the Siegels, the calculus in the Siegel case involved more than a decision between a win and a loss. The Siegels filed their lawsuit after agreeing to a set of terms that their previous attorney had informed them was legally binding; the likely and ultimately realized worst-case scenario was that the Siegels would quote-unquote lose with an eight-figure payout. The Kirbys, on the other hand, were in Schroedinger’s Court – the case for the moment was dead and alive, but once the Court observed it the lawsuit would reduce to just one of these states with no in-between.
Trexler also suggest that the votes on the final case may not have been the ones we were expecting. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—who actually requested Marvel answer the petition—may not have been all pro-freelancer:
Nonetheless, while Ginsburg’s dissents in such infamous cases as Citizens United (opposing corporate personhood) and Hobby Lobby (opposing the corporate religious exception for birth control coverage in Obamacare) have made her an anti-corporate hero, her approach to copyright cases is far more tempered. Exhibit #1: Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in the equally notorious case of Eldred v. Ashcroft upholding the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Act, the law that extended the term of copyright and kept Mickey Mouse out of the public domain.
Ginsburg also concurred in the Grokster case, an unpopular decision (in free-culture circles, at least) that sided with the music companies against those who believed that online file sharing should be left alone. Moreover, Ginsburg sided with the majority in the recent Aereo case, which helped the big TV networks to keep an Internet start-up from rebroadcasting freely available TV signals. Opposing Ginsburg & the rest of the majority in defending the rights of the corporate copyright establishment: conservative Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.
In a subsequent piece, Trexler will look at what we know of the settlement, which it’s been suggested, included a mid-eight figure monetary sum.
I urge everyone to just go read the whole thing. Given what we know, it’s quite possible that we have Trexler himself to thank for the circumstances that allowed the Kirby heirs and Marvel to come to an agreement which allows Jack to finally get his due in the modern Marvel Universe. And for that, we all owe him a huge thank you.
Exhibit A: A Howard the Duck cameo at the end of the years #1 movie
Exhibit B: Marvel brings out a Howard the Duck Omnibus, reprinting the masterful comics by Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Val Mayerik and more.
It doesn’t take much detective work to figure out that a new Howard the Duck ONGOING COMIC was on the way. And it’s by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones , EW reveals. Did I ever think I would be writing a story about Chip Zdarsky writing for Marvel? Writing Howard the Duck? No, I did not.
Remember, Disney loves cute talking animals
What can readers expect from your work on Howard the Duck? Comedy is obviously a huge part—will there be a lot of visual humor? Chip, will fans of Sex Criminals find themselves at home here?
QUINONES: Nah. I think we’re going for something a bit more grounded here. We really wanted to explore Howard’s pain and loneliness, and how he expresses his outsider frustrations with extreme violence. Kidding! It’s definitely meant to be funny. I’m a big comedy fan, so expect a lot of visual gags throughout. Chip and I have already been brainstorming some on the subject.
ZDARSKY: Expect a humorous tale of time and sexuality! I’ve basically just copied Matt’s first three Sex Criminals scripts and replaced characters with Howard and some C-level superheroes.
I think it’s going to be fun! We’ll get to explore the Marvel Universe with a very short tour guide and a very good artist and me, a man who dresses as Garfield on the weekends.
Ha ha, I’m writing Howard the Duck!
Wow speaking of comics crafts, coloring is definitely one of the key components of today’s comics golden age, yet one of the least understood, and Nathan Fairbairn presents a fascinating process post on how he colored Pax Americana, which has art by Frank Quitely. Among the insights—because Quitely’s coloring on his highly detailed art is so painstaking Fairbairn knew he could never equal it, but he had to try.
Pax Americana, written by Grant Morrison, is part of his Multiversity series, and also a take on Watchmen, and takes on Watchmen by Mark Millar and Warren Ellis. Multiversional indeed. The book has set Twitter all abuzz all week. Quitely’s art is stunning (and violent) as always, but the coloring is a powerful part of the effect of the book, dawn to small details of shadows.
And that’s just for starters! There’s a stunning amount of thought and care that goes into doing it right, which is why I usually just fake the hell out of it. On this book, though, I put in the effort.
And by “put in the effort” I mean “eventually asked Frank to do it for me when I couldn’t get it to look right.”
At any rate, this particular shadow was important. Frank told me he wanted the peace flag to cast the shadow of a mask on Harley’s face, which, symbolically, is so goddamn brilliant it makes me want to fly to Glasgow and hug the guy.
Todd Klein is the dean of comics lettering in the US, with more awards than he can carry, and a portfolio of logos and classic lettering that would be hard to touch. And he’s put it all together for a seven part series on the history of comics lettering:
This is an amazingly concise and fact filled journey through the most overlooked aspect of comics creation. That contains not only examples of lettering through history but a ton of photos of the letterers themselves, few of whom I’d ever seen before. I’d love to read this in a little chapbook but I guess copyrights would prevent that. For instance, the above lettering from an early Wonder Woman looks like mechanical lettering but it’s actually from the dreaded Leroy lettering guide, which produced a more mechanical looking font.
In the final chapter, Klein looks at the actual rise of Digital lettering:
The 1990s were definitely a era of turmoil for letterers in comics. Once digital lettering became possible, it was just a matter of time before comics publishers adopted it. An all-digital workflow offered many advantages for them, saving time, expense and materials. It also offered flexibility for reprints in other languages they hadn’t had before. Artists and especially inkers generally hated it, as it meant they had more to draw or ink on the page, once the lettering wasn’t there. It also hurt sales of comics art to fans. Without the lettering, comics art is just pictures, the story is missing. Letterers (and colorists) faced the hardest challenges though, needing to buy expensive computers and software and learn new working methods if they wanted to stay in the market. Letterers also had to create their own fonts, a difficult task, or use commercial comic book fonts, thereby making the work they did less likely to stand out from the crowd. Many feared the changes, and much anger and hatred were directed at the pioneers in digital lettering. Alan Moore once said, “You can always recognize a pioneer — he’s the one lying face down in the dirt, pointing the way with arrows in his back,” It was true for comics lettering, and there are still hard feelings from the 90s, when some letterers unwilling to go digital, or behind the curve, were pushed out of the business. Others came around later and reluctantly, often at a cost to their ability to find work.
Despite this, we now seem to have a fairly wide field of lettering options, from hand designed fonts to the occasional mad(wo)man who still does it by hand. If you’ve ever wondered about comics lettering, get a hot drink, sit down and red this whole series.
PS: Klein reprints this chart
made by Comicraft back in the day he made detailing the old way vs the new way. UPDATE: This is actually Todd’s work sorry for the misidentification!
LISTS! Michael Cavna—who will be full time at Comics Riffs next year, hoorah—has his top ten, most of which I expect to see over and over as the best lists roll out:
By Gilbert Hernandez (Drawn & Quarterly)
CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?
By Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK GRAPHIC NOVEL: VOLS. 1 AND 2
By Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (Harper Collins)
THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS
By Max Brooks and illustrator Caanan White (Broadway Books)
HIP HOP FAMILY TREE: BOOK 2 (1981-1983)
By Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
HOW TO BE HAPPY
By Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)
SAGA: DELUXE EDITION, VOL. 1
By Brian K. Vaughan and illustrator Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
THE SHADOW HERO
By Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Sonny Liew (First Second)
By Raina Telgemeier (Graphix)
THIS ONE SUMMER
By Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
Over at PW I reported on Consortium starting to distribute Alternative Comics and Secret Acres to bookstores. They currently distribute Uncivilized, Toon Books, Nobrow and Koyama Press, as well as publishers such as Fulcrum and Enchanted Lion who put out a lot of graphic novel material. (And a lot of other distinguished small press publishers as well.)
I understand that Consortium has been very important for publishers like Uncivilized and Koyama—and that Consortium is pretty aggressive about bringing new comics publishers into their fold. At CAB I also heard a bunch of griping about Diamond—mostly shipping dates catalog listing and so on. Small things, and Diamond is pretty much the rock of the industry, but if people are getting better service elsewhere they are likely to move.
One thing about the publishers picked up by Consortium—they may be small presses that publish a lot of indie cartoonists, but many of their books aren’t necessarily limited in audience to hardcore indie comics readers. For instance, Wendy, shown above, is a popular webcomic and a devastating take on socialite culture. Sam Henderson’s books are just funny gags, Nobrow puts out a ton of books that are just great to look at, Uncivilized books are smart and accessible, Edie Fake’s work has gotten acclaim many places, Toon Books are award winning crowd pleasers and so on. Getting better distribution seems to be a very important move for all these publishers and I expect we’ll hear more about this in 2015
Robyn Chapman has some thoughts about this and what it means to micro presses here.
§ Rat Queens artist and co-creator Roc Upchurch was arrested last month on charges of assault and battery against his wife, who posted an account on a blog and then removed it. It’s a sad familiar tale, but hasn’t gotten that much attention among comics folk. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do when one of our own transgresses. Women Write About Comics’ Megan Purdy also received information about the assult and the arrest and offers some very important perspective:
Many have suggested that the arrest is a private matter, and that his ex-wife’s more extensive allegations have the potential to ruin Upchurch’s career. But domestic violence is not a private matter — it’s a criminal one — and rare is the man’s career that has been ruined by it. Upchurch stands to lose little from our merely speaking about an arrest that hasn’t been further pursued. Rat Queens, remember, is a creator-owned book published by Image, and it has been hailed as a breath of fresh air, a genuinely and breezily feminist comic, around which Kurt Wiebe and Upchurch have been a vibrant and supportive community. That community is unlikely to suddenly disappear in the wake of this news. Some readers may stand to lose more, though, should we shy from reporting the matter honestly — they may lose whatever sense of safety and trust they have found among us.
We must not shy away from reporting unpleasant facts.
We must not cultivate a culture of silence and polite withdrawal.
As I said, there is often foot shuffling about these matters, but bringing them to light is often the surest way to begin recovery for all involved.
And now back to more trivial matters.
§ That big Saga hardcover with extras is just out and Brian K. Vaughan offers the potential problems with the breast-feeding cover:
Anyway, Eric Stephenson was concerned that we might be limiting our audience with this kind of cover, and we had a lot of back and forth with him until he finally said, “You guys know I’m not your boss, right? You can do anything you want at Image, I just wanted you to be aware of the climate out there.” Which is one of the countless reasons why Image is the best publisher in the world. And to Eric’s credit, as soon as he saw Fiona’s gorgeous execution of our cover idea, his response was the same as mine: “However many of these we print, it’s not gonna be enough.”
Thankfully, retailers have been equally supportive, and we haven’t had a single complaint. Sounds like one national book chain is even going to feature the hardcover at the front of their stores for the holiday season, so we’re enormously grateful for everybody’s approval of horned babies and milk-engorged boobs.
§ Did you know that New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff stars in a video series called The Cartoon Lounge? In the above episode Mankoff fiddles with his gizmos.
§ DC Comics is suing the Valencia football (soccer to Usains) club because their traditional “bat logo” has been altered in such a way as to resemble Batman’s. Valencia has included a bat in the logo since 1919 so this is hardly a new thing. Another local team, Levante, also has a bat in their logo because apparently, Valencians are in love with bats:
The symbol of the bat has a long history with Valencia that dates back to the 13th century when the region was conquered by King James I of Aragon who added the image of the bat to his coat of arms as a symbol of good luck. Bats are common in the region of Valencia and the Balearic Islands and the coat of arms of the city of Valencia still features a bat.
Perhaps DC should send Bruce Wayne to team up with these guys instead—it seems they are all on the same side.
§ A new Egyptian comic called Shakmagia or “ewlery Box” includes comics focusing on the problems with sexual harassment and volence in Egypt. The link includes a history of Egyptians political cartoons which go back 100 years.
§ Cinemax’s pilot for Outcast,the Kirkman/Azaeta comics has been cast.
Rounding out the cast is an ensemble of season television and film actors, The Hollywood Reporter notes, many of whom who have starred in recent television hits. The cast include Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl), Philip Glenister (Big School), Reg E. Cathy (House of Cards), Julia Crockett (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire, and Kip Pardue (Ray Donovan).
§ Acclaimed cartoonist Kevin Huizenga has updated his activities. Haven’t really seen much from him of late which is sad, but Ganges will continue with a new issue out next spring. YAY.
§ Noah Berlatsky has his own book on Wonder Woman coming out next year, and some thoughts on the current Jill Lepore book:
That issue is…the title, and in many ways the thesis of the book, are misleading. Lepore presents the Marston family history of polyamory, and therefore the connection between Wonder Woman creator William Marston and his lover Olive Byrne’s aunt Margaret Sanger, as unknown. If this was the first book you’d ever read about Marston and Wonder Woman, I think you’d come away with the impression that Lepore is the first one to reveal that Marston and his wife Elizabeth lived in a polyamorous relationship with another woman (Olive Byrne).
With 56 super franchise movies coming at ya in the next six years, The Beat has been keeping an eye on whether any of those zillions of non Marvel/DC comics options might be getting closer to the screen. And the answer is sort of yes. For instance Cowboy, Ninja Viking, written by AJ Lieberman and drawn (in spectacular fashion) by Riley Rossmo came out from Image in 2009, five years ago. It was published in the briefly-trendy Golden Age size and was one of the first books to introduce the now ubiquitous limited-palette/expressionist art style that you find in so many comics.
With a catchy title and high concept—intelligence operative is a multiple personality with Cowboy, Ninja and Viking and personas—an option was inevitable. But that’s as much as you usually hear about these projects.
But now it’s roared back to life with the rumor that it-boy Chris Pratt, fresh off his dreamy, funny, Modern-Han-Solo role as Starlord, may be in talks to star in a Cowboy, Ninja, Viking movie:
A Cowboy Ninja Viking movie has been kicking around for a few years now. Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese initially penned the adaptation for Disney, which deemed the resulting script “too edgy”. Universal subsequently picked it up out of turnaround and a few years ago attached Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) to direct, though he’s no longer involved with the project.
[snip] Though a director is not yet set for the film, attaching Pratt as the lead will no doubt attract interest from a number of filmmakers. Film 360 is producing the project, as is Mark Gordon, who is also producing the Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic at Sony.
So there you go, a catchy title and a decent concept and this project won’t fade away.
I expect to see a lot of these floating around comic projects get their tires kicked over the next few months.
The post-Guardians partnership between Marvel and Jim Starlin continues with the second original graphic novel in a proposed trilogy about Thanos the purple skinned Mad Titan created by Starlin. THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN comes out in June. While standalone graphic novels were once rare at Marvel they’ve gotten into the pool with the Starlin books, and some introductory books aimed at beginning (as in not experts in Marvel continuity) readers. The first book in the trilogy, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, made the NY Times bestseller list, so it probably did all right.
Starlin created Thanos, who is expected to be the big villain in a number of Avengers movies, and his daughter Gamora, and has had a major hand in developing the mythology of the Infinity Gems which have been a running theme throughout the Marvel MCU for a while. And as the blurb shows, the book includes more of the whole Thanos/Guardians/Warlock mythology that Starlin developed:
Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone has re-ascended to power, more dangerous and more deadly than ever before. When he and his Negative Zone armies make another, renewed assault on our universe in search of a source of infinite power, a fragile alliance of the universe’s most unlikely protectors will form to stop him.
Now the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator the Majestor of the Shi’ar Empire, and Adam Warlock and more must unite like never before! Only Adam Warlock’s complex cycle of death and rebirth has left him more confused than ever before. What is his purpose in the universe? Why is he here? With his Infinity Watch reunited alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, between them they may hold the key to ending the threat of Annihilus once and for all – but to do so they’ll need to enlist the help of another.
Could it be that the fate of everything lies in the hands…of Thanos?
As with most Marvel books, this will include a bonus code for a digital edition with added augmented reality content.
Oni publicity guy John Schork has left, as announced in a model of grown-upness via social media
Schork who has also worked at Dark Horse and IDW, joined Oni about a year ago as Director of Publicity. He was a pal on the convention circuit and it was always a pleasure working with him, so hopefully we’ll see him at the next stop.
Perhaps this will kick off a new round of publicity musical chairs? Also, DC is hiring.
Last year the Society of Illustrators inaugurated a comics art competition similar to the one for illustrators they’ve been running for many years. (Disclosure: I was a judge.) The Comics and Cartoon Art Annual offered a printed guide to the best comics of the year in a succinct form. The competition is back in 2015, chaired by Steven Guarnaccia, with Co-Chair: R. Sikoryak. The above art is by Bendik Kaltenborn. I had a great time with my fellow judged and absorbing a great many new cartoonists and established one in a new guise. I’m sure this year will be an even better compeition. Entry guidelines are below. Last year’s winners are here.
ABOUT THE COMIC AND CARTOON ART ANNUAL
The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce the second annual Comic and Cartoon Art Competition.
Open to artists worldwide, entries are considered by a jury of professionals, including renowned cartoonists, illustrators, publishers, and editors. The competition will result in an exhibition that will showcase the most outstanding works created in this genre throughout each year.
The original works will be exhibited in the MoCCA Gallery at the Society of Illustrators from June 16 through August 15th, 2015.
Opening Award Galas will be scheduled where Medals and Certificates will be presented to the artists whose works are judged best in each category.
All accepted entries will be reproduced in a full color catalog.
A selection of 40 works from each Exhibition will then tour colleges throughout the country in an educational traveling show, a tradition that we have had at the Society for over 30 years.
Long Form: A work that is longer than 40 pages. Includes graphic novels, comic books, etc. An anthology is eligible in this category if it is created by one person, and the individual stories form a cohesive whole. If stories should be judged independently, please submit an entry form per person.
Short Form: A work that is more than two pages but shorter than 40 pages. Includes stand-alone work, zines, comic books and work that has been published in anthologies. Work appearing in anthologies may be entered in this category if the individual story is shorter than 40 pages. If stories should be judged independently please submit an entry form per story.
Special Format: Work that is design-driven and created with special attention to production values, including limited edition, small press, hand-made and artist’s books.
Digital Media: Work that is native to a digital format. Includes web comics, online comic strips, and other digitally driven works. Up to 20 images accepted per entry.
Comic Strip: A short-form work published in newspapers, magazines, books, online, etc. featuring four or more panels. Must be one page or less.
Single Image: Work featuring a self-contained narrative image with or without caption. Includes gag cartoons, political cartoons, single-panel cartoons, etc.
HOW TO ENTER LONG FORM & SHORT FORM BOOK SUBMISSIONS
Eligibility: Any book that was created from January 2014 – January 2015. Both published or self-published are accepted. International entries are welcome. Each submission will receive consideration by every member of the jury for its category.
How to enter: Mail 6 copies of the publication to the Society of Illustrators: 128 East 63 Street, New York, NY, 10065. Attn: Comic and Cartoon Art Competition. Must include the official entry form with each copy.
DEADLINE: Monday, January 5, 2015.
Entry Fees For Book Submissions:
$30 per entry (includes all six copies) for non-members of the Society of Illustrators.
$20 per entry (includes all six copies) for members of the Society of Illustrators.
Include a check with the entry. Checks made out to Society of Illustrators.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD ENTRY FORM
Last May, Alan Moore announced he would be involved with a new line of digital comics called Electricomics. Given that Alan Moore is to computers as Daryl Dixon is to soap, this seemed counter intuitive, but it turns out his daughter Leah was very much involved in it. A line of comics was announced:
Electricomics will be a 32-page showcase with four very different original titles:
Big Nemo – set in the 1930s, Alan Moore revisits Winsor McCay’s most popular hero￼
Cabaret Amygdala – modernist horror from writer Peter Hogan (Terra Obscura)
Red Horse – on the anniversary of the beginning of World War One, Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and Danish artist Peter Snejbjerg (World War X) take us back to the trenches
Sway – a slick new time travel science fiction story from Leah Moore and John Reppion (Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon, 2000 AD)
But what’s new since may? Electricomics had a panel at Thought Bubble and Asher Klassen
has a detailed account
, explaining that the project is not for profit but being funded by the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts, leaving the project free to just noodle around and find out what is possible, which sounds pretty exciting, especially when you factor in the involvement of Daniel Merlin Goodbrey
, who is on the cutting edge of the “Future comics.”
Those of you picturing Alan Moore hunched over a computer workstation writing code with his beard nearly hiding the keyboard, stop it. Don’t be ridiculous; that’s what he has code demons for (No, seriously, a shed full of ‘em. It’s in the zine.). Mr. Moore may not be a wizard of the tech variety, but it seems his self-proclaimed alienation from modern forms of media has allowed to conceive this project relatively unpolluted by the endeavours that precede it. He doesn’t know Comixology, Madefire, or Manga Studio. He knows comics. That’s something that was made crystal clear through the course of this panel, the idea that, if you could distill from the form the Essence of Comics, then that would be the driving technology behind this project. That’s what a couple top theorists, legendary writers (did I mention Garth Ennis?), and hotshot programmers are doing with a bundle of government money: not an exercise in visual FX, motion graphic, music, flashinglight and pretty colours, but attempting to take the narrative structural and spatial freedom of a digital workspace and make it understandable and accessible to you through…an app.
With the convention season slowed down, I’ve begun to think about larger comics topics again, and “Future comics” is at the top of my list. As mentioned before, Madefire aside, this seems to have stalled out. Throwing think tank money at the question of what comics can do on the internet seems like a marvelous project and I’ll be eagerly awaiting more news.
And here’s another second look at a comics property that already had a time at the dance—Global Frequency, already the subject of a failed project way back in the prehistory of 2005, is getting another look as a TV show, with Jerry Bruckheimer once again leading the way.
The comic book Global Frequency came out from Wildstorm during the days when it was edgy and daring.. (For those of you who came in late, Wildstorm was once an imprint of DC Comics that put out more wild and crazy adventure themed stuff. It was shut down a few years ago and its remaining properties were folded into Vertigo.)
Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by a bunch of artists including Garry Leach, Steve Dillon, David Lloyd and Gene Ha, it followed a high tech privately sourced elite crime solving organization—an idea that has kind of been done to death since then but it still works when done well. (Person of Interest?) A pilot was made starring Michelle Forbes and Josh Hopkins in 2005 but it went nowhere. But those were the days when comic books were just things printed on paper and not idea space thought peaches.
Now it’s back with Bruckheimer producing and Rockne S. O’Bannon writing a new pilot. O’Bannon is well known for creating Farscape, and he’s also working on Constantine, but don’t hold that against him.
As Deadline helpfully points tout, this is part of the EXPLOSION of WB TV projects based on comics, joining the on air Arrow, Gotham, Flash and Constantine, and the upcoming iZombie and Supergirl, which has a series commitment at CBS, and Lucifer, also at Fox.
Whoever is doing TV development at DC Comics—you rock.
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Now what was that I was just saying about non Marvel and DC properties getting a second look—or in the case of From Hell, a third look. The masterpiece by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell that followed the saga of Jack the Ripper in fascinating detail was already made into a movie starring Johnny Depp. But now it’s back in development as a TV show:
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Don Murphy, who producer not only the From Hell film but the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film, is producing, with Children of Men’s David Arata (Children Of Men) writing a script. And then:
When the current resurgence of event series started, Murphy thought that would be a great way to handle the material properly, giving the story time to play out and doing it justice. He reached out to Fox Group chairman Peter Rice who was an executive on the movie. Rice loved the idea and the project was set up at Fox TV Studios whose then-topper David Madden had worked with Murphy in the past. Arata was brought in as writer and the drama was sold to FX, with FX Prods. coming on board to co-produce with FtvS. Murphy is executive producing with Susan Montford, via their company Angry Films, along with Arata.
What’s the interesting part? It is the LOEG adaptation above all that set “the Original Writer” Alan Moore’s heart against any film or TV adaptations—Moore was forced to testify in a copyright infringement lawsuit
, an event he found deeply repugnant. It is also safe to say that the amount of love lost between Murphy and Moore is such a negative quantity that it could form a gigantic black hole that could suck the entire universe right into it.
All of which is to say that expect Moore not to have anything to say about this and to get exceedingly cranky when asked.
BUT, you may recall that League of Extraordinary Gentleman was announced last year as a “put pilot”—meaning it would have to be made and shown or Fox would have to pay a sizable fee—and where is that? Not another peep heard.
All of that said, in case you need to be reminded, From Hell is a true masterpiece of comics, Moore’s phantasmagoric view of true life historical detail and artist Eddie Campbell’s deeply felt expressionist art combining with one of the greatest mysteries of all time to make an unforgettable story. If you haven’t read it, remedy that right now!