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26. Closing Time: Anthony Desiato’s ‘My Comic Shop History’ Chronicles the Life, Death, and Legacy of His Local Comic Shop

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In the end, memories are what make us who we are.  Although they slip away so easily, these small fragments of past inform our future decisions and influence us every moment we’re alive.  For most of us comic book readers, a formative moment in our personal histories is the first time we step into a comic shop.  The pulpy smell of fresh floppies stacked in Diamond stamped boxes.  The glistening translucent cases filled with TCG singles at exorbitant prices.  The stern and booming voices of people arguing Batman chronology in the back by the trades.

The places individual comics fans make these universal memories shape their lives.  For Director and Comics Historian Anthony Desiato and many other comics luminaries from upstate New York such as Rocket Girl writer Brandon Montclare, these formative experiences took place at Alternate Realities, which is going out of business after nearly a quarter of a century.

Desiato has made it his mission to chronicle the store’s final days through his podcast, My Comic Shop History.  The last episode of this audio series comes out today, and in honor of his intriguing work and Alternate Realities’ storied history, we sat down with him to talk about the legacy of the store.


 

Alex Lu: So for those unfamiliar with Alternate Realities, can you give us a brief overview of your store’s history and what makes it special?

Anthony Desiato: Alternate Realities is (soon-to-be “was,” sadly) a comic book store in Scarsdale, NY, that is closing up shop for good after 23 years.

The store is the subject of my independent film, My Comic Shop DocumentARy, and my current podcast, My Comic Shop History.

The podcast is a 12-episode exploration of the store & its closing from the perspective of past and present owners, customers, and employees. We’ve been peeling back the curtain on the retail side of the comic book industry as we discuss the store’s inner-workings and comic shop culture generally.

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What makes the store special—and the reason I’ve found it such a source of inspiration—is the community.

We count among our ranks a customer who worked at T.G.I. Friday’s but claimed to have killed 25 people in the line of duty as a secret agent; our resident curmudgeon, a former flea market vendor who condemns modern society with language that would make a sailor blush; and the store’s owner, Steve Oto, who traded his legal career for a life behind the counter and a very love-hate relationship with his clientele.

Lu: What’s your role in the store and how long have you been involved?

Desiato: Heroes World (a long-defunct store in White Plains) was my first comic shop, and when it abruptly closed on me during elementary school, Alternate Realities became my new go-to place. For the first few years of my patronage there, I was just the shy kid who would pick up my books every week while my mother waited in the car.

In high school, Steve offered me a summer job, and that was my entry into a whole new world. Throughout high school and college, both my level of responsibility at the store as well as my friendships with the guys who shopped & worked there would grow.

It wasn’t until the end of my employment there (during law school) that I began to take on my current role of—for lack of a better term—“store chronicler.” That new path gave birth to my film about the store, its spinoff (By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story), and now the podcast.

Lu: What do you think drove the decision to close the store?

Desiato: If you believe Steve’s closing announcement, he’s closing in large part “because of those customers who have left me in the lurch” by not buying the items they ordered. However, if you truly analyze the situation, as we’ve been doing over the course of My Comic Shop History, it becomes clear that the stated reason for closing is perhaps a bit disingenuous.

If customers are reneging on their orders, there are steps a store can take to at least try to remedy the situation first. Closing the store is the nuclear option! It’s not really a proportionate response to address what’s ultimately a small group of delinquent customers.

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What we all realize is that Steve’s complaints are really just symptomatic of a growing frustration and fatigue with running the business.

In Episode 7 (“Comic Shop Business School”), I spoke with the owner of The Spider’s Web, a relatively new comic shop in Yonkers. That owner is two years in and still has his passion for the business and the hobby.

After 23 years of the grind of running a small business, Steve simply doesn’t have that anymore. As he has said many, many times over the years—in person, on Facebook, in My Comic Shop DocumentARy, and in My Comic Shop History—he’s tired. And I don’t think anyone would dispute that he’s earned his rest.

Lu: How has the community responded to the store’s closing?

Desiato: That’s really what the podcast is all about and why I wanted to do it in the first place.

Aside from the friendship we share, what I hope listeners take away from this show is how much we all care about “The Store.”

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Everyone who has participated in the podcast has worked, owned, or volunteered at Alternate Realities at some point. We’ve all invested time and effort and wanted the store to be as strong as possible.

To see the store end in this way has been very bittersweet. Not to speak for the entire community, but for myself and many of the people I spoke to on the podcast, I feel there’s a sense of sadness that it came to this, acceptance that it’s the right move for Steve, and, most importantly, appreciation for everything the store has meant to us. It’s been our clubhouse, truly.

Lu: Given that Alternate Realities has such a long and storied history, those who have been there have had the unique perspective of having seen the comics reading audience grow exponentially and the industry dramatically change. How would you compare comics at the store’s opening to comics now, at the store’s close?

Desiato: Well, seeing as how I was 5 when the store opened, I’m not sure I can really give a full answer to that question! Interestingly, though, the store opened the same year that “The Death of Superman” (my first comic) came out. That was arguably the beginning of “event” storytelling as we know it today, and the store is closing amidst Convergence and Secret Wars, two huge events from the Big Two. So, in a way, maybe not that much has changed!

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To answer your question more specifically: Based on the time that I’ve been affiliated with Alternate Realities, I would argue that we have not seen huge shifts the way you might expect. For example, the rise of comic book movies didn’t necessarily drive hordes of new customers to the store. At the same time, the advent of digital comics did not erode our customer base too much, either.

Lu: What do you think is the next big thing for the industry?

On the retail side, one of the things we talk about on the podcast (we do a “Comic Shop Business School” series-within-a-series across a number of episodes) is how comic shops need to be a “destination” in order to survive these days. Areas to hang out, events, signings–things like that.

Lu: What new projects are the Alternate Realities crew heading off to pursue?

To find out what the store’s owner, Steve Oto, is up to next, I encourage folks to listen to the finale of the podcast, out today! Up next for me is a new documentary and, hopefully, more podcasting in the future! As for our group, we plan to continue the friendships we forged at Alternate Realities. The store may be gone, but the community lives on.


RENT My Comic Shop DocumentARy and By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story on Vimeo!

SUBSCRIBE to My Comic Shop History on iTunes!

LIKE My Comic Shop History on Facebook!

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27. Anime Matsuri showrunner accused of sexual harassment

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This has been alluded to over the last few days on social media, but the Houston Press sums up charges against Anime Matsuri head John Leigh, who, from multiple accounts, seems to be a serial sexual harasser. Anime Matsuri is held in Houston and is considered one of the top anime events in the US, focusing on the “Lolita” subculture which features cosplay in elaborate—but modest—Victorian costumes. About 20,000 people were expected to attend this year’s event which took place in March. Leigh’s ongoing bad behavior includes all kinds of harassing talk—asking one prominent cosplayer to send a naked picture of herself, asking anther about her history of orgasms—as well as inappropriate touching and more.

Another presumed joke that made a female associate of Leigh’s deeply uncomfortable was that of a local cosplay model who posted about her experiences on the LACE – Lolita’s Against Cyberbullying and Exploitation — Facebook page under the name “N”. According to N she was asked by Leigh to come perform for a photoshoot, but given virtually no details on the nature of what she would be doing. Upon arriving she was informed it was actually a video shoot and Leigh requested that she simulate oral sex on a male subject for it, which N refused.

“I noticed he had a nervous way of telling me,” N when told the Press. “It was odd how he was acting. He’s like, ‘I want you to act like you’re going to perform a sexual oral act on the male subject in the car. I told him I was very uncomfortable with the idea…. I kept telling him ‘No. No I don’t want to’ He tried to guilt trip me into it… He’s a powerful speaker. He’s good at how to word things to manipulate or make you rethink what your statements were.”


These events have been posted over the last few weeks by members of the Lolita community and paint a distressing picture, but the Press spoke with several people associated with Anime Matsuri and found more accusations, including a tacky tea party that has become infamous

“I cannot even describe the feeling and the look he gave me when he saw me in Lolita,” said R. “He did this full body scan of me and started buttering me up. Now he cared to know me. I made sure to stay as far away from as possible after that.”

She also describes a tea party event at the convention where she says Leigh decided to do away with the planned activity of letting each fashion designer in attendance show off a new design, and instead grabbed the microphone for 30-minute Q&A about himself while making jokes about the waist-sizes of the women in attendance. According to R, he only ceded the microphone once he realized that his jokes were falling flat on a largely silent audience.

“It’s sad that someone that has brought so many people from all over the world would destroy it by being harassing,” says R.


On his FB page, Leigh, who is married, posted an apology about a week ago:

Earlier today, I posted a blog entry that detailed my side of the story. I did not know I was hurting these people and I did not mean to do so. I have been getting attacked for the past few days. The attacks spread to my family, friends, and supporters of Anime Matsuri. I was upset and I wanted to defend everyone who I cared about.

It has been a few long hours since I posted that blog. I thought I would feel better, but I feel nothing but sadness. I had an abundance of messages of support over this time. I took a step back and realized: while I was trying to defend those I love, I was hurting others, and this is not ok, regardless if some of them are trying to hurt me. I was angry, and nothing good comes out of anger. Some people are very hurt, on both sides, and I have to assume responsibility for that. I also realize many people look up to me and I have let them down.

I want to apologize specifically to the people in question and to everyone who has been affected by this. I understand I have hurt you and I’m sorry. Regardless of what is happening now, I considered you my friends at some point. I also understand an apology means little without positive action, so I have decided to take a course on Sexual Harassment to be more aware of this serious problem and to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I have deleted the blog post and will work on myself to become better. I’m very sorry.


Leigh also issued a statement to the Press stating much the same as the above, although the Press says that the course he’s taking is actually a two-hour online course. Meanwhile with controversy swirling, some in the community have cut their ties with the show and Leigh—however and my guess is that this will go on for some time.

I’m a total outsider to the anime/Lolita community, so I have no idea what the repercussions of all this are. All of the behavior reported by Leigh falls into what’s known as a “sex pest” — a creepy guy who uses his position and proximity to women to engage in inappropriate behavior which is often “forgiven” as “just joking.” This is just clueless self-justification. In a now deleted blog post (still available on the Internet Archive) Leigh defends his behavior, saying of the woman who he questioned about her orgasms that “At no time did she tell me she was uncomfortable with my jokes, or to stop” when the very IM that’s quoted above it has her saying “you don’t need to know” and “I’m running away from this question!” which under any reasonable standard qualifies as telling him she’s uncomfortable with his jokes.

As the accounts of the women quoted by the post makes clear, to the people on the receiving end, it’s no joking matter.
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28. ICv2 and Comichron release 2014 sales report: comics now a $935 million business

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For the second year, ICv2’s Milton Griepp and Comichron’s John Jackson Miller have released a joint report on comics sales in the previous year, and they report that the state of the union is good, with graphic novel sales hitting a 20 year high. Sales are up in all channels except newsstand sales, where Marvel jumped ship and DC may have as well. SO STOP TELLING US TO GO BACK TO NEWSSTANDS, OKAY? Comics are doing just fine without “newsstands.”

The comics and graphic novel market hit another new high for the century in 2014, and a new high since the mid-90s, according to a new joint estimate by Comichron’s John Jackson Miller and ICv2’s Milton Griepp. Total comics and graphic novel sales to consumers in the U.S. and Canada reached $935 million in 2014, a 7% increase over sales in 2013.

“It’s a very exciting time in the comics business,” Griepp said. “The broad range of titles being published, the wide variety of places they’re sold, and the great exposure comics are getting from other media are all very positive for the industry.”  

“The market’s in great shape,” Miller said. “According to our tracking at Comichron, 2014 was the biggest year for print since 1995, adjusting for inflation; without adjusting for inflation dollar sales hit a mark unseen since 1993. And digital appears to be complementing, rather than cannibalizing, print.”

Increases were spread across all three formats. Print grew $55 million to $835 million in 2014, or around 7% more than the $780 million in print sales in 2013. That growth occurred in every channel and format except newsstand sales of periodical comics, which declined from $25 million to $20 million as Marvel withdrew from the market.
Sales of periodical comics through comic stores grew 4%, from $340 million to $355 million. Sales of graphic novels through comic stores grew at a slightly faster pace, from just under $170 million to just over $175 million.

The book channel (bookstores, online, mass) was where the greatest growth was, with graphic novel sales in the book channel up 16%, from $245 to $285 million.
Download-to-own digital sales reached $100 million in 2014, but the growth rate declined to around an 11% increase over 2013’s $90 million in sales, compared to a 29% growth rate in 2013, according to estimates released yesterday by ICv2.

So despite a slower growth rate in 2014 than in 2013, the signs of strength were broad, across channels and formats, a positive sign for the industry.

As presented above and in the accompanying infographic, the 2014 analysis by ICv2 and Comichron was divided up between periodical comics (what some call “floppies” or “pamphlets”), graphic novels, and digital download-to-own sales. All print figures are calculated based on the full retail price of books sold into the market, and do not account for discounting or markup. Digital sales do not include subscription or “all you can read” services.

This is the second joint market size analysis from ICv2 and Comichron; the first was last year for 2013 sales.

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29. Review: Terminator Genisys – What’s the point?

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In the waning moments of Terminator Genisys, Alan Taylor’s attempt to revitalize this moribund franchise, there is a scene where the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the titular heroes Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese (reimagined by the woefully miscast Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney) are arrested by the local police. When their mugshots are taken, the theme from COPS plays in the background. This is the kind of movie you’ve signed up for when you go and see Terminator Genisys.

It wasn’t all bad going really, though my expectations were generally in the toilet from the outset. We’re talking about the follow-up to Terminator: Salvation or the reboot/relaunch of a franchise that’s been in a moribund state, unable to recapture the magic that imbued T2: Judgement Day with the ability to conquer the box office in the early 90’s. We’re also looking at a franchise relaunch that’s being helmed by the guy that brought you Thor: The Dark World, the next in a line of mediocre filmmakers that have inherited the reins on this series in the wake of James Cameron moving on to even bigger financial pastures. With those sunken hopes in place, I sat back and found that the first 20 minutes or so of Genisys to at least be watchable.

Within that opening frame, Taylor and company attempt to set the stage for why this film should exist in the first place, though it’s a fairly tenuous excuse: John Connor (Jason Clarke, no relation to the above), Reese, and the human resistance that’s in place during the fall of humanity, post-Judgement Day, discover Skynet’s time travel device. Due to Reese’s weird obsession with John’s mother, Sarah Connor, that Courtney completely fails to sell, John picks his right hand man as the person to send on a time traveling journey to protect Sarah and stop Judgement Day from occurring. Sounds pretty familiar, right? Short of an attack on John that occurs during the fireworks that send Reese back in time, you’re looking at a story that’s doing backflips to establish its own relevancy in the shadow of a much better set of films.

To their credit, Taylor and his art direction team do a pretty nice job of recreating the atmosphere of Cameron’s original (and best) Terminator film. At this point, I was filled with questions at the very least, sucker that I am for time travel narratives: Why is Sarah Connor no longer the innocent waitress that she was in the first film? Why is a Terminator now her paternal figure? Why did Matt Smith’s mysterious character attack John? Why is there a T-1000 hunting Sarah and Kyle in the timeline of the first film? It’s an enjoyably dumb time, though admittedly one that’s overloaded with exposition in order to remind viewers what’s happening and why it’s happening (seriously, poor Arnold plays the role of narrative dumping ground just as much as he does stoic father-figure). Yet, in order to avoid falling too far into the Back to the Future 2 retread trap, Kyle and Sarah take another trip in time.

That’s where things fall apart completely.

Taylor’s narrative, once it hits 2017 – the next timehop destination – gives way to weightless CGI battles, a non-starter plot regarding what’s basically an evil iPhone app, and twisty timeline logic that the script simply doesn’t have time to address, nor does it really seem to care to. All of this while establishing a poorly set up relationship between Kyle and Sarah that casts John as the ne’er-do-well suitor and the T-800 as the disapproving father. At this point, the whole endeavor becomes an incalculable mess, full of fan service that ends up making no sense in the context of the current narrative and showcasing action beats that can only be described as tremendously boring.

The structure of Terminator Genisys basically falls into “our heroes are chased by a bad guy, they hide out in a bunker of some sort and explain the plot to one another, arrested, bunker/hide-out, chased by a bad guy, arrested etc.” If I see Arnold throw someone through a wall again, it’ll be too soon. The only real bright spot in the final two-thirds of the movie is when J.K. Simmons pops up on screen as a detective who first encountered Reese and Connor in 1984 as a uniform police officer and has been obsessed with them ever since. It’s a character that’s actually somewhat compelling and has a unique perspective on the ongoing Skynet vs. Connors battle that we’ve seen warmed over so many times, it’s become tedious. As my friend who sat next to me at the screening said: I wish the whole movie had just focused on him.

What Terminator Genisys brought to bear for me is that this is a franchise, much like Jurassic Park, that is drug down by actually being a franchise. The original Terminator was a lean and mean showcase for a hungry young science fiction-minded filmmaker that told a wonderfully executed, done in one, finite tale. Even its first sequel, as enjoyable as it was, was really just an excuse to retell Terminator in 90’s clothes and take advantage of Arnold’s stature as a megastar. It’s been a case of diminishing returns ever since, and it’s possible that Terminator Genisys is the worst offering of the lot. That it exists to clearly perpetuate more sequels, with a post-credits scene that I bet even the writers don’t have an explanation for, may actually make it the worst of the lot. You can say a lot of things about Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator: Salvation, but at least they had, respectively, a surprisingly downbeat ending and an attempt to tell a different kind story within this universe. Terminator Genisys does neither of these things; it’s just a much blander version of far better films.

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30. The Beat is 11 today!

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It’s July 1st, meaning it’s the day we celebrate the Beat’s birthday and today marks 11 years of daily comics news! It’s a very special day—I even ganked some clip art for the occasion.

I was going to write a long essay here about the State of the Blog but frankly, I’m too wiped out by this early Comic-con stuff. The short version is that every word of this Variety piece on how movie bloggers have gone mainstream reflected everything I’m feeling. While the nerd blogs have “won” they’ve also been co-opted by the system, and the rewards are dwindling as competition increases.

Nobody goes into blogging to get rich. Editors on some movie sites earn $25,000 to $70,000 a year, and many freelancers have to contend with as little as $25 a post, if they get paid at all. And though a successful site can sell for more than $3 million and make $50,000 in ad revenue a month, many owners struggle to keep the lights on. Take Gordon and the Whale, a well-regarded site that closed its doors in 2011, when the roughly $1,200 to $1,300 it generated in advertising revenue monthly barely covered the $900 it was shelling out to run its server.

“I was at Cannes, and it hit me that we had gone about as far as we can go,” said Chase Whale, the site’s co-founder. “There was still no money. We had like 21 people writing for free, and it made me feel like sh-t that I couldn’t pay these people.”

For those still toiling in the trenches, it’s more difficult to stand out from the armies of pundits who keep cropping up.

“If I was starting a movie blog now, I probably wouldn’t do it,” said Neil Miller, the founder of Film School Rejects. “It’s so hard to be noticed, especially if you don’t offer clickbaits and salacious headlines.”


While I often feel like sh-t too, I’m too dumb to quit and too stubborn to walk away. As this year’s comics media diaspora has shown, you’ve got to really love doing this and/or have a cheap rent to continue. It’s increasingly absurd for one person to continue to run a website, even a person with a staff of excellent (but mostly volunteer) writers who do their comics writing between their paying jobs. And instead of teaming up to fight evil, everyone insists on being a lone vigilante like me. I begged David Harper to team up with me so together we could rule the galaxy but no, he insisted on doing his own excellent and already necessary site. See you can still do good things!

Like I said last year, I keep doing this because I don’t see anyone else doing it the way I want to do it. And I’ll keep my archives online for as long as I possibly can so people can see what went on back in the day.. (I see the mysterious new owners of Comicon-com have wiped the servers, Goodbye cromlech.) This is hard work but I still think it’s valuable work.

There’s a lot more to be said about the devaluation of writing (does ANYONE make a living at it any more?) the generational shift from boomers to millennials taking over comics, but you’ll have to catch me at a party at Comic-Con to hear all about it.

Not that I’m complaining! We’ll celebrate our birthday the way we always do, with some cracking good content, including what I believe may be the first ever look at comics in Almaty coming later today, a Terminator Genisys review, a sales chart and all the usual fol de rol. I like to complain but this is still the best job in the world and part of the reason is the Beat’s Elite Operative staff: Kyle, Hannah, Alex, Alex, Torsten, Edie and the rest. Wait until you see what we have cooked up for Comic-Con! You’ll need to go buy some new socks because your old ones got blown off.

And I invite you to attend our annual comics journalism panel to see who’s left standing:

Thursday, July 9 • 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Comics Journalism: It’s About Ethics in Comics Journalism

Gamergate, cheesecake covers and the objectification of women, barking puppies at the Hugo Awards, punching down at Charlie Hebdo, diversifying the multiverse – ethics has become one of the hottest issues in pop culture today, and fandom has converged on comics news sites as a battleworld for debating who should win the culture wars. The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, CBR’s Joe Illidge and Casey Gilly, Comicbook.com’s James Viscardi, Hitfix’ Donna Dickens and other leading comics journalists discuss what, if any, ethical principles should shape news stories affecting the comics community. Attorney and ethics professor Jeff Trexler moderates.


I ceded the moderating to an actual ethics professor so this should be a good one! Sadly the Bleeding Cool panel is at the very same time (qua?) so Rich sends his regards.

Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by every day or so, thanks for commenting intelligently 90% of the time, thanks for advertising, thanks for the many kind words on show floors and in email. Thanks for the tips and hints. Thank you INCREDIBLY for supporting my Patreon. Thank you thank you thank you. Stick around, there is always more to come, and it’s going to be fascinating.

Drawing by Igor Zakowski

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31. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 7/1/15: Eight links you should click on and one you shouldn’t

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§ Fusion’s comics page has some great content, for example this piece where 8 LGBT cartoonists share their reactions to legal same-sex marriage, with comics from Hilary Price, Sophie Yanow and Howard Cruse’s which is really marvelous. The one from Christopher Keelty, above, made me laugh the hardest though.

§ Cartoonist/educator Frank Santoro has announced his third Comics Workbook composition competition which has PRIZES:

1st place  – $750 cash prize to the winner
2nd place – $200 credit at Copacetic Comics and 150 cash
3rd place  – $100 credit at Copacetic Comics and 100 cash
plus four $50 honorable mention prizes from Big Planet Comics
————————————————-
Create a 16 page signature comic book narrative to the specifications below


This being Santoro the specifications are quite specific so read the ink carefully!

§ Jennifer DeGuzman reports from the ALA with and its big push for comics and diversity and comics diversity

In a year marked by breakthroughs for graphic novels and comic books in libraries, a recurring theme in the comics programming at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco was pushing the boundaries of the medium’s acceptance. Comics programming at the conference, held at the Moscone Center June 25–29, kicked off with GraphiCon, billed as “The Minicon at ALA Annual.” This show-within-the-show was devoted to discussing gender, sexuality, and racial diversity in the comics medium, and reaffirmed the ability of graphic novels to present thematically challenging material to readers.

Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung of the We Need Diverse Books campaign hosted GraphiCon, which was organized by the ALA’s Graphic Novels and Comics Member Interest Group and branded with the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseComics. Other artists making appearances at GraphiCon and for booth signings included comics writer Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl, Gotham Academy), artist/writer Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy, Southern Cross), alternative comics mainstay Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf), rising star Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes, Nimona), and comics historian and creator Trina Robbins.

§ Stan Lee, a man of 92, was taken to the hospital on Sunday but then showed up in fine fettle on Monday night for the Ant-Man premiere. Is this man immortal?

§ That Wilson movie with Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern, based on the Dan Clowes graphic novel, is actually being filmed!

§ Leah Hayes has a new graphic novel about two women who seek abortions, a topic that comics haven’t covered in a while. It’s called Not Funny Ha Ha. Right wing website Newsbusters reports on the book with a ton o’ scare quotes:

It’s a new notion to make abortion “funny”: draw a graphic novel about abortion that doesn’t actually show an abortion. Because, well, the sight of baby remains is anything but. Hailed as the “first graphic novel about abortion,” Not Funny Ha-Ha by artist Leah Hayes illustrates two women going through the “abortion process.” In it, Hayes attempts to show an “often funny,” “even humorous look at what a woman can go through during an abortion.” Already some in the media have recognized the “abortion story that needs to be heard.”


§ Although Mad Max: Fury Road was an amazing example of bringing feminist themes into an action movie, the subsequent comic, published by Vertigo and created entirely by men without Eve Ensler to watch over them, has a lot of very problematic elements, including rape scenes that the movie avoided. Sigh.

§ And over at Wired, Laura Hudson has a very calm eyed look at why rape scenes are usually a signal for lazy storytelling. In laying out rape tropes, Hudson doesn’t even mention the one that was way more prevalent back in the day: rape as the “heroic turning point” for a female main character, much as having their family killed is the inciting incident for men. I guess we’ve moved beyond that.

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§ Finally, I reckon Zainab won the internet this week by taking her Patreon money and using it to commission a comic by Jane Mai about ELCAF.

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32. Titan at SDCC: Assassin’s Creed, The Blacklist, Heroes, Lenore and, of course, Doctor Who!

Titan has announced their full line-up of SDCC activities, and there’s lots to choose from with ten signing sessions and two panels, as well as a bunch of exclusive covers, merchandise and sneak-peaks of their upcoming titles.

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Their Doctor Who line gets it’s own panel this year, where details of a brand new Doctor Who miniseries will be announced, including which of the Time Lord’s many regenerations will star in it. From Titan:

Titan Comics gives you a sneak peek at the next chapters for the Doctor in all his incarnations – including sneak peeks at the direction of Year Two featuring the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors! Writer Cavan Scott and artist Blair Shedd discuss the smash-hit Ninth Doctor mini series! Writer Paul Cornell gives you a sneak peek at August’s comics cross-over event! Writers George Mann and Cavan Scott and cover artist Alice X. Zhang take you behind-the-scenes of the Twelfth Doctor SDCC exclusive short story edition. Plus, we reveal the next brand-new mini series – which Doctor is it going to be? Come along to find out! All attendees receive a FREE Doctor Who comic + prizes to win!

The Titan Doctor Who Comic panel is on Saturday July 11th from 3:30PM-4:30PM in room 5AB.

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED logo

Fans of Assassin’s Creed can look forward to Titan’s global premiere of  artwork from the upcoming comic series based on the hugely popular video game franchise at Titan’s other comics panel on Thursday July 9th from 2:30-3:30PM in Room 4. In addition, the panel features TV producers and writers from Heroes Reborn and The Blacklist who will discuss their work on series tie-in comics. Roman Dirge, creator/writer and artist of the cult-smash series Lenore will also be on hand to talk about his planned new work. From Titan:

Titan Comics takes you behind-the-scenes of major new projects including Assassin’s CreedHeroes and The Blacklist! See the global premiere of artwork from the new Assassin’s Creed comics, plus be the first to find out about the launch storylines and the all-new Assassins! Heroes Reborn Supervising Producer Seamus Fahey gives you a sneak peek at the new Heroes comic and special SDCC ashcan. The Blacklist TV show writer Nicole Phillips talks about writing the new The Blacklist comic series, which debuts at SDCC! PLUS! The artists of the creator-owned hits of tomorrow will be in attendance! Cult writer Roman Dirge gives you a ghostly glimpse at Lenore and his upcoming new projects! Artist Des Taylor takes you undercover of hit series Scarlett Couture! Harvey award nominated writer Mark Wheatley discusses his new remastered edition of Breathtaker! Plus, more comics talent and prizes to win!

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Want to grab an author-signed copy of that gorgeous, SDCC exclusive Heroes ashcan with art from Paul Pope? How about one of only 200 FREE Doctor Who: Four Doctors art cards signed by four Doctor crossover series writer Paul Cornell? Here’s the complete signing schedule, all signings taking place at the Titan booth #5537:

THURSDAY, JULY 9th

 

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Writer/Artist DES TAYLOR signs copies of Scarlett Couture from 12:30PM – 1:30PM

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Writer/Artist ROMAN DIRGE  will be signing copies of Something at the Window is Scratching, The Cat Really with a Really Big Head and Lenore Pink Bellies: 4:00PM — 5:00PM

FRIDAY, JULY 10th

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Heroes Reborn Supervising Producer Seamus Kevin Fahey will be signing copies of the Heroes comic SDCC ashcan with exclusive art from Paul Pope from 12:00PM — 1:00PM

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The Blacklist TV show writer Nicole Phillips and cover artist Alice X. Zhang will be signing copies of The Blacklist #1 from Time:  2:00PM – 3:00PM

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Writers George Mann and Cavan Scott and cover artist Alice X. Zhang will be signing copies of Doctor Who: Twelfth Doctor SDCC exclusive short story edition from 4:00PM — 5:00PM

Did you miss Roman Dirge’s 7/9 signing? No problem. he’s back at the Titan booth on 7/10 signing copies of Something at the Window is Scratching, The Cat Really with a Really Big Head and Lenore Pink Bellies5:30PM – 6:30PM

SATURDAY, JULY 11th

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Writer Cavan Scott and artist Blair Shedd will be signing copies of Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor series from 11:30AM – 12:30PM.

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Writer Paul Cornell will be signing a FREE Doctor Who: Four Doctors art card. Only 200 available! From  1:30PM – 2:30PM.

Did you miss Writers George Mann, Cavan Scott and cover artist Alice X. Zhang on 7/10? Fear not, they’re back at the Titan booth signing more copies of Doctor Who: Twelfth Doctor SDCC exclusive short story edition from 5:00PM – 6:00PM.

SUNDAY, JULY 12th

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Writer Max Davison, artist Matt Hebb, colourist Tracy Bailey and inker Jason Worthington will be signing copies of DreamWork’s Home #1 comic from 12:00PM – 1:00PM.

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33. Heroes: Reborn Gets a Synopsis, Trailer, and Character Portraits!

Swiftly following last week’s debut of the “Where are the Heroes?” teaser trailer, NBC has released a flurry of Heroes: Reborn promotional material to get audiences excited about the return of the show.  First off, here’s our first glimpse of the heroes, some of whom you might recognize, in action:

Then there’s the official plot synopsis:

A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding or on the run from those with nefarious motives.

Two such vigilantes include Luke (Zachary Levi, “Chuck”) and Joanne (Judith Shekoni, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”), who are seeking to avenge a tragic loss.

Noah Bennet, aka H.R.G. (Jack Coleman, “Heroes”), has gone off the grid but conspiracy theorist Quentin Frady (Henry Zebrowski, “A to Z”) finds him and opens his eyes to the truth behind the Odessa tragedy.

While in hiding, some are discovering their newfound skills. Awkward teen Tommy (Robbie Kay, “Once Upon a Time”) just wants to be normal and win the girl of his dreams, Emily (Gatlin Green, “Criminal Minds”), but normalcy is virtually impossible after learning of a new ability that terrifies him. Coming from a very sheltered upbringing, a bold and ethereal teenager, Malina (Danika Yarosh, “Shameless”), has been told she is destined for greatness. In Tokyo, a quiet and unique young woman, Miko (Kiki Sukezane, “Death Yankee 3”), is trying to track down her missing father while hiding an extraordinary secret that will make her a force to be reckoned with. Elsewhere, a different type of hero is emerging through former soldier Carlos (Ryan Guzman, “The Boy Next Door”).

Odessa, from the word “Odyssey,” was the home of Claire Bennet and the very first place we ever saw in the Heroes universe.  It will be interesting to see the show return home and hopefully see the series return to form.  In addition to the aforementioned H.R.G. (Jack Coleman), a number of other characters from the original series have signed on to return, including Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), Angela Petrelli (Christine Rose), Rebel/Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey), Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg), and The Haitian/René (Jimmy Jean-Louis).

Finally, we have a set of character portraits which feature old and new cast members:

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Ryan Guzman as Carlos, an army veteran who has just discovered his abilities

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Jack Coleman as HRG/Noah Bennet, father figure and government agent

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Danika Yarosh as Malina, a “sheltered” girl who has just discovered that “she is destined for greatness”

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Francesca Eastwood as Molly, a mystery character as of right now.

The 13 episode Heroes: Reborn miniseries will debut this fall.

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34. Eternal Warrior, Dr. Mirage and X-O Manowar #50: News from the #ValiantSummit

The #ValiantSummit just wrapped, where the publisher announced a whole bunch of new titles and announcements from Valiant Entertainment’s comic book line in a live setting. One of the first and biggest announcements was X-O Manowar #50, a landmark achievement in publishing giving the current state of the industry. The issue will feature the writing talents of Robert Venditti — who launched the new Valiant Universe with X-O Manowar #1 alongside Bloodshot: Reborn artist Mico Suayan. The comic is shipping in 2016.

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Next up is Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, which Robert Venditti teased in our exclusive interview covering the Book of Death with the author — Venditti noted that the Eternal Warrior is one of his favorite characters in the Valiant Universe. Raul Allen is joining Venditti to draw the comic, which is launching in November. Also, the publisher debuted the cover to the first issue, a wraparound cover with David Lafuente linework.

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The last issue of the previous Dr. Mirage series teased that the series was coming back, but Valiant has now confirmed the next comic entitled The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage: Second Lives. The comic is another four-issue mini with author Jen Van Meter and Robert De La Torre returning as the creative team set for a December debut.

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Valiant is releasing eight of their first issues for a dollar each in the publisher’s One Dollar Debut line. The comics company also released the information that the landmark Book of Death event has over 70,000 pre-orders. Take a look at the new trailer for the event here. The summit was a fine showing from Valiant, containing news that fans should be excited about while offering newcomers the chance to get in on a new #1 with Wrath of the Eternal Warrior and the publisher’s own One Dollar Debut line of comics.

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35. Massive Update to the All-New, All-Different Marvel Scorecard

Recently, a bunch of cover solicits from Marvel’s All-New All-Different preview book leaked.  We now have 46 titles on deck.  Besides some major shakeups we’ve previously covered such as Jeff Lemire debuting on X-Men and Rick Remender leaving Marvel to focus on his creator owned work, there aren’t any huge shakeups to the roster of creatives in this All-New world.

The titles below are organized alphabetically by series genre.


 

Avengers

44 - ATkk2Xh

37 - 2qAk7bB

43 - Tdr0H2W

32 - HIFD07X

11 - Spmf4KD

41 - 4Nz0yVE

07 - 43W3VWq

42 - IEk1WMy

21 - 70p97rW

ironman

36 - ZuxZOU0

23 - 4J0Pf2i

20 - IGvp0CM

25 - E7SkQDj

28 - Kew8UWI

35 - aSLqkXd

45 - 2UpoQmD

03 - ytbuy3e

13 - iE9ox9w

38 - W1pUgFs

X-Men

15 - Tzu7st8

17 - ab7wOjo

34 - f2AdjQO

18 - 7fVKtnP

19 - DXVmSei

16 - rYcdU2e

Spider-Man

 

09 - Jbm55Bu

01 - SAkP2iD

12 - BjHbvYb

30 - g9isagI

10 - 0JWbcIs

05 - CJhVBw4

06 - u8cZM4P

 

02 - ljGNgV7

04 - ugNDuxS

Inhumans 

22 - dcUhzOQ

29 - kVs76wb

39 - Fjfuj10

Guardians Of The Galaxy

31 - yWgNPSd

27 - fthKqXy

26 - rK2cwfc

 

Marvel has also announced a Gamora title with Nicole Perlman on scripts.

Potpourri

40 - Qh9neDV

33 - YuONto7

08 - r7iFeYN

24 - ay6cGJk

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36. Check out the All-New, All-Different Amazing Spider-Man Costume

Man, Marvel loves their hyphens.

Dan Slott recently gave an interview to MTV regarding his and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli’s upcoming Amazing Spider-Man run, which begins following Secret Wars‘ conclusion in October.  In the article, MTV debuted new designs from the series including a brand new costume created by Alex Ross (Kingdom Come) and a Spider Mobile conceived by Camuncoli.

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As head of Parker Industries, the tech company that Doc Ock founded while his mind was in Peter Parker’s body, the newly restored Parker is now an incredibly wealthy inventor.  Slott promises that Parker will put this wealth to use by expanding his heroic operations beyond the Manhattan skyline, traveling to Shanghai, San Francisco, and London to face greater threats than ever before.

It’s worth comparing this new take on Spider-Man to the Batman Inc. era Dark Knight.  Bruce Wayne, as head of Wayne Industries, financially endorsed Gotham’s #1 vigilante and helped him expand Batman’s reach beyond his home city, much like Parker will help the web slinger do in Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man.

Spider Mobile = Batmobile

Did I mention that Spider-Man’s suit is high tech now, too?

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“The things this suit will be able to do and the innovations that Peter Parker has put into it will be astounding,” Slott noted, “and when you want to take something to the next level, you go, and make it look real, you go, ’hey Alex Ross, take your best shot.’ ”

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37. SDCC ’15: GoComics and Andrews McMeel signings with a ton o’ cartoonists

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I remember the days when seeing a real live comic strip artist was rare indeed, but now they’re coming out of their shell! GoComics and Andrews McMeel (publisher of all those comic strips collections you love so much)will be at Comic-Con (Booth #1503) and lots of cool folks—from Dana Simpson to Stephen Pastis—and books—Peanuts! Cul de Sac!—will be there. Here’s the list:

• A selection of books for purchase, including the recently released “Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue,” which includes a fascinating, in-depth interview with Bill Watterson; New York Times bestsellers from The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman), including his most recent release, “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances”; “Breaking Stephan” by Stephan Pastis; and “Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure” by Dana Simpson and “Big Nate: Say Good-bye to Dork City” by Lincoln Peirce, two recently released offerings from AMP! Comics for Kids, especially for middle-

• GoComics, the world’s largest online collection of syndicated and web-only comics, offers an online catalog and mobile app providing iconic comics such as Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert, Garfield and FoxTrot as well as other popular comics, including The Argyle Sweater, Jim Benton Cartoons, Pearls Before Swine, Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC).

• Scheduled one-hour, free signings by creators including Brooke McEldowney (9 Chickweed Lane, Pibgorn), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Greg Evans (Luann), Jason Chatfield (Ginger Meggs) and Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine).

• Daily giveaways featuring free GoComics PRO memberships, bookmarks, buttons and other comic-related promotional items, as well as daily drawings for major comic collections, including “The Complete Calvin and Hobbes,” “The Complete Cul de Sac,” “The Complete Far Side” and “Celebrating Peanuts.”

• In honor of the 30th anniversary of Calvin and Hobbes, archive-quality prints of the iconic first and last Calvin and Hobbes comic strips will be available for purchase. To celebrate the 65th anniversary of Peanuts, an archive-quality print of the first-ever comic strip (available in color or black and white) will also be

• GoComics will host daily Twitter giveaways (Thursday through Sunday) featuring the “Dear Mr. Watterson” and “Stripped” documentaries in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Calvin and Hobbes (while

• In partnership with Peanuts Worldwide, SDCC attendees are encouraged to visit the Peanuts booth (#1637) and ask for a “GoComics Ticket.” Attendees who present this ticket at the Andrews McMeel Publishing/GoComics booth (#1503) will receive exclusive commemorative Peanuts prizes, including a collectible 65th anniversary poster, Snoopy buttons, bookmarks, tattoos and a coloring sheet for kids (while

• GoComics T-shirts featuring the slogan “Read Comics Every Day” will be available for purchase for $20. Follow GoComics (@GoComics) and Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel) on Twitter using #GoComics and #AndrewsMcMeel for real-time updates about giveaways, signings and the location of street teams distributing comic-related items. The on-site teams from GoComics and Andrews McMeel Publishing will also share photos via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest.

Andrews McMeel Publishing/GoComics Signing and Event Schedule:

All creator signings will occur at the Andrews McMeel Publishing/GoComics Booth (#1503). Exclusive SDCC 2015 prints or posters will be provided for free at all creator signings.

Thursday, July 9
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Jason Chatfield (Ginger Meggs)
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Jim Benton (Jim Benton Cartoons)
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Lalo Alcaraz (editorial cartoonist; La Cucaracha)


Friday, July 10
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Greg Evans (Luann)
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Brooke McEldowney (9 Chickweed Lane, Pibgorn)
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn)
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Paul Trap (Thatababy)



Saturday, July 26
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Steve McGarry (Badlands, Biographic, KidTown, TrivQuiz)
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine)
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Nick Seluk (The Awkward Yeti, Heart and Soul)
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Paige Braddock (creative director at Peanuts, Stinky Cecil, Jane’s World, The Martian Confederacy)



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38. Crowdwatch: some deserving Kickstarters from Pak/Miyazawa, Dwyer and also Frogman

Normally I don’t do Kickstarter columns but so many of them are coming and so many of them are cool, I’m BREAKING WITH TRADITION.

§ Kieron Dwyer and Todd Rinker are trying to get funding for WEST PORTAL, a new creator owned series about…

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West Portal is the story of Dexter Allen, a struggling artist with a failed marriage and a young daughter.


After he’s diagnosed with a strange brain anomaly, Dex finds himself transported into bizarre worlds from popular fantasy and fiction.
One minute, Dex is reading a comic strip featuring Glint Granger, a space-faring sci-fi hero in the mold of Flash Gordon…





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…and suddenly, Dex is Glint Granger, trapped on some far flung planet, fighting for his life against evil alien Space Squids!

Catchy concept and the creators are seasoned pros so maybe give this a spin?

§ Greg Pak is a crowdfunding master, and now he’s teaming with artist Takeshi Miyazawa, colorist Jessica Kholinne and letterer Simon Bowland for  ABC Disgusting, a children’s alphabet book about disgusting things. I don’t think you need to know too much more than that. They’ve already raised more than $8000 of the $24,000 they’re asking and when you see the art you’ll give the rest:

ABC Disgusting tells the story of a boy trying to shock his older sister with an alphabetical series of disgusting things. But in the end, she hits him with what might be the biggest gross-out of all. 

WARNING: VERY DISGUSTING. (And maybe a little heartwarming.) INCLUDES FLATULENCE, LAMPREYS, MAYONNAISE MILK SHAKES, NOSE HAIR, ZOMBIES AND ZORILLAS.

“This is a book for anyone who’s ever laughed at a fart,” says Pak. “I’m also hoping it might be particularly great for reluctant readers, kids who might need a little more incentive to pick up and read a book.”

“I’ve been having such a fun time drawing it, I can’t wait for everyone to see it! It makes me proud to be able to reach new readers and, just maybe, inspire them to read more or even draw something silly,” says Miyazawa.

 

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§ Finally the third volume of Matt Fitch’s Frogman 3: The Death of Frogman is up. The artist is Gibson Quarter, and if this isn’t supposed to be a pastiche on 80s independent comics, I don’t know what is. They’re also about a third of the way so go for it.
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39. The story of DC’s library moving coast to coast

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With DC Entertainment not ensconced safely in the petri dish of the Burbank studio world, THR’s Borys Kit delivers the Story of the Move with two videos of the DC library then and now. Trigger warning: images of Steve Korte holding a whip.

The move west didn’t merely uproot the staff; it also meant a cross-country trip for DC’s celebrated library on Broadway, which was stored in a vault and included nearly every comic the company has published as well as a collection of licensed merchandise and oddities. (Collectively, DC’s copies of the first appearances of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are worth more than $2 million.)

Special movers, working with Warner Bros. Archives, packed nearly 100,000 comics and 8,000 hardcover books into 600 boxes, and a security team escorted them to a giant truck in mid-March. DC executives tracked the vehicle via GPS, and another security team oversaw the collection’s unloading. “It was like medevacking the heart from New York to Burbank,” says Nelson.


The front office certainly looks nice. I still feel a stab when I go up to the Carnegie Hall area, but sometimes puling stakes and moving is what it takes:

Overall, the move went as smoothly as possible, with no major damage to the collection reported. Nelson, whose office door boasts a transparent Wonder Woman image, says the new environment has affected employees and their work: “There’s a happiness that comes with being so close to the studio — seeing people they haven’t seen on a regular basis — and being in a creative space that feels like a comic company.”

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40. Rick Remender Leaves Marvel to Focus on Creator Owned Work

rickremenderLast night, Rick Remender announced his intentions to “take a break” from his work with Marvel comics.  The writer, known for his tenures on Uncanny X-ForcePunisher, and Captain America, says that he owes Marvel a great debt for enabling him to “provide for [his] family as it grew” and for taking a chance on him when he quit his first job as a successful animator to pursue his career in comics.

Before Remender worked with Marvel, he put out several books with Image, the most notable of which is Fear Agent with Tony Moore.  Creator-owned work has always been Remender’s greatest passion, though when he started out the market “didn’t seem to want such things.”  Recently, however, things have changed.  Remender currently writes a number of my favorite Image titles including Black Science; Deadly Class; and most recently, Low.  This work has become increasingly time consuming, and so:

For the next year, I’m only going to do work that the artists and I own.  Putting my ass on the line along with my partners, and try for the dream one more time.  To get back to doing what feeds my soul.  To be around for my family during some trying times and spend my work hours making comics with the people I want to, the exact way we want to make them, and owning and controlling the fruits of our labor.

Remender’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of creative shakeups for Marvel’s “All-New All-Different” line up.  Yesterday, Marvel announced that Jeff Lemire would take the reigns on the new Uncanny X-Men series.  Jonathan Hickman has previously stated that he would also be taking a vacation from the House of M following the end of Secret Wars.

Things are moving at a breakneck pace in the lead up to SDCC.  It’s hard to imagine how Marvel will top themselves at the convention.

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41. Webcomic alert: Witness the economic struggle of the cartoonist in ICE CREAM by Alex Fellows

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Here’s a comic that sums up all the money stuff we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks. The unnamed cartoonist in Alex Fellows’ ICE CREAM has just purchased a fancy refrigerator he can’t really afford. I think most of us will empathize with the financial soul searching, credit card juggling and marital discord that follows.

I could pull any number of panels in this comic but here’s just one.

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Ouch.

I wasn’t familiar with Fellows work, but he won a Xeric in 2002 for Blank Slate and a Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2011 for his comic, Spain and Morocco. You can see more of his work here. I’ll definitely be following Ice Cream!

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42. Eventbrite Survey: conventions have achieved gender parity but some still feel unwelcome

EventBrite, the ticketing agency, caused a lot of talk last year when they released the results of the first survey of convention attendees with breakdowns on gender, spending and more.

They’ve done another survey this year, and the results are even more detailed. Rob Salkowitz has done a round-up over at ICv2 but the Beat has also been given an exclusive preview of some of the data on safety at the con.

The survey was done to provide greater insight into the multi-billion dollar fandom events and convention business, and surveyed 2165 total respondents over two weeks in May. Respondents were drawn from Eventbrite users, with a few from external respondents via social media. 94% of respondents attended a fan event or convention in the past 12 months, While the poll did not cover sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, it delved into gender, and the news is that as far as men and women go it’s now even steven. Also, there is far more gender diversity among purchasers of indie/alt.comix than among regular comics. And that attendees of Tabletop/role-playing games felt less safe than any other kind of event — perhaps because fans of these are actually USED to acting out? Just a guess there.

 

SO MUCH TO CHEW ON. For breakdowns read on:

 

 

Fandom Overall Has Achieved Gender Parity

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• Last year, in a survey using the same methodology and roughly the same sample size, the overall gender breakdown across all fandoms was 46% female, 54% male, but was 50/50 under age 30. (the survey did not provide a non-binary/other option in 2014)
• This year, gender identity breakdown across all responses was 48.9% female, 48.7% male, , 2.4% non-binary/other
• Fandom as a whole is trending female, with women very slightly outnumbering men in our overall sample.
• Under age 40, it’s 50.8% female/46.1% male/3.1% non-binary/other
• There are hardly any significant attitude or behavior differences expressed between male and female fans across most topics polled.





…but gender gaps remain across specific fan interest areas.

• Despite the overall trend toward women across all fan interest areas polled, no individual fandom is close to 50/50
• Tabletop and role-playing gaming and comic book fandom are where the boys are, clocking in at over 62% male.
• Female fans flock to anime/manga, science fiction and genre/comics-based media.
• Fans identifying as “non-binary/other” are most likely to be found in Alt/small press and anime/manga fandom.

Cosplayers are Intense Fans, Spenders, Frequent Con Attendees




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• 499 respondents, or around 23% of our sample, identified themselves as serious cosplayers and/or people who attend shows just to engage in cosplay
• The highest percentage – 29.4% – identified themselves as primarily manga/anime fans. 21% are fans of comic and genre-based media, and 17.7% science fiction and fantasy fans.
• More than 85% of cosplayers are under 40, with nearly 60% between the ages of 23-39.
• Cosplayers are predominantly female (62.5%), with 32% male and 5% non-binary/other
• Only 30% of cosplayers report spending less than $100 at shows. Most (42.7%) spend between $101-250, consistent with the spending patterns of non cosplayers.
• Cosplayers go to more cons than practically any other group. 64% of serious cosplayers attend 3 or more fan events per year. More than 27% attend 5 or more fan events per year.




Cons Generally Make Fans Feel Safe and Welcome
• When asked “In general, do you feel the fan events you attend do enough to make all attendees feel safe and welcome,” 7.2% of respondents (143 total)  said no. 92.8% said yes.
• Anime/manga and toy/collectible fans seem to feel their events do best, with fewer than 5% feeling unsafe.
• By far the worst fandom for safety is Tabletop/role-playing games, with around 17% of fans in that category answering “no.”
• Videogaming fans (mostly male fandom) response is at about 10%; comic and genre-based media (the most female fandom) is around the same.
• There were few statistical differences between how men, women and non-binary/other genders answered this question.




• Among those who feel unsafe and unwelcome:
o 53.5% are female, 45.1% are male, 1.4% are non-binary/other
o 20% are serious cosplayers. 44% do not cosplay at all.
o 40% have been going to cons for more than 10 years
o 35% spend $250 or more
o 85% go in groups of two or more, including family




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43. XTRA XTRA: Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos lead the Extraordinary X-Men

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With author Brian Michael Bendis leaving the X-Men franchise via Uncanny X-Men #600, Marvel fans have been waiting for the announcement of the next creative team on the title. Now, the wait is over as the House of Ideas has revealed writer Jeff Lemire, penciller Humberto Ramos and colorist Edgar Delgado as the next team for the upcoming All-New, All-Different X-Men title: The Extraordinary X-Men. We asked Lemire about the prospects of writing the X-Men just last week in our exclusive interview with the creator — read what he had to say.

Many of the plot details in the comic are shrouded in mystery surrounding of Secret Wars. However, Lemire revealed that the story is spinning a stronger relationship between the X-Men and Inhumans — the Terrigen Mists will play a role in the story. Also, Cyclops and many of the main cast members appear to be missing from the traditional X-Men roster.

The new line-up sees a team without the more traditional versions Wolverine or Cyclops — that’s where Old Man Logan comes in with the eXtra eXperience. Storm is leading the Extraordinary X-Men in the place of the absent Wolverine. The All-New X-Men of the time displaced future are still represented in the title through Jean Grey. The adult Ice Man is gracing the team alongside the traditional versions of Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Magik. CBR announced the news and shared an exclusive interview with Lemire.

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Here’s Lemire talking to CBR about the origins of the phrase “Extraordinary”:

We wanted something new that hadn’t been used before and “Extraordinary” almost felt like one of those ones where we couldn’t believe no one had done a book called “Extraordinary X-Men” before.

The author chimed in on how he feels about his past work intercut with this current feelings on the X-Men franchise:

I think in the past I got too focused on plot and lost characters a bit in the other team books. There’s a tendency to have plot plot plot, insert character moment here. For the X-Men, I’m approaching it much more where the whole book is a character moment with action stuff interspersed, kind of the reverse of that.

No release date has been announced for the title. Stay tuned to The Beat, as more Marvel information is set to be revealed this week.

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44. All-New By Its Cover #5 (Covers For May 2015)

ALL-NEW-BIC

The column that judges a book by its cover, focusing on the month’s best-designed comic covers. For the month’s best-illustrated comic covers, see Best Comic Covers Ever (This Month).

Note: Apologies for the delay this month. I’ll try to get the next installment out super quick!

 

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Ninjak #3 by Lewis Larosa

Wow, that is an extreme perspective. The easiest way to make a composition feel dynamic is to have something in both the extreme foreground and in the background, and this has a single person existing in both. That is something.

The expectation that comic solicitations have some cover art to go with them means that artists are asked to create the art well in advance. When it comes to designers who are never quite happy with their designs, this means you can get a glimpse of their thought process when they tweak the cover before final publication.

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The layout on the left is pretty standard and boring. Using a drop shadow to separate the text from the image is a quick solution, but not very elegant and often a sign that the design just isn’t working yet. The image on the right is getting closer, but the glow around the logo is just as bad as the drop shadow, and is actually flattening out the art and ruining the illusion of depth.

The final printed version at top is clearly the best solution. Having the publisher logo and credits in the character’s hair feels a little bit weird maybe, but it works for me.

 

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Mythic #1 by John McCrea (A), Matteo Scalera (B), John McCrea (C)

I enjoy the concept of vertical logos and the design possibilities they open up. It’s just unfortunate that this one is nearly unreadable.

The two-color look of the cover above is really nice, but I think the composition could’ve been improved. It feels to me like the logo and image are fighting each other for focus. In particular, I’d try to move the head-in-hand out from under the logo and more into the upper corner where people might look first. Here’s a quick rough example of what I mean. It’s a little easier to make the image out now, right?

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I enjoy this composition slightly more because it has a foreground figure overlapping the logo, creating a dynamic sense of depth, and the vertical logo makes the vertical figure feel extra tall (at least to me). Again, if only it was readable.

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I’ve included this one just as an example of the worst aspects of both of the above covers. An interesting full cover image, but it’s being drowned out by the logo clumsily stamped on top of it. At the same time, the colors chosen for both the art and the logo are causing the logo to recede somewhat, which would make it harder to read if it wasn’t already unreadable. The other two variants are pretty solid, though.

 

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Arcadia #1 by Matt Taylor (above), Eric Scott Pfeiffer (below)Deep State cover

I absolutely love this logo box, and how it integrates the issue number and even the bar code into an interesting design. This logo is such a win (does anyone know who designed it?)

Unfortunately, the extra-busy cover art kind of clashes with the simple and stylish logo. Matt Taylor’s collage of lines worked really well last month with the lock theme of his Deep State cover, but here it seems like it’s more actively obscuring the art than just adding texture. And I feel like the the logo would work better with art that’s simpler and more open.

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This is my favorite of the Arcadia variants, a rare example of a comic being printed without any text on the front cover. Which I’m a huge fan of, because it reminds me of the glory days of rock album cover design. Even better, the concept of this image even looks like something that might be photographed as a rock album cover.

My one problem with this design is that the space below the bed seems like its just screaming out for a logo or text of some sort. White space is great for leading the eye around, but this is a case where the art feels a little unbalanced, like it needs a thing under the bed to balance it out. In case I sound like a crazy person to some of you, here’s a quick rough example of how I might rebalance the image without adding text. all I did was “zoom in” on the bottom half of the image. Do you see what I mean about the balance working better?

 

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Ghosted #20 by Dan Panosian

Speaking of rock album covers, this looks so metal. Even the treatment of the logo would work for an album cover. “R.I.P,” the new album from Ghosted.

The one thing that bugs me a little is the flower pedals touching the bottom of the frame. I kind of want just empty space all around the image so that you focus into the image and stay there, without being led out of the image through the bottom. Rough example — do you see what I mean?

 

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Fight Club 2 #1 by David Mack

I love the concept of this illustration, representing Tyler “waking up” while the narrator remains oblivious. I just wish the text around it had been placed better. ‘Some imaginary friends never go away” is a nice way to sum up the story, but its so hard to see here, it might as well not be there at all. And I’d rather the Fight Club 2 logo had been centered horizontally on the same background color as the illustration, rather than the so-so trade dress block that’s been designed.

 

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Divinity #4 by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

This is a great example of an illustration where having a tiny minimalist logo really works. We’re focusing in on the distant character (with dramatic lighting behind him just to accentuate him that much more), and the logo is right there. Compare to this variant, where the logo placement just doesn’t work at all.

 

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Heart In A Box #1 by Merideth McClaren

Wow, this is striking. The large field of white surrounded by darker colors draws our eye in, and the field in question is a word balloon with a character speaking…an image of a heart (plus the issue number). What does it mean? I don’t know, we should find out by reading it.

My one critique would be that the heart is so busy. The white areas had me wondering if something more was going on, like if it was being pulled apart or something? It would’ve been less confusing if all the pieces of the hard had been colored red, no white negative sections. Or maybe even simplified a little.

 

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Dead Drop #2 by Raul Allen

This is the sort of cover I was saying would’ve worked better with that Arcadia logo. Simple and graphical. The speeding police car and the money flying away tells a slice of a story without even having to show us (presumably) the car being chased. There’s a great sense of movement, and yet the police car also feels like it’s a piece of the logo. Are the people running inside the logo necessary? Not at all, but they don’t hurt it, either.

 

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Trees #9 by Jason Howard

It’s a little mean for me to put this cover right after the last one, but I wanted to show how they coincidentally had a similar layout and similar movement in the same month of comics. But instead of a dramatic chase, this one conveys the feeling of being drowned.

The main problem with it (other than being placed right below Dead Drop, which looks a little more refined as an illustration) is that the bubbles floating upward don’t look much like bubbles. I wondered briefly if the bubbles were maybe transforming. Imagine if the one up top looked like a butterfly escaping, and what that might symbolize. But it’s not, it’s a sloppy group of bubbles.

 

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Ei8ht #4 by Rafael Albuquerque

I think this is the most successful Ei8ht cover yet in terms of the balance of space around the logo and how it relates to the main image. It’s also a nice contrast to go from the previous action images on a diagonal to a quiet, sad image on a diagonal. The large amount of black also helps a lot. The added contrast puts more focus on the white areas, which smartly includes the character on the bed.

 


Kate Willaert is a graphic designer for Shirts.com. You can find her her art on Tumblr and her thoughts @KateWillaert. Notice any spelling errors? Leave a comment below.

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45. SDCC ’15: Boom! announces signings and sketches and party

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I imagine some people will be excited about Rebecca Sugar (Steven UNiverse) and Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes) being at the BOOM! booth; others perhaps by Bryan Cranston and Mia Furlan. What are Walter White and Danielle Rousseau doing at BOOM!? I guess it has something to so with comics!

Also the Boom party returns Thursday to the Hilton this time with 10th Anniversary flair.

Award-winning comic book publisher BOOM! Studios and its imprints, KaBOOM!, BOOM! Box, and Archaia, announced today it will return to exhibit for the 10th straight year at Comic-Con International in San Diego, to be held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California July 8-12, 2015.
 
BOOM! can be found at Booth #2229 on the show floor and will host an army of talent for signings, including appearances by Alyssa Milano, Bruce Boxleitner, Bryan Cranston, Seth Green, David Petersen, Mark Waid, Frank Barbiere, James Tynion IV, Noelle Stevenson, Rebecca Sugar, Asaf Hanuka, and many more. BOOM! will also host its 10th Annual Comic-Con drink-up, which has been renamed the BOOM! 10 Year Birthday Bash to celebrate 10 years of publishing.
 
APPEARANCES
 
The following talent is scheduled to appear at the BOOM! booth throughout the weekend:
 
• Alyssa Milano (HACKTIVIST)
• Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
• Asaf Hanuka (THE REALIST)
• Bruce Boxleitner (LANTERN CITY)
• Bryan Cranston (SUPERMANSION)
• Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
• David Petersen (MOUSE GUARD)
• Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
• Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
• Jake Wyatt (LANTERN CITY)
• James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
• Jen Wang (ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA & CAKE: CARD WARS)
• Jillian Bell (SUPERMANSION)
• Joe Madureira (SUPERMANSION)
• Mark Waid (STRANGE FRUIT, IRREDEEMABLE)
• Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
• Matthew Daley (LANTERN CITY)
• Matthew Senreich (SUPERMANSION)
• Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
• Mira Furlan (LANTERN CITY)
• Noelle Stevenson (LUMBERJANES)
• Olivia Olson (ADVENTURE TIME)
• Rebecca Sugar (STEVEN UNIVERSE)
• Seth Green (SUPERMANSION)
• Shannon Watters (LUMBERJANES)
• Thomas Willeford (LANTERN CITY)
• Trevor Crafts (LANTERN CITY)
• Zeb Wells (SUPERMANSION)

 
In addition, the BOOM! Studios booth will host sketch artists all weekend, including:
 
• Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES issues #9-12) will be sketching on our all-new LUMBERJANES sketch covers
• Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
• Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
For $30, fans can request and purchase custom sketches to be drawn on blank Get-A-Sketch covers at the show. Fans can also pre-order sketches in advance starting now on the BOOM! website and pick them up at the show. Supplies are limited so act now!
 
• To pre-order a LUMBERJANES sketch on our brand-new LUMBERJANES sketch covers from Carolyn Nowak, go to http://bit.ly/LJSketch.
• To pre-order an ADVENTURE TIME, BRAVEST WARRIORS, BEE AND PUPPYCAT or STEVEN UNIVERSE sketch from Ian McGinty, go to http://bit.ly/Iansketch.
• To pre-order an ADVENTURE TIME, BEE AND PUPPYCAT, STEVEN UNIVERSE,     or THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL sketch from Travis Hill, go to http://bit.ly/TravisSketch.
 
Listed below is the schedule of appearances at the BOOM! Studios booth, #2229. (Please note these are subject to change. Check at the booth for the latest updates.)
 
Wednesday, July 8th
Signing:
6:30-7:30pm Mark Waid (STRANGE FRUIT, IRREDEEMABLE)
 
Sketching all evening:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Thursday, July 9th
Signing:
11am-12pm Jen Wang (ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA & CAKE: CARD WARS)
3-4pm Olivia Olson (voice of Marceline on ADVENTURE TIME)
3-4pm LUMBERJANES with Carolyn Nowak, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Appearing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
Friday, July 10th
Signing:
11am-12pm LUMBERJANES with Carolyn Nowak, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters
1-2pm Asaf Hanuka (THE REALIST)
2-3pm David Petersen (MOUSE GUARD)
3-4pm Mark Waid (STRANGE FRUIT, IRREDEEMABLE)
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Appearing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
Saturday, July 11th
Signing:
11am-12pm LUMBERJANES with Carolyn Nowak, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters
12-1pm Rebecca Sugar (STEVEN UNIVERSE)
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Appearing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
Sunday, July 12th
Signing:
12-1pm David Petersen (MOUSE GUARD)
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Signing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
The following signing events are TICKETED. Tickets are FREE (though purchase of an item to be signed may be required) and are available for pick up on a first-come, first-served basis on the morning of the signing.
 
SUPERMANSION (Thursday, July 9, 1-2pm)
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios creators and members of the voice cast of the upcoming Crackle animated stop-motion comedy series will be signing FREE copies of the “SuperMansion” San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive comic book.
 
Bryan Cranston (voice talent)
Jillian Bell (voice talent)
Seth Green (executive producer)
Matthew Senreich (writer, executive producer)
Zeb Wells (writer, executive producer)
Joe Madureira (comic book cover artist)
 
ADVENTURE TIME (Thursday, July 9, 3-4pm)
Olivia Olson, the voice of Marceline on the Adventure Time animated series, will be on hand to sign Adventure Time comics!
Olivia Olson (voice of Marceline on Adventure Time)
 
LANTERN CITY (Saturday, July 11, 1-2pm)
Creators and cast members of the cast will be signing copies of the Lantern City #2 San Diego Comic-Con Variant ($10) and other Lantern City products.
Trevor Crafts (co-creator)
Bruce Boxleitner (co-creator)
Matthew Daley (writer)
Mira Furlan (Martha Ellen Gray in the upcoming LANTERN CITY TV series)
Jake Wyatt (cover artist of the SDCC variant)
Thomas Willeford (creative collaborator)
 
HACKTIVIST (Saturday, July 11, 4-5pm)
The creator and writers will be signing copies of the Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 San Diego Comic-Con Variant ($10) and other Hacktivist products.
Alyssa Milano (creator)
Collin Kelly (co-writer)
Jackson Lanzing (co-writer)

BOOM! 10th BIRTHDAY BASH


On Thursday, July 10th from 9pm until close, BOOM! Studios will hold its 10 Year Birthday Bash at the Odysea Bar, located inside the Hilton Bayfront Hotel at 1 Park Boulevard, two blocks south of the Convention Center. It is open to the public and no RSVP is required.
 
Additional details about BOOM! Studios Panels and Exclusives will be released shortly.









































































































































































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46. The Wicked + The Divine’s Fandemonium Trailer Will Have You Losing Your Head

Once again, we return to the end of another arc in Kieron Gillen’s, Jamie McKelvie’s, Matthew Wilson’s, and Clayton Cowles’ Image hit, The Wicked + The Divine.  The trade that collects the “Fandemonium” story will hit store shelves on Wednesday, July 1st.  To celebrate, designer James Leech has put together an expertly animated trailer featuring sad songs and even sadder gods.

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47. Marvel explores Synergy of Games and Comics with Contest of Champions from Ewing and Medina

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Marvel has just announced a new Contest of Champions title — a return to the three-issue mini-series of 1982 originally dubbed: Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions. The new game on IOS bearing the same name serves as the inspiration of the comic, which includes Maestro (Hulk villain) headlining the cover to the first issue. Al Ewing and Paco Medina are chronicling the adventures of this new team of Champions who have been gathered by the Collector to do battle with each other. Ewing wondered aloud: “Where are the trapped heroes stored when they aren’t fighting?”

Venom and Gamora appear to be locked into a battle with various other characters in the Marvel Universe frozen over in blocks of ice. CNet announced the news — along with the cover to the issue. Contest of Champions will launch in October as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Also featured in the series is Guillotine, a new character created jointly by Marvel and Kabam, the developers of the Champions IOS title. The heroine is powered up via a special sword handed down all the way from the French Revolution.

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48. Inside Comic-Con’s offices and their million dollar war chest

sdcc_logo.jpgThe people who work at Comic-Con International, the non-profit organization that put on next week’s extravaganza, keep a pretty low public profile—SDCC president John Rogers (who now works full time for CCI) and executive director Fae Desmond hardly ever do interviews. (This 2010 chat with Rogers is the only one I ever remember seeing) but the NY Times tried to dig in a little, and spoke with David Glanzer while looking at some of the numbers of the organization:

The nonprofit that puts on Comic-Con has a longstanding reluctance to discuss its affairs or even, for the most part, to share more than rudimentary details about its leaders. “It has always been about the event, and not about the people who do the event,” said David Glanzer, the group’s director for marketing and public relations.

But during an interview at the organization’s headquarters in mid-June, Mr. Glanzer agreed to part with past practice to address questions about its structure, resources and prospects. In addition to Comic-Con, the organization runs the similar but significantly smaller WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif.

He described a vibrant, if deeply conservative operation — it has largely eschewed growth in favor of preservation — that behaves less like a business or conventional nonprofit than a collective of shadowy guardians. The group began almost by accident, with 300 friends and acquaintances meeting in 1970 to swap notes and artifacts under the aegis of the comic strip artist Sheldon Dorf in the basement of San Diego’s U.S. Grant Hotel.

Among the nuggets gleaned: according to tax documents, CCI has a warchest of some $16.4 million as insurance against a catastrophe canceling the show with money left over to pay employees and get the show running again.

Other tidbits: the con costs $12 million a year to run and the 180 degree video screens in Hall H that Warner Bros. is expected to use for their panel this year cost $600,000 to turn on.

While the CCI staff may be viewed as “shadowy” to some, Rogers does do the annual “talk back” panel at all the CCI shows, and if you’ve ever dealt with the con on a business level, you know the staff is incredibly professional and helpful in getting stuff done. Perhaps the launch of next year’s SVOD service with Lionsgate will blow the doors open a little more, but the way CCI does business seems to be working.

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49. Anti-Bullying Comics Anthology RISE to Release Third Volume

by Melanie Burke

Images courtesy of Northwest Press

“It’s like an after school special but it’s a good one,” says Adam Pruett of the anti-bullying comics anthology RISE. “I’m not just saying that because it’s my book and I want to promote it—I actually believe in the material.”

Born from a frustration with caustic attitudes and gatekeeper mentalities within the comics community, RISE is the collaborative effort of editors Joey Esposito, Adam Pruett, Erica Schultz and Kristopher White. With hundreds of different contributors from all over the globe, the book currently has two issues out with Northwest Press and a third is slated for digital release this summer.

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“Out of that [frustration] came this idea, ‘Let’s do an anthology of celebrating being yourself’ and if there’s any place where that should be acceptable it’s the comics community,” says Esposito of the book’s initial inception.

The editorial team began working together in 2010 and approached Northwest Press several years later, launching a Kickstarter to fund printing costs in October of 2014. The Kickstarter platform, in addition to the for-sale issues on the Northwest Press website, made it possible to fund a book that is largely given away for free.

In addition to being available for free download at risecomics.org, RISE is distributed at all-ages events and school tours by Stand for the Silent and Prism Comics.

“It feels like we’re contributing to society,” says Esposito. “In a small but important way.”

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Part of the goal for the editorial team was to approach the issue of bullying from all sides—hence the power of an anthology that delivers such a diverse voice and wide range of art styles. The individual narratives range from tales of redemption and forgiveness between reformed bullies and their former targets to frustrated scientists with singing plants to aliens admonishing their peers for participating in late-night cow tipping.

“It’s not us and them, it’s not good guys and bad guys,” says publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen.“I think that the stories do a good job of showing that it’s not just there are bad people who do bad things, but that people sometimes do bad things.People can change, people can learn and do the right thing in the future.”

Tackling such a sensitive subject in a grand-scale way produced its own unique challenges—like coordinating such a large group of contributors.

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“We’re working on four different time zones, two or three continents, god knows how many countries,” says Schultz.“You’ll send an email off [and it] will be the end of the night, and then the next person who gets it is replying the equivalent of 2am for me.”

“It’s like herding cats,” says Esposito, laughing.

Additionally, the team had to make decisions regarding language and content for a young audience, without sacrificing the sometimes brutal realities depicted within the anthologies.

“That process was really illuminating,” says Christenson.“It was good to have those discussions and figure out how to strike that balance.”

Schultz says that the trade off to the chaos is “being introduced to creators who I wasn’t familiar with. And not just comic creators but people who work in different mediums as well coming on to write comics. That’s always great, getting to meet new people, getting exposed to different styles.”

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For Esposito, the excitement from contributors helped fuel the process. “[Seeing] the enthusiasm from everybody but seeing these really established creators come on board—donating their time and artistic talent to do something like this—was really exciting for me.”

The third and last issue of RISE will release sometime late June or early July of this year. After that, the team hopes to see the project continue in any variety of ways—potentially a once-a-year anthology.

“I hope it takes on a life of its own,” says Schultz.

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50. New Line to take over Vertigo adaptations

Morpheus," god of Sleep

Creating a shared universe on-screen is tough work, especially if you’re starting at the ground-level like Warner Bros is doing with their DC Comics properties.

Currently the studio has nine films currently either in production or in pre-production stages, which are slated to establish the DC Cinematic Universe (The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, etc…).

With all that in mind, it left many to wonder about the status of films like Sandman and Guillermo Del Toro‘s long simmering Dark Universe. According to THR, the former, and most other Vertigo adaptations, will now be handled by WB’s sister arm New Line, which they absorbed many a moon ago.

Strangely, Dark Universe will remain at Warner Bros, and will conceivably continue to be attached to the DC properties that surround it. The bad news? Del Toro is off the project, which sadly, is not a new feeling where he’s concerned. On the other hand, Shazam! will continue to be developed by New Line, meaning much like the Vertigo properties they’re working on, Shazam! may very well not be connected to the DC Cinematic Universe either.

You get all that? In summary: all of Warner Bros. superhero movies except Shazam! will be developed by WB, all Vertigo movies except Dark Universe will be developed by New Line. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

1 Comments on New Line to take over Vertigo adaptations, last added: 6/30/2015
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