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26. Interview: Joshua Dysart on the “Largest Robber Baron” in The Valiant Universe [Imperium]

IMPERIUM 002 COVER A ALLEN 668x1028 Interview: Joshua Dysart on the Largest Robber Baron in The Valiant Universe [Imperium]

By: Alexander Jones

“He’s definitely the largest robber baron in the history of the human species,”

said author Joshua Dysart of Toyo Harada, the main character in his newest ongoing series Imperium.

Valiant Entertainment could have just published another volume of their fan-favorite Harbinger title which Dysart also wrote and called it a day; but instead the company is striving for something different with their upcoming Imperium title. Toyo Harada, one of the most heinous villains of the Valiant Universe is the star of the upcoming series. Dysart shared some new information on the new project, spilling the secrets on the new Vine soldier joining the team, giving more insight into Toyo Harada’s motivations, and checking on the brand new status quo of Peter Stanchek. Witness how Dysart and artist Doug Braithwaite are taking advantage of Harbinger creators Jim Shooter and David Lapham’s groundwork to spin something wholly original:

IMPERIUM 002 COVER B BRAITHWAITE 196x300 Interview: Joshua Dysart on the Largest Robber Baron in The Valiant Universe [Imperium]Comics Beat: Let’s start with the obvious: why Imperium? After Harbinger was such a rousing creative success, why take this insane risk?

Joshua Dysart: It’s for exactly that reason. I’m not super interested in going right back into the same thing. I feel like we pulled something off with Harbinger completely by accident. The last thing you wanna do is go in and keep meddling with it. Obviously we will eventually get back to that story. It’s just more interesting to do something new and different. The whole point of being a creative person is to not constantly repeat yourself.

CB: Is there a trend coming now with Valiant’s renewed interest in melding brand new characters and additions to the lore that were not present during the initial run of the company?

JD: Absolutely, I think that it’s in their best interest, and I think that’s what I am trying to do in Imperium, which is a book about almost all new characters. That’s a big part of what Valiant is looking to do next.

CB: While Imperium begins, are Peter’s stories going to be pushed to the side?

JD: Yeah, I think what’s happening with the Renegades and what’s happening with Toyo are on two divergent paths for the time being. I mean basically what’s happened here is Peter and his crew won, but in winning they sort of destroyed themselves. In Harada’s losing it sort of entrenched him and reinforced his ideals to himself so we have a situation where the winners have really lost and the loser has ultimately won, which I think says something interesting about the nature of conflict. That’s what I think where we are at. The Renegades are not even capable of fighting Harada, and is that even interesting to that even more. One of them lost their life and the rest of them gave all their efforts to this conflict for so long, and to what end? They just reinforced him and entrenched him. I don’t even know if that’s something they are interested in anymore.

CB:  How large is the scope of Imperium? Will Imperium affect the greater Valiant publishing line?

JD: It’s being designed to interact with the larger Valiant Universe in a way that Harbinger wasn’t. You know Harbinger was a sort of insular thing that was about these young people, and I sorta moaned and groaned every time the larger Valiant Universe came crashing into my little bubble. This is a much bigger conflict. This is ultimately a conflict for the world so we would have to imagine the whole Valiant U will come up against Harada and his plans. The whole thing is built to embrace that absolutely.

IMPERIUM 001 VARIANT BRAITHWAITE 196x300 Interview: Joshua Dysart on the Largest Robber Baron in The Valiant Universe [Imperium]CB: Now that you are opening up the Valiant Universe more with your upcoming project, is there any correlation between penciller Doug Braithwaite’s art and what you are trying to do to sort of open this book up wider?

JD: I think thematically yeah, absolutely. You know I really love Doug’s work. I love that he can handle density and that he can handle these big moments but then I started talking about the series, but then I wanted him to do work that was really human and very concerned with the minutia of the moment, so Doug automatically became the perfect person for this book. He can go big, but instead he’s going small. He can have an epic moment, based around human drama that will lead to a better comic. I think he’s an incredible asset to the book.

CB: With an interest in HBO shows where we’re exploring a lot of anti-heroes, how do you walk that line between following some people who are sort of making some questionable decisions, but still making it so we can identify with them in the book?

JD: That’s hard to talk about, because it’s the kind of thing you do when you’re writing. It’s just really important to make sure they feel complicated and human. Once a person feels as complicated as you can make them as a character, then that person can actually become really interesting. Apart from that there’s no real secret trick or anything you just try to humanize them as much as possible.

CB: After reading Robert Venditti’s work with X-O Manowar, I saw that the Vine was painted as these dehumanized killers that entrapped Aric’s group of Visigoth. Whereas during the Planet Death Arc, we see a different side of the Vine. With the new Vine character integrated into the Imperium team are you going to explore that side that Robert opened up in Planet Death?

JD: Yeah absolutely, I think the complexity of the Vine is going to be revealed eventually, maybe not in the first arc, but eventually. Lord Vine 99 is less of a product of conscious free-will vine, and more of a clone that the Vine has created. He doesn’t represent exactly the Vine mindset. I don’t think we can share a story about Toyo trying to take over the planet and not have the Vine be intimately involved in this. The fact is that the Vine took over the planet and won a long time ago. Now we are going to share Harada’s history with the Vine that goes back to the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. It’s all going to be woven in pretty tightly into the narrative.

CB:  What will the antagonists look like in the title? I heard something about robots, aliens, and poets?

IMPERIUM 002 COVER C GUICE 196x300 Interview: Joshua Dysart on the Largest Robber Baron in The Valiant Universe [Imperium]JD: Harada has his basic psiot that survived the collapse of his first post civilization in first crew. He basically has a fully functional robot which is a version of his med-bots that he kind of amped up. The A.I. was a total accident, and now he has an A.I. shackle. He is incapable of entering any network. He is extremely limited in how his intelligence can grow and what he can affect. This is Harada’s basic check to not having a singularity happen overnight. It’s only a matter of time before artificial intelligence is affected all across the internet. He’s a really interesting tragic character for me. He’s capable of so much, yet he can’t intellectually grow but he knows that. We also have mad scientists!

CB: While the Harbinger Foundation was in control of an incredible amount of corruption, Harada surely cannot employ telekinesis on the entire planet. With limited power, does Toyo Harada have any chance of clearing his name?

JD: The current situation with Harbinger foundation that was sort of the secret organization buried within Harada Conglomerates, but Harada’s conglomerate has dissolved. However, Harada still has thousands of secret accounts located all over the world. These things are actively being tracked down all over the planet. That exists, so there is money and revenue. It’s difficult for him to track all of them down, but they exist. The Harbinger Foundation itself is now whatever technologies he has found and pilfered. And it’s now predominantly found within the U.S.S. Bush – Harada has stolen one of the largest nuclear aircraft carriers in the United States, and they are also taking the Somalia itself. But that’s all that’s left of Harada’s empire. He has money, but it’s tricky for him to use the money without being seen and he has a lot of his old tech, but he doesn’t have it all. For instance, he can’t activate psiots right now. It’s like if he were a musician, at one time he was in the biggest stadium band in history, but now he’s back to playing garages.

CB: Is Harada interested in clearing his name?

JD: He has done everything he is accused of doing; he’s definitely the largest robber baron in the history of the human species.

I don’t think that Harada believes that he has done anything wrong. I think he believes that the narrow shortsightedness of the species and their inability to see all that he gave them in return for the few things that he had to only reinforces him to see what others can’t see. It would have been easier if he keeps his global institution in place it would be easier for him to operate things within the shadows. Instead of having every government and every corporation pitted against him. He has no desire to clear his name.

IMPERIUM 001 003 715x1028 Interview: Joshua Dysart on the Largest Robber Baron in The Valiant Universe [Imperium]CB: Was Unity Toyo’s failed attempt at building a team like the one featured in this comic?

JD: What’s really interesting about Unity is that their initial inception was to keep Aric [X-O Manowar] from taking over Romania. Harada has done exactly the thing that Aric did, in that he put together this team to fight him which is a real vine of hubris and hypocrisy.

CB: What has Peter learned from the first volume of Harbinger to now?

JD: For a while, we’re not gonna know what’s going on with them. The last time we saw Peter he was contemplating that the only true heroism is doing nothing at all. I don’t know that they were ever ready to play at the level they played Harada at all. They are just kids, they are kids with a lot of power and they took on a really big task, and I don’t think they knew what it entailed. I think they are pretty heartbroken and beaten down from the battle.

1 Comments on Interview: Joshua Dysart on the “Largest Robber Baron” in The Valiant Universe [Imperium], last added: 12/16/2014
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27. DC Movie Variants Include Greatest Damn Cover Of All Time

JusticeLeague DC Movie Variants Include Greatest Damn Cover Of All Time

As a reminder that not everything in comics is doom and gloom—and that we as a country can still laugh, smile and drool, DC has released a list of its March Movie Variant covers, and they include this Justice League cover by Emanuela Lupacchino inspired by Magic Mike, the greatest film of the 21st century.

On that note, it is definitely time to call it a weekend. And the complete list, courtesy of Newsarama — more smiles to come we hope.

 

- Action Comics #40inspired by Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, with cover art by Joe Quinones
- Aquaman #40 inspired byFree Willy, with cover art by Richard Horie
- Batgirl #40 inspired byPurple Rain, with cover art by Cliff Chiang
- Batman #40 inspired byThe Mask, with cover art by Dave Johnson
- Batman & Robin #40inspired by Harry Potter, with cover art by Tommy Lee Edwards
- Batman/Superman #20inspired by The Fugitive, with cover art by Tony Harris
- Catwoman #40 inspired by Bullitt, with cover art by Dave Johnson
- Detective Comics #40inspired by The Matrix, with cover art by Brian Stelfreeze
- Flash #40 inspired byNorth By Northwest, with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz
- Harley Quinn #16inspired by Jailhouse Rock, with cover art by Dave Johnson
- Grayson #8 inspired byEnter The Dragon, with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz
- Green Lantern #40inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, with cover art by Tony Harris
- Green Lantern Corps #40 inspired by Forbidden Planet, with cover cover art by Tony Harris
- Justice League #40inspired by Magic Mike, with cover art by Emanuela Lupacchino
- Justice League Dark #40inspired by Beetlejuice, with cover art by Joe Quinones
- Justice League United #10 inspired by Mars Attacks, with cover art by Marco D’Alphonso
- Teen Titans #8 inspired by The Lost Boys, with cover art by Alex Garner
- Sinestro #11 inspired byWestworld, with cover art by Dave Johnson
- Supergirl #40 inspired byWizard of Oz, with cover art by Marco D’Alphonso
- Superman #40 inspired bySuper Fly, with cover art by Dave Johnson
- Superman/Wonder Woman #17 inspired cover by Gone With The Wind, with art by Gene Ha
- Wonder Woman #40inspired by 300, with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz

15 Comments on DC Movie Variants Include Greatest Damn Cover Of All Time, last added: 12/14/2014
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28. Back This: ‘Moonshot’ – The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History

by Zachary Clemente

moonshot1 Back This: Moonshot   The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History

Original painting by Stephen Gladue.

Kickstarter has been the way for me to find new comic projects and boy am I glad to have come across this project. Moonshot from Alternative History Comics and edited by Hope Nicholson, is a 200 page collection of short stories from Indigenous creators across North America showcasing the rich heritage and identity of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis storytelling. Comics fan have been advocating for unique voices and creators in comics; now is a great time to show your support and back this project!

Here are some of the fantastic creators in Moonshot:

Claude St-Aubin (R.E.B.E.L.S., Green Lantern, Captain Canuck), Jeffery Veregge (G.I. Joe, Judge Dredd), Stephen Gladue (MOONSHOT cover artist), Haiwei Hou (Two Brothers),Nicholas Burns (Arctic Comics, Curse of Chucky, Super Shamou), Scott B. Henderson (Man to Man, Tales from Big Spirit), Jon Proudstar (Tribal Force), George Freeman (Captain Canuck, Aquaman, Batman), Mark Shainblum (Northguard, Corum: The Bull and The Spear),Elizabeth LaPensee (Survivance, The Nature of Snakes, Fala), Buffy Sainte-Marie (Fire & Fleet & Candlelight, Coincidence & Likely Stories), Richard Van Camp (Path of the Warrior, Kiss Me Deadly), Ryan Huna Smith (Tribal Force), David Robertson (The Evolution of Alice, Stone), Steve Sanderson (Darkness Calls, Journey of the Healer), Michael Yahgulanaas (RED), Michael Sheyahshe (Native Americans in Comic Books, Dark Owl), David Cutler (The Northern Guard), and more!

From the Kickstarter page:

Moonshot will be printed as a 200 page, full colour, high quality volume showcasing a wide variety of stories and artistic styles, highlighting the complex identity of indigenous culture from across North America. Most of the original stories created exclusively for this volume are between 5-10 pages, including pinup art and prose passages.

The traditional stories presented in Moonshot are with the permission from the elders in their respective communities, making this a truly genuine, never-before-seen publication!

moonshot2 Back This: Moonshot   The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History

“Water Spirit” by Haiwei Hou.

Complete with exciting rewards, including beautiful stamps (mail from Canada only) from artist Jeffrey Veregge, prints, and a special hardcover edition, Moonshot is definitely a project to back, even if only to add to the growing part of your bookshelf for Kickstarted comics.

Take a look at MOONSHOT and find out more about Alternative History Comics.

0 Comments on Back This: ‘Moonshot’ – The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History as of 12/12/2014 1:56:00 PM
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29. Marvel leads November Diamond sales with Spider-Men

Amazing Spider Man 9 Marvel leads November Diamond sales with Spider MenMarvel continued to dominate the top 10 and both units and dollars according to November sales figures released today by Diamond. Sales for the four-Wednesday week were down from five week October, but comics are up for the year overall, with periodical sales statistically flat down .11%. Dolalrs are up, but so are cover prices.

Image continued to have double digit sales and units, and the perennials Waking Dead and Saga were joined by the first collection of Gillen & McKelvie’s The Wicked and the Divine.

Spider-Men from across the multiverse are brought together to defeat the psychic vampire Morlun who hunts them in Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #9, the first chapter of Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel’s “Spider-Verse” storyline and November 2014’s best-selling comic book according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.

With eight titles in the top ten, Marvel Comics was November’s top publisher, leading in both the dollar share (34.88%) and unit share (37.82%) categories. DC Entertainment had two titles in the top ten, led by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman #36 at #3, and was second in both market share categories with a dollar share of 27.47% and a unit share of 31.64%. Image Comics had a strong November as well, topping ten percent in both dollar share (10.62%) and unit share (11.06%). IDW Publishing was fourth with a 5.65% dollar share, and Dark Horse Comics was fifth with a 4.85% dollar share. Overall, November’s comic book and graphic novel sales were up by 5.47% over 2013 and year-to-date sales are up 4.52% but down by 18.40% from October due to four shipping weeks compared to October’s five.

dollar share Marvel leads November Diamond sales with Spider Men unit share Marvel leads November Diamond sales with Spider Men

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS 34.88% 37.82% DC ENTERTAINMENT 27.47% 31.64% IMAGE COMICS 10.62% 11.06% IDW PUBLISHING 5.65% 4.53% DARK HORSE COMICS 4.85% 3.58% DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.84% 2.54% BOOM! STUDIOS 2.73% 2.68% RANDOM HOUSE 1.20% 0.49% VIZ MEDIA 0.97% 0.36% EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD 0.77% 0.18% OTHER NON-TOP 10 8.01% 5.13%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL

SHIPPED

DC COMICS 95 29 0 124 MARVEL COMICS 76 37 0 113 IMAGE COMICS 74 13 0 87 IDW PUBLISHING 46 27 0 73 DARK HORSE COMICS 36 27 0 63 BOOM ENTERTAINMENT 41 6 0 47 DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 33 10 0 43 VIZ LLC 0 31 0 31 RANDOM HOUSE 4 24 0 28 EAGLEMOSS 0 0 7 7 OTHER NON-TOP 10 94 97 25 216

 


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
NOVEMBER 2014 VS. OCTOBER 2014
COMICS -22.73% -22.12%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -8.49% -3.21%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -18.40% -20.73%
NOVEMBER 2014 VS. NOVEMBER 2013
COMICS 5.47% 5.84%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 14.44% 21.00%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 8.36% 7.03%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS 3.80% -0.11%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 6.16% 6.52%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 4.52% 0.39%

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 $4.99 SEP140823-M MAR
2 ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 $3.99 SEP140810-M MAR
3 BATMAN #36 $3.99 SEP140247-M DC
4 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10 $3.99 SEP140828-M MAR
5 SPIDER-WOMAN #1 $3.99 SEP140833-M MAR
6 THOR #2 $3.99 SEP140857-M MAR
7 SUPERIOR IRON MAN #1 $3.99 SEP140798-M MAR
8 AVENGERS AND X-MEN: AXIS #4 $3.99 SEP140771-M MAR
9 AVENGERS AND X-MEN: AXIS #5 $3.99 SEP140774-M MAR
10 JUSTICE LEAGUE #36 $3.99 SEP140185-M DC


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 22: A NEW BEGINNING TP (MR) $14.99 SEP140657 IMA
2 TEEN TITANS: EARTH ONE VOLUME 1 HC $22.99 JUL140221 DC
3 SAGA DELUXE EDITION VOLUME 1 HC $49.99 SEP140591 IMA
4 THE WICKED & THE DIVINE VOL. 1: THE FAUST ACT TP (MR) $9.99 SEP140684 IMA
5 SAGA VOLUME 1 TP (MR) $9.99 AUG120491 IMA
6 SERENITY: LEAVES ON WIND HC $19.99 JUL140058 DAR
7 AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER VOL. 9: RIFT PART 3 TP $10.99 JUL140112 DAR
8 BATMAN ETERNAL VOLUME 1 TP (N52) $39.99 SEP140302 DC
9 THE WAKE HC (MR) $24.99 JUL140281 DC
10 DEADPOOL VOLUME 6: ORIGINAL SIN TP $17.99 SEP140932 MAR

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 MINECRAFT: OFFICIAL MOJANG ESSENTIAL HANDBOOK HC $7.99 FEB142549 SCH
2 MINECRAFT: OFFICIAL MOJANG REDSTONE HANDBOOK HC $7.99 FEB142550 SCH
3 DOCTOR WHO: THE OFFICIAL ANNUAL 2015 $12.99 JAN148356 PEN
4 LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA HC $34.99 SEP120055 DAR
5 DRAWING BEAUTIFUL WOMEN: THE FRANK CHO

METHOD SC (MR)

$19.95 AUG141888 PUB 6 THE ART OF DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION HC $39.99 JUN140054 DAR 7 THE OVERSTREET GUIDE TO GRADING COMICS SC $24.95 SEP141457 GEM 8 THE ART OF ROBERT E. MCGINNIS HC $34.95 SEP141849 RAN 9 POPULAR SKULLTURE: SKULL MOTIFS HC $19.99 JUL140131 DAR 10 THE WORLD ACCORDING TO THE JOKER HC $24.95 JUL141650 PUB

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 BATMAN ANIMATED: THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES BATMAN FIGURE JUN140313 DC
2 DC COMICS: GOTHAM CITY GARAGE: CATWOMAN STATUE MAY140419 DC
3 BATMAN ANIMATED: BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES CATWOMAN FIG JUN140316 DC
4 DC COMICS: STARFIRE BISHOUJO STATUE APR142091 KOT
5 VOLTRON 30TH-ANNIVERSARY LION GIFT SET JAN141950 TOY
6 THE WALKING DEAD: RICK GRIMES RESIN STATUE AUG140714 TMP
7 BATMAN 75TH-ANNIVERSARY ACTION FIGURE 4-PACK SET 1 MAY140418 DC
8 THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS: CALL TO ARMS STATUE “YEAR OF THE HORSE EDITION” JUL140300 DC
9 BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM: POISON IVY STATUE JUN140323 DC
10 MARVEL COMICS: AVENGERS NOW: THOR ARTFX+ STATUE MAY142513 KOT


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 DC HEROCLIX: THE FLASH BOOSTER BRICK AUG142838 NEC
2 MONOPOLY: THE WALKING DEAD SURVIVAL EDITION OCT128266 USA
3 DC HEROCLIX: THE FLASH FOIL BOOSTERS AUG142839 NEC
4 ADVENTURE TIME CARD WARS PACK 2: BMO VS. LADY RAINICORN APR148198 CRY
5 FIREFLY: YAHTZEE COLLECTORS EDITION JUL142616 USA
6 DC HEROCLIX: THE FLASH: ROGUES FAST FORCES 6-PACK AUG142840 NEC
7 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: KHANS OF TARKIR BOOSTER PACKS AUG142826 WZK
8 GAME OF THRONES PLAYING CARDS JAN120128 DAR
9 MARVEL DICE MASTERS: UNCANNY X-MEN JUN142654 NEC
10 D&D ICONS OF THE REALMS: TIAMAT PREMIUM FIGURE SEP142618 NEC

 

4 Comments on Marvel leads November Diamond sales with Spider-Men, last added: 12/14/2014
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30. Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

While we were enjoying Comic Arts Brooklyn this year, my partner Marguerite Van Cook and I took a break from the excitement of promoting our new Fantagraphics Book The Late Child and Other Animals to go across the street to a little coffee bar and have a snack. The young counterperson noted the influx of odd personages hauling portfolios and piles of comics and asked, “is that a convention?”
I replied, “Well, a convention is more like one of those huge things with wrestlers, porn stars and superhero comics, all mixed together with a lot of cosplayers. This is more of a gathering of especially individualistic birds in the alt/lit comics scene. I guess you could call it a ‘murder’ of cartoonists.”
She laughed and asked about the origin of that phrase, which usually describes a flock of crows. But not to further elaborate that conversation, what follows is a review sampling of comics, many of them with poetical aspects, that I got at CAB and other recent releases. Note that I don’t actually try to kill my subjects, but rather to remark on their positive aspects, wherever possible.

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Jungle Book by Harvey Kurtzman (Kitchen Sink/Dark Horse, $24.99)

Kurtzman 1000x863  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

A rare solo effort by the auteuristic creator of E.C.’s two excellent war comics titles Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, working in the satiric mode he initiated for Mad. Now, I do very much like Kurtzman’s solo work; see Fantagraphics’ recent collection of most of his solo E.C. stories, Corpse on the Imjin (which also contains a smattering of his odd, briefer collaborations, like those with Alex Toth and Joe Kubert). His own drawings have a powerful thrust and direct emotionality that can be lost or greatly altered when filtered through the sensibilities of the artists charged to re-illustrate his layouts. In Jungle Book, which was originally released by Ballantine Books in 1959 as a dingy, downscale paperback, Kurtzman’s targets include a jazz/noir mashup, a TV western and most impressively, in “The Organization Man in the Grey Flannel Executive Suite”, a cutting sendup of the fierce sexism that polluted the offices of his former employer, ex-Marvel Comics owner Martin Goodman. This brilliant strip is nonetheless disparaged as “weak” by famed misogynist and Kurtzman discovery R. Crumb, in the afterthought conversation between the underground artist and Peter Poplaski that cabooses this otherwise beautifully-produced hardcover reprint volume.

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Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown (First Second, $7.99)

Box Andre 1000x745  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

Brown’s biography of wrestling star Andre Roussimoff joins a small group of comics masterpieces that deal with this most theatrical of sports, from Jaime Hernandez’s Whoa Nellie from 2000 to a series of tongue-in-cheek horror collaborations by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben in more recent years, including their 2011 graphic novella House of the Living Dead. Brown’s is a remarkably consistent effort with effective graphic sequences such as the one pictured above and I also admire his restrained handling of the heavily staged fight scenes, as well as his unusual architectural establishing shots. Brown’s stark, spare and precise cartooning create a unique mood, as they contextualize Andre’s success with a tragic acknowledgement of the unrelenting sense of otherness and diminished opportunities for social interaction that he experiences due to his exceedingly unusual scale; as well as his size’s harsh repercussions on his health.

__________________________________________________________

Fear My Dear: A Billy Dogma Experience by Dean Haspiel (Z2 Comics, $19.95)

Dino 1000x495  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

The pair of poetic graphic stories in Fear, My Dear reflect Dino’s unfettered physicality and passionate persona. Since winning an Emmy award for his TV collaboration with Jonathan Ames, Bored to Death and The Alcoholic, their graphic novel from Vertigo, Haspiel has if anything become bolder and more exuberant. For this nicely produced hardcover from Josh Frankel’s new Z squared imprint, the artist uses a four-panels-per-page grid format and a monochromatic color scheme (red in the first piece, yellow and orange in the second, both with an elegant use of white for emphasis) to further define the relationship between his creator-owned characters Billy Dogma and Jane Legit. Their romance haunts post-apocalyptic urban rubble and breaks through to a star-crossed dreamscape, only to end up where they knew they must: together.

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How to Pool and Other Comics by Andrea Tsurumi (self-published, not priced)

Andrea 1000x747  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

Marguerite and I used to bask our way through the East Village dog days at the Pit Street Pool, and more recently as guests of the Miami Book Fair, we whiled away every spare moment by the steamy roof pool at our hotel. So, I can totally relate to the lead piece in Tsurumi’s new minicomic, wherein the artist collects a variety of witty graphic vignettes about group soakings in fluoridated waters, among other delicately drawn ironies and anthropomorphisms.

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Inkbrick #1 by Rothman, Sullivan, Kearney, Tunis, et al (Inkbrick, not priced)

Alexander 1000x794  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

This pocket-sized anthology of comics that incorporate, or are adapted from, poetry is made up of remarkable short stories done in a variety of mediums that range from full color to black & white. Immediate standouts for me are Paul K. Tunis’s watery montages for “Avenge Me, Eavesdropper,” Gary Sullivan’s oblique ink rendering of horrific Asian mythologies, “Black Magic”; Simone Kearney’s whimsically etched “Mobilization”; and editor Alexander Rothman’s “Keeping Time” (pictured above), a piece apparently finished in colored pencils that inventively expresses non-visual sensory impressions such as sound, smell and touch.

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The Graveyard Book, Volumes 1 and 2 by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell et al (Harper Collins, $19.99 each)

Gaiman Nowlan 1000x740  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

Although The Graveyard Book continues Neil Gaiman’s anti-collaborative self-hype at the expense of his artist partners, I do appreciate P. Craig Russell’s adaptations of Gaiman’s stories into comics form. Russell’s elegant cartooning and storytelling are paced far better than if Gaiman had scripted; it worked beautifully for Murder Mysteries, Coraline and The Dream Hunters. Now, for Gaiman’s morbidly charming tale of a live boy shielded from a cabal of serial killers by the shades of the deceased occupants of a cemetery and raised by them to young adulthood, Russell acts artistically in a way similar to Kurtzman’s E.C. methodology: he adapts the text and does layouts; the finishing artists serve as illustrators. This makes for a surprisingly smooth and consistent read. I particularly admire the polished renderings of Kevin Nowlan (seen above), Scott Hampton, Jill Thompson and the Russell-miming Galen Showman; and although a somewhat discordant note is sounded by the grotesqueries of Tony Harris, the whole is unified by colorist Lovern Kindzierski and illuminator Rick Parker, who hand-lettered the text, for me a visual treat in these days of page-deadening digital fonts.

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Lazarus #1-9 by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Santi Arcas (Image Comics, $2.99 each)

Rucka Lark 1000x769  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

I drew one of Greg Rucka’s first comics stories (“Guts” in DC/Vertigo’s Flinch #8, 2000), but it seems to me that the writer doesn’t take as much advantage as he might of the properties that are unique to comics—almost everything he does might work just as well if not better as TV shows. In his 2012 collaboration with Matthew Southworth, Stumptown, it is Southworth’s expressive drawing that provides most of the interest and its most effective use of the medium is that the artist rendered Vol 2, #4 with a Toth-esque sideways, widescreen layout. For Lazarus, a story of a female assassin in a dystopian, nearly medieval America run by a select group of powerful families that is absorbing enough and has had some striking moments, but still often has a feeling of deja vu about it, a lot of the heavy lifting is provided by artist Michael Lark’s cinematic near-photorealism, accomplished in collaboration with Santi Arcas’ hi-tech color graphics.

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Thought Bubble #4 by Kot & Sampson, Lim & Rios, Starkings & Sale et al (Image Comics, $3.99)

Ales Alison 1 1000x753  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

This color tabloid is a showcase for the participants in the UK’s Leeds Comic Art Festival. My favorite piece is a sort of gentle advisory poem that in its course expresses a goal that many sensitive artists hold dear: that of “making things that help other people feel less alone.” It is the work of the writer of Image’s fascinating rotating-artist series Zero, Ales Kot, expressively drawn with upended, widescreen and oblique imagery by Alison Sampson, who just won a British Comic Award for emerging talent; and nicely colored by Jason Wordie. Also notable: a beautiful page by Hwei Lin and Emma Rios; and an Elephantmen strip written by Richard Starkings and elegantly rendered in ink washes by Tim Sale.

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Nightworld #s 1-4 by Adam McGovern, Paolo Leandri & Dominic Regan (Image Comics $3.99 each)

Paulo Adam 1000x730  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

A tale of questing, embattled superhero-ish spirits, Nightworld manages to not only convey an approximation of the look of a Jack Kirby comic book, but it also comes closer than anything else I have seen to capturing something of the spirit of that master’s fierce and restless creativity. Artist Leandri hits a spot somewhere between majoring in Kirby, minoring in Steranko and echoing the early work of Barry Smith, back in the day when he was emulating Jack. Leandri’s spreads can look remarkably as if they were actually drawn by Kirby and his character designs and action passages likewise (see example above), without ever feeling as appropriated, or as forced, as those by some other artists who attempt to adhere as closely to the same model. These comics are colored by Regan with an oddly chosen palette that, again, is reminiscent of Kirby’s psychedelic experiments with Dr. Martin’s dyes. Moreover and significantly, writer McGovern’s poetic voice uniquely grasps a sort of post-traumatized and humane melancholy of narrative, the most tragic scenes of which are appropriately followed and leavened in a Shakespearean mode by bursts of frenetic humor, that can be seen in Kirby’s best writing.

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31. Comics We Want: Lydian by Sam Alden

tumblr ng30ceTFMv1qdylsxo5 1280 Comics We Want: Lydian by Sam Alden

Good news! Sam Alden has  collected his pixel-comics in a print edition called Lydian!  60 pages of full color goodness!

Bad news: It was only available at Comic Arts LA. Bah humbug. But you can order Haunter from Study Group! It all turned out okay after all.

 

 

 

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32. Webcomic Alert: An Illustrated A to Z of Torture by Krent Able and Oscar Rickheit

an illustrated a z of torture cia 284 body image 1418245105 11 Webcomic Alert: An Illustrated A to Z of Torture by Krent Able and Oscar Rickheit

Illustrated version of real torture techniques used by REAL CIA operatives drawn in an old school Basil Wolverton style for added punch.

BTW, isn’t “detainee” another word for “prisoner”?

NSFH = Not safe for humans.

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33. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 12/12/14: Celebrities like Norman Reedus are just like us and do wacky things at Comic-Con

§ According to a recent interview, Norman Reedus and his fellow Walking Dead crew mates have their own little Comic-Con ritual, just as do you and I. Like, mine is going to the CVS in the mall and eating the berry pancakes at the Hyatt. Yours may be breakfast at Cafe 322 or buying a piece of original art from a favored booth. But because celebrities aren’t really just like us, they are god-like being made of light and peach nectar, their Comic-Con rituals are epic and recall ancient Norse manhood rites:

“We all do actually. All of us do that. I was doing it [the other] night with Greg [Nicotero] and Steven [Yeun] and Andy [Lincoln] and Chandler [Riggs], because I found all these pictures that when we were in Comic-Con, in San Diego, we have this ritual where we get up super early, and we meet down on the beach in bathrobes and then we just run into the ocean and it’s freezing, but it’s like, it’s become a tradition now, so I found all these photographs, and we had a little text chain going on,” Norman told Access. “Yeah, we do it all the time.”


The ocean in San Diego in July isn’t exactly “freezing” though, so maybe it’s all a terrible terrible lie?

carmen est em Kibbles n Bits 12/12/14: Celebrities like Norman Reedus are just like us and do wacky things at Comic Con

§ I think the most consistently well written site about comics that I check every day is Women Write About Comics. And not just one or two writers but the whole site. I was happy to see Claire Napier get some mentions in the Comics Spire best comics writing list, but I also greatly enjoyed Megan Purdy’s piece on est em’s manga version of Carmen.

em est’s Carmen, an erotic, gay manga, is a story that works on the heart more than it does the head, but her reinterpretation is clever too — and not just because she found a way to put a new spin on it. In her Carmen, Jose is in a relationship with the toreador, here called Lucas, after the character in the Prosper Mérimée novella, rather than the opera which calls him Escamillo. Oh yes, did I fail to mention that Carmen is also a novella? It’s the source for the opera and leans quite heavily on Carmen’s unfaithful nature and Jose’s meanness. (So hard out here for a man.) In em est’s Carmen, she’s still the object of Jose’s obsession, but rather than being possessive of her, he is fixated, befuddled, and frustrated by her: “I envied her. She was everything I’m not. Perhaps I even wanted to be Carmen.”


§ Liz Prince had a heck of a year, and her Tomboy got all kinds of attention. And now an interview on Comics Alliance with the also excellent Juliet Kahn:

CA: What do think is the “state” of autobio comics today? It has very DIY roots, but with creators like Lucy Knisley, Alison Bechdel and yourself growing in prominence, it feels like a whole different ballgame than even a few years ago.

LP: I actually think that there have been ebbs and flows as far as autobio comics, and their visibility is concerned. In the early 2000s there was Craig Thompson‘s Blankets, and American Elf by James Kolchalka was very popular. Jeffrey Brown became astronomically popular because of Clumsy and Unlikely. Incidentally all of those books are Top Shelf, and that’s why I felt like my work fit with them. Then it seemed like there weren’t that many autobio comics being published, although there were a lot of diary comics online. I think the focus now is on “graphic memoirs”, and it’s really great to see that women cartoonists have been leading the charge; some of my favorite books in the genre are Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole Georges, Smile by Raina Telgemeier, and Tangles by Sarah Leavitt.

Funnybooks Kibbles n Bits 12/12/14: Celebrities like Norman Reedus are just like us and do wacky things at Comic Con

§ TCJ spotlighted a book that I had not heard of or even received a galley of: Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books by the noted comics historian Michael Barrier which examines the cozy, security-inspiring world of 50s funny animals comics.

In mid-20th century America, the comics published by Western Printing & Lithographing Company under the Dell label were inescapable. It had the market cornered on non-superhero licensing: comics with characters from the Disney, Warner Bros., MGM and Walter Lantz animation studios; Marge Buell’s Little Lulu; Johnny Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann; Tarzan; the Lone Ranger. Popular characters were the pull, but master cartoonists and storytellers like Barks, Walt Kelly and John Stanley were the reason people kept staying and kept certain titles’ circulation up to a million copies.


I think Barks, Kelly and Stanley inspired the most readers, but it’s instructive to recall that THIS is the era that the folks who ran comics in the 80s and 90s grew up surrounded by. It wasn’t all Carmine Infantino.

§ Many people linked to this piece on the dearth of mid-level moviemaking that I alluded to the other day. It’s a must read for laying everything out in a clear, numbers-oriented way. But the ascendance of superhero movies looms large. Steven Spielberg went on record with some dark foreboding thoughts a while ago, even if hearing the guy who INVENTED huge summer blockbusters with Jaws fret about their takeover was being hoisted on a box-office blasting petard. But, cycles end eventually:

How long, then, will the current filmmaking model hold? No less an authority than Steven Spielberg predicted last year, “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even half a dozen of these mega-budgeted movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm again.” Ted Hope agrees. “You look at the worst summer attendance [in 2014], box office dropped 15 percent, people like [DreamWorks Animation CEO and former Disney chief Jeffrey] Katzenberg saying that movies aren’t a growth industry, everything pointing toward the collapse of the foreign sales model.”

So, where does he think it’s going? “It feels incredibly vulnerable to me,” he says. “Look, I’m surprised the superhero stuff has the legs that it does, but you look at what Warner Brothers and Marvel have mapped out, you add into it all of the Universal monster movies and all these others platform plays, and you better hope that nobody’s taste changes for the next five years, you know? That’s not a diverse portfolio!”


Some suggest (hopefully???) that the studio system will implode as it did in the 60s, leading the amazing blossoming of the 70s. Certainly, Sony has to be reeling from having all its dirty knickers aired for everyone to see, and we haven’t seen the last of that drama. I don’t think Disney and WB are going to implode, though. BUT…people may get sick of superheroes sooner than you think.

§ Autostraddle had this list of 25 Queer and Trans Women Comic Creators to Support this Holigay Season!, but really these creators would all be good even if they were straight white men.

§ I asked for reports on Comic Arts LA and there were several, generally painting a sanguine picture.

§ It seems that Winter Con was also a hit, prompting some to seek the freedom of the outside world:

Among the numerous attendees dressed as their favorite comic book characters was Rafael Vargas, 30, an employee of Brookdale Hospital and resident of Ozone Park, who was in character as Venom, one of Spider-Man’s fiercest enemies. “This is my first show dressing up, but it’s great. I’m nervously excited,” said Vargas, whose words were muffled by his mask. “It’s awesome to see all these artists come together. It gives people who are into comics and sci-fi a reason to leave their house.”

§ In all the excitement of late, I neglected to link to this charming video of Dick Cavett & Al Jaffee talking about cartooning in a limo.

§ A terrible crime was committed in Wichita when someone stole $300,000 worth of old comics. Police continue to hunt for the culprit.

Mark Rowland, owner of River House Traders, says he lost more than $300,000 in the theft. But Rowland says he’s more upset because he’s owned some of the items for more than 50 years. KAKE-TV reports there is no description of the suspect, only that he left in a dark-colored car. Rowland now has a security system and says he will store some of his more valuable collectibles elsewhere.


BEWARE THE DARK CAR.

§ I link to The Digital Comic Museum every coupe of years, but here’s a longer appreciation of this repository of public domain comics.

The Digital Comic Museum knows that feeling and has obliged by making a vast quantity of vintage comics available for download free of charge. These are not just ordinary comics, but rather genuine vintage editions, many of which are exceedingly rare and obscure. That’s because all the comics featured are in the public domain and copyright free — which also means they’re old. The cutoff copyright date is December 1959, for example. Not surprisingly, many comics represent the mindset, politics and concerns of their era and some are not particularly politically correct, at least by current standards.


These comics are also the source of many reprints from Dark Horse, IDW and elsewhere. It’s a trove of treasure!

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34. Webcomic Alert: Stjepan Sejic does Superman and Lois’ “First Time”

first time is always awkward xd by nebezial d86klrp1 Webcomic Alert: Stjepan Sejic does Superman and Lois First Time

Link NSFW.

As long as there have been comics, there have been people imagining what happens when Superman and Lois Lane have sex. Larry Niven’s “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” set the standard, with a sobering, scientific look at Kal-El’s supersonic baby paste, and the potentially horrific effects of a human/Kryptonian hybrid pregnancy. And now the new artist of Rat Queens made his own little version. The headline says it’s Lois but isn’t it time for more Superman/Wonder Woman fanfic along these lines? No kleenex there!

For Supes/Lois fetishists, here’s an 8-bit version of the same scene. Like I said, it’s a timeless classic of fanfic.

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35. Final Humble Bundle of the year features $555 worth of Dynamite comics

BoysDefinEdition Final Humble Bundle of the year features $555 worth of Dynamite comics

It’s the final Humble Bundle of the year and it’s $555 worth of Dynamite Comics for a pay what you want model. THIS IS A GOOD DEAL. It includes the much buzzed Shaft #1 by David Walker, Bilquis Evely, and Daniela Miwa, the best selling Bob’s Burgers, the Django/Zorro crossover and many other fine comics by Mark Waid, Darick Robertson, Garth Ennis, Gail Simone, Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, J. Michael Straczynski, David Mack, Howard Chaykin, Bill Willingham, Sean Phillips, Tim Seeley, Chuck Dixon, Andy Diggle, Duane Swierczynski, Joshua Hale Fialkov and many more. ALl for pay what you want—but you’ll want to pay at least $15 to get extra bonus books! In addition there are free comics being given away every day.

Humble Bundle jumped into the comics/ebook market this year after a very successful run with mostly video games. The publishing program has been equally successful with over $1 million raised this year. It’s not only a surprisingly effective revenue stream for publishers, but a big help for the charities benefited, including the CBLDF, Doctors without Borders and more. I’m told the biggest comics related Humble Bundle of all was the Doctor Who bundle—oddly the Humble Bundle wikipedia page doesn’t list comics proceeds, but The Beat managed to catch the numbers and it was more than half a million dollars. Not very humble, is it.

Here’s more info on the Dynamite bundle, which ends Christmas Eve at 2 pm.

Fans who choose to pay what they want for the Dynamite Bundle will receive 56 comics with a value of over $200 which includes Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1,Dead Irons #1-4, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1, Devilers #1-2, Hack/Slash/Eva: Monster’s Ball #1-4, Doodle Jump #1, Alice Cooper #1, Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #1-3, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! #1-6, Red Sonja: She Devil with a Sword #0-6, Chaos! #2-3,Legenderry #4-5, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Of Tooth and Claw, Dark Shadows: Year One #1-6, Queen Sonja #1-2, The Warriors #1-4, and Ex-Con #1.

Fans who beat the average price will also receive 105 comics total with a combined value of over $380 including Living Corpse Omnibus, Doodle Jump #2, Dean Koontz: Frankenstein – Prodigal Son, Curse of the Wendigo, Monster War #1-4, Devilers #3-4, Twilight Zone #1-4, Uncanny #1, Alice Cooper #2, Mark Waid’s Green Hornet #4-6, Red Sonja Vol. 2, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Tooth and Claw, Kirby Genesis #0-8, Shaft #1, and Jim Butcher: Dresden War Cry #1-3.

Super fans who support Dynamite’s comics and creators by spending $15 or more will receive 143 comics total with a combined value of over $600 will receive all of the above, PLUS Zorro Vol. 1, The Complete Dracula, The Romita Legacy, The Boys: Definitive Edition Vol. 1, and The Heart of the Beast Graphic Novel 20th Anniversary Edition

Customers who buy the bundle will receive the first three issues of Bob’s Burgers and can share the first issue with a friend, by utilizing Humble Bundle’s gifting promotion. Those who refer this bundle to a friend will be rewarded with a copy of the first issue of the Django/Zorro crossover.  The gifting promotion is a great way to share a best-selling Dynamite title, while receiving a best-selling title for your own collection as a reward.  Dynamite is the premiere comics publisher to launch such a program with Humble Bundle.

In addition, for those who wish to sample Dynamite’s diverse line, every day at 2:00pm EST throughout the promotion, a digital comic book will be made available as a free download to fans, kicking off with a free digital copy of Red Sonja #7 written by fan-favorite author Gail Simone (of Batgirl and Wonder Woman fame).  That’s just for starters with additional titles to be unveiled mid-promotion.

“Humble Bundle allows us a venue to reward our existing fans, and also an entry level to bring in new readers,” said Dynamite Publisher and CEO Nick Barrucci.  “We were truly humbled by the response to our first partnership earlier this year and really wanted to bring the biggest bundle possible for the grand finale of our 10th Anniversary celebration! We’ve now exceed the number of issues of our first bundle to over 3,500 pages of comics to read and enjoy from Dynamite’s best-selling and award-winning creators. This Humble Bundle event gives fans a lot of books to read over the holidays. It’s the perfect gift to treat yourself during the holidays while also supporting several great causes.”

As with all Humble Bundles, customers can choose how their purchase dollars are allocated, between the publisher and charity. The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle supports Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which defends first amendment rights of comic book professionals nationwide.To date Humble Bundle has raised over 49 million dollars for charities around the world. With Dynamite’s help last summer they were able to give over $100,000.00 during The Humble Dynamite 10th Anniversary Bundle in July. 

 The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle runs for two weeks and ends Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Fans should follow on Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as new offerings become available. 

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36. Comics writing on the internet: what is it good for?

B2HF7caIgAEYYKR Comics writing on the internet: what is it good for?

Former retailer and current CBLDF director Alex Cox pens a piece called How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Ignore the Internet with a quick look back at the last ten years of online comics discourse…and how it doesn’t really affect actual consumers that much:

But mostly the REALITY of making, selling, and working with comics took precedence over the bizarre parallel universe of the comics internet. When I owned my shop, and previous to that, when I worked in another high-traffic NYC store, I straw-polled customers from time to time, and found that an astonishingly low number of them spent any time reading about comics online. And even fewer still actively participated in any sorts of discussions. The percent that did read the comics internet was divided further by the percent that used it as anything past a casual scroll. I realized that the numbers of comics sold were not reflected in the amount of online chatter about any given comic, and vice versa. In other words, if two worlds existed of comic fans, the people shopping every Wednesday and the people on twitter all night, the twain were not necessarily meeting. There is a great value in sites like CBR, and the myriad of other news outlets, but too often people convince themselves that comics begin and end on tumblr, and the world is a much bigger place than that.


While I don’t doubt that Cox is correct with the vast majority of readers being immune to the passionate arguments on ComicsSpecialSauce.com, it’s also true that social media enables creators who are good at it to capture and hold a fanbase. I’d point to Matt Fraction and KellySue DeConnick as two of the best, and certainly Chip Zdarsky, Fraction Sex Criminal co-conspirator, as models of this. It’s not entirely clear how much of their audience came for the social media inetraction, but it’s a good bet that some STAY for the brimping and Carol Corps.

BUT MEANWHILE, there is still good writing about comics on the internet, against all odds. Steve Morris, no stranger to good writing himself, has rounded up some examples in The Best Comics Commentary of 2014 with nods to David Harper, Zainab Akhtar, Paul O’Brien, Robiun McConell, Claire Napier and many more. Just head over and click the links and do exactly what they say.

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37. GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19

VB Special Preview GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19

The Venture Brothers cartoon show/religion has been off the airwaves for a long time, with the last new episode airing on July 21, 2013. But the long drought is about to end, with an hourlong premiere for season six on January 19th, 2015 at midnight ET/PT. The Beat ran into co-creator Jackson Publick on one of his very, very rare forays out of his studio at New York Comic-Con, and he confirmed that he and Doc Hammer had been slaving away for the last two years.

And now the wait is over.

And just to tide you over those last few perilous weeks, Adult Swim is selling a sert of Venture Brother sheets.

Venture Bros Sheet Set GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19

Venture Brothers SHEETS. In 300-thread count comfort.

Tragically they are only available in QUEEN SIZE, which for NYC apartment dwellers who huddle entire families into tiny twin-sized bunk beds is a sad sad thing. Maybe we can just buy a set and make a dress out of them. The sheets go for a merer $50.

Whether you dream about Brock Samson, Molotov Cocktease or just seeing a new episode of the Venture Brothers, these sheets are sure to swaddle you to slumber.

UPDATE: Although the FAQ confirms that these sheets are 300 thread count, it is not known if they are 100% cotton or the dreaded “percale” polyester blend. The Beat only sleeps in 100% pure cotton, so this is troubling.

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38. Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven Is Back…

millidge web hi 268x300 Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidges Strangehaven Is Back...Gary Spencer Millidge‘s Strangehaven may well be the best comic you’ve never read. Originally self-published in eighteen issues over the course of ten years, between 1995 and 2005 (with three collected editions, Arcadia, Brotherhood, and Conspiracies), it has been on what seemed like a permanent hiatus since then, despite the plaintiff pleas of tear-drenched fans like myself. Now, though, Strangehaven has returned in the pages of Soaring Penguin Press‘s anthology magazine Meanwhile…, whose first issue has just been published, which very nicely suimmarises the story to date, for all you new readers.

Briefly, Strangehaven is the story of a man who crashes his car in deepest rural England, and wakes up to find himself in a small village called Strangehaven. From there on, strange things happen. Very strange things. Not only does Strangehaven have a compelling and nicely convoluted storyline, with all sorts of odd and interesting characters, but Gary Spencer Millidge’s art is beautiful too, being a gorgeous photo-realistic depiction of the people, their lives, and the village they live in. If you’re wondering where you heard Gary’s name before, you probably heard it as the author of 2011’s Alan Moore: Storyteller, or of 2009’s Comic Book Design: The Essential Guide to Creating Great Comics and Graphic Novels, both of which come recommended. Since I started reading Strangehaven myself, I’m corresponded with, met, and got to know Gary, the creator of the book, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him a few questions about it…

Meanwhile 1 719x1028 Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidges Strangehaven Is Back...

Pádraig Ó Méalóid: for those arriving late to the party, gave you give us a brief, bullet-point synopsis of what Strangehaven is about?

Gary Spencer Millidge: Not really. This is the one question every interviewer used to start with when I first started self-publishing Strangehaven in 1995, and I used to hate it with a passion. Partly because I didn’t know how to answer it. I didn’t know what Strangehaven was about for a couple of years, and giving a brief synopsis of the plot would, I felt, reveal too much about it. I also hated repeating myself in every interview, and I used to churn out the same, “Strangehaven is a village on the edge of Dartmoor in the rural south-west of England, blah, blah, blah” until I realised I could actually answer the question any way I damn pleased.

 Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidges Strangehaven Is Back...So what I’d want to say about Strangehaven today is that it’s a number of storylines that weave in and out of each other concerning the lives of the inhabitants of an improbably isolated village, very much in the vein of British ‘60s television like The Avengers and The Prisoner, but was also inspired by Twin Peaks. At the time, I was reading the new vein of naturalistic comics like Heartbreak Soup, Big Numbers, Dave McKean’s Cages, Strangers in Paradise, and I think you can probably spot various influences from those in my work as well. [Not to mention on this noticeboard, from the first volume, Arcadia – PÓM]

I originally called it a surreal soap opera, but I think that turned out to be off-base, and it might be better to describe it as a magical reality mystery, or something. I wanted to reflect real life rather than clichéd and predictable soap opera plotting even if many of my characters were tongue-in-cheek archetypes.

As for what it’s actually about, I’d say it’s about the perception of reality, but that sounds terribly pompous and dull.

PÓM: There are three previous volumes of Strangehaven – is this storyline going to be the fourth and final one?

GSM: The short answer is yes. There is a twinge of regret and uncertainty when I say that, but that probably is the case, if only for the sake of my long-suffering readers.

I was very much inspired by Dave Sim and Gerhard’s Cerebus, which for those that don’t know, was self-published monthly for 300 issues. I always loved the ongoing serial aspect of the comic book, but even by the late 1990s, this was changing. Trade paperback collections were beginning to emerge as a viable business model, and it was hard to convince new readers to join the party at issue 11 or whatever. Paperback collections were the answer to a degree, but the difficulty then was keeping all the books in print. There was no print-on-demand, and for a self-publisher to have to print at least 1000 copies at a time pretty much absorbed any profit the endeavour was making.

Not only that, but new readers invariably had to be pointed towards the first book, which for obvious reasons contained some of the weakest material (certainly art-wise). So at what became the halfway point, I decided a four volume series would be symmetrically and structurally pleasing.

PÓM: Have you known from the start how it’s all going to end?

GSM: There wasn’t ever meant to be an end. I wasn’t sure how the first issue was going to end when I started, to be honest. The first issue alone was more comics pages than I had ever drawn in my life before, put together. As I say, it was intended to be an ongoing, open-ended series. I figured that there could be collected editions by character arc – e.g. a Megaron and Chippy one, and Alex and Janey one and so on. I had imagined Strangehaven as a sort of anthology of different stories set in the same village, at the same time.

But pretty soon, the characters had increasingly become such large parts of each other’s story arcs that I abandoned this idea. Strangehaven was never meant to be built around a single plot. What I ended up with was numerous plotlines and characters that entangled themselves so intricately that I couldn’t pick them apart; which satisfied my perverse desire to be unconventional, but made Strangehaven a hard sell to foreign publishers and film producers and the like.

strangehaven brother lg1 194x300 Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidges Strangehaven Is Back...So, way back in 1999, after I had completed volume two, I decided that Strangehaven really needed to be a finite series and sat down and plotted out the next two books there and then. That’s pretty much the template I’ve been following ever since, and that’s when the ending (such as it is) was cast in stone.

PÓM: Is it rude of me to ask how long it’s going to take to get to the end of volume four, if you’re doing sixteen pages every two months? Call me cynical, but I’m just wondering how long it’ll be before I can sit down and read the entire things through, in actual book form…

GSM: Most episodes will be a tad shorter than that, about 13-14 pages. Essentially, it’s about half an old Strangehaven issue’s worth per Meanwhile… issue. Twelve episodes in all. Assuming that Meanwhile… maintains its intended bimonthly basis, it’ll take two years before the last episode’s published.

How soon after that any collection is published is dependent on a couple of factors; there are contractual considerations and so on, and of course, that’s all dependent on everything going smoothly, which, looking back over the previous twenty years, isn’t a given.

PÓM: Have you given any thought to re-releasing the first three volumes of Strangehaven, or are they still readily available?

GSM: They are, and have always been, in print, and theoretically available to order from comic stores, book shops and the usual Internet retail outlets, as well as directly from my own website, or from Top Shelf in the USA.

I say theoretically because there have been various distribution hiccups, one in particular that led to Amazon claiming volume three was out of print and only ‘available from these sellers’ for a couple of years, one of which was testing the waters by offering copies at £150 each. And it’s an incredibly difficult task to get Amazon to change factual errors, especially when going through a third party distributor.

conspiracies 195x300 Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidges Strangehaven Is Back...I do believe all those wrinkles have now been ironed out (at least for the time being), so you should be able to order a copy in any of those places. Or if you’re lucky enough to live in Nottingham, Page 45 always stocks them.

PÓM: Do you have any misgivings about this new work being in colour, seeing as the work up to now was in good old black & white?

GSM: Well no, I wouldn’t say ‘misgivings’ exactly. Certainly when I originally signed up to producing new episodes for Meanwhile… I was expecting to do them in monochrome. John the publisher had floated the idea of colour in the early stages of negotiation, but I had dismissed it out of hand. I thought it would add an unnecessary additional stage to production and cause a potential conundrum for any future collected editions. And I am possibly correct about both those things.

But as plans for the anthology developed, it became apparent that John would be very keen to see these new episodes in colour, and after thinking about it, I thought it may be worth adding that string to my bow, especially as the cost of the colour printing wouldn’t be coming out of my pocket. I thought it might also possibly broaden the appeal of the series.

But it has been difficult to settle upon a technique that I could implement fairly quickly and yet keep the familiar look and feel of Strangehaven. I’m still finishing the art in grey wash tones, the same method with which the previous volume was produced, and adding colour digitally at a later stage. I’m fairly happy with the way it looks on the SEQUENTIAL digital edition, but the printed version of the first issue has turned out a little dark and desaturated. That’s something I’m looking to correct for future episodes. Not that anyone’s commented upon it anyway.

PÓM: Seeing as you were saying that you originally intended this to be ongoing, are there any plans for further Strangehaven stories, after you’ve finished up this initial storyline. Hope springs eternal, etc!

GSM: I’m not sure if anyone will be hoping for more Strangehaven once I finish this fourth volume; it may be the last thing anyone wants. From a personal point of view, after working on this behemoth for twenty years, and trying to get the damn thing resurrected for so long, it would certainly be refreshing to work on something different. I have enough ideas for comics already to keep me busy for the rest of my days, and I’m starting to feel a little restricted by the format I initially devised all that time ago.

You can never say never of course, and I suppose, there’s always the possibility of a ‘twenty-eight years later’ story emerging at some point, but let me finish this damn volume four first, okay?

PÓM: What sort of ideas for comics, do tell?

GSM: Maybe it would be advisable for me to attempt something a little less ambitious than an open-ended ongoing series with a cast of thousands, maybe a self-contained graphic novel to start off with. Obviously I don’t want to say too much about any potential ideas as it’ll be a while before I’d be able to start any serious work on anything new; plans are always shifting and morphing, and I don’t want to get anyone excited about something that may or may not happen.

But I will say I have a couple of well-developed projects that I’ve been fiddling around with for as long as I’ve been doing Strangehaven. In fact one pre-dates Strangehaven; after my Dad unexpectedly died in the late 1980s I wanted to do a memoir in comic book form celebrating his life and I even started work on it, but I soon realised that I didn’t have the chops at that time. So that’s always been on the back burner.

There’s also a globe-spanning Hitchcockian mystery/thriller and a time travel/moral paradox story that I’d like to get done, although I wouldn’t necessarily choose to draw either of those. I have come to the conclusion over recent years that I’m not likely to live long enough to draw all the comics I want to draw and working with a high quality artist would be a good compromise. That would probably mean that I’d need to get a publisher involved, so those projects are a few steps away from happening.

I’ve also become intrigued with the atheist/deist/theist debate and how that relates to current scientific theories about the creation of the universe and quantum mechanics and so on and I think I have a pretty strong idea for a vehicle that could explore that a little bit. That’s not all by any means, but you get the idea.

PÓM: One of my brothers lives on a small island off the south-west coast of Ireland, which has a population of 124, more than half of whom are non-natives, originally not only from various parts of Ireland, but from Germany, Scotland, Canada and elsewhere, so it seems to have that same sort of geographic gravity as Strangehaven does, although possibly not as inescapable. Are we ever going to get any sort of explanation for that?

GSM: That sounds like an interesting island to live, or even visit. Does your brother have any explanation for the diverse nature of the immigrants to his island? Is there one or sixty different explanations? As far as Strangehaven’s concerned, I think it’s pretty well established that it does have an apparent ‘geographic gravity’ as you’ve characterised it, or at least some of the inhabitants seem to think so. Whether it’s relevant to the central themes of the series (if there are any) may or may not be explored in future episodes.

But it is essentially the backbone of the series; it enables me to have a disparate cast with substantially different back stories to explore. At the highest of high altitude maps, Strangehaven is a simply a place full of weird people with their own views on the world.

PÓM: Does it not do your head in having to wrote Adam Douglas’s dialogue? [A character who claims that he’s from another planet – PÓM]

GSM: I’d say no, not really. It’s hardly Hob’s Hog*. You come up with the character, and his speech patterns, and if it’s difficult to write, then that’s part of the challenge of being a writer. It’s probably easier for me than it is for the reader as I know what he is supposed to sound like. Adam’s character is defined well enough in my head to let him ramble on while I merely transcribe what he’s saying.

I have to admit that I introduced Adam as a bit of a novelty, but I immediately became aware that he was a hugely popular character and as a result has become an increasingly important cast member.

Ronnie did say in one issue that she thought he was from Düsseldorf which suggests a Teutonic accent. But some astute readers may wonder why his distinctive use of grammar isn’t entirely consistent – is it because of the writer’s lack of skill, or is Adam not being entirely honest about his origins?

PÓM: I believe that the publication date for Meanwhile… #1 is a bit complicated. What can you tell me?

GSM: For a definitive answer, you would have to ask my publisher, Soaring Penguin Press. They’re essentially a book and graphic novel publisher, and they tend to have different publication dates for the UK and the US. Obviously the direct comics market is a bit different in that periodicals tend to get published simultaneously worldwide. There are some contractual concerns regarding dates which may have complicated things as well, and two British comics festivals – The Lakes and Thought Bubble – were close enough together in the calendar this autumn to make it an irresistible time to launch the anthology in the UK. So it’s been available in the UK at selected outlets since October, but will be getting its full international direct market distribution as from February. (Meanwhile… #1 is listed in the December issue of Diamond Comics’ Previews and can be ordered from your favourite comics retailer from that point. It’s also available on the SEQUENTIAL digital platform as well.)

Screenshot 2014 10 14 23.13.56 300x300 Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidges Strangehaven Is Back...PÓM: Thanks for taking the time to answer all these, Gary. And I’ll just mention here that we’re part of the way through a longer interview, which might even get finished before Volume 4 of Strangehaven runs its course!

GSM: Well thank you for wading through all that drivel that I’ve supplied in lieu of proper answers to your respectful and pertinent questions. Let’s hope it entertains someone somewhere who’s lost their internet connection and only has this one page to read. And as far as the ‘other’ interview is going, well let’s resolve to have a race to see who finishes first.

[*Obligatory obscure Alan Moore reference.]

1 Comments on Meanwhile, After Nine Years, Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven Is Back…, last added: 12/13/2014
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39. Stjepan Sejic is the new artist on Rat Queens

ratqueens9 Stjepan Sejic is the new artist on Rat Queens

Following the departure of co-creator Roc Upchurch, Rat Queens is getting a new artist for issues 9-11: Stjepan Sejic, already an Image name for his work on Sunstone.

Kurtis J. Wiebe continues as writer of the popular female-led sword-and-sorcery title. Tess Fowler is drawing the The RAT QUEENS SPECIAL: BRAGA #1, which comes out on January 14, with Sejic taking over for issue #9 out on February 25.

“Having admired Stjepan’s work at Top Cow for some time now I’m extremely excited about his coming on board to Rat Queens,” said Jim Valentino, Vice President of Image Comics in a statement. “He will usher in an exciting new era for one of our most popular titles.”

“I’m excited to have Stjepan bring the Rat Queens to life in his distinctive style, a voice that understands both the heart and the humor of Hannah, Dee, Betty and Violet. The future of the series is brighter than ever and we’re looking forward to getting new issues out to fans,” said Wiebe.

Upchurch was removed from the book following his arrest in a domestic dispute.

rat queens 10 Stjepan Sejic is the new artist on Rat Queens

ratqueens3 Stjepan Sejic is the new artist on Rat Queens

ratwueens4 Stjepan Sejic is the new artist on Rat Queens

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40. Interview: Editor Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu on Diving into ‘Out of the Blue’

By Matt O’Keefe

Just a few months ago I came across a call for creators to submit stories to be published in a then-untitled anthology made up of stories that, for one reason or another, had yet to find a home. Before I knew it, the anthology was released digitally on DriveThruComics and sent to the presses for December 1st release. To get my head around the quick turnaround and the quality of a book made up of seemingly “unwanted” stories, I spoke with one of the editors, Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu. She informed me of the process that lead to the creation of the anthology, eventually titled Out of the Blue: A Collection of Strange Stories.

1 736x1028 Interview: Editor Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu on Diving into Out of the Blue

‘Three Sons': Written by Mike Exner III. Drawn by David Newbold. Colored by Joseph Baker. Lettered by Joe Simmons.

I feel like I saw the call for submissions for the anthology pretty recently. How long did it take for the Out of the Blue to come together, from start to completion?

Once we decided to form an editorial team and solicit submissions and production help, it took 3 months from announcing the call to finalizing files for printing. The brainstorming on whether to do an anthology and how to organize the effort started a couple months earlier.

2 734x1028 Interview: Editor Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu on Diving into Out of the Blue

‘Sounding the Deep': Written by Tom Alexander. Illustrated by Jim Giar. Lettered by E.T. Dollman.

How did you turn it around so quickly?The biggest reason is that the stories were all essentially complete at submission. A few stories still needed lettering or coloring.

Did you get many submissions?We kept the call to word of mouth to keep submissions from being overwhelming and ended up with 40 of them. Some creators contributed more than one story.

3 736x1028 Interview: Editor Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu on Diving into Out of the Blue

‘Helping Hand': Written by Brandon Barrows. Illustrated by Johnnie Christmas. Lettered by E.T. Dollman.

What made you want to do an anthology for stories that didn’t have a home?

A lot of creators mention having stories completed that are seeking a suitable home. Since a common goal is having good-quality published versions to sell both at conventions and online, collecting stories as part of a larger book that would attract more readers seemed to be a community consensus. It just required someone to organize the effort.

4 734x1028 Interview: Editor Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu on Diving into Out of the Blue

‘Time Machine': Written by Mick Shubert. Illustrated by Giles Crawford.

Did you worry that people would perceive them as “unwanted” stories?

We did consider using a word like “homeless” or “unwanted” in the title, but that’s not really what defines or holds the stories together. These stories will likely all find more homes. We’re simply fortunate to have the opportunity to house them together.

All the stories in Out of the Blue are strong, so if that stigma’s there it’s unwarranted. How did you find such solid work with the restrictions you had?

The editors, Corey Fryia, Marcus Muller, and myself, all were familiar with the work of over half the contributors. So we knew their submissions were likely to be strong.

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‘Deliveries': Written by Mike Isenberg & Oliver Mertz. Illustrated by Jeff McComsey.

What were some of the reasons the stories didn’t have homes?

Some were developed with a different publication in mind, or a publication hadn’t been identified yet, while others may have been experiments in style or genre, independent of other projects the creators are working on.

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‘As a Family': Written by Glenn Moane. Illustrated by Tomasz Wites. Lettered by E.T. Dollman.

The theme is “strange stories.” Was that theme determined by the submissions you received, or decided on beforehand?

The theme was determined by what would best unite the most stories as they were being reviewed, though we suspected based on presubmission interest that such a theme would be a contender.

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‘In His Image': Written and illustrated by JE.

An indy anthology is always a risky venture. Did you consider either a Kickstarter or digital-only release to lower the costs?

A digital-only release wasn’t of much interest because so many contributors wanted to sell printed copies, though upfront costs were definitely an obstacle. A Kickstarter was considered, but we wanted this anthology printed with no contingencies, such as successful funding. The anthology was lucky to attract the interest of Stache Publishing. We hope it will sell well enough so they have no regrets.

What are some stories from the anthology you want to spotlight?

To give readers a teaser of what’s in the anthology, it includes an intense one-page story called “The Wait,” and a twist none of us saw coming in “Deliveries.” There’s lots more, ranging from family stories to legends and futuristic tales.

8 734x1028 Interview: Editor Marta Goodrich Tanrikulu on Diving into Out of the Blue

‘There': Written by Hansel Moreno. Illustrated by Claire Connelly.

A lot of creators put together anthologies to give home to their unpublished stories, but you don’t have a story in Out of the Blue. What, then, was the motivation for you to dedicate a lot of time and effort to make this anthology happen?

To avoid bias, none of the editors submitted a story. Speaking for myself, this project was another chance to work with comics writers and artists, which was tempting enough. Since I enjoy editing, it was also an opportunity for a proof of concept: developing an enticing, themed anthology around available stories. We hope both the contributors and their fans will consider it a success.

 

You can order Out of the Blue in print from Stache Publishing and digitally through DriveThru Comics.

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41. Marvel confirms 1 million in sales for Star Wars #1

mvswStarWars001 Warp9 Marvel confirms 1 million in sales for Star Wars #1

Marvel’s svp of sales David Gabriel has  confirmed that STAR WARS #1 will sell 1 million copies.  And already my inbox is jammed with missives from Brandon Schatz and John Jackson Miller.

It doens’t appear that Loot Crate is part of the reason for the record sales. However, at least 38 variant covers and a switch to some new distribution outlets:

We’ve seen Marvel explore new ways of getting comics exposed to potential new readers. Everything from strong retailer support, to unconventional methods of sale like LootCrate & GameStop. Can we expect new and different outlets for the comic to be sold through?

There are a number of new outlets that we’re working with here in terms of the folks purchasing and selling a large number of exclusive covers, which in the end means that this very large number of comics will be sold in places where we haven’t necessarily had comic sales. We’re confident we’ll have lots of new fans reading issue #1. And the great thing about this for all our comic retailer friends is that they’ll be able to sell those new fans the second, third, fourth issues and on and on.

 

Gabriel went on to say that even without all the variants, this would have been a best selling issue:

I can safely say that even without the massive variant plan on this first issue, the numbers on the regular cover alone would make this the highest selling debut of 2015. When you add in the astounding numbers from the variants you’ve got one huge launch, unseen in the direct market for two decades or more! And I should also give a quick thank you to all those retailers who are showing the support for this launch and the launch parties. They’re all really taking this to new levels and making history with this issue.

MIller has some context and thoughts here.

I have written a lot about the history of Star Warscomics in the past (including having written quite a few of them myself), and the million-copy mark bears a particular historical importance for the line.Star Wars #1 in 1977 was the first comic book since Dell‘s Uncle Scrooge in 1960 to top a million copies sold. Star Wars #1 did that in 1977 not through its initial sale to newsstands, but also through a newsstand reprint and at least three waves of bagged reprints offered to department stores through Western Publishing‘s Whitman arm. Sales of the bagged editions of the movie adaptation were so strong, according to former Marvel Editor in Chief Jim Shooter, that Western temporarily suspended its program of printing variant editions for other Marvel titles to focus solely on Star Wars reprints in late 1977. At least the first three issues of the 1977 series all would have topped a million copies, and possibly more.

Just throwing in y own two cents, places where these comics might be distributed:

Disney theme parks

Target

Wal-Mart

Toys ‘r’ Us

…and so on. Just guesses but all could contribute to the massive sales. Comics at theme parks have a long tortured history; when I was at Disney Comics 20 eyars ago many thought this would have saved the line, but stores didn’t like replenishing small budget items that had to be moved every month. Also, giveaway comics were often discarded in trash bins….although that mind set may have changed since then.

I hope we do find out more about where and how this comic is being sold. No matter how it worked out, it’s a real achievement for Marvel. COngrats to Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Laura Martin and editor Jordan B. White on the huge commercial success.  10801823 929621647055946 5740685589630367813 n Marvel confirms 1 million in sales for Star Wars #1

11 Comments on Marvel confirms 1 million in sales for Star Wars #1, last added: 12/12/2014
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42. She Makes Comics is now available, and here’s an exclusive clip about Friend of Lulu

6full200 She Makes Comics is now available, and heres an exclusive clip about Friend of Lulu

She Makes Comics, Marisa Stotter’s documentary about women in comics, is now available. You can download it for $9.99 or pre-order a DVD for $19.99 (It’s $24.99 for both.), all from the Sequart website. The documentary studies the history of women in comics with interviews with Karen Berger, Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jenette Kahn, Becky Cloonan, Colleen Doran, Wendi Pini, Kate Leth, Raina Telgemeier, Marjorie Liu, Louise Simonson…and yes, little old me. Hugh Armitage has a very favorable review.

Here’s an exclusive clip from the film where Liz Schiller, Jackie Estrada, Trina Robbins and I about the formation of the Friend of Lulu, a long running organization for women in comics that pioneered a lot of the approach to marketing and retailing to female readers that you see today. Among the events discussed, the 1993 meeting in San Diego where Friends of Lulu was born—one of my fondest memories ever.

1 Comments on She Makes Comics is now available, and here’s an exclusive clip about Friend of Lulu, last added: 12/13/2014
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43. Gift Guide: TOON Books gift sets and sale

s558472801427611443 p9 i2 w1632 Gift Guide: TOON Books gift sets and sale

It’s gifting time, and the Beat team is showcasing some suitable gifts for everyone in your family.

Among those are theseTOON Books gift sets which are now 33% off. Toon Books, the line of comics for young readers edited by Francoise Mouly, offers a whole rage of books at different reading levels—the set shown above, Level 2, is for beginning readers, but other sets target pre-readers and middle grade level kids. The new Toon Graphics line is for all ages. The books are all comics so they instill comics reading at an impressionable age. Best of all, the stories and art are by some of the best in the business: Jeff Smith, Eleanor Davis, Rutu Modan, Jeffrey Hayes, Liniers, R. Kikuo Johnson, Lorenzo Mattotti, Jay Lynch and many more.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these books as a gift for a young reader (or even just a comics art fan) of your acquaintance. Among those books suitable for the latter, we’d suggest Frank Viola’s gorgeous A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse and of course the Gaiman/MattottiHansel and Gretel, which is a suitable gift for just about anyone.

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44. Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting ‘Pix’

By Matt O’Keefe

A few months ago, editor-in-chief of The Beat Heidi MacDonald shared on social media that she’d been interviewed for the comic book podcast Stuff Said. I really enjoyed her conversation with host Gregg Schigiel, and soon after listening to that episode I devoured the rest of the show’s catalogue. I learned that Gregg Schigiel is also a very talented cartoonist, best known for his work on SpongeBob SquarePants comics. He has a new original graphic novel called Pix available now online and coming out through comic stores on February 11th. I spoke to Gregg about the book, from its development through marketing Pix with interviews like what you’ll read below.
PIX OWW Title 685x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
 
You originally drew the first two chapters of Pix as a black and white ashcan. Why did you decide to make the graphic novel color?
Originally, I was pitching it over at Image in 2007/2008 under their Extreme line of books that Casanova and Fell came from. The concept I had at the time was that each chapter would be 20 pages and you could collect every 5 and it would be a $1.99 book for younger readers. The ashcans were black and white because it was cheaper to go into Nickelodeon and use their photocopiers and print black and white copies. The intent for the book was always to be color if and when it got printed
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I’ve wanted to self-publish forever. Well, forever’s probably overstating it, but I’ve been interested in self-publishing even since i was an assistant editor at Marvel. People like Jeff Smith and Terry Moore did really interesting work when I was in college and are still doing interesting work now, really making self-publishing work for them. I found the process super interesting and wanted to at least understand what it took to see something from start to finish. At a certain point with this project, I also saw that the self-publishing process would be faster than trying to shop it around and get somebody else to publish it. I knew what I wanted from it and the most efficient way to get that final result was to self-publish.
PIX OWW 03 695x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix

The first page of the prologue.

Why did you start the preview on the Pix website with Chapter 1 instead of the prologue?
I thought the prologue would be a nice treat for someone who read the first chapter online and then picked up the book and saw that there was something before Chapter 1. Also, a lot of the prologue is going to be in a book trailer that I’m working on when I’m not working on other things, so it will show up in some format. But I thought Chapter 1 worked as its own chunk of content. It seemed like a good intro to the character and the world.
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The first page of Chapter 1.

The first page of Chapter 1 was a lot of exposition, but it’s really good exposition. I love how it takes advantage of the comics form, in that you can flip back to it if you forget something about a character like their name.
Yeah. I wanted this to be an entry level book where you knew what you had. It’s an incredible advantage of comics that you can do a lot in a single page and share that information very quickly.
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Gregg Schigiel describes the art in ‘Pix’ as his natural style.

You spend a lot of your time drawing SpongeBob, who you have to draw exactly the right way for licensers. Is Pix more your natural style?
Yes, Pix is much closer to how I draw. Although, I’ve done so much licensing work and that’s had a… this will sound pretentious but it’s given me an eye for style. A lot of that is in the finishing so I could do Pix in a different style if I chose to but, for efficiency’s sake, this is the closest to my natural style at the moment. it’s always developing and shifting and changing. I tried to work a little looser on Pix to work a little faster because I can, like so many people, really overthink and over worry about a drawing. Making lines perfectly smooth, making sure not a single thing is out of place. So I tried to chuck that and tell the story. I spent more time on the construction and making the figure work solid and less time on the final linework.
PIX OWW 20 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
Like I imagine many did, I first discovered your work through your podcast. Why did you start Stuff Said?
I started it in 2011 because I didn’t hear a podcast like it and I wanted there to be that show out there. I found the conversations on podcasts like Bullseye hosted by Jesse Thorn and WTF with Marc Maron super engaging and wanted that sort of thing in comics and cartooning. After listening to enough shows and complaining to friends it got to a point where if I thought I could do it, I should do it. So I went ahead and did it.
It’s nice to get the perspective of a cartoonist. Doesn’t seem like there’s enough of that in the podcast world.
Thanks. Yeah, it’s funny because that was clearly what I was going for, but it didn’t quite dawn on me that it was what i was doing until I spoke to Jamal Igle early on. He said that our talk was a different kind of conversation because we were coming from similar places. It was a peer to peer conversation as opposed of fan to pro or store to creators. It’s hopefully a little bit interview, a little bit commiserating as fellow professionals in this business.
PIX OWW 22 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
Has the podcast helped build your name in the industry?
I don’t know. That’s a great question. I think it all depends… I’m not sure. I was at NYCC and had people come up and say they liked the show. Some of them were people in the industry and some who I presume were just fans who came across the show. I have no idea who knows who I am. I tend to think I’m a certain level of obscure but then people know who I am. I was at SDCC 2011 after two episodes had aired and met Skottie Young for the first time. I mentioned I did this podcast and he was like, “Oh yeah, I know.” I asked, “How do you know? The show is brand new!” He said he’d heard about it from somebody so I guess some people are listening to the show. I don’t have the full information on who’s listening to it and who knows who I am by name. I don’t think it’s that many people, though, and that’s not me being modest. I genuinely think that it’s not that many people. I wish it was more and interviews like this will hopefully help get my name out there.
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After years of SpongeBob and now a self-published graphic novel, do you have any interest in working on a project that’s more mainstream for typical comic fans?
I might have at one point, but I haven’t worried about it much lately. I mean, Pix is certainly is certainly not geared towards a mainstream comic book fan, though I do think a mainstream comic book fan would like it and enjoy it and get something from it… No. The answer is no because I’ve seen over the years what the various fanbases are like and there’s something very, very satisfying about the reactions of kids when they read stuff and are super into it. I feel that with SpongeBob and I feel it when sitting next to Chris Giarrusso at conventions. Kids and families are super into G-Man. Raina Telgemier’s work draws a huge audience. There’s something very heartwarming… this might sound a little sappy… about seeing that kind of reaction. I see it less with mainstream comics. That’s not to say mainstream comics fans don’t appreciate the work, but I’ve become less concerned with appealing to that specific fanbase. I have been part of that fanbase and am not dismissing that fanbase. I just don’t do those kinds of comics at this point. I think my stuff is more suitable for a different audience.
PIX OWW 44 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
What’s next for you?
Next for me is promoting and trying to sell Pix to comic stores and elsewhere. That’s the biggest and hardest challenge of this project so far. It’s the one thing I’ve not been able to have the most control over because to sell the book I need to promote the book. To promote the book I need people like you, thank you very much, to talk to me. Or I need distribution and need a distributor to sell the book on my behalf. When it comes to drawing it, I can just do what I do. Writing and drawing is the easy part and the fun part.
So there’s that and more Stuff Said because that’s part of my new comics output. And at some point i need to start working on Book 2 of Pix and I still work on the SpongeBob comics because that pays the bills. I’ve also been working on a new podcast that has nothing to do with comics that I’ll announce on the December 15th episode of Stuff Said. That will launch at the end of December and I think it will appeal to comic book fans but it’s not a comic show at all. It has nothing to do with comics, which is a fun departure. There’s always stuff I want to do. Like every person making comics and telling stories the list of things I want to do that I  haven’t gotten to is only going to be longer than what i’ve been able to get done so the list continues. There’s still time, though. I’m not that old yet!
You can buy a copy of Pix in digital or print here or ask your local comic shop to order it in the December catalog: item #DEC141546.

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45. Holiday Party Must do: CBLDF/Society of Illustrators festive bash is tomorrow 12/10

fingerman cbldf soi Holiday Party Must do: CBLDF/Society of Illustrators festive bash is tomorrow 12/10

Christmas/Seasonal parties for comics folks in in NYC are mostly about the big two and not everyone gets invited to those. But tomorrow the CBLDF and the Society of Illustrators are teaming for a holiday party that should be a chance for the rest of us to celebrate together. The Society of Illustrators has a wonderful clubhouse, fine food and excellent drinks. And a ticket supports the CBLDF.

Join Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art for a festive holiday celebration at Society of Illustrators on Wednesday, December 10, from7:00 to 10:00 p.m.! Toast a year of outstanding comics with special guests including Paul Pope, Chip Kidd, Bob Fingerman, Gregory Benton, and New York’s finest cartoonists in the Society’s Hall of Fame Gallery. Tickets are available now for a contribution of $15 forCBLDF and SOI members and MoCCA 2014 exhibitors, or $20 for all others. A light dinner buffet and raffle ticket are included in the entry fee. All are welcome.

Who: CBLDF and MoCCA
When: Wednesday, December 10, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Where: Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame Gallery, 128 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10065

Admission:
$15 / CBLDF and SOI Members or MoCCA Exhibitors
$20 / Non-Members

About Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals. www.cbldf.org

About the Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators’ mission is to promote the art of illustration, to appreciate its history and evolving nature through exhibitions, lectures and education, and to contribute the service of its members to the welfare of the community at large. Founded in 1901, the Society has had a distinguished yet lively history as an active participant in the ever-changing field of illustration. The vitality of the organization depends on attracting qualified artists and others to join us in our mission. To know more, click on Become a Member. Mingle with the city’s finest creators and professionals in the Society’s Hall of Fame gallery as we raise a toast to the new year!

 

Buy tickets here. Invite art above by Bob Fingerman….which should be the PERMANENT invitation art for every party!

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46. Don Rosa’s Life and Time of Scrooge McDuck gets Artist’s Edition from IDW

don Rosa IDW Don Rosas Life and Time of Scrooge McDuck gets Artists Edition from IDW

An oversize artist’s edition of Don Rosa’s devoutly worshipped The Life and Time of Scrooge McDuck?

You’ll have to wait until April, true believers.

Rosa’s epic biography of heroic skinflint McDuck is considered a modern classic, and in Scandinavia, it is mandatory for homes to have a small shrine to it.* This volume will take a proud place in those shrines, I’m sure.

“Don Rosa’s stories are as fresh and entertaining today as they were when I first read them 25 years ago,” said IDW Special Projects Director, Scott Dunbier. “They are timeless treasures.”

This Artist’s Edition will measure 14” x 20” and come packed with 160 pages of high quality scans of the first 6 chapters of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, covers, and layouts by Rosa. Two additional volumes will complete this epic saga with release dates still to be announced. This Artist’s Edition will set the precedent for something truly special for Disney, and Art fans.

Look for the newest entry in the Artist’s Edition library April 2015 available through your local comic shop or from IDW’s webstore: http://www.idwpublishing.com/shop/

 

* Only a small exaggeration.

4 Comments on Don Rosa’s Life and Time of Scrooge McDuck gets Artist’s Edition from IDW, last added: 12/11/2014
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47. DC explains how Convergence fits into Future’s End

GalleryComics 1920x1080 20141126 EARTHWE Cv8 R1 545ab2777d5965.71497684 DC explains how Convergence fits into Futures End

Sort of. Via an EXTREMELY RARE press release from DC, it was suggested you can watch some All Access videos, buy the The New 52: Future’s End Vol. 1 DC explains how Convergence fits into Futures End collection and read the three weekly series currently running—Future’s End, Earth 2, and splitting the difference, Earth 2: World’s End. It all culminates in  Convergence and comics drawn by Tom Grummett, Phil Winslade and other industry veterans.

I can tell you that a lot of retailers are very concerned about Convergence. Putting the entire DC line on hold for two months while editors move coasts seems like a compassionate move while staffers figure out how to drive, negotiate with the terrorists at Time Warner Cable, and find the location of the nearest Zankou Chicken. But for readers who were maybe a little less than excited about the current New 52 offerings,  it’s also an amazing jumping OFF point if you don’t like Tom Grummett and Phil Winslade.

The PR also mentions Blood Moon, which I’m told WAS the official title of the mini-series at some point, until it was changed, mostly likely at the behest of co-publisher Dan DiDio. Persoally, Convergence is a much better title, because Blood Moon sounds like werewolves at best.

 

Futures End? Blood Moon? Brother Eye? Convergence?

Yes, it all connects. Read below or head over to DCComics.com for more.

Being told in the weekly comic book series set five years in the future, the events of  THE NEW 52: FUTURES END play directly into CONVERGENCE—DC Comics’ massive 2 month event taking place in April and May of 2015. 

Thirty-Five years from now, Brother Eye, the all-seeing artificial intelligence designed to protect and serve humanity, has turned on its makers. Nearly all life on Earth has been eradicated, leaving only the cybernetically enslaved superheroes Brother Eye has converted into its unstoppable executioners. Led by the Batman—the man who helped create Brother Eye—a small team of heroes fights on. Their last-ditch plan: send a hero back to the past to prevent Brother Eye from ever being created.

They failed.

Terry McGinnis (aka Batman Beyond) only made it thirty years back during his timestream jump. The technological apocalypse was already in motion and the Earth has become home to millions of refugees from Earth 2.

Now’s the perfect time to catch up and see what’s going on with Batman Beyond, Frankenstein, Fifty-Sue, and a sprawling cast of heroes, rogues, gods and monsters from across the DC Universe—all trying to end the future before it ends them.

We’ve got a couple of ways for you to join in on the action and see for yourself how the threads of time and space are converging:

1) THE NEW 52: FUTURES END VOL. 1 is available everywhere books are sold today. Inside, you’ve got 416 pages (we know you’re not doing anything this weekend!) collecting issues #0 – #17 and it’s loaded with bonus content–Ryan Sook’s character designs, cover sketches, and more!

2) Click here, here, and here for 16 minutes of DC ALL ACCESS’ fantastic cover-to-cover video coverage of the event so far. Who was the Masked Superman? Who killed Green Arrow? What is the Blood Moon?

And stay tuned for more! Other series that lead directly into CONVERGENCE are the weekly series EARTH 2: WORLD’S END and the monthly series EARTH 2.

This is a future you won’t want to miss!

 

9 Comments on DC explains how Convergence fits into Future’s End, last added: 12/12/2014
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48. Dover to publish a new edition of Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala

51UomjJdOvL. SL500  Dover to publish a new edition of Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala

 

The other day I mentioned how Dover Books is bringing back a bunch of out of print graphic novels including Puma Blues and A Sailor’s Story.

Well, you can add one more book to that list.

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that Dover is reprinting a new edition of Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala by myself and Philip Yeh. The original edition, published in 1994 by IHAC, including Phil’s tales of his friendship with Alfredo and learning about the tradition of Filipino comics from him. My part of the book was a lengthy interview with Alfredo in which he analyzed pages from his incredible Voltar project, talking about storytelling, art history, philosophy and much more. Doing the interviews for the book was an amazing experience, and one that I think of often. Alfredo was a truly memorable person with an encyclopedic knowledge of all kinds of art and music, and he lived a life that could have been a comic book all in itself from his boyhood during World War II (he did some spying for the US thanks to his photographic memory), to his part in the “Filipino Invasion” in comics of the 70s.

This new edition is being done with the full cooperation of the Alcala family, Phil Yeh and myself. We’re discussing  the possibility of updating it with some new material, and I’ll keep everyone posted on that.

This is actually the only book I’ve ever written, and I’m excited to see it back in print  for that reason, But even more so, it’s so gratifying to know that the story of Alfredo Alcala and his art will be available to the new generation of comics artists and enthusiasts. The Pinoy Komiks tradition isn’t as well known as it should be, and hopefully this book will help change that a little. And also remind people of Alfredo’s mind boggling talent. alfredoalcala zps14df7dc9.jpgoriginal Dover to publish a new edition of Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala

7 Comments on Dover to publish a new edition of Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala, last added: 12/11/2014
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49. Sony and Marvel really did discuss a joint Spider-Man venture

Spider Man unmasked Sony and Marvel really did discuss a joint Spider Man venture
Among the information revealed by the disastrous Sony documents leak, of most interest to comics types is a series of emails in which Sony and Marvel discussed a Spidey crossover. . This was widely rumored earlier this year, and yep it was true. Studio head Amy Pascal and Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad discussed an offer from Marvel to produce a new trilogy of Spider-man movies, and a possible appearances for the webslinger in Captain America: Civil War. But alas:

The talks with Marvel eventually broke down and Sony is now planning to go ahead with its own Spider-Man slate, according to people familiar with the matter. As of late November, executives were planning a “Spidey summit” for January to discuss future plans.  Among projects in development are an animated Spider-Man comedy that would be produced by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the team behind “22 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie,” as well as previously disclosed Spider-Man spin-offs focused on villain team Sinister Six, super-foe Venom, and women from the webslinger’s life.


So yeah, Spider-Man remains in Sony’s web—however while may Spiderverse spin-offs are being discussed, the actual Andrew Garfield-led main franchise seems to be MIA.

The failure of the Civil War talks is especially sad because, as you may recall, Spider-Man played a particularly large part in the comics version.

3 Comments on Sony and Marvel really did discuss a joint Spider-Man venture, last added: 12/13/2014
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50. Help wanted: Oni Press is hiring a Director of Publicity

4734630110 67a0242e12 Help wanted: Oni Press is hiring a Director of Publicity

Photo via Benjamin on Flickr

After some personnel shuffling, Portland’s Oni Press is hiring a Director of Publicity—if you want to get involved publicizing a strong line of proven comics, this could be a great gig.

Oni Press is looking for a new addition to our crew!
Do you love talking up great comics and talented creators? Are you a media savvy promoter who knows how to get things done? Do you feel like the Island of Misfit Toys just needed a better hype woman (or man)?
Then this opportunity at Portland-based comic book publisher Oni Press could be right for you! 
The Director of Publicity works directly with critically acclaimed comic book creators across a wide range of content, securing reviews, features and interviews for our creators. He or she is charged with promoting the vast Oni Press library including comics such as The Sixth Gun, Letter 44, The Bunker, and Stumptown, original graphic novels like Scott Pilgrim, the Crogan Adventures, Meteor Men and MegaGogo, award-winning young readers titles such as Mermin and Bad Machinery, upcoming licensed comics like Adult Swim’s Rick & Morty and many many more. The Director of Publicity is also responsible for promoting and raising the awareness of the Oni Press brand itself to the comic industry, book industry, libraries and the mainstream press.
The best fit for this job should have publishing publicity experience or similar experience in another industry. Strong industry and mainstream press contacts in comic, book, library and online media are essential. The candidate should excel in dealing one-on-one with creators and securing print and online coverage. Creative ideas for digital and guerilla marketing strategies is an absolute must.
The position requires strong interpersonal and organizational abilities, as well as polished written and verbal communication skills and a flair for developing compelling creative campaigns. Candidate must be self-motivated and detail-oriented.
You must live in Portland, Oregon, or be willing to relocate.
We are looking for a self-sufficient, creative person for this position. A badass who is willing to wear multiple hats, and someone not looking for just a job, but someone who wants to join our gang.

To submit a resume, please e-mail jobs@onipress.com.

1 Comments on Help wanted: Oni Press is hiring a Director of Publicity, last added: 12/10/2014
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