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1. SDCC ’15: Art of Comic-Con, Sergio Aragones, and Announcement from Mayor Faulconer

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

By Nick Eskey

It’s one week and counting until the geek fest known as San Diego Comic-Con, a celebration of popular culture in television, comics, movies, cartoons and more, begins. Once known as “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con” which took place in the basement of U.S. Grant Hotel’s basement, the then three-day event has become the juggernaut that we all know today.

Goals and Ethics

Much of Comic-Con is self-contained within the convention center. In recent years however, festivities related and unrelated to the C.C.I. have spread outward into downtown. There will be many offsite parties and exhibits coinciding with everything.

The Art of Comic-Con is right now on display at the Downtown San Diego Library. Situated on the 9th floor, it encompasses artwork spanning the life of the convention. The room is a history of artistry that have either been used for Comic-Con, or featured in their accompanying souvenir guides. Upon entering the space, a collage of artwork used for the Comic-Con guides covers a wall and spills to the floor. As the convention grew, so did the scope of the guides. It gives a glimpse into how things have changed for the convention. Simpler artwork and font begin to evolve, becoming edgier and commanding attention.

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Logos throughout the years

The exhibit officially kicked off on June 20th with a reception featuring legendary cartoonist Sergio Aragones. In his usual fashion, he was more than willing to sign for autographs and pose for pictures.

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Going clockwise, more art is displayed. A timeline shows how the logos changed through the years, featuring much of the whimsical toucan. Posters used for hyping big movies and shows that were coming out that particular year are on display, flanking the logo used for Comic-Con today made in Lego bricks. At the end of the opposite wall, a giant mural made in 2009 by Sergio himself to celebrate 40 years of the convention commands the space. And to the right of that, framed in glass is some of the original artwork used for the convention guides. One of my absolute favorites is Dave McKean’s rendition of Morpheus (“Sandman”) used for 2013.

Dave McKean's Sandman cover for 2013's Souvenir Book

Dave McKean’s Sandman cover for 2013’s Souvenir Book

In the center of the room however is probably the most exciting stuff. In class cabinets, over 60 artists are featured; the likes of Sergio Aragones, William Rotsler, Joyce Farmer, and more have their work on display. Work celebrating the rise and existence of Comic-Con. After all, San Diego Comic-Con came into being with the purpose of celebrating the artistry of those that entertain us with their work.

Art of Comic-Con

Looking at glass

Artists on display

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer used this room as a platform for an announcement. He stated that Comic-Con’s stay has been extended into 2018. Not only that, the mayor assured that there are plans to expand the convention center.
It only makes sense that he’ll do what he can to keep the convention here. It brings millions of direct and indirect money to the city, and with the possibility that the Chargers football team will be relocating, we want to keep it here even more.

Art on display

Next week as many will be engaged at the convention, we should all keep our ears peeled. It’ll be very likely that the details of Comic-Con’s future and the conventions development will be talked about more in depth. When it comes down to it though, it’s not the money or the tourism that we care about, is it? As fans of various genres, we want to keep the convention here so we may continue to celebrate our love of geekdom as one community.

So if you have the time, I highly encourage you to check out The Art of Comic-Con, if at least to remind yourself what it’s all really about.

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2. Image Announces Over TWENTY New Titles at Annual Expo— Kirkman, Albuquerque, Simone, Rucka, O’Malley & More!

It’s a good day for Image fans.

Today, the publisher took over the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and announced a huge number of titles.  Reboots of old favorites, deluxe hardcover editions, and brand new series abound!  See below for the full list of announcements.


 

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INVINCIBLE: REBOOT

THE WALKING DEAD editor and Skybound Entertainment’s Editorial Director Sean Mackiewicz announced the forthcoming reboot of Kirkman’s long-running superhero series, INVINCIBLE.

In this new direction for INVINCIBLE, Mark suddenly finds himself without powers. Back home… but aware of everything he’s lived through. What does he change, who can he save… and how will he deal with his father now that he knows what’s coming?

The INVINCIBLE reboot will begin with issue #124 and is set to launch on October 21 and will retain the same creative team with THE WALKING DEAD writer Robert Kirkman and art by Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu.


 

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CODENAME BABOUSHKA: THE CONCLAVE OF DEATH

What if the sexy Russian Bond girl was actually the hero?

Written by Antony Johnston (THE FUSE, The Coldest City, Daredevil) with art by Shari Chankhamma (SHELTERED, The Sisters’ Luck), and letters by Simon Bowland, CODENAME BABOUSHKA is an action-packed modern pulp spy thriller. Full of high-stakes thrills in exotic locations, CODENAME BABOUSHKA follows a kick-ass female hero in the style of James Bond and Modesty Blaise!

Codename Baboushka has everything you’d expect from me: a kick-ass female hero, bags of tension, and deep, dark secrets that everyone’s trying to figure out,” said Johnston. “But it’s also way more high-octane than anything I’ve done before, with guns, fists, and explosions everywhere!”

The enigmatic Contessa is a wealthy socialite, the last heiress to a noble Russian line—and secretly a deadly assassin! Blackmailed by the US government to carry out dirty jobs even the CIA can’t sanction, she’s got nothing to lose… and everything to fight for!

CODENAME BABOUSHKA #1 hits this October 2015.


 

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CAMP MIDNIGHT

From Man of Action’s Steven T. Seagle and The New Yorker artist Jason Adam Katzenstein comes CAMP MIDNIGHT, an original 256-page graphic novel set to hit stores in early October 2015, just in time for Halloween reading.

Reluctant camper Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong camp for the summer. Not wanting to please her “step monster,” Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. Luckily, that won’t be a problem, as everyone at Camp Midnight—with the exception of fellow camper and fast-friend Mia—seems to be a full-fledged monster.

Camp Midnight is a brilliant graphic novel debut for cartoonist Jason Adam Katzenstein, and it’s the perfect book for readers who loved Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, but wished it had more bowls of gooey eyeballs during the dinner scenes,” said Seagle.

Can Skye keep her identity as a human secret until she catches the bus for home? Is all of this a figment of her overactive imagination? And what about Skye’s major crush on a boy who is far, really far, from her usual type? Find out in CAMP MIDNIGHT.


 

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BLUE MONDAY: THIEVES LIKE US

BLUE MONDAY: THIEVES LIKE US makes its triumphant return with an all-new series from Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated cartoonist Chynna Clugston Flores. Bleu, Clover, Victor, Alan, and the entire gang from Fresburger, California are back! Winter has thawed into spring, the whole world is thinking about sex, and it’s all Bleu’s fault! Or at least, it seems that way.

Maybe Bleu should just suck it up and try to get some experience in these matters so that she can finally woo her history teacher, Mr. Bishop, once and for all. What schemes will she cook up to achieve her outrageous goal? And what the heck is going on between Clover and Victor? And Alan and Erin?! Is that really a thing now? Find out in this new series of teenage calamities and catastrophes that’s repeatedly been likened to “Archie Comics on crack.”

BLUE MONDAY: GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS

For the first time ever, Chynna Clugston Flores’ entire original catalog of BLUE MONDAY comics are collected together in one, massive volume from Image Comics in BLUE MONDAY: GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS. Experience the Pepsi-fueled misadventures of Bleu L. Finnegan, comics’ favorite blue-haired, Buster Keaton-obsessed, Adam Ant-worshipping teenager from the very beginning.

GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS collects in order all of the previously-published miniseries and one-shot comics, along with all of the rare short stories of the critically-acclaimed comedy that has often been compared to the comics work of Rumiko Takahashi and the John Hughes/Molly Ringwald film collaborations of the 1980s. This collection also includes tons of behind-the-scenes material you won’t want to miss.


SCOOTER GIRL

Chynna Clugston Flores also announced an all-new series, SCOOTER GIRL, a love letter to southern California mod and scooter culture. SCOOTER GIRL is Chynna Clugston Flores’ screwball romantic comedy classic. Ashton Archer has it all. He’s the biggest man on his high school campus, he’s got a huge family fortune waiting for him, and his closet and garage are full of the coolest accoutrements available, from flashy suits to swank shoes to a slick Vespa scooter.

It appears that nothing can go wrong for this hard-hearted hottie—that is, until the confident and fashionable Margaret Sheldon motors by on her Lambretta. At that moment, Ashton’s life takes a turn for the worse. Everyone at school suddenly hates him, his father declares bankruptcy, and his scooter gets run over by a truck. Even high-tailing it out of town does him no good, because wherever he goes, Margaret follows. How can he get out of the black curse this woman has placed on his life? By getting her to fall in love with him, or else!

“I am extremely excited to be announcing that Blue Monday and Scooter Girl are back to print with Image Comics,” said Clugston Flores. “These series are near and dear to my heart, I’m hoping that not only new readers will embrace them, but that original fans will be pleased to see these sharp new collections as well as brand new Blue Monday material. There’s a lot in store, a lot of laughs, and a hell of a lot of fun to be had!”


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THROWAWAYS

Throwaway (n.):
Cold War slang for a deniable asset, a disposable assassin meant to die alongside their target.

1973. Project MK-ULTRA shuts down for good, its goal of creating brainwashed assassins and psychic spies unrealized. That’s the story the world believes for thirty years, until Dean Logan, son of a successful ULTRA test subject, narrowly escapes a team of enhanced operatives sent to kidnap him back into the fold. On the run—not just from the dirtiest secret the CIA ever funded—but his own out of control psychic abilities, Dean is saved by Abby Palmer, a former Army Ranger taken by ULTRA in Afghanistan and reprogrammed to be an unstoppable, disposable killer.

Except Abby survived her expiration date, and now she’s turned her deadly skillset toward one goal: destroying the ULTRA program and dragging its masterminds into the light. Teaming up to take them down, Dean and Abby quickly discover ULTRA’s leadership has gone rogue, and the program’s charismatic head doctor has her own plans—for Dean and Abby, for ULTRA, and for the United States itself.

Looking into a future of superpowered assassins, telepathic intelligence agents, and far-reaching, government-toppling conspiracies, THROWAWAYS written by Caitlin Kittredge with art by Steve Sanders is the spy thriller as you’ve never seen it before.


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SUNSET PARK

Something’s up in Sunset Park, and it ain’t just the rent. Are Brooklyn’s gentrifiers more than just economic vampires? A cartoonist draws a macabre story from a collection of notes, journals, movies and other ephemera he finds boxed, abandoned in the studio he’s recently rented along the latest frontline in gentrification’s relentless march over Brooklyn in SUNSET PARK.

Among the boxed items are what could be a copy of an old Warhol vampire film and what looks to be a journal belonging to Jean Michel Basquiat. SUNSET PARK is an all-new, limited series by Ron Wimberly coming from Image Comics.


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SLAVE PUNK

Ron Wimberly teased a second forthcoming project with Image Comics, SLAVE PUNK: WHITE COAL. SLAVE PUNK tells the story of how a genius slave defied the powerful King Cotton and ignited the Civil War in an attempt to end slavery.


CRY HAVOC

Image Comics announced CRY HAVOC, a new series written by Simon Spurrier (X-Men Legacy, Marvel Zombies, The Spire), with art by Ryan Kelly (Lucifer, Northlanders, Three), and featuring colors by Lee Loughridge and Matt Wilson, letters by Simon Bowland, and design by Emma Price. CRY HAVOC is a journey into war-torn Afghanistan in the company of monsters, a London street-musician savaged by a ghostly hound, and a terrified prisoner tangled in a folkloric insurrection.

“Beneath all its snark, fanged horror-beasts, deadly firefights and exploding billy-goats, Cry Havoc is the intimate tale of one woman struggling to keep her life from falling apart,” said Spurrier. “To depict it all I’ve been lucky enough to partner with Ryan, who’s genuinely one of the greatest storytellers our medium has—not to mention a next-level monster-wrangler. Add to that some narrative mold breaking by our roster of superstar colorists and Cry Havoc is snarling to be set loose.”

CRY HAVOC features three parallel and interwoven story threads in the life of Lou Canton: an extraordinary woman being consumed by chaos with three different colorists lending their artistic takes in order to define the separate phases of the story.

Best described as Jarhead via Pan’s Labyrinth, CRY HAVOC is a modern mix of myth, military, and monstrosity.


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BLACK MAGICK

Bestselling writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott team up to conjure an all-new ongoing series in BLACK MAGICK, set to launch just in time for Halloween.

“I’m calling it witch-noir, because it’s not quite crime and it’s not wholly about the supernatural, but the two are somehow dancing together,” said Rucka. “And with Nicola’s art, it’s turned into a beautiful dance, indeed. I’ve been waiting six years to share Rowan’s story with the world, waiting even longer to get to work with Nicola on something creator-owned. This is that chance, and we’re both seizing it!”

BLACK MAGICK follows Rowan Black, robbery/homicide detective in the city of Portsmouth, and the latest in a line of traditional witches who can trace their lineage—and memories—back to before the library of Alexandria burned. Rowan has carefully built a wall between her professional life and her faith, but now that barrier is cracking.

If magick is the power to impose one’s own will on reality, where does that leave the rest of us?


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CROSSWIND

CROSSWIND is the cutting edge story of a suave, sharp hitman from Chicago and a seemingly unremarkable housewife from Seattle, and how they accidentally end up switching lives. It’s a suspense fantasy full of sex, violence, and the blackest of humor. Written with sardonic wit by Gail Simone and stunningly realized by Cat Staggs, CROSSWIND will be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Simone assured fans: “This is the comic that might make Dr. Wertham come back from the dead to try to ban comics again.”


THE GODDAMNED

SOUTHERN BASTARDS writer Jason Aaron, artist R.M. Guerra of Scalped, and colorist Giulia Brusco turn their attention to… The Bible in THE GODDAMNED.

Before the great flood, the world is filled with violence and wickedness. In just a couple thousand years, humanity has gone from paradise to depravity and ruin. God is beginning to seriously regret having ever created man in the first place.

Welcome to the world of THE GODDAMNED, an all-new, ongoing series to launch from Image Comics in November 2015. Set just before the Biblical flood, in a world so out of control with violence and depravity, God is just about to pull the plug. “It’s part caveman adventure story, part stark and brutal western,” said Aaron. “And did I mention there are dinosaurs? Imagine if Quentin Tarantino was hired to direct the movie version of the book of Genesis. That’s pretty much what we’re aiming for.”


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THE OTHER SIDE: Deluxe Edition

Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart also announced that a new, deluxe edition of THE OTHER SIDE would be coming to Image Comics.


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HEARTLESS

Legendary comics writer Warren Ellis teams up with artist Tula Lotay again for a modern folktale about love, revenge, and the deadly grip of the supernatural in, HEARTLESS.

A female musician returns to northern England, where her family owned a little cottage in the middle of a forest. She wrote her first album there, and she’s “going back to the countryside,” as musicians used to, to write her next one. But the forest doesn’t want her there. She’s returning to face her demons—one in particular—and put herself back together, but the forest remembers what she did, and the devil wants his due.

Ellis said of the new project: “I wrote this for Tula, and it’s full of all the stuff we love: the spooky stories, the landscape, the folklore, and the things that haunt us.”


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HUCK

Bestselling writer Mark Millar (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, WANTED) will team up with artist Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) for an all-new project to be titled, HUCK.

Millar said of the project: “All the best old comics were about people you didn’t expect becoming empowered. Peter Parker wasn’t a classic hero. He was a lonely teenager. Matt Murdock was blind. Tony Stark had a heart condition. Doctor Donald Blake couldn’t walk without a stick. So we wanted to do something incredibly sweet about a small-town guy with learning difficulties who could do all these amazing things. He’s the purest, most decent character you’ve ever seen in a comic book. A big guy who just wants to help people and does it in secret so nobody even knows he even exists. It’s the ultimate feel good comic. A Frank Capra superhero story I guess about a small town and a close-knit community and an amazing guy they just all want to shelter from the outside world. He’s Captain America meets Forrest Gump. He’s just a nice guy in a very classic mould.

“Working with Rafael has been amazing. I’ve always been a fan, but you really only fully appreciate an artist when you see what he does with one of your scripts. I think this is one of the most beautifully drawn comics I’ve ever had my name on and it’s been such a pleasure. I finished the whole project in early summer and I’m starting the second arc soon. We’ve got three of these stories planned, each one six issues long, and we’re just having a good time. I think you stumble on something special every once in a while as a creator and my gut tells me we’ve got a project like that here.”


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PRIVATE EYE: The Deluxe Hardcover

Nominated for three Eisner Awards, PanelSyndicate.com’s digital comics sensation THE PRIVATE EYE by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin with colors by Muntsa Vincente is finally coming to print in a gorgeous deluxe hardcover edition. The book will hit stores this November 2015.

“Readers and retailers have been begging us for a physical version of this story ever since we first announced our hard-boiled parable about the future of privacy in America,” said Vaughan. “So when the time came, Marcos and I knew that we had to go with Image Comics, the most creator-friendly publisher of print comics ever.”

Set in an inevitable future where everyone has a secret identity, THE PRIVATE EYE is an eerily prescient sci-fi mystery about an unlicensed private investigator who stumbles onto the most important case of his life.


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SNOTGIRL

New York Times bestselling writer Bryan Lee O’Malley teams up with artist Leslie Hung, colorist Mickey Quinn, and letterer/designer Maré Odomo for SNOTGIRL, a dark comedy set in the world of fashion bloggers.

Snotgirl is funny and f*cked up,” O’Malley warned. “It’s full of fascinating characters you’ll love to hate. Leslie’s art is lush and beautiful.”

Lottie is a huge success—she’s blog famous! Her online persona is flawless and fun, but her real life is filled with woes. She has terrible allergies, she just got dumped, and her blogger friends don’t understand her. Things turn around when Lottie instantly clicks with Caroline, a new girl on the scene… but can she turn chemistry into friendship, or will she ruin everything?

Hung added: “This is my first ongoing series, so I’m really excited. Snotgirl is going to be the best comic ever, if we don’t die making it!”


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VIRGIL OGN

Betrayed, beaten, and banished by his own, an outed cop fights his way across Jamaica for revenge.

UNDERTOW and Midnighter writer Steve Orlando and Murder Book artist JD Faith present a brand new, “queersploitation” graphic novel on the streets of Jamaica in, VIRGIL, in stores this September 2015.

This is a Foxy Brown-style revenge action with a new face and new fists. Holding his gun and his badge, Virgil thought he was safe in the police force, hiding who he is. But when his own brothers on the force out him in the papers, it doesn’t bring him down. It sets him free!

Now, he’s out for revenge. And he’s not leaving town without his man, and some blood on his hands.

From the foreword: “Steve Orlando and J.D. Faith have taken the conventions of the revenge thriller, mixed them in with elements of queersploitation, and managed to deliver a graphic novel that is entertaining, relevant, and politicized.” —David Walker, writer of Shaft, Cyborg


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HADRIAN’S WALL

From the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed series C.O.W.L.—Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis—comes a new psychological thriller in HADRIAN’S WALL, where the secrets of everyone involved are as dark as the space that surrounds them. The series is set to launch from Image Comics this November 2015.

In 1983, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union culminated with nuclear detonations in New York City and Moscow. In the decades following, the two superpowers found peace through a partnership focused on building the first colony in space. But now, seventy years later, a new Cold War simmers… between Earth and that very Colony.

“With C.O.W.L., Image afforded us the tremendous opportunity to launch a creator-owned series focusing on dark, complex, morally ambiguous characters in a time of great change,” said Higgins. “We’re thrilled to continue that trend with Hadrian’s Wall, and even more thrilled to continue our partnership with Image.”

When a crewmember dies aboard one of Earth’s survey ships, HADRIAN’S WALL, investigator Simon Moore looks to determine whether foul play is involved. However, once on board, it doesn’t take Simon long to realize that few things are what they seem… including the identities of the crew and the real reason HADRIAN’S WALL is on the edges of Colony Space. With every crewmember a suspect, and tensions between Earth and the Colony mounting, the fate of both worlds may come down to one man and a ship.


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AXCEND

Creator and writer/artist Shane Davis alongside inker Michelle Delecki and colorist Morry Hollowell bring AXCEND to Image Comics this October 2015.

“In Axcend, teenager, Eric Morn’s life revolves around gaming,” said Davis. “He quickly finds himself locked against a vicious player only to realize the game, Axcend, has carried over into the real world with apocalyptic consequences.”

What happens when a video game decides to come to our reality to play? When there are no extra lives, and Armageddon looms on the horizon, when your life revolves around gaming like teenager Eric Morn, you Press Start.


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FASTER THAN LIGHT

Written and drawn by Brian Haberlin, Shadowline/Image Comics is pleased to introduce readers to an all-new, interactive storytelling experience in FASTER THAN LIGHT, launching this September 2015.

In the very near future we discover the secret of faster-than-light travel. Suddenly the universe is wide open to us, but are we ready for it? With all the idealism of the original Star Trek and the grit and immediacy of Gravity, the story of humanity’s first thrilling and terrifying adventures to the stars takes flight!

Every issue features Anomaly’s free cutting edge Augmented Reality app, which makes it look like interactive holograms are coming out of the book!


EXPIRED

Written by Jimmie Robinson (THE EMPTY) with art by Richard Pace, Shadowline/Image Comics also announced an all-new, five-issue supernatural crime series, EXPIRED.

In EXPIRED, a homeless war vet ends up helping a ghost who is connected to an old coin-operated parking meter. He can only see and communicate with her as long as he feeds the meter.  He has to solve the murder before the city replaces the meter with a modern version — and before the killer finds him, but who’s going to believe a homeless guy who looks like he’s talking to himself?


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THE ONE%

Critically-acclaimed writer/artist/director Kaare Kyle Andrews (Spider-Man: Reign, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon) targets THE ONE% with his very first creator-owned comic.

In THE ONE%, they own more than half the world, and Renato Jones is going to even the score… one percent at a time.

“Creator-owned comics have always been part of the plan,” said Andrews. “I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to make the leap. I am hungry, I am angry, and I am throwing everything I have into this series. A dark neo-noir tribute to focus all of my rage and revenge.”


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RINGSIDE

RINGSIDE is an ongoing drama written by Joe Keatinge (SHUTTER, TECH JACKET), with art by Nick Barber, colors by Simon Gough, and letters by Ariana Maher set around the world of professional wrestling and coming from Image Comics this November. The series explores the artistry of performers rotating as cogs in the corporate machinery of an industry built to sell myth to the masses.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been caught up in the mythology professional wrestling sells us, that these larger-than-life men and women are unstoppable titans locked in a never-ending, action-packed drama,” said Keatinge. “However, in time you learn that they’re just as human as anyone else, that they’re very much putting their lives on the line to entertain us, that they’re just as much part of a corporate machine built for profit as anyone else. Ringside‘s a book about taking apart that machine and seeing how the industry functions and the lives it affects from a rotating set of angles including the wrestlers themselves, the creatives they work with, the suits in charge and the fans cheering them all on.”

RINGSIDE starts with three perspectives: a retired veteran forced to fight his greatest battle in the real world, a rookie struggling to get his first shot and a writer frustrated over lack of control.

But they’re just the beginning.

The real violence is outside the ring.

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3. SDCC ’15: IDW Publishing & Top Shelf’s Comic-Con International 2015 Schedule

From the PR…  [I’ve highlighted the more exciting events. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments!]


IDW Publishing (Booth #2743) and Top Shelf Productions (Booth #1721) will host an amazing list of talent this year at both their booths. Come by and meet some of the biggest and brightest stars working in comics today!

IDW Publishing – Booth #2743

Wednesday July 8th Preview Night

6:00 – 8:00  Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist Edition Launch Party! – Mike Zeck (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
idw0026:00 – 8:00  Don Rosa’s Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist Edition Launch Party! –  Don Rosa (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)

8:00 – 9:00  TMNT: Casey & April!  –  Irene Koh, Mariko Tamaki (*Check out the show exclusive!)
8:00 – 9:00  Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas Sneak Preview – Troy Little 
                   (*Get a free preview of the upcoming Top Shelf release!)

Thursday July 9th

idw00610:00 – 11:00 Skylanders – Fico Ossio
10:00 – 11:00 WEIRD LOVE & YOE BOOKS! – Craig Yoe (Forelock the Warlock), Clizia Gussoni (Madam Clizia)

11:00 – 12:00 3A PresentsAshley Wood, William Wray
11:00 – 12:00 My Little Pony – Agnes Garbowska, Tony Fleecs, Thom Zahler, Jeremy  Whitley, Bobby Curnow (*Check out the show exclusive!)

12:00 – 1:00 Little Nemo, Onyx, Locke & Key – Gabriel Rodriguez, Eric Shanower, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusives, including a limited edition free poster for the upcoming Locke & Key audiobook from audible.com!)
12:00 – 2:00 TMNT – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow

1:00 – 2:00 SUPER SECRET PROJECT* John Barber, Dan Schoening, Erik Burnham, and SPECIAL GUEST

2:00 – 2:30 Scorpion Cast Signing Elyes Gabel, Robert Patrick, Katharine McPhee, Eddie Kaye Thomas,  Jadyn Wong  (*Get a free Scorpion comic!) (*ticketed signing – See employee for Details)
2:00 – 3:00 Bloom County and Beyond, Academia Waltz – Berkeley Breathed

3:00 – 4:00 Jem and the Holograms – Samantha Newark (original Jem voice talent!), Sara Richard, Amy Mebberson, M. Victoria Robado (*Check out the show exclusives!)
3:00 – 4:00 V-Wars, Rot & Ruin – Jonathan Maberry

4:00 – 5:00 X-Files Joe Harris, Joe Corroney
4:00 – 5:00 Transformers Brendan Cahill, Corin Howell, Marcelo Matere, John-Paul Bove, Brian Shearer (*Check out the show exclusive!)

5:00 – 6:00 Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist Edition – Mike Zeck (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
5:00 – 6:00 Don Rosa’s Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist Edition – Don Rosa (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)

6:00 – 7:00 Ghostbusters Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Luis Antonio Delgado (*Check out the show exclusive!)
6:00 – 7:00 Walt Disney Comics, Powerpuff Girls Derek Charm (*Check out the show exclusives!)

Friday July 10th

idw00510:00 – 11:00 TMNT Irene Koh, Caleb Goellner, Landry Walker, Erik Burnham, Bobby Curnow (*Check out the show exclusives!)
10:00 – 11:00 Red Light Properties – Dan Goldman

11:00 – 12:00 3A PresentsAshley Wood, William Wray
11:00 – 12:00 Orphan Black – Graeme Manson, John Fawcett, Jody Houser, Cat Staggs
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12:00 – 1:00 Dirk Gently, Chew card game Launch Party! John Layman, Rob Guillory, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusive!)
12:00 – 2:00 TMNT – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow

1:00 – 2:00 Star Trek/Green Lantern Launch Party! Mike Johnson, Freddie E. Williams III (*Check out the show exclusives!)

2:00 – 3:00 Little Nemo, Onyx, Locke & Key – Gabriel Rodriguez, Eric Shanower, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusives!)

3:00 – 4:00 Star Trek – Scott Tipton, David Tipton, J.K. Woodward, Joe Corroney
3:00 – 4:00 Eric Powell’s The Goon Artist Edition Launch Party!  – Eric Powell (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)

4:00 – 5:00 Judas: The Last Days – W. Maxwell Prince
4:00 – 5:00 Wild Blue Yonder – Zach Howard, Austin Harrison

5:00 – 6:00 Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist Edition – Mike Zeck (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
5:00 – 6:00 Don Rosa’s Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist Edition – Don Rosa (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)

6:00 – 7:00 Jem and the Holograms – Samantha Newark (original Jem voice talent!), Sara Richard, M. Victoria Robado (*Check out the show exclusives!)
6:00 – 7:00 Transformers John Barber, Andrew Griffith, Livio Ramondelli, Sara Pitre-Durocher (*Check out the show exclusives!)

Saturday July 11th

idw00410:00 – 11:00 Ghostbusters Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Luis Antonio Delgado (*Check out the show exclusive!)
10:00 – 11:00 Long Distance, The Dreamer – Thom Zahler, Lora Innes

11:00 – 12:00 Don Rosa’s Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck Artist Edition – Don Rosa (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
11:00 – 12:00 My Little Pony –Tony Fleecs, Andy Price, Jeremy Whitley, Bobby Curnow, Jay Fosgitt (*Check out the show exclusive!)

12:00 – 1:00 Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas Sneak Preview – Troy Little (*Get a free preview of the upcoming Top Shelf release!)
12:00 – 1:00 Littlest Pet ShopGeorgia Ball
12:00 – 1:00 Edward Scissorhands Drew Rausch

1:00 – 2:00 Onyx, Little Nemo Locke & Key – Gabriel Rodriguez, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusives!)
1:00 – 2:00 In the Dark Rachel Deering, Marguerite Bennett

2:00 – 3:00 Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist Edition – Mike Zeck (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
2:00 – 3:00 Judge Dredd Ulises Farinas, Douglas Wolk, Carlos Ezquerra

3:00 – 4:00 March – Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
3:00 – 4:00 Nelvana of the Northern Lights Hope Nicholson

4:00 – 5:00 God is Disappointed in You Mark Russell, Shannon Wheeler

5:00 – 6:00 X-Files Joe Harris, Joe Corroney
5:00 – 6:00 TransformersJohn Barber, Mairghread Scott, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Corin Howell (*Check out the show exclusives!)

6:00 – 7:00 Cartoon Network – Van Partible (creator of Johnny Bravo)
6:00 – 7:00 Godzilla: Rulers of EarthChris Mowry
6:00 – 7:00 V-Wars, Rot & Ruin – Jonathan Maberry

Sunday July 12th

idw00310:00 – 11:00 X-Files – Sam “Mister Sam” Shearon, Joe Corroney

11:00 – 12:00 Skylanders – Fico Ossio

12:00 – 1:00 Onyx, Little Nemo Locke & Key – Gabriel Rodriguez, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusives!)

1:00 – 2:00 Walt Disney Comics, Powerpuff Girls Derek Charm (*Check out the show exclusive!)
1:00 – 2:00 Godzilla: Rulers of EarthChris Mowry

2:00 – 3:00 My Little Pony –Tony Fleecs, Katie Cook, Sara Richard, Jeremy Whitley, Christina Rice, Bobby Curnow (*Check out the show exclusive!)

3:00 – 4:00 Imaginary Drugs Jeffrey McClelland & Eric M. Esquivel, Ally Cat, Alexis Ziritt
3:00 – 4:00 Star Trek/Green LanternMike Johnson, Freddie E. Williams III (*Check out the show exclusives!)

Top Shelf Productions – Booth #1721

Swing by booth #1721 to find out when to meet these great creators:
Congressman John Lewis
Andrew Aydin
Nate Powell
Jeff Lemire
Eddie Campbell
Troy Little
Chris Sheridan
Julian Hanshaw
Mark Russell
Shannon Wheeler
Jess Smart Smiley


 

IDW and Top Shelf have an impressive list of panels that really has something for everyone! *Click on the panel names to be taken you directly to the official Comic-Con 2015 programs website where you can add them to your Schedule and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Thursday July 9th

God Is Disappointed in You
Thursday, 7/9/15, 11:00a.m. – 12:00p.m., Room: 28DE
Hey, nothing personal — that’s what the book says! Writer Mark Russell (Prez) and Eisner Award winning artist Shannon Wheeler (The New YorkerToo Much Coffee Man) bring to life their hilariously irreverent retelling of the Bible, God Is Disappointed in You (published by Top Shelf). They’ll perform their infamous “Bible in Ten Minutes” slide show and play a selection from the God Is Disappointed in You audiobook, as read by James Urbaniak (The Venture Brothers), recently nominated for an Audie Award for Best Comedy Audiobook. They will also give a sneak preview of the hotly anticipated sequel, Apocrypha Now.

idw001The One and Only IDW Artist’s Editions Panel!
Thursday, 7/9/15, 3:30p.m. – 4:30p.m., Room: 4
Join Artist’s Editions Editor Scott Dunbier as he leads you on a tour of these big and beautiful books! There will be several announcements, a surprise guest or two, and some good old fashioned art talk—is there a better way for a comic art lover to spend a day at Comic-Con?! IDW President Greg Goldstein will once again moderate and add his own perspective on the AE phenomenon!

Friday July 10th

Something Old, Something New! (or, The Revenge of Classic Comic Collections Panel)
Friday, 7/10/15, 11:00a.m. – 12:00p.m., Room: 32AB
Join President of IDW Publishing Greg Goldstein as he reunites the stalwarts (or culprits) of the unprecedented boom in archival publishing for a spirited discussion about the future of classic comic book collections! Joining Greg will be LOAC Founder and Editor Dean Mullaney, renowned comic book historian and editor Craig Yoe, VP of Book Trade Sales at Dark Horse Comics Michael Martens, founder of Sunday Press Peter Maresca, Associate Publisher of Fantagraphics Eric Reynolds and IDW Senior Editor of Special Projects Scott Dunbier. It’s the golden age of archival collections, and if you crave more — or want to beg these guys to stop— this is the panel for you. Free book for every attendee PLUS other giveaways— and, each and every guest has promised to announce a NEW PROJECT so top secret even we don’t know about it yet! Sponsored by the San Diego Comic Art Gallery!

Top Shelf Productions – Live!
Friday, 7/10/15, 12:00p.m. – 1:00p.m., Room: 32AB
Join marketing director Leigh Walton and a lineup of top-flight talent for an all-access look at the incredible new books from beloved indie publisher Top Shelf Productions! Hear and see Eisner-winner Nate Powell (Swallow Me WholeMarch) on his powerful new collection You Don’t SayChris Sheridan on his over-the-top genre mashup The Motorcycle SamuraiJulian Hanshaw on his quietly staggering widower tale Tim Ginger, and Ray Fawkes (One SoulConstantine) on his twisted cyber-sensual thriller Junction True (with Vince Locke). Plus the scoop on Eddie Campbell‘s Bacchus, the bestselling March series, and some truly incredible upcoming projects!

Women of Transformers
Friday, 7/10/14, 1:30p.m. – 2:30p.m., Room: 8
From Windblade and Arcee to Strongarm and the brand-new Combiner making her debut at SDCC, female Transformers characters have finally gotten their due—but behind the page and in fandom, even bigger changes have been happening. Join Transformers comics writers Mairghread Scott and Georgia Ball, artists Corin Howell and Sara Pitre-Durocher, Hasbro’s Sarah Carroll, and special guests!

Ghostbusters: Sony, IDW & Cryptozoic Entertainment
Friday, 7/10/2015, 2:00pm – 3:00 pm, Room: 25ABC
Join us in celebrating 30+ years of Ghostbusters, the classic supernatural franchise that defined an era. Learn about new products and plans firsthand from Sony Pictures Consumer Products, hear insight on the ongoing comic series by IDW Publishing, and see a demo of the successfully crowdfunded game by Cryptozoic Entertainment.

IDW: The Best Panel in Recorded History
Friday, 7/10/15, 4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m., Room: 4
This is the big one! Join IDW Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall and VP of marketing Dirk Wood lay waste to a room of shocked comic fans. Panelists include Gabriel Rodriguez, Sarah Gaydos, Joe Harris, Mike Johnson, Derek Charm, James Tynion IV, Ulises Farinas, and a special guest with a special announcement.

Saturday July 11th

MARCH with Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Saturday, 7/11/15, 10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m., Room: 23ABC
His first visit to Comic-Con made national news — now the legendary civil rights icon, US congressman, and #1 bestselling graphic novel author John Lewis returns! Congressman Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell re-team to share with you their award-winning March series. You’ll hear about the incredible tour that’s brought the message of March to schools, universities, libraries, and corporate headquarters from coast to coast. You’ll see glimpses of the much-anticipated March: Book Three, covering Mississippi Freedom Summer and the unforgettable Selma-Montgomery March. And of course, you’ll hear Congressman Lewis’s firsthand memories of sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the march on Washington, Selma, and beyond — and the vital power of his message of transformative nonviolence in our world today.

TMNT: The Big Turtle Panel
Saturday, 7/11/15, 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m., Room: 25ABC
Join IDW Editor Bobby Curnow, writer Tom Waltz and more, for a look back at the past four years of TMNT comics— and a sneak peak at what is to come with new announcements and art!

IDW & Hasbro: Transformers, Jem, Ponies & More!
Saturday, 7/11/14, 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m., Room: 24ABC
Join IDW Editors John Barber and Bobby Curnow, along with Michael Kelly, Hasbro’s Senior Director, Global Publishing—for a comprehensive overview of all things IDW & Hasbro! Transformers! My Little Pony! Jem! G.I. JOE! Dungeons & Dragons! The inside scoop on the latest news and announcements! Featuring writer Mairghread Scott, artist Agnes Garbowska, and more special guests!

IDW: So, You Want to Be in Comics?
Saturday, 7/11/15, 4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m., Room: 4
Ever wondered what it would take to create your own comic? Or find a publisher that wants it? Want to break into “The Biz”? Why not find out how, from some of those who have? IDW Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall, VP of marketing Dirk Wood, artist supreme Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key, Onyx), H.S. Tak (Boy-1), Ulises Farinas, Michael Benedetto (Drive), and other folks who’ve made the jump to “professional comic person” explain how they did it. Plus, some new project announcements.

Spotlight on Craig Yoe
Saturday, 7/11/15, 5:00p.m. – 6:00p.m., Room: 4 
Yo, Yoe! Comic-Con special guest Craig “The Indiana Jones of Comics Historians” Yoe is celebrating 50 years of writing and producing fanzines and books about the history of comic books and five years of Yoe Books. He will be interviewed by luminaries Ted Adams (CEO & Publisher of IDW Publishing) Kelley Jones (Batman), Jon Cooke (Comics Creator), Carol Tilley (Wertham debunker), and David Scroggy (Dark Horse). Plus, see a colorful visual slideshow of past highlights and many cool future projects. Free Weird Love and Haunted Horror comic books for all!

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Comic-Con Art Auction Presented by IDW Publishing and the San Diego Comic Art Gallery
Saturday, 7/11/15, 7:30p.m., Bayfront Hilton – Sapphire SD
Bid on original art by some of comics’ greatest creators, including Jim Lee, Charlie Adlard, Kelley Jones, J. Scott Campbell, Jeff Smith, Stuart Immonen, Tula Lotay, Dan Brereton, Sam Kieth, Ming Doyle, Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Pope, Matt Kindt, Gilbert Hernandez, Jeffrey Brown, Greg Ruth, Fabio Moon, John Livesay, Gabriel Ba, Tyler Crook, and dozens more! Plus, IDW is opening their vaults to provide rare, signed, or out of print items including Artist Editions and IDW Limited editions that feature Stan Lee, Kevin Eastman, Herb Trimpe, Roy Thomas, John Romita, Gerry Conway and more! All proceeds from this auction benefit the First Amendment legal work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. This auction is open to all – YOU DO NOT NEED A COMIC CON BADGE TO ATTEND!
Please RSVP for your bidder number at http://cbldf-auction-2015.eventbrite.com/

Sunday July 12th

IDW: KIDS Comics!
Sunday, 7/12/15, 10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m., Room: 4
IDW loves comics as much as kids do, so come find out what’s new for 2015! My Little Pony, Disney, Angry Birds, TMNT, Transformers, Skylanders, and more! Want to learn how to make your own comics? Come prepared with questions for the panel, including CCO/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall (and daughter Lucy), editors Sarah Gaydos and Bobby Curnow, marketing marvel Rosalind Morehead, and writer/artist Derek Charm. Free comics for the kids!


 

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4. LIVE from Image Expo! New books fromO Rucka, Scott, Wimberly, countless others

Our reporters are on the scene are updating!

#imageexpo closing out the first half

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#imageexpo Aaron's own "one more thing". New deluxe edition of it w/remastered art and epilogue

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#imageexpo really want to hear what Nicola is doing. Her art is incredible!

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#imageexpo and this is it! Hides among the elite so as to make them pay for it. Reverse Scarlet Pimpernel?

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#imageexpo inspired by Nostromo Was it murder on Nostromo idea? Stories are coming so fast at the crowd.

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#imageexpo doing her first real world based work crossed with her love of the history of covert intelligence

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#imageexpo kittredge and sanders dream CIA powered spies.

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#imageexpo This guy has great stage presence. Just take my money

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#imageexpo spooky chiller from a great team

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#imageexpo action-spy-mafia-thriller-pop fest. Whew. High wire spy stuff. (England in the house)

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#imageexpo inspired by feel of adventure from great 80s movies. (Brazil in the house) by Albuquerque

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#imageexpo Kirkman proxy up first. Love the big screen view for Invincible.

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5. PREVIEW: Corto Maltese: Beyond the Windy Isles

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What better way to celebrate the Beat’s 11th anniversary than with a preview of one of our all time favorite comics, Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt, now being reprinted in lovely English language editions from IDW and Dean Mullaney’s Euro comix imprint. This volume goes on sales today and follow’s Corto’s ravishingly romantic and lushly inked adventures in South America from the Mosquito Coast to Barbados to a deadly struggle among Jivaro head-hunters in the Peruvian Amazon.

Corto Maltese: Beyond the Windy Isle
Hugo Pratt (w & a & c)
The second of twelve volumes presenting the definitive English-language edition of Hugo Pratt’s masterpiece in the original oversized B&W format!
TPB • BW • $29.99 • 120 pages • 9.25” x 11.75”  • ISBN: 978-1-63140-317-0

 

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6. Kieron Gillen Joins the Marvel Break Exodus

gillenWriter Kieron Gillen (Young AvengersThe Wicked + The Divine) took to his Tumblr today to state that he would be taking a break from Marvel superhero books following Secret Wars.  He confirms what many have suspected for a few weeks now, given his notable absence from the “All-New, All-Different” solicitations that have been rolling out at a furious clip.

Although he will not be writing any superhero books for Marvel, he will stay on Darth Vader.  He says his resolution is not a calculated move towards creator-owned titles, but rather a decision necessitated by scheduling.  In addition to Darth Vader, Gillen is currently writing The Wicked + The DivineMercury HeatUberPhonogram: The Immaterial GirlSiege, Crossed, and 1602 Witch Hunter Angela on a monthly basis.  Plus, Darth Vader is “basically a book and a half.”

I think it’s for the best. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done at Marvel, but I’m aware that I’m starting to feel a little burned out on the MU. Both Iron Man and Young Avengers took more out of me than I was completely aware of at the time, and the work there has often felt hard since that (With the notable exception of SIEGE, which was designed to be a giggle.) That writing Darth Vader was so freeing made me suspect that even if my schedule hadn’t demanded it, I’d be better taking a step away from the MU and superheroes for a bit to recharge. I’ll see where my head’s at in 2016.

This brings the number of all-star writers taking a “break” from the big M up to three.  Rick Remender announced his decision earlier this week in the letters column of Deadly Class #14 and Jonathan Hickman has been planning his vacation since last year.

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7. SDCC ’15: Bengal and Tony Sandoval signing at Magnetic Press

Woot, now this is cool. The amazing artists Bengal and Tony Sandoval will be appearing at the Magnetic Press Booth (#5534) and many cool books will be on display. In case you’ve missed it, Magnetic has turned out some of the best looking books over the last year—Love The Tiger to name just one—and this booth is well worth checking out. Deets:
 
SIGNING AND EVENT SCHEDULE  
WEDNESDAY (Preview Night):
6:00pm  – 9:00pm BE THE FIRST TO GET YOUR HANDS ON OUR NEW STUFF!

THURSDAY:
12:00pm  – 1:00pm Catch TOM DELONGE (Poet Anderson, Blink-182, Angels&Airwaves) on CBR’s streaming “Con Yacht” channel! (online)
3:30pm  – 4:30pm DAVE DORMAN (Wasted Lands) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
5:00pm – 6:00pm: FRANCISCO HERERRA (Bitten) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
 
FRIDAY:
11:00am – 12:00pm: MP Publisher MIKE KENNEDY will be a panelist on PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’s PANEL “THE FRENCH COMIC INVASION” (room 29AB) more info here
1:00pm – 2:00pm: DAVE DORMAN (Wasted Lands) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
2:30pm – 4:30pm: TONY SANDOVAL (Doomboy) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
5:00 – 6:00pm – FRANCISCO HERERRA (Bitten) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
8:00pm – 10:00pm: MAGNETIC GOES TO THE EISNER’S!!! (Wish us luck!)
 
SATURDAY:
12:00pm – 1:00pm: DAVE DORMAN (Wasted Lands) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
1:15pm – 2:30pm: TOM DELONGE INTERVIEW & SIGNING (The Nerdist, Petco Park)
1:30pm – 2:30pm: FRANCISCO HERERRA (Bitten) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
3:00pm – 5:00pm: TONY SANDOVAL (Doomboy) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
5:30pm – 7:30pm: BENGAL (Naja, Meka, Luminae, Cassyno) SIGNING (Magnetic Booth)
8:00pm – 9:00pm: MAGNETIC PRESS PANEL “2015 AND BEYOND PREVIEW” (Room 28DE) more info here
 
SUNDAY:
11:30am – 1:30pm: BENGAL (Naja, Meka, Luminae, Cassyno) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
1:00pm – 3:00pm: TONY SANDOVAL (Doomboy) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)
3:00pm – 4:00pm: DAVE DORMAN (Wasted Lands) SIGNING (Magnetic booth)

THE MAGNETIC PRESS PANEL:
Saturday, July 11 • 8:00pm – 9:00pm
ROOM 28DC
Join us for this year’s ridiculously star studded Magnetic Press panel and hear all about what we have lined up for YEAR TWO. Join Magnetic Press Publisher MIKE KENNEDY and a murderers row of talent, including POET ANDERSON creator and multi-platinum recording artist TOM DELONGE (Blink-182, Angels & Airwaves), along with co-writer BEN KULL and NY Times best-selling author SUZANNE YOUNG, talking about the Poet universe and its many upcoming facets!  We also welcome superstar illustrator BENGAL (Batgirl, Naja, Cassyno) to SDCC for the first time, along with 2015 Eisner Nominees TONY SANDOVAL (Doomboy) and DAVE DORMAN (Wasted Lands Omnibus).  Also appearing will be FRANCISCO HERRERA (Bitten) and Euro-comics magnate and author PIERRE PAQUET (A Glance Backward)!
 
Here’s a little tease of YEAR TWO titles get you in the mood:

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 CONVENTION EXCLUSIVES & DEBUTS:
THE WORLD OF CASSYNO PLAYING CARDS and GAME BOX with WORLD BOOK OF LORE

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Beyond the plains of Collier Bluff and the glistening towers of Goldstaxx lies the land of Cassyno, a world of dark fantasy, magic, and games of chance created by French comic illustrator and concept artist Bengal. Far from just another deck of playing cards, this set is as much a gallery of original character art as it is the fantastic setting for numerous stories of deep mythology, magical intrigue, and medieval espionage, between four unique kingdoms. Alice in Wonderland meets Game of Thrones.

Featuring 54 original illustrations unique to each card in the deck (including 2 Jokers). The 64 page World Book includes character lore, world history, and rules for seven unique games you can play with this original deck of cards!

ONLY 30 GAME BOXES and 48 SINGLE DECKS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT SDCC!

Also available in limited quantities:CASSYNO ROYALS 8-plate lithograph portfolio!  Only 15 will be available at SDCC!!

BENGAL’S COSPLAY GIRLS PLAYING CARDS

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A complete deck of 56 cards featuring a selection of never-before published works from Bengal’s Griseline sketch collection. Each card features a different girl in a different costume design, some of them familiar, others wholly original.
THIS ITEM IS LIMITED TO ONLY A SINGLE PRINT RUN of 500! WE WILL ONLY HAVE 50 AT SDCC!

Stay Tuned to learn about our SDCC COSPLAY COMPETITION to win an exclusive deck signed by BENGAL!

Also available in limited quantities:BENGAL’S COSPLAY GIRLS 6-plate lithograph portfolio!  Only 30 will be available at SDCC!!

BITTEN: THE FULL MOON BOOK

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EXTRA-LIMITED Signed Book and Animation Cel
This is an EXTRA-LIMITED, unique B/W cover edition of the BITTEN: FULL MOON ART BOOK, which includes an EXCLUSIVE ANIMATION CEL and BACKGROUND PRINT byFRANCISCO HERRERA! ONLY 250 PRINTED!

THE SHADOW GAMBIT : A Basil & Moebius Adventure vol.2

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SPECIAL ADVANCE BUNDLE
The second volume in the Basil & Moebius graphic novel series makes an advance debut at SDCC, a month ahead of stores!  This time, the thieving duo chase down ninjas, sunken uBoats, and Nazi UFOs!  We will only have limited quantities of volumes 1 and 2 at our booth at a special bundled price!

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8. SDCC ’15: Abrams Books signings and schedule

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As usual Abrams Books will have some dandy books and signings at booth #1216, with authors including Cece Bell, Nathan Hale and Tom Angleberger. PLus many signed books and prints by the likes of Jules Feiffer. And if you’re luycky, you might even get a galley of Trahsed, Derf Backderf’s hilarious and disgusting account of a garbageman’s life. Other galleys and samplers will also be available from the likes of John Leguizamo and Tom Kinney.

Author Signings
 
Thursday, July 9
3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Nathan Hale will sign Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales at the Abrams booth #1216
 
Friday, July 10
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tom Angleberger will sign  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series at the Abrams booth #1216
 
Saturday, July 11
2:30 p.m–3:30 p.m.
Cece Bell will sign El Deafo in the Autograph Area AA09
 
Sunday, July 12
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Cece Bell will sign El Deafo at the Abrams booth#1216
 
1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Martin and Olivia Olson will sign The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia in Abrams booth #1216
 

 
Copies of our new title The Art of Rocksteady’s Batman—this book will have just gone on sale July 7, and we will be selling a limited number at a special discount while supplies last
 
Signed and numbered copies of the new Abrams ComicArts title The Age of Selfishness, the New York Times bestseller
 
Prints signed by Jules Feiffer with purchase of the new title Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feiffer
 
Free posters, galleys, and samplers for giveaway!
 
Galleys of the forthcoming graphic novel Trashed by Derf Backderf (author of the bestseller My Friend Dahmer) will be given away while supplies last
 
Samplers of the forthcoming graphic novel Ghetto Klown by John Leguizamo will be given away while supplies last
 
Free posters to promote the forthcoming book Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts. The Peanuts booth (#1637) will also be giving away a limited quantity of 50 free samplers of the new book every day, and co-author Chip Kidd will be on hand to sign them at the Peanuts booth on Thursday, July 9th at 4PM.
 
Samplers of the forthcoming book My Little Pony: The Art of Equestria will be given away at the Hasbro booth  #3213 at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 10th.
 
Prints to promote the forthcoming Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel by Paul Levitz book will be given away while supplies last.
 
Samplers of the forthcoming book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney will be given away while supplies last
 
Galleys of the forthcoming book The Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs by Chris Schweizer will be given away

Galleys of the forthcoming book The Secrets to Ruling The School (Without Even Trying) by Neil Swaab will be given away at Abrams booth #1216 while supplies last
 
 
Panels!
 
Authors and artists associated with Abrams ComicArts and Abrams who are attending this year’s San Diego Comic-Con include Martin and Olivia Olson (The Enchiridion and Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook!!!), Chip Kidd (Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts), Nathan Hale (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales), Cece Bell (El Deafo), and Tom Angleberger (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda).
 
All authors and artists are available for interviews in advance, or times can be scheduled at the show. Please contact Maya Bradford (mbradford@abramsbooks.com) for more info.
 
Thursday, July 9
 
2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Room: Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Public Library
Content Literacy: Teaching History and Social Studies with Graphic Novels—with Nathan Hale
 
Friday, July 10
 
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Room: 28DE
Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel
A breakthrough in the development of the graphic novel, Will Eisner’s A Contract with God was not the first, not the bestselling, and had no awards to win in those early days, but it is still in print and affecting the explosive growth of comics’ most vibrant format. Join us and learn why he’s Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel at a panel moderated by Eisner award winner and New York Times bestselling author Paul Levitz (with a forthcoming book of the same title), and with panelists Denis Kitchen (The Best of Comix Book, The Art of Harvey Kurtzman), Jeff Smith (RASL, Bone), Michael Uslan (The Boy Who Loved Batman, executive producer, Batman Films), Sergio Aragones (Groo, MAD’s Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones) and Danny Fingeroth (The Stan Lee Universe, Superman on the Couch). Q&A session to follow.
 
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Room: 4
Spotlight on Dave Roman (Tom Angleberger event set up by First Second)
A visual conversation between author Tom Angleberger (Origami Yoda) and cartoonist Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy, Teen Boat!) about self-publishing, dream jobs, graphic novels for kids, school misfits, and robot doppelgangers. Hosted by Noelene Clark (LA Times Hero Complex), this fun-filled panel will include interactive readings, improv drawing games, and surprise guests.
 
Saturday, July 11
 
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Room: 28DE
Kid’s Graphic Novel Burgeoning Frontier: The Real Superheroes – Kids with Disabilities. Join Cece Bell (El Deafo), Doug TenNapel (Nnewts; Cardboard); Dave Elliot (A is for Autism; A1), John Sheblaski (Udon Entertainment), Talia Hurwich (Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth), and moderator Meryl Jaffe  (CBLDF Using Graphic Novels in Education) as we discuss the real-life heroes comics still need to embrace: kids with disabilities.  We’ll evaluate how graphic novels are beginning to tellstories about who kids with disabilities, illness and handicaps, and how others with great stories can be heard.
 
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Room: Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Public Library
Librarian/Educator Fall 2015 Kids Graphic Novels Buzz
A cross-publisher presentation of the biggest graphic novels for kids of the Fall 2015 season (September–December 2015) from Abrams ComicArts, Archie Comics, Boom, Dark Horse, First Second, IDW/Top Shelf, Papercutz, Scholastic, and Viz.
 
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m
Room: 28DE
Diversity
Diversity—we demand diverse books! Ethnic, religious, gender, racial, physical ability, and sexual diversity are underrepresented in science fiction and fantasy but these authors are here to tell you that their stories speak for themselves; they seek to create worlds similar to our own, where people from various walks of life are represented and cross paths. Readers will find these authors and the tales they spin as empowering and fascinating as ever. Join authors Soman Chainani (School for Good and Evil series), Cece Bell (El Deafo), Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), Scott Sigler (Alive), Judd Winick (Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth), and Cindy Pon (Serpentine) as they discuss diversity in science fiction and fantasy with David Mariotte of Mysterious Galaxy!
 
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. 
Room: 28DE
What’s New From Abrams ComicArts
Join Charles Kochman (editorial director), Chad Beckerman (creativedirector), Chip Kidd (graphic designer and author) and special guests as they talk about upcoming Abrams ComicArts projects from their exciting Fall 2015 list, including original graphic novels Trashed  by Derf Backderf (author of My Friend Dahmer) and Ghetto Klown by John Leguizamo (an adaptation of his award-winning autobiographical HBO stage performance); art monographs Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schultz and The Art of Peanuts by Chip Kidd, and Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel by Paul Levitz (former president and publisher of DC Comics), as well as the latest trading card collection from Topps, Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume One. Also find out what’s coming next year from Abrams ComicArts as they reveal some works in progress, including videos and never-before-seen titles and art. 
 
5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Room: Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Public Library 
Librarian Talkback
Moderator: Brigid Alverson, SLJ Good Comics for Kids
Description: In this town-hall session, librarians from the audience will share the good and bad of working with graphic novels in libraries with publisher representatives from Abrams ComicArts, Archie Comics, Boom, Dark Horse, First Second, IDW/Top Shelf, Papercutz, Scholastic, and Viz. 
 
Sunday, July 12
 
10:00 a.m.—11:00 a.m. 
Room: 29AB
Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts
Celebrate the 65th anniversary of Peanuts with Chip Kidd (graphic designer, editor-at-large for Pantheon) and Paige Braddock (Creative Director at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates) as they preview their upcoming coffee table book, Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts. See rare and never-before-seen highlights from the extraordinary archives at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, including unpublished strips andpreliminary artwork photographed by award-winning photographer Geoff Spear,revealing a rare glimpse into the creative process of the world’s most beloved and influential cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz. Moderated by Charles Kochman (editorial director, Abrams ComicArts)
 
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Room: 30CDE
The Girls Are All Right!
Female comic creators for kids and young adults are burning up the bestseller lists and winning awards. Listen in on this dynamic group of award-winning creators as they discuss the challenges and thrills of creating diverse heroines that appeal to a new generation of readers and hook them for a lifelong love of comics. A Q&A session and drawing will follow. Panelists include Jennifer Holm (Babymouse, Sunny Side Up), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters), Cece Bell (El Deafo), Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), Jillian Tamaki (This One Summer), and Cecil Castellucci (Odd Duck). Moderated by Eva Volin (Good Comics for Kids at School Library Journal).
 
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. 
Room: 7AB 
An Exclusive Sneak Peek Panel for Adventure Time: The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook!!!, Featuring The Lord of Evil and Marceline the Vampire Queen: A conversation with Martin Olson (voice actor, The Lord of Evil), Olivia Olson (voice actor, Marceline The Vampire Queen), Celeste Moreno (illustrator), Aisleen Romano (illustrator), Rick “Dienzo” Blanco (illustrator and vice president of Creative for Cartoon Network Enterprises), and moderated by Eric Klopfer (senior editor, Abrams), about the highly anticipated book Adventure Time: The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook!!!, out this fall from Abrams. Attendees will have a chance to see exclusive, never-before-seen art from the book and be first to witness the premier of the terrifying book trailer. Surprises may include musical numbers and surprise guests. Audience participation is encouraged! 
 

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9. SDCC ’15: Stop the presses!! WB confirms Batman v Superman will be in Hall H! UPDATED w/ new pictures

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We already knew that Warner Bros. had a big presentation lined up for Saturday mid-morning at SDCC, and outside of the Star Wars showstopper on Friday, it’s the other “biggest ticket” of the weekend.

It was safe to assume that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was going to be the center-piece of that showcase, and no offense to Joe Wright, who is a fine director, but the amount of people that will show up for Pan is significantly less is my guess.

Yesterday afternoon Warner Bros. clarified just what films would comprise their Hall H panel, here’s the full press release below:

WARNER BROS. PICTURES REVEALS SUPERLATIVE LINE-UP

FOR THIS YEAR’S COMIC-CON

The Studio gets set to hit Hall H with Fan Favorites and a few surprises.

BURBANK, CA, July 1, 2015 – Warner Bros. Pictures continues its tradition of delivering its most anticipated tentpole properties and their biggest stars to Comic-Con International: San Diego with this year’s Hall H presentation.

On Saturday, July 11, beginning at 10:30 a.m., Warner Bros. will showcase several of its upcoming feature releases and offer up a surprise or two as well.

Keen to deliver a taste of one of next year’s most eagerly awaited pairings, director Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill take the main stage with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” They are joined by castmates Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot for a sneak peek at the 2016 action adventure that brings the Super Heroes together on the big screen for the very first time, from Warner Bros. Pictures and RatPac-Dune Entertainment.

From “Pan,” Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund and Peter himself, Levi Miller, together with director Joe Wright, soar into town with their high-flying adventure, coming to theaters this fall from Warner Bros. Pictures and RatPac-Dune Entertainment.

And Cavill once again takes the stage, this time with Armie Hammer, a duo with a very different dynamic in this summer’s fresh, über-stylish actioner from filmmaker Guy Ritchie, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” along with fellow stars Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki.

Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, stated, “Comic-Con provides us a fantastic opportunity to interact with the fans and this year, as with every year, our aim is to surpass their expectations. We’re also thrilled to give our filmmakers and talent a chance to experience the unique energy and enthusiasm of Comic-Con.”

With “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “Pan” headlining the bill, Warner Bros. will also present some unexpected offerings that are sure to delight the crowd.

About “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs.  And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before. Directed by Zack Snyder, the film stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot. Snyder directed from a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, based on characters from DC Comics, including Batman, created by Bob Kane, and Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer serving as executive producers. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual production, a Zack Snyder film, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” The film opens nationwide in 3D and 2D and in select IMAX theaters on March 25, 2016, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

About “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

Henry Cavill stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin in director Guy Ritchie’s action adventure “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” a fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series. Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the film centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin.  Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology.  The film also stars Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, with Jared Harris, and Hugh Grant. The screenplay was written by Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, story by Jeff Kleeman & David Campbell Wilson and Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram, based on the TV series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” John Davis, Steve Clark-Hall, Wigram and Ritchie produced the film, with David Dobkin executive producing. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, a Ritchie/Wigram production, a Davis Entertainment production, a Guy Ritchie film, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. The film opens nationwide in theaters and IMAX on August 14, 2015.

About Pan

From director Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride & Prejudice”) comes “Pan,” a live-action feature presenting a wholly original adventure about the beginnings of the beloved characters created by J.M. Barrie. Peter is a mischievous 12-year-old boy with an irrepressible rebellious streak, but in the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life those qualities do not exactly fly. Then one incredible night, Peter is whisked away from the orphanage and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland. There, he finds amazing adventures and fights life-or-death battles while trying to uncover the secret of his mother, who left him at the orphanage so long ago, and his rightful place in this magical land. Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily and a new friend named James Hook, Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard to save Neverland and discover his true destiny—to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard; Garrett Hedlund as James Hook; Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily; newcomer Levi Miller as Peter; and Amanda Seyfried as Mary. Wright directed “Pan” from a screenplay written by Jason Fuchs. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Paul Webster produced the film, with Tim Lewis serving as executive producer. Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in Association with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a Berlanti Production, a Joe Wright film, “Pan.” The film is set for a worldwide release in 3D and 2D on October 9, 2015. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The Wrap is reporting that cast from Suicide Squad are expected to appear as well. So, at the very least, we’ll be getting two DC films focused on. My guess is, we end up getting a full trailer for Batman v Superman (that hopefully will end up online in short order) and a teaser for Suicide Squad.

In truth though, this is the bare minimum that Warners needs to meet. Hopefully those Green Lantern and Justice League cast gathering rumors end up being true though. This is the studio’s time to shine, especially with Marvel Studios having completely tapped out from the show altogether.

UPDATE: EW just posted a ton of images from their upcoming Batman v Superman featured issue:

Batman v Superman EW Zack Snyder Ben Affleck Batsigna Superman touching Lex ben-affleck-bruce-wayne-142342

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10. Catching up with Dynamite: Voltron, Aliens/Vampirella, more Swords of Sorrow, Jose Gonzalez, Alice Cooper and MORE

AliensVampi01-Cov-A-Hardman.jpg

We’ve fallen a little behind on our Dynamite news so here’s a big catch-up post with all the news — and rest assured more is to come.

Corrina Bechko (the excellent Invisible Republic from Image and Star Wars: Legacy) will write the Aliens / Vampirella horror crossover. Javier García-Miranda does interiors while Gabriel Hardman, another Beat favorite, provides the covers. A Vampirella/Aleisn team-up sounds a bit odd, but ampi can corssover with anyone, and here she investigates a bloddy mystery on Mars. OK THEN! The book comes out in September.

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§ More Swords of Sorrow! A Swords of Sorrow: Miss Fury / Lady Rawhide one shot and a Cosplay Edition of Swords of Sorrow #3, inspired by cosplayer Tabitha Lyons. The scene reënects J. Scott Campbell’s cover to SoS #1 withTabitha Lyons as Red Sonja, Tasha Mackenzie as Dejah Thoris, Chiquitita Cosplay as Jungle Girl, and Mojo Jones as Vampirella.

Slated for release in September, the Swords of Sorrow: Miss Fury / Lady Rawhide special unites the rebellious Western heroine of yesteryear with the unpredictable — perhaps dangerously so — costumed crime-fighter, whether they like it or not. Written by Mikki Kendall and illustrated by Ronilson Freire, the one-shot comes with a cover by artist Mirka Andolfo.

 

 

 

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• A 250-page artbook devoted to Jose “Pepe” Gonzalez, with an intro by Joe Jusko and hundred of images from the Vampirella artists career. Check out the gallery below, this stuff is nice.

Renowned for bringing to life the most beautiful women the art world has ever seen, Gonzalez’s career spans from drawing British romance comics to movie stars, book covers to commercial advertising. For the first time ever, author David Roach covers Gonzalez’s entire career, transcending his vast body of Vampirella work to explore the full breadth of the master’s creations.

ArtJoseHC-VampiWrath-Final-(Page-01) ArtJoseHC-pg15-image02-Bogart300Dpi ArtJoseHC-Frontis104-300Dpi ArtJoseHC-Chap07pg42-EssenceDress ArtJoseHC-pg16-VampiTigers600 ArtJoseHC-Chap06pg19-Barbie ArtJoseHC-pg27-DeLos50-300dpi ArtJoseHC-Chap06pg05-C-Wild ArtJoseHC-Chap07pg23-Romance ArtJoseHC-Chap07pg09-A-GrayCouple ArtJoseHC-pg11-image01-Forest300dpi ArtJoseHC-VampiWrath-Final-(Page-07)

 

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• Alice Cooper vs. Chaos!, a five-issue miniseries pitting the world-renowned rock ‘n’ roll icon against Evil Ernie, Chastity, and Purgatori. Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Batman: Eternal) and Jim Terry (The Crow: Skinning the Wolves) share writing duties for the event series, with Terry performing double-duty as the series artist. Joyce Chin (Swords of Sorrow) will provide covers. This sounds weird but I guess you had to be there!

“Diving headfirst into the Chaos! universe has been incredible, like being pushed out of a plane into a combat zone filled with gods, nut jobs, and the most gorgeous women you could fathom,” says co-writer and artist Jim Terry. “I’m doing my best to keep up with it and hopefully kick in a little dramatic flair, as well as my own (and Tim’s) particular brand of madness. Add Alice Cooper to the mix and we’re hoping to leave fans breathless from action, horror, and mind-bending rock ‘n’ roll surrealism.”

AliceChaos01-01 AliceChaos01-03 AliceChaos01-05 AliceChaos01-10 AliceChaos01-18

 

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• Finally, a new six issues miniseries called Voltron: From the Ashes, written by Cullen Bunn (Deadpool, Captain America) and illustrated by Blacky Shepherd (3 Days in Darkness). Set two hundred years after the events of Dynamite’s previous Voltron series, the miniseries will introduce a new team to pilot the five lions that form the Defender of the Universe. The debut issue will launch in September 2015 and feature cover artwork from acclaimed Transformers artist Alex Milne. Mecha stuff if you like that kind of thing.

VoltronVol2-01-05 VoltronVol2-01-09 VoltronVol2-01-04 VoltronVol2-01-02-03

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11. SDCC ’15: Invader Zim is back, and he’s brought variant covers

invader_zim

The first issue the Invader Zim comics, based on Jhonen Vazquez’s cult cartoon, arrives on July 8th, and Oni is making a big deal out of it because…well it is a big deal. The alien conqueror’s return will be celebrated in several ways: A panel The Return of Invader Zim, Saturday 7/11 at 2 pm in Room 29AB with Vasquez, original show staff and creative staff on the new Zim comic Aaron Alexovich, original show writer and comic staff Eric Trueheart, Inker on the new Invader Zim comic Megan Lawton, and Oni Press Editor-in-Chief James Lucas Jones. And then you will be able to buy a SDCC exclusive variant at the Oni Booth  (#1833).

There will be signings but please note, tickets will be required for Friday and Saturday. Tickets will be given out at the Oni Press booth from the start of the show on respective days with fans selected for spots in those signings announced at the Oni Press booth and via Oni Press’ Twitter an hour before the Friday and Saturday signings. Attendees will be limited to signings for two items.

Thursday 7/9
11 am – Aaron Alexovich, Megan Lawton

Friday 7/10

4 pm – Jhonen Vasquez, Bryan Konietzko

Saturday 7/11

3:30 pm – Jhonen Vasquez, Aaron Alexovich, Eric Trueheart, Megan Lawton

Sunday 7/12

2 pm – Aaron Alexovich, Eric Trueheart, Megan Lawton

And here’s the variants!

This unique Jhonen Vasquez (creator of Invader Zim) cover (shown at top of post) for this first issue of Invader Zim #1 will be available at all retailers.

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K.C. Green (Gunshow) variant available through Ghost Variant Partner Stores: http://bit.ly/1U95zbz

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Vincent Perea (Where’s My Water?) variant available through Comics Dungeon: http://bit.ly/1GpfKo8

 

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Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim) variant available through Rebel Base Comics & Toys: http://bit.ly/1LDLzdv

 

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Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim) variant available through Midtown Comics: http://bit.ly/1ejTjEe

 

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Julieta Colás (Rick and Morty) variant available through Books-a-Million stores :http://bit.ly/1JxsHx2

 

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J.R. Goldberg (Jellyfist) variant available through Newbury Comics: http://bit.ly/1GPoTn1

 

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Tyson Hesse (World of Gumball, Bravest Warriors) variant available through Hastings: http://bit.ly/1BZf5Ih

 

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Mariel Cartwright (Skullgirls) variant available through GameStop: http://bit.ly/1U9alFN

 

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Dave Crosland (Scarface) variant available through Hot Topic: http://bit.ly/1LDO6nT

 

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Mariel Cartwright (Skullgirls) variant available through I Want More Comics:http://bit.ly/1FRXI7n

 

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Ian McGinty (Bravest Warriors, Adventure Time) variant available through Diamond Comic Distributors: http://bit.ly/1FDMgAH

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Bryan Konietzko (Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra) variant available through Oni Press at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

 

9d4ae241-7a00-4927-9571-d446ab015c10Standard retail cover by Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim)

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12. 11 Years of Comics Beat: My First Comic

Everyone remembers their first.  Comic.  Whether it was a Peanuts strip, an X-Men floppy, or the collected run of Watchmen, we were all introduced to the wonderful world of sequential art in one way or another.

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We at The Beat are celebrating the site’s eleventh birthday today and we were feeling nostalgic.  Join us as we take a look back at our innocent geneses and reminisce about the books that shaped the people we are today.


Dave

Believe it or not there was a time where reading comics got you ridiculed or to a more extreme consequence beat up. In the 90’s, I grew up in a city adjacent to the NWA’s hometown of Compton. In those cities being different meant being a target. Growing up I never really had anything that spoke to me or felt like my own. In order to fit in with the rest of the kids in school you either had to listen to music on KROQ and POWER 106 radio or know everything there is to know about basketball and football. Being 12 years old nothing was more important than having friends, so I did what any kid my age would do, I followed. Even in wearing the right team or having the hot CD; I managed to be the sore thumb that never got picked for a team or invited to a birthday party.

For a long time I felt like there was something wrong with me. One balmy September day, on a grocery trip with my mom at a Lucky’s in South Gate; I found myself lost in the magazine aisle flipping through Gamepro and Electronic Gaming Monthly. Then I saw someone fill a rack next to all the magazines with what looked like smaller ones. She dropped one and I picked it up off the floor, it was Jim Lee’s X-Men #4. Something about anger on Wolverine’s face and the confident shear on Gambit that dared me to open it. I’d never read any comic and I only knew Batman from cartoons. The story of a group of people who had to live apart from society because they were different. It was me. That day, comics found me. I had something to grow up with that felt like me. Today that comic sits torn and crinkled in my collection, but it’s pristine in the long white box of my heart.

omegared


Zach

I can’t remember what the first proper comic I read was – but I do remember having a odd almost guidebook to the origin of the X-Men, published by Scholastic (previously DK Children), which essentially guarantees that it was desperately trying to educate me. If I remember correctly, I could school anyone in the X-Men so long as the information was in the hopefully still up to date Story of the X-Men, How It All Began. That doesn’t really count, as it was a book about a comic, not a comic itself. No, the first comic I bought with my own money was a copy of the weekly Shonen Jump from December 2003.

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I remember because it had the first chapter of Hikaru no Go in it (literally about a boy who gets periodically possessed by a ghost who wants to play a slick game of Go). I was young, foolish, and ate it up. Soon I was well on my way to being one of those kids sitting for hours on end in the manga section of my local Bookstar (owned and operated by Barnes & Noble) taking full advantage of Tokyopop’s incredible localization scheme of “throw it at the wall and see what sticks”. Viz, to their credit was a little more selective. My favorite series, and the first I caught up on Shaman King and though the serialized chapters only lasted until 2007 – I deeply loved it. Tokyopop didn’t actually care what they brought over so long as it could be rapidly translated to an acceptable degree of readability; it was a golden era, safe to say. I would read Samurai Deeper Kyo or GetBackers when Shaman King or One Piece just weren’t doing it for me (who am I kidding, One Piece is the best). Huddled betwixt those shelves, I found formative works like Battle Angel Alita and Claymore which still influence me to this day.

Though I found Sandman in high school, it wasn’t until I was shown the modest but diverse collection of comics in my college’s library did American comics hold my attention. I have no idea where any copies of my comics pre-2007 are but I can tell you in earnest that they were loved.


Alex Jones

My first comic ever…that’s a hard question to answer. As a younger reader, I jumped on around high school during a vacation in Hawaii. Being a major geek, I was thoroughly interested in Blair Butler’s comics analysis on Attack of the Show — which originally scratched my love of gadgets and nerd news. After watching her rave about All-Star Superman #10, I decided to give the issue a shot when I was browsing through a comic rack in Maui. Also, I picked up the New Avengers issue with Echo, number 39. I didn’t understood the nuance of All-Star Superman #10 until years later, but the comic still struck a chord with the Frank Quitely artwork. I was also charmed to meet Grant Morrison years later, who is so lovely and supportive of comics fandom in person — it doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the best writers in comics either.

Superman_All-Star_Superman_002


Alex Lu

I could answer this question with a lot of different books and they’d all technically be correct.  If we’re talking about the first book that got me hooked on comics, we’d be talking about Tsugumi Ohba’s and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note.  Their thrilling tale about morally ambiguous (but really morally reprehensible) characters attempting to outsmart each other with careful strategies instead of testosterone-driven brawls was perfect for the twelve year old who hadn’t seen the appeal of physical action at the time.  If we’re talking about American comic books, we’d be talking about Jeff Loeb’s and Tim Sales’ Batman: the Long Halloween, which proved to me that superhero stories didn’t always follow the juvenile and simplistic tropes I had grown up being told they would.

However, the first comic I ever read was Bartman: Best of the Best.

bartman02

Truth be told, I don’t remember very much about this book; only vague bits and pieces spring to mind when I think about the stories contained within the collection.  However, when I assemble those small memorable fragments now, what comes together is a very clever book.  The first story in the collection is entitled “The Comic Cover Caper” and on the cover, features Bartman hanging over a vat of silver foiling.  The plot focuses on the “cover enhancements” that were all the rage in the 90s when this book was first being published, and satirizes the ridiculous idea that a little bit of emboss or a triple gatefold could potentially raise the value of a unlimited print run comic to Action Comics #1 prices.

bartman

I first encountered this book and The Simpsons TV show when I was around four years old.  At the time, I didn’t understand the true depth behind either one.  I simply loved the irreverent natures of the characters and the colorfully rambunctious animation.  Perhaps it’s time for a nostalgic weekend marathon…


Kyle

I’ve been reading comics for about 25 years or more, which doesn’t make me old by any stretch of the imagination (I’m 32, for the record), but I do have quite a comic book reading past behind me that just continues to grow. This also makes remembering what my first comic was rather difficult, as my memory of those years continues to fade away. Most of my comics reading came from my uncle, who passed along titles like Marv Wolfman and George Perez‘s New Teen Titans, and got me hooked on The Legion of Super-Heroes, which started an obsession that I’ve never been able to shake.

My uncle had a number of longboxes he kept, filled to the brim with “Silver Age goodies” as he’d call them, I remember specifically that he had the first appearance of Supergirl, the Superman Red/Superman Blue issue, along with a full run of many titles like Adventure Comics and The Brave and the Bold. But one of the boxes he had stuffed away contained two very seminal indie works that changed my perception of comics forever: Evan Dorkin‘s Milk & Cheese and The Hernandez BrosLove and Rockets. The latter of which, with its magical realism and punk rock energy remains my favorite comic of all time. Sure, there are things that occasionally challenge it for the crown: Maus, Palookaville, CriminalThe Invisibles, From Hell, there’s always something; but the sagas of Maggie, Hopey, Ray, Luba, Carmen, Heraclio, and a cast so rich I can’t even begin to list them all, has a hold on my heart like nothing else. I’m not sure it’s the first comic I ever read, but it’s the first comic I ever loved.

Love and rockets


Matthew Jent 

My big brother is 10 years older than me, so I was often running around in his wake blindly liking whatever he liked. He was a big comics fan, but in the mid-1980s our only options for getting comics were the spinner racks.

I had already been watching shows like Super Friends and (my fave) Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and I had a hand-me-down Mego Superman who was in pretty rough shape.

But it wasn’t until I was six and tagging along with my brother to Waldenbooks in the mall that I saw the comic book cover that made me say: I need to have that in my life.

 Alpha_Flight_Vol_1_23

Alpha Flight #23, the John Byrne run. Sasquatch fighting Sasquatch!

I had no idea who these characters were, but I liked monster and I liked (it turns out) when characters fight alternate versions of themselves. The issue featured a demon-possessed version of the hero Sasquatch in battle with Snowbird, a shape-changer, who (spoiler alert!) rips his heart out of his body and kills him. I read it over & over & over again sucking up every detail, searching for context.

Comics and superheroes had been around my house for years, but this was my first brush with non-A-list characters, and Byrne’s run on the book was one of tumult and constant change. Characters died, the team shifted, they fell in love with each other, they fought amongst themselves. This wasn’t just about the shepherding of lunchbox trademarks — this was storytelling.

I continued to follow Alpha Flight off and on as I found issues on the racks, or as another cover caught my eye. A few years later, writer Bill Mantlo brought Sasquatch back to life in Snowbird’s body, creating — kind of? — the first transgender Marvel Super Hero.

I’ve cobbled together a dollar box run of the Byrne/Mantlo Alpha Flight years, and nostalgia aside, it remains an underappreciated run of Bronze Age superhero stories.


Brandon Schatz

I always put a little asterix behind what I consider to be my first comic. It certainly wasn’t my first – that distinction would belong to a long forgotten Archie digest of some sort – but it’s the first that grabbed me and dragged me into the deep end of the comics pool.

Spider-Girl #0 Page One

This is a picture of my first comic, as it lives today. The cover fell off long ago, so I a young me decided it would be good to add more staples to the spine. It didn’t really work. That said, it’s a book I return to almost yearly to re-experience. Whenever I flip the cover off the rest of the comic, I’m hit with a wave of nostalgia. I remember paging through this what must have been hundreds of times, taking in some of the (admittedly cheesy) dialogue and completely missing how bananas it was that Ron Frenz was providing pencils that Bill Sienkiewicz would then go over. I mean seriously, Bill Sienkiewicz was essentially one of the co-creators of Spider-Girl and that’s insane to me now. But anyway, for those who want to check out that issue, it’s hanging up on the Marvel Unlimited app right now. As a word of warning, a lot of my love for it comes from a pure place of nostalgia. I recognize that in a lot of ways if this book came out today, I would be giving it side-eye like nobody’s business. But hey, in comics, there’s room for all types and all kinds. There’s room for your tastes to change, and for entire worlds to spread out before you. Its pretty wonderful, and I’m glad I got started on that road all those years ago with this book.


Victor Van Scoit

I wish that I could say the first comic book I picked up was a monumental moment. In reality it was likely a Disney comic in Spanish that I’d borrowed from my cousins to pass the time while visiting family in Mexico. What I can recall with much more clarity is that first real comic book moment. Where you think “Yes. This thing. It’s for me.”

My brother and I grew up on weekday afternoon and Saturday morning cartoons from reruns of the Herculoids to Johnny Quest, Transformers to Robotech, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. My brother being six years older had much more access than I to money (a job) and mobility (a car). He was able to go on weekly jaunts to the comic book shop and return with a stack of bagged and boarded comics. His collection was kept tucked away in a long box on the bottom of his closet safely in his locked bedroom. As a younger brother’s curiosity is wont to do, I had made it my goal to make sure he share his riches.

I figured out through a few bouts of trial and error how to defeat the lock on his door. I then went to the closet, sat on the floor, and slid the heavy long box my way. Removing the lid I rubbed my fingertips with anticipation like Indiana Jones stealing the golden idol, and quickly let my fingers walk over his comic collection. I’d slide a comic from it’s bag and gently open it no more than two to three inches. Holding it so, my hands in a somewhat prayer form, I’d tilt my head side to side as I read. I read for a few hours safely knowing my brother was at work and wouldn’t return for a while. I don’t remember everything I read but certain images and titles stand out. I can recall reading through Classic X-Men, The West Coast Avengers, X-Factor, and Daredevil. I remember that feeling of satisfaction and discovery and the expansion of my tiny world.

When I was done I put every comic back in its bag and back in its exact location in the long box. I covered the box and slid the heavy box back in place over the indentation in the carpet of where it once was. I pushed myself up, walked out, and locked the door with no evidence of my cultural heist. That’s not to say I wouldn’t get caught various other times, but it was worthwhile. These minor squabbles between my brother and I led to my parents making him let me tag-a-long on his trips to the comic book shop with my own allowance to start my own collection of comic books.


Edie Nugent

Like many kids my first brush with comics were Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes strips, and giant treasury collections of The Far Side. But my first real immersion in comic books beyond one to four panel stories were Archie Comics.

I went to sleep away camp in the woods in Connecticut for a month each summer. It was *real* summer camp: platform tents in the middle of the woods. No electricity. No TV. Flashlight size C & D batteries became the most valuable currency a kid could have during those four weeks. When night fell and curfew kicked in, I’d hide beneath the cover of my sleeping bag with a canteen of water and Archie, Jughead and Betty and Veronica double digests. I followed the exploits of the Riverdale gang like some people watch soap operas. Though I was eager to experience the kind of freedom these teenage characters seemed to have, I knew that real teenagers weren’t this clean and all-American, at least, not the teens I saw growing up in New York City in the 80s.

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But there was something exceedingly comforting about Archie and his pals, and as an awkward child coming of age and on my own for 30 days I often found myself handing over a few dollars in pocket money to my camp counselor to grab me the newest Archie digest on their way through the nearest town. Only counselors could travel “off campus.” When she’d return with my comics, just seeing the covers gave me the same thrill I still feel every time I pick up a comic book. I know there are stories waiting inside for me, that escapism is only a page turn away.

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Later I’d fine Eastman and Laird and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man and (sadly) The Clone Saga. I’d even end up creating my own characters and forming a comics label with two of my classmates. But Archie was first, and sometimes when I see an Archie cover I can still smell that musty sleeping bag all around me and feel the excitement of summers that stretched on forever.

 

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Nick Eskey

Looking back, I guess my comic reading started later in life than most can claim. It wasn’t that I didn’t like comics, but rather never was introduced to them. And my book reading was at a school requirement level at best.

What I loved were toys. That was my thing. I had a whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chest full of action figures and accessories. When the chest began to overflow, my toys spilled out onto my floor and then the carpet. Safe it to say my mom and I were very familiar with Toys R Us.

During one of my frequent visits, I was 11 years old and spending time that weekend with my dad. I was walking down one of the figure aisles when I saw wrapped in hard plastic, hanging from a hook, three comic books. It was a DC collection, with a giant sticker that claimed it was offering a great value. I was curious, and also fascinated with the packaging’s cover art. I grabbed one off the hook and my dad bought it for me.

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #52

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #52

After taking it home, and spending a good deal of time on the hard shell with a pair of scissors, I laid out the books leafed through them.

Two of them I don’t remember, but the third is still vivid in my mind. It was Batman: Shadow of the Bat #52. My only exposure to the Dark Knight at the time was the Tim Burton movies with Michael Keaton. But this was something different.

The first thing that caught me was the look. The art style was darker than any of the Sunday Funnies, both in color and content. The villain wasn’t any of the one’s I knew about, like the Joker or the Penguin. This was a guy named Narcosis. He wanted to put the whole city into a deep sleep using poisoned milk. For an eleven-year-old kid who loved his morning cereal, this messed with my head. I began to question hard whether I wanted my Frosted Flakes.

Narcosis and his Nightmare Dream Gas

Narcosis and his Nightmare Dream Gas

Batman and Robin had to intercept the milk before it was delivered to any innocent people, so the story took place in the early hours of the morning. Even I with my limited comic exposure knew then that Batman only operated at the dead of night. At the end, while Narcosis lay in a deep sleep from his own tainted milk, police argued with themselves that since it was daylight, it couldn’t have been the Batman.

Toys R Us didn’t carry comics for too much longer. But by then, I was finding my love for books like Goosebumps. Soon I came in contact with more comics from stores like Borders. My love of the Batman character also grew.

I’ve since ventured to other titles and genres in the years that came. But that one comic will stick with me for a long time I think.

9 Comments on 11 Years of Comics Beat: My First Comic, last added: 7/2/2015
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13. Special Report: Comics in the Turkic World

By Serhend Sirkecioglu

I have not written anything for The Beat in a fairly long time, but I recently traveled most of the Turkic World (Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan). With the exception of returning to Istanbul by plane and crossing the Caspian Sea by boat, it was me hitchhiking, taking cabs, trains, and buses everywhere.

One of reasons I took this trip was because I hadn’t seen my father’s side of my family in over 18 years. Another reason was because I was an artist in crisis. Not sure if I was cut out for being a cartoonist or not, creatively lost and confused, wavering convictions, etc… I was seeking inspiration. A side quest I also engaged in was looking for comics in each country, seeing if they had a comics scene of sorts and what it was comprised of. If there was not much of a comics industry, I tried to at least look for other artists. Out of all the countries I went to only two had any semblance of a comics scene or tradition: Turkey and Kazakhstan.

I do apologize in advance. My mastery of Turkish and Russian is basic and there were times where I forgot to take photos of something or my camera battery died; a running gag on this trip along with my other gadgets dying or breaking.

Turkey:

The Turkish Comics (Çizgi Roman. pronounced Chiz-gi Ro-mon) scene is a sizable one and a surprisingly unknown one on top of that. They have a breadth of iconic characters and comics like Kotu Kedi Serafettin, Robin Crusoe, and Jamal along with an industry that has a weekly amateur day where aspiring cartoonists can come to the major comics magazines to meet the artists for pointers and stuff, but the most baffling thing is the lack of exposure beyond Turkey despite the pool of talent and prevalence of comics in the country.

The first shop I visited was Arkabaçhe in Beşiktaş, Istanbul. It’s in a mall and is a familiar sight, a modern comics shop: white, slick, clean, and organized, sprinkled with some action figures, apparel, and memorabilia. I got the good feeling it’s all about comics here; I love that. The owner Sinan also knew good English, no need for the pre-written-as-simply-as-possible questions on Google translate!

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arkabahce(turkish for backyard)

He told me his shop also does the Turkish translations for Marvel and DC comics and has begun to publish original works like Istanbul Odyssey, among others. In terms of what’s popular, it’s all about Marvel, DC, and to a lesser extent at his store, manga. When I asked about comics conventions, Sinan was blunt and explained few to none in Turkey would go to a comic convention and there’s not much economic incentive for the few shops to pack up some books and go where they won’t make much money. When I asked him if people in Europe, Japan, and America know about the Turkish comics scene, he bluntly said no. He suggested if someone big from the US came or if Midtown Comics had a booth, that could bring in more people. He also mentioned that some people in Turkey would need to have explained to them the concept of paying for artists drawings/signatures at cons.

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Sinan, the owner of the shop

Speaking with translator Burc Uner, he told me that they don’t have a lot of contact with Marvel and DC because there’s a middle man between them and they have contact with the big two very minimally for design related issues. He also mentioned that it’s difficult to publish some books they would love to translate. For example, he would love to translate David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp but the given the printing requirements Pantheon has for the book and the already low interest in indie comics, it’s not affordable for them.

When I asked him about the self-publishing/indie scene he explained how it has a touch and go quality to it, where a group of artists get together publish an anthology then over time one person becomes more popular and then the group disbands. He showed one group of high schoolers who published a heavily manga-influenced and nicely printed(a glossy soft cover trade with recycled paper interiors) anthology and for their age it was an impressive feat. Not the best work in the world; vacuous backgrounds, unintentionally wonky drawing, and heavy amounts of emulation than originality, but a C for effort given their age. They managed to publish 3 issues but the dip in quality in each issue is very apparent.

Another self-published work (also black and white interiors) I was shown was Çizgi Fanzin, put together by a group of art school students and was a glossy covered book with recycled paper interiors. It has a familiar vibe of friends all hanging out, drawing, and grinding away making comics; hunched over their desks with a cigarette in their mouth and smile on their face, all having a good time. The work inside reminds me of people I went to school with at SVA; it’s all very promising and definitely the best self published work I came across for what little I’ve seen so far. By sheer luck, the group who put it together was just stopping by the shop and I got to ask them a few questions. They are more or less no different than any other young and budding cartoonists in North America and Europe. nothing really stood out other than the language barrier. When I asked them about how much it cost to print their work, they said it was not much because they all pitched in. Where their work is placed online varies. Some post on Behance and a Turkish equivalent, others Deviant Art, and some on Instagram.

Turk 3

The second shop I visited was Gerekli Seyler in Beyoglu which was more heavy on the toy and memorabilia than Arkabache but they had more manga and a sizable collection of erotic comics and hentai too. They also translate books for Marvel and DC but this owner’s English was not as good.

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The folks at Gerekli Seyler

He did give me a ballpark estimate of the number of comics readers in Istanbul though, around 5000 and said that out of all those comics fans probably only 300 at most would show up to my hypothetical Turkish comics convention. I ended up leaving after about 15 minutes and headed off to my final shop.

Gon is for me the most beautiful shop of the three and is also the smallest. It’s named after the character of the Japanese Manga series of the same name by Masashi Tanaka via a contest. Gon was originally just a place being used as storage for a bookstore called Robinson Crusoe.  It began its life as a comics shop 8 years ago, originally selling English language comics but shifting towards Turkish language comics over time due to low demand for English fare.

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Gon

I spoke to Nedim Okan further about the Indie scene and he continued where Sinan left off about the clashing egos and unrealistic expectations of cartoonists and literary journalists. The mentality of Turkish writers and cartoonists who publish their work is not far from that of a rock band. They get together for the music, but then the fame gets to their heads and once it dries up or one member goes solo they ditch the magazine. Nedim told me one story of a literary magazine that had printed 8 issues (a whole lot by Turkish standards) and the members came by the store to tell the owner they were no longer going to print the magazine because they said that “Honestly, we’re not making any money or getting any pussy out of this, so what’s the point?”

Turk 6

Orkan is one of the folks who works at Gon

I laughed pretty hard and it was glorious. Nedim’s hope/advice was that if cartoonists actually stuck through with it and did not unrealistically expect to be make tons of money and get laid a lot, comics would get bigger in Turkey.  Unfortunately, peoples’ egos hold everyone back.

Turk 7

Peter Kuper was here and he made a contribution to Gon’s sketchbook.

Kazakhstan

The Kazakh comics (Komisky) scene is as sparse as the country itself. I found absolutely nothing starting from Aktau in the west to Shymkent in the south near Uzbekistan. However, I met some Otaku and it was pretty funny to see how similar they are to the otaku students I teach in middle and high school. It was not until I reached Almaty where I struck gold. Almaty is where the art is at. You can find artists selling their paintings of Kazakh epics and the pastoral life of the steppes. I even came across a few print shops, though they were unfamiliar with self publishing comics.

I searched the city and the interwebz for Kazakh comics and lo and behold I finally found them! Khan Comics published an anthology in 2011 called KZ Comics and they were putting on a show at a national art school. I used my limited Russian vocabulary to tell them about my background as an American comic artist and to talk to them about their comic.  My credentials perked their ears up, so they scrambled to find the one English speaker, Timur from external relations.

He brought me to the head of the animation department who then explained that the comic only had a print run of 500 copies and there were no more, but would get me a black and white prints of the comics in side (I never got them because I forgot to pick them up like a dumbass).  He also showed me a lot of comics done by the animation majors.

Kazakh Comics 2

The Head of the animation dept showing me the comics made by animation students.

The talent was just as promising as the Turkish work I saw.  For the Kazakh, comics and animation are one and the same. However, while Turkey has a large cartoonist scene and therefore many opportunities to prove yourself as a professional cartoonist, Kazakhstan did not. Timur explained that their school is not affiliated with any western school, only CIS ones (Commonwealth of Independent States aka the former Soviet bloc).

Kazakh Comics 3

A student named Nursultan working on his Diploma Project

Logistically things are also very difficult. For example, if you were to host a comics convention or festival in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan,  people in Almaty, Aktobe, and Shymkent would be a day or more away if they traveled by train or bus, the cheapest ways for the average Kazakh to get around. Traveling so far for a small one day festival when it takes two or three days to commute to and from it is a hard sell. It’s hard to build a scene of comics readers when people are so scattered.

Kazakh Comics 5

“John”

The handful of students I met in Almaty they expressed this sentiment. Nursultan, Mansur, and John (I forgot his real name but he said John was ok) all expressed this feeling of isolation and want to go to Europe or America because there isn’t much opportunity in their home nation. They can probably get jobs doing animation for commercials or graphic design work in Kazakhstan or Russia, but anything beyond that is unlikely. They asked me questions about opportunities in the States and I tried to help them with what little I knew about the film and animation industry and we traded contacts. They asked me to stay in Almaty a little longer but I was leaving for Bishkek by the end of the week and could not stay longer. I plan to return to Almaty someday.

Kazakh Comics 4

Mansur also working on….something

 

 

 

 

 

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14. Watch The Batman: Arkham Knight Alternate Opening (Spoilers)

So last night, as I continued my quest to find every riddler trophy in Batman: Arkham Knight, I started to get a bit bored. I figured I’d jump into “New Game+” mode which unlocks upon finishing the main story. “New Game+” lets you relive the entire Arkham Knight story without the pesky having to collect everything over again. Anyone who hasn’t played it; Arkham Knight’s story is one worth combing through multiple times.

The game’s opening cinematic sees the body of the Joker being cremated right before our eyes. In fact the game doesn’t start until you hold down any button long enough for the flames to char the corpse. Yes it’s sadistic, but this time around I held down the buttons long enough to singe the body but never quite have it go up in flames. Even as “under my skin” finished its classic catchy tune, I still only managed to extra crispy the Joker’s body.

Once I decided to get on with the show, I noticed a distinct lack of Jim Gordon’s opening “this is how the batman died” speech. Instead, the game delivered another “oh sh**” moment when the Joker’s body appeared to laugh back to life and Mark Hamill’s voice delivered a new opening statement to the story.

Check it out below if you don’t plan on going through the game again:

For those of us who have gone through Batman: Arkham Knight, what have been your favorite parts of the game?

0 Comments on Watch The Batman: Arkham Knight Alternate Opening (Spoilers) as of 7/2/2015 1:08:00 AM
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15. Dark Horse Brings More Big Video Games to Comics

Dark Horse Comics has announced two new books based on highly anticipated video games. Call of Duty and Lara Croft will join Mirror’s Edge: Exordium this fall as the publisher is quickly turning big video games into a full on line of comics.

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Over on IGN, the publisher announced an official prequel comic to Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty Black Ops III game. Written by Larry Hama (G.I. Joe) with art by Marcelo Ferreira (Transformers, TMNT), Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the comic, will follow the story of an elite group of soldiers infiltrating a terrorist cell only to find something even more dangerous. A free mini-comic will be available to anyone attending SDCC next week at the Dark Horse booth and outside at the Activision experience. In addition to the free mini-comic, a full series is set to debut on November 4, just two days before the release of game.

 

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Not to be outdone. Based in the same universe as the Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light games from Crystal Dynamics, Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen is a five issue miniseries written by Corrina Bechko (INVISIBLE REPUBLIC) and illustrated by Tomb Raider comics veteran Randy Green.

In this all-new adventure, Lara must stop a group of cultists from causing world-wide cataclysmic devastation, and ancient ivory artifacts hold the key to both salvation and destruction. The miniseries marks the return of impractical teal tank and dual pistols Lara Croft.

Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen will hit stores on Oct 7, 2015.

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16. SDCC ’15: BOMBSHELL — you may not have to camp out over night to get into Hall H

hallhline.JPG

In news that has rocked sales of lawn chairs and MREs, CCI announced their policies for this year’s Hall H wristbands and there is a massive difference this year! You can sleep in a bed and still get in!!!!

So How Do They Work?
Toucan Tracker wristbands will be given out the night before each Hall H panel. For example, Saturday wristbands will be given out on Friday night. Once you receive your wristband, you have three options:

1. You may immediately line up for the following day’s first panel in Hall H.

2. You may leave someone to hold your place in line, and return before 7:30 AM to meet them. You will be allowed to join them in line as long as you have your wristband. Please keep in mind that all members of your group will need to get your wristbands at the same time, so plan accordingly.

3. You may leave, get a good night’s rest, and return to the end of the wristband line before 7:30 AM. Please keep in mind that you must be there before 7:30 AM.


At least that’s the plan. The Unofficial SDCC Blog immediately had analysis withs maps and charts:

Wristband distribution starts late again, starting at 10PM on Wednesday for Thursday’s panels, 8:30PM on Thursday for Friday’s panels, 9:45PM on Friday for Saturday’s panels, and 11PM on Saturday for Sunday’s panels. Unlike last year, wristband distribution will continue all night, meaning that those who spent hours last year feeling like they couldn’t leave to even run to the bathroom for fear of wristbands being handed out, can rest easy this year.


One courageous soul will still need to brave the elements and the dreaded swamp rats of San Diego Harbor to keep the group’s place in line, but the children can eat!!!!

However, a 100+ comment thread reveals that instead of sleeping out everyone will get in line the previous day for the NDL (next day’s line) which will still be heckish:

kburford 
But how early are people going to get in the NDL? Won’t this give me more incentive to get in line even earlier? Now I only have to wait until the previous evening to “get into Hall H” so I’m more likely to get in line many hours earlier than I would have. Basically instead of sleeping in line overnight, I have to wait in line all day until wristband distribution time. That means missing the entire current day’s panels while waiting in line for a wristband, and then basically missing another whole day while sitting inside of Hall H (assuming the panel you want is towards the end of the day and not first thing).
So in terms of Hall H waiting / missing out on other panels, it’s still about the same as before. If I want to wait for Saturday’s Hall H wristbands, I’m going to have to get in line during the day on Friday, and stay in line until at least 9:45pm.
Not saying that this a bad thing. I definitely like having a better system to keep us who want to be in line a better estimate on what is happening. This system is just requiring me to really decide how much I care about Hall H to miss out on multiple days of everything else. lol DECISIONS


That’s right kids, you GET ONE CHANCE to get in line to see Star Wars, or Con Men or whatever.

As an observer of line waiting culture, I have no idea how this new system is going to fly, but I’m sure people will be debating…and complaining right up until the lights up on and the curtain goes up on whatever Hall H experience it was you had your heart set on.








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17. Jamal Igle talks Molly Danger, Supergirl, and overcoming failure

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Jamal Igle didn’t expect to receive the support he got when he decided to work on his creator owned project, Molly Danger. Igle raised $50,329 to self publish the first installment of the story about the world’s most powerful 10-year-old girl. Kickstarter comics were booming in 2012, and a lot of industry favorties like Igle were making a lot of money and giving the fans something different. Igle tried to repeat the success in May but fell short. He admitted on his Facebook page (and in this very interview) there were a number of reasons that the project wasn’t successful, but that didn’t stop him.

He’s back but with a manageable goal, great incentives, and has passed the halfway mark in the project’s second week. Click here to check out the project yourself.

Igle took some time from his busy schedule to discuss latest attempt to fund his labor of love. There are a number of dope-ass incentives: personalized commissions, be a character in the book, original art and so much more. We talked about why he’s decided to take Molly Danger from the graphic novel format to a regular schedule, his reaction to CW’s Supergirl show, how his frank political discussions on Facebook affect his Kickstarter campaign, what the unsuccessful campaign did to his ego and why that didn’t stop him from launching another Kickstarter initiative.

Henry Barajas: I just want to start off by saying you look great. Every time I see you in person or online you seem to be shrinking. What’s your secret and has major the weight loss helped you with your art?

Jamal Igle: Mostly, it’s been a combination of changes in both my overall diet and getting almost daily exercise. I run 5-6 days a week, five miles a day. I still have my little indulgences, but I’ve cut out a lot of the processed food I was eating. I don’t eat at any restaurant where the kids meal comes in a box with a toy, so no McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s etc. unless I don’t have another option. No fruit juice, cow’s milk and very little fried food. I also changed my schedule drastically. I used to, like many comic artists, work primarily at night, staying up sometimes until 4 am but now I make sure that I stick to a strict schedule. I’m awake at 5 am, I run for an hour, I have breakfast and see the family off and I work from 9 am until 6 pm or so. I’m in bed by 11 pm, and just doing that has improved my health, my art has improved and I get more done during the day.

Art courtesy of Jamal Igle.

Art courtesy of Jamal Igle.

HB: What looked like a recipe for success, your last attempt to crowdfund the second installment of Molly Danger fell short. I’m glad you didn’t let that stop you. How did you process that set back on a personal and professional level? What did you learn from your first attempt, the unsuccessful project,  and what are you doing differently this time around?

JL: I would be lying if I’d said it didn’t sting a bit. There were a few times during the campaign where I thought about canceling it, because at a certain point it was clear that it wasn’t getting the traction I needed for it to be successful. It was an ambitious idea, to do both the physical book and the audiobook together but it became clear that the audiobook wasn’t as much of a draw as I would have hoped for it to be. I really had to put my ego aside though, and look at the bigger picture. The most important thing to me is telling the story, telling the story of Molly Danger and her world.

HB: I think an audiobook would be great for blind fans or families on long road trips. Have you scrapped the idea completely?

JL: No, I haven’t. We’re still trying to make it happen and if the campaign gets funded in a way that makes it viable it will become a stretch goal.

HB: I’ve noticed that Facebook is a good tool for promoting your Kickstarter projects; however, my feed is full of politics, black folks getting harassed by the police (or worse) and other social injustices. How do you stick out while respecting the world around you? I know you’re not afraid to speak your mind on topical issues, but has that affected your campaign?

JL: It may have but not in any noticeable way. I used to be afraid that my very vocal stances would drive fans away from my Facebook page, Twitter, etc. However, I started to meet fans who were following me online because I can be very outspoken about politics and social issues. Some people do it because they agree, others because they disagree and want to argue with me and some do it just to see me rail on comic book movies and argue with me about the Man of Steel (laughs).  I do, however, attempt to always be respectful in my engagements and I try to present some well researched facts. It doesn’t always work, I can get angry occasionally and just like everyone I’ve been fooled by a meme online. I’m also not afraid to play bouncer if I see a thread getting out of hand, since I do try to keep the conversation as civil as possible and I think people respect that.

HB: I find it interesting that you’re going from the graphic novel format to a bi-monthly ongoing series. How did you come to this decision?

JL: That all starts with plans that have been set in motion with Action Lab for the connected superhero universe we’re doing, “The Actionverse”, which launches during Halloween Comicfest this year. This something we’ve been developing for over a year, all of the scripts are written, artwork is in various stages of completion. Molly is a big part of the Actionverse and originally it was just going to be the Book Two graphic album.

The thing is, after the campaign failed, I had to really figure out what the best approach to making Molly a character people could get behind was and part of it was to make Molly come out on a more consistent basis. I have at least a decade’s worth of Molly stories written down in various books in my studio. So now the plan is to do each six issue as a “season”. One of my concerns was to be able to continue the hardcover format of the first book, and after talking to Action Lab, we’ve decided that instead of the traditional monthly comic book size of 6.5 x 8 inches, we’re going to make the Molly series “Golden Age” size, 7.5x 10.5 inches. Every two issues will be collected as a new hardcover and each season will be collected as a trade.

Doing the series in this manner actually allows me to expand the story more. I’m expanding Molly’s world a bit more with new characters and character dynamics that I didn’t have room for in the original outline for the miniseries.

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HB: What kind of reaction have received from Molly Danger fans? How is it different from your freelance work like Supergirl?

JL: On a personal front, it’s been truly heartwarming. The first book has been in circulation for a while and I have kids, particularly girls who come to my table at shows to tell me how much they love the book. It’s extremely satisfying in a way that working on and being recognized for drawing a character like Supergirl doesn’t match. Working for a DC or Marvel is fun work and I clearly enjoy doing projects for larger publishers, but it’s essentially brand management and there has to be a  professional distance when working on those characters. Molly is mine, I feel a pride and a fatherly protectiveness about how she’s portrayed in other people’s books. So far with everything we’ve been doing behind the scenes getting ready for 2016, every writer has embraced my view of Molly.

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HB: Speaking of the Girl in Blue, how does it feel to see that your work inspiring the upcoming television series? Were you consulted or approached by the CW or DC Entertainment?

JL: It’s pretty flattering, and a bit of a validation that Sterling Gates and I had a vision of the character that could potentially reach a mass audience. I wasn’t consulted, although it would be fun to be involved at some point, and it’s purely ego, of course, but I’d love to see them do Bizarrogirl at some point.

Click here to support the ongoing Molly Danger series.

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18. *WEDNESDAY UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By: Nick Eskey

Welcome back toy enthusiasts to the last installment of exclusive Funko toys for the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. Well known for their POP! line of figurines, Funko strives to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.”

Though there might be more Funko toys announced, these are the last of the exclusives for Comic-Con to be revealed. Remember, there will be no pre-buy option this year. If you see any merchandise that you want, then you need to buy them at the booth while supplies last.

Without further hullabaloo, here’s the last of the reveals:

Pop! Heroes: Batman v Superman - Batman v Superman 2-pack

Pop! Heroes: Batman v Superman – Batman v Superman 2-pack

What ever happened if the Man-of-Steel fought against the Dark Knight? With this Batman v Superman 2-pack, you can play-out this epic fight of fights for yourself. Maybe Batman’s batarang is made of kryptonite?

Pop! TV: Breaking Bad - Blue Crystal Heisenberg

Pop! TV: Breaking Bad – Blue Crystal Heisenberg

Still reeling over the series end of Breaking Bad? Well this Blue Crystal Heisenberg (funny I know) will keep your withdrawals at bay. Just don’t upset the guy. He looks a little trigger happy.

Funko is excited to announce the debut of Pop! Tees at this year's San Diego Comic-Con!

Funko is excited to announce the debut of Pop! Tees at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con!

Steering away from the toy merchandise, Funko will also be selling the wearable variety. These shirts feature some of their best selling figures. Much like their POP! toys, these tees are displayed in fun colorful boxes.

Pop! Tees: SDCC Freddy Funko

Pop! Tees: SDCC Freddy Funko

Paying homage to the company’s mascot, this Freddy Funko tee has been made exclusively for San Diego Comic-Con. See Freddy in all of his splendor as he walks around the convention with collectibles, admittance badge, and light saber in hand.

Pop! Tees: Masters of the Universe - Disco Skeletor

Pop! Tees: Masters of the Universe – Disco Skeletor

All hail Disco Skeletor! This Masters of the Universe villain in his variant colors demands respect as he attempts to once and for all conquer Castle Grayskull.

Pop! Tees: Freddy Funko 8-Bit Pixelated

Pop! Tees: Freddy Funko 8-Bit Pixelated

For you “old-school” types, this Freddy Funko 8-Bit Pixelated tee will be the perfect fit. Whether he’s on his way to rescue a princess, or jump on top of baddys’ heads, he’s sure to be super.

Pop! Tees: Ghostbusters - Burnt Stay Puft

Pop! Tees: Ghostbusters – Burnt Stay Puft

Is there anything worse than burnt marshmallows? A gigantic Burnt Stay Puft marshmallow man, of course! Instead of having to clean this traveler off of every surface, best to stick to this shirt.

Pop! Tees: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Skyline Group

Pop! Tees: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Skyline Group

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Skyline Group tee shows the sewer-dwelling crime fighters on top of two buildings.

Pop! Tees: Marvel - Black Widow Shield (Women's Sizes Only)

Pop! Tees: Marvel – Black Widow Shield (Women’s Sizes Only)

And last on our exclusives list, this Black Widow Shield tee flies onto the scene. Unfortunately for her male fans, this shirt is only available in women’s sizes. Though I’m sure this will not stop some fellas.

Thanks for faithfully tuning in everybody for these Funko updates everybody. I can’t wait to see all of you at Comic-Con ’15!

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19. 11th Anniversary Special: Really Famous People Holding Comics Books, world politics division

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In honor of the Beat’s 11th anniversary ehre are two epic photos from recent social media. In the first, Congressman John Lewis presents signed copies of the March graphic novels to Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala was shot in the head in her native Pakistan for daring to want to get an education for herself and other girls. Lewis is a US civil rights icon whose story is as important now as it was 50 years ago.


In this photo, the Pope holds a copy of the Latin translation of The Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. As Pontiff’s go, this one is pretty awesome.

Comics have no boundaries!

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

SUBSCRIBE to My Comic Shop History on iTunes!

LIKE My Comic Shop History on Facebook!

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21. Anime Matsuri showrunner accused of sexual harassment

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s where things fall apart completely.

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

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

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

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24. The Beat is 11 today!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Drawing by Igor Zakowski

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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