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1. TOLJA! Tokyopop is back with publishing plans

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As I noted a few weeks back, Tokyopop, the company that came in changed comics and then crashed and burned, suspending publication for the most part back in 2011, is coming back as announced on a panel at Anime Expo with plans to begin publishing again in 2016″ announced by founder Stu Levy.

The company is seeking to license “hidden gems that are not yet noticed” from small or independent publishers.

In addition, Tokyopop plans to publish art books and collectors editions, and will consider light novels.


The company’s once-ambitious media plans continue with 20 properties—including Knockouts and Riding Shotgun— in development and a series of vidoes on the Tokyopop YouTube channel. Other plans include an anime review series on YouTube, “Pop Comics” a sharing app for iOS and Android for community sharing of comics.

This move was met with a mix of curiosity and hostility online which you can see developing in this ANN comment thread. While some former fans hoped for Tokyopop to finish series that were left hanging in 2011, others recalled the past sins of the company and vowed never to give Levy another penny.

If you’re wondering about the sins—which I covered in detail over the years—a tweet from Darryl Ayo sums it up:

One of the more interesting things about Tokyopop’s new plans is that when users upload their own comics to the “Pop Comics” app “Users keep the copyright and 100% creative control of their uploaded works.” according to ANN. This was not always the case with Tokyopop, and much of the animus towards the company stems from their publishing history of signing up a lot of original creations by very young creators and refusing to give them the rights back, despite being long OOP (although the rights CAN be purchased back.) Among those creators: Brandon Graham, Becky Cloonan, Felipe Smith, Amy Reeder, Svetlana Chmakova, Rivkah la Fille….yeah kinda a pretty good lineup of people. Most of them don’t even like talking about their Tokyopop experiences any more but a few do:

You can read our past coverage of the company as it happened here. And Brigid Alverson has her own summation post right here. But I’d like to list a few contemporaneous accounts for those who want to revisit history via blog posts.

Tokyopop: Hey, dude, totally bad contract!
Tokyopop: the other side
Yet more on Tokyopop
Tokyopop letter to creators
Yet MORE Tokyopop stuff
Platinum and Tokyopop drama continues
Mystery solved: why would anyone sign that Tokyopop Manga Pilot Program contract?
Pavia updates Tokyopop
More on KING CITY’s move
Tokyopop follow-up: Is Stuart Levy the Charlie Sheen of comics?
Tokyopop updates: Who owns what
Must read: Chuck Austen’s advice to Tokyopop creators: ‘Move on’
Can creators really get their books back from Tokyopop?
Plus, Becky Cloonan on never being able to finish her East Coast Rising book.
The first blog post of 2011, or How Cannonball Joe Quelled the Suffocating Death

There’s lot more if you Google around (god people were so loose lipped back in the day! In this day of FB and Twitter no one says anything!). This is not to say that Tokyopop might not come back with a new resolve and a business plan that’s 2015-ready. But at the very least some acknowledgement of past mistakes and a pledge to do things differently would be a great way to get a fresh start.

2 Comments on TOLJA! Tokyopop is back with publishing plans, last added: 7/3/2015
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2. SDCC ’15: Invader Zim is back, and he’s brought variant covers

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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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3. Director John Tiffany Talks about New Harry Potter Play

In an exclusive interview with Scotland Now, director John Tiffany talks about his early acquaintance with J.K. Rowling and his decision to work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Tiffany is the former assistant director of the National Theatre of Scotland and has worked on several productions.

I first met Jo years ago when we didn’t know who each other was. I had just started at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and now and again I would see a woman with a pram writing in longhand in the cafe. She’d write in Nicholson’s, The Elephant House and the Traverse cafe.

We knew each other to nod at. I’d be having meetings with writers and actors and I’d see her. Eventually we’d say hello to each other and a year later – bam!.

Rowling was writing her novels, and now, 20 years later, Tiffany will be directing her play. Apparently, it was a decision that he weighed heavily.  With Scotland Now, Tiffany says:

It was my three nephews and my colleague Vicki Featherstone’s two kids who said to me, ‘You have to do this’ when I first spoke to them about it.

They were instrumental. Those stories sparked something amazing in them that will never leave them. Particularly the reading of the books. People get very emotional when they talk about Jo and her books, because a lot of kids learned to read, or think they learned to read, because of Harry Potter.

While John Tiffany says that he read the Harry Potter books as an adult, he knows that they have had a profound effect on a generation.  He also remembers that they were some of the first children’s books that adults had no shame in reading in public.

In the interview, Tiffany also talks about his hopes for the play’s eventual world tour.

To learn more from John Tiffany, see here.

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4. Me at SDCC

I’ll be talking about my next novel, ZEROES, at San Diego Comic Con next week, in company with my co-authors, Deb Biancotti and Margo Lanagan. We have our own panel to discuss the book!

We’ll have swag and chapter samplers there as well. The details:

“From Zeroes to Heroes”
Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deb Biancotti
Thursday, July 9, Noon
Horton Grand Theater
444 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA

Please share this graphic with ALL YOUR SDCC-GOING FRIENDS!

ZeroestoHerossmall

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5. J.K. Rowling Tweets Updates on Gold Dagger Award

J.K. Rowling has announced (via Twitter) that Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm has been shortlisted for the The Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award. J.K. Rowling also previously tweeted that the second Cormoran Strike novel had been nominated for the Gold Dagger Award, just a couple weeks ago. It appears that poor Robert has mislaid his twitter password. According to the The Crime Writers’ Association’s twitter, the winners of the Gold Dagger (among others) awards will be presented on September 29, at a special event. We expect both J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith to be in attendance at the special event. These tweets can be seen below.

 

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6. Meet the IF Team: Andy Yates

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Hi Illustration Friday community!

So many people play a role in keeping this site updated with inspiration to fuel your creativity, and we’d like to take a moment to highlight one of them today: Andy Yates.

You may be familiar with Andy’s incredibly popular Comics Illustrator of the Week Series (here’s the latest installment). We are so grateful that he helps us round out our content with comic art while giving much deserved attention to the artists involved.

Andy is a freelance illustrator, and animator. In 2013, he received his BS in Media Arts & Animation from the Art Institute of California – Orange County, and has worked creating 2d assets for the casual games industry, as well as working on various independent animation/illustration projects.

He spends his free-time consuming a plethora of good, and bad(but, oh so good..) TV, comics, movies, Cheez-its, Skittles, beer, and the occasional couch pretzel, after removing any hair of course. He writes about comics, and interviews the artists behind them on his website comicstavern.com. You can learn more about Andy, and see his art on his tumblr: plumdill.tumblr.com.

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7. Bottoms Up to Daniel Radcliffe!

This week has been an important one for Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe.  Within days of his invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Radcliffe has signed on to a new film project and received another unique honor.

Swiss Army Man, also set to star Paul Dano and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, will be directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, work on the surrealist film will begin in July.

The film centers around a hopeless man stranded in the wilderness who befriends a dead body with which he begins a journey to get home.

The directors’ past work includes music videos and short films.

In addition, Daniel Radcliffe has won the male Rear of the Year Award for 2015.  International Business Times reports that the voting is done entirely online through Rear of the Year Ltd, with over 10,000 votes for the best backside registered this year.

Past male winners have covered a vast spectrum of people including Michael Barrymore, dancer Vincent Simone, John Barrowman, Ricky Whittle and Graham Norton.

Fifty Shades of Grey star, Jamie Dornan, ranked second this year, while Eddie Redmayne ranked fifth.

See here to read more about Swiss Army Man, and here for more on this year’s Rear of the Year Award winners.

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8. Review: Alan Rickman’s “A Little Chaos”

Alan Rickman has had a prolific career thus far, so it should come as no surprise that his new film “A Little Chaos” highlights him as a Renaissance man of sorts. Rickman directed, co-wrote, and performed the role of King Louis XIV in the film. While the review on ithacajournal.com questions some of Rickman’s artistic choices in the screenwriting of the film, it praises his directorial effort and his portrayal of the Sun King:

“A Little Chaos” is clearly a labor of love for Alan Rickman, Winslet’s “Sense and Sensibility” co-star, who not only directed it and co-wrote the script but has a featured role as Louis XIV. He gets passing marks for two of those three tasks. While he’s frankly wonderful as the king — he channels just the right combination of majesty and humanity — and his direction is perfectly serviceable, the screenplay has some disappointing forays into melodrama that the film would have been far better without.

The film has experienced limited theatrical release, but it will be available on DVD on August 4th.

You can read the rest of the review, which awards the film 3/5 stars, here.

 

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9. 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.

2 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 7/1/15: Eight links you should click on and one you shouldn’t, last added: 7/2/2015
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10. Build a Freelance Illustration Business with This 3-Day Workshop

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Are you a designer, illustrator or creative doodler? Have you ever wondered how you could turn your talents into a business? This three-day workshop will help you create a plan for leveraging your creativity into a successful freelance business.

Run by Sally S. Swindell and Nate Padavick (illustrators and co-founders of They Draw and Cook) this course will give you an inside look at how two artists have built a successful design & illustration studio by fostering a community of artists that empower each other to grow their businesses.

Join Salli and Nate for (3) hour-long sessions to learn how you can leverage community & online content to build a successful freelance business around your creative skills.

Click here for more info >>

 

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11. Remembering Albus Dumbledore

Today we honor the death of one of the greatest literary characters ever created. Though Albus Dumbledore may have never breathed in real life, he was always alive in our hearts. His great wisdom reminded us that “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” For “it is the unknown that we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more,” and we “should not pity the dead; [we should] pity the living, and above all, those who live without love;” especially when “[failing] to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been [our] greatest weakness.” Dumbledore taught us how to have the courage to be ourselves, and not pretend to be anybody else: “it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” Dumbledore talked of love and acceptance; of others as well as ourselves because “differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” We must not forget the power of goodness, forgiveness and love, even in hard times: for even when “dark times lie ahead of us…there will be [times] when we must choose between what is right and what is easy.” We must not get caught up in flights of fancy; we must not dwell on what we want, or do not have, but be grateful for what we do have, because “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Please join us in honoring the bravery, wisdom, and love Dumbldore taught us throughout the Harry Potter series. For even though he lived in our hearts and our imaginations because “of course it is [all] happening inside [our] heads, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

THURSDAY, JULY 9th

 

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

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

FRIDAY, JULY 10th

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

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

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

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

SATURDAY, JULY 11th

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

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

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

SUNDAY, JULY 12th

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

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13. Alan Rickman talks his career, new movie in New Interviews

A Little Chaos was released limitedly in the U.S. yesterday. In two new interviews, Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) talks about his new film, his career, and what he is up to next. In the recent interview with Buzz Feed, Rickman talked of “strong brilliant women” (specifically Kate Winslet and J.K. Rowling) and revealed how little he knew of what was going on in the world of Potter today: Fantastist Beasts, what’s that? BuzzFeed reports:

“You directed and acted in the film. What were some of the obstacles you faced juggling both jobs?

I wasn’t acting in it too much. So that was the first clever decision I made. I’m not in it too much, so I don’t need to worry about it overly. I think when you’re making a film, especially when a lot of it is outdoors and you’re in England, you’re staring at the sky a lot. And then you’re staring at your watch a lot. And then there are a lot of other people looking in their wallets a lot. So it’s the usual thing. They are the obstacles, and they’re the ones you need to jump over all the time.
Was there a time in your career when you had a major setback? What pushed you through?
You could ask any actor about their early days, and I think you know — if you decide you’re going to do it, and then you train and you’ve committed — you know there are going to be long periods out of work. And I wasn’t different than anybody else. I know there are some lucky young actors now, they get made a star in a minute, and you worry a little for the moment when that gets snatched away. It’s a different world now. I don’t remember it now, but I’m sure the difficult moments made me stronger, or at least that’s what I’ve trained myself to think.

How has your relationship with Kate Winslet changed, and grown, since you filmed Sense and Sensibility together 20 years ago?

She’s still the same great human being, but there’s a lot of life history with her now, and three children. She was 19 — you can write the story really: There’s a 19-year-old girl and here’s a 40-year-old woman with three children and all sorts of dear-diary entries. I am the beneficiary of having a thinking, feeling, strong-minded, brilliant woman on the set. All of those things were true then, but she was 19 years old.

We are very excited about J.K. Rowling’s new movieThe Fantastic Beasts–

See, I didn’t even know what it was called!

What do you think she’ll bring to the table as a screenwriter?

Is she going to write the screenplay? I didn’t know that. Talk about smart, strong-minded, brilliant women — there’s another one, and she’ll make damn sure it’s worth waiting for.”

To read more, and about which wig Alan Rickman preferred (Louis XVI or Snape’s?) click here.
In an interview with Oregon Live, Rickman discussed how he chooses the projects he will take on as an actor/director…or rather, how the projects choose him (similar to the experience of buying his wand at Mr. Ollivander’s). Rickman discussed his different experiences of working in CGI movies and classic theater, as well as what he is working on next. Oregon Live reports:
“How did you get involved in a movie about the construction of a garden at Versailles?

How indeed? I should probably need to be arrested for saying yes to a project like that were it not for the fact that at its heart it’s a love story and a subtle one and a slow-burning one that needed the right context for it to live properly. That’s what I recognized on the page. Then it became kind of a compulsion to do it, really, because less and less time is being taken onscreen with relationship films. It takes a lot these days to get into bed together.

Did you always want to direct it?

I think as time went on, yes. I spent a lot of time working with the writer, Alison Deegan, but I was directing in the theater during that period. I wasn’t free to direct a movie until I finished with Harry Potter responsibilities. I had spent a lot of time with her just kind of being a structural engineer with the script, and then as time went on it slipped into a kind of inevitability.

What about the casting? Did you always know who you wanted to play King Louis XIV?

Certainly not me! (Laughs) As time goes by and you get close to being able to shoot it and Kate is free and her schedule is open … the budget would be helped immeasurably if you have a Louis that you didn’t have to pay (laughs).

Is it a weird feeling to watch yourself onscreen, especially as a director?

It’s awful. I haven’t got any alternative, though. I was saying to somebody else recently that vanity goes out the window very quickly because you have what you have and it’s “Unflattering lighting? Hard luck.” You’ve just got to use it. Working with an editor is the most crucial relationship and you’ve got to become objective about yourself. You sort of become another person.

After so much time working on the Harry Potter movies, were you looking to do something different?

I did do lots of different things the whole time. For example, while I was shooting Harry Potter I was also appearing in “Private Lives” in London on the West End and on Broadway, and I was making things like “Sweeney Todd” and “Love Actually” and “Snow Cake” and other movies. I was directing in the theater as well, Strindberg and a modern play about Israel and Palestine.

In a way, they choose you, projects. I don’t know that I was looking to do something set in the French 17th century but it happened.

What are you working on now?

Well, I’ve done my contribution to the latest Alice in Wonderland film. And now for something completely different, I am the caterpillar again (laughs). I’ve got a film called “Eye in the Sky” which is a film about the moral responsibilities governments face regarding the use of drones.

You know, Shakespeare is forever and CGI is very recent. What are the challenges of working in special effects movies like Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland for an actor?

When you’re on set, usually you’ve got some lines or something to say and you’re saying it to someone and it’s being photographed, and your job is to make it believable, to have a real conversation with somebody, whatever the agenda is. Usually the CGI is all going on behind you and it’s green and has orange crosses on it. You’re not looking at it. You’re looking at about 100 people with clipboards and behind cameras and holding meters and lights. In a way, that captive audience is like being in the theater. However sophisticated it gets, you don’t know what it’s going to look like. What you’re looking at doesn’t change. It’s still a film set of people which is a bit like an audience so really what’s happening inside your head is the same.”

Rickman goes on to discuss being recognized in public (or not!) after being in the Harry Potter spotlight, as well as looking back on all that he has done in his career. The rest of the article can be read here.

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14. Happy Birthday Matt Lewis and Dobby!

Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) celebrates his 26th birthday today! Yes, it is today. According to Twitter, Matt said he had been getting many great birthday wishes from the Harry Potter clan and “Emma Watson and Co.” With this remark, J.k. Rowling rushed to giver her wishes…all to which Matt said thank you, but they were all a day to early. Please join us in wishing Matt a happy birthday, on his actual birthday :).

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The Harry Potter universe also honors Dobby, our favorite brave and loyal house elf today. It too is Dobby’s birthday. We are not quite sure how old Dobby would be, but we take this time to remember him and the many times he tried to save Harry (bludgers, brick walls…and of course a rescue from Bellatrix). Pottermore is asking for fans’ favorite Dobby Quotes in celebration of this wonderful house elf. Please join us in wishing Dobby a Happy Birthday.

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15. Leaky Cauldron Restaurant Needs Your Vote

The Leaky Cauldron at Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley needs your vote to be ranked Best Amusement Park Restaurant.  USA Today has nominated 20 restaurants from theme parks across the United States and is asking readers to select their favorite to create a ranked list.  As of this morning, the Leaky Cauldron is ranked #2.

Harry Potter fans will love tasty British fare, such as fish and chips, cottage pie and bangers and mash at this pub located in Diagon Alley. The Leaky Cauldron was carefully-crafted to ensure authenticity after years of studying Harry Potter books and movies as well as typical British pubs. Of course, Butterbeer — the popular wizarding beverage — is available for purchase.

Several of our Leaky Cauldron staff have good things to say about the restaurant.  Emma Pocock says, “The Leaky Cauldron has a great atmosphere, and really adds to the ‘English village’ vibe they’ve got going in this section of the park – the food is great, too! It really feels like you’re walking into the real thing, but the weather’s probably hotter.”

Alysha McLeod writes, “Stepping into The Leaky Cauldron is like being whisked into Harry’s world by a portkey. The atmosphere is incredible, and the food is wonderful. It’s a nice change of pace from most theme park food–everything is so comforting and homemade-tasting. The Yorkshire pudding and minted peas were a particular highlight for me.

Finally, Catherine writes, “When eating at the Leaky Cauldron, I found myself expecting to see Harry, Ron and Hermione, sitting at a table in the corner, huddled away with their glasses of Butterbeer. The extraordinary attention to detail makes one feel as if they have actually stepped into the world of Harry Potter; with every glance around the room I found something new. The family atmosphere, excellent witches and wizard on the wait staff, and good English food made the Leaky Cauldron exactly how I imagined it would be. One of the best parts of my visit to Diagon Alley was enjoying a Butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron (and hugging the cracked Cauldron, of course). On my last night in Diagon Alley, as the park was closing, I specifically bought a Butterbeer from the near-empty Leaky Cauldron restaurant, and sat on the window sill, watching muggles and magical folk trickle back though the brick wall, while the music and the lights remained alive. It was a truly magical experience, and The Leaky Cauldron deserve to be voted America’s #1 Theme Park Restaurant.”

Each person can vote once daily until July 7 to support the Leaky Cauldron restaurant.  Thanks Robert Martinez Jr. and Marianella Zapata Noriega for letting us know that our shared namesake has made this list!

See here to cast your vote.

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16. #LoveWins!

In a landmark opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, handing gay rights advocates their biggest victory yet. Today is a good day.

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17. Emma Watson to star alongside Tom Hanks in ‘The Circle’

Emma Watson is to take a leading role alongside Tom hanks in a film adaptation of Dave Egger’s book The Circle. The satirical New York Times bestselling novel, about the removal of personal privacy at the hands of a large tech corporation,was Egger’s first fictional work. Time reports:

‘The novel follows a young woman named Mae (Watson) who lands a job at a massive tech company called The Circle (think: the power of Google, the influence of Facebook and the machinations of Hooli). It takes a dark turn when Mae meets a mysterious older man (Hanks) and begins to reckon with the deterioration of privacy in a world full of surveillance technology and linked with social media networks.’

According to Variety, director James Ponsoldt said of Watson:

“Emma Watson is one of my favorite actors, and her incredible talent, sensitivity and deep intelligence will bring an electric energy to The Circle…

Tom Hanks will also be producing the film alongside Gary Goetzman, and will start shooting in September.

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18. J.K. Rowling confirms ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

An exciting announcement has been made by J.K. Rowling via Twitter, confirming the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,  a play set to open in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre next year. This announcement was made on the 18th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.

The tweets confirm that the play will not be a prequel, and will be ‘a real treat for fans’ as a new story that was made exclusively for the stage. The writer, Jack Thorne, and director, John Tiffany (Tony award writer of Once) and J.K. Rowling herself will collaborate to produce the play, the content of which the Daily Mail previously reported on:

‘The Cursed Child delves into what happened to Harry’s parents — Lily Evans Potter and James Potter — before they were killed by Lord Voldemort, forcing an infant Harry to be raised in miserable circumstances by his mother’s sister, Petunia, her horrid husband Vernon and their spoiled son Dudley.’

J.K. Rowling’s official Facebook page reported:

‘Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, tickets for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ will go on public sale this autumn, details of which will be announced summer 2015 and will be shared on the official website, in late July.’

To keep updated on ticket information, you can subscribe to an emailing list on the play’s official website, www.harrypottertheplaylondon.com.

More news to come! See Rowling’s tweets below:

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19. Evanna Lynch talks about Success and Rejection in Show Business

Evanna Lynch was one of us, a normal Harry Potter fan, when she landed her first role in the world of acting for the big screen. However, she had wanted to be an actress for a while, and went to many auditions. She talked to Jarlath Regan on his podcast (Free to download on iTunes), “An Irishman Abroad,” about facing rejection after a bad audition, and her mom’s advice–“go back to college, maybe it’s not for you.” Goss reported on the podcast episode, quoting Evanna:

‘The Harry Potter actress admitted that rejection never gets easier and her mum would often suggest she “go back to college” when she rang her after a bad audition.

“I do often have auditions where I’m like ‘ugh, what happened there? That was terrible.’ I used to always just call my mum from here, ‘what am I doing? How do I get through this?’” she said.

“It used to always be, ‘ah sure maybe go back to college, maybe it’s not for you,’ and it’s like, that’s not what you want to hear.”

While the Louth native knows her mum has her best interests at heart, she admitted it changed their relationship.

“It changes your relationship. My mum used to always be the person I would go to. Rejection doesn’t get easier,” she told An Irishman Abroad podcast.

“When you get that no, that’s the most cutting thing and you just want to go home and curl into a ball and be told ‘it’s ok’.

“I realised I wasn’t hearing what I wanted to hear. I would be inclined to believe what my parents said about me because they know me best and they have my best interests at heart.”

“But you don’t get any better by quitting. I love it, it’s what I want to do, I wont get any better if I quit and agree with my parents and take the safe option,” she said.’

Evanna’s new movie, Dynamite: A Cautionary Tale, will be released in the U.S. as Dynamite: A 60’s Love Story. In a new press release, it was announced that the independent film had been sold to Breaking Glass Pictures. The Wrap reports:

‘Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the indie drama “Dynamite: A 60’s Love Story,” which stars Ian Harding(“”Pretty Little Liars”) as a heroin addict working in the illegal porn industry. Breaking Glass announced it is planning a theatrical release for Oct. 2015.

Tate Steinsiek made his feature directorial debut with “Dynamite,” which also stars Evanna Lynch (the “Harry Potter” franchise) as Bornstein’s wife, Carol Kane (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Brendan Sexton III (“The Killing”) and Chaske Spencer (“Twilight”).

Set in New York City in 1968, the story follows Bornstein, a part-time father and full-time dope fiend working within the underground, illegal porn industry. Even in the wake of a federal investigation, Max’s bigger concern was his family.’

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20. Hogwarts Houses Correspond To Real Psychological Personality Traits, New Study Finds

A new study has determined that there is a correlation between a person’s personality traits and the house in which they are sorted on Pottermore. Bustle.com reports:

In the study, which is due to be published in the journal Personality and Individual Difference, researchers looked at the sorting quiz on the official Harry Potter site Pottermore and gauged personality measures among fans who had undergone sorting. Specifically, the researchers were looking for what are referred to as the “Big Five” personality traits — extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness — as well as the need to belong, the need for cognition, and the so-called Dark Triad traits. That’s a real psychological term, by the way; the Dark Triad consists of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

There has been some speculation amongst fans that Pottermore’s test–which functions as a virtual sorting hat–is rigged to equally distribute members throughout the four houses. The idea is that this will make competition for the house cup more fair; however, this study helps to disprove that notion by shedding light–or perhaps casting a Lumos charm?– on just how accurate Pottermore’s algorithm seems to be.

You can read the full article about the study here.

 

 

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21. Win the Chance to Meet Jason Isaacs and Bonnie Wright at ‘Supanova’ in Perth

Over 18, live in Western Australia, and free on 27th June?

Enter Brisbane Times’ competition to win tickets to Supanova – a VIP event in a secret location in Perth, Australia. Members of the Harry Potter cast such as Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) will be there, along side many others, as Brisbane Times reports:

‘Reminisce with Brady Bunch stars Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland, flex your Futurama knowledge with Billy West and John DiMaggio or have a pint of butterbeer with Harry Potter’s Jason Isaacs… or any other star you can find.’

The full list of stars attending is here and features many exciting names, such as Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr Horrible, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the people behind Mad Max: Fury Road and so many others! Brisbane Times’ detailing of the competition are as follows:

‘If you could ask any of the Supanova guest stars (the full list is here) any question you like, what would it be?

Email your answer, along with your name, age, address and contact number to competitions@watoday.com.au. Please include the word PARTY in the subject line.

Competition closes at 4pm Thursday 25 June 2015 and terms and conditions apply.’

Definitely worth a try if you meet the entry requirements!

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22. J.K Rowling reveals new content on the Dursleys via Pottermore

J.K. Rowling has taken to Pottermore to release new content about the Dursleys in celebration of Dudley’s 35th birthday today. This was in line with the reveal of new content in Deathly Hallows chapters on the interactive reading website. Time reports:

‘Rowling gave insight into the backstory of Vernon and Petunia, including the origin of their names, both first and last, and their relationship to Harry’s parents James and Lily.’

Time also includes information on how to get to the new content:

‘In order to access the latest information on Pottermore, fans must first head to the Cupboard Under the Stairs, where the Dursleys kept Harry at number four, Privet Drive. As alohamora won’t work to unlock the new text, fans might want to look at the side table outside the cupboard first.’

Rowling comments on Petunia’s parting words to Harry:

‘Although some readers wanted more from Aunt Petunia during this farewell, I still think that I have her behave in a way that is most consistent with her thoughts and feelings throughout the previous seven books … Nobody ever seemed to expect any better from Uncle Vernon, so they were not disappointed.’

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These are very exciting additions to Pottermore, which still continues to expand. If you don’t fancy the hunt, read in more detail about the additions in SnitchSeeker’s article here.

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23. Titan to release new five-part Assassin’s Creed comic series

ASSASSIN’S CREED logoTitan Comics announced today that they’ve acquired the license to publish a new series of comics based on the popular video game series Assassin’s Creed. No release date has been given for the upcoming five-part story arc, which will be illustrated by Neil Edwards of Titan’s much anticipated Four Doctor’s crossover. From Titan:

Assassin’s Creed is one of the most popular franchises in the video game industry, with more than 93 million units sold since its inception in 2007. Over time, Assassin’s Creed has broadened its reach into numerous media beyond games, enriching the Assassin’s Creed lore for the joy of many fans.

Titan comics will soon expand the realm of Assassin’s Creed visual storytelling with the creation of a brand new comic series.

“We’re so excited to be working with Ubisoft on this fantastic new adventure, said Lizzie Kaye, editor, Titan Comics. “Assassin’s Creed is one of the most notoriously beautiful games on the market, and the team at Ubisoft have created a world that is perfect for us to explore, expand and inhabit with a raft of new characters in new settings. We’re really hoping to surprise readers with the direction for this new series.”

The first 5-part arc will be illustrated by the artist of Doctor Who: Four Doctors – Neil Edwards!

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24. Uglies in Time Magazine

Time Magazine has a cover story about ubiquitous plastic surgery this week, and I am quoted in my capacity as Author of Uglies and Fake Expert on Body Image Stuff.

Behold:

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25. 8th Harry Potter Funko Pop! Figure Unveiled + Contest

It appears that there is a new Quidditch Harry Potter Funko Pop! figure on the horizon. This new figurine is the eighth edition of Funko Pop! figures in the Harry Potter series. It is also a Hot Topic exclusive and cannot be purchased elsewhere (pictured below). Warner Bros.’  Harry Potter Wishlist has a contest you can enter to win all of the figures before they are even available for purchase:

‘The first wave of the Harry Potter POP! release features fan-favorite characters including Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Lord Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and Severus Snape. The Harry Potter figures will hit retail in mid-to-late July, but your friends at Harry Potter Wish List are giving fans the opportunity to win the complete Harry Potter POP! Vinyl Figures collection now, before you can buy them.’

This contest collection will include the Hot Topic exclusive Quidditch Harry Potter figurine. You can enter the contest here. All figurines in the Harry Potter Funko Pop! series will be available to purchase later this summer, July 31, in honor of Harry and Jo’s birthday!

Thanks to our friends over at SnitchSeeker for posting about this!

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