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By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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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.
§ 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.
• 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.
• 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.”
• 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.
The Homies are coming back to the comics! This hugely popular line of small collectible figures depicting various Latino characters started as a an underground comic strip by David Gonzales before morphing into a huge line of merchandise. Now Dynamite has signed a deal for all kinds of Homies publishing, including a “HISTORY OF THE HOMIES” comprehensive retrospective hardcover art book, with information on all of the toys ever released. They also have the license for original comics and graphic novels in all sizes, as well as reprints of existing comic material.
As you may know, Dynamite typically does not set up at Comic-Con—instead they run a series of announcements before the show, and this is just the first one. Look for more Dynamite news in the next few days.
The HOMIES first began as an underground comic strip created by artist David Gonzales that ran in Lowrider Magazine in 1978 and was based on his friends and lifestyle. The merchandising of HOMIES began in 1994 when trend savvy retailer Hot Topic offered the shirts for sale, which soon became hot tees in their stores. Following on the heels of a successful T-shirt run, HOMIES was licensed for figurines in the vending machine toy industry, where all sales records were broken, with over 150 million figurines sold worldwide. The licensing program soon spread to products such as action figures, remote and die-cast cars, notebooks, posters, plush, Halloween masks, video games, music and more, and were carried by specialty and mass retailers, such as Walmart, K-mart, Kay-bee Toys, Spencer Gifts, Walgreens and many others. Today the HOMIES are enjoying a comeback with new T-shirts, toys and more in the works.
“The Homies started as an underground comic strip back in the 70’s, and it has always been my dream to have them published in a comic book of their own. I have also, always wanted to create a Homies History book of sort, to establish the legacy of HOMIES, and to share the stormy and controversial and wild ride they have taken me on, “ says David Gonzales. “I am very pleased that Dynamite has recognized something special in my creation, and will champion me and my Homies in this quest.”
“I remember the toys, and how nuts people were in collecting them, back in the 90’s” says Dynamite Director of Business Development Rich Young. “They were a phenomenon, and all the different characters they created were super cool. I’m very happy that Dynamite is able to be the first publisher associated with the HOMIES and helping bring them to the printed page!”
“We’re not only excited to bring ‘HOMIES’ to the comics and book market, but we also get to kick this off at San Diego Comic Con! For fans who come to our panel Thursday, we’re going to give away a collectible “HOMIE” to each and every fan. The panel is in room 6DE on Thursday, from 5:45 to 6:45, and we can’t wait to talk more about ‘HOMIES’ and our additional Dynamite projects!” states Dynamite CEO Nick Barrucci
As for the characters themselves, the HOMIES got started
as a group of tightly knit Chicano buddies, Hollywood, Smiley, Pelon, andBobby Loco, who grew up in the Mexican American barrio (neighborhood) of “Quien Sabe” (“who knows”), located in East Los Angeles. Over time, the Homies have expanded their crew to over 300 characters from all different cultures, genres and even species. The wide-ranging personalities and characteristics, together, make up a single, composite entity that is the “HOMIES.” In an inner-city world plagued by poverty and oppression, the Homies have formed a strong and binding cultural support system that enables them to overcome the surrounding negativity and allows for laughter and good times as an anecdote for reality. The word “Homies” itself is a popular street term that refers to someone from your hometown or, in a broader sense, anyone that you would acknowledge as your friend. In use in the West Coast Latino community for decades, the word “Homies” has crossed over into the now mainstream Hip-Hop street culture that has taken America’s young people by storm.
“The Homies were a part of my childhood and I couldn’t be more excited to see them offered for a new generation of fans,” says Surge Licensing’s Elan Freedman. “But even more so, there is nothing more exciting than being able to progress the evolution of the brand by offering a brand new experience to all fans, existing and new, through a publishing program.”
With C2E2 coming up it looks like another week of Dynamite news. Starting out…a monthly Bob’s Burger comic with creators from the animated series involved, including creator Loren Bouchard. The first Bob’s Burgers mini series was a surprise hit for Dynamite with multiple printings, a best selling collection and one of the top ordered FCBD comics. The series launches in July. The PR didn’t mention the artists on these variant covers, but as with most variants, they look nice.
Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the upcoming July release of Bob’s Burgers #1, the first issue in an ongoing series that presents all-new adventures and antics of the Belcher Family, the beloved cast of the popular FOX animated comedy series. Building upon the success of their five-issue 2014 miniseries, Dynamite and partner Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products welcome a creative team assembled from the actual television show producers and animators to deliver the engaging Belcher Family fun that millions of fans adore.
“Bringing Bob’s Burgers to the comic book medium is a lot of fun, because it allows us to tell stories that we wouldn’t normally do on the TV show and it allows our artists to illustrate them in equally unique styles,” says Mike Olsen, one of the contributing writers for theBob’s Burgers comic book series.
Loren Bouchard, the creator of Bob’s Burgers, says, “We want the comic to appeal to fans of the show, and to that end, we strive to protect the tone, the heart, and most importantly, the characters, just as fiercely as we do when we’re working on the TV show. If you enjoy the show and you don’t enjoy the comic book, then we owe you a comic book, or at least an apology.”
“We’re very fortunate that Loren (Bouchard) and his creative team of writers and artists are able to take the time to create some of the best comics in the industry today. We wanted to wait to launch the ongoing series till Loren and his team were able to create enough material to do so, instead of continuing series of mini-series. Bob’s Burgers has been successful thanks to the execution of Loren and his creative team. When you think about it, Bob’s Burgers is the only comic in the industry that has the entire team of writers and artists work on the comic. It truly is canon and no other comic in the industry has the entire creative team working on the series.” States Dynamite CEO/Publisher Nick Barrucci.
The second-ever series of the Bob’s Burgers comic book gives each member of the Belcher Family a chance to shine. Each monthly issue will include new installments of Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction, Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities, Gene’s Rhymey Rhymes That Could Someday Be Songs, Linda’s Attempts to Take a Nice Family Picture in Front of the Restaurant (And How It Always Goes Wrong), and Bob’s Fantasy Food Trucks (If Money Were No Object).
What is Dynamite’s announcement for today? A Red Sonja one shot reuniting talents from her run since her 1973 debut, including Roy Thomas, Gail Simone, Luke Lieberman, and Eric Trautmann, along with writer Cullen Bunn and artists Dave Acosta and Rich Buckler. Because when it’s a character’s 42nd birthday, it’s time to celebrate with classic brokeback.
Here’s a startling fact: Although most often associated with the Conan the Barbarian oeuvre, Red Sonja, as “The She-Devil with a Sword” was actually created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith in an issue of Conan. The character was based on a short story by Conan creator Robert E. Howard called “The Shadow of the Vulture” that featured a character called red Sonya of Rogatine. It was Thomas who figured out how to add her to the Conan mythos.
“It’s been very gratifying to me to witness the popularity of Red Sonja over the past four decades,” Thomas recalled. “It was a lucky day when I read a fan-article about Robert E. Howard that mentioned a story in which one of his historical heroes fought alongside a “Russian hell-cat” or whatever precisely the phrase was (her name wasn’t mentioned in the article), so that I obtained a copy of the long out-of-print story from the estate’s literary agent, Glenn Lord, and read it: ‘The Shadow of the Vulture.’ Red Sonya of Rogatine clearly had possibilities as a sometime companion/opponent for Conan in Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian comic, so I changed her name to the (to me) slightly more exotic Red Sonja, thereby making her a somewhat new character and adapted ‘Shadow’ as an issue of Conan. From that time on, she had a life of her own. Barry Windsor-Smith was inspired to do great things with her in the two Conan issues we did together in which she co-starred. Esteban Maroto, over in Spain, couldn’t resist giving her a different look, which came to be called ‘the iron bikini’ after I decided that should be what she wore from then on. John Buscema and Howard Chaykin did a handful of nice stories with her. Frank Thorne came aboard to virtually make her his own. And that was just in the 1970s! I suspect Red Sonja will be around for a long, long time!”
The Red Sonja #1973 one shot goes on sale in July.
Grumpy Cat, the professional name of the mixed breed cat Tardar Sauce, is getting her own comic book! Considering that she draws the biggest lines at any event she shows up at and has 31 million YoutTube vies, I’d say…it’s about time. The comic will co-star her real life brother Pokey, and if you get a little Garfield Odie vibe, well…it’s Grumpy’s time.
The comic will debut as a three-issue mini series this fall.
Dynamite is proud to announce a collaborative licensing partnership with Grumpy Cat Limited to develop print and digital comic books and graphic novels featuring “The World’s Grumpiest Cat” and her brother, Pokey. Grumpy Cat will debut the first of her all-new misadventures in a three-issue miniseries, released in Fall 2015, and collected into a hardcover graphic novel in time for the holiday season. Dynamite also plans to launch a website this summer where new Grumpy Cat comic strips will go up online every week.
“With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. I can tell you, we’re thrilled, just absolutely thrilled, to bring this adorable curmudgeon’s misadventures to the comic world!” says Keith Davidsen, Marketing Manager of Dynamite Entertainment. “One of the most important responsibilities for today’s comic publishers is creating content that will attract fresh new audiences to experience the wonders of the medium, and Grumpy Cat is the perfect combination of unbearable cuteness, instant fan appeal, and established multimedia presence to make just such a thing happen. If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistable scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey in Dynamite’s all-new, all-sensational Grumpy Cat comics!”
Grumpy Cat’s global following includes 7.6 million Facebook fans and over 31 million YouTube views. Since her photos first went viral in 2012, Grumpy Cat has gone from Internet star to real-life celebrity. She has two New York Time Best Selling Books, her own Lifetime movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (voiced by actress Aubrey Plaza), has made numerous appearances including the MTV Movie Awards, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Today Show, SXSW, Good Morning America, and even hosted WWE Monday Night Raw. Grumpy Cat is Friskies official “Spokescat”, has filmed videos with Disney and Sesame Street, and appears in commercials for McDonald’s and Honey Nut Cheerios. Licensed Grumpy Cat merchandise is currently available at retailers worldwide.
Dynamite Entertainment’s Grumpy Cat comic books and graphic novels will be available to consumers through the comic book specialty market, and its graphic novels will be available at major bookstore chains, online booksellers, and independent bookstores courtesy of Diamond Book Distributors. Grumpy Cat comics will also be available for purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital. Fans and retailers are encouraged to follow Dynamite Entertainment and Grumpy Cat’s official social media channel for the latest updates regarding creative teams and release dates.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Comic Blitz Founder Jordan Plosky on the floor of HeroesCon 2015
by Harper W. Harris
On Saturday, I got the chance to speak with Jordan Plosky, founder of Comic Blitz, a new comic app that operates much like Marvel Unlimited, only not just limited to Marvel. Although the company has only Valiant and Dynamite on board at this stage, they have plans to announce many more publishers’ comics being available via the app soon. Interested comics fans can go to ComicBlitz.com now to join the beta while it’s open. Here’s what Jordan had to say on the floor of HeroesCon.
HH: First I’ll let you take the lead and tell us what Comic Blitz is, how it got started, and what it’s all about.
JP: Sure. The easiest way to describe Comic Blitz is thinking about Netflix for digital comic books. So, as a customer you’d be paying one low monthly fee for access to all the comics we have on our platform. At launch, which is in the very near future, we’re going to have thousands of comics on board, you will literally have unlimited reading, there’s no way you could breeze through everything we have in one month. You’ll have unlimited reading for a very, very long time.
HH: So how does Comic Blitz plan to really differentiate themselves from other digital comics distributors?
JP: It’s great that digital has been the opposite of what everyone thought it was going to be, right? It was going to be the downfall of the industry, but it’s not, it’s been the greatest proponent for print since newsstands. Digital is the new newsstand. So what differentiates us from the other platforms out there today is the value proposition. So for $10 a month, for the price of one graphic novel you not only have access to an entire comic book shop, but you can read everything. You don’t have to choose with your wallet if you want to buy the latest Hawkeye book or read a Hawkeye book from the 70’s or something like that. When you’ve already paid your entrance fee, you have access to whatever we have. So the wallet doesn’t do the choosing; you just get to read and read and read as much as you’d like. You finish one issue? You can just tap a button that says read next issue and go straight from one to the next, you don’t have to go back to a menu, you don’t have to close open, open close, it’s just a seamless transition from issue to issue.
HH: So you guys are really trying to kind of implement binge reading into comics instead of having to de-bag and board or search through a box of single issues.
JP: Yeah, we think so. We’re not saying, “Don’t go out and buy the physical copies, don’t go out and collect.” We’re collectors, we do the same thing. But the convenience for just reading something, we find that digital is the most convenient way to do it. So you can have the issue ready and you don’t have to go dig it out of your longbox or something, risk bending or creasing it, you can read it digitally and know that your copy is tucked away safe in the box that you put it in and you never have to touch it again.
HH: That’s really cool–I hadn’t thought about it as being a supplement to your physical collection.
JP: This is like your new reader’s copy in a way. You get your collectable and then you have your copy you can read on your tablet.
HH: Tell us about what publishers and creators you’ve gotten involved so far and who’s on deck to be added to the app in the future.
JP: Right now as part of the beta test we have a selection of comics from Valiant Comics and Dynamite Comics. That’s kind of all we’re revealing at the moment is those two publishers, but it’s safe to say that we have much more content than the 18 titles we have in the beta test, from both of those, and as I’ve said, we’re going to have thousands of comics from several top ten publisher and several other reputable publishers. There’s going to be a lot of stuff that people might have seen in comic shops but maybe have already spent their weekly or monthly allowance on comics already before they can get to that other issue. You know, “Oh, I heard about that” or “that looks cool, but I already spent my $4 over here,” so people who are very aware of everything else that’s going on in comics that might have passed them by, this is a great way to catch up on all of that.
HH: I’ve heard myself say those exact words, missing something and then never really going back to read it, so I totally get that! So as far as Valiant and Dynamite go, will you guys have their entire back catalog as well as new issues, and how will that work?
JP: So there are different deals in place with every publisher that we have; some publishers we get their content one month after its released in print and other digital formats. Some publishers its three months, some wait until the trade comes out and we’re a month after that, so that way they get to sell their single issues and the trade and make the money their going to make, and then it comes on here and extends the life of that comic even more. Something that people might not realize if they’re not way deep into the comic industry is that there are no residuals, there are no syndication rights the way that movies and TV have. So if a movie comes out in a movie theater, does gangbusters there, then comes to Netflix and VOD, then its on cable and in syndication forever, they constantly make money on that. A lot of creators don’t see that kind of money, if they’re not making a comic every single month, if their trade doesn’t do well, they’re not making the kind of money that other forms of media are making. So something like this, if we are successful it means success for the entire industry because the publishers make the majority of the money that comes into this, and then if the publisher is making more money, they get to put more money into books, pay creators more, get more royalties to creators. It’s win-win for fans, publishers, and creators, for everybody.
HH: So you mentioned you guys are in beta right now. How can people get involved with the beta, and what does that give them access to at this point?
JP: If you go to ComicBlitz.com, there’s a link right there to sign up for the beta test and we’ll send you a link for the beta. It will be closed after a certain amount of people sign up, I’m not sure how many spaces will be left by the time your readers see this, so sign up as soon as possible if you’re interested in doing the beta test. What you’re going to find is sort of a bare bones product, in the tech world it’s called an MVP (minimal viable product) just to see like, these are people that are interested in this, they can give us some feedback as to what they might want to see in a digital comic reader before we start building things that nobody wants and we get their feedback on the the things that we’ve already implemented as well. So you get to read the comics for free, there’s no commitment to buy it after we go live, but obviously we’re hoping you’re going to like it enough to sign up for a subscription and keep reading digital comics with us.
HH: This sounds really cool…I’ve gotten a chance to check out the beta here at HeroesCon and it looks very nice. Do you have an official launch date for the app at this point?
JP: Yes, we’re setting up at Boston Comic Con, so that’s July 31-Aug 2nd, we’re going to have a booth there and that will be our official launch, so about six weeks from now.
HH: I’ll be really excited to see what you have coming up next and to see how the app continues to grow!
JP: We’re excited to unveil it, excited to be able to let people know that we’ll have more than the 18 titles available in the beta. Hopefully people will be surprised and excited for what we have to offer them when we do launch. Thanks!
Warren Ellis is having a crack at reimagining the Project Superpowers universe, and Blackcross #1 hits in March. We’ve had an advance peek and it’s not what might be expected, with a strong horror bent. Here’s some brand new pages of Colton Worley’s art to give you a taste, as well as variant covers by Jae Lee, Gabriel Hardman, Declan Shalvey and Tula Lotay.
All small towns have secrets. All small towns have ghosts. Blackcross, in the Pacific North West of America, has more secrets than most. And it is being haunted by something impossible. BLACKCROSS, a supernatural extension of the PROJECT SUPERPOWERS mythos, is a ghost story about something reaching out from the other side of the night, through the forest and mist of this remote town, to grasp at the hearts of a handful of people who may not find out that they’re the targets of a strange killer until it’s much, much too late.
WHO will be the Netflix/Spotify of comics? Several companies have been trying to offer all you can eat comcis buffets, but a lack of top content has been holding them back. But Scribd just made a major play announcing a $8.99 a month plan that allows you access to 10,000 comics, including top titles from Marvel, IDW/Top Shelf, Archie, Dynamite and Valiant. Scribd has been around for a while as en embeddable pdf reader, and already offers over a million ebooks and audiobooks on a subscription basis, so this makes a lot of sense.
Titles in the 10,000 book library include Spider-Man, My Little Pony, X-O Manowar, Lcoke & Key and graphic novels by Alan Moore, Matt Fraction, Gail Simone, George R.R. Martin and more—so a lot of good content but not everything available on Marvel Unlimited, for instance.
“We are very excited to take this step in expanding our subscription service beyond books,” said Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd in a statement. “This addition gives comics readers the freedom of unlimited reading, while also giving our ebook and audiobook lovers the opportunity to discover comics and graphic novels.”
“IDW and Top Shelf have been considering subscription models for comics for some time,” said Jeff Webber, IDW’s Vice President of Digital Publishing & Business Development in his own statement. “Scribd came to us with the perfect opportunity to offer the entire catalog to fans and new readers. Time for some binge-reading!”
“For decades, a driving force at Marvel has been the desire to put comics in the hands of new readers,” sschimed in Daniele Campbell, Marvel’s VP CRM. “Our partnership with Scribd allows some of Marvel’s greatest stories to sit alongside Scribd’s already vast and eclectic catalogue of content in an effort to reach readers who might not have access to a comic shop.”
Ever unafraid to take a digital plunge, IDW is offering a two month free trial running until 2/17, where as regular Scribd offers a one month trial.
I’ve never been a fan of how Scribd embeds work in blog posts, but I never tried their sub service, which is optimized for tablets, so I’m sure it will be a better reading experience.
$8.99 — the cost of a mere two or three comics a month— is a pretty reasonable deal—well this be the next killer app? What do you all think? Will you sign up?
Some more deets on the content:
● Classic Comics – Classic runs of the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, Archie, Judge Dredd, the Rocketeer and more
● Top Characters – Spider-Man, the Avengers, Betty and Veronica, Kevin Keller, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, G.I. Joe, Bloodshot, Adventure Time
● Major Creators – Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Fiona Staples, Darwyn Cooke, Mark Waid, Ed Brubaker, Renee French, Jeffrey Brown, Joe Hill, and many more
● Acclaimed Graphic Novels – March, From Hell, Swallow Me Whole, Underwater Welder, Spiral-Bound, The Ticking, Too Cool to Be Forgotten
● Award Winners – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, Alec, Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed?
● Hit YA Titles – Ultimate Spider-Man, Runaways, Afterlife With Archie, Harbinger, Lumberjanes
● Manga – Partnership with MediaDo brings titles from Cork and Harlequin Manga, including work by acclaimed artist Moyoco Anno
● Leading Publishers – Marvel, Arcana, Archie, Boom! Studios, Dynamite, IDW/Top Shelf, Kingstone, Space Goat, Top Cow, Valiant, Zenescope
Leave it to Joe Casey. He’s a Pied Piper of the unusual, writing superheroes everywhere and dragging fresh art styles along with him (Sex at Image, Catalyst Comics at Dark Horse). This time it’s Dynamite’s Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #5 which features art by Nathan Fox and Connor Willumsen. Fox is of course a terrific illustrator, cartoonist and teacher. Willumsen is a wandering ronin of comics who every once in a while pops up with a mind boggling experimental comic.
And Joe Casey is just one of a kind. And what better crew to take on Jack Kirby’s twilight weirdness, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers?
On sale today!
Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #5
Joe Casey (w)
Nathan Fox, Connor Willumsen (a)
Nathan Fox (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Nathan Fox “Virgin Art” retailer incentive cover
The crew of the Dreadnaught Tiger is within reach of their goal! But can they get to Captain Victory — either one of them — before they’re destroyed by the hostile environments they’re stuck in? Cosmic Armageddon is right around the corner!
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Dynamite has had a lot of news this week in the busy Toy Fair/ComicsPRo period, including an exciting crossover event the return of two iconic heroes, and a new merchandise line. Here’s a digest version:
• Mark Waid is writing Justice, Inc.: The Avenger with artist Ronilson Freire. The series debuts in June and expands on the Justice, Inc., universe and vigilante industrialist Richard Henry Benson. variant covers include Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), Walter Simonson (The Mighty Thor), Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie), Marc Laming (All-New Invaders), and Barry Kitson (The Amazing Spider-Man).
In Justice, Inc.: The Avenger #1, Waid and Freire continue the adventures of Richard Henry Benson, a victim of a criminal attack that left his facial features forever deadened, gray in color and incapable of showing genuine emotion. And yet, the harsh stroke of fate gave him the ability to mold his face to match the appearance of anyone… a skill he could employ as the ultimate master of disguise. Driven to mete out retribution against those who would prey on the innocent, The Avenger finds himself on a collision course with a villain even more secretive, brutal, and unrelenting than himself: an Invisible Man.
Mark Waid’s participation in the Avenger launch fulfills a longtime writing goal; he says, “Moreso than The Shadow, moreso than Doc Savage, the Avenger has always, always been my favorite pulp hero, and I’ve been aching to write this story since I was eleven years old. What a blast! Having the opportunity to dive into the psyche of a crimefighter as unique as Benson has been a lifelong dream — I’ve been thinking about what his life and mind would be like ever since I read my first Avenger paperback back in the day. How does a man live his life when he has nothing to live for but justice? How does he navigate in a world of life and love and joy when his own features are frozen and stiff like putty, mirroring his cold, dead insides? There’s so much here to unpack.”
• Will Eisner’s The Spirit is coming back in a series written by Matt Wagner and covers by Alex Ross, Eric Powell, and Wagner. DEny Colt, a masked everyman crimefighter, was the center of an iconic series by Eisner and has been brought back most recently at DC.
“I discovered The Spirit via the black-and-white, magazine-sized reprints of the mid-70s. It was the first time that I truly perceived sequential narrative as a legitimate art form, of the immense creative power of a comic-artist in his prime,” says Wagner. “I can honestly say that seeing and experiencing The Spirit in my formative years ultimately led to my career as a comics author. It’s such an immense thrill and a professional honor to have the chance to contribute to Will Eisner’s legacy on the milestone 75th anniversary of his most influential and iconic character.”
• Joining the wave of female led titles that is changing the ace of the industry, in May Swords of Sorrow is a giant crossover event featuring Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dejah Thoris with an all-female writing team led by Gail Simone. The event kicks off with a Swords of Sorrow series by Simone, Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood miniseries written by Nancy A. Collins (Vampirella, Swamp Thing); Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special by Mairghread Scott (Transformers: Windblade); and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Katospecial by G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Erica Schultz (M3). In later months, more projects by Leah Moore, Marguerite Bennett, Emma Beeby, and Mikki Kendal will debut. That’s a lot of female writers!
In keeping with the theme, variant cover artists include a main cover byJ. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl); variants by Jenny Frison, Emanuela Lupacchino; a subscription edition by Robert Hack available to fans placing preorders with their local retailers; and incentive editions by Joyce Chin, Tula Lotay, Nei Ruffino, Cedric Poulat. Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood #1 and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special both feature covers by Billy Tan, while the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special spotlights Joyce Chin.
Gail Simone, who has been planning the project since her involvement was announced in July, says, “Here’s the thing: I love pulp adventure, always have. But as male-dominated as comics have often been, the pulp adventure world seems to be even more so. Most of the big name stars and creators are dudes, and that’s fine, it’s great. But it hit me… what if that wasn’t the case? What if adventure pulps had also been written with female readers in mind, and awesome female characters in the spotlight? That’s the scenario we are imagining, and it’s just been a blast. The key players are Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Dejah Thoris, but it’s such an epic-spanning, world-hopping event that we also have Kato, Jungle Girl, Lady Rawhide, Jennifer Blood, and so many more. It’s the crossover I dreamed of when I was a kid, and now we get to make it happen.”
Simone’s core Swords of Sorrow story serves as the starting point for a new universe of pulp adventure. Illustrated by Sergio Davila (Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure), the series features the supernatural heroine Vampirella, Martian princess Dejah Thoris, crimson-tressed swordswoman Red Sonja, martial artist Kato (from filmmaker Kevin Smith’s reboot of The Green Hornet), primal warrior Jungle Girl, and many more. Drawn from a dozen worlds and eras to face off against a legendary evil that threatens their homelands, Dynamite’s fiercest females must overcome their differences to harness the power of mystical blades — the eponymous Swords of Sorrow — in final conflict.
Gail Simone also serves as the architect for all storylines tied into the event, providing direction to her personally selected team of writers. “We got the best writers around, gave them a fun combination of characters and just let them go wild,” says Simone. “It’s creators like G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Nancy A. Collins and more, with book titles like Vampirella vs. Jennifer Blood, Kato vs. Masquerade, and Red Sonja vs. Jungle Girl. More about these tag teams will be coming soon, but it’s just a ridiculous amount of fun to set these characters against each other, and I’m very proud of the astounding team of writers, who I hand-picked from among the very best of new female adventure writers. There’s never been a crossover event in comics like this, ever.”
• Finally, Dynamite has entered into a partnership with The Brewing Factory, the merchandise development company founded by former DC vp Georg Brewer. The line debuts with Women of Dynamite, a line of female figures including Vampirella designed by Jason Smith and based on the artwork of J. Scott Campbell), set for June release.
“I’ve been really fortunate to work on some great projects these last few years, but my first love will always be comics,” says Georg Brewer. “Working with Nick and Joe at Dynamite, and their talented comics creators, has been a blast! It’s certainly been a fantastic way for me to get back to where it all started, and along with sculptor Jason Smith, we are creating an amazing line of statues.”
”We are extremely fortunate to work with someone of Georg’s knowledge, skill, experience, and sterling reputation,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher ofDynamite Entertainment. “His passion and expertise in the development and manufacturing of cool fan collectibles is second to none, and our being able to work with Georg is going to help bring fans additional great product lines featuring Dynamite’s extensive library of characters. The debut product line resulting from our creative partnership will be Women of Dynamite statues inspired by J. Scott Campbell artwork, and from there, we will continue to delve into our expansive library of intellectual properties.”
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, Top Comics
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, Nate Cosby
, Prince Valiant
, Ron Salas
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Written: Nate Cosby
Pencils: Ron Salas
Color: Luigi Anderson
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Cover: Darwyn Cooke
Dynamite’s recent relaunch of King heroes is finally here. This week’s title is Prince Valiant. While I’m not familiar with Valiant, author Nate Cosby, or even artist Ron Salas, I did find an emotional hook here that is incredibly distinctive. This comic book has a voice that is all it’s own employed early on in the very first scenes. The prose within the tale is written with a swagger and efficiency that’s unlike anything I’ve seen in a comic of this nature.
“Once, there was a boy. He had a burden. Ever present and persistent.”
This first installment is full of similar language that can alienate the reader at first, luckily Cosby is spinning a yarn that fans should be familiar with regardless of previous exposure to the Prince Valiant character. Cosby pulls from Greek Mythology in telling the story of an arrogant God that has to figure out how to cope with everyday life. Think of a mortal version of young Thor.
The bottom line is that when Valiant falls, he takes a massive descent resulting in him being cast out of his own land. This is the story of how his reckless abandon can be redeemed through later pursuits. Deeper questions lie within this comic than that of Valiant’s own morals. The plot thickens at the last page featuring a cliffhanger notable in it’s own sheer ambition. This surprise spins the story in even more new directions, and perfectly bookends the tale through following up on a story weaved within the first pages of the comic. One of the only negative aspects of this story is how the language provides some distance with readers at times. It’s hard to decipher exactly what point these characters are trying to illustrate with each other in the dinner scenes, thankfully that’s where the art of Ron Salas comes in.
Salas’ art in this comic book story is abstract in it’s versatility. The story has a slight independent vibe supported by the colors of Luigi Anderson. At times, the fluid motion can be slightly lost in how the panels connect to each other. There are several styles employed within this comic, with the aforementioned dinner scene sporting a minimalist spark that is extraordinarily different than the detail in the framing scenes earlier in the story. There is great potential here, and hopefully Salas can just be slightly more consistent with the plethora of different styles at play throughout the course of this issue. The penciller definitely deserves some praise for the highly unique layouts and experiments in the form on display throughout the issue. The layout featuring negative space seen in preview pages should engage fans on a craft level. The caves soaked in darkness evoke just the right shade from Anderson.
One word to describe this entire affair is subversive. Through engrossing language, deft characterization, and the last twist throwing readers for a loop towards the end of this comic, Prince Valiant is something that should stay on your pull list – especially if you it was never on your pull list in the first place.
Bundling, unboxing…so many ways to get cool stuff these days. And here’s another one, Groupees, which offers a pay-what-you-want bundling service. And they’ve just teamed with Dynamite to offer a bundle of digital titles, with multiple tiers and special art prizes—and a portion of the proceeds benefit the CBLDF! So it’s a win all around. The offer is live now at the Groupees site.
Details on all below:
Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that Groupees LLC, a unique media and charity bundling site, will host – for the first time ever – a ten day comic book bundle promotion that allows fans and curious newcomers to purchase over 75 digital Dynamite comics and graphic novels with “Pay What You Want” purchasing power. A portion of proceeds will be contributed to one of the industry’s most important charitable organizations, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The bundle promotion will run from Thursday, March 26, through the afternoon of Monday, April 6, on the website Groupees.com.
Through the Groupees program, customers can purchase a bundle of digital comic book and graphic novels for a price they decide. The first tier of exciting digital content is unlocked with the dollar minimum investment, but consumers can double their take by reaching the $5.00 second tier. Dynamite offers a highly desirable batch of comics at the third tier for a $10.00 minimum investment, including the bestselling Dynamite Art of Alex Ross art book.
For those who support the “Pay What You Want” initiative with considerable support, Dynamite will reward the top ten consumers with special prizes. The Top Prize will see the contributor illustrated on the cover of an upcoming Dynamite comic book, alongside the title character and the cover will be drawn by super star artist Jae Lee! The winner will also receive 100 copies of the comic AND the original art. The second, third and fourth-highest contributors will be illustrated as characters on one interior page of a Dynamite comic book, while the fifth through tenth-highest contributors will receive a hand-drawn illustration of their favorite Dynamite character again by super-star artist Jae Lee. Additionally, top-secret Group Bonuses will be unlocked for all consumers to enjoy when the overall orders reach certain thresholds.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Dynamite Entertainment to offer this First Edition Dynamite Groupees Comic Bundle,” said Thomas Brooke, Groupees Founder and CEO. “Dynamite has an exceptional catalogue of titles and is offering fans in this promotion an amazing deal on some truly exceptional books including the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. As we expand into this category of media, we look forward to continuing to work with Dynamite to offer literary fans of all types curated, great deals during our online social events that connect fans and artists.”
The $1.00 Minimum Tier features superhero action, pulp intrigue, Victorian mystery, tough-talkin’ private eyes, and mind-blowing swords-and-sorcery, courtesy of some of the comic industry’s brightest stars: Gail Simone (Batgirl), Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Jim Krueger (Earth X), David Liss (Black Panther), and more! This accessible bundle includes:
• Project Superpowers (Vol. 1) #0 – #7
• Dawn/Vampirella #1
• The Spider #1 – #6
• Chaos! #1 – #6
• Shaft #1
• Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1 – #5
• Red Sonja (Vol. 2) #1 – #6
• Altered States: Red Sonja
The $5.00 Minimum Tier features 48 comics written by the mainstream’s most beloved authors and movie directors, like George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Kevin Smith (Clerks), Warren Ellis (Iron Man, Red), Garth Ennis (Punisher), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), and Nancy A. Collins (Sunglasses After Dark). Also, the Fox cartoon sensation Bob’s Burgers, gaming powerhouse Pathfinder, and rock ‘n roll icon Alice Cooper round out the package, making it worth the additional investment.
• A Game of Thrones #1
• Vampirella: Feary Tales #1 – #2
• Warren Ellis’ Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1
• Garth Ennis’ Jennifer Blood #1 – #3
• Alice Cooper #1 – #3
• Bob’s Burgers #1 – #2
• Army of Darkness (Vol. 3) #1 – #5
• Purgatori #1 – #4
• Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1 – #10
• Django/Zorro #1 – #2
• Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Storm Front (Vol. 1) #1 – #4
• Pathfinder #1 – #6
• Cryptozoic Man #1 – #4
• Blood Queen Annual 2014
Finally, the $10.00 Minimum Tier features 17 comic books by Bill Willingham (Fables), Jim Starlin (the creator of Thanos from Marvel’s The Avengers), and Tom Clancy (the video game Splinter Cell), as well as the bestselling Dynamite Art of Alex Ross, a 328-page retrospective of the influential painter’s cover artwork and character designs on such characters as Vampirella, Green Hornet, The Bionic Man, the Kirbyverse, Black Terror, and more.
• Dynamite Art of Alex Ross
• Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure #1 – #7
• Dreadstar #1 – #6
• Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 – #4
Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, says, “Groupees has a unique and incredible mechanism to engage fans and bring content to a new audience, as well as reward any fans of our existing audience who wish to take advantage of this promotion. They’ve built a model that stands out and can help grow the fan base for comics, which in turn can bring more readers to the industry, and that is extremely exciting. With comics being if not the only, one of the only forms of print that has grown side by side with digital, we’re proud to be working with Thomas and his team to create more awareness of comics to their audience, who in turn will come into our industry and many of whom will then become ongoing readers.”
Part of the proceeds from the first-ever Dynamite Groupees Bundle will contribute to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers.
Home shopping for comics and related collectibles is coming back, as Dynamic Forces will be selling some of their limited edition merch on Evine. The first event is this Wednesday and will focus on Star Wars stuff.
Dynamic Forces is proud to announce that EVINE Live (evine.com), the digital retailer and television network delivering entertainment shopping to millions of viewers, will feature a two-hour program focusing on Dynamic Forces’ exciting line of comic book collectibles, including some of the most beloved pop culture properties of today, such as Star Wars, Marvel Comics, DC Entertainment, IDW Publishing, and Dynamite Entertainment. The two-hour premiere event takes place on Wednesday, April 8th, at 1:00am EST (Tuesday, April 7th at 10:00pm PST).
Dynamic Forces will offer a wide selection of products featuring autographed limited editions and – in some cases – hand-drawn sketches from the highest caliber of comic book creators. Signatures will represent some of the most important creators in comics, including Stan “The Man” Lee (the industry legend and co-creator of so many “marvelous” characters, such as Spider-Man, The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, and many more), Bob Kane (creator of Batman), Greg Land (Spider-Woman, Ultimate Fantastic Four), John Cassaday (Star Wars, Astonishing X-Men), Alex Ross (Kingdom Come, Project Superpowers), Jae Lee (Batman/Superman), Frank Thorne (Red Sonja), and many more. Dynamic Forces products range from all-time classics that celebrate milestone 75th and 100th anniversaries to the hottest launches of this very year.
Dynamic Forces will kick off their EVINE Live program with one of the most popular brands in existence, Star Wars. Coinciding with the building anticipation for upcoming films, Marvel Comics recently launched a brand-new Star Wars comic book series that sold over one million copies, resulting in five subsequent printings and renown as the #1 bestselling comic of 2014. Dynamic Forces is proud to offer numerous exclusive Star Wars products, including: a special Dynamic Forces exclusive variant signed by Greg Land; Star Wars #1 First Printings featuring signatures by interior artist and Eisner Award winner John Cassaday; Marvel “blank” cover editions that come with meticulously hand-drawn sketches of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Yoda; and many more collectibles from a galaxy far, far away.
The featured Star Wars line is not alone in having original, hand-drawn artwork, as Dynamic Forces will showcase several other one-of-a-kind collectibles hand-illustrated by comic creators, including: “blank” DC Batman covers and Marvel Wolverine covers with sketches by Jae Lee; The Flash “blank” editions with sketches by Ken Haeser; original comic book storyboards illustrated by Tom Raney and Scott Hanna; and Shadow #1 (celebrating the 75th anniversary since the classic character’s first comic strip appearance) featuring remark artwork by Jae Lee and Alex Ross.
Autographed merchandise will offered in abundance throughout the EVINE Live premiere, including: limited edition Batman lithographs (rare signatures and rarer Printers Proof Editions) featuring the signature of Batman creator Bob Kane himself; an oversized Red Sonja Art Edition Hardcover featuring Frank Thorne and Roy Thomas; the retro-chic Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #1 signed by Alex Ross; and a handful of Marquee Autographed Limited Edition comics of fan-favorite Marvel titles signed by Stan “The Man” Lee.
Additional offerings during the night’s program include: special Dynamic Forces exclusive variants of the red-hot My Little Pony and Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet; Dynamic Forces Premium Signed and Sketch Card packages; historic 100th Anniversary King Features comics; the recent Marvel sensation Spider-Gwenincluding a Dynamic Forces Limited Edition Cover; Midtown Comics Limited Editions and much more.
The upcoming special marks the first time that Dynamic Forces has partnered with EVINE Live to provide rare and coveted comic book items to the network’s 88 million US homes. Dynamic Forces has over twenty years of experience in selling comic book-related merchandise on television, and their inclusion on EVINE Live will debut that type of product to the television station’s vast audience.
Nick Barrucci, CEO of Dynamic Forces, says, “We’re very fortunate here at DF. We work with publishers and creators to present limited edition collectibles and autographs from many great creators on a variety of comics and merchandise on a regular basis. The comic industry is currently ruling TV and the box office, but not enough consumers outside of the comics market know about the comics themselves. EVINE Live is making it easy for their incredible audience to become more aware of our industry, and existing fans to acquire marquee collectibles with special pricing and their interest free payment method, Value-Pay®. The opportunity to present on EVINE Live allows us to bring comics to the EVINE family, create more awareness, and grow the comics industry. Comic books are cooler than ever before, impacting modern pop culture everyday, and Dynamic Forces is now making it easier than ever for EVINE Live customers to take part in the phenomenon with hot new titles and iconic characters the world over.”
Viewers are invited to tune in to EVINE Live via cable and satellite, mobile apps, and live streaming online at evine.com. EVINE Live airs on DIRECTV channels 73 and 316, DISH Network channels 134 and 228 and the nation’s top cable providers. Find EVINE Live in your area: http://bit.ly/1CNa450. For more information on EVINE Live, visit http://www.evine.com.
This digital bundling thing is getting to be a habit—and Dynamite is taking full advantage of it. Following successful team ups with Humble Bundle and Groupees, they’ve just teamed up with StoryBundle, an indie book bundler that is doing comics for the first time. Proceeds will benefit the CBLDF and Girls Write Now, so you can choose your preferred good deed while reading over 100 Dynamite comics. As with other bundlers, this is a pay what you want model, although the minimum is $5. Books offered include graphic adaptations of Amanda Hocking and Jim Butcher, Vampirella and Red Sonja.
Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that StoryBundle, a unique literature bundling site known for its support of indie authors, will host – for the first time ever – a comic book bundle promotion that allows readers to purchase almost 100 digital Dynamite comics and graphic novels with “Pay What You Want” purchasing power beginning at $5.00. A portion of proceeds will be contributed to two very important charitable organizations, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Girls Write Now. The bundle promotion will begin Wednesday, April 8th, on the website StoryBundle.com.
StoryBundle will offer a fixed set of Dynamite comic books, graphic novel collections, and art books in a bundle, available only for a limited time. Fans and newcomers will decide their own value for each bundle. Bonus books are unlocked when the purchaser achieves certain bonus thresholds. StoryBundle has already sold hundreds of thousands of books through its popular horror, fantasy, video game and sci-fi book bundles, and for the first time ever, welcomes its huge audience to experience the four-color adventures of Dynamite digital comics.
Jason Chen, founder and CEO of StoryBundle, says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Dynamite for our first (of many) comic bundles. StoryBundle has featured all types of genres before, from mystery to sci-fi to gaming to fantasy and romance, so one filled with comics and graphic novel collections seems like a natural next step. Dynamite’s also presented us with a great opportunity to introduce our readers to their series by including the first issues (along with collections), which makes for the most natural entry-point to be able to understand and enjoy all these wonderful titles.”
The Dynamite Bundle includes the following collections, comprising over 2,800 pages of comic book storytelling:
• Amanda Hocking’s The Hollows: A Hollowland Graphic Novel
• The Art of Ramona Fradon
• The Complete Alice in Wonderland
• Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: War Cry
• Gail Simone’s Red Sonja Vol. 1: The Queen of Plagues
• Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure (by Bill Willingham)
• Legends of Red Sonja
• Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1
• Project Superpowers Vol. 1
• Red Sonja Unchained
• Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword Omnibus Vol. 1
• The Essential Painkiller Jane
• Vampirella Vol. 1: Our Lady of Shadows by Nancy A. Collins
In addition to the graphic novel collections and art book, Dynamite will give readers a taste of several new releases with single comic book issues, including:
• A Game of Thrones #1
• Bob’s Burgers #1
• The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1 – #5
• Jungle Girl: Season Three #1
• Lady Rawhide/Lady Zorro #1
• Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1
• Reanimator #1
“We’re proud to partner with Jason Chen and his team at StoryBundle,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The bundle platform is growing by leaps and bounds, tapping into a diverse audience with diverse interests. StoryBundle services a large prose-loving community, one that – by its nature – is drawn to unique voices and innovative concepts. Through their website, Dynamite has a tremendous opportunity to reach out to an untapped audience and impress them with a different form of storytelling than they may be used to. This is a termendous opportunity to grow the comics market. In preparing this bundle, Jason made us aware that one of the charities that StoryBundle benefits is Girls Write Now, an organization that matches young women, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and with an interest in writing, with professional women writers. We’ve included many stories written by celebrated female authors (and featuring strong female characters) in our bundle as a part of the combined effort to support women writers. It’s a win/win for everyone: readers, writers, charities, and industry.”
Part of the proceeds from the first-ever Dynamite StoryBundle promotion will contribute to the charitable organizations Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Girls Write Now. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. Girls Write Now is the first organization in the country with a writing and mentoring model exclusively for girls, dedicated to providing the guidance, support, and opportunities for underserved high school girls to develop their creative, independent voices, and write their way to a better future.
Fans and curious newcomers are encouraged to visit StoryBundle.com beginning Wednesday, April 8th to take advantage of the first-ever comic bundle hosted by StoryBundle.
Dynamite and Arcane Wonders have come to a licensing agreement for the Mage Wars tabletop fantasy game.
Interestingly, Dynamite will be launching with a prose novel. This isn’t as odd as it might sound. Dynamite’s had some success with Chuck Dixon and Doug Murray writing SEAL Team Six novels for them. Particularly with the eBook market. Will McDermott’s Nature of the Beast will drop in January 2015 to start off the series. McDermott has written novels based on Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer 30K properties, so he’s no stranger to the adaption field. And if you’ve been to a bookstore, you know there’s usually a section for game adaption novels. It’s a thing.
After the novel comes out, Dynamite intends to ” expand the line into comic books, graphic novels, additional prose novels, prints, lithographs, and an art book.”
Official PR follows:
DYNAMITE AND ARCANE WONDERS ANNOUNCE MAGE WARS LICENSING DEAL
FOR COMICS, PROSE, AND ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES BASED ON BESTSELLING FANTASY GAME,
LAUNCHING WITH MAGE WARS: NATURE OF THE BEAST PROSE NOVEL IN JANUARY
October 10, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce a new licensing agreement with Arcane Wonders for multiple product categories based onMage Wars, the bestselling and critically acclaimed tabletop fantasy game. Dynamite will debut their first Mage Wars project in January 2015, an original prose novel subtitledNature of the Beast. Written by Will McDermott, Mage Wars: Nature of the Beast is the first official prose story set within the expansive world of the game. Following the January print and digital launch, Dynamite plans to expand the line into comic books, graphic novels, additional prose novels, prints, lithographs, and an art book.
Mage Wars is the customizable strategy game of dueling mages. Players take on the role of powerful mages, stepping into an arena to battle for supremacy. A unique genre-breaking concept, Mage Wars combines the best elements of customizable card games and tactical miniature games. Players can choose from multiple mages like the Wizard, Warlock, Beastmaster, Priestess, or many others, each with their own unique strategies and style of play. The game is fast-paced and exciting, with challenging decisions every turn. Since its debut in 2012, the game achieved critical success and has accrued dozens of industry accolades. Tom Vasel of Dice Tower, a leading podcaster and reviewer in the gaming community, ranked Mage Wars as the Second Best Game of All Time in his “Top 100 Games of All Time” list.
“We are truly honored and excited to be working with Dynamite. To partner up with such a professional team to bring Mage Wars and the world of Etheria to our fans is a dream come true,” cheers Bryan Pope, President of Arcane Wonders. “We have worked so hard to develop each of these characters and this universe and look forward to this partnership to share our vision with our fans.”
“Since its launch, the Mage Wars game has been celebrated by critics and fans alike, a true sensation in the gaming world,” says Nick Barrucci, the CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “It’s a great privilege and honor to sign with Arcane Wonders, a true innovator in game design. They’ve created a fantastic universe to explore, and we’re proud to work hand-in-hand with their staff in building upon that expansive landscape with new creative content.”
The first novel, Mage Wars: Nature of the Beast, takes place in the world of Etheria, and follows an unlikely cast of characters refreshingly removed from the trappings of traditional fantasy adventure. “Nature of the Beast is not your average Hero’s Journey tale” says author Will McDermott. “This is the story about the other guys — the loners and the outcasts, the guards and the stewards, the folks who normally stay behind when the adventure starts — the forgotten characters. It is a journey not toward the light, but into the darkness, both literal and figurative, where these characters must face their foibles and fears, their painful pasts and their lonely lives. It is a story about how true heroes are born, not through trial by fire, but by forging friendships that help them discover their own inner strength.”
Author Will McDermott has worked in the gaming industry since 1997, when he became Senior Editor of Duelist Magazine at Wizards of the Coast. While at Wizards, he helped publish thirty-seven magazines, and wrote five strategy guides for trading-card games. After leaving Wizards of the Coast, he became a freelance writer. Over the next five years, he published two Magic: The Gathering novels, three Necromunda novels (set in the Warhammer 30K universe), and numerous short stories. In 2006, McDermott joined the writing staff at ArenaNet and began working on Guild Wars. He wrote character dialogue for Guild Wars: Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, and Guild Wars 2. He also shepherded the first two Guild Wars novels (Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb, and Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King) from conception to publication. Since departing ArenaNet in 2010, McDermott worked with Nintendo in game development and returned to freelance writing.
The development of the Mage Wars: Nature of the Beast novel follows upon Dynamite’s success in prose publishing with such titles as Seal Team Six (which has sold over 140,000 copies across its nine volumes) and Prince Dracula. Upon its release in January 2015, the prose novel will be available in print at fine bookstores and hobby specialty shops everywhere, and digitally for consumer purchase through Amazon, Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play.
In January, Dynamite will be launching The Twilight Zone: Shadow and Substance, a new ongoing series based on Rod Serling’s classic TV anthology.
Mark Rahner, who’s done some Twilight Zone short stories for Dynamite, as well as some Dejah Thoris and Vampirella material, will handle the writing. Edu Menna, who’s drawn Army of Darkness, will handle the art.
Official PR follows:
DYNAMITE RETURNS TO THE TWILIGHT ZONE WITH NEW ONGOING SERIES,
WRITTEN BY MARK RAHNER AND ILLUSTRATED BY EDU MENNA
October 10, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the January 2015 launch of The Twilight Zone: Shadow and Substance, an all-new ongoing series based on the groundbreaking science fiction television program. Written by Mark Rahner (Vampirella) and illustrated by Edu Menna (Army of Darkness), the new series will feature a cover by Eisner Award-winning artist Francesco Francavilla.
The Twilight Zone: Shadow and Substance stands as writer Mark Rahner’s third contribution to the Twilight Zone franchise, following his work on The Twilight Zone 2014 Annual and a one-shot special entitled The Twilight Zone: Lost Tales. “After writing six stories for two big Twilight Zone specials, I’m so thrilled to write more,” says Rahner. “I’m a lifelong denizen of The Twilight Zone – just ask my teachers, employers, bartenders – and an acolyte in the cult. If I belong any place, it’s there. Perhaps on the steps of a library, with a pair of shattered specs.”
The first story arc of Shadow and Substance begins with the story of a successful but deeply troubled writer as he returns to his hometown for a book signing, only to find that he’s stepped back in time to encounter his abused and maladjusted younger self.
The latest installment of The Twilight Zone affectionately takes its subtitle, Shadow and Substance, from the opening monologue to the classic CBS program’s fourth and fifth season, a spoken verse instantly recognizable to longtime fans and pop culture enthusiasts: “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”
“We’re proud to continue the fine tradition of The Twilight Zone at Dynamite Entertainment, delivering space-bending, mind-blowing, spine-tingling science fiction, horror, and mystery on a monthly basis,” says Nick Barrucci, the CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “There’s a freedom inherent in Twilight Zone, a promise that its storytellers can open up any floating door in space and step through to realities never before explored. I welcome Mark Rahner and Edu Menna to take full advantage of that freedom, and to the fans — get ready for all-new thrills!”
The Twilight Zone took millions of television viewers on a weekly journey to another dimension, starting in 1959. The enduring success ofThe Twilight Zone spawned three revival series, a feature film, novels, comics, and other related merchandise. Dynamite Entertainment achived great success with The Twilight Zone in 2014 under the helm of J. Michael Straczynski, creator of television’s Babylon 5 and prolific comic book writer (including The Amazing Spider-Man and Superman: Earth One).
The Twilight Zone: Shadow and Substance #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ November Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in January 2015. Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of The Twilight Zone with their local comic book retailers.The Twilight Zone: Shadow and Substance #1 will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.
Dynamite’s been pretty happy with the Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure mini-series that Bill Willingham has been writing for them. Happy enough to be spinning it off into three new titles.
Legenderry is a steampunk re-imagining of the Dynamite universe with alternate versions of Dynamite’s licensed characters in a shared universe. Red Sonja, Flash Gordon, Six Million Dollar Man, Captain Victory and so forth.
Dynamite will have three new titles in that universe:
- Legenderry: Vampirella written by David Avallone
- Legenderry: Green Hornet written by Daryl Gregory (side note: if you liked the original series of Plant of the Apes films, I can’t recommend his Planet of the Apes comics highly enough. A hidden gem.)
- Legenderry: Red Sonja – Dynamite is keeping this one close to the vest
Official PR follows:
DYNAMITE EXPANDS BILL WILLINGHAM’S POPULAR LEGENDERRY SERIES
WITH VAMPIRELLA, GREEN HORNET, AND RED SONJA SPIN-OFF TITLES
October 10, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the 2015 expansion of their steampunk-themed Legenderry alternate universe to include three new spin-off series: Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Green Hornet. Building upon the characters reimagined by Bill Willingham, the creator of Fables, in the 2014 miniseriesLegenderry: A Steampunk Adventure, the new Legenderry stories will feature the writing talents of confirmed writers David Avallone and Daryl Gregory, and continue themes and plotlines devised by Willingham.
Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure debuted on December 31st, 2013, introducing comic book fans to a parallel universe where familiar Dynamite-published characters were reinvented with Victorian aesthetics and steam-powered technology. Legenderry featured a diverse cast including Steve Austin of The Six Million Dollar Man, the classic pulp duo of Green Hornet and Kato, legendary masked adventurer Zorro, horror hostess Vampirella, the beloved superheroes Silver Star and Captain Victory (created by Jack Kirby), Flash Gordon and The Phantom from King Features Syndicate, and the swords-and-sorcery icon Red Sonja.
For fans of Willingham, Dynamite and the original series creator give assurances in a joint statement that “the world of Legenderry is created by Bill Willingham, who promises to continue to visit it from time to time.” Regarding the new spin-off titles, the participation by Willingham extends to the selection of the writers, as both newcomer David Avallone and Daryl Gregory (Planet of the Apes, Dracula: The Company of Monsters) have been hand-picked by Willingham.
In Legenderry: Vampirella, written by Avallone, the raven-haired Madam Pendragon – as the popular heroine is known publicly in the alternate universe – will see a departure from her role as owner and operator of The Scarlet Club, and instead must fight her way through The Big City, falling in love, dying, and being reborn in the process.
Legenderry: Green Hornet, written by Gregory, will entertain readers with a concept that’s equal parts Gangs of New York and The Warriors. In the aftermath of Willingham’s original story, The Big City has a power vacuum… giving a new selection of colorful, gimmick-laden lawbreakers a chance to claim the city as their own. Enter the Green Hornet and Kato, whose fabricated reputations as criminals give them ground-level access to the chaos.
Details on the upcoming Legenderry: Red Sonja are currently considered confidential. However, since the She-Devil with a Sword was the core of the previous storyline (both in her amnesiac identity as the sophisticated Magna Spadarossa, and as her swashbuckling true Red Sonja self), her series will be an integral part of the greater Legenderryuniverse.
Dynamite Entertainment’s Legenderry spin-off titles will be solicited in an upcoming issue of Diamond Comic Distributors’ Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market. After solicitation, comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies with their local comic book retailers. Legenderry, both the existing series and the upcoming Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Green Hornet expansions, will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.
“Where is the Netflix of comics?” you ask. Unlimited streaming of everything from Blondie to Urasawa. That remains only a pipe dream, but a site called Comicsfix (get it?) is trying to be the streaming service we want. For $9.95 you get unlimited comics on various apps, and 24 hour access. But access to what? It’s just been announced that Dynamite is the first company Top 10 publisher to sign up with them. You don’t get everything, but some good starter stuff:
The first two volumes of The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson;
Legends of Red Sonja with Gail Simone;
Project Superpowers, featuring covers by Alex Ross;
The Blood Queen; Pathfinder, based on the best-selling Paizo RPG;
Bob’s Burgers comic book based on the Emmy award-winning television program;
Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet;
Evil Ernie Volume 1
The Twilight Zone
The all-ages Lil’ Dynamites series by Art Baltazar and Franco.
More Dynamite single issues and full series will be added every week.
Other publishers on board seem to be Athlita and…it’s hard to tell because the covers are small and the publishers not very well know. You gotta start somewhere. There is also a publisher program. Here’s the hype:
“Dynamite Entertainment partnering with Comicsfix not only validates all the hard work we’ve done this last year, but also our belief
that the subscription model that works for the film and music industries can be successfully translated to the comic book industry as well,” said Comicsfix’s CEO Felix Kiner. “For Dynamite to take a chance on a new way to deliver comics to readers is a testament of their incredible innovative spirit. Today we have great books from fantastic indie publishers; adding a company of this size with such an amazing history of quality titles is a dream come true for us. I cannot wait for the moment our readers will see Red Sonja, The Boys, Bob’s Burgers, Battlestar Galactica, and much more on their Comicsfix app.”
“Comicsfix is an innovator in the realm of digital comics, and a welcome partner to Dynamite,” says Keith Davidsen, Marketing Manager of Dynamite Entertainment. “The good folks at Comicsfix apply technology that’s familiar to millions of internet viewers to comic books, making the digital reading experience as enjoyable, affordable, and extensive as what you might find for television and movie viewing. The Comicsfix platform will introduce subscribers to hundreds of Dynamite comic books, and — as our industry has seen time and again as digital comics have developed — the increased exposure yields greater success in print sales for our brick-and-mortar retail partners, as well. We look forward to growing our library with ComicsFix, for the benefit of all.”
This seems like a reasonable idea in this era. Some will want ownership, others find streaming just fine—and streaming is preferred to a lot of travel light millennials.
It’s the final Humble Bundle of the year and it’s $555 worth of Dynamite Comics for a pay what you want model. THIS IS A GOOD DEAL. It includes the much buzzed Shaft #1 by David Walker, Bilquis Evely, and Daniela Miwa, the best selling Bob’s Burgers, the Django/Zorro crossover and many other fine comics by Mark Waid, Darick Robertson, Garth Ennis, Gail Simone, Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, J. Michael Straczynski, David Mack, Howard Chaykin, Bill Willingham, Sean Phillips, Tim Seeley, Chuck Dixon, Andy Diggle, Duane Swierczynski, Joshua Hale Fialkov and many more. ALl for pay what you want—but you’ll want to pay at least $15 to get extra bonus books! In addition there are free comics being given away every day.
Humble Bundle jumped into the comics/ebook market this year after a very successful run with mostly video games. The publishing program has been equally successful with over $1 million raised this year. It’s not only a surprisingly effective revenue stream for publishers, but a big help for the charities benefited, including the CBLDF, Doctors without Borders and more. I’m told the biggest comics related Humble Bundle of all was the Doctor Who bundle—oddly the Humble Bundle wikipedia page doesn’t list comics proceeds, but The Beat managed to catch the numbers and it was more than half a million dollars. Not very humble, is it.
Here’s more info on the Dynamite bundle, which ends Christmas Eve at 2 pm.
Fans who choose to pay what they want for the Dynamite Bundle will receive 56 comics with a value of over $200 which includes Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1,Dead Irons #1-4, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1, Devilers #1-2, Hack/Slash/Eva: Monster’s Ball #1-4, Doodle Jump #1, Alice Cooper #1, Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #1-3, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! #1-6, Red Sonja: She Devil with a Sword #0-6, Chaos! #2-3,Legenderry #4-5, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Of Tooth and Claw, Dark Shadows: Year One #1-6, Queen Sonja #1-2, The Warriors #1-4, and Ex-Con #1.
Fans who beat the average price will also receive 105 comics total with a combined value of over $380 including Living Corpse Omnibus, Doodle Jump #2, Dean Koontz: Frankenstein – Prodigal Son, Curse of the Wendigo, Monster War #1-4, Devilers #3-4, Twilight Zone #1-4, Uncanny #1, Alice Cooper #2, Mark Waid’s Green Hornet #4-6, Red Sonja Vol. 2, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Tooth and Claw, Kirby Genesis #0-8, Shaft #1, and Jim Butcher: Dresden War Cry #1-3.
Super fans who support Dynamite’s comics and creators by spending $15 or more will receive 143 comics total with a combined value of over $600 will receive all of the above, PLUS Zorro Vol. 1, The Complete Dracula, The Romita Legacy, The Boys: Definitive Edition Vol. 1, and The Heart of the Beast Graphic Novel 20th Anniversary Edition.
Customers who buy the bundle will receive the first three issues of Bob’s Burgers and can share the first issue with a friend, by utilizing Humble Bundle’s gifting promotion. Those who refer this bundle to a friend will be rewarded with a copy of the first issue of the Django/Zorro crossover. The gifting promotion is a great way to share a best-selling Dynamite title, while receiving a best-selling title for your own collection as a reward. Dynamite is the premiere comics publisher to launch such a program with Humble Bundle.
In addition, for those who wish to sample Dynamite’s diverse line, every day at 2:00pm EST throughout the promotion, a digital comic book will be made available as a free download to fans, kicking off with a free digital copy of Red Sonja #7 written by fan-favorite author Gail Simone (of Batgirl and Wonder Woman fame). That’s just for starters with additional titles to be unveiled mid-promotion.
“Humble Bundle allows us a venue to reward our existing fans, and also an entry level to bring in new readers,” said Dynamite Publisher and CEO Nick Barrucci. “We were truly humbled by the response to our first partnership earlier this year and really wanted to bring the biggest bundle possible for the grand finale of our 10th Anniversary celebration! We’ve now exceed the number of issues of our first bundle to over 3,500 pages of comics to read and enjoy from Dynamite’s best-selling and award-winning creators. This Humble Bundle event gives fans a lot of books to read over the holidays. It’s the perfect gift to treat yourself during the holidays while also supporting several great causes.”
As with all Humble Bundles, customers can choose how their purchase dollars are allocated, between the publisher and charity. The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle supports Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which defends first amendment rights of comic book professionals nationwide.To date Humble Bundle has raised over 49 million dollars for charities around the world. With Dynamite’s help last summer they were able to give over $100,000.00 during The Humble Dynamite 10th Anniversary Bundle in July.
The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle runs for two weeks and ends Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Fans should follow on Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as new offerings become available.
The whole Humble Bundle move to selling comics and e-books worked very well, Calvin Reid reports:
In its first year offering e-books and digital comics, Humble Bundle, the promotional site that lets readers pay what they wish for bundles of DRM-free content, released 18 e-book bundles that generated $4.75 million in revenue. Of that revenue, $3 million was generated by comics alone.
Out of the 18 DRM-free e-book bundles released by the site in 2014, 10 bundles were made up entirely of comics. The average bundle, according to Humble Bundle, generated $265,000.
Humble Bundle director of e-books Kelley Allen called the site’s first year offering bundles of prose e-books and digital comics, a rousing success; she expects to release two more bundles by year’s end.
Do the math and you can figure out that this was a tidy little bottom line enhancer for a bunch of comics publishers, as well as the CBLDF, one of the charity beneficiaries. Once you get over the DRM-free bugaboo it’s an excellent way to reach new readers as well—the site primarily appeals to gamers
The current bundle offers a ton of Dynamite comics and it’s a good deal — for only $15 you can get American Flagg, The Boys, Red Sonja and lots more. Now if only I had an iPAd big enough to hold all this stuff.
As you might have read here earlier in the week, Humble Bundle’s well into 7 figures worth of revenue for 2014. Right now we’re into the last 24 hours for the current bundle, and final comics bundle ending in 2014. That’s from Dynamite and I’d like to draw your attention to a couple things in the no-minimum/pay what you will section:
- American Flagg! 1-6. That’s the first two arcs of a truly landmark series. If you’ve never sampled Flagg! you’re not going to find a better price.
- Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet 1-3. A criminally under-appreciated series. You get also get #4-6 with a donation of the average pledge, which is sitting at $9.20
There’s a lot there and the more you pledge, the more you get, but I thought I’d point out a couple things in the basic package I can vouch for. A portion of the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Official PR follows:
LAST CALL ON THE HUMBLE DYNAMITE MEGA HOLIDAYS BUNDLE
TIME IS RUNNING TO PAY-WHAT-YOU-WANT FOR GREAT DIGITAL COMICS
AND HELP CHARITIES IN NEED THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
December 23, 2014 – Mt. Laurel, NJ - There is only 24 hours left in Dynamite’s 10th Anniversary Grand Finale Humble Bundle. This Wednesday December 24th 2014 marks the end of the Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle at 2pm EST. Time is running out to score over 140 Dynamite Comics when you donate to charity including titles such as Bob’s Burgers, The Twilight Zone, and the highly anticipated Django/Zorro crossover, fromQuentin Tarantino and Award-Winning writer Matt Wagner. Plus works by some of the industry’s biggest superstars including Mark Waid, Darick Robertson, Garth Ennis, Gail Simone, Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, J. Michael Straczynski, David Mack, Howard Chaykin, Bill Willingham, Sean Phillips,Tim Seeley, Chuck Dixon, Andy Diggle, Duane Swierczynski, Joshua Hale Fialkov and many more fantastic writers and artists.
Fans who choose to pay what they want for the Dynamite Bundle will receive 56 comics with a value of over $200 which includes Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1,Dead Irons #1-4, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1, Devilers #1-2, Hack/Slash/Eva: Monster’s Ball #1-4, Doodle Jump #1, Alice Cooper#1, Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #1-3, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! #1-6, Red Sonja: She Devil with a Sword #0-6, Chaos! #2-3, Legenderry #4-5,Pathfinder Vol. 2: Of Tooth and Claw, Dark Shadows: Year One #1-6, Queen Sonja #1-2, The Warriors #1-4, and Ex-Con #1.
Fans who beat the average price will also receive 105 comics total with a combined value of over $380 including Living Corpse Omnibus, Doodle Jump #2-4, Dean Koontz: Frankenstein – Prodigal Son, Curse of the Wendigo, Monster War #1-4, Devilers #3-4, Twilight Zone #1-4, Uncanny #1-2, Alice Cooper #2, Mark Waid’s Green Hornet #4-6, Red Sonja Vol. 2 #7-10, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Tooth and Claw, Kirby Genesis #0-8, Shaft #1, Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol.2 and Jim Butcher: Dresden War Cry #1-5.
Super fans who support Dynamite’s comics and creators by spending $15 or more will receive 143 comics total with a combined value of over $600 will receive all of the above, PLUS Zorro Vol. 1, The Complete Dracula, The Romita Legacy, The Boys: Definitive Edition Vol. 1, and The Heart of the Beast Graphic Novel 20th Anniversary Edition.
“This is the Last Call and we won’t be repeating this promotion with these titles in one bundle again as it’s a special promotion for our 10th Anniversary,” said Dynamite Publisher and CEO Nick Barrucci, “Purchase the bundle to not only help support Dynamite and the creators we work with but also to donate to support charity, donate to treat your friends, donate to treat yourself. The Humble Dynamite MEGA Bundle is the perfect chance to do something good this Holiday season.”
The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle supports Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which defends first amendment rights of comic book professionals nationwide. To date Humble Bundle has raised over 49 million dollars for charities around the world. As with all Humble Bundles, customers can choose how their purchase dollars are allocated, between the publisher and charity, with Dynamite’s help last summer they were able to give over $100,000.00 during The Humble Dynamite 10th Anniversary Bundle in July.
The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle ends this Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 2 pm Eastern time. Fans should follow Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as new offerings become available.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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CONAN RED SONJA #1
Story: Gail Simone, Jim Zub
Art: Dan Panosian, Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics & Dynamite
There’s an entire generation of readers who weren’t even born the last time Conan The Barbarian and Red Sonja teamed up for battle in comics or film. Both characters have had a bit of a renaissance as of late with such great books as People of the Black Circle and Dynamite’s own Red Sonja ongoing series. Was it time for the barbarian and the warrior to meet again? Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite think so, and they’ve certainly assembled the best team to do it as they deliver a subtle yet prolific opening to their new 4-part mini series.
What you’ll notice from the outset of the issue is a risk the writing team of superstars Gail Simone (Batgirl, Secret Six) and Jim Zub (Samurai Jack) take by not just immediately dropping Red Sonja and Conan into mega-fight scenes. The opening of this series is really a heist story as the two are unknowingly both hired by an insidious figure known as Manus –Drath to steal a valuable treasure from the royals of Koth. Our conquerors get a bit more than they bargained for as they’re set up to be the only standing between us and Bloodroot covered dead Earth. By the time you reach the first issue’s end the twist feels a little predictable but doesn’t diminish the enjoyment.
Fans who expect a certain level of savagery from characters whose battle skills are almost mythological won’t be disappointed. As with any team-up, readers will get all the slashing and hard-hitting melee you’d expect. Including a fight between the characters that can best be described as sensual. It’s just that the violence feels like a character reward for the story more than just being shoehorned in. More books could do well in following Simone and Zub’s lead in this manner.
A pair of high caliber writers need an artist who can bring the primal nature of these characters out in a way makes them feel anything but simple. Joining Simone and Zub is the urban barbarian himself Dan Panosian (X-Men, Thor). Upon first glance there’s such a unique neanderthal surface to his work in these pages. As you keep reading you’ll notice all the emotion underneath the savagery. Eyes, expression, and body gesture all click together as accents in his panel work. Colorist, Dave Stewart’s work is just as vital in the book. The warm pallet he uses makes the pop stand out in the battle scenes it needs to and unifies the flow of art with story making it one of the smoothest reads of the week if not the year.
This book is awesome! Simone, Zub, and Panosaian put peanut butter and jelly together then served it alongside a big juicy porterhouse steak. Fans of both characters will find plenty to enjoy in this limited series. A big plus for both publishers and retailers is just how inviting the book is for new readers. You need not know anything about the lore of either character or Arnold Schwarzenegger to understand what’s going on here. Conan/ Red Sonja #1 kicks the series off with the right balance of intrigue and good ol’ beat ‘em up action.
Follow Davey on Twitter to talk comics, cats, and punk rock as he repost his instagram feed and makes the occasional complaint between naps.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Lost somewhat in the initial burst of news from last week’s ImageExpo was the announcement of a new Image Humble Bundle offering, beginning that morning and lasting until January 21. The “Humble Image Comics Bundle 2: Image Firsts” is a massive collection of digital comics that can be purchased for whatever price the consumer chooses. Included in the basic bundle are the beginning issues of a number of recent series, including Alex + Ada, Deadly Class, C.O.W.L., Elephantmen 2260 Book One, Minimum Wage, God Hates Astronauts, Genius, and Satellite Sam. Paying at least $15 also gets you the slightly higher profile titles The Manhattan Projects, The Wicked + The Divine, The Fuse, Velvet, Sex Criminals, Wytches, The Walking Dead Vol. 22: A New Beginning (#127-132), The Fade Out #1, Nailbiter, Stray Bullets, Southern Bastards, and Shutter. And finally, a stretch price of $18 brings The Walking Dead Compendium One (#1-48), East of West: The World, and Saga Book One (#1-18). For anybody at all interested in Image brand comics, the price truly cannot be beat, especially as the retail price of the comics would be over $300 according to Humble Bundle. Also, purchasers are strongly encouraged to mark a portion of their price paid towards charity, in this case the comics creator focused Hero Initiative. As of this evening, the Image bundle has generated almost $318,000, with over five days left to go.
The current offering is the third Humble Bundle to include Image titles. The first time Humble Bundle included any digital comics was the Image bundle in April 2014 that generated almost $400,000 revenue in two weeks, with titles including Saga, Walking Dead, Fatale, Invincible and Chew. Image imprint Skybound also did a special Comic-Con Humble Bundle in July 2014 as well, which was almost entirely Kirkman based titles such as The Walking Dead, Invincible, Thief of Thieves, and Super Dinosaur. That bundle alone generated $232,000.
Other comic publishers that have released Humble Bundles since April include Dark Horse, Oni, Dynamite, BOOM!, IDW, Top Shelf and Valiant. According to Kelley Allen, Director of Books for Humble Bundle, comics publishers are eager to work with them, and she has a number of ebook and comics bundles planned in 2015 alongside Humble Bundle’s traditional gaming focused offerings. The average revenue number for the comics based bundles so far has been $288,000 for the 14 day period. According to Allen, non-gaming bundles allow Humble to “break out from their core gaming audience” but from the comics perspective, they can also create “enormous crossover” by getting great comics in front of the very large Humble Bundle community. With a very clearly defined, and devoted, young male demographic, Humble Bundle chooses comics with both a logical appeal, like Transformers, Star Wars and The Walking Dead, but Allen also curates high quality titles that may stretch demographic borders. She “pushed very hard” to include titles like Sex Criminals in the latest Image bundle, trusting the Humble Bundle audience to appreciate an outstanding title, even without prior awareness.
While the Humble Bundles may help expand the reach of digital comics, they are also helping to encourage comics publishers to feel comfortable with forgoing DRM protections for their products. Humble Bundles, regardless of content, gaming or ebooks, do not use Digital Rights Management anti-copying technologies, both for philosophical reasons and from a practical standpoint. As Allen pointed out, why use DRM when the consumer could theoretically decide to purchase the content for one cent in any case? Even Dark Horse, which has been very reluctant to forgo DRM generally, was convinced to try not using it for their big Star Wars themed Humble Bundle in October and was rewarded with sales over $375,000 for the two week offering.
Fundamentally, the Humble Bundle “pay what you want” approach reflects exactly the insights independent game developers have learned over the years in regards to digital sales. Since their products are almost universally available to be pirated, often in formats that are actually *more* user friendly than the official versions, game creators have learned to embrace the concept of giving customers compelling reasons to purchase, in the recognition that they do not have to anymore. Distribution options like Steam and Humble Bundle provide explicit value beyond what a pirated version can give, whether through ease of use, personal connection to the creators, community recognition, charitable giving, etc. The Humble Bundle experiment really leverages the unique potential of digital distribution, as the pay what you want model could not really scale in a system that necessitated fulfillment and postage charges. With this almost “donation” type model there is no extra expense for the seller after the first sale, everything after that is essentially “profit.” And the possibility that the new readers exposed to the material may become fans, and go on to make further purchases, even print purchases in local comic books stores, only heightens the value of the Humble Bundle offering. We are likely to see a number of interesting comics based bundles in 2015 and we will learn if this kind of non-traditional sales can become a significant portion of publishers’ revenue, in much the same way digital has already established itself recently.
Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Colton Worley
Colorist: Morgan Hickman
Project Superpowers had a few different titles published by Dynamite around 2008-10. The line is coming back in March and I’ve had an advance look at the first issue. It was *not* what I was expecting. In fact, I’m not entirely sure if this is a relaunch or a reboot. Either way, they’re coming in from a different angle and with a very different flavor, so I’d call it a fresh start.
Whereas the original Project Superpowers saga had a feel along the lines of a 70s Marvel Avengers epic, Ellis is coming at this from a suspense and horror angle. The first issue is all about the slow burn.
There are strange goings on in the woods of Washington (state). A serial killer is on the prowl. There’s a mysterious flaming man on the march. Some possible demonic possession. Reading this the same week it was announced Agent Cooper will be back in the new Twin Peaks series, I was half expecting to see that character walk into a panel. Strange doings in small towns in the woods, though without the quirky humor of Twin Peaks.
One of the big things with horror comics is getting the atmosphere right and that’s working well here. The pacing is slow and deliberate, introducing the characters, hinting at secrets and being generally as creepy as possible. I wouldn’t say this is outright scary as Ellis and Worley are really foreshadowing something bad is on the way and perhaps a few kinds of bad are going to converge in the town of Blackcross.
You may recognize some of the characters that appear in glimpses. Black Terror, American Spirit, Lady Satan and so forth. The heroes are, for the most part, not themselves in the first chapter. Their presence and appearance is part of that creeping doom. That the American Spirit pops up with that familiar Alex Ross design is one of the things suggesting it might not be a full-on reboot, but I just can’t tell from the first 22 pages.
There certainly were enough mystic forces in the original Project Superpowers run, but it was more of an adventure comic with magic. Not all of the foreboding in this issue necessarily comes from sorcery, but that’s how the first issue feels.
Colton Worley was doing fine work on The Spider and he’s only improved here. He should be getting a little more attention than he is.
Warren Ellis seems restrained and measured here. Nothing over the top or splashy. Horror springing out of a dull and mundane setting. The problem with slow burn storytelling is it can take you a few issues to really know where the story is going. Often, the slow burn is there to set you on a false path and pull the rug out from under you, so I don’t necessarily trust what I see to be an accurate indicator of the big picture. I can only say that it’s a well told and drawn tale. And very, very different from what you might expect if you’re familiar with the previous run of the franchise.
Recommended for those who like their comics on the dark and sinister side and don’t mind a slowly building plot.
Proceed with caution if you prefer your superheroes with lots of explosions and fisticuffs up front. I suspect things will start blowing up around issue #3 or #4, but it’s unsolved mysteries and crises of a more spiritual and existential nature that make up the first issue.
The first 4 pages follow:
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Dynamite has been making a lot of announcements, and there isn’t even a con coming. Here’s the round-up:
• CEO Nick Barrucci is selling art from his personal collection by Tom Raney, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, and Patrick Zircher from books like The Outsiders, The Punisher, Uncanny X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Order, Robin, and more. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the CBLDF. Barrucci owns hundreds of pages of art, and fans can order by artist: orders will be filled randomly for $75 a page.
“Art collecting has been a passion of mine for years,” Barrucci explained. “For the past 30 years, I have been picking up pieces from my favorite artists whenever I can. I look at my collection on a regular basis, as I love to appreciate the form, and I was looking at some of these pages by great artists including Mark Bagley, Patrick Zircher and one of my favorite contemporary art teams – Tom Raney and Scott Hanna, and thought that while I have a great collection, I couldn’t possibly appreciate it all properly, as with Mark, Patrick, Tom and Scott I have over 400 pages of these fantastic artists and a few other incredible contemporary artists. I had contemplated selling these via auction houses, but realized that many fans may not have access to original art, and thought it would be cool to offer to the comics fan base first. This is the ultimate one-of-a-kind comics collectible as there is only one of each piece of original art, which is why we need to fill each order randomly.”
• Reanimator, a character created by H.P. Lovecraft in 1921, is coming back in a four-issue miniseries written by Keith Davidsen and illustrated by Randy Valiente, debuting in April. Variant covers include Jae Lee (Dark Tower), Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), and Andrew Mangum (Wilder).
In Reanimator, Dr. Herbert West heads to New Orleans to continue his life’s work: the revival of the dead by purely chemical means. To accomplish this task, he recruits Susan Greene, a young and wide-eyed pharmacologist fascinated by his macabre experiments. Initially unfazed by West’s unorthodox practices (including how he funds his research – by selling zombie brain fluid as a narcotic), Susan may regret her scientific curiosity as sinister forces – those aligned with Elder Gods and Haitian Voodoo – begin to align against the Reanimator. Reanimator blends mad science, Lovecraftian tentacle terror, backwater Louisianan superstition, and fan-favorite elements of such television shows as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
• Jungle Girl is also coming back in April, with cover art and writing by Frank Cho. Frank Cho and Jungle Girls…it’s like peanut butter and jelly. The series is co-written by Doug Murray (The ‘Nam) and illustrated by Jack Jadson (The Savage Hawkman).
Jungle Girl: Season Three picks up where the previous series left off, following Jana’s escape from an underwater city and a gigantic, otherworldly creature. However, her father soon reveals that those actions have doomed the Lost World in which they all live, as a wormhole appears in the sky and flaming debris begins to fall through. As the jungle burns, Jana and her friends must contend with stampeding behemoths and displaced, murderous natives. Furthermore, the rift presents a new, fearsome threat, for the fire from an alien dimension was not the only thing to come through.
“I’m delighted to be back with my co-creator, Doug Murray, and finish out the final story arc of Jungle Girl,” says Cho. And surely many will be delighted to see him back. What is it people like about jungle girl comics anyway? Could it be…the themes?
“Jungle Girl appeals to readers for the same reason that other such stories do,” says Murray. “We are fascinated by the ‘Noble Savage’, the man or woman who, untainted by society, lives a life filled with the challenge (and pleasure) of the hunt as he/she fights for survival. It’s a genre that has existed for over a century but was perfected by Edgar Rice Burroughs in Tarzan and associated books. The TV series Lost touched upon the same challenges and appeals.”
• AND the 2008 Shuster Award winner for “Outstanding Canadian Web Comics Creators” Looking For Group is getting an ongoing series. Written by Ryan Sohmer and illustrated by Lar deSouza, Hawk, Ryan Dunlavey, and Ed Ryzowski, with variant covers by Ty Templeton and Becky Dreistadt, and bonus stories from the Non-Playable Character and Tiny Dick Adventures spin-off series.
Looking For Group follows the adventures of Cale’Anon the elf and Richard the undead warlock, as well as their companions, through Fantasy, Pop Culture, and Gaming tropes, set in a reality and time unlike our own. It’s a place where the eating of small children is not necessarily frowned upon; where beings of extraordinary power can destroy entire villages with only “because I could” as an excuse; where magic and adventure are as commonplace as setting fire to, and then reanimating, a chipmunk into a skeletal minion (it happens more than you’d think); and an epic journey can begin by an accident of fate.