IMAGE EXPO: New Projects Revealed From Rucka, Simone, Aaron and More
News from New York started pouring out last week before New York Comic Con even started, as publishers got a jump-start on press releases leading into the show, and ICv2‘s Conference on Comics and Digital provided plenty of discussion points about the current and future state of the industry.
• At Comic Book Resources, Kiel Phegley has a thorough report from the conference, where Milton Griepp of ICv2 shared that industry sales are down in 2010, as comic sales are only slightly up at 1 percent, with a 20-percent decline in the graphic novel category. Manga sales are also down 20 percent. The bulk of the conference focused on an area where the story isn’t quite so grim — digital comics. While ICv2’s 2009 report gave a $500,000 to $1 million sales estimate for digital, 2010’s number pointed toward a market of $6 to 8 million.
• Coinciding with the conference and the con, several companies, of course, had announcements regarding their digital plans. Dark Horse announced a new homegrown digital comics app that will work across the various Apple devices and on the web, offering single issues for $1.49. It will be available in January. BOOM! Studios made three announcements late last week, about its comics being available on the PSP and from MyDigitalComics.com. The publisher also announced the availability of Farscape through its comiXology app on the iPad and iPhone. Longbox announced that its comics app will be “the exclusive pre-installed service for purchasing, cataloguing and reading digital comics on all four of Notion Ink’s announced tablets.” And finally DC Comics announced Sunday that Hank Kanalz, former general manager of WildStorm, will head up the DC Digital Comics division in Burbank, Calif. Kanalz jumped right into his new role, leading a Sunday panel on DC’s digital initiatives.
• Both Marvel and DC Comics announced changes to their pricing strategies starting in January. Marvel plans to price new series at $2.99 vs. $3.99, while DC will cut prices (and pages) on its $3.99 titles. With both announcements coming out late last week, that left plenty of time for discussion.
So, lots of business news, but what about the con itself? What about publishing news? What about Moon Knight? There was plenty to talk about on that front as well:
Comic Book News
• Comic legend Stan Lee is still making comics, and headlines, at 87 years old, as his company, POW! Entertainment, seems to be signing deals with everyone. Just this weekend brought news that Lee and POW! have projects involving the National Hockey League, MTV and even William Shakespeare.
• Nick Spencer, the writer of Morning Glories and Existence, was also on a roll this weekend. Not only has he been tapped to write Supergirl (with artist Bernard Chang) but he’s also writing a new War Machine series called Iron Man 2.0, with artist Barry Kitson. His Jimmy Olsen co-feature in Action Comics, which could have been a casualty of the price wars, will find new life as a one-shot. And finally, he has a new miniseries coming out in January from Image Comics called Infinite Vacation, with artist Christian Ward.
• Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, of Daredevil and Scarlet fame, are working on a new Moon Knight series. “We came up with a hook for this that you’ve never seen before,” Bendis said. They will continue their work on Scarlet at the same time.
• Bendis and his daughter, Olivia, are teaming up with Powers co-creator/artist Michael Avon Oeming on a new creator-owned, all-ages comic called Takio, about two sisters with super powers. Icon will publish the book, which starts in February.
• Bendis and Michael Gaydos will reunite for an Alias miniseries tied to developments for Jessica Jones in New Avengers. The title is expected to debut in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• James Robinson’s upcoming Shade series will run 12 issues, with three three-part stories and some “Times Past” stories with different artists. Robinson is also doing a Congorilla one-shot and, apparently/possibly, a Hawkman series.
• Jason Aaron and Ron Garney will team up for an Ultimate Captain America miniseries in January. Andy Diggle and Adi Granov are working on an Astonishing Captain America mini, while Daniel Way and Jason Pearson will do an arc of Astonishing X-Men.
• Two Milestone titles will see new life next year, as Xombi returns in February and Static Shock comes back in April.
• The Legion Academy, which will be introduced in Legion of Super-Heroes #6, will get its own series after a run in Adventure Comics.
• Stan Lee isn’t the only one working with a sports league, it seems. Marvel announced it is working on a project with the National Basketball Association and showed artwork that mashed up NBA players like Labron James with classic Marvel covers.
• Vertigo officially announced Anthony Bourdain’s Get Jiro!, Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s New York Five miniseries and a new project by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso.
• Dark Horse announced several new projects starring Steve Nile’s Cal MacDonald character of Criminal Macabre fame, including a Goon/Criminal Macabre one-shot.
• Marvel’s Onslaught character will return for Onslaught Unleashed in February, by writer Sean McKeever.
• Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning announced a one-shot that will follow the Thanos Imperative called Devastation Wave. Marvel is holding off on any announcements concerning the direction of its cosmic titles until after the Thanos series concludes.
• Disney Publishing revealed details on a number of projects, including an Epic Mickey graphic novel and a Pirates of the Caribbean anthology, with at least one story that serves as a prequel to the next movie, On Stranger Tides. They’re also planning to turn BOOM!’s Muppet Show series into motion comics.
• Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic are teaming up for a new series from Image called Who is Jake Ellis? “This is the story of Jon Moore, a spy for hire, who for five years has been hiding out in Europe along with Jake Ellis, a man invisible to everyone except Jon; a man capable of seeing things that Jon cannot, of predicting things,” Edmondson said. “Jake is a mystery. All that we know – all that the protagonist, Jon knows – is that he is the only one who can see, hear and interact with Jake. Jake might be a figment of his imagination, an imaginary friend; whatever he is, he’s Jon’s guardian angel, his goose with the golden egg, his guide.”
• Dark Horse announced a follow-up miniseries to Baltimore: The Plague Ships called Baltimore: The Curse Bells.
• Several of IDW’s licensed titles will participate in a crossover called Infestation, as a zombie infestation spreads into the Transformers, GI Joe, Ghostbusters and Star Trek universes.
• Archaia Comics announced an anthology called BleedOut that “explores the fallout that occurs after one of the world’s most precious and coveted resources vanishes for good.” Written by Michael Kennedy, the stories will feature art by Howard Chaykin, Gary Erskine, Ben Templesmith, Tim Bradstreet, Trevor Hairsine and Glenn Fabry.
• Archie announced it acquired the comic-book rights to the video game Mega Man.
• And Godzilla will return to comics in a new series from IDW next February.
• IDW will also relaunch its Doctor Who comic in January.
• Writer Christos Gage has signed an exclusivity agreement with Marvel.
• A trilogy of The Walking Dead prose novels is in the works.
• DC will launch a Batman Beyond ongoing series after the miniseries wraps up.
Movies, Video Games and Television
• DC offered a first look at its upcoming Green Lantern animated series for the Cartoon Network. The company also announced the Red Lanterns will appear in the first season.
• DC also shared details and clips about its next two animated DVD projects, the Superman/Shazam! one and All-Star Superman.
• IGN has a thorough report from the Young Justice animated series panel, which includes descriptions of the “sizzle reel” that was shown.
• Activision announced a new X-Men game, X-Men: Destiny, that’s due next year. Written by Mike Carey, the game will feature “a rich, branching storyline that features a deep element of choice and gives players ultimate control of their destiny.” They also released a teaser trailer.
• Speaking of video games and the X-Men, the classic Konami X-Men arcade game will “soon” be available on the Playstation Network and XBox Live.
• MODOK and Magneto have joined the cast of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.