Comics are a visual medium, and some images grab your attention at the outset. In the case of writer/artist Matthew Petz‘s War of the Woods, I liked the story from the moment I saw a live turtle being used as the otter Phin’s helmet.
The digital series, which reveals an alien invasion of Earth from the perspective of an animal kingdom, has completed two seasons (both Season 1 and Season 2 are available on comiXology) with more on the horizon. Petz recently took some time to discuss how the series came into being and some of his plans for Season 3.
Police in Nottinghamshire, England, are on the lookout for the thief who swiped the sign for the sleepy village of Gotham. And while they don’t have any suspect, they are looking in the direction of Batman fans.
“It is of little scrap metal value, so it may be more to do with a prank, particularly given the name on it,” police community support officer Anthony Davies told the Nottingham Post. “But it is not a prank because it is going to cost Nottinghamshire County Council money to replace it, so I would ask anyone who knows where the sign is to let us know.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a federal judge last week sided with the toymaker in its 2013 lawsuit against writer Donald Glut, who claimed he created the characters in 1981, owns the copyrights and merely licenses them to Mattel (a license, he said, that would expire in 2016).
The company insisted Glut was commissioned to write “He-Man and the Power Sword,” “The Vengeance of Skeletor,” “Battle in the Clouds” and “King of Castle Grayskull” and to create backstories for He-Man and other characters under the direction of the toymaker. Mattel noted the writer acknowledged as recently as 2001 that the minicomics were work for hire for which he received neither credit nor royalties. Besides, the toymaker argued, if there were any confusion about the rights, Glut had a legal obligation to come forward years ago.
Glut’s attorneys countered that his delay wasn’t unreasonable, as he believed his claim fell within the termination period stipulated by U.S. copyright law. But Mattel insisted that because the minicomics were work for hire, Glut never owned the copyright to be able to license or terminate it.
Glut, who wrote the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back, also penned episodes of such animated series as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Transformers and Centurions, as well as issues of Marvel’s Captain America, Conan Saga, The Invaders. Kull the Destroyer and The Savage Sword of Conan.
“The idea was to take the unused, ‘sleeping’ video game characters of our past and bring them back first with webcomics, and then – once they had gotten enough traction – expand into other media like web animation, games, and merchandise,” Cory Casoni, ShiftyLook’s head of marketing, explained today on the website. “I’m happy to say that we’ve done this with Wonder Momo, Bravoman, and some other very cool characters [...] That said, now that we have successfully revived so many franchises, the heavy lifting is completed – and so is our work. We battled the video games abyss and won, which means it’s time for us to move on and let the hit-makers play with some new toys.”
Launched in March 2012, ShiftyLook featured such creators as Ryan North, Jim Zubkavich, Christopher Hastings, Ben McCool, Dean Haspiel and Hitoshi Ariga working on classic properties like Wonder Momo, Dig Dug, Galaga and Bravoman.
Wonder Momo, which Casoni characterized as ShiftyLook’s “star franchise,” is being developed as a game by WayForward Technologies.
Casoni details all of the dates for the closing at ShiftyLook.com; the website will no longer be updated as of March 20, and the servers will shut down on Sept. 30.
Mark Smylie is important to comics for a couple of reasons: Not only does he make Artesia, an epic series of lushly drawn and intricately detailed military fantasy comics, but he also created the company Archaia in order to publish the series. He contributed a story to the Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard anthology and has provided illustrations for collectible card and role-playing games, including the Artesia RPG he designed himself.
Last week, Smylie added to his accomplishments with the release of The Barrow, a prose novel set in the world of Artesia and published by Pyr.
IDW Publishing has announced the return of Kill Shakespeare in June with The Mask of Night, a four-issue pirate adventure from series creators Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery and Andy Belanger.
Debuting in April 2010, Kill Shakespeare is an epic adventure in which Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff, Romeo and Puck search for William Shakespeare, a reclusive wizard believed to have the ability to help them in their fight against evil forces led by Richard III, Lady Macbeth and Iago.
The initial 12-issue miniseries inspired a 2013 sequel, The Tide of Blood, and a Kickstarter-funded board game, which is scheduled to arrive in May.
In The Mask of Night, Hamlet, Juliet, Othello and Shakespeare become pawns in a game of survival between the masked pirate Captain Cesario, his first mate Viola and Titus Adronicus’ warship the Lavinia.
“Not only does it include characters from our previous books but [it] incorporates one of Shakespeare’s most famous heroines, Viola, who we have refashioned into one of the coolest female pirates ever,” Del Col said in a statement. “I think fans — both new and old — are going to find this homage to classic pirate tales a real treat.”As the cast of characters ties in to the board game, IDW Games is offering all four issues of The Mask of Knight to anyone who backs the Kickstarter campaign at the game level.
While I’m wary (to put it mildly) of throwing around trite phrases like “breakout artist” and “hot new cartoonist,” it sure seems like Sam Alden has a certain enthusiasm building around him in indie circles. Reading Wicked Chicken Queen, it’s not hard to see why. Whatever your initial reaction might be on glancing at that title, I can tell you I didn’t expect anything nearly as graceful, thoughtful and moving as this comic turned out to be.
Organizers of the inaugural Capital City Comic Con in Austin, Texas, have apologized for a criticized promotional flier that depicts a close-up of Power Girl’s breasts with the slogan, “Everything is BIGGER in Austin,” saying, “We want everyone to feel safe at our convention and not feel offended.”
“In response to our prior ad campaign, the proper steps are being taken in regards to this situation,” reads a statement posted early Sunday on the event’s Facebook page. “Capital City Comic Con did not mean to offend or harm anyone, in any way. Our advertising department has been contacted and changes to our marketing material and plan are being made. [...] As for our future plans, we will no longer use the image of superheroes (or any character) in such fashion. We wish to apologize to anyone we may have offended with our initial promotional campaign.”
Manga | In Japan, as elsewhere, people would rather read about farming than actually do it; agriculture has become a popular topic for manga, and the Agriculture Ministry recently announced an award for manga that raise interest in farming. The article mainly focuses on Hiromu Arakawa’s Silver Spoon, which has recently been made into a movie; Arakawa is also the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, a fact the article omits. [The Wall Street Journal]
Awards | Silver Spoon was on of the 10 nominees for this year’s Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize; two manga that are published in English, Attack on Titan and Animal Land, also made the list. [Anime News Network]
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
This week we focus in on some great new comics, including Veil and Afterlife with Archie, as well as the benefit auctions for Stan Sakai and his wife. Plus free comics! What’s better than that? So without further ado, let’s get to it …
comiXology announced today that they will offer 100 self-published comics for $10, as they celebrate the “one-year anniversary of comiXology Submit at SXSW today.” The special deal is available through Monday at 11 p.m. Eastern.
comiXology Submit allows independent creators and cartoonists to upload their comic book and graphic novels into comiXology at no cost. The package of 100 comics includes some really good stuff, including The Bunker #1, Becky Cloonan’s The Mire, Moth City #2, The Deep: Here Be Dragons #1 and The Antler Boy and Other Stories, which alone costs $9.99.
The deal goes along with a whole week’s worth of comics that comiXology has been giving away at South by Southwest, which included the first Locke & Key trade paperback, issues of Smallville and XO Manowar, and more. Visit their Tumblr to get the redemption codes, as some of them expire tonight.
Check out the full press release after the jump
Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn. Today’s collection comes all the way from Dagobah — “where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda” — as Joey Endres shares his collection of Yoda toys, statues and more.
If you’d like to share your collection here on Robot 6, you can find details on how to do that at the end of the post.
And now let’s hear from Joey.
The first of the Comic Art Professional Society benefit auctions for Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai and his wife Sharon has launched on eBay, featuring original artwork by the likes of Mike Allred, Dan Brereton, Josè Luis Garcìa-Lòpez, Mike Mignola and Jeff Smith.
Sharon Sakai suffers from a debilitating illness that required an extended hospital stay and convalescence; she’s back at home but requires 24-hour care and medications that exceed their insurance coverage. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Sakais to help cover their medical expenses.
As recent controversies surrounding the successful Denver Comic Con and the canceled River-Con illustrate, organizing a comics convention is riddled with potential pitfalls. If you need further evidence, look no further than Julian Lawler, whose El Paso Comic Con has experienced more than its fair share of difficulties.
In a preview of this weekend’s event El Paso in Comics (EPIC), KFOX TV14 runs down the criticisms made against what Lawler characterizes as “the most scrutinized comic con in the country.” There apparently have been “many” instances in which celebrities (most recently Shannon Elizabeth) claim they’ve been wrongly promoted as appearing at the convention, which the organizer attributes largely “agent breakdown communication.”
Eddie Campbell has made a name for himself among the upper echelon of modern comics creator, both for his collaboration with Alan Moore, From Hell, and for his own stories like Alec, Bacchus and the recent, great look at the concept of money, The Lovely Horrible Stuff. He’s created a lot of stories, but he’s far from finished.
This summer William Morrow will release the cartoonist’s illustrated version of Neil Gaiman’s The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, and Top Shelf will publish a two-part omnibus edition of Bacchus. In addition, the Glasgow-born artist is working on two new projects, the first being a book about the roots of sports cartoons in late 19th-century San Francisco, and the other a collaboration with Audrey Niffenegger, author of the smash prose novel The Time Traveler’s Wife. ROBOT 6 spoke with Campbell about these upcoming projects, as well as his past works and the stories behind them — including last year’s From Hell Companion, which he compiled and wrote using never-before-seen materials from both himself and Moore.