Comic-Con International has come and gone, and like every year, we’re left with a metric ton of announcements, hints, speculations, sneak previews, leaked footage and open questions.
There also seemed to be more pre-convention announcements than I can remember seeing in previous years. If the past week or so of frenzied news wasn’t enough, panel coverage and from is still rolling out. Based on the past several years, we should see those continue to be doled out for the next week or two.Comic-Con is truly a month-long event, maybe almost two months when all is said and done. So it’s understandable if it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of what was announced when or to even remember that awesome thing I was so excited about a week ago but can’t name now.
There are plenty that stuck with me, however; I’ve already written about comiXology’s DRM-free titles, and some of Image’s upcoming titles, and there were plenty of others. Of course, I can’t mention all of the cool things to emerge from Comic-Con — that would just be a near duplication of everything we’ve heard about for about a month now. So instead, here are six (more) things from Comic-Con I can remember thinking were extra-awesome:
In the wake of Comic-Con International, The A.V. Club launched a week-long celebration of comics — called, appropriately enough, Comics Week — that’s included a discussion about diversity by Janelle Asselin, Karl Bollers and G. Willow Wilson, an interview with Becky Cloonan, a spotlight on the comics-inspired song “Alley Oop,” and a comics tribute by Ryan Brown (God Hate Astronauts) to his influences.
However, as much as I’ve liked all of the pieces, my favorite so far is easily cartoonist Chad Sell‘s touching ode to Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s The Authority #8, and how the depiction of Apollo and Midnighter’s relationship affected him as both a closeted teen and as a budding artist.
With Comic-Con International 2014 a few day behind us, everyone has a chance to unpack, rest up and get ready for the next big convention (New York Comic Con is Oct. 9-12, by the way). But before we’re completely finished with San Diego, let’s take a look at some interesting numbers from the big event:
• Comic-Con International is by far the largest event on the San Diego Convention Center’s 2014 calendar, with its 130,000 attendees, in the words of The New York Times, “far outstripping the combined total of its next four largest conventions, expected to be about 62,500 people.” According to a convention center report (PDF), this year’s installment was estimated to have a $177.8 million economic impact.
Reports of the Avengers: Age of Ultron footage screened Saturday at Comic-Con International have you wishing May 1 would hurry up and get here … well, there’s nothing I can do about that. However, I can point you to the latest installment in CineFix’s 8-Bit Cinema series, which allows you to experience Marvel’s The Avengers once again, only this time as a classic arcade game.
Some comic book heroes enjoyed their heydays well before toymakers began churning out action figures, and therefore never found a place on shelves beside the likes of Superman, Batman and Captain America. However, Bill Murphy hopes to change that with his Amazing Heroes Kickstarter campaign.
With a goal of $30,000, Murphy plans to produce a line of action figures based on the Black Terror, the original Daredevil, Stardust and other Golden Age heroes that have lapsed into the public domain. He says he even has the permission of the rights holders of Captain Action, a toy introduced in the mid-’60s, to produce a figure based on that character.
Scholastic’s Graphix graphic novel imprint turns 10 next year, and editorial director David Saylor announced at Comic-Con International that the imprint will kick off its anniversary with a new edition of its launch title, Jeff Smith’s Bone #1: Out from Boneville.
The new edition will include a new poem by Smith, illustrated in full color, as well as Bone tribute art from 16 creators, including Craig Thompson (Blankets, Habibi), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) Jeffrey Brown (Vader’s Little Princess) and Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet).
The new edition will be published simultaneously in the United States and Canada.
In addition to Bone, Graphix is the publisher of Telgemeier’s Smile, Drama and the upcoming Sisters, Kibuishi’s Amulet and Doug TenNapel’s Bad Island and Cardboard. Seven Graphix books have made The New York Times graphic books bestseller list, and Sisters is likely to join them, as it is debuting with an initial print run of 200,000.
Saylor made the announcement Thursday night at Scholastic’s Comic-Con party, where Smith and most of the contributing artists were present. The poem was projected on a wall above the venue.
DC Comics’ Selfie Variant Month posed a particular problem for Batman ’66, the digital-first series set in the world of the 1966-1968 television show, decades before the introduction of smartphones, or even digital cameras. Cover artist Joe Quinones could’ve gone with an instant camera, of course — what screams “1960s” more than a Polaroid Model 20 Swinger? — but instead he came up with a solution that’s both funnier and in keeping with the tone of the TV series.
Conventions | Image Comics content manager David Brothers explains why this year’s Comic-Con International was a great convention, pointing out that there’s a lot more to the event than movies and television, and there’s a lot more to comics than the Big Two: “Marvel and DC are comics, just like the other publishers, and they make some great ones when they let the creators do their own thing. But at this point? You can’t treat them like the entirety of the comics industry, or even two companies that can dictate the future of comics. They run the movies, and that’s cool, but running comics? It’s just not true any more. Image in particular outsells Marvel in the book market as far as trade paperbacks go, and that holds true in the comics market lately, too. That’s no coincidence. People enjoy Marvel and DC, but they want more than Marvel and DC.” [io9.com]
An Archie Comics collection was recently banned in Singapore because it features the marriage of gay character Kevin Keller, but Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men #51 managed to escape a similar fate and remains available.
Although that 2012 issue depicts the wedding of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu, Singapore’s Today reports the Media Development Authority determined it was a balanced depiction of same-sex marriage.
“The issue featured characters who objected to the wedding and this offered a balanced treatment on the issue of gay marriage,” an MDA spokesman told the website. In the comic, by Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins, Warbird tells Northstar she “doesn’t recognize the validity of the ceremony vows,” and therefore won’t attend.
The MDA is tasked with both promoting and regulating Singapore’s media industries. Under the Content Guidelines for Imported Publications, those “that encourage, promote or glamourise sexually permissive and alternative lifestyles and deviant sexual practices are generally not allowed.”
Cameron Stewart has a clean, distinguishable artistic style, with a hint of a manga influence, but with panel-to-panel transitions that are more delicate and subdued. His art has become quite popular, with his redesign of Batgirls costume creating something of an Internet sensation. While his artwork lends itself easily to all-ages comics, he’s frequently collaborated with Grant Morrison on such titles as Seaguy, Seven Soldiers and Batman & Robin.
However, his art has also appeared in strange psychological thrillers. In 2010, his webcomic Sin Titulo won the Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic, after it had already won the 2009 Shuster Award in the same category.
Merchandise — toys, apparel, posters, etc. — was the strongest category, climbing 10.4 percent over the same period in 2013, while graphic novels inch upward 2.9 percent. Sales of comics slipped 1.4 percent. In a statement, Chris Powell, Diamond’s vice president of retailer services, framed the performances of the comics and graphic novel categories as “level compared to last year, but [they] are still 12 percent above 2012 sales figures.”
Mash-ups are pretty easy to come by in the Internet Age. Flash as a Ingmar Bergman movie? Of course that exists. Hello Kitty as Darth Vader? Hello, new cosplay idea. Optimus Prime as a My Little Pony? I’m … I’m pretty sure that’s an official IDW thing. Everything’s a mash-up these days. In fact, you might be a bit sick of it. If I mention, for example, the phrase “Charlie Brown in a post-apocalyptic future,” you cannot be blamed for rolling your eyes so hard that your pupils disappear into your hear, resembling the blank ovals of Li’l Orphan Annie.
But what if I were to tell you it was also rather good? Jason Yungbluth’s Weapon Brown was something of a hit among the snarkier fans of comics strips, i.e. those of the Comics Curmudgeon variety. You know, the kind who enjoy taking a bite out of obsolete zombie comics that populate the funny pages, but deep down have a strong affection for them and an appreciation for the hard-working creators who made them. The comic was originally serialized at whatisdeepfried.com. After “one of the most successful comic book Kickstarter campaigns of 2013,” Weapon Brown was collected into paperback and hardcover earlier this year. On Aug. 13, Yungbluth will be on hand at Forbidden Planet in New York City to sign copies of his book.
Fans with a little extra cash in their pockets — OK, a lot of cash — have a chance to acquire pieces of Dark Knight history, as ComicConnect and Metropolis Collectibles are auctioning Batman co-creator Bob Kane’s own file copies of the character’s earliest appearances.
Those searching for pristine editions of Detective Comics #27 or Batman #1 will have to look elsewhere. These are copies of Detective Comics #27-45 and Batman #1-3 that were bound by DC Comics for editorial reference — as you can see, there’s a row of holes down the left — and later given to Kane. Still, the colors remain vibrant.
“Treasures like this only surface once in a blue moon,” ComicConnect/Metropolis Collectibles CEO Stephen Fishler said in a statement. “I was lucky enough to know Bob Kane. He told me, along with others, that he was just 17 when he sold the Batman character to an unwitting DC. Once the franchise took off, he leveraged that to renegotiate his contract with DC, and the file copies were part of the deal.”
Piracy | The Japanese government is joining with 15 anime production companies and manga publishers to launch a major initiative that will target foreign pirate sites. The push will start Aug. 1 and will have two components: The government will send takedown requests to 580 pirate sites and also launch a website that directs people to legitimate sources of online manga. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that Chinese pirate sites cost the industry 560 billion yen (about $5.5 million) last year. [Crunchyroll]
Comics | Lidia Jean Kott talks with writer Jason Aaron about his female Thor and pays a visit to Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., where a quarter of the customers are women and the bestselling title is Saga (the bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel). [NPR]
Jon Stewart kicked off last night’s episode of The Daily Show with coverage the weekend scuffle in Times Square between New York City police and a man dressed as Ultimate Spider-Man. Hey, if the New York Post can put the story on the front page, The Daily Show can lead with it.
The webslinger, one of numerous costumed characters (several of whom are dress as Spider-Man), was reportedly confronted by an officer after he demanded at least $5 from a family for posing for a photo. Police say when the wall-crawler cursed at the officer and told him to mind his own business — and when the cop moved in to arrest him, things got heated.