Two and a half weeks after informing attendees that pre-registration for Comic-Con International 2014 wouldn’t occur in November, organizers have announced they’re postponing the process until early next year to “fine-tune” the online system.
“Although we have been working around the clock with EPIC Registration, there is still room for improvement,” states the new update on the convention’s blog. “Because we want to have as fully developed a product as possible we have decided to postpone Comic-Con 2014 badge preregistration until early next year. We know this is a disappointment and are sincerely sorry for the delay. However it really is our hope to avoid some of the issues we’ve had in the past and the additional time will allow us and EPIC to best address those issues.”
Organizers say the hope to implement new features, including a shopping cart that “should allow you to hold available badge inventory for all members of your party during your registration session,” single-session purchasing for multiple badges, a unique registration code to help weed out the landing page and waiting room, and extensive load-testing.
Comic-Con International 2014 will be held July 24-27 in San Diego.
Sequart has premiered a clip from its upcoming documentary The Image Revolution in which Image Comics founders Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane recount the fateful meeting they and Jim Lee had 22 years ago this month with then-Marvel Comics Publisher Terry Stewart. It’s an oft-repeated tale — it’s part of Image’s origin story, after all — that benefits from Liefeld’s animated storytelling and impressions.
Funded in part through Kickstarter, the documentary from director Patrick Meaney, Sequart and Respect! Films traces the 20-year history of Image, “from its founders’ work at Marvel, through Image’s early days, the ups and downs of the ’90s, and the publisher’s new generation of properties like The Walking Dead.”
You can preorder The Image Revolution for $4.99 digital download at Sequart.
The shortlist has been announced for the 2014 Stan Lee Excelsior Award, whose winners will be selected by students from 77 secondary schools across the United Kingdom.
Established in 2011 by Paul Register, a school librarian in Sheffield, the awards are designed to promote comics and to encourage children and teenagers to read. The winners — first, second and third place — will be announced in July. The nominees are:
- Indestructible Hulk: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu (Marvel)
- Quantum and Woody: The World’s Worst Superhero Team, by James Asmus and Tom Fowler (Valiant)
- The Judas Coin, by Walter Simonson (DC Comics)
- Aliens: Inhuman Condition, by John Layman and Sam Kieth (Dark Horse)
- Earth 2: The Gathering, by James Robinson and Nicola Scott (DC Comics)
- Sherlock Bones, by Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato (Kodansha)
- Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z, by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. (Marvel)
- The Halloween Legion, by Martin Powell and Thomas Boatwright (Dark Horse)
ComiXology has unveiled its own version of an Advent calendar with a countdown called the “12 Days of Free Comics.”
The promotion is exactly what it sounds like: Each day between today and Dec. 20 (alas, not Christmas), the company is offering a different digital comic for free. To kick things off, there’s Batman #13, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV and Jock, the first issue in the “Death of the Family” storyline. Day 2 is … well, you’ll have to check back with comiXology to find out.
“Over the course of these 12 days we’re making holiday giving easier than it’s ever been,” comiXology co-founder John D. Roberts said in a statement. “These twelve days aren’t just to give back to the fans that have made comiXology so great but also to let those fans share the love of comics with everyone they know.”
Fair warning, though: Readers have just 24 hours to claim their free comic; by the time Day 2 of the promotion arrives, Batman #13 will no longer be available (for free, at any rate; it’ll regularly cost you $2.99).
On the heels of Penny Arcade‘s 15th anniversary, creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik have announced they’re scaling back by closing the Penny Arcade News Report video-game news site and ending Penny Arcade TV as an outlet for third-party content. Instead, they’ll focus on projects a little closer to the core webcomic.
“… I don’t think I want to ‘grow my business’ anymore; I sort of want to do the opposite,” Holkins wrote on Friday. “And I’m tired, sick to death, of saying ‘Maybe Someday’ when it comes to the things we really want to make. So, we’re not going to do that anymore. The next year is going to be a pretty big one, one of the biggest yet; it’s the year the previous fifteen have been leading up to in the literal sense but also in other ways. I think they’re going to be ‘big years’ from now on, frankly. And it hurts pretty bad, but I don’t know where PATV as a ‘channel’ for third party shows and The Penny Arcade Report fit into that. We’ll be shutting those things down at the end of this year.”
Their Child’s Play charity and Penny Arcade Expo will continue — “We will do everything in our power to ensure that these things outlast us by a wide margin,” Holkins assured — as will the fourth season of the documentary Penny Arcade: The Series. However, there was no mention of Strip Search, the online reality show for webcomics creators.
It wasn’t that long ago that we showcased Paolo Rivera’s amazing Herge-inspired wedding invitation, and now we have some terrific souvenirs from the ceremony of Andie Tong.
The artist, whose work ranges from Spectacular Spider-Man (U.K.) to The Batman Strikes! to the upcoming Zodiac with Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, drew adorable “power couples” from comics and film for cards that were given to his wedding guests. Fans may quibble with Tong pairing Superman with Wonder Woman, rather than Lois Lane, but I imagine the guests were pleased with the favors.
With Tong’s permission, we’ve posted all of the illustrations below.
While a lot of nerdy parody videos and songs can be a chore to endure, Not Literally Productions’ ode to shipping, “I Ship It,” is really enjoyable, in part because it spoofs Icona Pop’s ubiquitous “I Don’t Care,” which bores into your brain like one of those eels from Star Trek II, but also because the lyrics are pretty clever.
For instance, “You’re on the canon ground, I’m up in crack ship space; Let’s start a shipping war, I don’t care if I get hate; Don’t like my pairings? Well, then you can hit the bricks; This is my OTP, I’ll go down with this ship.”
I apologize in advance for getting this stuck in your head.
I suppose the first clue that this wedding was going to be exceptionally nerdy, and potentially dangerous, was that the groom and groomsmen were decked out in pieces of armor. So it probably shouldn’t have been surprising when the minister was interrupted by a knight.
However, the choreographed sword fight with the groom? That was a bit tougher to predict. And no one could have anticipated cameos by an indecipherable Iron Man, an alarmingly manic Batman, the world’s wimpiest ninjas or … the battling bell-hops. Oh, or Jimmy Hart.
But, hey, the minister was a good sport.
“It’s a terrible jumping-on point. I don’t think I’ve written an issue 20-something of anything that I’ve done that is a good jumping-on point. With the way you can download all the books now and everything is collected in trades, I’m not even sure I buy into the validity of the argument that every issue should be able to be read as if it was somebody’s first issue. That, of course, may be a complete construct to prop up my inability to do that. [Laughs] So yeah, it’s a terrible jumping on point …”
– writer Jonathan Hickman, addressing the notion that the “Point Now” part of Avengers #24.NOW means the issue is a good jumping-on point for new readers. Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, has a differing opinion on the matter.
Continuing the march of best-of-the-year lists, the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog has compiled its list of the Top 10 graphic novels for kids in 2013. It’s a pretty diverse group, ranging from historical fiction to fantasy to biography, with Abrams, First Second and Top Shelf well-represented:
- Fairy Tales Comics, edited by Chris Duffy(First Second)
- Odd Ducks, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
- Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Donner Dinner Party, by Nathan Hale (Abrams)
- Monster on the Hill: Book One, by Rob Harrell (Top Shelf)
- Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix)
- Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
- March: Book One, by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
- Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
- The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book One: Spelling Trouble, by Frank Cammuso (Abrams)
Follow the link to read about the Good Comics For Kids bloggers have to say about each of the selections.
ComiXology has branched out into yet another arena with the launch of eBay Digital Comics, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a dedicated digital-comics marketplace for users of the auction and shopping website. It’s now in limited beta test in the United States.
TechCrunch reports that while eBay previously permitted merchants to offer some digital items, with this expansion the website is actually involved in curating and selling content.
The new storefront essentially serves as a display window — for now, at least — allowing eBay users to browse the collection by character. Once a title is selected, buyers are taken to its page on comiXology, where they have to have an account to actually make a purchase. The FAQ at eBay Digital Comics indicates that, “We are working to provide you with the ability to purchase digital comics on eBay with your eBay account.”
Continuing the theme of the previous post, Great Pacific writer Joe Harris pulls back on the curtain to reveal what might have been had DC Comics not canceled The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men earlier this year.
On his blog, Harris, who came on board the series as co-writer with Issue 7, touches upon some of his ideas that never made their way into the book — “Things got changed around a bit, and I had to do a lot of rewriting to fit shifting plans, sudden crossovers, and other changes made on high, so much of this stuff never saw the light of day” — before breaking out something truly impressive: the “mindmap.”
You can check it out for yourself at the link, but it’s effectively a flow chart that lays out his vision for “Firestorm Year Two & Beyond,” with color-coded plot threads. I’m a habitual list- and chart-maker, so I was instantly drawn in by Harris’ dedication to planning and detail.
However, the writer notes, “Honestly, this map, while big, is conservative for me. You should see the master sheet I keep together for X-Files ideas!”
As with Cullen Bunn’s exploration of the development of The Fearless Defenders, Harris’ post and accompanying chart makes for interesting reading for fans and process junkies alike.
With the release this week of the 12th issue, writer Cullen Bunn says goodbye to Marvel’s canceled Fearless Defenders with a post that should be of interest to both fans of the series and those interested in a look at the comic-book process.
“We were (according to many) over-sexualized, pandering, a long shot, a sleeper hit, too silly, too cruel, too compressed, too decompressed, and a host of other contradictions … which works for the spirit of the book, I think,” Bunn writes on his website. “But there were a lot of folks who REALLY loved this book … even when they were really mad at us. And that means a lot to me. Those folks made it all worthwhile … and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing them online and at conventions for years to come.”
LEGO modelers the Arvo Brothers have recreated Kaneda’s bike from Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark manga and anime Akira, using only those little Danish bricks, of course. What’s more, they’re going to share just how they did it in a 200-page book that will be available beginning next week — complete with die-cut decals.
Among the nominees announced earlier this week for the 41st annual Annie Awards is none other than Guy Davis, creator of The Marquis and longtime artist of B.P.R.D., for his contribution to the opening titles of The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” He shares the nod for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production with director Guillermo del Toro and storyboard artist Ralph Sosa.
Davis, who provided the monster designs for del Toro’s Pacific Rim, has been described by the director as “one of the best monster designers alive right now!” Their collaborations go beyond those two projects, however: Davis is a concept artist for FX’s upcoming vampire thriller The Strain, based on the horror novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan (the filmmaker co-wrote and directed the pilot, and serves as an executive producer), and on the long-discussed feature adaptation of Pinocchio.
The Simpsons couch gag, which you can watch below, is an epic homage to some of the director’s own works as well as horror classics, filled to the brim with references to Ray Harryhausen, Alfred Hitchcock, H.P. Lovecraft and more.
The winners of the Annie Awards, which recognize excellence in animation, will be announced Feb. 1.