“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.
Say what you will about the shareholders of Stan Lee Media, but despite suffering one loss after another in their decade-long battle for the rights to Marvel’s best-known characters, they’re still unwilling to concede defeat.
In papers filed Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia, and first reported by Deadline, the failed dot-com now seeks a declaratory judgment that it, and not Disney or Marvel, owns Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Thor and other superheroes.
The move, which comes just three months after an annoyed federal judge dismissed their multibillion-dollar claim against Disney, springs from a lawsuit filed in September by the media giant against the American Music Theatre, which is accused of using elements of Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King in a stage revue without permission. In a surprise twist, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based theater responded last month that it has a license to use Spider-Man and numerous other Marvel heroes — through an exclusive agreement with Stan Lee Media. Somewhat conveniently, American Music Theatre filed a third-party counterclaim against Stan Lee Media, opening the door for Tuesday’s filing.
On the heels of Time magazine, National Public Radio has released a substantial list of the best books of 2013, which includes a dozen comics and graphic novels among its more than 200 titles (although, granted, not all of them are strictly “comics”). A handful of the selections should by now be familiar from previous best-of lists:
- Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight, by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy and Emma Rios (Marvel)
- Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly (Balzer+Bray)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Touchstone)
- Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
- New School, by Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
- Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe, by Tim Leong (Chronicle Books)
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company)
- You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons, by Tom Gauld (Drawn and Quarterly)
OK, so that $200,000 street-legal Batmobile replica is a little bit out of your price range. It’s understandable: After all, the economy is soft and crime-fighting doesn’t pay as much as it used to. Then maybe you’d have been better suited for a “one-of-a-kind” Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.
Alas, someone just snapped it up for a Buy It Now price of $17,500, ending the eBay auction a few days early. Sure, it isn’t Warner Bros.-approved, and it doesn’t have a blinking Batphone, it does look like an adorably squat version of the vehicle from the Christopher Nolan movies. Plus, hey, four cupholders!
The other former superheroes at Gotham Acres Retirement Community will definitely be jealous when they see the Can’t-Drive-After-Dark Knight cruising around in this baby.
The parade of best-of-the-year lists continues apace, with critic Douglas Wolk selecting Time magazine’s Top 10 Comics and Graphic Novels of 2013:
- Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
- The Phoenix: The Weekly Story Comic, by various (David Fickling Books)
- Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
- Fran, by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Zombo: You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant!, by Al Ewing and Henry Flint (2000AD)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Very Casual: Some Stories, by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
- Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
- Incidents in the Night, Vol. 1, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)
Visit Time to read Wolk’s comments about each title.
We’ve seen the Avengers, Spider-Man and his rogues, a cadre of villains and a quartet of superheroines, and now Marvel and Feld Entertainment have debuted the first look at the X-Men from the upcoming arena show tour Marvel Universe Live!
“Storm’s look has evolved in many directions,” costume designer Cynthia Nordstorm explained. “I mixed her flair with hints of Egyptian royalty. Pairing leather and boots really sets her up to ‘rock’ alongside her fellow X-Men.”
Launching in July, Marvel Universe Live! will bring Marvel’s most iconic heroes and villains to 85 cities across North America in the show’s first two years. The live-action production will integrate a character-driven storyline with state-of-the-art special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts and martial arts for what producers say will “redefine the live show experience.”
The Japanese Foreign Ministry has appointed renowned Slam Dunk and Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue as a Japan-Spain goodwill ambassador to promote the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. According to Crunchyroll News, Inoue will serve as one of three ambassadors between Tuesday and July 31, 2014.
Inoue, whose manga have been published in Spain, last year released Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi, a hardcover travel diary filled with prose, sketches and artwork inspired by his journey to the Catalan region and the work of architect Antoni Gaudí.
Recipient of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize and the Media Arts Festival Award, Inoue has been captivated with Gaudi for years. As part of the 400th-anniversary celebration, an exhibition of Inoue’s Gaudi-related work — tentatively titled “Gaudi-Takehiko Inoue Exhibition” — will be held in April in Barcelona.
Inoue’s basketball manga Slam Dunk has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
Between the chart-topping sales, rave reviews and widespread media coverage, it’s pretty easy to make a case for March: Book One as graphic novel of the year. To ensure that Rep. John Lewis’ congressional colleagues don’t miss out on the acclaimed civil-rights memoir, publisher Top Shelf is presenting all of the members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with digital copies of the book, along with the groundbreaking comic that inspired it, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.
In a letter accompanying the gift, Lewis explained that March “is not just my story, it’s the story of a movement, the story of a generation that stood up for justice in our country.”
The Georgia Congressman continued, “Just like the comic book I read more than 50 years ago, it is my hope that this graphic novel can inspire new generations to speak up and speak out, to make their voice heard, and, hopefully, to make our nation a more just and peaceful place for all.”
Co-written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, the graphic novel recounts Lewis’ you in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., and the Selma to Montgomery marches. The second volume in the planned trilogy is set to arrive next year.
As funny as the Amazon Drone Twitter account is, the best response to Sunday’s big revelation that the online retail giant is developing delivery by unmanned aerial vehicles has to be from Waterstones.
On Monday, the U.K. bookseller announced O.W.L.S., the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, which will utilize owls to bring books to customers’ doors. As Waterstones Press Manager Jon Owls (ahem) explains in the video below, “O.W.L.S. consists of a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working individually or as an adorable team, will be able to deliver your package within 30 minutes of you placing your order.”