In anticipation of the June 14 release of the new Superman movie, DC Entertainment has declared Wednesday, June 12, Man of Steel Day.
Sponsored by Sears, the event will see comic shops and bookstores give away copies of All-Star Superman Special Edition #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Not so coincidentally, June 12 also marks the debut of Superman Unchained, the new DC Comics series by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee launched to coincide with director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. That first issue you’ll have to pay $4.99 for (it comes with a two-sided poster).
Borrowing a page from Top Cow’s 2012 resurrection of Cyber Force, Rob Liefeld has turned to Kickstarter to help relaunch his 1990s Image Comics series Brigade. His goal is to raise $17,500 in order to offer the first issue for free; in less than 24 hours, he’s already generated $6,775 in pledges.
Debuting in 1992, Brigade was a spinoff of the bestselling Youngblood, featuring a rogue mercenary team led by Battlestone. Following the initial miniseries, it continued as an ongoing for 24 issues, ending in 1995. The property was last resurrected in 2010 as “a complete re-imagining of the original smash series” by the original team of Liefeld and Marat Mychaels, but only one issue was released.
Timed to coincide with the August premiere of Universal Pictures’ 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, BOOM! Studios has announced a sequel to the 2007 crime comic by Steven Grant and Mataes Santolouco.
Grant and cover artist Rafael Albuquerque will return for the new six-issue miniseries, appropriately titled 3 Guns, joined by Hack/Slash artist Emilio Laiso.
The original comic followed a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer who, after unwittingly investigating each other, team up to seal money from the mob — only to learn to late that the $50 million actually belongs to the CIA. This time they’re brokering weapons deals from opposite sides, but little do they know there’s a third gun in the mix.
“The guys haven’t seen each other and are on the outs with their agencies,” Grant tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They both independently end up on opposite sides of a deal going down with Russian weapons manufacturers and anti-government revolutionaries.”
Directed by Batlasar Kormakur, Universal’s 2 Guns opens Aug. 2.
Here’s an announcement you don’t see very often — a price drop. Action Lab Entertainment, publishers of Princeless, NFL RushZone and the upcoming Molly Danger series, announced at C2E2 this weekend that they plan to drop prices on all their ongoing series later this year.
Starting with the titles in June’s Previews catalog, Action Lab’s ongoing, 32-page comics will drop from $3.99 to $2.99. The licensed NFL RushZone, which is 20 pages, will drop to $1.99 and come out twice monthly. This month sees the number of Action Lab’s ongoing titles almost double, as they launch several new mature readers comics under the Action Lab: Danger Zone imprint. These titles include Ehmm Theory, The Final Plague, Ghost Town and Night of the ’80s Undead.
Additionally, beginning with Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger in July, Action Lab will also offer “a number of 48 page oversized European style hardcovers at $19.99,” according to the press release.
Dark Horse Comics announced at C2E2 this weekend that they’ve reached an agreement with creators Richard and Wendy Pini to bring the long-running cult hit Elfquest back to the printed page. The first release arrives in the fall and will be the prologue to Elfquest: The Final Quest, which is currently being serialized on BoingBoing. Following that, Dark Horse will release The Final Quest alongside all-new editions of previously published material.
“Dark Horse is a company I’ve admired ever since it sprang on the scene in the 1980s. Somehow, as large as they’ve grown, they’ve retained an independent spirit that Richard and I totally identify with. The quality of their offerings is legendary and I’m extremely happy that Elfquest is part of their lineup,” Wendy Pini said in a press release.
Shortly after Comic Book Resources announced DC Comics will no longer participate in a monthly Q&A feature, the publisher has launched “What’s New in The New 52″ on its own press blog.
CBR’s four-month-old “B&B” column featured Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase answering questions from Staff Writer Josie Campbell and readers about series launches and cancellations, story developments and, occasionally, controversial decisions. But in an editor’s note appended to today’s installment, CBR wrote, “the DC team has made it clear to CBR that discussing some of the more controversial debates surrounding the company and the comics community is not something they feel comfortable doing in this format, and ultimately they decided to no longer participate in this feature.”
The inaugural installment of DC’s weekly “What’s New New in The New 52″ is devoted to Harras’ brief discussion of changes in character designs between a preview for Constantine #1 and the release of the issue, and a first look at Papa Midnight.
“The title pretty much says it all – this is where we get to play show and tell,” he wrote by way of introduction. “New looks, new designs, new villains, new heroes … See the trend? The New 52 is about trumping expectations and keeping readers on their toes. Every week, you’ll get a glimpse of that here.
However, why the feature appears on the DC blog intended for press rather than the one dedicated to fans isn’t explained.
As part of its “We Can Be Heroes” campaign to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa, DC Entertainment has kicked off an effort on Indiegogo to raise $50,000 in donations in exchange for “epic Batman stuff.”
Perks range from five Batman comic digital downloads (for a $10 contribution) to an exclusive Batman: Earth One lithograph by Gary Frank ($50) to a copy of the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game signed by creator Ed Boon ($250) to a cameo in the second volume of Batman: Earth One ($5,000). The copies of Batman and Robin #18 signed by Peter J. Tomasi have already signed out. There are even more rewards on the Indiegogo page.
The Batman-themed fundraising effort ends May 17.
In what Lucasfilm and Dark Horse call “the biggest event in the history of Star Wars comics,” the publisher revealed over the weekend at WonderCon it will adapt George Lucas’ rough-draft original screenplay for the 1977 blockbuster.
Debuting in September, the eight-issue miniseries will be written by LucasBooks Executive Editor J.W. Rinzler and drawn by Mike Mayhew.
Lucas’ original version, called The Star Wars, featured elements that found their way, in substantially altered form, into ground-breaking movie franchise: “lazer swords,” Jedi Annikin Starkiller, General Luke Skywalker, an alien Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights.
“I’m not sure where I first read about The Star Wars—it was years and years ago — but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side,” longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley said in a statement. “I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be ‘lost to history,’ so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true.”
Less than a month after DC Comics announced that Astro City will return in June as part of “DC proper,” the company has revealed the acclaimed superhero series by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross will actually be released under the Vertigo banner.
While that will make little difference to fans of the long-running comic, the move helps to bolster the mature-readers imprint, which only recently lost the Hugo Award-nominated Saucer Country and its longtime flagship Hellblazer (relaunched as Constantine in the DC Universe). Astro City will certainly stand out as a rare example of a superhero title on the Vertigo stable.
Debuting in 1995 at Image Comics before ultimately moving to Wildstorm, Astro City centers on the denizens of a mecca for super-powered beings. The title has been on hiatus since DC shuttered the Wildstorm imprint in 2010. The new series continues from the previous arc, a Silver Agent two-parter that served as an epilogue to Astro City: The Dark Age.
I first came across Rina Ayuyang’s work with the arrival in 2010 of Whirlwind Wonderland, which collected her various minicomics in one slim book. Iwas quite taken with the warmth and good humor she displayed in detailing her life, family and relationships, and I dubbed it one of the most criminally ignored books of that year.
While she’s still putting out the occasional minicomic, Ayuyang has recently become a small-press publisher with her new imprint Yam Books. The company is off to an excellent start with its first book Ticket Stub, by Tim Hensley, which came out late last year. The book, which collects the off-kilter minicomics Hensley created while working at his former day job as a closed-caption editor is a head-spinning series of dada-esque riffs on popular movies.
Curious about what sort of challenges Ayuyang might have encountered in making the transition from indie cartoonist to indie publisher, I asked whether she’d be up for answering some of my invasive questions. Thankfully, she was more than happy to do so.
In comics, just as in television or film, there are countless unsung production staff tirelessly toiling to keep us entertained. To use a sporting analogy, working in the reprographics department of a comic publisher is the goalkeeper’s job: You rarely get the praise for keeping a clean sheet, but you’re the first one to get the blame if it all goes wrong. Meanwhile, the writers and the artists are at the other end, scoring all the goals, and getting all the glory.
Doing this often-thankless task in the skeleton crew that produces 2000AD is Kathryn “Kat” Symes. One thing the small backroom staff at their Oxford, England, base are known to do very well these days is manage the amazing back-catalog of material the title has accrued during its 35 years of continuous publication. If you’re a seasoned 2000AD spotter, you’ll have noticed how they’ve been reprinting a lot of strips from the early 1990s recently, a time sometimes known as “2000AD‘s brown period.” It was an era when a post-Bisley trend for painted artwork coincided with too-absorbent paper stock, and a steep learning curve for the staff as it settled in to being a full-color magazine after years of primarily black and white, which led to an awful lot of muddy-looking comics.
Symes seems to be on a single-handed quest to redeem an era of neglected comics through her work. In this interview with ROBOT 6, she gives a tremendous insight into what now goes on behind the scenes in bringing a comic to print, and provides some great examples of how her nuts-and-bolts work with scanners and image manipulation software can breath new life into the old, the faded and the damaged material in 2000AD‘s archives.
Revolutionary Comics has ended its agreement with Bluewater Productions to reprint its 1990s Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics line in trade paperback form. In addition, Revolutionary’s Jay Allen Sanford announced over the weekend that any future editions will be released digitally.
“Though we’re not renewing with Bluewater, the collaboration went well,” he wrote on the San Diego Reader website. “Over the past few years, Bluewater helped keep the RnR Comics ‘brand’ alive.”
Sanford noted that seven collections were released through the company, but an eighth, Rock ‘N’ Roll Cartoon History: The Sixties, “remains unpublished.” When the partnership was announced in 2009, it was intended to produce 10 repackaged volumes, released on a bimonthly basis.
Founded in 1989 by Todd Loren, who was murdered three years later, Revolutionary was in many ways a forerunner of Bluewater, making its name producing unauthorized biographies of musical acts ranging from the Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen to KISS and New Kids on the Block.
In a follow-up to his weekend announcement, Allen told Bleeding Cool, ““The Bluewater deal was never about money. The comics reprinted by Bluewater had already made massive profits two decades ago. By reprinting, we got to treat several of the original creators to some unexpected contemporary swag above and beyond their original contracts, as well as reviving awareness of the “brand” thanks to Bluewater footing the bills and doing the promotions. Now that the Bluewater books and the documentary film and DVD have gotten Revolutionary Comics some modern day cred and attention, Todd Loren’s father and I would rather handle any and all future repurposing of the RevCom material.”
The business model of Box Brown’s Retrofit Comics is old school all the way: He’s doing print editions, on paper and everything, of indie comics and selling them individually and by subscription. But he added a new twist this week when he announced on the Retrofit Tumblr that if the number of subscriptions reaches 130 (it was at 122 that day) by this Friday, every subscriber will get a two-color riso print (in full below). I find the concept of stretch goals fascinating, as they allow some customers to benefit from decisions made by others — I thought this was a good deal, so I subscribed, and now that a bunch of other people have subscribed as well, I get a free print.
DC Entertainment has launched the DC Comics Fan Family blog, a family-friendly online hub designed to deliver content for parents to share with their children.
In addition to rundowns of the kids comics released this week and the free titles available on the DC Nation app, the website will include DC-themed activity sheets, craft projects, creator posts, contents and more.
“Our fans are parents too and we want to give families the opportunity to create new memories by sharing the DC Comics experience in a fun and family-friendly environment,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said in a statement. “The DC Comics Fan Family blog is the perfect destination for parents to discover new ways to interact with their favorite Super Heroes – from building a Batman jetpack to cooking a Green Lantern-themed breakfast.”
UPDATE: DC has also partnered with children’s publisher Capstone for a contest asking kids ages 3 to 6 to write about the real hero in their lives. The winner will receive tours of the DC Entertainment offices and Warner Bros. Animation Studios, a collection of DC and Capstone merchandise, and $2,500 donated to the charity of his or her choice.
Every hero needs to experience their first team-up, and Anthony Smith, a.k.a. Blue Ear, got to do that this past week. It didn’t start with the typical fight that such meetings usually start with, but then again, this wasn’t a typical team-up.
Last year Anthony’s mom, Christina D’Allesandro, reached out to Marvel after her son Anthony Smith told he wasn’t going to use his hearing aid anymore because “superheroes don’t have blue ears.” Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann responded first with evidence of Hawkeye’s hearing loss in the 1980s and then with artwork by Nelson Ribeiro and Manny Mederos depicting Anthony Smith as the superhero Blue Ear.
The story caught the attention of media and families with hearing-impaired children. It also caught the eye of Phonak, the largest distributor of hearing aids in the world. They worked with Marvel Custom Solutions, which regularly works with companies and organizations to create custom comics, on a poster that’s being distributed to pediatric audiology clinics. Written by Christos Gage and drawn by Paco Medina, the poster features Iron Man and a hearing-impaired boy who just wants to be treated like any other kid.
And this past week, Blue Ear attended an event at the Center for Hearing and Communication to debut the poster — as well as to meet fellow superhero Iron Man.
“When Christina told us about Anthony, she taught us about some of the unique challenges that children who wear hearing aids face,” Rosemann told Marvel.com. “When our friends at Phonak heard about how the Marvel heroes helped him, they realized how together we could help spread the message even further.”
Check out the poster below, and head over to Marvel.com to see more pictures of Blue Ear and Iron Man’s first team-up.