London indie publisher SelfMadeHero has acquired the U.K. and Commonwealth rights to The Good Inn, a book written by Pixies frontman Black Francis and the band’s biographer Josh Frank, and illustrated by cartoonist Steven Appleby.
Set for release in May, The Good Inn is described as “a fantastical piece of illustrated fiction based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t yet exist, which Black Francis has approached with the same characteristic eccentricity and imagination he writes a song. The teenage hero known only as Soldier Boy escapes a devastating explosion at the French port of Toulon and sets out on a bizarre journey across France. Navigating past homicidal gypsies, combative soldiers and porn-peddling peasants, he takes refuge in a secluded inn, where he finds himself center stage in the making of the world’s first narrative pornographic film.”
In July, the Pixies released “Bagboy,” its first new material in nearly a decade, shortly after it was announced bassist Kim Deal had left the band. She was replaced by Kim Shattuck, who, it turns out, has already split with the group.
PictureBox, the influential Brooklyn-based publisher of such titles as 1-800 MICE, Cold Heat and Powr Mastrs, announced it will no longer release new books after the end of the year. Its final title will be Matthew Thurber’s Infomaniacs.
“This was not an easy decision, but the company is no longer feasible for me as a thoroughgoing venture,” owner Dan Nadel wrote this morning on the company’s website. “Change is, as the cliché goes, a good thing, and I am proud of PictureBox the idea and the company, and grateful to the many artists I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve been publishing since 2000, and without such an astounding array of loyal and talented people PictureBox would be nothing. Some of my closest friends were made while working on PictureBox projects.”
Nadel offers more details in an interview with The Comics Reporter, where he explains the decision to shutter PictureBox was a personal one rather than a financial one; the company remained viable.
Current titles will remain available through the PictureBox website. Nadel is also holding a 50-percent-off sale through Jan. 2 on all books, prints, posters and more.
When DC Comics relaunched its superhero titles in 2011 with the New 52, one of the effects was the integration of characters from the former Wildstorm imprint into the DC Universe. Those Wildstorm heroes had a good showing in Flashpoint and in the New 52′s debut titles, but by way of attrition, their presence soon dwindled.
After already seeing series like Voodoo, Grifter,Team 7 and the Wildstorm-esque Ravagers canceled, today we learned that Stormwatch will end in April with Issue 30. It gives a little bit of time for recently hired series writer Jim Starlin to wrap up, but its cancellation is another bad sign for fans of Wildstorm.
With 23 days left in a Kickstarter campaign to fund its spring/summer season of books, Fantagraphics has already surpassed its initial $150,000 goal.
“We literally are stunned by the support you have shown in less than four days,” Publisher Gary Groth wrote Monday in a Kickstarter update, “it’s incredible and we humbly thank you.”
As he explained last week to Comic Book Resources, the effort came in the wake of the illness and death earlier this year of co-founder Kim Thompson, which led 13 of the books he edited to be canceled or postponed. That amounted to the loss of about one-third of the spring/summer season, and a significant financial blow to the publisher. The Kickstarter is designed to help Fantagraphics finance the next season of books — 39 in all.
With that $150,000 goal now met, Fantagraphics is expanding the number of premiums. The campaign ends Dec. 5.
Vertigo has debuted the television commercial for The Sandman: Overture, the new miniseries by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III. The DC Comics imprint is billing the comic as “the first new Sandman story in 17 years,” which seems to overlook the 2003 graphic novel The Sandman: Endless Nights.
There’s no word yet as to where the ad will air, but last year’s Before Watchmen campaign was in heavy rotation on IFC, BBC America and (the now-defunct) G4.
The Sandman: Overture #1 was released Oct. 30.
Back in April Alan Moore told Padraig O. Mealoid that he was almost finished with the follow-up to Nemo: Heart of Ice. Titled Nemo: The Roses of Berlin, the graphic novel follows the further adventures of Janni Nemo, daughter of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen member Captain Nemo, as she takes over the family business (and submarine).
Thanks to Forbidden Planet, we now have some additional details on Roses of Berlin, including a cover, a release date and solicitation text:
“From The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! Sixteen years ago, notorious science-brigand Janni Nemo journeyed into the frozen reaches of Antarctica to resolve her father’s weighty legacy in a storm of madness and loss, barely escaping with her Nautilus and her life. Now it is 1941, and with her daughter strategically married into the family of aerial warlord Jean Robur, Janni’s raiders have only limited contact with the military might of the clownish German-Tomanian dictator Adenoid Hynkel. But when the pirate queen learns that her loved ones are held hostage in the nightmarish Berlin, she has no choice save to intervene directly, traveling with her aging lover Broad Arrow Jack into the belly of the beastly metropolis. Within that alienated city await monsters, criminals, and legends, including the remaining vestiges of Germany’s notorious ‘Twilight Heroes’, a dark Teutonic counterpart to Mina Murray’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. And waiting at the far end of this gauntlet of alarming adversaries there is something much, much worse.”
Fearless Defenders writer Cullen Bunn confirmed on Tumblr what many fans of the series feared when the book didn’t show up in Marvel’s January solicitations — December’s #12 is indeed the final issue of the series.
“I can’t really describe how much this book… and these characters… meant to me,” Bunn said in his post. “THE DEFENDERS have always been special for me. I just connected with the non-team and I’ve always wanted to write them. (In fact, I think it is common knowledge that one of my first Marvel minis, FEAR ITSELF: THE DEEP was originally titled FEAR ITSELF: THE DEFENDERS.) Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to love Valkyrie as more than just a really bad ass girl with a sword. And this book was the first concept I brought to Marvel… or at least the first concept I brought to them that they jumped on.”
The book spun out of another Valkyrie-starring and Bunn-written miniseries: Fear Itself: The Fearless, which ended with Valkyrie deciding to recruit a new group of Valkyrior on Earth. Her first recruit was Misty Knight, formerly of Heroes for Hire, who knows a thing or two about recruiting heroes herself. Featuring art by Will Sliney, the comic kept the Defenders “non-team” concept and featured a ton of guest stars from around the Marvel Universe, with New Mutant Dani Moonstar, Elsa Bloodstone, Hippolyta and a new character, Annabelle Riggs, serving as series regulars. Bunn and Sliney really hit home with a lot of fans when Riggs was supposedly killed off at the end of the first storyline. It also featured some pretty awesome covers.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been a boon for independent comic creators, providing much-needed start-up cash to get their projects off the ground. Similar in scope to the rise of underground comix in the 1960s or the black-and-white boom of the 1980s, it’s changed the game for a number of creators. That’s why recent news that the massive video game publisher Square Enix is partnering with Indiegogo is so interesting.
To briefly summarize: Square Enix is one of the big players in the video-game market, especially in Japan, with titles such as Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider. In the partnership with Indiegogo, the two companies have essentially formed a think tank for independent developers outside of Square Enix to post video game proposals as Indiegogo campaigns. If they’re successful in the crowdfunding stage, they’ll receive marketing and development help from Square Enix to make the projects a reality. Going further, Square Enix even says there’s a possibility that video game developers could pitch projects based on the company’s immense back catalog.
Although Image Comics has staked out territory as both the premier publisher for creator-owned work and a proving ground for fledgling writers and artists, it was another 1990s company that served as an entry point for many of today’s top talent: Caliber Comics.
Launched in 1989 by retailer Gary Reed, Caliber Comics was a harbinger of the coming wave of creator-owned titles. Launching with two flagship books — Deadworld and The Realm — Reed quickly expanded the line with his in-house anthology book Caliber Presents and a entire sub-line of illustrated books similar to Classics Illustrated. But perhaps its enduring contribution was as a doorway into the comics industry for writers and artists who are today marquee names
The list of A-list creators whose comics debuts were made possibly by Caliber is mind-boggling: Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Michael Lark, James O’Barr, Brandon Peterson, Dean Haspiel, Georges Jeanty and Jason Lutes all made their comics debuts here. In addition, Caliber also was where many budding creators made their first recognizable work; it was at there that Mike Allred created Madman, and Guy Davis blossomed with Baker Street.
The first is Batter Up, Charlie Brown, another in the series of Peanuts collections organized around a theme, rather than chronologically. It’s due in April, just in time for Opening Day. As Tom notes, this must mean that last year’s Christmas-themed book went over pretty well, and he also points out that the 65th anniversary of the strip is coming up in 2015.
Next up is The Complete Eightball, collecting the first 18 issues of Daniel Clowes’ comic in a deluxe format, two hardcover volumes in a slipcase. Eightball has been collected before, but not like this: In addition to the prestige format, the new edition, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of Eightball‘s debut, includes material that has only been published in the original comics. Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds told Spurgeon there is “a not-insigificant amount of strips that for whatever reason, Dan never wanted to collect.” The book will also include additional commentary by Clowes, making it sort of the director’s cut of Eightball. Watch for it in August 2014, and start saving now, as the list price is $95.
Finally, there’s Buddy Buys a Dump, the latest collection of Peter Bagge’s Buddy Bradley comics, and the first to appear in seven years. The 144-page book will include some previously unpublished material, and the expected publication date is in April.
DC Comics has apologized to anyone offended by the controversial Harley Quinn tryout page that asks artists to depict the fan-favorite character naked in a bathtub, seemingly about to commit suicide, and reiterated “the entire story is cartoony and over-the-top in tone.” However, the publisher appears to be continuing the DC Entertainment Open Talent Search.
The statement was issued Thursday, shortly after the the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness expressed their disappointment in the publisher, calling the contest “extremely insensitive” and “potentially dangerous.”
Their comments capped off a week of growing criticism about the panel, which Harley Quinn co-writer Jimmy Palmiotti clarified on Tuesday is part of a surreal dream sequence intended to have “a Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach.”
“We believe that instead of making light of suicide, DC Comics could have used this opportunity to host a contest looking for artists to depict a hopeful message that there is help for those in crisis” the three groups said in a joint statement, published by USA Today and The Huffington Post. “This would have been a positive message to send, especially to young readers,” the statement continued. “On behalf of the tens of millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide, this contest is extremely insensitive, and potentially dangerous. We know from research that graphic and sensational depictions of suicide can contribute to contagion.”
Nancy Silberkleit, the colorful co-CEO of Archie Comics, has entered the race for mayor of Rye, New York, a city of about 16,000 in Westchester County. News of her candidacy follows a report that she has filed a sexual-harassment against her longtime friend Sam Levitin, who served as her liaison following her bizarre yearlong legal feud with the publisher and Co-CEO Jon Goldwater.
A 22-year resident of Rye, Silberkleit is running as an independent against city councilmen Joe Sack and Peter Jovanovich after securing 1,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot for the November election; just 377 were required.
Silberkleit, who has no political experience, was an art teacher in New Jersey before the death in 2008 of her husband Michael Silberkleit, son of Archie co-founder Louis Silberkleit. She and Goldwater were the subjects of flattering media profiles when they assumed the roles of co-CEOs in 2009 (Goldwater’s half-brother Richard Goldwater had passed away in 2007), but it was what happened afterward that drew the most attention.
The Irish company that prompted Vertigo to change the title of the new series by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez from Collider to FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics is now hoping to exploit the situation to its own advantage.
Trumpeting its victory in “a battle against DC Comics/Vertigo,” the Dublin-based beActive issued a press release Tuesday promoting its own Collider while gently chiding the American publisher for its lack of diligence. “The Irish company published the COLLIDER comic book series worlde [sic] in 2012, therefore claiming ownership of the brand,” the release states. “In January 2013, COLLIDER even made the TOP 5 on Comics Plus, the largest online comic book store in the U.S.”
While it’s not unheard of for a publisher to change the name of a comic before publication because of a trademark conflict, in this instance, the announcement came more than a week after the release of Collider #1.
As Oliver recounted last week to Comic Book Resources, “The first issue’s printed and being loaded on the trucks and we get a call from legal to tell us that someone else, on the other side of the globe says that they have creative dibs on the name ‘Collider’ and we have to change our title.” The second issue, out Aug. 28, will bear the title FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics.
The promise of “Something Weird” at the D23 Expo didn’t lead to the announcement of a new project from Disney and Marvel, but rather the unveiling of another teaser — this time a poster that yields a few clues.
Available in the fan gathering’s Imagineering area, the poster shows two children standing in silhouette in front of a door and coffin-shaped clock adorned with a demonic face and battle-ax pendulum. Over the arch are the words, “Do You Dare Enter?” That’s the image at right, courtesy of Marvel’s Ryan Penagos.
The illustration would seem to lend credence to earlier speculation that the comic is based on the Museum of the Weird, an early concept for the Haunted Mansion. Disney began developing the idea for the big screen in 2010, but ultimately scrapped those plans.
But wait, there’s more: The Marvel AR logo on the poster unlocks a video promising more information on the comic book — it is confirmed as a comic! — from Marvel and Disney’s Imagineers in September.
Update: Marvel has released the official image, which you can see below.
Announced this afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Ragnarök will feature “iconic deities and classic” tales written and drawn by Simonson. In addition, IDW will release re-mastered collections of Star Slammers, his classic sci-fi tale about intergalactic mercenaries who became the most successful businessmen of all time, and a special Artist’s Edition of the series.
The publisher debuted Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition in 2011.
“Scott Dunbier and I first talked about me working on a creator-owned book involving the Norse gods 15 years ago, but as many of my former editors can tell you, I’ve always regarded deadlines as useful fictions,” Simonson said in a statement. “So here we are … finally! All I can say is that I’ve loved the stories of the Viking gods since I was eight. I am thrilled that with IDW’s help and support, I’m launching an ongoing series of stories built around a new vision of some old friends. And enemies.”