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DC won’t allow Superman logo on dead child’s memorial

jeffrey-baldwin-statue

What was likely viewed by DC Entertainment as a prudent — even standard — legal decision has snowballed into wincingly bad PR for the company, which now faces headlines like “Comic publisher blocks Superman logo on statue of murdered Toronto boy.”

The Canadian Press reports DC has denied permission for the trademarked “S” emblem to be engraved on a memorial statue for 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparents.

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SDCC | Tynion and Donovan upload ‘Memetic’ at BOOM!

memetic1On the heels of its three-project deal with Justin Jordan, BOOM! Studios has announced a new horror miniseries from The Woods writer James Tynion IV and his House in the Wall collaborator Eryk Donovan.

Told in three 48-page issues, each covering a 24-hour period, Memetic follows “the progression of a weaponized meme that leads to the utter annihilation of the human race within 72 hours. The root of this apocalypse is a single image on the internet, a ‘meme’ in the popular sense. A meme that changes everything.”

The meme in question is the hypnotic “Good Times Sloth” (above), which the publisher unleashed last week online. Presumably our world is safe, at least for the time being.

“James Tynion IV is one of the brightest new voices to emerge in recent years, and it’s been a flat-out joy to make a home for his original projects at BOOM!” Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon said in a statement. With Memetic, James and Eryk show us the destructive power of the internet, a terrifying look at how imagery and ideas can shape the behavior of our culture.”

Memetic #1 is scheduled to arrive Oct. 22.

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SDCC | BOOM! to publish three projects from Justin Jordan

justin-jordan

BOOM! Studios continues its march to Comic-Con International by announcing it will release three projects from writer Justin Jordan over the next year. More details are expected to be revealed in San Diego.

“I’m going to be working with BOOM! Studios in this coming year on not one, not two but three new projects,” Jordan says in a brief but colorful video accompanying the announcement, “and I am really excited about it. So if you want to see all the me you can handle, you want to go with BOOM! Studios.”

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BOOM! and Steve Jackson Games team for ‘Munchkin’ comics

boom-munchkin

Steve Jackson Games announced Friday at Origins Game Fair that it’s partnering with BOOM! Studios to produce comic books based on the popular Munchkin line of card games.

In the unlikely event you’ve never heard of Munchkin, it takes a humorous approach to traditional role-playing games — its slogan is “kill the monster, steal the treasure, stab your buddy” — based on the concept of “munchkins,” immature players whose aim is simply to “win.”

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Two from DC find new roles at Marvel, Valiant

DC Comics

DC Comics

This weekend’s Special Edition NYC has brought confirmation on an earlier report by Bleeding Cool that two former DC editors have found new jobs at other publishers.

Katie Kubert, former editor of Batman, Detective and Batman Eternal, left DC Comics Friday after five years for a job as an editor at Marvel. Kubert appeared today on the Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel at Special Edition NYC, where her new job was announced and she discussed being a third-generation Kubert (her grandfather is legendary artist Joe Kubert, while Adam and Andy Kubert are her uncles).

Meanwhile, Valiant has confirmed to ROBOT 6 that former DC Assistant Editor Kyle Andrukiewicz has joined them as an assistant editor. Andrukiewicz worked on titles like The Movement, Animal Man and The New 52: Future’s End.

With DC Comics’ upcoming move from New York to Burbank, California getting closer and closer, it isn’t surprising to hear of current employees finding new opportunities with other publishers – if indeed that’s the reason why they left. Last month Comic Book Resources confirmed that Bob Wayne will leave his position as senior vice president of sales at DC Comics prior to the scheduled move in April 2015.

Dark Horse to publish ‘New York Four’ and ‘Demo’ collections

new york fourDark Horse will publish omnibus editions of The New York Four and The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, and Demo, by Wood and Becky Cloonan. Editor Sierra Hahn told Publishers Weekly the acquisitions are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the young-adult market.

Published in 2008 by DC Comics’ short-lived Minx imprint aimed at teen girls, The New York Four centers on four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University. A sequel miniseries, The New York Five, debuted in 2010 from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Demo, released from November to 2003 to November 2004 by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for Wood and and Cloonan, who had previously collaborated on Channel Zero: Jennie One. The 12-issue series, which tells self-contained stories about young people with supernatural powers (well, mostly), was most recently collected in 2008 by Vertigo, which later published Wood and Cloonan’s sequel.

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Warren Ellis reveals ‘a thing that I probably shouldn’t': ‘Trees’ numbers

trees1In an industry that’s quick to trumpet distributor-level sellouts and multiple printing, publishers and creators are generally reluctant to reveal any actual sales numbers. Sure, there are those monthly direct-market sales estimates, but they’re just that — estimates (and most anyone who attempts to divine meaning from them is usually quickly reminded of their inaccuracy).

And so it was refreshing to see Warren Ellis disclose orders for the first issue of Trees, his new Image Comics collaboration with Jason Howard, in his Orbital Operations e-newsletter. Or, as he puts it, “I am going to tell you a thing that I probably shouldn’t.”

Retailers ordered about 38,500 copies — “I don’t recall the precise number and can’t check it right this second,” he writes — and he and Howard authorized a print run of 50,000.

Ellis confesses, “That’s a big overprint, and it could easily blow up in our faces — if the overprint doesn’t sell, then the print cost is taken out of our hides. On the other hand: if you go looking for it, and your store tells you it’s sold out or that they couldn’t get any, you can tell them that I told you we printed 12K extra copies.”

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‘Cerebus: High Society Digital’ collection gets August release

cerebus-high society

IDW Publishing has announced an August release date for Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society Digital Audio/Visual Experience DVD set.

Funded in July 2012 through Kickstarter, the multimedia collection of the well-regarded “High Society” storyline (Cerebus #26-50) was originally serialized online. It features Sim reading each issue, in character, accompanied by music and sound effects, with motion effects added to the story art. There’s also commentary and a virtual tour.

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Dynamite, ERB Inc. partner for ‘John Carter: Warlord of Mars’

Dynamite's previously released "Warlord of Mars" #1

Dynamite’s previously released “Warlord of Mars” #1

In a surprising conclusion to their rights dispute, Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. and Dynamite Entertainment this morning announced an agreement for the worldwide release of John Carter comics, archival material and the publisher’s Lord of the Jungle line.

ERB Inc., the family-owned company that controls the existing rights to the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars novels, sued Dynamite in February 2012, accusing the publisher of trademark and copyright infringement and unfair competition through the release of its Lord of the Jungle and Warlord of Mars comics. Dynamite responded, insisting that its series were based on material that’s lapsed into the public domain, and noting that other publishers have released Burroughs-inspired comics, using similar titles, without a license from ERB Inc.

Now that the two parties have settled their differences, and ERB Inc. has reacquired the John Carter comics rights from Disney and Marvel, Dynamite will be able to relaunch Warrior of Mars later this year as John Carter: Warlord of Mars, and introduce characters and plot elements “that were, until now, absent from recent comic book interpretations” (presumably because they remain protected by copyright). Dynamite will also republish John Carter archival material, dating back to the early 1940s comic strips written by Burroughs’ son Coleman Burroughs.

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Dark Horses announces new ‘Usagi Yojimbo’ miniseries, omnibus editions

usagi-yojimbo-cropped

As part of the 30th-anniversary celebration of Stan Sakai’s famed samurai rabbit, Usagi Yojimbo will return in August in a six-issue miniseries from Dark Horse. Its debut will be followed in October by the release of the first volume in a new series of deluxe compilations.

Set 20 years in his future, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso follows Miyamoto Usagi has he fights as a general for Lord Noriyuki against Lord Hikiji. But in a sci-fi twist, a rocket crashes to Earth in the middle of the final battle, containing an enemy that neither side could have imagined. Sakai teased the project last summer in an interview with ROBOT 6, explaining, “The entire premise is,’What if the Martians from HG Wells’ War of the Worlds had sent a few scout ships 200 years before their invasion of Victorian England?’ It may not be as historically or culturally accurate as my stories usually are, but it sure will be fun.”

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Take-Two is hiring for its new comics imprint, Double Take

Take-Two-Interactive

News broke in December that Bill Jemas, the former Marvel executive who helped turned around the once-bankrupt company, had joined with video game publisher Take-Two Interactive to launch a comics imprint. Jemas said at the time that plans were still in the early stages for the new venture, which will focus on developing new properties rather than titles based on the Take-Two catalog. But now the company is ramping up its efforts by staffing the new comics division, which officially has a name: Double Take.

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KaBOOM! adds Cartoon Network’s ‘Uncle Grandpa’ to lineup

uncle grandpa

KaBOOM! will publish a comic based on Cartoon Network’s hit animated series Uncle Grandpa as part of BOOM! Studios’ first-look deal with the cable channel.

Created by Pete Browngardt, Uncle Grandpa is a surreal adventure comedy the centers on everyone’s magical uncle and grandfather, who travels the world in his mystical RV, helping children with their problems. Did we mention he’s accompanied by a talking fanny pack, an anthropomorphic dinosaur, a photo cutout of a tiger and a talking slice of pizza? Well, he is.

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DC’s Nelson: ‘We are as strong as the company has ever been’

diane-nelson-video

When I wrote this morning about The Wall Street Journal’s article looking at the growing importance of DC Entertainment and its superhero properties to the Warner Bros. strategy, I somehow missed the accompanying video with DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson. It’s not directly related to the story — it’s a personality profile, really — and the newspaper makes too much of the quote “I’m not a comic book reader,” but it’s an interesting look at Nelson, who isn’t heard from all that often.

“We are as strong as the company has ever been in its history in publishing,” she says. “We’ve created a new business in digital, we have a new online and social-media presence we’ve never had before, we have a strong collectibles business. To your question of what I do in the future, what we do as a company, it’s figuring out how we get more books in front of more people, how we get young people to love these characters as much as the core fanboys — or girls, as the case may be — and it’s about figuring out with our partners in the other divisions how we make great film and television and video games.”

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Magnetic Press announces ‘Dave Dorman’s Wasted Lands Omnibus’

WLO_coverOnly-jacketMagnetic Press, the independent publisher launched late last year by two comics veterans, former Archaia publisher Mike Kennedy and former BOOM! Studios executive Wes Harris, has announced its third book: a hardcover collection of comics, illustrated stories and art set in Dave Dorman’s Wasted Lands universe. The book, titled Dave Dorman’s Wasted Lands Omnibus, will debut in July.

Dorman is best known for his Star Wars art, and he won an Eisner Award for his artwork on Aliens: Tribes, a graphic novel based on the Alien movies. His work has appeared on the cover of Heavy Metal, and he has done cover art, trading cards and toy design for a host of publishers.

Wasted Lands, on the other hand, is Dorman’s creator-owned work, a high-adventure story with Western and steampunk influences. It’s set in an industrial megalopolis linked to a forbidding outback by a vast rail system; here’s his description of the story from the official website:

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WonderCon | ‘X-Files: Year Zero’ reveals origin of X-Files unit

xfiles-yearzero

Karl Kesel, Vic Malhotra and Greg Scott are teaming up to tell the secret origins of the X-Files. The X-Files: Year Zero, a five-issue miniseries debuting in July, will see Agents Scully and Mulder tackling a mystery that dates back to the 1940s and the beginning of the FBI’s X-Files unit.

“The origins of the X-Files unit of the FBI were only hinted at in the TV show, and we’re proud to present the story of how the precursors of our favorite paranormal agents established the division in the late 1940s,” said editor Denton J. Tipton in a press release. “I think Bing and Millie will become fan-favorites alongside Mulder, Scully, Reyes and Doggett.”

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