Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
On Saturday, comic shops across North America and around the world will celebrate Halloween ComicFest, which has taken on the dimensions of a second Free Comic Book Day. This is a relatively new event — the first was held in 2012 — but according to the HCF website, more than 1,400 stores participated last year, attracting 100,000 customers. The event is run by a group of retailers, publishers and suppliers, with Diamond Comic Distributors handling publicity and a lot of the logistics.
This year’s comics lindup includes 12 full-size comics and seven minicomics, although all retailers may not offer all titles. It looks like most of the comics are repackaged first issues of series that have been around for a little while, like Afterlife With Archie, Rachel Rising and Scooby-Doo Team-Up — all fitting choices for Halloween reading. Zenoscope offers a reprint of its first Halloween Special, and Avatar Press has the first issue of Max Brooks’ Extinction Parade.
THE DARE: To create a complete 24 page comic book in 24 continuous hours.
That means everything: Story, finished art, lettering, color (if applicable), paste-up, everything. Once pen hits paper, the clock starts ticking. 24 hours later, the pen lifts off the paper, never to descend again. Even proofreading has to occur in the 24 hour period. (Computer-generated comics are fine of course, same principles apply).
No sketches, designs, plot summaries or any other kind of direct preparation can precede the 24 hour period. Indirect preparation such as assembling tools, reference materials, food, music etc. is fine.
The 24 hours are continuous. You can take a nap, but the clock keeps ticking. If you get to 24 hours and you’re not done, either end it there (“the Gaiman Variation”) or keep going until you’re done (“the Eastman Variation”). I consider both of these “Noble Failure” Variants and true 24 hour comics in spirit; but you must sincerely intend to do the 24 pages in 24 hours at the outset.
It was Nat Gertler who turned the dare into an event: As he told ROBOT 6’s Tim O’Shea earlier this year, on the 10th anniversary, it started as a way to drum up publicity for an anthology of 24-hour comics he was publishing, and it snowballed from there. Now it is organized by the retailer group ComicsPRO, and participants are invited to send their 24-hour comics to the the national 24-Hour Comics Day archive at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University.
Because readers have undoubtedly been counting down the days on their calendars, it’s probably unnecessary to say what today is — but we’ll do so anyway: It’s Sept. 25, National Comic Book Day!
No, not Free Comic Book Day; that’s in May. National Comic Book Day, the unofficial holiday whose origins are as mysterious as its observers are scarce. As we noted last year, no one takes credit for its founding — heck, no one seems to know when it began — it receives little to no industry support, and there are no traditions tied to it (however, you can always try asking your local retailer for a free comic).
Although there have been plenty of events — with still more to come — in celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary, Popeye’s 85-year milestone has gone largely unnoticed. However, King Features Syndicate and Los Angeles’s Hero Complex Gallery are about to remedy that.
The official “Popeye: A Tribute Art Show” premieres Friday, with more than 100 artists from around the world paying homage to the spinach-eating sailor introduced in 1929 in E.C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre comic strip.
Curated by by the illustrator Chogrin, the show features works by such artists as Francesco Francavilla, Brent Engstrom, Miranda Dressler, Scott Balmer, Alina Chau and Shawn Dickinson. Of course, they’re just for starters. You can see some of the pieces below, and more on the art show’s blog and Facebook page.
To help celebrate what would’ve been Jack Kirby’s 98th birthday, Shmaltz Brewery in Clifton Park, New York, will debut a limited-edition King Kirby Ale as part of an Aug. 28 fundraiser to benefit The Hero Initiative. A limited number of cases will be available for purchase at the event.
Approached by local artists about holding an event, the brewery went a step further and created the exclusive ale (available as both pale and dark), which features a label designed by Paul Harding. “I tried to capture Kirby from an angle that few have seen before,” the Clifton Park artist said in a statement, “in a way that people can actually look up to him and get a sense of his artistic power.”
The future of SDCC ZombieWalk: San Diego, held annually during Comic-Con International, is uncertain after a car drove into a crowd of participants and spectators Saturday, injuring three. A scheduled Oct. 26 event has been called off.
“Yes, the October walk is canceled,” organizers posted on their Facebook page. “We are evaluating continuing at all, at this point.”
Accounts of Saturday’s incident vary, but the San Diego Police Department says Honda Accord driven by a deaf man was stopped at Second and Island avenues at 5:30 p.m. as the procession of hundreds of participants in zombie makeup lumbered by. After waiting several minutes, the 48-year-old driver started rolling slowly into the crowd because his children, who are also deaf, were frightened. According to police, several people the surrounded the car and began hitting it, shattering the windshield. That’s when the father reportedly drove forward again, striking the 64-year-old woman. The crowd chased after the car as the family drove toward a police officer.
You may recall that in 2012, three Hutchinson residents launched a campaign to rename the city after Superman’s hometown, saying the two share many traits. Plus, the move would likely provide an economic boost to the area. Although the city council didn’t approve a permanent change, last year it did declare June 21 “Smallville Day,” for which The Hutchinson News temporarily became The Daily Planet.
This year, plans are bigger, with the Smallville Festival kicking off Thursday with downtown events that include a car show, Superman-themed photo booth and a screening of Man of Steel, followed on Friday with such activities as a picnic in the park and a benefit concert. And then Saturday sees the first Smallville ComicCon, with guests that include Smallville veterans Alaina Huffman and Phil Morris.
“What I want this festival to represent is the smallest things mean the most,” Christopher Wietrick, who spearheaded the initial Smallville campaign, tells The Hutchinson News. “I want it to serve as a reminder that something little can make a difference. The festival is about giving back and celebrating our heroes.”
Book Expo America is the annual trade show where publishers promote their upcoming books to retailers and librarians. BEA is all about books, but comics and graphic novels are a growing presence. Diamond had a dedicated area, as it has in previous years, several comics publishers had their own booths, and several of the big publishers featured graphic novels alongside their other titles, most notably Hachette, which gave quite a bit of space to Yen Press.
I spent Friday at the show looking at which books the publishers were drawing the most attention to. Here’s a very subjective account of what I saw.
Kid stuff! Children’s and YA graphic novels have been hot for a couple of years, and the news that Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters is getting a 200,000 copy initial print run got a lot of buzz. Of course, the BEA crowd has been on board with her work for a while, and they lined up in droves for her book signing. The same was true of Jeff Kinney, who was signing copies of The Wimpy Kid School Planner at the Abrams booth; the crowd just kept on coming. And the staff at the BOOM! Studios table were hustling as attendees grabbed copies of their Adventure Time and Bravest Warrior collections as well as their third original Peanuts graphic novel, Peanuts: The Beagle Has Landed, which takes Snoopy to the moon.
The British Library has debuted a trailer — a “Curators’ Introduction” — to promote “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.,” the largest comics exhibition to date in the United Kingdom.
Opening Friday to the public, “Comics Unmasked” spans the history of British comic books, from the 19th century to the present, exploring how they’ve addressed such subjects as violence, sexuality and drugs while breaking boundaries. The exhibition kicks off with a screening of the documentary Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot, followed by a conversation with Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot and Kate Charlesworth.
While many fans may be looking forward this weekend to Free Comic Book Day or The Amazing Spider-Man 2, some of those with more scholarly leanings may be busy getting ready for the Buffy to Batgirl conference being held Friday and Saturday at Rutgers University-Camden.
Organized by reference librarians Julie Still and Zara Wilkinson of the Paul Robeson Library, Buffy to Batgirl: Women and Gender in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Comics is an academic conference focusing on female representation across those genres (and mediums). I imagine a few eyes glazed over with the term “academic conference,” but the panels and papers sound fascinating.
Of all the promotional videos created for Free Comic Book Day, this is easily my favorite to date. In it, LeVar Burton, Star Trek: The Next Generation veteran and host of the long-running Reading Rainbow shares how his love of reading began with comic books.
“You see, I’m an Army brat,” he says. “My father was in the military, and when were stationed in Germany comic books were a treasured item we first read and then traded with one another. They also kept us connected to the popular culture back home.”
That provides the perfect segue for Burton to talk about Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day, when participating retailers across North America and around the globe will offer some 60 titles– for free. But you don’t have to take my word for it — just watch the video below.
In honor of the 10th issue of Intruder, a quarterly comics paper available for free around Seattle, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will host an art exhibit featuring the work of Intruder contributors.
The exhibit will kick off with an opening this Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., where comic books, graphic novels and zines by the individual creators will be available for purchase. In addition, Lori Goldston, the cellist who played with Nirvana in their famous Nirvana: Unplugged performance, and Kyle Hanson will provide “atmospheric music” during the party. The event is free to the public with adult beverages supplied by Seattle’s Hilliard’s Beer.
Set for Saturday, May 3, Free Comic Book Day 2014 boasts 60 titles, ranging from the Bongo Free-For-All and The Smurfs to Guardians of the Galaxy and the 2000AD Special.
Ever the salesman, Lee delivers his lines with flair, and plenty of hand gestures, directing folks to their local comic book store on Saturday, May 3 for this year’s event, which boasts some 60 titles.
TUESDAY, APRIL 1
New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium
7 p.m. at Parsons the New School for Design, 2 West 13th St., Bark Room
Guest speaker: Ernie Gehr, filmmaker/animator; free and open to the public<
Strong Female Protagonists
7-8:30 p.m. at the School of Visual Arts Ampitheater, 209 E. 23rd St., Room 311
A panel discussion with Raina Telgemeier, Diane Noomin, Shelly Bond and Alitha Martinez. Moderated by Keith Mayerson.
The event is free and open to the public, but registration required.