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Digital Manga to resume print publication ahead of schedule

Postcard

Despite its name, Digital Manga Inc. has always had a robust line of print manga, skewing heavily toward yaoi and boys-love titles, so the company’s announcement late last year that it would be placing a number of print manga on hiatus sent shivers up fans’ spines; that sort of announcement is often a prelude to more dire news.

Not this time, though. Not only is Digital resuming print publication, it has moved some of its titles up and is making them available earlier than originally planned. Yoko Tanigaki, Digital’s vice president, sales and distribution, confirmed the publisher is resuming print publication, and none of its print manga series have been canceled. And there’s more: Three titles that were slated for publication later this year are either available now or will be available next week via Digital’s retail site, Akadot.com (note: link may be NSFW). Vol. 8 of Ai no Kusabi, scheduled for an October release, is available now, and Vol. 7 of Ze, originally set for September, will be there next week. And there’s more: Vol. 8 of The Tyrant Falls in Love will also be available next week, well ahead of its July release date, and it will come with a special postcard for Akadot buyers only. In an e-mail, Tanigaki said:

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Comics A.M. | FCBD 2013 draws record 1.2 million fans

Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day

Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors runs the numbers on Free Comic Book Day: 1.2 million fans went to 2,000 participating comics shops and picked up 4.6 million free comics, generating $2.2 million worth of publicity along the way. And fans reported on their experience with more than 66,000 tweets with the FCBD hashtags. [ICv2]

Conventions | The Philadelphia Daily News previews this weekend’s Wizard World Philadelphia, which marks the return of Marvel after a several-year absence. [Philadelphia Daily News]

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2000AD/Rebellion announces ‘The Complete Zenith’

969116_10151413450736366_388786608_nRather coyly, the folks at 2000AD posted this image on their Facebook timeline a few days ago. It could be seen as the culmination in a series of dropped hints that began with assorted editorial staff turning up at recent conventions in T-shirts adorned with the Zenith logo. Today they have announced that, for the first time, they’ll be reprinting a complete collected edition of Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell’s lost superhero masterpiece Zenith.

Morrison had a lengthy period in comics before Zenith, working for assorted undergrounds and indies, DC Thomson and Marvel UK, but I think it’s fair to say that this was his breakthrough work in the 1980s for 2000AD, the strip were he really found his voice, and led directly to him being scooped up by DC Comic for Animal Man. The rest, as they say, is history.

2000AD PR droid Michael Molcher states: “Thanks to legal complications the whole of the series has never been reprinted before. So this is the first complete Zenith in a hardback £100 (about $151 U.S.) limited and never-to-be-repeated edition. It will be exclusively available for pre-order through our online shop on 1 July and we’re expecting insanely high demand (copies of the individual Phases got for over £100 a time on eBay!).”

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Brandon Graham suggests you skip that Vertigo short he drew

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For the Brandon Graham completists, the King City creator and Prophet writer has posted the pages from the Madame Xanadu short story he drew for the 2010 House of Mystery Halloween Annual, preceded by his recollection of the Vertigo experience (aka “before I came up with my ‘never ever work at DC ever’ plan”). While the artwork is lovely, the process was a bit of a mixed bag.

“It was fun enough to draw and paid well but I don’t actually recommend anyone track it down. (I really didn’t like the story),” he wrote. “After this I wanted to make sure I only put out books I would want to buy myself. Live and learn and all that.”

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‘Stop excusing yourself from living the life you want to live’

bendis“… if you truly want to do what you say you want to do get the fuck over yourself, get over this list of crap you have put in between you and a piece of paper, and just start writing.

there are millions of people in the world who are experts, certified PhD level experts, at setting themselves up to fail. if that’s who you want to be, that is absolutely fine. but you have to stop talking about it and be who you are.

but if you’re telling me that you have a voice, there is no one in the world other than you who is going to be able to make that voice heard. no one’s going to come over your house and sprinkle magic dust on you to make you the writer you want to be. you have to sit down and start writing.

stop excusing yourself from living the life you want to live.”

Brian Michael Bendis, responding on his blog to an aspiring creator
whose request for advice was couched within “seven excuses to fail as a writer

Re-reading ‘Invincible Iron Man,’ Part 1: What’s so great about ‘Invincible Iron Man’?

inv iron man

With regular old prose books, it’s easy: If you want to read the books that inspired big-budget summer movies like The Great Gatsby or World War Z, you need only pick up the novels with the same name.

Comic-book superhero movies, on the other hand, are a bit more tricky, as they rarely adapt a single, standalone story, but rather cherry-pick characters, plotlines, designs and images from several different comic books by various creators and published in various decades, all blended together in a rebooted, remixed mélange of an adaptation.

So if you walked out of a theater in the early ’00s wanting to read the comics that Blade or X-Men or Spider-Man or Daredevil were based on, well, you’d have to do some research first, and you’d end up with a whole stack of comics for each, none of which really replicated the same tone, world or experience of watching the films starring those heroes.

Cognizant of that, Marvel gradually got better at producing new comics to sell to fans of its movies. Some of these attempts to align comic books more closely with their cinematic versions have been better than others, of course.

The best of these was probably The Invincible Iron Man by writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca, the 60-issue series that debuted in summer 2008, around the time the original Iron Man movie  was in theaters, and concluded in fall 2012, just six months ahead of Iron Man 3, which, depending on contract negotiations, could end up being the final Iron Man film (it was certainly constructed as the end of a trilogy of films).

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Francesco Francavilla goes Batploitation with ‘Batman 1972′

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I’ve found an addition to my imaginary shelf of Awesome Retro Comics Projects That Never Were, right next to a Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series set in the swingin’ ’60s of the Marvel Universe (they’re cataloged by decade): Batman 1972, by Francesco Francavilla.

Better known for his more pulpish work, Francavilla proves himself equally suited for capturing the feel of an early-’70s crime movie, with his take on a Dark Knight a smokes and wears a turtleneck and leather jacket, a James Gordon sporting a handlebar mustache and a Catwoman rocking a ‘fro.

“Yes, you are witnessing the first case of BATPLOITATION,” Francavilla writes. “Hope ya dig it.”

You can see The Riddler, as well as other takes on Batman and Catwoman, on his blog. I’m hoping we get a look at teenage Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon soon.

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Bill Nye, Kevin Smith and others tackle how Superman shaves

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Whether he’s explaining buoyancy or warning of the consequences of evolution denial, there are few things as wonderful and as educational as Bill Nye delivering some scientific knowledge. And so it was a stroke of brilliance that the folks and Gillette recruited the Science Guy for their HowDoesHeShave promotional campaign for director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

As you can likely deduce from the name, the razor brand tackles the question that’s nagged Superman fans and scholars for decades: No, not how he and Lois Lane could have sex — rather, how does the Last Son of Krypton shave? For the campaign, it’s also posed to Kevin Smith, The Big Bang Theory actress (and neuroscientist) Mayim Bialik and MythBusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, but I like Nye’s “grinding theory” (much better than Smith’s half-baked “Kryptonian rocket that brought Superman to Earth theory”).

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‘Opportunity has knocked twice’ with Venture Bros. Shirt Club

venturebros-shirtclubThe long-awaited new season of Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros. debuts June 2, and along with it comes the second-ever Venture Bros. Shirt Club.

For one week after each episode airs, you can purchase a shirt based on that week’s story for $20, designed by Doc Hammer and/or Jackson Publick. Or, if you already know you want them all, you can subscribe and get all nine T-shirts (the season will run eight episodes, but the hour-long premiere gets two shirts) plus a bonus shirt for $165, saving yourself a little scratch in the process.

“You know the score. Opportunity has knocked twice,” Publick said on his blog. “You snooze, you lose. Venture fans, this is your proudest moment! You know that Official Venture T-shirts are as rare and beautiful as albinos, and ones created by the actual Venture brothers are even more rare, and like five times more beautiful … What are you going to do? Answer: SHIRT CLUB!”

You can check out the bonus shirt here, along with details on how the club works. If you decide to subscribe, make sure you do it before June 8.

Once critical, Kevin Maguire ‘now cool’ with Valiant Entertainment

trinity angels1Veteran artist Kevin Maguire, who’s been vocal with his concerns about the Valiant Entertainment revival and the treatment of the original creators, reveals his questions were answered over the weekend at Phoenix Comicon.

“… Had a pleasant chat with Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani who gave me all the information I was looking for vis-a-vis Trinity Angels,” he wrote last night on his Facebook page. “I am now cool with them.”

Following the announcement in March that Valiant planned to relaunch Quantum and Woody, the mid-1990s series by Christopher Priest and Mark Bright, Maguire publicly recounted efforts by the two creators to purchase the rights to the property, and his own attempts to reclaim Trinity Angels, following the 2004 closing of Valiant Comics successor Acclaim Entertainment. The rights to the Valiant Comics library were acquired in 2005 by the current owner, Valiant Entertainment, which began relaunching the original titles in 2012.

“I will announce right now that if they have any intentions of re-vamping Trinity Angels without me, I will be 1000% against it,” Maguire wrote in March. “I should have the rights to the material, just as Priest/Bright should have the rights to Quantum and Woody.”

The new Quantum and Woody, by James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire, premieres July 10. In a March interview with CBR, Valiant’s Shamdasani said the company has spoken with Priest and Bright “about a bunch of different projects — most recently one that I’m super-excited about.” “We have a couple things up in the air with Chris, and we’re pulling to circle back and solidify them now that we have the new series up and running in a place we’re happy about.”

Comics A.M. | Comic-Con countdown (unofficially) begins

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Comic-Con International in San Diego is about six weeks away, so it’s time for Tom Spurgeon to post his massive list of tips for those planning to attend: “It helps to remember that the hassle of going to Comic-Con is mostly an accident of our recent cultural history — All those spectacle movies! All those fantasy franchise books! Marvel’s post-bankruptcy comeback! All those graphic novels! The toy explosion! The rise of manga and anime! — rather than something the convention itself enjoys or endorses or requires or was ever shooting for. I honestly don’t have any more fun going now than I did in ’96 or ’01, back when it was so much easier to attend the con that the worst-case scenario was registering on-site and staying in a $65 hotel ten blocks away. It wasn’t that long ago!  But I also can’t stress this enough. I still have fun.” [The Comics Reporter]

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Shelf Porn Redux | Arts and crafts with Theo from Greece

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Theodoros Papadopoulos from Drama, Greece, shared his Shelf Porn with us over the weekend, and in the comments section, he mentioned “some pictures of furniture dressed with comic pages. Something we did at our school.”

Theo is a high school teacher in Drama, and he sent in pictures of a craft project he did with his students.

“I am a teacher in a high school here in my town. I teach computers, but every year it becomes harder and harder. Children are more difficult because life is more difficult. They grow up away from us, hiding in that huge internet place that nobody can control, at least in a good way,” Theo said. “So I tried to do something different in my class. We made some chairs to look like comic books. We used glue and put some comic book pages on them. The glue is crystallized wood that you can buy by the pound. It’ s non toxic and you can remove it from your hands with water. When they dried the next day we used again another layer of glue. It worked like polish. The glue is white but it becomes transparent when it dies. Now people can sit of them without any problem. The students like the experience, or maybe the time that did not have a lesson.”

Check out some of the photos below.

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Comic adaptation ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ wins Palme d’Or

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The lesbian coming-of-age story Blue is the Warmest Color on Sunday won the 2013 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, marking the first time a graphic novel adaptation has received the honor. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s animated Persepolis won the Jury Prize in 2007.

Based on Julie Maroh’s 2010 graphic novel Le Bleu est Une Couleur Chaude, which will be published in the United States in October as Blue Angel, the story follows a 15-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when she meets a blue-haired art student.

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Cheat Sheet | From ‘X-Men’ to ‘The Wake’ to 2D

cheat sheet-may27

Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While most readers in the United States are enjoying a three-day weekend, our contributors are already looking to the week ahead, from the comics arriving on shelves Wednesday to 2D, the Northern Ireland Comics Festival, which kicks off Thursday.

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What Are You Reading? with Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder

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Hello everyone, Happy Memorial Day weekend to America, and welcome one and all to What Are You Reading? This week we are joined by special guests Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, the creative team behind Halloween Eve and the upcoming Rocket Girl. I spoke to them earlier this month about Rocket Girl, which surpassed its Kickstarter goal but you still have some time to get in on the action and rewards.

To see what Brandon, Amy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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