SLG Publishing will be forced this spring to close its San Jose, California, offices and Art Boutiki & Gallery to make way for a new apartment building. The Market Street location, which Publisher Dan Vado lovingly refers to as a “stinking rat-hole,” has been home to SLG for nearly 11 years.
“The property is scheduled to be razed and have an apartment building built,” Vado tells Metroactive. “When that will happen, we’re not sure, but we were informed that we should be looking for a new place to do business.”
Located in downtown San Jose’s SoFA District, the SLG Art Boutiki is a combination comics store and gallery that for the past three years has also been host to all-ages live-music performances; it’s also home to the San Jose Comics Festival. While Vado tells Metroactive they can probably remain on Market Street as late as the end of the summer, on the Art Boutiki website he teases he’s already “singled out a location that will allow us to continue to be one of the coolest places in Silicon Valley.” However, no contracts have been signed.
In the meantime Vado plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the relocation.
We’ve mentioned ex-Fables cover artist James Jean’s esoteric post-comics endeavors before (here and here, to be precise). Following up on last month’s announcement that he’s launching a range of designs at Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford boutique, images of his mural at the store’s Blitz gallery have now appeared at his website, and have since spread like wildfire across the Internet (detailed close-ups below). What has perhaps been less spotted is the coverage of Jean’s work in situ at Blitz by the art and design Tumblr Curious Fiend, from two weeks ago. Their photography reveals how Jean designed a space to display his creations that is as beautiful and intricate as the work itself.
Awards | Were women underrepresented in the first British Comic Awards? With three women and 13 men on the shortlist, some argue they were; Laura Sneddon follows the discussion, including those making that claim and those who responded. [The New Statesman]
Best of the year | Paste magazine lists its 10 best comics of the year, including Hawkeye, Saga and Building Stories. [Paste]
Best of the year | Rachel Cooke focuses on British graphic novels, although a few outsiders creep in as well, for her list of the best graphic novels of 2012. [The Guardian]
Faced with growing criticism, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has apologized for insulting comments he made about women, gays and lesbians in a nearly two-year-old blog post, characterizing his remarks as “poorly worded and offensive to many.”
The statement, released last night by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and re-posted on Gunn’s Facebook page, followed outreach from the organization, condemnation by the Human Rights Campaign — “James Gunn’s blog post is offensive not just to LGBT people and women but rather to anyone with even the slightest sense of decency” — and online outrage, all stemming from a deleted February 2011 post on the filmmaker’s website.
Newly unearthed via Google Cache, the results of a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll include commentary in which Gunn refers to Gambit as “this Cajun fruit,” calls teenage mother Stephanie Brown “easy,” admits wanting “to anally do” Kitty Pryde, and suggests Tony Stark could “turn” the lesbian Batwoman.
Consider the Twinkie. A relic of a more indulgent age, lately almost an afterthought, and most recently the latest symbol of vanished childhoods everywhere, it is once more in the spotlight due to the apparent end of the Hostess company.
While I have my own thoughts on the specifics of that particular corporate conclusion, suffice it to say that my sympathies are more with the soon-to-be-displaced workers than with either Hostess’ management or the Twinkies’ fans. Still, the reaction to Hostess’ demise demonstrates that there’s still a demand for the indestructible yellow creme-torpedoes — perhaps even more so now — and as long as people want ‘em, the Twinkies will be there.
The most important thing about a Twinkie is that it’s a Twinkie. Specifically, it’s made according to a particular recipe, and it has a particular name. Those two pieces of intellectual property will most likely be sold as part of Hostess’ liquidation, thereby giving their new owner the ability to make “genuine” Twinkies. In my estimation, it’s only a matter of time before Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, and all their confectionery cousins find their way back to stores near you.
First Second sent out its latest catalog earlier this week, highlighting all the graphic novels it will release next spring. The bad news is, there’s still no Battling Boy on the schedule, nor do the Box Brown Andre the Giant or as-yet-unrevealed Becky Cloonan books appear. But the good news is there are projects featuring the likes of Faith Erin Hicks, Matt Kindt, Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, Dave Roman and many more.
Here’s the rundown:
Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon. “A heartwarming tale of the perils and pleasures of friendship featuring two ducks who are both a bit odd.” Varon has done several graphic novels for First Second, including Bake Sale and Robot Dreams, while Castellucci wrote the Plain Janes books for DC’s Minx line, as well as several Young Adult novels.
Primates, by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. A new science book from Jim Ottaviani, the author of thwe well-received Feynman, “with Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas and all sorts of primates.” Wicks, meanwhile, has a fun blog where you can check out her work, which includes several kids titles like Spongebob and Adventure Time.
Franco Urru, the Italian artist best known to American readers for his work on Spike: Asylum, Spike: Shadow Puppets and Angel: After the Fall, has passed away, reports IDW Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall.
“Between flights now, I just got terrible news that Angel artist and wonderful person Franco Urru passed away,” Ryall wrote this morning on Twitter. “Rest peacefully, dear friend.”
Urru, who began working in comics in Italy as an assistant, inking, penciling backgrounds and conducting research for established artists, broke into the U.S. industry in 2006 with Spike: Asylum. “I landed into that wonderful script after a friend showed my pages to Chris Ryall,” he told The Comic Book Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2009. “At the time Brian Lynch had written his first story for IDW and I started to work immediately on the covers of the entire mini. After finishing the first cover I realized that I was exactly where I wanted to be.”
In Italy, Urru worked in a variety of genres, ranging from fantasy to superheroes to erotic comics. His death follows the passings this week of alternative comix pioneer Spain Rodriguez and 30 Days of Night and Willow Creek artist Josh Medors.
In the back of It Girl and the Atomics #1, Jamie S. Rich talks about how he went from editing Mike Allred’s Atomics to writing this spin-off; sort of the BPRD to Madman’s Hellboy. He talks about Allred’s adoration of Silver Age superhero comics and reading that, it hit me why Madman has always been so much fun, yet simultaneously so frustrating for me.
I grew up in the ‘70s – the Bronze Age, if you like – so my childhood comics were Savage Sword of Conan, Ghost Rider and Master of Kung Fu. At DC, Batman wasn’t fighting aliens and other-dimensional imps anymore, he was going on globe-trotting adventures against Ra’as al Ghul and spy organizations. Those were fun comics, but Marvel had made its mark even on DC, and there was weight to those stories. The heroes felt like real characters.
Going back and reading DC Silver Age comics as an adult, I have a hard time with them. They’re zany and imaginative, but they were also short on characterization. To be a fan of a DC superhero in the ‘60s was mostly about being fond of his powers or costume or something equally superficial. It was hard to connect to the characters as actual people. That’s my problem with Madman and It Girl, too.
BOOM! Studios will continue down the road to Hell in February with Hellraiser: The Dark Watch, an ongoing series co-written by Hellraiser creator Clive Barker and Witch Doctor‘s Brandon Seifert, with art by Tom Garcia. Barker first explored the world of Pinhead, the Cenobites and the mysterious puzzle boxes in the novella The Hellbound Heart, which later spawned a series of films.
In a press release sent out today, BOOM! notes, “As promised, Clive Barker did not only return to the Hellraiser universe, he re-imagined it! Nothing is as simple as it seems–the old ways have been destroyed and a dangerous new world lies in its wake. Where are Elliott Spencer and Kirsty Cotton? Who will rule and who will serve?”
Seifert told USA Today earlier this month he plans to build his stories from the first two Hellraiser movies. “Hellraiser is about the Cenobites and the Cotton family, sure — but it’s about other things too. It’s about the people who escape from Hell, just like it’s about the people who put them there.” Seifert is also the writer of Hellraiser: The Road Below, a spinoff miniseries that kicked off this month and tells the story of Kirsty Cotton’s first “call to Earth” after she became the new Pinhead. So no doubt we’ll see some Pinhead-on-Pinhead action in the new series.
BOOM! picked up the license to make Hellraiser comics at the end of 2010 and launched an ongoing series in March 2011 that lasted 20 issues. It wasn’t the first time Hellraiser found its way into comics, as Marvel published a Hellraiser anthology series under their Epic banner in the late 80s/early 90s that BOOM! republished in a collection last year.
The complete press release, along with variant cover art, can be found below.
As part of its “Human to Hero” series, CNN profiles celebrated artist Takehiko Inoue, creator of the hit manga series Vagabond, Slam Dunk and Real. “If you can have vivid characters, they will make the story themselves. By putting them in certain situations or having one meet another, they naturally make stories by reacting to each other,” he says. “It sounds like a very easy thing. I wish it was.”
Watch the video segment below.
Neil Gaiman and Robert Kirkman are among The Hollywood Reporter’s 25 most powerful authors in Hollywood, appearing alongside the likes of J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and George R.R. Martin.
At No. 6, Kirkman is recognized not only for the success of AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead but for a “banner year for the veteran comic-book writer and Image Comics partner” that includes overseeing his Skybound imprint and publishing Thief of Thieves, which is also being developed by the cable network.
Gaiman, co-creator of The Sandman, clocked in at No. 23 on the strength of his prose work — The Graveyard Book and American Gods are being developed for film and television, respectively — and the adaptations of Coraline and Stardust.
Even as the casting search gears up for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a push has begun online to convince the studio to fire director James Gunn over objections to a nearly two-year-old blog post that many view as misogynistic and homophobic. (Note: This post contains graphic language.)
The Feb. 17, 2011 post containing the results of a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll, complete with Gunn’s commentary, was deleted at some point from the filmmaker’s website but the cached version resurfaced earlier this week on Tumblr before receiving further exposure Wednesday on The Mary Sue. Why Gunn’s post was only recently unearthed is a bit of a mystery (he was confirmed to direct Guardians of the Galaxy more than two months ago).
Gunn’s superhero sex poll includes male and female characters — 50 in all — ranging from Wonder Woman and Superman to Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. While The Mary Sue notes “there’s nothing wrong about running a poll for the most sex-able superhero on your site,” the complaints arise over some of the filmmaker’s accompanying commentary.
Comics | The editor-in-chief of the Boston Phoenix denies accusations that the alternative weekly canceled Karl Stevens‘ satirical comic Failure because advertiser Anheuser-Busch was offended by last week’s strip, which referred to Bud Light as “diluted horse piss.” Stevens, whose comic has appeared on ThePhoenix.com since 2009, claims he was told by the art director that Failure was being canceled specifically because of the Bud Light jab. “Apparently I offended Bud Light, and cannot be trusted,” Steven told Publishers Weekly. However, Editor-in-Chief Carly Carioli called the accusation “categorically false,” insisting Failure was canceled because it no longer fit The Phoenix, which has changed from a weekly newspaper to a weekly magazine. “It is categorically false that Karl’s strip was discontinued due to any outside objections. As the Phoenix’s editor in chief, it was my sole decision to discontinue Failure,” Carioli told The Boston Globe. “There were no sponsor objections — zero — to this strip or any other that I’m aware of.” [Publishers Weekly, The Boston Globe]
From Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter comes the sad news that pioneering alternative comix artist Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez passed away this morning. He was 72 years old.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Rodriguez built his early cartooning chops in and around New York City where in the late ’60s he contributed to nationally known underground newspaper The East Village Other. The artist was known for his muscular, inky style which was born out of artistic influences like the EC Comics of Wally Wood and real life ones like Rodriquez’s years riding with biker gang the Road Vultures.
By 1969, the artist had relocated to San Francisco where he joined with foundational underground comix artists like R. Crumb, publishing stories for a bevy of titles put out by Last Gasp Press including Crumb’s Zap Comix and Skull Comics and later contributing to other acclaimed titles including Rip Off Comix and Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor.
Rodriguez was perhaps best known for Trashman – a meaty satirical anti-hero inspired by leftist political and road warrior narratives. Though in his later years, he produced a wide range of non-fiction works including the autobiographical My True Story and Che: A Graphic Biography about the life of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
News of Rodriguez’s death is scarce, apparently circulating via an e-mail to friends and supporters. In honor of his passing, The Comics Journal is representing some classic stories with the artist including a 1998 interview with his sometimes publisher Gary Groth and a profile written in April of this year to celebrate his latest release Crusin With The Hound.
Dismissed as a fad 10 years ago, big-screen adaptations bring comic book characters to millions of people every year. Just when you think they’ve peaked, out comes another blockbuster that tops the previous one. Sure, there are also the moderate hits and outright stinkers, but then there arrives an Iron Man or a Dark Knight or a Walking Dead or an Avengers. They’ve long passed the point of being a fluke. They even influence the collectors’ market, with optioning deals causing spikes in sales of back issues and original art, most recently demonstrated by the crazy prices people are willing to pay on eBay for The Walking Dead #1.
So if going from comics to film and television is so great, why is the reverse so rarely true? Comic books that adapt stories from other media (TV, film, video games, books, etc.) are only sometimes great and rarely garner the same kind of enthusiasm and attention. Someone who’s better at Photoshop than me should whip up one of those “said no one ever” images because no one has ever said, “I can’t wait for my favorite blockbuster movie to get adapted into a comic.” And yet most of us could barely keep our composure over the prospects of seeing Marvel’s The Avengers.