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SDCC ’13 | Oni to publish Spears and Callahan’s ‘The Auteur’


Today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Oni Press announced a new ongoing series, The Auteur by Rick Spears (Teenagers from Mars), James Callahan (Strange Detective Tales, Rotting In Dirtville) and Luigi Anderson. Spears said it’s his first ongoing series, and that he and Callahan have been friends for years.

The comic is about Nathan T. Rex, a big-time movie producer, and the first movie in his already-filmed mega tentpole trilogy has just flopped, dooming the rest of the films. With his career in Hollywood pretty much sunk, he decides to punch up the horror film he’s working on by bringing in a serial killer as the consultant. “Then it gets weird,” Spears said. “I’m very excited that Oni is letting me do this. I only hope they don’t regret it.”

The comic is due in spring 2014. ComicsAlliance has a preview of the first issue, and an interview with Spears.

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James Robinson on the ‘LoEG’ movie and TV pilot


“Even when I was writing the best version [of the movie] I could with more of the darkness and nuance and the feel of Alan Moore’s comic, I remember saying a summer movie is not — I wanted to write that film because it was an opportunity for me, but this is not the way these characters should be portrayed. The perfect version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would have been a British BBC series with great character actors, where it doesn’t rely on them being handsome or a box office draw and special effects, along the lines of Torchwood and Doctor Who. With League, it isn’t so much the epic effects, it’s the characters. The idea that they’ve come around and are trying to do a TV show doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s a smart move. We’ll see how good it is.”

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SDCC ’13 | James O’Barr creates ‘The Crow’ movie teaser poster


Horror site Shock Till You Drop has revealed the Comic-Con International teaser poster for Relativity Media’s long-brewing reboot of The Crow, illustrated by the comic’s creator James O’Barr.

Although project has had a bumpy road, losing its director, writer and star, it appears back on track with confirmation earlier this month that director F. Javier Gutierrez and actor Luke Evans are locked in, with O’Barr serving as creative consultant.

“It’s one of those books,” the artist tells the website. “The book’s been in print since ’89, so it’s getting close to 30 years. I thought all of my fans will grow old with me and that will be the end of it. But no, it gets passed down generation to generation. It’s still, to this day, fully 60 percent of my core audience is 16-year-old goth girls and I’m like, ‘You weren’t even born when it came out, how do you know about it?’  And they’re boyfriend suggested it to them or their dad introduced it to them. A second generation is affected by it.”

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ComiXology surpasses 180 million digital downloads



Amid the flurry of news coming out of Comic-Con International in San Diego, digital-comics distributor comiXology announced this morning it has surpassed 180 million downloads worldwide. That’s just about nine months after the company hit the 100-million mark.

It’s been a year of growth for comiXology, which opened a Paris branch in January, leading to distribution agreements with French publishers Delcourt, Glénat and a dozen others. And just this week, the company announced a partnership with North American manga publisher Seven Seas.

However, it hasn’t all been about signing deals, as comiXology also launched the comiXology Submit self-publishing platform, as well as subscription and bundle features.

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SDCC ’13 | Viz Media acquires ‘All You Need Is Kill’ GN, more

all-you-need-is-killViz Media’s literary imprint Haikasoru has acquired a graphic novel based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need Is Kill, a new translation of Battle Royale, and a collection of essays about the hit dystopian action/adventure.

The imprint’s first original graphic novel, All You Need Is Kill is an adaptation of the sci-fight light novel that inspired the upcoming Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow. In it, a new recruit for the United Defense Force is killed during his first sortie to battle invading aliens, only to be caught in a time loop that seems him reborn each morning only to die again and again. Adapted by Nick Mamatas (Move Under Ground) and illustrated by Lee Ferguson (Green Arrow, Miranda Mercury), the book arrives May 6.

In time for the 15th anniversary of Koushun Takami’s influential novel, which as spawned manga and film adaptations and numerous imitators, Haikasoru will release Battle Royale: Remastered, and The Battle Royale Slam Book: Essays on the Cult Classic Novel by Koushun Takami, a collection of essays by some of today’s best sci-fi, horror and thriller writers. Both will be released April 1.

Battle Royale remains one of the biggest novels to ever come out of Japan and nearly 15 years after its initial publication, the controversy and discussions surrounding it continue, ” Mamata, the imprint’s editor, says in a statement. “Fans won’t want to miss Battle Royale: Remastered and the companion The Battle Royale Slam Book, featuring insightful essays by some of the West’s most important popular fiction writers and cult filmmakers on the global impact of the novel, the associated theatrical films and manga series, the controversies they caused, and the title’s place in the larger pop culture pantheon!”

SDCC ’13 | Kazu Kibuishi’s sixth ‘Harry Potter’ cover debuts


Scholastic unveiled the new cover by cartoonist Kazu Kibuishi for the sixth book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, The Half-Blood Prince, during a party held last night at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Announced in February, the new covers by the acclaimed creator of Copper, Daisy Kutter and Amulet were commissioned to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the U.S. debut of Rowling’s beloved fantasy series. The art for the seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will premiere July 31 at a birthday party for the books.

The new editions will be available beginning Aug. 27, with a boxed set scheduled for release in September.

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SDCC ’13 | Dark Horse to publish ongoing based on ‘Halo 4′


Dark Horse, which earlier this year acquired the comic-book license for Halo, will launch the first ongoing series based on the blockbuster video game franchise in December. According to Wired, the announcement will be made today at Comic-Con International in San Diego by franchise development director Frank O’Conner.

Based on the storyline of Halo 4, which arrives in November from Microsoft Studios, Halo: Escalation will be penned by the game’s lead writer Chris Schlerf, with art for the first three issues provided by Omar Francia (Mass Effect and Star Wars: Legacy comics). The covers will be illustrated by Dragon Age comics artist Anthony Palumbo.

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Trinity War’ is testing the old ways

Pandora holds that evil skull like my daughter holds her stuffed bunnies

Pandora holds that evil skull like my daughter holds her stuffed bunnies

The first part of “Trinity War” (in last week’s Justice League #22) relied rather significantly on the changes the New 52 relaunch facilitated: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Billy Batson/Shazam (hereinafter “Billy/Shazam,” or maybe just “Captain Marvel”) each acted in ways incompatible with long relationships.

In the old days, Superman and Wonder Woman would have been close friends, Superman and Captain Marvel would have had a unique (almost mentor-protegé) relationship, and Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel would at least have had some Greek mythology in common. However, the main conflicts of “TW” Part 1 depended on Wonder Woman being more of a warrior than an ambassador, Superman trusting her hostility, and Billy/Shazam not knowing either of them that well. As such, it appeared to exemplify the freedom a relaunch confers, specifically to ignore the restrictions of previous developments to put these characters quickly on opposing sides.

In other words, one might reasonably have seen Part 1 as a) realizing the New 52 allowed for a particular Shocking Event and b) working backward to create the conditions that would lead to said Event. “Because we can do this, how do we do it?”

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SDCC Exclusive | Papercutz to publish two WWE comics series

WWE #1 cover by Adriano Moraes  and colorist JayJay Jackson.

WWE #1 cover by Adriano Moraes and JayJay Jackson (artwork not final).

Last month we pieced together the news that Papercutz had signed a deal with wrestling company WWE to produce some comics, and today ROBOT 6 the exclusive scoop direct from the publisher: Papercutz will be publishing not one but two WWE-related comic series.

The first title is a ongoing monthly comic series  starting in December simply titled WWE, which is essentially the wrestling world come to life. WWE Hall of Fame wrestler (and New York Times bestselling author) Mick Foley will write stories set in the actual continuity of WWE storylines, complete with matches, backstage segments and of course the company’s superstars — both past and present.

“WWE’s Superstars are truly larger-than-life, with the kind of personality and raw power that makes a comics page crackle with excitement,” said Papercutz Editor-In-Chief Jim Salicrup in a press release. “It’s the kind of action and drama that’s just perfect for comics, and Mick Foley is just the WWE Legend we need to make it happen.”

Foley is no stranger to comics: He’s written a miniseries for 12 Gauge Comics, partnered with Jill Thompson on several kids books, and was even a childhood friend of the son of comics legend John Buscema. This WWE comic series is described by the publisher as “Teen+”, and will be part of a full line of titles for that age group to be revealed later this year.

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SDCC ’13 | Seven Seas inks deal with comiXology

seven seas-lunaSeven Seas Entertainment has announced a deal with comiXology that will bring the manga publisher’s catalog to the digital comics platform.

The distribution agreement launches with 13 Seven Seas graphic novels: Amazing Agent Luna Vols. 1-3 by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir and Shiei; Arkham Woods by Christopher Rowley and Jhomar Soriano; Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Vol. 1 story by Yomi Hirasaka and Itachi; Hollow Fields Vol. 1 by Madeleine Rosca; Jack the Ripper: Hell Blade Vol. 1 by Je-tae Yoo; Dance in the Vampire Bund Vols. 1-3 by Nozomu Tamaki; The Sacred Blacksmith Vol. 1 by Isao Miura and Kotaro Yamada; and Vampire Cheerleaders/Paranormal Mystery Squad Vols. 1-2 by Adam Arnold, Shiei and Comipa.

The debut of those titles will be followed by more of Seven Seas’ back catalog, with the two companies promising eventual same-day digital release.

“Since its inception, Sevens Seas’ commitment to bringing the best in original and licensed manga has been evident by how many titles they’ve had chart on the New York Times bestsellers list,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis has a great eye for talent, whether it’s licensing and translating material from Japan and Korea or creating new content. We’re very excited to help bring Seven Seas Entertainment’s catalog to new and old fans across the globe on comiXology.”

Could the next Superman film be ‘Superior’? Let’s hope not

superman flyoverBy now I imagine most fans have had a chance to see director Zack Snyder’s big-budget Man of Steel.

I know several aspects of the film have stirred passions of some devotees who know and like Superman better than your average movie-goer, and there are sharply divided views on some of the Man of Steel’s actions. (I thought it was a pretty-OK film, far better than the last couple of Superman films, and most of its major problems could have been corrected by an edit that left some of the less Supermanly activity on the cutting-room floor. And a Krypto cameo. And 100 percent more more Jimmy Olsen).

I don’t really pay much attention to box-office receipts, nor do I aggregate film reviews, but, as far as I can tell, the movie seems to have done all right and to have been generally well-received. It may not have been The Dark Knight but, at the very least, it didn’t go over like a radioactive lead balloon, like Jonah Hex or Green Lantern. I hope it did well enough to generate a sequel, mostly because I’d like to see Hollywood get a chance to dig deeper into Superman’s superlative rogues gallery than just using Luthor and/or the Phantom Zone criminals over and over.

And partly because I think it would be awful if the next Superman film wasn’t a Superman film, but a Superior film.

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SDCC ’13 | Watch the ‘Afterlife With Archie’ trailer


The Hollywood Reporter has debuted the trailer for Afterlife With Archie, the upcoming Archie Comics series by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla. It will be screened Saturday at Comic-Con International during the “Archie Comics: The Hottest Publisher in the Industry” panel.

Launching Oct. 9, the comic begins with Jughead’s dog Hot Dog being run over by a car, leading him to convince Sabrina the Teenage Witch to resurrect the pooch. What comes back from the dead bites Jughead, infecting him with a virus — and on the night of the Riverdale Halloween dance, the zombie apocalypse begins.

“Tonally, I think we’re going for horror laced with an undercurrent of black comedy,” Aguirre-Sacasa told Comic Book Resources when the project was announced. “Like the first and second Evil Dead movies, or the original American Werewolf in London. The comedy will hopefully heighten the horror, and vice-versa.”

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SDCC ’13 | DC’s ‘Mad Max’ motion comic ties into video game


DC Entertainment will release a motion comic the explores the backstory of the upcoming Mad Max video game from Avalanche Studios and WB Games.

Written by Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2) and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander (Legends of the Dark Knight), the story introduces Max’s trusted mechanic Chumbucket, who plays a central role in the game, which will be released next year in conjunction with director George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

“I love the Mad Max movies,” Alexander tells USA Today, adding that the motion comic “was a great bit of nostalgia for me and also an opening to lend my own touches to this iconic character.”

In the game, set in the post-apocalyptic world of the movie series, Max must cross a desert wasteland after his Interceptor his stolen by a gang of marauders.

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SDCC ’13 | Peter and Bobby Timony talk ‘Detectobot’



With multiple new Monkeybrain Comics titles launching today to mark the digital publisher’s second year, expect Detectobot, the new series by brothers Peter Timony and Bobby Timony (Zuda’s Night Owls), to receive a lot of attention for one word in particular: free. That’s right, the Timony brothers and Monkeybrain are offering the prologue to the new series  for free on comiXology, beginning today.

As part of ROBOT 6’s coverage of today’s Monkeybrain announcements, we spoke with the Timony brothers about the development of the their world’s greatest detective, who happens to be a robot, and why they wanted to offer the prologue for free. They also shared some preview pages from Detectobot.

Tim O’Shea: Beyond the natural “Yippie!” response, please describe your reactions when you found out the prologue to Detectobot was going to be available for free on comiXology. Or was that actually your decision to make to a great extent?

Peter Timony: We requested it, and the fine folks at Monkeybrain agreed. We wanted to do a freebie to entice new readers. It’s a lesson we learned from all of our years selling crack.

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SDCC ’13 | Fantagraphics to publish Eleanor Davis collection


An excerpt from “In Our Eden,” a comics short published in 2012’s Nobrow #7.

The Comics Reporter has word that comics wunderkind Eleanor Davis will be doing a standalone short-story collection with Fantagraphics, edited by Gary Groth.

This as-yet-untitled book will be Davis’ first major work since 2009’s The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook from Bloomsbury Children’s. In that time the cartoonist has created extensive shorter works for Fantagraphics’ Mome anthology as well as for Little House Comics, the boutique publishing imprint she co-owns with her husband Drew Weing.

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