In 2011, we reported on an epic act of vandalism: A graffiti artist in Sofia, Bulgaria, transformed a monument dedicated to the the Soviet Union’s 1944 “liberation” of the country into a superhero tableau. The eclectic group includes Superman, Captain America, the Joker and Ronald McDonald, who I guess is kind of a superhero if you’re hungry.
This week, the Russian government gave us an excuse to revisit the story by complaining to the Bulgarian government that it wasn’t trying hard enough to stop repeated vandalism of the statue and bring the culprits to justice.
Legal | The San Diego Police Department is asking anyone with video of the July 26 car accident during the annual SDCC ZombieWalk: San Diego to come forward. Police already have several videos of the incident, in which a driver plowed into the crowd, injuring at least three people, but they are hoping to get additional information. [Fox 5 News]
Legal | A Tokyo District Court judge sentenced Hirofumi Watanabe to four years and six months in prison for sending more than 400 threatening letters to venues connected with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. The 35-year-old man admitted during his first day in court that he had sent the threatening letters, but he also refused to apologize or pay restitution and says he does not feel guilty. [Anime News Network]
Marvel released its November solicitations, and as I’ve feared for a few months now, New Warriors by Christopher Yost and Marcus To is ending with Issue 12. This isn’t exactly a surprise, as anyone even casually watching its sales probably saw this coming: July’s Issue 7 sold about 17,000 copies, a few thousand below the traditional line of death for a Marvel title.
While the writing may have been on the wall, it’s sad to see such a fun and spirited comic go away. As a longtime fan of New Warriors, this fourth attempt to revitalize the property was the most true to the fondly remembered original series by Fabian Nicieza, Mark Bagley and Darick Robertson. The bright and energetic art was fantastic, the dialogue was pitch-perfect, and yet … it just didn’t click with enough readers.
So what’s the problem?
Unfortunately, the creators had an uphill climb for a number of reasons. Some are unique to the New Warriors and others are shared by non-marquee properties at Marvel, DC and other publishers. In February, when this New Warriors series launched, I celebrated the B-list characters and their comics. Now six months later, we’re staring down the barrel of cancellation. These B-listers are a double-edged sword, so now it’s time to look at the edge of the sword that we don’t like (or however that metaphor works).
Pinnacle Entertainment Group, perhaps best known for Deadlands, has announced a source book for its Savage Worlds role-playing game based on The Sixth Gun, the supernatural Western comic created by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt.
“I’ve long said that the world of The Sixth Gun would make a great setting for a role-playing game,” Bunn wrote on his website. “If you agree with me, then you should get your dice ready.”
In what other medium can a someone get an original work of art made just for them by a creator whose career they’ve followed? Not movies, television, music or fine art, unless you’re a millionaire. But in comics, many of today’s artists are for hire to fans looking to own a piece of their work — and even commission something especially for them. Comics are crazy that way, but that’s a good thing.
It’s nothing new, of course. The idea itself goes back into the roots of fine art, but with the advent of conventions and now the internet it’s available to virtually everyone — with some creators even reaching out to fans to make it happen.
For the past few months, Frank Cho has talked in semi-veiled fashion about his plans to return to creator-owned comics, and earlier this week he put a name to it. On his website ApesandBabes.com, the artist announced two series he plans to launch 2015, as well as eight additional projects he’ll roll out over the next four years.
Cho’s formal return to creator-owned comics is targeted to begin next spring with World of Payne, which the artist has described as a “quirky adventure story with heavy doses of comedy and horror.” Cho created this series with Thomas E. Sniegoski, and previously revealed his designs for the book’s unique reptilian monsters.
JL8 creator Yale Stewart announced he’s “stepping away” from his popular fan comic amid sharp criticism of his charity wallpapers, and allegations that he’s sent unsolicited sexual photos to women in the comics industry.
Update (10:44 a.m.): Stewart admitted this morning to sending photos to two women with whom he was involved, writing, in part, “Two years ago, I was engaged in two separate relationships with women whom I was sexually active with. Given the nature of these relationships, my experiences in past relationships, and various dialogues with these women, I thought it had been established within each relationship that intimate or explicit photos were acceptable, possibly even desired. I GROSSLY misread the situation. It has been brought to my attention that both of these women were uncomfortable with my behavior, and needless to say, I’m absolutely disgusted with myself.”
“[...] I have reached out to both of these women and have made private apologies, but I felt it was my responsibility to make a public one as well. As stated earlier, I believe sexual harassment to be an incredibly serious issue, and while the harassment in question was a terrible and ignorant mistake, it does not change the fact that that’s what this was, and I accept full responsibility.”
There’s more at the link. The original story continues below …
Back-issue bins are a treasure trove of oddities and forgotten treasures, and one rarity from the United Kingdom may be making its return.
During a special Comica Conversations event held Sunday at the British Library, veteran writer Pat Mills revealed there’s been talk of collecting serials from the long out-of-print horror anthology Misty — “Moonchild” by Mills and John Armstrong, and “The Four Faces of Eve” by Malcolm Shaw and Brian Delaney. If successful, this would be the first proper printing of material from Misty since the magazine’s closing in 1984; in 2009 Titan announced a collection, but sadly it never materialized.
Eben Burgoon’s goofy comedy The B-Squad is the story of a ragtag crew sent off on various missions around the world. He brings considerable comedic energy to the story, and the twist is that a member of the squad is killed off in every issue. Burgoon chooses who to kill at random by (in real life) spinning an antique sailor’s gambling device made of whalebone.
The first issue was funded on Kickstarter, and you can download it for free from the shop at the B-Squad website. Now Burgoon is running another, more ambitious Kickstarter to fund the rest of a six-issue run and print it as a graphic novel. In Issue 2 (which was privately funded) and Issue 3, the story takes place in Tapigami, the masking-tape world of real-life artist Danny Scheible; the team is sent to rescue Bill Murray, who has been kidnapped by the artist.
Passings | Egyptian cartoonist Mostafa Hussein died Saturday following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 79. Hussein had been a cartoonist for the state-owned Al Akbar newspaper since 1974, and was often accused of being sympathetic to those in power. His final cartoon, published in Al Akbar two days before he died, was inscribed “I ??don’t have time to finish this cartoon, forgive me. I will miss you.” [Ahram Online]
Awards | The Cartoonist Rights Network International (CRNI) has announced the winners of this year’s Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning, and for the first time in the history of the award they are women: Indian cartoonist Kanika Mishra and Palestinian cartoonist Majda Shaheen. Mishra faced death threats for her cartoons about a religious leader who raped a 16-year-old (and eventually went to prison); Shaheen also was threatened with violence after she drew a cartoon depicting the Al-Quds Brigades as a dog in a cartoon critiquing Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s relationship with the organization. [Comic Riffs]
Following the launch of the third annual Kirby4 Heroes campaign, The Hero Initiative has announced of the “Wake Up and Draw” and in-store events planned for Aug. 28 in celebration of Jack Kirby’s 97th birthday.
The nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing a financial assistance to creators in need, has recruited more than 40 artists to “Wake Up and Draw,” with their drawings featured in a special gallery at ComicArtFans.com; they’ll be auctioned later on eBay, with proceeds benefiting The Hero Initiative. Follow #WakeUpAndDraw on Twitter and Instagram on Aug. 28 to see the drawings as they’re posted.
Phil Hester has set out to do a staggering 97 drawings for Kirby’s birthday, which you’ll be able to check out on his Twitter stream. He’ll also have details on where you can purchase the drawings.With Fan Expo Canada kicking off Aug. 28 in Toronto, artists including Kaare Andrews, Greg Land, Joe Prado, Ty Templeton, Jill Thompson, Richard Zajac and more will “Wake Up and Draw” with The Hero Initiative, while in San Francisco, Paolo Rivera will appear at the Cartoon Museum.
For a rundown of in-store appearances, art auctions and retailers who have agreed to donate a portion of sales on Aug. 28 to the organization, visit The Hero Initiative and the Kirby4Heroes Facebook page.
“The Dark Knight series is all from Batman’s point of view. But if you look at Dark Knight 2, you’ll see a Superman who’s much calmer than the one in the first Dark Knight. Batman and Superman are dead opposites. I love Superman. Do I love Batman more? They’re not people. They’re only lines on paper.”
Following in the footsteps of the likes of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Panel Syndicate, Image Comics and, just last month, comiXology, Valiant Entertainment will allow readers to download its comics as DRM-free digital files.
Through a new agreement with DriveThruComics, Valiant’s monthly titles are now available as PDFs on the same day of their print release. The online retailer will soon host the publisher’s entire catalog of single issues and collections.
“Valiant has some of the most exciting and entertaining comics on the market today,” Matt M. McElroy, DriveThruComics’ director of publishing, said in a statement. “Several members of the DriveThruComics crew were already huge fans of the Valiant characters and creators, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to have these books available on our site.”
In celebration of the new partnership, the first issues of Valiant’s ongoing series are available for free download from Drive Thru Comics for the next 30 days. They include:
The Humble BOOM! Bundle is in its final day, meaning readers still have time to download 39 issues of DRM-free digital comics for as little as a penny.
That will get you issues of such BOOM! Studios series as Sons of Anarchy, Day Men, RoboCop and Imagine Agents. Those who pay more than the average amount offered (right now that’s $10.10) will unlock issues from 10 more series, including Planet of the Apes, The Woods and Mouse Guard: The Black Axe (the offering has expanded since the launch of the promotion, adding Fairy Quest: Outlaws, Polarity, Suicide Risk Vols. 1-2 and Protocol: Orphans).
Ed Kramer’s social-media activity didn’t violate the terms of his plead agreement, meaning he isn’t headed back to jail just yet. However, Gwinnett County (Georgia) District Attorney Danny Porter indicated it’s only a matter of time before the DragonCon co-founder makes a misstep.
“He’s very adept at the Internet … and he’s going to test us at every opportunity,” Porter told Atlanta’s WSB-AM last week. ”So it’s still my belief that before this is all over, he’s going to violate his probation and I’m going to have him in prison.”
The D.A. began an investigation last month into Kramer’s online activity after reports circulated that his Twitter account was being followed by a 14-year-old girl and his Google+ page showed a connection to the then-14-year-old boy he was found with in a Connecticut hotel room in 2011.