INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Rafael Grampá’s art has already featured in one high-profile advertising campaign this year, for Absolut vodka. Now his work is featuring in an promo for Nike that strikes straight to the core of the Brazilian national self-image: soccer. For any sports lovers looking forward to the 2014 World Cup, it’s an amusing piece of film, maybe even the equal of the famous 1998 airport kickabout short.
Brazil is hosting the tournament after a year of civil unrest, which featured protesters calling for the international community to boycott the World Cup amid spiraling costs and accusations of corruption. But soccer is the true national religion of Brazil, and I expect the World Cup to result in a wave of euphoria and national reconciliation, just as the 2012 Olympics caused in the United Kingdom after the riots of 2011. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this joyous advert prompts the start of this process.
When the canned-spinach cartel wanted to make its product more attractive, it put Popeye on the label.
Now a fruit producer is doing something similar with bananas — but in this case, the comic goes right on the peel. The multinational fruit and fresh produce company Fyffes, which is based in Ireland, teamed up with the German branding company Serviceplan to make bananas attractive to children by printing comics directly on the peels, using special laser printing technology. (One could argue that it also made comics attractive to children by printing them on bananas, but the fruit folks were paying the bills.) The bananas were then handed out to schoolchildren in Spain, Russia, Belgium and the United States — Why were we not told of this? — for an entire week.
Frank Miller is back behind this camera, this time for the director’s cut of the Sin City-inspired television commercial for the Gucci fragrance Gucci Guilty Black, starring Chris Evans and Evan Rachel Wood, with a cameo by the filmmaker himself.
Matthieu Bessudo, the French artist commonly known as McBess, is becoming very popular indeed with the advertising industry. Known in the comics world primarily for the work he’s produced for the boutique U.K, publisher NoBrow, his background is both in animation and music, playing guitar in various bands, making him the perfect man for this great ad for the streaming music service Deezer.
The 32-second short features a host of trademark McBess tattooed rock ‘n’ rollers who refuse to allow music to be contained like a genie in the bottle, letting it spill out in a series of bravura flowing animated musical set pieces, then ending with the motto “nothing will stop the music.” McBess’sstyle has previously graced ads for the Nissan Qashqui SUV and this memorably filthy and effective one for the charity Good Books.
Publishing | Viz Media announced that Ken Sasaki, formerly the senior vice president and general manager of the manga and anime publisher, will take over from Hidemi Fukuhara as president and CEO. Fukuhara is being promoted to vice chairman, which apparently involves little of the day-to-day management of the company. [Crunchyroll]
Publishing | Johanna Draper Carlson counts the pages in some recent DC and Marvel comics and finds lots of house ads — and very few paying ones. This raises the chicken-and-egg question of whether the comics publishers are losing interest in selling ads or the advertisers are losing interest in buying them. [Comics Worth Reading]
Digital | Nerdist Industries’ CEO Peter Levin has joined comiXology’s advisory board. [comiXology]
Publishing | David Gabriel, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, says that Marvel is putting “the biggest marketing investment that we’ve ever put into a series or an event” behind its upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men event. The campaign will include online, social media, radio and television promotion. “They’re actually treating every issue as an event, because there’s a different fight going on in every issue, and I’m told that they are pushing every single issue through all 12 issues,” Gabriel said. “The story itself has three acts, and each of those acts has a natural marketing hook to it, so they’re pushing those as well.” [ICv2]
Publishing | While DC’s New 52 has been good for comics sales overall, there is a dark side: Sales of pre-reboot collected editions are down. ICv2 also lists the Top 10 comics and graphic novel franchises in a number of different genres. [ICv2]
Legal | The Justice Department brought more charges of fraud and copyright infringement against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his colleagues on Friday, but also revealed that Megaupload isn’t all that mega: The file-sharing site had only 66.6 million users, not the 180 million previously claimed, and fewer than 6 million had ever actually uploaded a file. The indictment mentions one user who uploaded almost 17,000 items, including copyrighted movies, which were viewed 34 million times. [The Washington Post]
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Image Comics, the company formed by a group of artists who left the security of work-for-hire comics to create and own their own comics. It’s been 20 years of ups and downs, but one thing that has remained consistent is a focus on creator-owned work.
With 2011 in the history books and their big anniversary kicking off with the first Image Expo, a new ad campaign and high-profile series by big-name creators like Brian K. Vaughan, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and many more, I thought it was a good time to chat with Publisher Eric Stephenson about the state of the company, the year that was, their upcoming plans and anything else he was willing to talk about. My thanks to Eric for taking the time to answer my questions.
JK Parkin: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview, Eric. Incidentally, another feature we’re running as a part of our anniversary bash is one where we asked various comic industry folks about what they’re looking forward to in 2012. I got one back yesterday where the answer was basically “everything from Image Comics.” I find that interesting, because there’s a lot of diversity in Image’s line and although I think you guys probably publish something for every kind of taste, I wouldn’t think that every title would appeal to every comic reader. And yet I also find myself checking out at least the first issue of everything you guys have done lately. So from your perspective, what’s the unifying factor (or factors) right now among your titles, if there is one?
Stephenson: I think the main thing is that we’re moving forward and creating new things. We’re not content to just recycle the same old ideas month in and month out and then market it all as brand new. If this was another publisher, we’d be debuting our latest spin-off of The Walking Dead in March, but instead, we’re launching a new series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, a new series by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, a new series by Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz, and so on. For 20 years, Image has put its faith in creative people, and it’s the power of their imagination that links all our titles together, now more than ever.
Marvel is offering a special deal for retailers on Ultimate Fallout #4, which is the first appearance of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales — order 5,000 copies, receive a full page ad for their store in “upcoming Marvel comic books.”
The notice is posted on Diamond’s retailer website and says that the deal can apply to orders for both the first or second printing of the comic, “or any combination of the two.” And orders must be placed between Aug. 25 and Aug. 29. Retailers who qualify will also receive one Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Pichelli Sketch Variant, which is limited to just 20 copies total.
Here’s the text, which doesn’t offer many details on where exactly the ad will appear:
Order 5,000 copies of Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 (JUN110611D) or Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 Second Printing Bagley Variant (JUN118244D) — or any combination of the two — from August 25 through August 29, and you will receive a free full page ad for your store in upcoming Marvel comic books, either of your design or designed along with Marvel. Qualifying retailers will be contacted by Marvel to coordinate design of the ad.
Plus, you will get a free, extremely rare Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Pichelli Sketch Variant, limited to a print run of 20 total copies. This offer is on a first-come, first-served basis as supplies are limited.
But wait! There’s more. According to the notice, “One good variant deserves another, especially when it comes to the much-discussed, high profile comic that is Ultimate Comics Fallout #4.” So Marvel is also offering retailers one free copy of the Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 Second Printing Sara Pichelli Variant for every copy of Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 Second Printing Mark Bagley Variant they ordered. That’s two second printings for the price of one.
You have to wonder what drove this special deal — did they overprint and are now trying to move copies with the reward? Or is this the first salvo in the upcoming fall chart wars that DC’s 52 new issues will likely ignite? As noted earlier this week, the first issue of DC’s relaunched Justice League has garnered initial orders of more than 200,000. The figure will make Justice League #1 the bestselling direct market comic of the year, knocking Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 and its 168,000 copies out of the top spot. Could this help push Ultimate Fallout #4 up to those numbers? And it’s only August — the real action should begin in September, which not only brings 51 more first issues from DC, but also Ultimate Spider-Man #1. It should be an interesting fall for chart watchers.
Ultimate Fallout #4 came out Aug. 3. A second printing is due Aug. 31. You can find a screenshot of Diamond’s site after the jump.
DC Comics shared some specifics on one element of their plans to market the DC relaunch to the non-comic reading audience, as they told comic retailers about a partnership with National CineMedia.
Per the email sent to retailers last week, NCM will create a 30-second advertisement for DC Comics – The New 52. Each spot will be customized to include information on a local store. “We urge retailers to take advantage of our 75-percent special event co-op reimbursement to get the word out to both new and lapsed readers in their areas,” said Bob Wayne, senior vice president of sales, DC Entertainment. Ads will run between Aug. 31 and Sept. 30.
You can find the complete announcement after the jump.
Fantagraphics sent over their list of books debuting at the San Diego Comic-Con later this month, and boy is it packed tighter than my suitcase on vacation day. The publisher will have almost two dozen new books at the show, including the last Mome; new stuff from Michael Kupperman, the Hernandez Bros. and Johnny Ryan; tons of Eurocomics; a Lou Reed/Edgar Allan Poe joint; and more. Check them out:
Love & Rockets New Stories 4 by Los Bros Hernandez: Featuring new stories by Jaime and Gilbert, including new material featuring Maggie set in the present and during her teen years.
Mark Twain’s Autobiography by Michael Kupperman: Probably the one I’ve been looking forward to the most, Kupperman publishes Mark Twain’s “biography” since the day the author/humorist died through last year — including his affair with Marilyn Monroe and his time-traveling adventures with Einstein.
Prison Pit Vol. 3 by Johnny Ryan: More deranged, twisted ultraviolent fun from Ryan.
Please just sit back a moment and let that sink in. Frank Miller directed a Gucci ad. Frank “Goddamn Batman” Miller. I’m not sure when the timeline we’re all currently experiencing diverged from the real one, but I’m sure as shootin’ glad it did.
And oh yeah, that’s Chris “Johnny Storm/Captain America” Evans and Evan Rachel “True Blood/Vampire Queen of Louisiana” Wood making out in it, to the tune of Friendly Fires covering “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode. What a wonderful world.
(via John Barber)
Neal Shaffer and Daniel Krall, creators of the Oni Press title One Plus One some years back, recently did some advertising work for Yahoo!’s various mobile applications. The duo created a comic book (which can be read online here) that appears in the latest issue of Wired Magazine and on the Wired website.
“This was an awesome project to work on,” Shaffer said on his blog. “The assignment went like this: come up with a modern superhero story that integrates Yahoo!’s products in a fun, interesting way. We had three pages to work with — one splash page for the front and two panel-based pages from there.”
Advertising-archive website Coloribus showcases two adorable, and undoubtedly trademark-infringing, Russian print ads that show Spider-Man and Superman enjoying the benefits of Stroy Master soundproof windows. Weep for the residents of New York City and Metropolis.
From Mark Millar, the man who brought you the story of Orson Welles’ efforts to produce the very first Batman movie, comes this photo of a billboard purportedly advertising Nemesis — in comic shops today! — in New York City’s Times Square.
“Times Square, New York City, 15 minutes ago,” Millar wrote this morning on his message board. “Is this what happens when you give a comic-book writer some movie royalties?”
Well, not necessarily. Eagle-eyed viewers, or Google Image searchers, may recognize the photo as originating from slightly more than “15 minutes ago” — like January, when much hay was being made over the Weatherproof billboard that featured President Obama.
You can see the original photo after the break.
Update: In the comments thread, reader MD shares a snapshot of what the billboard on that street corner actually looks like this morning. (If you’ll recall, Weatherproof Garment Company agreed to remove the Obama ads at the request of the White House.)
Some sort of teaser campaign popped up over the weekend on sites like the Bendis Boards and The Savage Critics. They simply say “Stan’s Back” and link to a website with that URL and the same text. (Incidentally, if you try to look at the source code, you’ll find a hidden message: “You are not going to learn anything about this site from looking at the code!”).
From the signature, it’s obvious that these ads are referencing Stan Lee, but who exactly is he working with? Some random guesses:
Or it could be for something and someone I’m completely missing here. Thoughts?