After teasing fans for a few months, Amy Reeder and Brand Montclare’s Rocket Girl is go for launch.
According to the Kickstarter page, which went live this morning, Rocket Girl is a “teenage cop from a high-tech future” who’s sent back to 1986: “She’s investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time. As she pieces together the clues, she discovers that the ‘future’ — an alternate reality version of 2013 and the place she calls home — shouldn’t exist at all.”
Montclare and Reeder have been on similar flight paths since breaking into comics. They both did their time at Tokyopop before Montclare recruited Reeder to work on Madame Xanadu after he took an editorial position at Vertigo. Last year they re-teamed for a creator-owned one-shot, Halloween Eve, which they used Kickstarter to fund. And now they’ve returned to crowdfunding to finance the production of Rocket Girl, an ongoing series they plan to launch this fall.
I spoke with Montclare and Reeder about Rocket Girl, using Kickstarter to finance their creator-owned works and much more.
Tokyopop has come back to life, sort of: The manga publisher unveiled its revamped website a few days ago, and the company is once again selling books, in partnership with Right Stuf (for print) and Graphicly (for digital). The only Japanese manga available on the new site is Hetalia; Tokyopop’s licenses for other series lapsed, and most of them probably aren’t coming back, although CEO Stu Levy dangled the possibility of some new licenses in a panel last week at Anime LA. What’s left is a good-sized collection of Tokyopop’s Original English Language (OEL) manga and a few graphic-novel imports from countries other than Japan.
Although Tokyopop’s OEL line earned a fair amount of derision at the time, many of the books were actually pretty solid. In addition, they provided paying work for many young and veteran artists. Here’s a look at six that are of interest either because of the creators or because they are so strong (or both).
East Coast Rising: Becky Cloonan’s first full-length graphic novel, this urban-pirate story earned a nomination for Best New Series in the 2007 Eisner Awards. Alas, there was never a second volume.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d start with a couple of Marvel firsts, even though one of them isn’t technically a first issue: Uncanny Avengers #1 ($3.99) and Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99). This is the first week of Marvel NOW, and they’re starting with books by creative teams I’m excited about. Next I’d get Stumptown V2 #2 ($3.99) and wind things up with the Halloween Eve one-shot. I actually supported the Kickstarter for the latter, so my copy is probably already on the way to my mailbox, but hypothetically let’s assume that it wasn’t. It’s by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, two creators whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past. So if it wasn’t coming to me in the mail, it would come home in a paper bag from the comic shop.
If I had $30, I’d add an outgoing Marvel title (Marvel THEN?), Fantastic Four #611, which features the end of Hickman’s run before he moves on to Avengers and Matt Fraction takes over the first family of Marveldom. Next I’d grab Green Lantern Corps #13 ($2.99) as I like the direction the GL books have been headed in lately, and Conan #9 ($3.50), the second half of Brian Wood’s collaboration with Vasilis Lolos. Finally, I’d grab Point of Impact #1 ($2.99), the new crime book by Jay Faerber and Koray Kuranel.
This is a splurge in price only; if I had $50, then Chris Ware’s Building Stories would definitely have been at the top of my buy list this week. It’s a big box of little comics, as Chris put it, and as luck would have it I really do have $50 in gift certificates that I got for my birthday to buy it with. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Conventions | San Diego City Council has given final approval to the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, viewed as necessary to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. The project still faces a legal challenge to a financing scheme involving a hotel-room surtax, as well as state regulatory approval, leading the city attorney to caution that the targeted 2017 completion date is just “a goal.” Whether Comic-Con organizers can be convinced to sign another three-year extension to their contract remains a big question. [NBC San Diego]
Conventions | Most of Heidi MacDonald’s article about New York Comic Con is behind a paywall at Publishers Weekly, but she pulls out some stats at The Beat: Ticket sales are up 190 percent over this time last year. As the capacity of the Javits Center is somewhere south of 110,000 people, this means the ReedPOP folks won’t sell any more tickets than last year, but they are selling out faster. Three-day and four-day passes are already gone, only Friday tickets remain, and ReedPOP vice president Lance Fensterman expects everything to be sold out by the time the show begins. [The Beat]
Comics | Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns talks with The Wall Street Journal about the introduction this week of the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps Simon Baz, an Arab-American Muslim from Dearborn, Michigan: “As fantastic as the concept of Green Lantern is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with. When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal.” [Speakeasy]
Comics | The new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, reaches a key moment in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #14, when Aunt May gives him Peter Parker’s web-shooters and the formula for for his web fluid. Writer Brian Michael Bendis explains why he waited so long to pass along the iconic tools: “‘This is like Excalibur. This is it. This is like being bequeathed the sword,’ Bendis says. ‘But, young Miles and (his friend) Ganke trying to figure out how to make web fluid is going to be my favorite stuff to write ever in the history of writing of anything. Just because someone gives you a formula and says, “Here, cook this,” doesn’t mean you can.’” [USA Today]
If you’ve been wondering what Amy Reeder would be doing after her departure from Batwoman, here’s a treat, not a trick–she and writer Brandon Montclare (Fearsome Four) have teamed up for a creator-owned comic called Halloween Eve. The duo is currently raising money on Kickstarter to shoulder the cost of making it.
“It has been so rewarding to work on this,” Reeder said on her blog. “If I could give one person the biggest responsibility for my career at this point, it would be Brandon…he basically discovered me and helped me get work both when he was at Tokyopop and then Vertigo. And, he’s my best friend. So it’s nice that we have a great working relationship and to know that I’m not alone as I venture out into the creator-owned world. He really knows his stuff.”
The comics literacy non-profit, Reading With Pictures is dedicated to getting comics into classrooms. In addition to cultivating research on the role of comics in education, the mostly volunteer organization seeks to produce its own comics for schools to use and would like your help for their second publication. I say “mostly volunteer,” but that doesn’t include the creators of the new book. They’ll be paid for their contributions and that – plus the large print run – is a major reason Reading With Pictures needs $65,000 to complete the project.
The first Reading With Pictures comic was the Harvey-nominated Reading With Pictures Anthology that featured work by Jill Thompson, Fred Van Lente, Raina Telgemeier, Chris Giarrusso, and others. The new compilation, The Graphic Textbook will include Ben Caldwell, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, Chris Schweizer, Russell Lissau, Marvin Mann, Amy Reeder, Janet Lee, Katie Cook, Roger Langridge, Josh Elder, Dean Trippe, and others.
The collection will contain 12 short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) that are appropriate for grades 3-6 and include a variety of subjects from Social Studies and Math to Language and Science. There will also be a Teacher’s Guide with “lesson plans customized to each story, research-based justifications for using comics in the classroom, a guide to establishing best classroom practices and a comprehensive listing of additional educational resources.”
It’s a great cause with some great creators and some nifty rewards ranging from copies of the book and original art to being drawn into one of the stories.
Publishing | Single-issue comics sales last month were up 22.26 percent over February 2011, and graphic novels were up 15.6 percent, making for a good month for publishers and retailers. (Of course, there were five Wednesdays in February, which may have something to do with it.) As in previous months, DC sold the most comics but Marvel, with higher cover prices, topped its competitor in terms of dollar share. [ICv2]
Publishing | The top-selling graphic novel in bookstores last month was part one of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, written by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese). The Walking Dead books took four of the top 20 spots, or a healthy 20 percent of the list, and 13 of the bestsellers were manga. [ICv2]
Publishing | Marvel is cutting costs on its $2.99 comics by going with “self covers,” which just means that the covers are the same paper as the inside of the comic, rather than heavier stock. As the insides are glossy paper anyway, Todd Allen feels the difference is barely noticeable—and that the real news is that Marvel is finding it necessary to cut costs once more. [The Beat]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve read this week. Today our special guest is Jason Green.
Jason Green is the editor of comics coverage for the St. Louis-based pop culture website PLAYBACK:stl, and a writer and editor for the comics collective Ink and Drink Comics, whose fourth release (a Western anthology titled Off the Wagon) will debut at this year’s C2E2.
To see what Jason and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Digital comics | ICv2 estimates the total value of the digital comics market in 2011 as $25 million, triple the 2010 figure, and boldly predicts that digital will account for 10 percent of the entire comics market in 2012. Digital sales grew faster in the second half of the year, which ICv2 attributes to three factors: DC’s decision to release its New 52 comics digitally the same day as print, the industry-wide trend toward same-day print and digital releases, and the proliferation of different platforms on which to read digital comics. As for digital taking away from print, the publishing executives ICv2 has spoken to over the past few months don’t seem to think that is happening. [ICv2]
Retailing | Retailer and journalist Matt Price takes the temperature at the ComicsPRO Annual Members Meeting, which kicks off today in Dallas, noting that members remain interested in DC’s publishing plans, and report “very strong sales” for Image’s Fatale and Thief of Thieves. [Nerdage]
Amy Reeder, who takes over the art duties on Batwoman with issue #6 with Richard Friend, shows off process artwork for the cover of Batwoman #7 on her Facebook page.
You probably saw the finished version in the recently released DC solicitations for March, but she has the pencils and inks up there too for those of you who like to see all stages of the process. Also, remember those variant covers that weren’t going to be used? Well, as you may know by now, the first one is being used for Batwoman #6, so hopefully the others will see print as well.
Amy Reeder, who’ll share art duties with J.H. Williams III on Batwoman, reveals on her blog four variant covers for the upcoming series that, for unclear reasons, won’t be published.
“We had it set up that I would do variants for J.H.’s run and he would do variants for mine (meaning, the main covers during my arc would be drawn by me),” she writes. “AND I got to ink and color these, which really got my creative juices flowing. It’s been a while since I’ve had that opportunity and I had a blast! So, I’d done four of the five variants, when I had found out that DC decided not to publish any variant covers on Batwoman.”
A second cover can be seen after the break. Visit Reeder’s blog to see more, as well as an unpublished Supergirl cover featuring the Teen Titans. Batwoman #1 arrives in stores on Sept. 14. Reeder’s story arc begins in February.
DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch…with one conspicuous absence until the very end.
So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while ‘Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.
J.H. Williams III has commented on last week’s news that DC Comics is again postponing the debut of the eagerly anticipated Batwoman, saying, “This was not our choice, and as to why, I’m not at liberty to really discuss.”
The series, by Williams, W. Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder, previously had been set to premiere in February. However, in January the publisher rescheduled the first issue for April, the date that appeared in the sneak peek included in last week’s comics. But even as those books arrived in stores, the publisher was canceling solicitations for Batwoman #1-2.
“It’s a bit ironic that the release has been pushed back again considering that DC decided to show preview pages this same week,” Williams wrote Saturday on his blog, where he also previewed the cover for Issue 3.
He assured fans that “work is still commencing,” with the latest delay allowing the creators to complete more work: “The only real downside is that solicits were pulled on us twice, making readers heads spin, wish that didn’t happen, but it has, let’s just make the best of it. I’m fast approaching the middle of issue 3’s interior art, Haden and I’ve started working on script for issue 8, the first 5 covers are done, and Dave [Stewart] has had issue 2 in his hands for his special magic touch.”
DC has yet to announce a new release date for Batwoman #1.
Even as DC Comics previewed Batwoman #1 on Wednesday, word circulated online that the publisher has again canceled orders for the first two issues for resolicitation at a later date.
The move, revealed Tuesday in an email to retailers and confirmed by Comics on the Green and The Launchpad, marks the second delay in as many months. The highly anticipated series, by J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder, previously had been set to debut in February. But in January, the publisher rescheduled the first issue for April — a date that appears in sneak peek included in this week’s DC titles.
Although Batwoman, which spins out of Williams and Greg Rucka’s acclaimed run on Detective Comics, was widely expected to debut last summer, Williams explained in January that was never the case.
“February had been decided on the launch date by the company with reservations about that from me,” he wrote on his blog. “I felt that was a bit too soon in a realistic look at work progression. One of the reasons for this was that I had been seriously committed to making appearances around the world over this past year. I think maybe 3 months or more of work loss occurred during that time. I kept trying to point this out whenever discussions about schedule came up. When first discussing the launch date earlier last year we had originally wanted April 2011, and now ironically that is what we have. Only after solicits stating otherwise, causing some unnecessary frustrations.”