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Arcana vs. Marvel: Battle of the character libraries!

Arcana Studio

You expect a press release to inflate a comic’s importance or puff up a creator’s track record. After all, the publisher is trying to convince the media that its announcement has news value. But every once in a while a release overreaches. Just a little.

Take, for instance, this one from Arcana Studio announcing the acquisition of a handful of Devil’s Due Publishing titles that I’ve never heard of. The first half of the release is standard fare, briefly describing the comics and hyping the performance of Arcana (“the company has been growing in leaps and bounds”). But then we get to this paragraph:

Arcana’s graphic novels and intellectual properties have grown in the last two years to be as wide a library of characters as Marvel’s. Marvel was acquired by Disney for $4 Billion, and is the second major comic library to be acquired by a Hollywood studio. DC Comics, which is owned by Warner Bros., recently announced a newly-revamped business model, focusing on reaching deeper into DC’s catalog of characters.

It’s investor (or acquisition) bait, to be sure. But, hey, Arcana isn’t the first small publisher — or, rather, transmedia entertainment company — to dangle the $4-billion Marvel purchase in hopes of snagging a big fish. (However, it may the only one to date to use the DC Entertainment restructuring as back-up.) I’m not dwelling on that, though.

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SDCC Aftermath | Justin Aclin talks Hero House, toys and more

Hero House

Hero House

As he said last month, Justin Aclin went to the San Diego Comic-Con both to promote his new graphic novel from Arcana, Hero House, and to cover the con for his day job with ToyFare Magazine. I caught back up with Justin after the show to see how everything went on both fronts.

JK: Unfortunately I was already on my way home when you were doing your signing on Sunday for Hero House. How did the signing go?

Justin: The signing was great! Obviously no one had the chance to read Hero House yet, but I was able to meet a bunch of really nice ToyFare fans who were willing to pick up the book and give it a shot. At one point I had one Twisted ToyFare fan standing at the table while I signed his book, and another walked up and started talking about his favorite Twisted ToyFare moments, and it just became a conversation between the two of them, quoting their favorite jokes. As a comedy writer who never gets to see an audience react to what he writes, it was a very gratifying moment. We also had our artist, Mike Dimayuga, sketching at the signing, which brought in even more curious onlookers.

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SDCC ’09 | Fantagraphics, Arcana and more

All and Sundry by Paul Hornschemeier

All and Sundry by Paul Hornschemeier

We’ll likely have a few more updates on what folks are up to at the con later today …

Publishers | Fantagraphics has posted the signing schedule for their booth, which includes appearances by Johnny Ryan, the Hernandez Bros., Lewis Trondheim, Jordan Crane, Paul Hornschemeier and many more. They’ve also listed a dozen new books they’ll be debuting at the show, so go check it out and update your “to buy” list.

Creators | Larry Marder will have a Beanworld preview at the con, and gives you the goods on how to get a secret sketch.

Manga | Deb Aoki offers a list of 20 things manga fans can do at the con.

Books + Movies + Social | The L.A. Times takes a look at CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker’s Level 26, which will be showcased on Saturday at the con.

Advice | Scott McCloud’s daughter wife Ivy offers advice to novice Comic-Con attendees.

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Road to San Diego: Justin Aclin on Hero House and ToyFare

Hero House

Hero House

Justin Aclin is no stranger to the San Diego Comic Con. As the lead editor for ToyFare, he’s covered the con for the magazine a few times. But this year will be the first time he’s going to be there as a comic book creator, as he’s written a graphic novel called Hero House, drawn by Mike Dimayuga and published by Arcana Comics. The book doesn’t come out until November, but attendees can get a copy early at the con.

Justin is also the head writer of Twisted ToyFare Theatre, and the latest collection, Volume 10, hits comic shops on the first day of the show, with an introduction by Joe Quesada. I spoke with Justin about his plans for the con, both in terms of covering it and promoting his new book.

JK: You mentioned over email that you’ll have copies of Hero House, your new graphic novel, at the Arcana booth in San Diego. What’s the concept behind Hero House?

Justin: Hero House is about Epsilon Epsilon Psi—a college fraternity that trains the superheroes of tomorrow. It’s not nearly as wacky as my day job comic strip, “Twisted ToyFare Theatre.” There’s humor in it, but what I was really hoping to do was just tell a fun superhero adventure with memorable, relatable characters, and luckily in the early reviews, people really seem to be responding to the characters. If you’re a superhero fan, a Twisted ToyFare fan, or you’ve ever been in college, I totally think you should check it out. And it’s been mentioned before around these parts, but you can find out a lot more about the book by checking out my production blog, aclincorp.com.

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SDCC ’09 | Hotels, comic stuff and more

The 2009 San Diego Comic-Con is getting really, really close, with preview night kicking things off on Wednesday, July 22. That’s two weeks! If you are a publisher, creator, retailer or any other kind of exhibitor who would like to let folks know about any special plans you have for the show (panels, signing schedules, exclusives, debuts, etc.) drop me an email and I’ll run it here.

Also, today’s the cut-off day for hotel deposits, so it might be a good time to check for a room at that closer hotel you were aiming for but couldn’t get.

Hero House

Hero House

Comics | Justin Aclin dropped us a note about two projects of his that will be available at the show. The first is the graphic novel Hero House from Arcana Comics. The book won’t be in shops until November, but attendees can get a copy early at the con. Justin and artist Mike Dimayuga will be at the Arcana booth to sign it as well.

Justin is also the head writer of Twisted ToyFare Theatre, and says the latest collection, Volume 10, hits comic shops on the first day of the show, with an introduction by Joe Quesada.

Comics | Scott Morse lists the books he’ll have at the show, including the fast-selling The Ancient Book of Sex and Science, and the two issues of Strange Science Fantasy he posted on his blog earlier this year.

Comics | SLG Publishing has posted a list of creators who will be signing at their booth during the show.

Comics | Artist Francis Manapul will have about 200 copies of his new art book at the show.

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Obama Cover Watch, Day 122

Greatest American Hero(es)

Greatest American Hero(es)

Yesterday Arcana Comics released the third issue of their Greatest American Hero mini-series, which featured the above variant cover. The book joins a never-ending list of books that have featured President Barack Obama on their cover, from Amazing Spider-Man and Savage Dragon to Barack the Barbarian: Quest for the Treasure of Stimuli and My Neighbor Taro-kun.

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2009 Joe Shuster Award nominees announced

The nominees for the 2009 Joe Shuster Awards, which honor Canadian comics creators, were announced today. The five-year-old awards program is named after Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman. The list of nominees this year includes Darwyn Cooke, J. Torres, Karl Kerschl, Dave Sim, Kathryn & Stuart Immonen, Faith Erin Hicks and Seth, among many others.

Check out the full list of nominees in the press release after the jump.

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Fraternity for heroes opens this fall

from Hero House

from Hero House

Justin Aclin and Mike Dimayuga have a new series coming out from Arcana Comics in September called Hero House, about a superhero fraternity. And they’ve launched a blog to detail how the book came together. Here’s a description of the book:

Epsilon Epsilon Psi is a fraternity with a unique mission: to prepare the super-powered students of today to become the best superheroes they can be. Nate Hedges was a teen superhero and the star of his school, but at college he feels like a nobody. So when he’s tapped by the university president to go undercover and investigate the Eps, will he find the super-powered hazing the administration fears? Or will he find a place where he finally belongs?

Although the blog is still fairly new, you can check out a lot of art from the series at Mike’s website (which is where I nabbed the Owl-topus art up top).

Via Sean T. Collins


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