It doesn’t look like there were as many comic-related announcements on Saturday at WonderCon as there were on Friday, but the second day of the con certainly brought some gems.
• IDW and DC announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Insufferable) and Paul Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Leave it to Chance) are teaming up for The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction. “Not many writers have been lucky enough to write The Rocketeer or The Spirit,” Waid said in a press release, “so I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is one of the most exciting-and scariest-assignments I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I’ve got Paul Smith to make me look good!” The first issue of the miniseries arrives in July.
Passings | Artist and writer Harry Harrison, who worked with Wally Wood on many EC Comics — and persuaded them to start their sci-fi line — has died at the age of 87. Harrison is best known in science fiction circles as the author of the Stainless Steel Rat stories, and the movie Soylent Green was based on his 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Marvel is ending its Premiere Classics line of hardcovers collections with Vol. 106. [Blog@Newsarama]
Conventions | ComiCONN is this weekend, and although it is the largest comics and sci-fi show in Connecticut, you won’t need your jet pack to navigate it, says Life With Archie writer Paul Kupperberg. Kupperberg and Peter David will be among the guests. [Connecticut Post]
Like clockwork, Comic-Con International organizers have released the programming schedule for Friday, July 13, the second full day of the San Diego convention. It sees publishers kicking things into high gear, with Marrvel’s “Cup O’ Joe” and DC Comics panels on the New 52 and Justice League and Green Lantern groups, as well as presentations from IDW Publishing, Oni Press, BOOM! Studios, UDON, and Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly.
That’s only for starters, though, as AMC’s The Walking Dead, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The CW’s Arrow make Comic-Con appearances, and creators as diverse as Joss Whedon, Kate Beaton, Larry Hama, Scott Snyder, Lynn Johnston, Dan Piraro, James Robinson and Jeff Lemire get the spotlight. There are also tributes to legendary creators Jerry Robinson and Joe Simon, as well as Comic-Con co-founder Richard Alf.
And to keep off the day, there’s the 24th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.
We’ve selected some of the comics-related highlights below; visit the Comic-Con website to see the complete schedule.
Hot on the heels of Image publisher Eric Stephenson’s essay last week about the validity of comic creators aiming their works for the big screen, Aspen Comics is presenting the flip side of that entire paradigm with the release of The Art oOf Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. This recently released title goes above and beyond the traditional “The Art of” movie books by not only showcasing the storyboards that were used to create the film, but editing those storyboards together to make it a comic of its own. And if that wasn’t enough, director Timur Bekmambetov views this storyboard/comic as his “director’s cut” of the film.
This storyboard/comic, illustrated by Indar Dzhendubaev, tells the story of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter from the point of view of the movie’s villain, the vampire leader Adam (played by Rufus Sewell). Bekmambetov is no stranger to comics, having directed Mark Millar and J.G. Jones’ Wanted (and the upcoming sequel), and his personal website at www.timurbekmambetov.com mentions comics in the header, presaging a full-scale entry for Bekmambetov into comics at some point.
Here’s a preview of the storyboards as comics:
Although Comic-Con International’s yearly WonderCon show usually likes to spend its springtime in scenic San Francisco, this year it’s taking a road trip down south to spend some time in the happiest place on Earth … or right next to it, anyway. WonderCon runs this weekend, March 16-18, at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center.
Special guests at this year’s show include Arthur Adams, Renae De Liz, Mark Evanier, Michael Golden, Joe Hill, Rebekah Isaacs, Carol Lay, Jim Lee, Mike Mignola, Todd Nauck, Steve Niles, Eric Powell, Humberto Ramos, Bob Schreck, Scott Snyder, Ryan Sook, Fiona Staples, Richard Starkings, J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Waid and Marv Wolfman. On the media side, the con will welcome Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Jorge Garcia, Joshua Jackson and John Noble, among many others. No Mickey Mouse, but Disney is offering special deals on tickets to the park for WonderCon attendees.
You can find the complete programming schedule on the CCI site, and here’s a round-up of various things you can do, buy and expect to find out about at the show …
Creators | Former Judge Dredd artist Brett Ewins suffered serious head injuries Saturday after he allegedly stabbed a police officer who responded to complaints about a man shouting throughout the night. Police say when they arrived the 56-year-old Ewins attacked them with a knife. One of the officers received minor wounds during the struggle, but Ewins was hospitalized, where he remains in serious condition. The newspaper report asserts the artist, best known for his work on Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper for 2000AD, has a history of mental-health problems. [Ealing Gazette]
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. Today our guest is cartoonist, musician and publisher Zak Sally. Sally is known outside comics circles as the former bassist for the band Low, but inside comic circles, he’s known for great books like Like A Dog and the Ignatz series Sammy the Mouse, the collected version of which Sally will be releasing any day now from his own La Mano 21 press.
To see what Sally and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, click on the link below.
If you’re like me, instead of heading out to the mall to face the hectic Black Friday crowds (some of whom are apparently armed with pepper spray), you’re sitting at home nursing a turkey hangover and looking for good deals on the internet. Here are a few places you may want to check out for your gift-giving or personal shopping needs, and if you’re up for adventuring outdoors, Bleeding Cool has a great roundup of shops holding sales today.
ComiXology has a bunch of digital comics for 99 cents today. DC Comics is holding a Blackest Friday sale, allowing you to buy each issue of the Blackest Night crossover for 99 cents each. Marvel has Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four issues on sale for 99 cents, while IDW has their Star Trek comics on sale.
Broadway | Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the retooled $75 million Broadway musical, took in $1.7 million for the week ending this past Sunday, which is above the $1.2 million the producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable. The amount made it the No. 3 musical for the week, after Wicked and The Lion King. [Associated Press]
Legal | Robert Corn-Revere, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s general counsel, discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. EMA, which sought to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. He notes that the court drew upon the history of comic book censorship in reaching its conclusion to reject the ban: “Citing the amicus brief filed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, it noted the crusade against comics led by Dr. Frederic Wertham and observed that it was inconsistent with our constitutional traditions. The Court traced the history of censorship that targeted various media directed toward the young and held that restricting depictions of violence could not be justified under established principles of First Amendment law.” [CBLDF]
The massive Comic-Con International runs July 21-24 in San Diego, but it’s never too early to start planning your shopping list. So we’ll be running a list of potential “wishlist” items you may want to check out at the show.
If you are a comics creator or publisher, and you’re planning to bring something new to the con — a sketchbook, a print, a graphic novel debut, etc. — then we want to hear from you. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you’ll have something cool on hand that attendees should know about. Feel free to send any artwork as well.
Aspen Comics sends word of two variant covers they’ll have at the show, for Executive Assistant Iris and Charismagic
Aspen Comics sent over a press release earlier today detailing their plans to offer their comics digitally through iVerse‘s Comics+ application. They also plan to participate in the Diamond Digital retailer initiative that iVerse and Diamond Comics Distributors are set to launch later this summer.
Titles now available on the Comics+ app for the various iOS devices include Fathom, Executive Assistant: Iris, Soulfire and Shrugged. comiXology announced last month that they would be carrying Aspen titles as well.
You can find the complete press release on the iVerse announcement after the jump.
Update: Aspen Comics are also available on Graphicly.
Aspen Comics is the latest publisher to sign on with comiXology as its digital distributor. Founded in 2003 by the late Michael Turner, Aspen is the home to such titles as Fathom, Soulfire and Lady Mechanika. The publisher launches on comiXology today with the issues #0, #1, and #2 of Executive Assistant Iris, Fathom, Shrugged and Soulfire, priced from 99 cents to $2.99, with the #0 issues offered for free. Full series sets will be priced at a discount from the individual issues. “Exclusive digital content” is teased as well.
Comic Book Resources’ Steve Sunu recently talked with Executive Assistant Iris creator David Wohl, who is working on volume 2 and planning a big event for this summer.
Aspen is a small publisher, but it collaborates on DC and Marvel comics, and has some projects in development for other media. This move obviously gives the company a boost, bringing its comics to a larger audience, and it’s a nice get for comiXology as well, further enriching its stable of publishers.
Wonderland Sound and Vision, the company founded by producer and director McG, is partnering with Aspen Comics on a new comics imprint “to create transmedia properties out of original ideas,” Deadline reports.
As the term “transmedia properties” suggests, these are projects created with an eye toward film and television. First up is Haunted City, based on an idea by screenwriter Chap Taylor (Changing Lanes) and Wonderland’s Peter Johnson, which will be developed simultaneously as a feature script, television pilot and video game.
Wonderland has produced such films as Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and We Are Marshall and such television shows as Human Target, Supernatural and Chuck.
“As a filmmaker, I want to work with talent like Chap to build new models that allow us to create more freely,” McG tells Deadline. “By creating our own original properties, we can guide their development across several media simultaneously and kick off a whole new chapter of our company as a full-spectrum content provider. It also allows me to home-grow the movies I want to direct in the future.”
As we inch another day closer to Comic-Con International, which kicks off in just 13 days, organizers have released the schedule for Friday, July 23.
Below you’ll find highlights of the comics-related programming, which range from a panel on AMC’s highly anticipated adaptation of The Walking Dead to spotlights on such creators as Chris Claremont, Moto Hagio, Paul Levitz, C. Tyler and Stan Lee to, of course, peeks at publishing plans for companies ranging from Marvel, DC and BOOM! to Dark Horse, IDW and Top Shelf.
The full programming schedule for Friday can be found here.
10 to 11 a.m. DC Talent Search 2 — DC’s editorial art director Mark Chiarello presents an informative orientation session that will explain how DC’s Talent Search works and discuss the different needs of DC Universe, Vertigo, WildStorm and MAD magazine publications. If you want to learn what DC Comics looks for in artists and how to improve your chances of becoming a working professional, this is the panel for you! To have your work reviewed, attendance at this orientation session is mandatory. (Please note: Not all attendees are guaranteed a one-on-one review.) Room 4
For those playing along at home, here are highlights of the announcements (and confirmations) coming out of the inaugural Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo today:
• Marvel confirmed the long-awaited third volume of Casanova, the critically acclaimed spy-fi series by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon, will debut in July through its Icon imprint. The issues originally published in the Image Comics “slimline” format — 16 pages of story for $1.99 — will be re-colored, re-lettered and repackaged. “It’s going to be in full color,” Fraction told Comic Book Resources. “It’s hand-lettered by Dustin Harbin, who’s an amazing cartoonist and a very old friend of mine. So it’s really an entirely new presentation of the material. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s going to be produced at full size. So what was once Casanova #2-3 will now be issue #2 of the Icon Casanova, and so on. You’ll be getting 32 full color pages for full price.”
• Via video, writer Allan Heinberg provided details of Marvel’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the miniseries announced in October that reunites him with Young Avengers artist Jimmy Cheung. The bimonthly, nine-issue limited series that builds on plot threads dating back to House of M, and involves Wiccan attempting to find and redeem the Scarlet Witch.
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada revealed that “O.M.I.T.” — the mysterious acronym we’ve seen on guitar picks and in comic-book ads — stands for “One Moment In Time,” and deals with the controversial “One More Day” story that erased the wedding day of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Serialized in The Amazing Spider-Man #637-640, the new arc by Joe Quesada and Paolo Rivera will turn back the clock to show the events on what should have been the couple’s wedding day.
• Oni Press announced Yo Gabba Gabba! Story Comic Book Time, an anthology based on the wildly popular preschool television series. The 128-page hardcover will be released this fall.