best of the year
Passings | Prolific colorist Adrienne Roy, who was a fixture of DC Comics for more than two decades, passed away on Dec. 14 following a year-long battle with cancer. She was 57. Although Roy’s work appeared in countless DC titles, from Green Lantern and Superman to Warlord and Wonder Woman, she’s best known for her extensive runs on Batman, Detective Comics and The New Teen Titans. Mark Evanier notes that “Her long tenure on Batman (more than 600 issues of various comics featuring the character) meant that her credit appeared on more tales of the Caped Crusader than anyone else except for Bob Kane.” CBGExtra posts an obituary written by her husband Anthony Tollin. [News from ME]
Publishing | Rich Johnston reports on rumored contract changes at DC Comics that would affect all new creator-owned titles in the DC Universe and Vertigo imprints. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Storm Lion, the Singapore-based multimedia studio behind the 2008 Radical Publishing miniseries Freedom Formula, has closed on the heels the summer layoff of 30 employees in Singapore and Los Angeles. The closing leaves a planned movie adaptation, to be produced by Bryan Singer, “in limbo.” [The Straits Times]
Every year USA Today blogger, and comic-book fan, Whitney Matheson releases her list of the 100 most interesting people in television, movies, music, literature and, yes, comics. The 2010 edition (the 11th annual!), which concluded this morning, features a diverse mix that includes five comics creators:
• No. 74 — Jim McCann, writer of Hawkeye and Mockinbird, and co-creator of Return of the Dapper Men
• No. 59 — cartoonist Lynda Barry, whose book Picture This was released in November
• No. 41 — Jeff Lemire, creator of Sweet Tooth and the celebrated Essex County Trilogy
• No. 39 — Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley
• No. 15 — Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead and executive producer of the AMC television series
As we burn through the final days of 2010, more and more websites and publications are unveiling their best-of lists — so many that keeping up is a challenge. Here’s just some of what’s been released in the past few days:
• The Village Voice selects the best comics and graphic novels of the year, including Steve Tatham and Pete Von Sholly’s Repuglicans, Charles Burns’ X’ed Out, Darwyn Cooke’s The Outfit, and Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil’s Superman vs. Muhammad Ali Deluxe Edition.
• The crew at Good Comics for Kids compiles an impressive list of the year’s best comics for kids, organized by age group.
• Jezebel lists its favorite female comic creators of 2010: Katie Cook, Colleen Cover, Sarah Glidden, Lucy Knisley, Hope Larson, Linda Medley, Nicola Scott, Fiona Staples, Raina Telegmeier and Jen Van Meter.
• Torontoist selects cartoonist Jason Kieffer as one of 2010′s “villains” for his book The Rabble of Downtown Toronto, described as “a collection of forty profiles of street people, many of whom are homeless, drug-addicted, or mentally disabled.”
• IGN.com rolls out its Best of 2010 awards.
• Multiversity Comics counts down the most overlooked titles of the year.
New York magazine’s Vulture blog has unveiled a diverse list of the best comics of the year that, while it doesn’t include any superhero selections, features just about everything else.
10. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
9. Sweet Tooth, by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo)
8. Pang the Wandering Shaolin Monk, by Ben Costa
7. Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
6. Make Me a Woman, by Vanessa Davis (Drawn & Quarterly)
5. Set to Sea, by Drew Weing (Fantagraphics)
4. Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz Media)
3. Denys Wortman’s New York, Edited by James Sturm and Brandon Elston (Drawn & Quarterly)
2. Duncan the Wonder Dog, Show One, by Adam Hines (AdHouse Books)
1. Wally Gropius, by Tim Hensley (Fantagraphics)
Comic strips | Tribune Media Services has announced it will cancel the 70-year-old comic strip Brenda Starr rather than find replacements for writer Mary Schmich and artist June Brigman, who have decided to end their lengthy run. The final installment will appear on Jan. 2. Created by Dale Messick, the flame-haired reporter debuted in The Chicago Tribune on June 30, 1940, and later appeared in comic books and movies, and on merchandise. Messick retired in 1980, and has been succeeded on the strip only by women, from Ramona Fradon to Linda Sutter to Schmich and Brigman.
Kiel Phegley offers commentary, and catches a series of tweets from writer Dan Slott, who relates that his great-grandfather’s sister championed Brenda Starr at The Chicago Tribune. In related news, Tribune Media Services is partnering with Hermes Press on a multi-volume hardcover series titled Brenda Starr, Reporter by Dale Messick: The Collected Daily and Sunday Newspaper Strip. The first volume will be released in June. [press release]
Publishing | Following its grim snapshot of year-to-date dollar sales in the direct market, ICv2.com has released a dreary analysis of the November charts: For the third time in 2010, the top-selling title failed to crack the 100,000-copy mark. Batman: The Return, priced at $4.99, sold about 99,500 copies, compared to the 144,000 sold by November 2009′s top title, Blackest Night #5. According to the retail news and analysis site, 20 of the Top 25 titles experienced a drop last month. As ICv2 noted last week in its initial report, dollar sales of comics were down 10.2 percent when compared with November 2009, while graphic novels jumped 14.84 percent, tied to the release of the 13th volume of The Walking Dead (it sold more than 19,000 copies). [ICv2.com]
Digital publishing | Google on Monday unveiled Google eBooks, a web-based e-book platform/digital storefront that boasts “the world’s largest selection of ebooks.” Dan Vado offers brief commentary. [TechCrunch]
Crime | A St. Louis retailer involved in an armed standoff in October when police attempted to arrest him on rape and weapons charges was found murdered Tuesday in a Missouri state park. Kenneth McClure, who operated Legends Comics & Sports Cards for more than two decades, was discovered shot to death about three hours after he failed to appear for a routine court hearing. Police say McClure’s 1992 Chevrolet Camaro was seen leaving the park Tuesday after the shots were fired, then found abandoned Wednesday morning.
The charges against the 57-year-old McClure stemmed from alleged sexual encounters with a 13-year-old girl between June 2008 and June 2009 at the comic store, where he lived in the basement. McClure recently gave Legends Comics to his nephew Everett “Sonny” McClure III. [Post-Dispatch]
Publishing | Eiichiro Oda’s blockbuster pirate manga One Piece has sold 32.34 million copies in 2010, more than double what it sold the previous year. According to Japanese market survey company Oricon Communications, the series’ five newest volumes have sold a combined 12.5 million copies. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Comico co-founder Gerry Giovinco weighs in on an eBay listing that includes original artwork apparently left in the stewardship of his former partners Dennis and Phil LaSorda when the company went bankrupt in 1990: “It always was Comico policy to return all art to the creators. If there is art that was not returned, we are in total agreement that it should be returned to the rightful owners of the work. If you are a creator that believes your work could be among this lot, we would suggest you fight to get it back.” [CO2 Comics Blog]
Legal | The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is resurrecting a revised bill to tighten regulations on the sexual depictions of minors in manga, anime and video games. An earlier version of the controversial proposal was voted down in mid-June. The new bill removes vague defining terms like “nonexistent youth” and reportedly avoids references to “characters younger than 18,” increasing the likelihood that the proposed legislation will pass. [Anime News Network]
Retailing | As the small independent retail chain Joseph-Beth Booksellers files for bankruptcy protection, its president warns of even tougher times ahead for bookstores. “I think in the next three to five years, you’ll see half the bookstores in this country close,” Neil Van Uum says. [Lexington Herald-Leader, via ICv2.com]
Molly McIsaac starts off this year’s round of Best Manga of the Year lists with a set of choices that points up not only the variety of different stories that occur manga but also what a good year this was:
- The Strange Tale of Panorama Island
- Chi’s Sweet Home
- My Girlfriend’s a Geek
- Ristorante Paradiso
- Deadman Wonderland
That’s a strong lineup with a lot of variety: An all-ages manga about a cute cat (Chi’s Sweet Home), an action-adventure tale with some dark twists (Deadman Wonderland), a sophisticated family drama (Ristorante Paradiso), a strangely stylish horror story (The Strange Tale of Panorama Island), and a couple of titles that break the mold a bit. It’s also an effective rejoinder to those who claim “the manga bubble has burst”—there’s plenty of manga coming out, and a lot of it is good. I felt this list left out some strong contenders—the alt-manga anthology AX has made some of the graphic-novel lists, and Kate Dacey lists three more manga she thinks are deserving of best-of-the-year honors, A Drunken Dream, All My Darling Daughters, and Twin Spica.
Just for fun, take a look at Deb Aoki’s predictions for the hottest manga of 2010. It’s actually a good roundup of the books that did well this year, aside from the CMX titles that were never published. (Sigh.)
Creators | Renowned artist Steve Rude has announced that money raised from an online art and comics auction has enabled he and his family to keep their home: “When I saw the bread coming in after Gino made her announcement (this was unbeknownst to the oblivious Dude), I was, and still am, in a mild state of stupefication. The outpouring of generosity was clearly far beyond what Gino and I could’ve asked for. Your contributions poured in from all corners of our planet; the sizeable backstock of comics and Dude related ‘higher reading paraphernalia’ were ordered by the spit-load; and Erik Larson bought his complete Next Nexus 3 issue! All said, we saved the house.” The Nexus creator is still working to regain his financial footing, so he’s selling 2011 calendars and, soon, a new sketchbook. [DudeNews]
Comic strips | Cartoonist Jim Davis has issued an apology for an ill-timed Garfield strip that appeared on Veterans Day. The strip, which appeared in newspapers on Thursday, featured a standoff between Garfield and a spider, and referred to “an annual day of remembrance” called “National Stupid Day.” In a statement, Davis explained that the strip was written almost a year ago, “and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today — of all days.” [CNN, The Daily Cartoonist]
On the heels of Amazon.com’s year-end list comes Publishers Weekly‘s rundown of the best comics of 2010. For those keeping track at home, Acme Novelty Library #20, Batwoman: Elegy and Xe’d Out are all two for two. Here’s the PW list:
• Acme Novelty Library #20, by Chris Ware (Drawn and Quarterly)
• AX: Alternative Manga, edited by Sean Michael Wilson and Mitsuhiru Asakawa (Top Shelf)
• Batwoman: Elegy, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III (DC Comics)
• Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)
• Bodyworld, by Dash Shaw (Pantheon)
• Duncan the Wonder Dog, by Adam Hines (AdHouse Books)
• How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, by Sarah Glidden (Vertigo)
• Weathercraft: A Frank Comic, by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
• X’ed Out, by Charles Burns (Pantheon)
• Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, by G. Neri and Randy DuBurke (Lee & Low)
Amazon.com is the first out of the gate with a year-end list, rolling out its editors’ picks for the Top 10 comics of 2010. It’s a solid selection of titles, led by Drawn and Quarterly with three and DC Comics with two.
1. The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death, by Jaime Hernandez (Abrams ComicArts)
2. Batwoman: Elegy, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III (DC Comics)
3. X’ed Out, by Charles Burns (Pantheon)
4. Market Day, by James Sturm (Drawn and Quarterly)
5. King of the Flies: Hallorave (Vol. 1), by Mezzo and Pirus (Fantagraphics Books)
6. 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, by G.B. Trudeau (Andrews McMeel Publishing)
7. Hellboy, Vol. 9: The Wild Hunt, by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse)
8. Acme Novelty Library #20, by Chris Ware (Drawn and Quarterly)
9. Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book, by Lynda Barry (Drawn and Quarterly)
10. Wednesday Comics, by various (DC Comics)
The online retailer also revealed its 10 bestselling comics of the year, a list topped by the sixth volume of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series. See the full rundown after the break:
Publishing | Publishers Weekly teases its forthcoming lists of the best books of the year with a Top 10 that includes David Small’s National Book Award-nominated memoir Stitches. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | UK newspaper The Times rolls out a package marking the 70th anniversary of Marvel Comics with profiles of Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr., 70 facts “you didn’t know” about the company, and a gallery. [Times Online]
Publishing | Back issues of Cerebus Archives, Dave Sim’s bimonthly DVD extras-style collection of letters, stories and artwork, are now available through print-on-demand publisher ComiXpress. [ComiXpress]
Blogosphere | Mike Nebeker, co-host of the Geek Tragedy Podcast, passed away Oct. 27 from an apparent stroke. He was 41. According to this blog entry, his co-hosts plan on Tuesday to post a new episode that will contain their farewells and Nebeker’s unaired interviews from the Alternative Press Expo. After that, they’ll take some time off from the podcast. [Geek Tragedy Podnotes]
Comic strips | Amazon has announced the 10 finalists for its Comic Strip Superstar contest. [Digital Strips]