best of the year
Conventions | Comiket 79, the winter installment of the self-published comic book fair held twice a year in Tokyo, set a turnstile attendance record last week with 520,000 people over three days. That’s just 20,000 less than the summer record — and the equivalent of about four Comic-Cons. [Anime News Network]
Legal | Archie Comics reportedly has threatened legal action against the in-production Indian film Boys Toh Boys Hain, which, according to this description, is “based on the lines of the celebrated [Archie] comic book but set in Delhi instead of Riverdale.” However, the director now claims that, “We never made any statement which suggested that the film is inspired from Archie comics. One of my actors may have said in an interview that the film has a feel similar to Archie, but never that the film is based on it.” The publisher was dealt a blow in an unrelated legal matter in September when India’s Delhi High Court refused to hear a complaint challenging the use of the name “Archies” by a Mumbai company. The court said it had no jurisdiction in the matter because Archie Comics doesn’t have an office in India. [Hindustan Times]
On this, the final day of 2010, we have one more roundup of best-of — and one worst-of — list from across the comics Internet:
• Johanna Draper Carlson names the 10 best graphic novels of 2010 — Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, and Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden, among them — plus eight runners-up.
• Robot 6 contributor Sean T. Collins’ list of the 20 best comics of the year includes Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches, Grant Morrison’s Batman comics, and Chris Wares’ Acme Novelty Library #20.
• Darwyn Cooke’s Parker: The Outfit and Jason’s Werewolves of Montpellier make The Casual Optimist’s list of favorite new books of 2010.
• Jim Rugg and Brian Marcua’s Afrodisiac and Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey are among Matt Seneca’s Top 10 comics.
• Dave Ferraro picks the Top 20 comics of the year, including Kou Yaginuma’s Twin Spica, Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s Underground, and Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting, Vol. 2.
• Comics Alliance names the five worst comics of 2010.
• At Inside Pulse, Grey Scherl looks at the Top 10 things DC Comics did right in 2010.
Another day closer to 2011, another volley of best-of-2010 lists:
• Entertainment Weekly‘s Ken Tucker includes Darwyn Cooke’s Parker: The Outfit, Joyce Farmer’s Special Exits and Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams’ Batwoman: Elegy on his list of the 10 best graphic novels and comics of 2010.
• MTV Geek rounds up a cross-section of comics creators, from Camilla d’Errico and Michel Fiffe to Paul Grist and Joe Eisma, to name their top three comics of the year.
• In The Oklahoman, writer and retailer Matt Price names the 10 best graphic novels of the year, a list topped by Darwyn Cooke’s Parker: The Oufit and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 6.
• Writing for Las Vegas Weekly, J. Caleb Mozzocco selects his top five comics of 2010: Lynda Barry’s Picture This, Pablo Holmberg’s Eden, Cathy Malkasian’s Temperance, Julia Gfrörer’s Flesh and Bone, and Jason’s Werewolves of Montpellier.
• At Savage Critics, Graeme McMillan names Justice League of America as his 2010 guilty pleasure.
• At Inside Pulse, Grey Scherl lists the Top 10 this Marvel did right in 2010.
With just a few days remaining in 2010, the best-of-the-year lists are springing up like mushrooms after the rain. Here’s just a selection of what’s appeared this week:
• NPR’s Glen Weldon recalls the comics “that got their hooks into me this year,” including James Sturm’s Market Day, Drew Weing’s Set to Sea, Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream.
• Deb Aoki surveys more than two dozen year-end lists to arrive at the critics’ choice for the best manga of 2010.
• At comiXology, Tucker Stone names the 20 best comics of the year, including Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s Afrodisiac, Grant Morrison and Frazier Irving’s Batman and Robin #13, and Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto, Vol. 7.
• Johanna Draper Carlson selects the best manga of 2010, divided into categories like best new manga, best continuing manga and best completed manga.
• Writing for Wired’s Underwire blog, Lore Sjöberg spotlights the year’s best new webcomics.
• Writing for Jezebel, Kelly Thompson concludes her countdown of the 20 best female creators of 2010, with the Top 10 occupied by the likes of Amanda Conner, Faith Erin Hicks, Becky Cloonan and Kate Beaton.
• At Topless Robot, Jay Barish names the five best and five worst comics of the year.
Legal | Two Los Angeles men accused of selling counterfeit passes to this year’s Comic-Con International have pleaded guilty to theft and were placed on probation for three years. Farhad Lame and Navid Vatankhahan, both 24, were each ordered to pay a $750 fine, complete 10 days of community service and pay restitution to the victims.
Prosecutors say the two photocopied Comic-Con badges and sold them on Craigslist to people looking for last-minute memberships. They were arrested in July after two of their victims attempted to enter the convention using the counterfeit badges, which the women bought for $120 each. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
Technology | Tech blog Chip Chick names DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson as one of its “Top 13 Women Who Impacted Technology in 2010.” [Chip Chick]
Publishing | DC Comics will roll out a marketing campaign next month in support of its new $2.99 price initiative. The campaign, apparently revealed in a communique to retailers, will include online banners, ads in January issues of Comics Buyer’s Guide, Comic Shop News and Wizard, in-book ads, and in-store posters, shelf talkers and cards. [Crimson Monkey]
Libraries | The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation has pledged $250,000 over five years to the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum facility, part of the Sullivant Hall renovation at The Ohio State University. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Broadway | The father of Christopher Tierney, the 31-year-old aerialist who fell a week ago during a performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, offers a full account of his son’s injuries: a hairline fracture in his skull, a broken scapula, a broken bone close to his elbow, four broken ribs, a bruised lung and three fractured vertebrae. Timothy Tierney said his son underwent back surgery on Wednesday, and took his first steps on Friday with the aid of a brace and walker. Doctors are “cautiously optimistic” that Christopher Tierney will eventually resume his performing career. [Arts Beat]
Broadway | The Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark canceled both Wednesday performances to test new safety measures following the Monday-night fall that left a stuntman hospitalized with broken ribs and internal bleeding. The cancellation of the sold-out evening show was announced just three hours before showtime at the Foxwoods Theatre. Tonight’s performance is expected to go on as planned.
Producers and creators met privately on Tuesday with the entire company to address safety concerns about the $65-million musical, the most expensive and technically complex in Broadway history. Although accidents in theater productions aren’t uncommon, it’s unusual for there to be four injuries before a show has officially opened. MTV offers some context. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]
Broadway | The fall that seriously injured an actor Monday night in the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was the result of human error, the Actors’ Equity Association said. Christopher Tierney, the 31-year-old aerialist who doubles for Spider-Man and two villains, remains in serious but stable condition after the cable to his safety harnesses snapped, sending him tumbling as far as 30 feet into the orchestra pit. As we reported on Tuesday, today’s matinee has been canceled while the show enacts additional safety measures. However, tonight’s performance will go on as scheduled.
Amid criticism from Broadway actors and calls for the plug to be pulled on the $65-million production — Tierney is the fourth Spider-Man performer to be injured — director Julie Taymor issued a statement, calling the accident “heartbreaking”: “I am so thankful that Chris is going to be alright and is in great spirits. Nothing is more important than the safety of our Spider-Man family and we’ll continue to do everything in our power to protect the cast and crew.” Meanwhile, the New York Post — home to theater columnist Michael Riedel, who’s gleefully chronicled the musical’s many setbacks — quotes one unnamed investor as saying, “We should cut our losses and just get out,” while another worries about potential lawsuits. The Daily Beast provides a timeline of the delay-plagued production, while Mark Evanier offers commentary. [Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark]
Broadway | A fourth actor was injured Monday night during a performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the $65-million musical that’s been plagued by delays and technical mishaps. Aerialist Christopher Tierney, who serves as a stunt double for Spider-Man and the villains Meeks and Kraven, fell about 30 feet when the cable to his harness snapped during the closing minutes of the show. Some equipment reportedly dropped into the audience as well. The performance was put on hold and then canceled as an ambulance arrived at the Foxwoods Theatre to take Tierney to Bellevue Hospital. Tierney is in stable condition, but no further information has been released. [BroadwayWorld, The Associated Press, CNN]
Publishing | Fantagraphics has laid off Dirk Deppey,The Comics Journal‘s online editor, former managing editor, and longtime writer of the Journalista! blog. His final day is Wednesday: “No regrets: The last ten years have kicked ass. I’ve done great things and meet interesting people, and was paid it. How great is that?” [Twitter]
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]