Axel-In-Charge: Bringing "Dead No More" to FCBD, the Original "Civil War's" Legacy
Manga | Kentaro Miura’s action-fantasy manga Berserk has 35 million copies in print — 27 million in Japan, and 8 million overseas — Hakusensha’s Young Animal magazine announced today. Miura returned to the series this week after a 10-month hiatus. The manga, which centers on a pair of mercenaries in a medieval Europe-inspired fantasy world, debuted in 1989; 37 volumes have been released to date. Dark Horse holds the license to Berserk in North America. [Anime News Network]
Crime | Russell Brandom and Colin Lecher describe a fascinating case in which comics figured in two types of crimes, money laundering and theft of evidence. Along the way, they explain the importance of grading, how slabbing works, and why it’s pointless to steal a really valuable comic that’s already known to collectors. [The Verge]
Following the initial announcement last month by Boom Island Brewing Company, The Hero Initiative has revealed more details about the debut of the craft beer Gravity No. 9 at Wizard World Minneapolis.
The Belgian strong features a label specially designed by Fables creator Bill Willingham to support the organization, which helps to provide a financial safety net for creators in need.
Boom Island Brewing Company in Minneapolis will mix comics and craft beer May 1 with a fundraiser for The Hero Initiative featuring Fables creator Bill Willingham.
The acclaimed writer and artist will autograph the label he designed for Boom Island’s Belgian strong Gravity No. 9 specifically to support the comics industry charity, which will receive a portion of proceeds from the event.
Inspired by comments made by author Alexander Chee, the residency was announced in February, offering writers with a free round-trip, long-distance train trip with a sleeping compartment equipped with a desk, free meals and access to the observation car — all designed to inspire creativity through rail travel.
Amtrak began accepting applications in March, and received more than 16,000 responses. The recipients were ultimately chosen by a panel of four judges: Chee; Joe McHugh, Amtrak’s vice president of government affairs and corporate communications; Samuel Nicholson, an editor at Random House; and Amy Stolls, director of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Although the publisher didn’t specify release date — its tweet said only “Coming Soon!” — the previous installment, Episode 4, was available a week after its teaser image debuted (so look for it on July 15). Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery.
A second season of The Wolf Among Us in the works. The Fables comic series will come to a close early next year with its 150th issue.
Telltale Games has debuted the first images from the penultimate episode of The Wolf Among Us, its critically acclaimed adventure game based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo series Fables.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery. In Episode 4, titled “In Sheep’s Clothing,” a beaten and bloody Bigby “is confronted by the realization that a society built on secrets is ripe for exploitation. And that the disenfranchised of Fabletown may see his prey not as the cause of their problems, but as their solution.”
No release date has been announced. The episode will be available on its own for $4.99 via the Xbox Games Store and PlayStation Network, or as part of the $14.99 season pass.
Telltale Games has debuted the launch trailer for the third episode of its adventure series The Wolf Among Us, based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo comic Fables.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery. In Episode 3, titled “A Crooked Mile,” Bigby “is just steps behind the prime suspect of a horrific murder, but he’s not the only one; other forces in Fabletown will stop at nothing to protect their interests.”
Be warned, though: The trailer contains spoilers for the first two episodes.
Telltale Games has released the red-band trailer for the second episode of its adventure series The Wolf Among Us, based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo fantasy Fables.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery. The new episode, titled “Smoke & Mirrors,” is expected to debut next month, although Telltale teases only that it’s “coming soon.”
The Wolf Among Us premiered in October across multiple platform. You can read the Comic Book Resources review of the first episode here.
Creators | Newsday picks up the story of Al Plastino’s original art for the John F. Kennedy comic that was canceled when the president was assassinated, and then published a few months later at the request of the Johnson administration. Plastino, now 91, had been told the artwork would be donated to the Kennedy Library, but last month at New York Comic Con he learned that a private individual had the art and was planning to sell it through Heritage Auctions, which now says it won’t move forward until the ownership question is resolved. Copyright lawyer Dale Cendall, former DC Comics President Paul Levitz and artist Neal Adams weigh in on the case. [Newsday]
Kickstarter | In the wake of the successful Fantagraphics Kickstarter campaign, Rob Salkowitz looks at the evolution of the crowdfunding platform from a way for individual creators to connect with their audiences to a pre-sale mechanism that eliminates a lot of the risk for smaller publishers. [ICv2]
This was a tough year for Boston Comic Con: It was originally scheduled for the weekend after the Boston Marathon, and although organizers worked tirelessly not to cancel the event, the venue was within the lockdown zone following the bombings, and the load-in day coincided with the massive manhunt forsuspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In the end, they had no choice but to shut down the convention. As most of the talent was already in town, local retailers sponsored a number of mini-cons.
Despite the cheerful we-can-get-through-this attitude of that weekend, things were looking pretty bleak. And then Boston Comic Con came roaring back, in a new venue and with a new attitude. This year, it felt less like a local event and more like a big-city con, with a smattering of publisher booths and an array of top-tier talent. The convention has grown quickly, from 1,000 attendees at the first con in 2007 to 15,000 last year. This year, with a bigger venue and more guests, I’m guessing the final number will be even higher.
At least a couple of times over the course of the weekend, Bill Willingham talked about his goal for the Fabletown and Beyond convention he hosted in Rochester, Minnesota. He may not have actually used the term “bucket list,” but that’s essentially what the show seems to have been for him: an opportunity to throw the kind of comics convention he wanted to attend and to see if other creators and fans would enjoy it just as much. From the standing ovation he received at Sunday’s closing ceremony, it appears he was right.
Chris Roberson pointed out to me that Fabletown and Beyond was a lot like fantasy and sci-fi literary conventions. It had that feel from the opening ceremony (an idea Willingham freely admits to stealing from fantasy/sci-fi shows) to the final farewell. It was completely focused on comics and storytelling, and it was a uniquely intimate experience. The show was only designed to accommodate a maximum of 500 attendees, and it got 505. That meant I kept seeing the same faces over and over again all weekend — creators and fans alike — so that by the third day, even people I never talked to were familiar. Instead of a hectic event where people rushed from place to place trying to see and do everything they wanted to, it was a relaxed environment that felt more like just hanging out with friends. Really smart, interesting friends.
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Following events like last year’s ImageCon and MorrisonCon, Fabletown and Beyond is the most recent comic convention devoted to serving a specific segment of readers: in this case, fans of what Fables creator Bill Willingham describes as “Mythic Fiction.” Fabletown and Beyond takes place this weekend in Willingham’s community of Rochester, Minnesota, and celebrates comics that include and update “fairytales, folklore, myth, legend, talking animals, and characters from literature.”
The festivities begin at 3 p.m. Friday and run practically non-stop until 6 p.m. Sunday. Programming is scheduled to go late into the evening on Friday and Saturday with the convention’s bar (an even more important element of this convention than most) staying open until 2 a.m.
The convention will take place in two locations, connected by skyways to allow attendees protection from the Minnesota weather. The dealers’ area, Artist
Alley Boulevard, and programming rooms will be located in in the Mayo Civic Center, with the opening ceremony and other special events held in the Kahler Grand Hotel. The hotel is also the location of the Elizabethan bar (re-named the Kill Shakespeare Bar for the weekend) that will be taken over for the exclusive use of the convention.
Digital comics | Vertical Inc. becomes the latest manga publisher to take the plunge into digital, beginning with the release of three series: Twin Spica, Drops of God and 7 Billion Needles for Kindle, Nook and iBooks. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Fables creator Bill Willingham is the host of this weekend’s Fabletown and Beyond convention in Rochester, Minnesota, focusing on “mythic fiction.” He and organizer Stacy Sinner give a preview of what is to come. “I’m the host of the event, which means I get a lot of people to do the actual hard work, while I sit back imperiously on my throne and say ‘Yes,’ to this, and, ‘No,’ to that,” Willingham said. “The downside is, of course, I also have to write the checks.” [Rochester Post-Bulletin]
Publishing | Pulp heroes The Spirit, Doc Savage and The Avenger disappeared from the DC Comics lineup more than a year ago, with Co-Publisher Dan DiDio now confirming on his Facebook page that the company’s rights to the characters have lapsed. Brian Azzarello paired the vintage characters with Batman, Black Canary, the Blackhawks and other current DC heroes in his First Wave miniseries, which launched in 2010. Heidi MacDonald adds, “we’ve heard that at WB it was pointed out that DC paying good money to license old characters didn’t make much sense when they had their own catalog of little-used characters to exploit.” [Blog@Newsarama]
Digital comics | As noted here Monday, comiXology was No. 3 on the list of top-grossing iPad apps of 2012, and in the press release announcing this, the comiXology folks dropped another number on us: They have served more than 2 billion pages since their launch three years ago. [comiXology]
Aiming to cut the fat from the bloated pop-culture extravaganzas, a new creator-branded model for comic conventions is drawing fans to a more curated and unique experience.
For decades, comic conventions have been building up (or “diversifying,” if you prefer) to include television shows, movies, video games, board games, toys, novels, scantily clad models, and new-media companies that used speech balloons in their marketing campaign that one time. Basically they’ve become magnets for any project with an air of geekery, regardless of the lack of any sequential art or cartooning. A number of cons can feel more like a pop-up strip mall in their efforts to be everything for as many people as possible. And con-goers feel it. You really haven’t had the full convention experience if you don’t hear someone grumble how the con used to be about the comics, man. It’s a chorus that seems to attract more voices each year.
Perhaps in response to the growing Grumble Choir, a number of event organizers have been testing more focused conventions branded under a single creator or identity. These conventions bring in vendors, guests and exhibitors that more directly reflect the name on the banners, resulting in a more authentic and cohesive experience. While it’s splicing a niche market to a niche within a niche, it’s also creating a more irresistible ticket item for people within that sub-niche. And those fans coming to see the name they recognize are probably super-fans eager to experience, sample and buy more at a deeper level than the more scattershot crowd under the general geek umbrella.