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Sundance’s ‘The Writers’ Room’ to trace path from comics to TV


Jim Rash, Robert Kirkman and Blair Butler on “The Writer’s Room.”

Comic books have become prime source material for movies, television series and video games, and while the adaptations may vary in terms of scale and medium, one of the keys to their success remains the same: staying true to the core elements that made the comics work in the first place. And in TV, it’s up to the writers — either the original authors or faithful adapters — to help keep it on course.

On April 25, SundanceTV’s The Writers’ Room will explore the well-tread road between comic books and television. Host Jim Rash (screenwriter of The Descendants), the show will put The Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman and Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar in the hot seat to discuss successfully adapting comics for television. They’ll be joined by industry commentators Blair Butler (formerly of G4TV) and Michael Schneider (TV Guide Magazine).

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Goodbye G4 TV, hello Esquire Network

G4 TV, the cable channel that until recently aired the comics-friendly Attack of the Show!, will be rebranded April 22 as Esquire Network.

Today’s official announcement comes less than two months after NBCUniversal and Esquire magazine owner Hearst Corporation closed a deal to move the focus of the network away from young male gamers to “today’s modern men.” G4 pulled the plug in December on its flagship series Attack of the Show! and X-Play, leaving the channel without any original studio programming.

Debuting with the launch of G4 in 2005, Attack of the Show! featured Blair Butler’s “Fresh Ink” segments, which featured comic reviews and occasional publishing announcements from Marvel. The series also broadcast live each year from Comic-Con International.

According to this morning’s announcement, “Esquire Network will expand on G4’s foundation of games, gear and gadgets to reflect the broad range of interests, passions and aspirations that define men today.” While the new channel will tackle gaming and technology, like its namesake magazine, program categories also will include entertainment, travel, food, fashion, women and more with a mixture of scripted and unscripted series, and movies and specials.

Among the shows on the lineup are original series Knife Fight, hosted by Top Chef winner Ilan Hall and executive produced by Drew Barrymore, and The Getaway, executive produced by Anthony Bordain, the return of American Ninja Warrior, and syndicated runs of NBC’s Parks and Recreation and Starz’s Party Down.

What Are You Reading? with Jay Faerber

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what’s been on our nightstands lately. Our guest this week is Jay Faerber, writer of Dynamo 5, Near Death and Noble Causes. The second Near Death trade just came out this week, and his new comic, Point of Impact, comes out Oct. 10.

To see what Jay and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Comics A.M. | Could WonderCon’s Anaheim move be permanent?

Anaheim Convention Center

Conventions | WonderCon was held in Anaheim, California, this year because the traditional venue, San Francisco’s Moscone Center, was closed for renovations. Heidi MacDonald wonders whether the shift will be permanent, and a lively debate ensues in comments. SFBay, meanwhile, informally surveyed exhibitors, and found many retailers saw a steep drop in sales from last year, while many artists saw an increase in revenue. [The Beat]

Retailing | ICv2 sees an uptick in manga sales in comics stores and speculates that the Borders bankruptcy has led readers to a variety of different channels, including the direct market, which could be an opportunity for comics stores to expand their customer base. [ICv2]

Digital comics | Digital distributor comiXology will offer HD versions of all its comics for readers who use the new third-generation iPad, and Jason Snell says the new retina display and the HD comics make for a much better reading experience. [Macworld UK]

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Graphicly to post free comics on G4’s Fresh Ink

Blair Butler reviews a stack of new comics every Friday on’s Fresh Ink Online, and now Graphicly is getting in on the act by providing one of those comics each week, for free, in an embedded comics reader.

They are starting with a demo of Criminal: The Last of the Innocent, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, but it’s not the whole comic, just a 5-page preview. Let’s hope the publishers aren’t too stingy with this and are willing to put up whole issues, as that would make the feature a lot more worthwhile.

Manhattan quarantined in Marvel’s ‘Spider-Island’ summer event [Updated]

The Amazing Spider-Man #666

While Marvel fans knew the April-debuting “Infested” arc would put them on the path to “Spider-Island,” few details were known about the next big Spider-Man event. That is, until this evening.

On today’s episode of G4’s Attack of the Show, “Fresh Ink” host Blair Butler revealed that the storyline begins in August’s Amazing Spider-Man #667 as more than 16,000 New Yorkers begin to manifest abilities similar to Peter Parker. Among those residents embroiled in a spider-powered crime wave? Hawkeye and Shocker.

But as the crisis worsens, with many New Yorkers sprouting extra limbs, Mayor J. Jonah Jameson is forced to place Manhattan under quarantine. Hence, “Spider-Island.”

Butler teases that the event, by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, will permanently change some of Spider-Man’s core cast members.

Watch the “Fresh Ink” segment after the break.

Update: Now with the official press release and cover art, after the break.
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Bendis: Dark Reign-ending Siege starts in December

Siege: The Cabal

Siege: The Cabal

In an extensive interview with Attack of the Show‘s Blair Butler, Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis confirms that Marvel’s “Dark Reign” storyline will come to an end with a “big Marvel event” called Siege. It starts in December with a one-shot called Siege: The Cabal, which is followed in January by a four-issue Siege series.

Michael Lark will draw the Cabal one-shot, while Olivier Coipel will draw Siege. Both are written by Bendis. He says the storyline will bring a “seismic shift” in the Avengers titles on the level of what happened in Avengers: Disassembled and will reunite Thor, Iron Man and Captain America.

Siege was just one of several subjects Butler asked Bendis about; he also talked about Powers, various Marvel films, Fortune & Glory‘s 10th anniversary edition and much more. Check out the second part of the interview below (he talks about Siege at the very end) and go here to find the first half.

Also be sure to check out Dave Richards’ interview with Bendis on Dark Avengers over on the main CBR site.

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