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SDCC Wishlist | Bill & Opus vs. Comic-Con

Bloom County T-shirt

Bloom County T-shirt

IDW’s chief creative officer Chris Ryall reveals the artwork for the exclusive Bloom County shirt they’ll sell at their booth this year. The strip’s creator, Berkeley Breathed, will be at their booth during the con to sign it.

IDW will have lots of other con exclusives this year, including a remarqued edition of The Complete Bloom County Library Volume One and copies of True Blood #1 with a foil wrap around cover. You can see all the stuff they’re bringing to the show here.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Modesty Blaise

Modesty Blaise

Passings | Writer Peter O’Donnell, creator of the Modesty Blaise comic strip, died May 3 at age 90.  Steve Holland notes that although the prolific novelist suffered from Parkinson’s disease, he “kept in touch with fans and continued to pen introductions for Titan’s Modesty reprints.”

Born in south London on April 11, 1920, O’Donnell wrote such adventure strips as the long-running adaptation of the James Bond novel Dr. No, Garth, and Romeo Brown before being asked in 1962 to create a new character for the Daily Express. He came up with Modesty Blaise, whose catsuit-wearing heroine fought villainy with the help of her right-hand man Willie Garvin. The strip was quickly picked up by the Evening Standard, and ran from May 1963 to July 2002.

O’Donnell also wrote a series of Modesty Blaise novels and, under the pen name of Madeleine Brent, several historical romances. [Bleeding Cool, Guardian, Times Online]

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Breathed and USA Today return to Bloom County (and the ’80s) [Updated]

From the Sept. 29, 1982, "Bloom County"

From the Sept. 29, 1982, "Bloom County"

To mark the release of Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 2, from IDW Publishing, all this week USA Today has been reprinting select installments of the influential ’80s comic strip, along with commentary from creator Berkeley Breathed.

Asked whether there were aspects of the era he wished he’d poked more fun of, Breathed responds: “Honestly, there are those that I wish I’d just ignored. As we edited the new volume of Bloom County cartoons, my editor had to constantly stop me from apologizing for every Michael Dukakis cartoon that I was contractually compelled to include. Those same editors wish me to quickly add that there really are far less Michael Dukakis cartoons than my whining might indicate and don’t let that scare you off. I would only add that one is too many. Sarah Palin was born way, way, way too late. I get Dukakis.”

(via The Daily Cartoonist)

Update: On a related note, IDW is selling a limited edition of Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1, with an exclusive sketch and signature plate.

Robot reviews: Bloom County and Family Circus

Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1 hardcover

Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1 hardcover

Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. One: 1980-1982
by Berkeley Breathed
IDW, 288 pages, $39.99.

The Family Circus Library, Vol. 1: 1960-61
by Bil Keane
IDW, 240 pages, $39.99

As more and more publishers realize that comic fans are interested in rummaging though the works of yesteryear, more and more of them are releasing sizable hardcover collections of allegedly classic comics at a breakneck pace. Some of those releases may cause question marks to rise above the heads of persnickety collectors. Take IDW’s new volumes focusing on Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County and Bil Keane’s Family Circus. Isn’t the former readily available in easy-to-find collections in libraries and used bookstores across the country? Isn’t the latter rather, well, overly precious and saccharine? Does this material really need to be reprinted in such lavish volumes? The answer, surprisingly, is yes and yes.

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball

Manga | Wicomico County schools in Maryland removed all copies of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball from library shelves Wednesday after the mother of a fourth-grader complained about the nudity and sexual situations depicted in the first volume of the hit series. The manga, which sports an “All Ages” a T+ rating, is published in North America by Viz Media.

A committee of administrators and “people from outside the school system” will review books, but the schools superintendent will make the final decision on the fate of the series. At a Tuesday meeting of the County Council, one councilman distributed photocopies of scenes from Dragon Ball, describing some of the illustrations as “disgusting.” [The Daily Times, The Daily Times]

Legal | An amended agreement between Google and the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers is expected to be filed by Friday to address concerns raised by the Google Book Search settlement. DC Comics is among the parties that object to the terms of the original deal, designed to resolve a 2005 lawsuit accusing the Internet giant of infringing on copyrights by digitizing out-of-print books without permission. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Akira, Vol. 1

Akira, Vol. 1

Publishing | Kodansha confirms what virtually everyone has known for quite a while now: that the publisher — Japan’s largest — is setting up shop in the United States, establishing an office in New York City. Kodansha USA Publishing will launch Kodansha Comics with Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Shirow Masamune’s Ghost in the Shell, two titles that had been licensed in North America by Dark Horse. The company will focus on translating its sizable backlist, but views original publishing as one of its “eventual ambitions.” David Welsh provides a little commentary. [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | BOOM! Studios has signed a deal with Haven Distributors to distribute second printings of all of the publisher’s monthly titles to direct-market retailers. [BOOM! Studios]

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IDW’s first Bloom County cover takes flight

Bloom County: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

Bloom County: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

On his blog, IDW Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall has uveiled the Dean Mullaney-designed cover for Bloom County: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, due out in October.

Announced in February, the five-volume Bloom County Library will collect Berkeley Breathed’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1980s comic strip.

IDW Publishing announces The Bloom County Library

Opus, from Berkeley Breathed's "Bloom County"

Opus, from Berkeley Breathed's "Bloom County"

IDW Publishing announced today the release of The Bloom County Library, a five-volume collection of Berkeley Breathed‘s well-regarded 1980s comic strip. The series will debut in October.

The books are part of the publisher’s Library of American Comics imprint, and designed by Dean Mullaney.

“Fans have pestered me for years for this ultimate Bloom County collection in that polite, respectful badgering way that only fans can manage,” Breathed said in a press release. “Thank God I can now tell them something better than just ‘please remove your tent from my lawn.’ I can say, ‘It’s coming!'”

The influential comic strip, which ran from Dec. 8, 1980, to Aug. 6, 1989, blended politics, cultural commentary, fantasy and humor, lampooning everything from AT&T and environmental activists to misguided government policies and televangelists.

The press release can be read after the break.

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Happy 25th anniversary, Macintosh computers

A "Bloom County" parody ad for the Banana Jr. 6000, by Berkeley Breathed

A "Bloom County" parody ad for the Banana Jr. 6000, by Berkeley Breathed

Twenty-five years ago yesterday the world of computers, and publishing, changed forever when Steve Jobs introduced the very first Apple Macintosh to a crowd of 3,000 at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif.

A few days earlier, a considerably larger audience was awed, and perhaps confused, by Ridley Scott’s now-legendary 1984 commercial, which signaled to viewers of Super Bowl XVIII that the Macintosh wouldn’t be like other computers.

And it wasn’t.

I first encountered Macs a few years later, as I attended a journalism summer camp workshop in Indiana. (Yes, what of it?) Not wanting to seem uncultured, I waved off the offer of help from the computer-lab assistant, picked up the mouse … pointed it at the little gray box … and rapidly clicked the button as if it were a TV remote.

Luckily, other journalists, artists and designers — would-be and otherwise — took to the Mac faster than I did, helping to bring about a revolution in publishing: desktop publishing.

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