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Comics at the book con: A day at BookExpo America

Andrew Aydin and Rep. John Lewis

Andrew Aydin and Rep. John Lewis

BookExpo America takes place the Javits Center, just like New York Comic Con, but it’s a completely different kind of show. It’s a trade show, not a consumer show, so the folks in the aisles aren’t fans looking for a fix, they are potential customers to be wooed. And what you see there is a pretty reliable guide to what everyone will be talking about in a couple of months.

So if you happened into the little graphic novel enclave at the right time, you might see Gene Luen Yang sitting there, pen in hand, ready to autograph a free Avatar graphic novel for you, or maybe Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights pioneer, sitting next to Andrew Aydin, with ashcans of their graphic novel about Lewis’ life, March, and while you might have to wait a few minutes for your turn, you wouldn’t have to stand on the sort of long lines they might draw at San Diego. The pace is more leisurely than a comic convention — the creators chat as they sign your comics — and the blasting noise of video game and movie displays is blissfully absent.

It’s true there aren’t a lot of comics publishers at BEA, although there are a fair number of book publishers who include comics in their lines. Abrams didn’t send their ComicArts people, but if you consider Diary of a Wimpy Kid to be a comic (I’m always happy to claim that one for our side), then they were well represented, and many attendees had Wimpy Kid stickers on their badges.

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Dustin Nguyen trades in Batman and Robin for Finn and Jake

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Dustin Nguyen may be best known for his Batman work, but he’s more than that. Aside from the astounding breadth he’s shown doing great dark stories with Paul Dini on Detective Comics all the way to his kid-sized capers in the digital-first Lil’ Gotham, Nguyen has an imagination that stretches far beyond Gotham City… all the way to the Land of Ooo.

In this week’s Adventure Time Annual #1 from BOOM! Studios, Nguyen has done a great two-page Adventure Time comic in which Finn and Jake are held back from a party with a strict “no dogs allowed” policy. Written by Bryce Carlson, the strip is Nguyen’s first non-DC interior work. Also included in Adventure Time Annual #1 is a story written by Nguyen’s longtime collaborator Derek Fridolfs. Here’s the two-page story Nguyen drew:

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BOOM! Studios takes aim at ’2 Guns’ sequel

3 gunsTimed to coincide with the August premiere of Universal Pictures’ 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, BOOM! Studios has announced a sequel to the 2007 crime comic by Steven Grant and Mataes Santolouco.

Grant and cover artist Rafael Albuquerque will return for the new six-issue miniseries, appropriately titled 3 Guns, joined by Hack/Slash artist Emilio Laiso.

The original comic followed a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer who, after unwittingly investigating each other, team up to seal money from the mob — only to learn to late that the $50 million actually belongs to the CIA. This time they’re brokering weapons deals from opposite sides, but little do they know there’s a third gun in the mix.

“The guys haven’t seen each other and are on the outs with their agencies,” Grant tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They both independently end up on opposite sides of a deal going down with Russian weapons manufacturers and anti-government revolutionaries.”

Directed by Batlasar Kormakur, Universal’s 2 Guns opens Aug. 2.

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Comics A.M. | TCAF wrap-up; Robocop license moves to BOOM!

TCAF poster by Taiyo Matsumoto

TCAF poster by Taiyo Matsumoto

Events | Heidi MacDonald beats everyone else to the punch and files the definitive report on the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which featured a flurry of graphic novel debuts and appearances by artists as diverse as Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkonkinkreet) and Andrew Hussie (Homestuck). [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | BOOM! Studios will publish a line of Robocop comics beginning in August. Dynamite Entertainment had the license previously, but company President Nick Barrucci said the rights reverted to the licensor, who granted them to BOOM! [ICv2]

Publishing | Brian Truitt takes a look at Valiant’s lineup for the second summer of its new life, and he talks to the creators about the relaunch and their plans for the future. [USA Today]

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Comics A.M. | Rick Perry at odds with newspaper over cartoon

ohman cartoon

Editorial cartoons | Michael Cavna interviews Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s demand that the newspaper apologize for an April 25 cartoon in which the politician is depicted boasting that “Business is booming in Texas!” beneath a banner that reads, “Low Tax! Low Regs!,” juxtaposed with an image of the deadly fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas. “It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon,” Perry wrote in a letter to the editor. “While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won’t stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has reportedly called for Ohman to be fired.

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Comics A.M. | Eisner entries due; Morrison talks Wonder Woman

Eisner Awards

Eisner Awards

Awards | A last-minute reminder: Today is the deadline for Eisner Awards submissions. [Eisner Awards]

Creators | Grant Morrison looks back on his run on Action Comics, which ends today with the release of Issue 18, and touches upon Multiversity and his long-discussed Wonder Woman project: “This is some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time, because it’s a completely different type of comic book. Usually I don’t do masses of research, but for Wonder Woman, I’ve actually been working my way through the entire history of feminism. I want this to be fucking serious, you know? I want this to be really, really good, to reflect not only what women think, but what men think of women. I’m trying to do something really different from what’s been done with the character before. That one’s been amazing fun, because it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever done before.” [Entertainment Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Manga sales slip in Japan for first time since 2009

One Piece, Vol. 67

Manga | The Japanese market research firm Oricon reports sales of manga volumes (tankobon) slipped 1.5 percent last year, to about $2.886 billion, the first decline since the company began reporting the figures in 2009. [Anime News Network]

Graphic novels | The Scottish Archaeological Research Project has put together a rather lively looking graphic novel about the history of Scotland, including such little-known events as the Storegga Tsunami. [BBC News]

Manga | Someone with a sharp eye spotted a manga license that hasn’t been officially announced: Kodansha Comics will publish Sherlock Bones, a series about a crime-solving boy and a talking dog, by Shin Kobayishi (Drops of God, Kindaichi Case Files) and Yuki Sato (Yokai Doctor). [allfiction]

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Comics A.M. | The rising stars of IDW; Alvin Lu leaves Viz Media

IDW's The X-Files

Publishing | The X-Files is in the headline, but this interview with IDW Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall covers a lot of ground, including the logistics of continuing a defunct TV franchise as a comic, the standouts among IDW’s young creators, and the challenges of being a comics writer. [Hero Complex]

Publishing |  Alvin Lu has left his position as executive vice president of the manga publisher Viz Media. Lu had been at Viz for 13 years and was one of the top executives in the company, reporting directly to CEO Hidemi Fukuhara. [ICv2]

Comics | The graphic novel Metro, once banned in Egypt, is available in Cairo once more. [The Comics Reporter]

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Comics A.M. | Turkey lifts ban on thousands of books (and a comic)

Legal

Censorship | At least one comic, alas unnamed, was among the thousands of books removed this week from a Turkish government restricted list. Most of the bans were widely ignored anyway, but Metin Celal Zeynioglu, the head of Turkey’s publishers’ union, pointed out one important effect of lifting them: “Many of the students arrested in demonstrations are kept in prison because they’re carrying banned books. From now on, we won’t be able to use that as an excuse.” [The Australian]

Publishing | Tom Spurgeon’s latest holiday interview is with Shannon Watters, the editor of BOOM! Studios’ children’s comics line, which includes Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors and Peanuts. [The Comics Reporter]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Paul Jenkins on Deathmatch

Deathmatch #1

Late last month, writer Paul Jenkins launched his new ongoing collaboration with artist Carlos Magno, BOOM! Studios’ Deathmatch. In Comic Book Resources’ review of the specially priced $1 first issue, Kelly Thompson rated it four out of five stars and wrote: “A Battle Royale concept of heroes pitted against each other to the death in an arena has the potential to be pretty tired at this point, what with the proliferation of these types of stories including some comics already out there … However, in the deft hands of Paul Jenkins and Carlos Magno, ‘Deathmatch’ is not only good, but far better than I ever expected given the concept and title … Jenkins and Magno have set up a very cool and smart story that, although it could easily fall into seen it all before cliché, is so far expertly avoiding all those traps and delivering a great reading experience.”

Jenkins recently took time to talk with me about the new series, as well as the Kickstarter success of his and Humberto Ramos’ Fairy Quest. Deathmatch #2 will be in stores Jan. 30.

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‘Adapt, innovate, execute’: Matt Gagnon on BOOM!’s 2012 and 2013

Matt Gagnon

Although I’ve known him for a few years from frequent drop-ins at the BOOM! Studios booth on the convention circuit, I haven’t ever had the opportunity to interview Matt Gagnon, the company’s editor-in-chief. So I jumped at the chance to talk to him for ROBOT 6′s anniversary.

Matt Gagnon joined BOOM! in 2008 to edit its Farscape comics after working as buyer and purchasing manager for Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics. He moved up fairly quickly, becoming managing editor, then editor-in-chief when Mark Waid was named chief creative officer in 2010. This past year saw the launch of BOOM!’s ultra-popular Adventure Time comic book, as well as several other kids’ series as a part of the KaBOOM! line. The publisher also announced a new Hellraiser series and put out several original series, like Higher Earth, Freelancers (which Gagnon co-created) and last week’s Deathmatch, just to name a few.

My thanks to Matt for his time, as well to BOOM!’s Filip Sablik, who helped set it all up.

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Brandon Seifert delves into Doctor Who, Witch Doctor and fan fiction

BBC’s revival of Doctor Who in 2005 met with immediate success, but with the arrival of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Steven Moffat as executive producer, its popularity seemed to rise to a new level. IDW Publishing has been releasing Doctor Who comics since 2007, and this year launched a new series with writer Andy Diggle as “showrunner.” With December’s Issue 3, up-and-coming writer Brandon Seifert and artist Philip Bond stepped in for a two-part story in which Amy sends the Doctor and Rory on a boys’ night out to help build their strained relationship.

Seifert has established himself in a relatively short time with his medical-horror series Witch Doctor, with co-creator/artist Lukas Ketner, which earned the attention of Robert Kirkman and a spot as the launch title for his Skybound Entertainment imprint. Seifert also was among the initial wave of creators invited to produce digital-first material at MonkeyBrain Comics. And most recently he was selected to write under Clive Barker for the Hellraiser series at BOOM! Studios.

Brandon and I got a chance to chat about his Doctor Who two-parter, how he handles horror in comics, and our shared history with fan fiction. IDW was kind enough to provide us with a preview of Doctor Who #4, which goes on sale Wednesday.

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More Cyber Monday deals: Avengers, IDW, Mouse Guard & more

Mouse Guard "Peacock Print"

Although we compiled a list of Cyber Monday sales on Sunday, it looks like the comics-related savings don’t end there. Here are some more deals for you to take advantage of today (and in one case, beyond):

In addition to its continued “Blackest Friday” sale, comiXology today is offering 99-cent digital editions of Marvel’s Avengers titles, 50 percent off select IDW Publishing comics, and up to 80 percent off select Dynamite Entertainment collections.

NBM Publishing is giving 20 percent off all orders of $20 or more from its web store (enter code “112″).

The DC Entertainment web store is touting “Cyber Monday Madness,” with savings of up to 85 percent on collectibles, DVDs, jewelry and more.

David Petersen is looking well beyond Cyber Monday with a 10-percent discount on orders from the Mouse Guard online store through the end of the year (enter code “mouseguard”).

And don’t forget that some of the sales we mentioned last weekBOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, notably — continue through the end of the day.

Black Friday sales: Star Wars, Walking Dead, Blackest Night & more

Why fight the crowds today when you can take advantage of Black Friday savings on print and digital comics from the comfort of your own home? Here’s a roundup of online sales kicking off this morning, with discounts on everything from The Walking Dead and The Incredible Hulk to Star Wars and Adventure Time. If you know of any other, please let us know in the comments.

Dark Horse’s web store is promoting a Star Wars Black Friday MegaBundle,” with digital editions of 153 Star Wars comics — they include such titles as The Clone Wars, The Old Republic, Crimson Empire, Dawn of the Jedi and Agent of the Empire, 3,772 pages in all — for $100. The sale ends Sunday.

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Comics A.M. | Original Calvin and Hobbes strip sells for $203,000

Comics strips | An original 1986 Sunday installment of Calvin and Hobbes, drawn and hand-colored by Bill Watterson, has sold at auction for $203,150. The piece had been owned by Adam@Home and Red and Rover cartoonist Brian Basset, who exchanged original comics with Watterson in 1986. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Best of the year | The Top Ten lists are coming thick and fast now. Michael Cavna counts down his favorites of the year, which include Chris Ware’s Building Stories, Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, and Matt Dembicki’s Washington, D.C.-focused anthology, District Comics. [The Washington Post]

Best of the year | … and George Gene Gustines weighs in with his list. [The New York Times]

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