SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Conventions | Although final figures aren’t yet available, WonderCon organizers confirm attendance likely surpassed the 39,000 fans who came to last year’s convention. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | On his always-interesting new blog, Jim Shooter reminisces about the genesis of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars: “We went through a number of ideas for names for the toy line and series. Mattel’s focus group tests indicated that kids reacted positively to the words ‘wars’ and ‘secret.’ Okay.” [Jim Shooter]
Publishing | Longtime print broker Chikara Entertainment, which also offered book packaging and consulting services, has closed. [ICv2.com]
Retailing | Sarah Cohen provides a snapshot of South Florida comic stores struggling amid a weak economy and a changing marketplace. Some retailers have changed their strategies by diversifying their merchandise, holding events and reaching out to customers via the Internet. Others, however, prefer to do business the way they always have. “Making events and using social networking is pushy,” says Jorge Perez, owner of A&M Comics and Books in Miami. “It might help business, but then you would be on the computer all day doing stuff like that.” A&M, the oldest comic store in Florida one of the oldest in the nation, has seen business drop by about 40 percent since 2008. [Miami Herald]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Ryan Cody, creator of Icarus and illustrator of Villains and Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun. You’ll be seeing more of Icarus around these parts starting very soon …
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
It’s the end of an era. B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods #3 hits stores today, the final issue of the long-running Hellboy spinoff’s latest miniseries — and with it, the tenure of Guy Davis as the series’ regular artist draws to a close. Davis will be returning for the occasional project in Mike Mignola’s unique horror-adventure universe, and everyone involved gives his replacement, near-overnight success story Tyler Crook, their vote of confidence; given Mignola and company’s track record in selecting artists, from Davis to Duncan Fegredo to Richard Corben, I’m inclined to take them at their word. Even so, as I wrote at length the other day, Davis’ work on B.P.R.D with Mignola, lead writer John Arcudi, and colorist Dave Stewart (not to mention letterer Clem Robins and editor Scott Allie) has been one of the past decade’s absolute high-water marks for superhero (or supernatural action, if you prefer) comics. From sadness to spectacle, horror to humor, stunning creature designs to quiet character moments, there was pretty much nothing the guy couldn’t do.
In honor of Davis, Arcudi, Mignola, and Stewart’s remarkable achievement, I’ve selected a suite of my favorite moments from the Guy Davis era of B.P.R.D.. And in honor of the Ogdru Jahad, the Seven-Who-Are-One dark gods whose rise the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is battling (perhaps in vain) to stop, I’ve expanded the list past our usual “Six by 6″ format to include seven stunning scenes. My hope is that they showcase the range, subtlety, sophistication, and power of one of the best artists working in genre comics — arguably in all of comics — today, and highlight just how well he and his collaborators worked together. Just be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD.
On any other day this would have been the very first thing I wrote about, but I figured you may have already been aware, thanks to the high-pitched wails of “NOOOOOOOOOO” that echoed throughout Twitterdom when the news broke Saturday at Emerald City Comicon: Artist Guy Davis is leaving B.P.R.D. The current B.P.R.D: Hell on Earth: Gods miniseries will mark the end of Davis’s run as the regular artist for the core Hellboy spinoff, which along with its parent title formed the heart of the “Mignolaverse.” Newcomer Tyler Crook will take over as the book’s artist with the subsequent arc, Monsters — his second-ever comic from a major publisher. Davis himself will focus on his creator-owned title The Marquis and other projects. Click the links for CBR’s interviews with both artists on the changeover.
Editor’s Note: With the recent discussions going on around the comics community about creator-owned comics, we’re pleased to welcome one of the voices in those discussions, 30 Days of Night and Mystery Society creator Steve Niles, to Robot 6 for a series of columns on creator-owned comics. A big thanks to Steve for agreeing to do the column, as well as to artist Stephanie Buscema for creating a killer image for it.
by Steve Niles
Welcome to the first installment of my new column, Creator-Owned Spotlight. I tried to think up an amusing title, but then decided to just settle on what it was: a spotlight on creator-owned comics, publishers and retailers who support the need for more creator-owned books.
I guess the first order of business is to define what I mean when I say “creator-owned comics.” I’m talking about ANY book where the creator has ANY ownership in their book. So basically, if you sign a work-for-hire agreement, you don’t generally have ownership. It doesn’t make those books bad, or the enemy, or anything like that. We’re just not talking about them here.
Why am I doing this? I’ve been called insane for wanting to promote my competitors’ work. All I have to say to that is: it isn’t a competition. And yes, I am crazy. I’ve drawn a line in the sand for myself to be positive. I hope you’ll try, too.
First up is such an obvious choice; I really don’t need to write much at all. His name is synonymous with creator-owned books, because he’s one of creator-owned comics’ greatest success stories. He’s also a friend and hero of mine.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.
Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
With $15 worth of dingy bills and loose quarters, I’d go my local comic shop and start with Thor: The Mighty Avenger #8 ($2.99). Probably the pick of the week in some circles (even for a square like me), it’s a celebration of what Langridge and Samnee accomplished – and although it’s the last issue, there’s that FCBD issue on the horizon. I’d also pick up two number ones -– Casanova: Gula #1 ($3.99) and Daredevil: Reborn #1 ($3.99). With my last $4, I’d be hard-pressed to pick between Thunder Agents #3 ($2.99) and Infinite Vacation #1 ($3.50), but would probably pick the latter –- Nick Spencer’s on both, but Christian Ward’s art makes Infinite Vacation #1 worth the buy.
Welcome to another spook-tacular edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is writer Sam Costello, who operates and writes horror comics for the site Split Lip. If you’re looking for some spooky stories to read tonight, it’s a good place to start.
To see what Sam and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below, if you dare …
Next February brings the second issues of two titles from the “Mignolaverse” that we first showed you last month — B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods and Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead. And courtesy of our devilish friends at Dark Horse, we’re pleased to give you a first look at the covers and solicitations for those issues. Ryan Sook! Mike Mignola! Monsters! Volcanoes! Coffins! Floating creatures of death! Check out the complete covers and the solicitation text after the jump.
This January sees the debut of two new titles set in the “Mignolaverse” over at Dark Horse Comics. The new year will bring B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Gods and Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead. Our friends at Dark Horse were kind enough to share the covers — two for each first issue — with us in advance.
The new B.P.R.D. series continues the “Hell on Earth” series of stories that started with the “New World” mini. “As Texas goes to Hell, a group of homeless outcasts—led by a young woman who appears to have second sight—evade volcanic eruptions, mass hysteria, and man-eating monsters,” says the solicitation info for the new series.” When the B.P.R.D. take notice of this, the results turn out to be deadly.”
Meanwhile, the two-issue Hellboy mini features big red learning more about the “coming vampire apocalypse,” as well as artwork by Scott Hampton (Simon Dark, Sandman Presents: Lucifer, The Books of Magic).
Check out all four covers after the jump …
Happy Comic-Con week, and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest contributors are Jim Demonakos and Kyle Stevens from the Seattle nerd rock band Kirby Krackle. The band, whose newest video features Wolverine, is currently in Florida for Nerdapalooza, and will be in San Diego later this week at booth #1803. So stop by and say hi if you’re going.
See what the boys from Kirby Krackle, as well as the rest of the Robot 6 crew, have been reading lately after the jump …
Dark Horse Comics sent over word today that they are inviting fans to join the B.P.R.D., offering them the chance to “find out the latest Hellboy-related news before anyone else.” This includes exclusive looks at upcoming Hellboy and B.P.R.D. art, first-in-line privileges at any Hellboy/B.P.R.D. signings at SDCC, special invites to attend other B.P.R.D. events and signings, and other stuff in the coming months.
To kick it all off, they are holding another one day only Twitter contest. If you use the #followfriday hashtag tomorrow, March 4 and you list @darkhorsecomics as one of your suggestions, you’ll be entered to win all 11 volumes of B.P.R.D.– which is almost $200 worth of books.
Earlier I shared some anniversary greetings from AppleGeek artist Hawk and Dark Horse, and now here’s a second piece of artwork that Dark Horse sent over. This one has left several Robot 6 posters drooling. It’s by Guy Davis (The Marquis, B.P.R.D., Sandman Mystery Theatre, Baker Street) and Dave Stewart (Hellboy, Umbrella Academy, B.P.R.D., Conan, DC: The New Frontier) and it looks absolutely fantastic.
Does this mean we’re part of the Hellboy universe now? Because that would be pretty cool. Special thanks to Guy, Dave and Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for making our first anniversary just a little more special.
BONUS: Check out Guy’s preliminary pencils and inks of the piece after the jump …
Here’s Red in your eye: The Autumn Society, a collective of Philadelphia-based illustrators, is paying homage to the 15th anniversary of Mike Mignola’s signature creation Hellboy with an art show that opens tonight at 6 p.m. at comics retailer Brave New Worlds. Click here to see a gallery of the contributors’ pieces for the show — a truly dazzling array if you have any interested whatsoever in what Mignola (and John Arcudi, and Guy Davis, and Duncan Fegredo, and and and…) hath wrought.
(Hat tip: TJ Dietsch)
John Arcudi has been working in the comic book industry since the mid-1980s. Most recently he has bolstered his fanbase as one of the writers (along with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola) of the various B.P.R.D. miniseries for Dark Horse. I recently caught up with him for a succinct, yet informative and entertaining email interview.
Tim O’Shea: How do you and Mignola break down the writing chores on B.P.R.D.?
John Arcudi: It changes from series to series. Sometimes Mike hands me a loose plot and I flesh it out, sometimes Mike writes some of the series and I write some (that’s how we did our first, “The Dead“) and sometimes I do most of the writing with some contributions from Mike. There is no standard procedure.
O’Shea: What attracted you to delving into the dark and complicated, while at the same witty, Hellboy universe?
Arcudi: Actually, a chance to work with Mike and Guy Davis was all the motivation I needed. But it is nice that I get to have a little fun with the characters. Most comics are so serious, so it’s nice to have a laugh now and again.