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NYCC | Oni Press announces Wars in Toyland, webcomics initiative and more

Oni Press brought guns, war and webcomics to New York Comic Con today, announcing a new graphic novel from Joe Harris and Adam Pollina, a Sixth Gun spinoff miniseries and the transformation of their website from “a marketing resource for its print titles into a full-fledged content hub with comic updates five days a week.”

Here’s a rundown of the announcements ….

Wars in Toyland by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina

From the Slingers (hey, remember Slingers?) team comes an oversized graphic novel “darkly inspired” by Babes in Toyland. Per the press release, “this new book looks at the once wondrous and beautiful Toyland after the rise of the teddy dictator, Roxbury. After Matthew’s brother and playmate, Alex, disappears, young Matthew finds himself carried into Toyland by his own loyal toy soldiers. Only Matthew soon learns that Alex has been here, too – and is now being held captive by Roxbury. Leading an attack on the teddy bear’s fortress, Matthew never considers that his brother might be beyond saving.”

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The Sixth Gun pays tribute to classic G.I. Joe comic with silent issue

For many readers who grew up in the 1980s, Marvel’s G.I. Joe #21 stands out as one of those rare comics that changed, or informed, the way they viewed the medium — or, at the very least, made them say, “Wait, you can do that?” (Alternately, “Wait, is this a printing error?”) Titled “Silent Interlude,” the 1984 issue by Larry Hama is notable not only for introducing the ninja Storm Shadow but for telling the story of Snake-Eyes’ infiltration of Destro’s castle without using a single word balloon, sound effect or caption. Hence, “Silent Interlude.”

Now, nearly three decades later, The Sixth Gun collaborators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt are paying tribute to Hama’s modern classic with a silent issue of their supernatural Western from Oni Press.

“And here’s the strange part … the kismet, if you will. We knew we were going to do this issue at this point in the story,” Bunn writes on his blog. “What we weren’t sure is how the issues would break down. And neither of us had the numbering for that great issue of G.I. Joe in mind. Awhile back, we were signing at a comic book shop. We mentioned our plans for a silent issue to the manager. He quickly replied, ‘Is it gonna be issue 21? You know, like G.I. Joe?’ Brian and I quickly started doing the math in our heads and realized that, yes, Becky’s invasion of the stronghold of the Knights of Solomon would be happening around that point. It was a pleasant surprise for both of us. How’s that for unintentional awesomeness?”

You can check out a preview of the issue on Bunn’s website. The Sixth Gun #21 goes on sale next week.

The Middle Ground #62 | See that cat (yeah, I do mean you)

Thinking about some of the news from SDCC this year — specifically, the Sixth Gun news, about it being made into a television series by the Syfy network — it struck me: Indie comics are the small-screen Marvel. And I’m not quite sure what that’s going to mean for their future.

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Stumptown Comic Arts Awards 2011 winners

His Face All Red

Organizers of the Stumptown Comics Fest presented the 2011 Stumptown Comic Art Awards last night in Portland, Ore.

Nominees were selected by a panel of judges — Michael Allred, Brandon Graham, Laura Hudson, Michael Ring and Jason Leivian — from among the entries submitted earlier this year. Winners were determined by an online vote.

The winners are:

Best Artist: Emily Carroll, His Face All Red
Best Writer: Aaron Renier, The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Best Cartoonist: Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour
Best Letterer: Johnny Ryan, Prison Pit #2
Best Colorist: Emily Carroll, His Face All Red
Best Publication Design: Michael DeForge, Spotting Deer
Best Anthology: Studygroup 12 #4, edited by Zack Soto
Best Small Press: I Want You #2 by Lisa Hanawalt
Best New Talent: Michael DeForge
Reader’s Choice: Pang, the Wandering Shaolin Monk by Ben Costa
Director’s Choice: The Sixth Gun, by Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn, published by Oni Press

Kickin’ the Gun #1: Bunn, Zubkavich on Skullkickers, Sixth Gun, process and more

Cullen Bunn and Jim Zubkavich

Many who have been following this blog know I’m a fan of both Image’s Skullkickers and Oni’s The Sixth Gun. So when I saw that the two creator-owned books were having a mini-crossover of sorts — or, to be more specific, an ad swap — I thought it might be fun to see if Skullkickers writer Jim “Zub” Zubkavich and The Sixth Gun writer Cullen Bunn might be up for interviewing each other.

So the duo hit Skype and had a long conversation that covered many different topics — how they pitched their books, their writing process, how they work with their artists, finding time to write and much more. My thanks to both Cullen and Jim for doing this, with an extra tip of the hat to Jim for transcribing it. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of the interview.


Zub: So, let’s start right off with the big news. Did I hear correctly that you’re now writing full time? You quit your day job?

Cullen: I did. This is my third week as a full-time writer.

Zub: Awesome. What were you doing before that?

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Comics A.M. | Borders to close Tenn. center, Muppets/Pixar titles canceled

Borders Group headquarters

Retailing | The picture keeps looking worse for Borders Group: Even as news surfaced Wednesday that Diamond Book Distributors has stopped shipping to the troubled retail chain a report circulated that Borders will close its LaVergne, Tenn., distribution center in mid-July, resulting in the elimination of 310 jobs. That follows more than 200 layoffs made at the center since 2009. [, via GalleyCat]

Publishing | The remaining licensed Muppets and Pixar titles from BOOM! Studios have been listed as “canceled by Previews.” In response to inquiries, the publisher pointed to the teaser for “BOOM! Kids 2.0,” the relaunch of its kids imprint announced in September. Rumors that BOOM! had lost the Muppets/Pixar licenses began swirling in late November, following Roger Langridge’s announcement that he would no longer be drawing The Muppet Show. The publisher’s relaunched kids line will include such Disney licenses as Darkwing Duck, and reprints of Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. [Comics Worth Reading]

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Bunn brings bumps in the night to kid lit with Crooked Hills

Crooked Hills

Crooked Hills

A few days ago I posted a teaser for a new Cullen Bunn project coming from Evileye … and now Cullen has revealed more details about it on his blog. Crooked Hills is a new series of prose books for kids that “blends mystery and adventure to weave a fun an unforgettable story of will, friendship and family bonds,” according to the press release.

“Crooked Hills, Missouri, is a combination of many of the small towns in which I grew up,” Bunn said, “from Newton Grove, North Carolina, to Thayer, Missouri. (Thayer in particular helped to form a template for Crooked Hills.) Those towns were rich with interesting people and even more interesting urban legends and ghost stories. With CROOKED HILLS, I imagined sitting in the heart of a dark forest around a campfire, telling kids those kinds of spine-tingling ghost stories. So it seemed to me that having a witch come back to life to kidnap kids and be eaten by a hell hound would scare the living daylights out of almost anybody. But in that nightmare, I also saw a chance to explore what happens when kids face their fears; to overcome them can be incredibly liberating and empowering.”

And as someone pointed out in the comments section of the teaser image, the promo artwork is indeed by Bunn’s The Sixth Gun co-conspirator Brain Hurtt.

Straight for the art | ‘Spoiler-free panels’ from Oni’s The Sixth Gun

The Sixth Gun

The Sixth Gun

Over on his blog artist Brian Hurtt has been sharing “spoiler free” panels from The Sixth Gun, his upcoming comic with writer Cullen Bunn.

“Really wanted to share something from THE SIXTH GUN with you but I’m a little limited in my options right now,” he wrote on his blog. “My main worry is sharing anything that has any kind of spoilers in it. I’ve found a handful of images from the first issue that are spoiler-free and I’ll be sharing those here on the blog over the next couple weeks.”

You can find the first one here and the second one up above. The first issue is Oni’s contribution to Free Comic Book Day and is due in stores May 1.

Talking Comics with Tim: Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt

The Sixth Gun's Them What Ails Ya: A Christmas Yarn

The Sixth Gun's Them What Ails Ya: A Christmas Yarn

Tomorrow, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt‘s holiday prose/sequential art tale, The Sixth Gun Short Story, Them What Ails Ya: A Christmas Yarn, reaches its final installment at the Oni Press blog. As described when initially announced: “A  tale of medicine shows, magic tonics, outlaws, cannibals, and bona fide Christmas miracles  will run every Tuesday beginning December 1st and ending December 22nd on the Oni Press blog. Each segment will  feature another chapter of Cullen Bunn’s prose short accompanied by a Brian Hurtt illustration and an original comic-strip will bookend the story.” My thanks to Bunn and Hurtt for their time.

Tim O’Shea: In what ways has your collaborative style evolved–comparing your present day work with the experience of creating The Damned?

Cullen Bunn: Over the years, I think Brian and I have gotten more comfortable working with other. We really have a good feel for how we work best. We’ve thrown ideas for collaborations around for years, but I don’t think we realized how often we were “on the same page” until we started working on The Damned and The Sixth Gun. I can’t tell you how many times one of us has come up with a “brilliant idea” only to learn that the other had a similar or complementary thought. We’ve also gotten a lot more comfortable letting each other know when we’re traveling down the wrong path. With the Sixth Gun, we spent a lot more time at a white board, thumbnailing, outlining, and even scripting certain scenes. It’s a different approach for both of us, but it has been successful. We’ll probably do more of this with future projects.

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