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C2E2 | A round-up of news from Friday (and before)

C2E2

Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley’s lengthy report on CBR, I’ve pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:

• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell’s The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they’ve worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.

• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that’s been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren’s three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.

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Dark Horse to publish Spike, Willow spinoff projects [Updated]

David Mack's Willow

Entertainment Weekly shares the news that Dark Horse has two spinoff miniseries planned for later this year, featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer supporting characters Spike and Willow.

The Spike miniseries, which kick off in August, will be written by X-Men writer Victor Gischler and picks up after the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #10. “The focus is on Spike and his coming to terms with some things, sort of getting right in the head,” Gischler told EW. “He loves Buffy, but can’t be with her. What does that mean to a vampire with a soul?” He also meets up with some demons trying to collect the shards of the magic “seed” that was destroyed in Season Eight of the comic.

The Willow series, meanwhile, starts in November and is written by Thunderbolts and Hulk writer Jeff Parker. Willow, who took off from the pages of Buffy with the mystical slayer scythe, hunts down Angel in a quest to try and bring magic back to Earth.

You can see the cover art for the first issue of the Spike series over at the EW site.

Update: Kiel Phegley at CBR picks up a few more tidbits on the two miniseries at the Diamond Retailer Summit leading into C2E2; Brian Ching will draw the Willow series with covers by David Mack and Megan Lara. Paul Lee will draw Spike with covers by Jenny Frison and Steve Morris.

Cliff Chiang draws Joss Whedon for GQ magazine

NOTE: The images have been removed at the request of GQ.

Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang and GQ designer Benjamin Bours have revealed Chiang’s illustration of director, screenwriter and comics scribe Joss Whedon for a feature in the May issue of the magazine titled “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth.”

“It’s always a treat to do some editorial illustration,” Chiang writes, “and when it’s a portrait of somebody as beloved in the comics scene as Joss Whedon, I couldn’t ask for a better subject.”

See a much larger version of his illustration below, and visit Bours’ website to see more pages from the Whedon profile.

The Middle Ground #97 | How Buffy got her groove back

There were, let’s face it, numerous warning signs about Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Season Nine, not least of all the way that Season Eight had turned out. But adding a second ongoing book to the line? Joss Whedon only writing the first issue instead of the first arc, because of his commitments to Marvel’s The Avengers? There was, it seemed, little possibility that the series could regain the support or excitement it had at the launch of Season Eight. And then, to quote Jarvis Cocker, something changed. Continue Reading »

Food or Comics? | Sharknife shish kebab

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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 a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Sharknife, Volume 2: Double Z

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d skip lunch and dig in to the overdue Choker #6 (Image, $3.99). I almost considered waiting for the trade on this one, but I know once I see the shiny object in front of me in stores I’ll want to find out the ending to Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith’s story. After that I’d get Uncanny X-Force #23 (Marvel, $3.99), which still holds the crown for my favorite current Marvel book. I was hesitant of Remender & co. going off into Otherworld despite my fascination with the realm going back to my Excalibur days, but I’m being rewarded with good story for my allegiance. The only thing it’s missing is an appendix reminding me of older stories that he references here. Last up would be a two-fer with Spaceman #5 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Walking Dead #95 (Image, $2.99). I’ve talked about both at length here, and they continue to buffet me with greatness.

If I had $30, I’d first snag Daredevil #10 (Marvel, $2.99) to see more of Paolo Rivera’s work over the solid storytelling by Mark Waid. Then, I’d rub my eyes to make sure I’m not seeing things and pick-up the 5+ year delayed book Sharknife, Vol. 2 (Oni, $11.99). I’ve been a big fan of Corey’s work back when he was doing inspired Mega Man rip-offs, and the chance that I’ll finally see this sequel is exciting and heartbreaking. I hope the quality of the book inside is enough to stave off my feelings about the severe delay the book had.

And for splurging, I’d spend my CBR paycheck on Gone To Amerikay (DC/Vertigo, $24.99). This book is at the intersection of three reasons I’d buy it: Colleen Doran, Derek McCulloch and historical Irish narratives. I’d hold McCulloch’s Stagger Lee up to any graphic novel of the past decade in terms of skill and potency, so to see him pair that with Colleen Doran’s crafty linework bears my immediate attention.

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Buffy makes controversial decision in latest issue

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6

When Editor Scott Allie told Comic Book Resources that Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 would take Buffy’s story “back to human issues … some of the biggest issues anyone can face,” fans knew he was alluding to her mysterious pregnancy. But with Issue 6, in stores today, the Slayer deals with her new situation head on, answering a question readers have been debating since last issue’s big revelation.

Spoiler warning: The following addresses a major plot point from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6.

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Previews: What Looks Good for March

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.

One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.

Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Abrams Comicarts

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]

Abstract Studios

Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]

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Dark Horse announces two Free Comic Book Day flipbooks for 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Dark Horse Comics has announced two flip books for next year’s Free Comic Book Day, scheduled for May 5, featuring four of their licensed titles — The Guild, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars and Serenity.

The first comic will feature a Buffy the Vampire Slayer tale that sees the title character finding it hard to take a vacation from “all things that go bump in the night,” paired with a Guild tale which features the group of gamers heading to the beach. The second title features a Han Solo and Chewbacca tale where the two have a falling out over one of their customers, paired with a Serenity tale.

You can find additional art after the jump.

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Dark Horse adds Buffy, other Whedon titles to their digital store

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40

Dark Horse Comics announced that they are adding their popular comics based on the television works of Joss Whedon to their digital store, starting today with a good chunk of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight and the first two issues of Season Nine.

Additional issues from Season Eight and Nine will be added over the next few weeks. Issues of Angel & Faith, which spun out of the events of Season Nine, will arrive next week. The Dollhouse one-shot and five-issue series will be added Nov. 23.

“This marks another important turning point in Dark Horse’s digital initiative,” said Mike Richardson, Dark Horse president and founder. “Joss Whedon’s incredible characters have become some of our most popular, and now fans from all over the world can see them like they never have been seen before!”

No doubt. Considering the fan base Buffy, Angel and, well, anything Joss Whedon does have, it makes sense that Dark Horse would want to make their “in canon” comics available via their digital store, and the natural question is “What took so long?” Given the titles are licensed from Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had some legal/licensing issues to work through. Fans commenting on the news at the Whedon-focused blog Whedonesque are now asking if Dark Horse will move to a same-day-as-print schedule, which seems like a natural move.

After the jump you can find the release schedule for upcoming Whedonverse titles on Dark Horse’s digital app.

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Comics A.M. | Direct market tops $40 million in October

Justice League #2

Comics | John Jackson Miller slices and dices the October numbers for the direct market, noting that overall dollar orders for comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines topped $40 million for the first time since September 2009. Orders rose 6.9 percent over September, the first month of DC’s relaunch. “While that may sound counter-intuitive, it isn’t when you consider that all those first issues continued to have reorders selling through October,” Miller writes. “Retailers with an eye on the aftermarket may also have some sense that second issues are historically under-ordered — something which goes at least back to the experience of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #2 in the 1980s, which wound up being much more valuable than its first issue.” [The Comichron]

Passings | Tom Spurgeon reports that author Les Daniels has passed away. Daniels wrote horror fiction and nonfiction books on the comic industry, which include Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America, Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics and DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes. [The Comics Reporter]

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Comics A.M. | Reeve Carney extends Spider-Man musical contract

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Broadway | Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has extended his contract with the musical through May. Carney’s original contract was set to expire in November. “I can’t imagine a more wonderful, harder-working company than my mates on Broadway, and I look forward to being with them until shooting begins, and again as soon as we’ve wrapped,” he said. [Wall Street Journal]

Creators | The works of cartoonists Frode Överli, Lise Myhre, Christopher Nielsen and Jason are being featured on postage stamps in Norway, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first comic book to be published in the country, The Katzenjammer Kids. [cats without dogs]

Creators | Firebreather creator and former Wonder Woman writer Phil Hester is profiled in conjunction with a visit to Limited Edition Comics and Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa. [WCF Courier.com]

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Food or Comics? | Buffy, Pigs, Tomine and of course new DC titles

Demon Knights

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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 a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Michael May

If I had $15, I’d start with Demon Knights #1 ($2.99) and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #1 ($2.99). I’m excited about a lot of the DC Dark corner of the New 52; especially these two. Frankenstein is a continuation of the only Flashpoint series I stuck with and features one of my two favorite characters from Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory. I wasn’t that interested in Demon Knights at first, but I was impressed by Paul Cornell’s chasing down a female fan after a panel at San Diego to pitch the series to her as something that people who are looking for great, female characters will enjoy. And I’ve been wanting to dig deeper into Cornell’s work anyway. On the Marvel side, I’m still thrilled about how well Alpha Flight is doing (creatively, I mean, but I guess it must be doing okay in sales too), so #4 ($2.99) is a must-buy for me. And I can’t wait to see how Mystery Men ends with #5 ($2.99). That’s been one of the high points of my summer, comics-wise. Finally, I’d grab X-Men Legacy #255 ($2.99) to dip my toe a little deeper into the X-Men world after being away from it for a while.

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Dark Horse to offer free digital comics through comic retailers

B.P.R.D.: Casualties

When Dark Horse announced their digital comics program last October, one element they called out was how they planned to offer digital comics through traditional brick and mortar comic retailers. Today via press release they revealed the specifics, as well as the first three comics you’ll need to visit your local comic shop in order to download.

So how does it work? Let’s go right to the press release:

During July through September 2011, Dark Horse will e-mail exclusive retailers a sheet of one hundred unique (one-time use) digital-download codes at the beginning of every month. The store simply prints out the codes and hands them out to loyal customers!

Customers redeem the coupon code and get their free digital comic by visiting Digital.DarkHorse.com/RetailerExclusive.

Fans should head over to their local comic shop and tell them to sign up today! Retailers can simply e-mail their business name, business address, e-mail address, and Diamond account number to digitalexclusive@darkhorse.com to be a part of this exciting new program! Please note: In order to be eligible for this program, you must sign up by June 22.

The program launches in July with B.P.R.D.: Casualties, with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic slated for August and a Mass Effect comic for October. Each digital comic is eight pages long and is free.

Comics A.M. | Dynamite CEO on industry; why doesn’t cartooning pay?

Green Hornet

Publishing | Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci talks frankly about the state of the marketplace, digital comics, and his company’s plans. He also acknowledges some missteps: “Green Hornet was a license we paid a lot of attention to last year, probably too much attention. Going back to what we were talking about earlier, putting out too much product, we put out too much Green Hornet product. Part of it is that we wanted to get trade paperback collections out in time for the movie, and we did that, we succeeded. We built up our market share and we generated more revenue for us and the retailers. I’m going off on a tangent here, so I apologize, but we took that money and reinvested into projects like Vampirella, like Warlord of Mars, like the upcoming Kirby: Genesis. But we overdid it, and that we realize, which is why you don’t see us doing four Vampirella titles and four Warlord of Mars titles.” [ICv2.com]

Creators | For its annual Comics Issue, the Village Voice takes a fascinating, lengthy and very depressing look at the often-grim financial reality faced by cartoonists — an environment to which, it turns out, the Village Voice contributed. “I’m not sure how much you’ll be allowed to write about this,” says Dan Perkins (Tom Tomorrow), “but of course the Village Voice Media chain is one of the major culprits in this  —their decision to ‘suspend’ cartoons [in 15 papers in 2009] dealt a serious blow to the struggling subgenre of alt-weekly cartoons.” It’s noted parenthetically that Tom Tomorrow will return to the paper “within a few months,” and that “many of the artists in this issue aren’t getting paid, but have contributed work for the exposure.” [Village Voice]

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WonderCon | New Buffy co-writer on working with Whedon and more

Buffy by Jo Chen

When Joss Whedon returns to Buffy the Vampire Slayer later this year for “season nine” of the TV show-turned-comic book, he’s bringing on a new co-writer to work on the book — Andrew Chambliss, a former Dollhouse television writer (and current Dollhouse comic writer).

Chambliss, whose television work also includes Vampire Diaries and Heroes, wasn’t at yesterday’s panel to talk about the announcements, but the Buffyfest blog does have up an interview where he talks about both of his comic projects, his work on the Dollhouse TV show and which character he’s looking forward to writing in Buffy Season Nine.

“It may seem the obvious choice, but I’m going to have to say Buffy,” he told Buffyfest. “Going into season 9, she’s in a really interesting place – she always thought she was going to die saving the world, but now that she actually survived, she has to face her real life (don’t worry, they’ll still be lots of slaying). And at the same time, she’s watching her friends move on with their lives, and has to deal with the fact that the Scooby Gang might not be there to help her like they used to be.”

Buffy Season Nine kicks off in September, one month after the debut of Angel & Faith.


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