INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Publishing | J. Michael Straczynski discusses the revival of Joe’s Comics, which returns in May with the Image Comics release of Ten Grand, illustrated by Ben Templesmith. Top Cow was home to the imprint from 1999 to 2004, publishing such series as Delicate Creatures, Midnight Nation and Rising Stars. A preview of Ten Grant will be available in April at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. [MTV Geek]
Creators | Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics and the writer for the Adventure Time comic, talks about his work habits. [Lifehacker]
Creators | Penny Arcade co-creator Mike Krahulik talks about Strip Search, the reality TV-style webseries they will launch on Friday. [IGN]
Creators | Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi’s turn on in the reality show Bigg Boss seems to have ended badly: Trivedi was tossed off the show, perhaps due to political pressure, and his political commentary did not make the final cut. In true reality-show fashion, he left in a cloud of acrimony, saying that his fellow contestant Salman Khan “overstepped the bounds of decency” with another cast member, Sapna Bhavanani. And apparently the producers did not deliver on their promise to allow him to use the show as a platform for his views: “I and Sapna were constantly talking about corruption and women`s empowerment inside the house, but after coming out, I was zapped to learn that none of those things were telecast. … These guys lied to us. We were told – `you will not have to do any naach gana [melodrama] and you will just have to put forth your views on revolution, society and corruption.` But it was all humbug!” [India TV News]
Free Comic Book Day | In anticipation of Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle interviews Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics, who came up with the idea in the first place, inspired by “free scoop” days at ice cream shops. [San Francisco Chronicle]
Free Comic Book Day | John Jackson Miller traces the 10-year history of Free Comic Book Day. [The Comics Chronicles]
Conventions | ReedPop Group Vice President Lance Fensterman takes stock of this year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo and sees plenty of growth, both in attendees (42,000 this year) and exhibitors. It looks like the show will continue: “We feel like we got the answer we needed. We made maybe a little bit of money, which is fine. Year 3 is when we expect to start to see some positive cash flow, but even more so we felt that the community embraced the event and the turnout and the ticket sales reflect that—and that is just what we needed to see.” [ICv2]
The third outing for the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, proved to be the best yet for the show, as attendance came in at more than 41,000 total people, according to ReedPop’s Global Group Vice President Lance Fensterman. That’s compared to the 34,000 people who attended in 2011, which was up from the 27,500 who attended in 2010.
Fensterman had previously told CBR that this year they were focused on growth for the show. “Really it was about delivering the full package — the guests, the exhibitors and the fans. It’s kind of like each year we got one or two right. And that’s expected. You launch something, and you learn as you go about what fans in the new market want. So this year, the goal is ‘Let’s nail all three. Let’s get the show floor. Let’s get the crowds. Let’s get the guests.’ This year, it was really about the event coming into its own.”
Comic strips | Cartoonist Tom Batiuk, whose Funky Winkerbean has addressed such topics as teen pregnancy, land mines and capital punishment, will next turn his attention to gay rights in a storyline about a gay couple that wants to attend the prom at the comic strip’s fictional fictional Westview High School. “It struck me that whenever I sit in classes at Midview High, which I still do, my overall impression is that the younger generation’s attitudes toward gays is more open and accepting than their predecessors,” Batiuk said. “It’s not perfect, but it shows promise for an emerging generation that will bring this issue (intolerance) to an end. I wanted to take those two opposing viewpoints to reach across that divide of intolerance.” The month-long storyline begins April 30. Funky Winkerbean appears in more than 400 newspapers nationwide. [The Chronicle-Telegram]
Creators | Ali Ferzat, the Syrian cartoonist who was abducted and beaten last year because of his criticisms of the government, was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” “Tyrants often don’t get the jokes, but their people do,” Pulitzer Prize-winning Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker writes in his tribute to Ferzat. “So when the iron fist comes down, it often comes down on cartoonists.” [Time]
Publishing | In one of its wide-ranging interviews with comics publishers, the retail news and analysis site ICv2 talks with Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson about the state of the market, the loss of Borders, his company’s 2011 layoffs, webcomics, and some early missteps with its digital program: “Quite honestly we’ve run into a few issues because the programs that we’ve done haven’t worked as well as we wished. We created some exclusive material and got less participation than we had hoped for. […] We gave codes out to retail stores to drive customers into their stores. They could pick up the exclusive content by going to their participating comic shop. Evidently we didn’t do a good enough job getting the word out, so we’re retooling that.” [ICv2.com]
“The comic book world is a tough business. If you’re a celebrity with a comic, it already has a residue of shit on it because so many shit celebrity slash wrestler slash race-car driver slash who-gives-a-fuck books have already tainted the possible audience for it. This is not a get-rich-quick thing, it’s not a way to prolong my career – I would like the same fans that I respect in comics to like my books, and I know the only way to get there is to earn it, and the only way to earn it is to come up the same way everybody else does, as much as I can.”
Legal | The New York Times ventures deep into the legal battle between Archie Comics Co-CEOs Nancy Silberkleit and Jonathan Goldwater, noting the two sides have gone into court-approved mediation. “Competing lawsuits filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan and State Supreme Court in Westchester County lay out a litany of bitter allegations. He punctured her car tires, destroyed her Web site and claimed that she sexually harassed employees. She ordered him to fire several longtime employees because they were too old, too fat or too buxom, and let her dog, Willow, roam the offices and defecate in the art department.” [The New York Times]
Conventions | Although no figures have been released for last weekend’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, organizer Lance Fensterman said attendance was “way up,” noting that, “the size of the show floor doubled and the aisles were much more full than last year. That tells you how much attendance jumped to keep pace with the floor growth.” [Publishers Weekly]
Sunday was a great day. It started off awesomely with a marriage proposal. A young man named Matthew had hired my friend Grant to draw a picture of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for his girlfriend, Lisa, a Buffy fan. When they picked up the commission, Lisa read the word balloons, “Hi, Lisa. Matthew tells me he loves you very much and he has a very important question to ask…”
The latest round of “Comics-on Tees” that debuted this past weekend at C2E2 in Chicago are now available for purchase on their website. This round is “written” by Jeffrey Brown, who also contributes the design of one of the shirts, along with Jeff Lemire, Anders Nilsen, and Paul Hornschemeier. The shirts can be bought individually, or you can get all four as a set.
“If I could put the Stephen J. Cannell logo at the end of every issue I would be happy, and David Aja recently sent me this amazing piece of music. He said, ‘Here’s the soundtrack to our first issue.’ It’s Dizzy Gillespie and Lalo Schifrin from a record they did together called ‘Free Ride’ and it is great. The whole record is full of car chase music. So this series is very William Friedkin and early Brian Depalma. Rockford Files. It’s an early ’70s urban grit story. You almost expect Hawkeye to come around the corner and bump into Power Man and Iron Fist from 30 years ago.”
“Rather than try to define what Hawkeye’s role is in the Avengers, I wanted to define what is Clint Barton’s role in Hawkeye — who is he and what drives him and why is he our lead? I could close my eyes and see this Aja drawing of him with a Band-Aid across the bridge of his nose, and I got it. That’s our guy. He’s the Marvel Universe’s Jim Rockford.”
– writer Matt Fraction, in interviews with Comic Book Resources and USA Today, name-checking
the 1970s James Garner crime drama in discussions of his upcoming Hawkeye ongoing series for Marvel. There’s no word yet as to whether Clint Barton works for $200 a day, plus expenses.
DC Comics has updated its New Frontiersman promotional website with a first, albeit small, look at interior artwork from Before Watchmen, the sprawling prequel to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The portfolio, featuring art by the likes of Lee Bermejo, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones and Jae Lee, was shown Thursday at the Diamond Retailer Summit and Saturday at the “DC All Access: Before Watchmen” panel at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Following the announcement Friday at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that DC Comics will add Ame-Comi Girls to its digital-first slate, Courtney Crumrin creator Ted Naifeh has posted some of his character sketches for the series, inspired by the popular DC Collectibles line of anime-style statues.
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, the series launches in May with five individual character arcs leading up to the united Ame-Comi Girls, as the heroines unite to stop an invasion by a female Braniac and her “bad girl” supervillains. Naifeh, who’ll be drawing the Duela Dent chapter, writes, “If you haven’t already heard about it, this is the concept. What if the DC universe had no superheros of super-villains, but only heroines and villainesses. Right? I love it too! And I was honored to be asked to participate, drawing one of the 30-page chapters of the series.”
Check out Naifeh’s take on Batgirl and Duela here, and visit his blog to see more.
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, wrapped up Sunday, and while there weren’t nearly as many announcements made on Sunday as there were Friday and Saturday, there were a few more tidbits from Marvel and a fun one from BOOM!:
• At the Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel, the company revealed the creative team for the new Gambit ongoing series they started teasing before the show. Writer James Asmus and artist Clay Mann will have the X-Men’s favorite thief stealing items across the Marvel universe, literally, as Asmus promised to send him into space and to “places with Kirby monsters.”
• The Next Big Thing panel also brought the news that Jamie McKelvie will begin drawing Defenders with issue #8.
• Marvel’s Mighty Thor and Journey Into Mystery will crossover later this year in an event called “Everything Burns.” It’ll feature the villain Surtur. “It stretches the whole nine realms. It threatens every pantheon and planet in all creation. When we say ‘everything burns,’ we mean everything. Everything you’ve seen, anything you’ve cared about, anything at all… cinders, dust. It’s big,” JiM writer Kieron Gillen told Newsarama.
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo opened its doors for the 2012 edition at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday the 13th. I decided to tempt fate, spit in the eye of superstition and join a trio of friends from my local comic shop to make the four-hour trek between Detroit and Chicago, take in the sights to see at C2E2 and return home, all in one day. That’s right: I was silly enough to think a whirlwind visit to Chicago would be a good idea.
We hit the road around eight o’clock and with a pair of stops on the way to coincide with the wonderfully easy traffic all the way into the great state of Illinois, we made it to McCormick place by 11:15 Chicago time. Coming in from the south side of the convention center, we mingled with Chicago White Sox traffic (oddly enough, the Detroit Tigers were in town to play the Sox) and managed to find parking at McCormick after driving through the shipping area of the parking facility.