"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Awards | Adam Hines has won the graphic novel category in the 31st annual Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his debut book Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One. The other nominees were Dash Shaw’s Bodyworld, Karl Stevens’ The Lodger, Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know, Book II, and Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft. [press release]
Conventions | More than two years after canceling its Los Angeles convention, Wizard World announced it will return to the city Sept. 24-25 with Los Angeles Comic Con, to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Big Apple Comic Con, which previously had been scheduled for those dates, will be moved to the spring. [press release]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks with Viz Media Vice President Alvin Lu about the expansion of the publisher’s iPad app to include iPhone and iPod Touch. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | February brought a noteworthy, if unwanted, record for the direct market: The lowest-ever top title on record. Green Lantern #62 led Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 300 with an estimated 71,500 copies, 18,400 less than the previous record holder. Chart watcher John Jackson Miller writes, “For the first time, we probably cannot say that when all reorders and newsstand sales are added, the total will be above 100,000 — although we certainly would expect its eventual readership to go above that mark given reprint editions (to say nothing of digital).”
DC’s $29.99 Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne deluxe hardcover helped to push year-over-year dollars sales up 6.92 percent, offsetting a slight decline in periodicals to and nudging combined sales up .94 percent. “Sales of those ‘long tail’ titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list,” ICv2 notes. “Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales.” [ICv2.com]
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.
This week is a busy week for me -– I count 13 single issues I’d buy if I was a rich man, but with only $15 I’d narrow it down to four things. DMZ #62 (DC/Vertigo $2.99) looks to be really amping up the series for it’s final year. I’ve enjoyed this series’ long run, and the way he’s built up this world only to tear it down seems amazing. Second in my bag would be the closest thing to a modern Moebius at Marvel, Shield #6 (Marvel $2.99). This secret history of the Marvel U has been really eye-opening, and Hickman’s bold reach really takes some big brass ones. This in line would be Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force #5 (Marvel $3.99). Remender’s done some solid modern-work while trying to not be outshone by Jerome Opena’s star-turn, but in this issue it’s got guest art by Esad Ribic. Ribic’s work has always carried this sense of gravitas without being stuffy like some painters, and I’m interested to see how he does these visceral heroes. Last up would be Brightest Day #20. On paper, a book with a league of b-list heroes seems like a non-starter, but I really like what the team have done on this, especially the Martian Manhunter and Firestorm threads.
Over on the CBR mothership, Pam Auditore has a report on Finder writer/artist Carla Speed McNeil’s spotlight panel. McNeil talks about her move to Dark Horse, her long history of self-publishing, and a variety of other topics, but it was the following passage that struck me:
One fan was interested in how much “science” was in her science fiction, stating, “I guess I’m sort of interested in where the line between science and science fiction breaks with rules of science and reality.”
Laughing, McNeil answered, “Most of us don’t know the rules of science. Most of us are not actual scientists, I hate to burst the bubble.”
The young man persisted, responding, “But I know you’re breaking rules. We know people can’t fly. Do you say to yourself, ‘Well, I know that can’t happen in the real world, but I need it to happen to fit the story’? What do you do?”
In reply McNeil said, “Well, I generally follow the rule of cool – if something is exciting to you as a story element, it doesn’t matter if its about a person’s relationship or their job prospects. It’s not different. Whether or not a layered dome city, which is what I have in ‘Finder,’ is impractical [doesn’t matter]. It’s whether or not it seems like it makes for something cool in the story. Something that gives you an emotional aspect to the environment that people are living in. It took me a quite a long time to realize that super-heroes are not actually science fiction. From the time I was eeny-weeny, I thought they were, because they used ‘sciencey’ sort of terms. It wasn’t until I saw the first Spider-Man movie and having come back out having had a good time and never having liked Spider-Man to begin with, but I enjoyed it and it occurred to me, “It’s a personal fantasy narrative that’s been smacked on the head with a science stick till it sounds ‘sciencey,’ but in fact isn’t.
“Basically, almost all stories that are not hard SF have that core in them that you are taking, well one hopes, the emotional realities of a situation, and you’re sort of embroidering them with scientific fact,” McNeil continued.
The news and announcements flowed freely on the first day of the brand new C2E2 convention, as well as at the Diamond retailer’s summit on Thursday. Here’s a quick summary, in case you missed anything …
Carla Speed McNeil was at the Haven Distributors booth for the opening of C2E2, and she had big news: She has just signed a multi-book contract with Dark Horse. McNeil, who won a Best Webcomic Eisner last year, has been self-publishing her Finder series for years, so Dark Horse will begin by republishing those earlier comics in two volumes, followed by Torch, which has appeared online, in February. “Also, they are reviving the venerable Dark Horse Presents, in which I will producing eight-page color stories,” McNeil added. “That will be the first time Finder is presented in color.”
The contract covers Torch, Voice, and McNeil’s next three books, as well as the Dark Horse presents material. McNeil says she is happy she self-published her earlier books, because she got to learn how the industry works, but now she wants to move on. “I have got a lot of interesting friends that I want to do projects with,” she said, “and if someone else handles the back end of things, I can do them.”