Manga | While Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been burning up the bookstore sales charts in the United States, the dystopian manga is also giving the smash-hit One Piece a run for its money in Japan. According to market research firm Oricon, Attack on Titan sold more than 15.9 million copies in the past year, just behind One Piece‘s 18.1 million (Kuroko’s Basketball is a distance third with about 8.8 million). Of course, Eiichiro Oda insanely popular pirate manga has little to fear: The 72-volume (and counting) series has 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide. Kodansha’s Attack on Titan, meanwhile, is on its 11th volume. [ICv2]
Auctions | Select titles from Don and Maggie Thompson’s collection of rare comics — among them, The Avengers #1, Journey Into Mystery #83 and The Incredible Hulk #1 — sold at auction last week for a combined $835,384. A 9.6 copy of Tales of Suspense #39 alone fetched $262,900. [Heritage Auctions]
Happy Presidents Day weekend, America, and happy Sunday to everyone else. Welcome to a very presidential What Are You Reading?, which really isn’t that different than a regular one, but you can imagine every entry being written by Daniel Day-Lewis if you’d like.
Today our special guest is Chris Smits, publisher of Aw Yeah Comics Publishing! and blogger at Creator-Owned Comics. Aw Yeah Comics, of course, is the all-ages comics series being created by Art Baltazar and Franco, with help from folks like Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Jason Aaron and many others … including Chris. If you’d like to get your hands on the adventures of Awesome Bear, Daring Dog, Polar Cycle, Marquaid, Action Cat and more, then let me point you to their Kickstarter campaign, which has hit its goal but you can still get in on the fun (and the comics!)
And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
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.
If I had $15, I’d be tempted to blow it all on the recolored Death of Superman collection for the ’90s nostalgia. But then I’d probably flip through it and come to my senses, and instead get something new like Fatale #12 ($3.50) by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, which looks like it’s going to be a trip, flashing back to Medieval times but self-contained as a good entry point for new readers. That’s smart comics. Speaking of smarty-pants, I’d probably get The Manhattan Projects #9 ($3.50) by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra. It’s the first part of a two-part story about scientists trying to take over the world. There will probably be lots of words that leave me dizzy. I likely wouldn’t be able to resist Matt Wagner writing The Shadow: Year One #1 ($3.99) because, you know, The Shadow knows. I haven’t been following IDW’s G.I. Joe universe but G.I. Joe #1 ($3.99) by Fred Van Lente and Steve Kurth seems like a good opportunity to try it out. And I’d finish it off with Cyber Force #3 by Marc Silvestri and Koi Pham because it’s free.
With $30, I would add to the above. Darkhawk is on the cover of Avengers Arena #4 ($2.99) by Dennis Hopeless and Alessandro Vitti, so I’d be compelled to buy that. I’ve been meaning to check out Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening’s Ghostbusters since I hear it’s real fun, so the relaunched Ghostbusters #1 ($3.99) is a perfect opportunity. Morning Glories #24 ($2.99) by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma seems too intriguing to pass up. I am so behind on the X-books, but I’d be real tempted to try Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo’s Uncanny X-Men #1 ($3.99).
My splurge item would be tough. I’d be real tempted to get either the Iron Man Omnibus collecting the entire run of David Michelinie, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr., including the famous alcoholism story, or Counter X: Generation X – Four Days by Brian Wood. But I’d probably end up instead getting the Daredevil By Mark Waid, Vol. 1 hardcover for $35. I don’t know, do I need to justify this purchase? It’s probably the most beloved superhero comic of last year, maybe for the last couple of years. It paved the way for similarly rejuvenating series at Marvel like Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, and Young Avengers. The art by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin is swoon-worthy. And it wants to be on my bookshelf, dagnabbit!
Dark Horse has long been the exemplar of how a smart publisher can make pretty great comics out of licensed properties, even those that might not even seem all that worthwhile to begin with. (Compare, for example, Dark Horse’s first few batches of Predator comics to Predator 2, or the publisher’s Predator Vs. Aliens comics to the eventual films bearing that title.) Certainly the company has had its greatest success with the Star Wars license; if there are any other relationships that have been as long and as fruitful as the Dark Horse/Star Wars one, I’m hard-pressed to think of them.
Despite those scores of Star Wars comics from creators who generally range from up-and-coming but professional talents to some of the best in the industry, the publisher’s new Star Wars series — called simply Star Wars, no colon or dash, no subtitle — seemed well-positioned to be something special: the new flagship of the comics line, something for new readers a la DC’s New 52 or Marvel’s NOW! machinations, a Star Wars comic for people who like Star Wars and like comics, but maybe don’t already read Star Wars comics.
Part of that positioning came from the unusual (for the franchise) creative team: writer Brian Wood, a longtime creator whose idiosyncratic work has always tended more toward critical acclaim than sales blockbuster, artist Carlos D’Anda, a newish-to-comics creator whose most recent high-profile work was Batman: Arkham City, and cover artist Alex Ross, the industry’s favorite painter of ’70s and ’80s nostalgia.
A greater part, I think, came from the focus. While Dark Horse has published comics about just about every character in the Star Wars “Expanded Universe,” and made a lot of them about the ancient history of George Lucas’ galaxy and the Clone Wars era (Lucas & Co.’s focus for the past decade or so), this new series is to center on the core cast of the original film trilogy, and to be set right after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.
Nerdist has debuted a first look at lettered pages from Dark Horse’s Star Wars, the new series from Brian Wood and Carlos d’Anda set during the three-year gap between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Announced at Comic-Con International, the title picks up where fans left Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo after the destruction of the Death Star. “Luke is hurting from the death of his family and Ben, Leia is in mourning for her family and her entire planet, while trying to shoulder the burden of managing the Rebellion alongside Mon Mothma,” Wood told Comic Book Resources in July. “Han is still kind of a jerk. Luke only has the barest sense of what the Force is, and will attempt to learn what he can on his own.”
Star Wars, which features covers by Alex Ross, debuts in January. See part of the preview (including a strutting Darth Vader) below, and visit Nerdist for more.
Just ahead of Comic-Con International, Dark Horse has announced it will launch a new Star Wars series in January by Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda, with covers by Alex Ross. The comic, called simply Star Wars, will be set during the period of the original film trilogy and feature the classic characters.
“This is the Star Wars series for everyone who has loved the films, but has never delved into any of the comics or novels,” Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley told io9.com. “There is no vast continuity that a reader needs to know beyond the events in A New Hope. This is the beginning of the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie.”
On his blog Wood added, “I bet this strikes people as an odd move. Maybe not? But LucasFilm asked for me personally, and I felt it too irresistible a job to pass up. I’m three scripts into it and having fun. The book launches in Dec or January. Oh yeah, Leia’s an X-Wing pilot.”
More information is expected Wednesday as Comic-Con gears up for Preview Night. Visit io9 for a peek at D’Anda’s interior art.