Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. After an almost-uninterrupted string of U.S. conventions, from Emerald City Comicon and Fabletown & Beyond to WonderCon and MoCCA Arts Fest, eyes turn to Europe this weekend for the Torino Comics festival.
Meanwhile, our contributors select their picks for the best comics going on sale Wednesday, including Batman: Li’l Gotham #1, Relish and The Flash Chronicles, Vol. 4.
Publishing | The 65th volume of Eiichiro Oda’s pirate manga One Piece has sold more than 3 million copies in Japan in less than two months, beating the two previous volumes to that goal. No other manga has sold that many copies so quickly since the market research firm Oricon began releasing sales figures in April 2008. [Anime News Network]
Comic strips | After 33 years on the comics page, Nicole Hollander’s Sylvia is hanging up her cigarette and typewriter and calling it a day. Hollander is upfront about the reason: “After the Chicago Tribune dropped Sylvia, my income was cut by half and Sylvia disappeared from my hometown. I felt the loss.” She will continue to post vintage Sylvia strips on her blog. [Bad Girl Chats]
Marvel and Williams-Sonoma announced today that they’re partnering on a line of bakeware merchandise, including cookie cutters, aprons and more, that will be sold by the retailer.
The products are available now on the Williams-Sonoma website, along with a custom comic book that features the Avengers fighting the Frightful Four while a shrunken Jarvis makes hamburgers (really). The 12-page comic was written by Marvel’s resident foodie, C.B. Cebulski, with art by Todd Nauck.
Products will also be available in Williams-Sonoma’s retail shops in the United States and Canada.
“Building upon our incredibly successful relationship with Williams-Sonoma Inc., we are excited to launch a great new line of merchandise at Williams-Sonoma stores, bringing the Marvel brand to another audience and product segment,” said Paul Gitter, President of Consumer Products for North America, Marvel Entertainment, in the press release. “We are working with Williams-Sonoma on helping kids and adults spend time together in the kitchen.
Kudos to our eagle-eyed Robot 6 and Spinoff compadre Graeme McMillan for spotting something interesting, and perhaps a bit frustrating, in Marvel’s January solicitations. On his Twitter, Graeme noted (edited slightly for clarity): “Number of new 32-page Marvel books @ $2.99 in new solicits: three. Number of new 32-page Marvel books @ $3.99 in new solicits: seven. What happened to price cuts?”
You no doubt recall that less than an hour after DC announced price cuts for its ongoing series during New York Comic Con — with a detailed list of the titles involved, along with page-count decreases and the cessation of back-up features — Marvel Senior Vice President-Sales & Circulation David Gabriel announced price cuts for Marvel, too, stating that new books launching in January 2011 will not debut at $3.99. Though details about the plan were scarce, here at Robot 6 we rounded up Marvel’s reaction to the price cuts at both publishers, from Senior Vice President C.B. Cebulski’s mild busting of DC’s chops for dropping page counts along with prices and, thus, reducing creator income, to sales communications manager Arune Singh’s statement that many titles debuting from Marvel in 2011 will ship at $2.99.
“Reminder to writers/artists, if you’re contacting editors about work in a professional capacity, please use your real name. When I get e-mails from people using nicknames [like] ‘Dark Spidey’ or ‘Elflord’ asking about submitting, it’s hard to take you seriously. Be smarter.”
– Marvel’s Senior Vice President, Creator & Content Development C.B. Cebulski, with another pearl of wisdom from his magic box of “how not to break into comics” tidbits. Protip: This applies to comment-thread posters, too. Just sayin’!
Veteran Marvel talent wrangler C.B. Cebulski has a fancy new title to go along with his gig of scouting and recruiting new creators (and his hobby of eating his way through the world’s fancy-pants restaurants): Senior Vice President, Creator & Content Development. According to the press release over on the CBR mothership, the gig not only solidifies Cebulski’s role as the company’s go-to guy for new talent, it also puts him in the Joe Quesada/Axel Alonso/Tom Brevoort braintrust in terms of determining the direction for Marvel’s comics line, and also gives him input into Marvel Entertainment’s various other creative initiatives. Finally, it gives me the excuse I needed to run that picture of him with Paris Hilton again.
One of the most welcome aspects of yesterday’s big DC digital-comics announcement from a creator-rights perspective is that “creator incentive payments” are a part of it. In his interview with CBR’s Kiel Phegley, co-publisher Jim Lee compared the payments to the royalties creators receive for print sales, saying “the freelance community will be happy that they’re being compensated in every way their stories are being sold.” That aspect of the arrival of digital comics publishing has been shrouded in mystery up until now, so DC’s move is a big first step.
Sorry, DC, but despite what your nice letter says, you are NOT “the first to announce a participation plan for talent” for digital comics. I’m not sniping at DC, just correcting misinformation that’s being sent out freelancers, some who work for both companies.
If you follow Marvel’s talent scout on Twitter, you know that C.B. Cebulski is a big fan of food … he’s just as likely to point out a great place to get BBQ as he is to share tips and trick on breaking into the business. Now he’s launched a blog called Eataku, “an online home for people passionately obsessed with food,” where he’s posting restaurant reviews, recipes by Alex Maleev and even food-related artwork, as you’ll see above.
He’s also going to be a guest judge on the Food Network’s Challenge show, where various chefs face off in cooking challenges. This week’s challenge is “extreme villain cakes,” and it airs this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
“Four cake designers tap into their dark side as they create original villains and tell their stories in cake,” says the Food Network’s description of the show. “The cake designers also need to make their creations move or spin or shoot fire — making for a truly extreme competition. The competitor who can wow the judges with both the story and the special effects will take home ten thousand dollars.”
Over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them one simple question: What are you excited about for 2010? We asked them to mention something they were anticipating, as a fan, and also something they were working on (if, of course, it wasn’t top secret). So we’re ending today with the first of three of these round-ups; watch for the other two to be posted sometime tomorrow.
I’m excited by a NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL from Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover that is coming out from Top Shelf this year, that I don’t think I can name because they haven’t formally announced it yet. But really, those two names and a full length work should be all you need to hear to know I’m right.
What I’m most excited about that I’m involved with comes out in just a few weeks, it’s AVENGERS VS. ATLAS from Marvel, where I think my collaborators Gabriel Hardman, Elizabeth Breitweiser and I have really gelled. Even if you’ve never read an Agents of Atlas story, I bet you’ll enjoy seeing the original lineup of The Avengers back on the scene.
Or you’ll at least want in for the LAVA MEN.
Jeff Parker writes a whole bunch of great comics for Marvel, including all the Agents of Atlas projects and Thunderbolts. He also helped us out last year with our Robot Love posts at Valentine’s, in a post titled I ♥ learning from comics. Tim O’Shea also interviewed him about Underground earlier this year, along with artist Steve Lieber.
Full-scale warfare between convention promoters isn’t universal, believe it or not — some are giving peace a chance. In addition to the recent arrangement worked out by Heroes Con and Supercon to avoid a date conflict, Emerald City ComiCon‘s Jim Demonakos tells Robot 6 that following an unavoidable conflict with Orlando’s MegaCon the weekend of March 13, 2010, he and MegaCon’s Beth Widera collaborated on choosing dates for 2011 so that future overlap could be avoided. “We ended up on the same dates for 2010 and neither of us could move, but we’ve talked and coordinated and our mutual 2011 dates will not be on each other’s dates at all,” says Demonakos. “Con planning, always an adventure.”
No, your eyes don’t deceive you: That’s Marvel Talent Coordinator C.B. Cebulski with noted, uh, person Paris Hilton. This meeting of the minds took place at last night’s New York Comic Con One Year Out Party at NYC’s Bowlmor Lanes, where a Marvel Editors vs. Marvel Creators bowl-off coincidentally took place near a Paris-attended party. The Creators—who included Greg Pak, Dan Slott, and an on-fire Peter David, who rolled a 177—defeated an Editorial team that boasted Cebulski, Axel Alonso, and Mark Paniccia by a score of 900-873 in a charity match that raised money for the CBLDF. The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald was there, and has more. And oh yeah, NYCC named John Romita Sr. and John Romita Sr. its 2010 Keystone Guests of Honor during the festivities.
Hilton’s run on New Avengers begins with January’s issue #61.*
* NOT TRUE
(pic via @CBCebulski)
“We’ve put A LOT of thought into our talent discovery and hiring processes recently. We WANT to find more talent. It’s in our best interest.” These are the words of C.B. Cebulski, talent scout and liaison for Marvel Comics. If you aren’t familiar with C.B., he’s one of the key people today actively searching for artists to join the big leagues of the comic book industry.
Having come from the manga and anime worlds, C.B. arrived at the doors of Marvel to create the Marvel Mangaverse line. It was there that he started fostering new creators for the House of Ideas. In addition, C.B. is a creative talent himself, having written the recent Marvel sellout X-Infernus, and his creator-owned Wanderlust with Image Comics. Next up for him is War of Kings: Darkhawk.
Possessing one of the sharpest eyes for talent in the industry, C.B. is known for being generous with his time and advice. “There were lots of people who helped me get to where I am today in comics and I am only happy to return the favor,” he says.
To that end, he has been using his Twitter account to post pointers for comic book hopefuls, distilled into zen-like chunks of 140 characters or less. If you haven’t been following along, grasshopper, you should start immediately!
We’ve collected some of these indispensable koans of wisdom for your guidance. Call it The Tao of Breaking Into Comics, According to C.B. Cebulski.