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Morgan Spurlock has written a book and made a movie about San Diego Comic-Con. Spurlock got full access to Comic-Con to film Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope and sent photographers Aba Tulle and Peter McCabe out to document the celebrities and the fans forthe lushly illustrated companion volume from DK Publishing. The book will be available, appropriately enough, on Preview Night, at the Sideshow Collectibles booth.
The way the whole thing came together is classic San Diego, and illustrates why people bother to make the trek, despite the hassles involved. It all started when Spurlock went to the 2009 Comic-Con to film a Simpsons special and ended up meeting Stan Lee.
Spurlock said, “I went to kiss his ring and tell him that when I was a kid, he changed my life and made me realize that I could tell all the different kinds of weird adventure stories that were in my head.”
“Stan Lee says to me that we should make a documentary together and it should be about Comic-Con,” Spurlock said. At the same party, Spurlock said he ran into his agent, Robert Michelli from CAA. “I told him I want to make a movie about Comic-Con and he tells me I should meet another client of his—Joss Whedon!”
You get a bunch of creative types into the same room and that’s what you end up with. The film was made at the 2010 Comic-Con and features creators like Moto Hagio and Frank Miller as well as movie stars and assorted other celebs. Spurlock said that announcements about screenings will be coming very soon.
Kevin is out sick today, so I’m filling in on Comics A.M. … apologies for the lateness.
Publishers | Viz Senior Vice President and General Manager Alvin Lu discusses the state of the company after the layoffs that occurred in May, as well as the overall manga market. “We continue to get great support from our retail partners. They do see that these very popular series continue to do well. They are getting up there in the 40s and 50s of the volume count, and there is the challenge of bringing in newer readers, to catch them up. I was looking though a calendar from several years ago when we were looking at Bleach Vol. 5 or something. That is a conversation we’ve been having with the bookstores, and they’re being very responsive on how to work with us, to continue to drive the category. They’ve been very supportive of helping us launch new series as well. So it’s a balancing act of getting the space to launch new series while nurturing the more mature series that continue to enjoy a loyal readership.” [ICv2]
Events | Brian Heater from the Daily Cross Hatch and Sarah Morean from Blog Chicka Blog Blog have declared Aug. 28 “International Read Comics in Public” Day. They’ve started a blog that features, as you might guess, people reading comics in public. [Daily Cross Hatch]
To OGN or not to OGN, that is the question that’s been raised by panel reports from San Diego that suggest DC may have changed their plans for their Earth One graphic novel series — something that DC said isn’t the case.
Back in December, DC announced a new series of Earth One original graphic novels featuring Superman and Batman set “on a new earth with an all-new continuity.” During the Superman: The Man of Tomorrow panel at Comic-Con International last month, someone asked J. Michael Straczynski about the future of these graphic novels. Straczynski is the writer of the first one being released this November, which features the story of a young Superman.
“The last question went to Straczynski,” CBR’s panel report by Kevin Mahadeo reads. “The fan asked whether the writer plans on continuing the ‘Earth One’ stories. The writer revealed that the hardcover release will be followed up with single issues, which will later be collected.”
Although panel reports on both Comic Book Resources and Newsarama were published during the show, it wasn’t until this past Sunday that people really started to take notice of that sentence — Kevin Huxford, Johanna Draper Carlson, Heidi MacDonald and Augie De Blieck Jr. have all posted about it this week.
Dylan Meconis went to San Diego Comic-Con, and she took notes. Meconis, the creator of the Family Man and Bite Me, posted her con sketchbook to Flickr, and her sharp observations, fluid line, and stable of interesting friends make this a fascinating souvenir. (Via Comics Worth Reading.)
SEGA has released the teaser trailer that debuted at Comic-Con last week (Last week? It feels like I was there months ago) for the Thor video game:
Coming next year to the Xbox 360, PlayStation3, PSP system, Wii and Nintendo DS, this third person action adventure features an original storyline exclusive to the videogame, for which writer Matt Fraction served as story consultant.
Of course, that isn’t Thor’s only upcoming video game appearance … he’ll also be a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as learned at Comic-Con as well. You can check him out in that after the jump.
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.
Over on the CBR mothership, Sonia Harris has an extensive and art-heavy report on Top Shelf Productions’ panel at the San Diego Comic-Con. In addition to a look back at a fairly momentous year for the independent publisher — from Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole Eisner win to the release of the film adaptation of The Surrogates to the company’s “Swedish Invasion” initiative — the panel covered a plethora of upcoming releases, including the much-anticipated alternative-manga anthology AX, Kagan McLeod’s webcomic collection Infinite Kung Fu, and more. Here on Robot 6, of course, we covered the ‘Shelf out of the TS line-up, from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlement Vol. III: Century #2 -1969 on down.
DC Comics and Converse have teamed up to create a line of shoes featuring Batman, Superman and Green Lantern. The shoes debuted over the weekend and could be found on the feet of the crew working the DC booth at Comic-Con International.
“Part of a promotional effort with our friends at Converse, the shoes merge two of my favorite things — a pair of snazzy Chuck Taylor’s and comics,” said Alex Segura, who runs DC’s The Source blog. “Don’t take my word for it, though. Our very own James Robinson was among the creators showing off his new kicks at a signing hosted by Converse at the Horton Plaza Journeys store in San Diego yesterday.”
The shoes are available at any Journeys store or online.
A quick round-up of Comic-Con updates, additional announcements and interesting links:
• Warner Bros. Animation officially announced a DC Universe Original Movie based on All-Star Superman, the award-winning series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. The direct-to-DVD animated feature, set for release in spring 2011, is written by Dwayne McDuffie, who calls the series “one of the greatest stories in comic book history.”
• ICv2.com has additional details about one of the more interesting announcements from the convention, Fantagraphics’ partnership with Disney to publish the complete Mickey Mouse comic strips by Floyd Gottfredson. The collections will be released beginning in May at a rate of two volumes a year. They will retail for $29.99.
• Tom Spurgeon rounds up the selections from the Thursday panel “The Best and Worst of Manga 2010.”
• I enjoyed Todd VanDerWerff’s coverage of Comic-Con for The A.V. Club, including his visit to Artists’ Alley, and this broader post in which he questions whether the convention is “worth serious news coverage.”
• In the midst of Comic-Con, the Los Angeles Times rolled out a look at digital comics and their potential impact on the industry. “Comic book stores have a very close relationship with their customers,” says author and critic Douglas Wolk. “But the old-school collectors are aging, and it may be that the print comic goes away eventually. There is an entire generation of readers who is not interested in physical copies.”
• Grant Morrison chats briefly with IGN.com about his newly announced series Batman Inc.
• Is it just me, or are the round-ups of convention “winners and losers” pretty much meaningless? I’m sure Snakes on a Plane was declared a “winner” of whichever Comic-Con it was promoted — 2006, maybe? — and we all know how that played out.
Announcements slowed down on Sunday at Comic-Con International, and apparently so have I. So let’s get to it …
• Marvel announced that Dan Slott will be the sole writer on Amazing Spider-Man, as the “Brand New Day” storyline comes to a close. He’ll work with artists Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin and Stefano Caselli on the series. The book will ship twice a month.
• At that same panel, Marvel announced the creative team on the new Spider-Girl series teased in recently in Previews will be Paul Tobin and Clayton Henry. They also announced a new Carnage miniseries by Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain, as well as an Osborn miniseries by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios about Norman Osborn’s time in prison.
Helmets for Thor, Loki, and Odin? Sure. Captain America’s shield (see below)? Stands to reason. After all, these are key props from Marvel’s next two potential blockbuster movies, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. But at Marvel’s booth at the San Diego Comic-Con today, the Infinity Gauntlet was reavealed in all its giant-sized glory. And now, let the speculation commence …
(via Agent M)
IDW Publishing announced yesterday that John Byrne’s Next Men will return with new stories in December.
“When John started working for us three or four years ago, two things happened, and have been happening pretty much every month since then,” said IDW’s CCO/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall. “I’ve been asking John about doing new Next Men comics, and fans have been e-mailing me demanding that we do new Next Men stories. Happily, after all this time, John is going to quiet us all down and do just that.”
Debuting in 1991, Byrne’s Next Men originally ran for thirty issues and a standalone prequel graphic novel, 2112. Next Men ceased publication in 1995 and left fans with a cliffhanger at the end of issue 30.
IDW has previously collected the existing Next Men material, in two black and white “Compleat” volumes and oversized Premiere Edition hardcovers, the third volume of which will be available in stores in September.
“Frank Castle is under the roof of Marvel Studios now and we hope to bring him into the fray shortly.” As our sister site Spinoff is reporting, that’s what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced to the crowd during the Marvel movie panel at the San Diego Comic-Con last night. This appears to mean the Punisher is now as much a potential part of the Marvel “Cinematic Universe” as Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, and the rest of the Avengers gang.
Previously, film rights to the Punisher had belonged to Lionsgate, which made two Punisher movies — 2004’s The Punisher, starring Thomas Jane, and 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, starring Ray Stevenson. The latter film was the source of much behind-the-scenes controversy, with Jane departing the franchise and rumors of strife with director Lexi Alexander. Like the Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Blade, and Daredevil films, Lionsgates’ Punisher movies were made outside of the control of Marvel proper. (As was, of course, the infamous Roger Corman-produced, Dolph Lundgren-starring version from 1989.)
Feige’s brief statement appears to be the only info about the Punisher making his Marvel that’s out there, so it remains to be seen exactly how and when he’ll join the fray.
With the Green Lantern film in production and a panel in San Diego yesterday to promote it, Warner Bros. also brought out the dead to get fans excited. Abin Sur might not have survived the crash that brought him to Earth, but that doesn’t mean he has to miss Comic-Con. Take a look at pictures of Hal Jordan’s predecessor after the jump.
Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, once upon a time, was “big movie day” at the con … back before every day became big movie day at the con. Still, today somewhat lived up to its reputation for being eventful, as the Avengers assembled on stage, Green Lantern movie footage was shown and one poor fan was stabbed in the eye while attending programming in Hall H, where several of the big movie panels took place. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center, while his attacker was taken away by police after attendees detained him.
In happier news, here’s what was announced on the comics front:
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada confirmed that Marvel is “gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff.” CrossGen, which published numerous titles like Sojourn, Way of the Rat, Abadazad and Meridian starting 1998, went bankrupt in 2004. Disney bought their assets that same year.
Their titles covered many different genres, from fantasy to horror to detective stories. “I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint,” Quesada said. No word yet on what properties they plan to bring back.
• Kurt Busiek announced that American Gothic, the urban fantasy comic announced at last year’s WildStorm panel, will now be called Witchlands. The series will be drawn by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know, which will include illustrations by Carlos Pacheco.