"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Fans of John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Image Comics series “Chew” have successfully backed a Kickstarter campaign for a Tony Chu mini-bust — and there’s still time for more.
Designed by Guillory and Israel Skelton and sculpted by Derek Hallett, the mini-bust stands over seven inches tall and features Tony emerging from a can of beets with his gun drawn, ready for FDA action.
Crime | Artist and collector Jim Wheelock talks about the loss of his comics collection, which was stolen from a storage unit in Brattleboro, Vermont: “I remember where I was and what I was doing when I bought or read many of [the comic books]. Later, when I worked in the financially rickety world of a freelance artist, knowing the books were in Vermont gave me a sense of security, a retirement nest egg. This is what the culprit robbed me of.” Vermont-based cartoonists James Kochalka and Harry Bliss weigh in on what such a loss would mean. Wheelock’s thousands of comics included extensive runs of The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four, in some cases beginning from the first issues. [Seven Days]
Announced only in broad strokes last spring, the fast-paced card game is designed by Kevin Wilson (Descent, X-Files, Arkham Horror), with art by Guillory and text by Layman. Players compete to close cased taken from the page of the comic series, enlisting help from Chew characters like John Colby, Amelia Minz and Buttercup the lion while using villains to sabotage their rivals.
As added incentive, preordered copies of the game will include an exclusive variant edition of Chew #1, featuring Guillory’s homage to Dogs Playing Poker used for the packaging, as well as 20 pink CHOG plastic minis that will change color in future printings.
IDW Games was launched in October 2013 through a partnership between IDW Publishing and tabletop games publisher Pandasaurus Games, with 30 Days of Night and Kill Shakespeare announced as the first projects.
Analysis | Rob Salkowitz kicks off the new year with big-picture questions about “geek culture”: With the popularity of comics-based movies, will continuity and nostalgia become less important? And will comics themselves become less important? “Putting out comics is a relatively costly and troublesome process with limited revenue potential relative to other ways of exploiting the intellectual property. A fan base that buys licensed merchandise and watches entertainment programming without needing a monthly fix of new art and story is probably considered a feature of the new comics economy, not a bug.” [ICv2]
Creators | Chew artist Rob Guillory, who will appear this weekend at Wizard World New Orleans, talks about the strange comics that he read as a kid (The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man) and the unexpected success of Chew, which will end next year with its 60th issue: “In the beginning, John and I were kind of like, ‘Well, best-case scenario, we can go 60 issues. Worst-case scenario, we can do five and go our separate ways and never speak again.’ I don’t know if we’ve seen the peak of our reception. I don’t think we’ll see how popular we’ve been until it’s over. When it’s wrapped and it’s the complete thing, I think people will start missing us.” [Best of New Orleans]
Conventions | Organizers of the growing Asbury Park Comicon have announced that, after three years, they’re relocating the New Jersey convention to the Meadowlands Exhibition Center in Secaucus and renaming it East Coast Comicon. Founders Cliff Galbraith and Robert Bruce say the nearly 40-mile move was triggered by a sharp increase in rates at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, but the hotel’s manager thinks it’s because the venue couldn’t accommodate the dates requested by organizers. The inaugural East Coast Comicon will be held April 11-12, 2015. [Asbury Park Press]
Passings | Amadee Wohlschlaeger, who drew the comic strip Weatherbird for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 70 years, has died at age 102. Weatherbird, which debuted in 1901, is the oldest continuously published comic in the United States, and Wohlschlaeger (who went by just his first name) is one of just four cartoonists to draw it. He was named one of the top 10 sports cartoonists in the country, and his drawing of Stan Musial inspired the statue at Busch Stadium. [KSDK]
Adding to a roster that already includes Kill Shakespeare, 30 Days of Night and The X-Files, IDW Games unveiled plans Sunday at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas for a line of tabletop games based on Chew.
According to ICv2.com, creators John Layman and Rob Guillory will be involved in the development of board, dice and card games, set to debut in early 2015.
Published by Image Comics, Chew tells the story of special agent Tony Chu, a cibopath — he can see the life and eventual death of anything he eats — who lives in a world where poultry is outlawed in the wake of a sweeping bird flu pandemic. An animated adaptation, starring Steve Yeun and Felicia Day, was announced last month.
IDW Games was launched in October through a partnership between IDW Publishing and tabletop games publisher Pandasaurus Games, with 30 Days of Night and Kill Shakespeare announced as the first projects. The agreement was expanded in February to include the re-release of of Pandasaurus games like Tammany Hall, Rattus Cartus and Yedo.
Two years after the release of Secret Agent Poyo, a one-shot starring the cybernetic kung-fu rooster from Chew, Image Comics promises another spinoff that will put that one to shame: Warrior Chicken Poyo, again by the Chew team of John Layman and Rob Guillory.
“Secret Agent Poyo was the most important comic ever published by Image, in addition to being the best comic book ever published in the entire history of humanity,” Layman, never one for hyperbole, said in a statement. “And Warrior Chicken Poyo is SO good, it will make Secret Agent Poyo look like rancid, smelly garbage! THAT’S how good it’s going to be! Warrior Chicken Poyo will change comics forever, as well as the life of anybody who reads it.”
While Secret Agent Poyo put a James Bond slant on the world of Chew, Warrior Chicken Poyo is described as high fantasy — “The Lord of the Rings, Conan, and with a dash of The Wizard of Oz thrown in.”
Priced at $3.50, the 36-page comic includes a pinup gallery by a host of artists. Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 arrives July 9.
Retailing | Hastings Entertainment, which operates a chain of 149 stores that sells books, comics, video games and more, has announced a $21.4 million agreement to merge with two companies owned by Joel Weinshanker, president and sole shareholder of Wizkids parent National Entertainment Collectibles Association; Weinshanker already holds 12 percent of Hastings’ outstanding shares.
“NECA is a significant supplier of movie, book and video game merchandise and collectibles to the Hastings superstores, and we’ve had a close and growing business relationship with Mr. Weinshanker over the last decade,” John H. Marmaduke, Hastings’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Mr. Weinshanker, through his affiliation with the estates of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali, and his company’s management of Graceland, is one of the leading drivers of the lifestyle industry, and we believe Hastings’ business will continue to benefit from our relationship with him and NECA.” Marmaduke will retire with a $1.5 million cash payout once the merger is approved. The announcement was followed by press releases from two New York City law firms that say they’re investigating the plan on behalf of Hastings shareholders. [press release]
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
I should add that this post contains SPOILERS for Batman #28 and All-New X-Men #23, so read at your own risk. Now let’s get to it …
Controversy | Zainab Akhtar has a good roundup of the SodaStream controversy: A number of internationally known creators have protested SodaStream’s sponsorship of the Angoulême International Comics Festival because the soft-drink manufacturer has a factory in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. “All of Israel’s settlements in the Occupied West Bank are illegal under international law, and SodaStream’s factory in specific was build on land seized from several Palestinian villages in what is regarded as the largest single act of expropriation by the Israeli government in its 47-year long military occupation of the West Bank,” the organizers of the protest said in a statement. A number of artists, including Jacques Tardi (whose work was celebrated in a special exhibit at the show) have signed an open letter to festival organizer Frank Bondoux, asking him to end the relationship with SodaStream. Tardi also issued a statement saying he felt that he had been “taken hostage,” as he did not know about the sponsorship until the festival began. [Comics and Cola]
Retailing | Fans of the Fall River, Massachusetts, retailer StillPoint Comics, Cards & Games kicked in $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to keep the store in business. The shop, which opened in 1997, had to close for 10 days last month after its power was shut off. [The Herald News]
Publishing | Following confirmation last month of a Space Mountain graphic novel series, Heidi MacDonald talks with executives from Disney Publishing Worldwide about the expansion of the new Disney Comics imprint. [Publishers Weekly]
Events | Sean Kleefeld reports on Day 1 of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio. [Kleefeld on Comics]
Welcome to Shelf Porn, your weekly look at a fan’s set-up. Today’s shelves come from Dan in the UK, who shows us his comics, original art and more.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here on Shelf Porn, check out the submission instructions.
And now here’s Dan …
With New York Comic Con fast approaching, Image Comics has announced convention-exclusive merchandise and debuts for The Walking Dead and other titles, including Chew, East of West, Lazarus and Three. All items will be available at the Image Comics and Walking Dead booth (#1444).
New York Comic Con will be held Oct. 10-13 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.
Passings | French cartoonist Theodor Friedrich Otto Aristidès, aka Fred, passed away Tuesday in a Paris hospital at age 82. He was best known for Philémon, his surrealistic comic about a French farm boy who fell down a well into a fantasy world akin to Wonderland. Fred was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême in 1980, and had been the oldest living recipient. [L’Observateu de Beauvais]
Creators | John Layman, who’s writing the 900th issue of Detective Comics (No. 19 in the New 52 continuity) talks about his plans for that and his creator-owned series Chew, and contrasts the two: “Well, the cases are weirder in Chew. There is an element that’s the same – you introduce a conflict, and then you have a detective with a certain skill set resolving it. … Batman’s just happen to be gadgets and fists. I guess if there’s a formula in the skeletal layer, it’s probably the same.” [Hero Complex]
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]