Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo
Marvel released a teaser this morning touting a reunion of The Immortal Iron Fist collaborators Matt Fraction and David Aja for an all-new ongoing series. Alas, we’ll have to wait to wait until April 14 “Cup O’Joe” panel at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo to learn the details. Until then, we’ll just have to busy ourselves with wild speculation based on the above teaser …
Graphic novels | Metro, the graphic novel by Egyptian cartoonist Magdy El Shafee that was banned in 2009 under Hosni Mubarak’s regime, will be published in English next year by Metropolitan, a division of Macmillan. El Shafee who, along with his publisher Mohammed al Sharqawi was convicted of disturbing public morals, has appealed to Egypt’s new Ministry of Culture to have the ban lifted. “I’m waiting to hear if the minister of culture will allow it to be published again,” El Shafee says. “They will have to consult with the courts. I’m hoping there may be some kind of apology.” [CNN.com]
Legal | In an article that’s heavy on background and light on new information, Matthew Beloni reports that the attorney representing the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster has asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine exactly what elements from the Man of Steel’s mythology his clients can reclaim as a result of the 2008 court ruling. [THR, Esq.]
Retailing | Barnes & Noble stock fell 16 cents following a report that bookstore chain, the largest in the United States, will likely end its months-long search for a buyer. Although the auction isn’t over, initial interest from at least seven potential buyers is said to have waned following the first round of bidding. [Bloomberg]
Conventions | Early estimates place attendance three-day attendance at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at 34,000, up from 27,500 at last year’s inaugural event. “Last year was disappointing,” said Eric Thornton, manager of Chicago Comics. “But now you definitely see this starting to take hold.” [Chicago Tribune]
Retailing | Borders Group has announced it will close an additional 28 stores, bringing the total to 228. The bookseller, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 16, had used the possibility of as many as 75 closings as leverage to negotiate lease concessions. This latest wave will bring the chain’s remaining store total to about 400. [Media Decoder]
Publishers | Chicago-based publisher Archaia, which expects sales of $11 million this year, has raised capital from a group of investors with local connections. [Crain's Chicago Business, via ICv2.com]
My big question heading into the show this year was, “How much is it going to feel like a comics convention?” With Chris “Thor” Hemsworth and much of the cast of Chuck being around this weekend, would C2E2 start to feel like San Diego or – God forbid – Wizard World Chicago from a couple of years ago with movies and TV taking over the center of attention?
It’s only Friday, but so far so really damn good.
After last year’s C2E2, I had high expectations for the convention this year and everything got off to a great start. Press registration went smoothly again and some of the Artist Alley creators who hadn’t attended last year told me how impressed they were with the professionalism and just general niceness of the staff they’d worked with.
One major difference though is that the convention’s in a different part of McCormick Place this year. Instead of the impressive Lakeside Center with it’s unbelievable view of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, it’s in the West Building. Still a very nice space with lush carpeting and plenty of room, just not as jaw-droppingly grand as last year. I’m not sure why that is, but one artist brought it to my attention that the setting sun through the giant picture-windows last year could sometimes make it difficult to see and interact with fans. So whatever the rationale for moving, there are positive and negative things about both spaces.
Debuting in April 2010 on the heels of The Flash: Rebirth, the relaunched title teamed writer Geoff Johns with artist Francis Manapul, re-established Barry Allen as the Fastest Man Alive and built toward Flashpoint. So perhaps it was inevitable that the series would end as DC’s big Flash-centric event gears up.
The solicitation text gives little clue as to what to expect from the finale — other than it’s probably not good for Barry: “‘The Road to Flashpoint’ concludes as everything Barry Allen knows and cares about is lost. What is the Flashpoint? Find out in the upcoming Flashpoint #1!”
The Flash #12 arrives in stores on May 11, the same day as Flashpoint #1.
Expect more details to emerge this weekend from Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Dark Horse has announced it will offer a first look at its somewhat-delayed digital comics app this weekend during the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Announced in October at New York Comic Con, the planned January launch of the publisher’s digital comics program was put on hold because because of Apple’s stricter enforcement of a prohibition on in-app purchases outside the iTunes store (something Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson confirmed earlier this month).
But now the beta version of the app is ready to be shown off at booth #601, with Dark Horse staff on hand for demonstrations, to answer questions and allow fans to take it for a test run.
Check out the official press release after the break.
This week we got news over the transom of two new comic series set on the red planet of Mars. One is a sequel to a series from a year or so back, and the other is a webcomics collection.
The Martian Confederacy: From Mars, With Love follows up on the 2008 first volume by Jason McNamara and Paige Braddock, and this new volume takes the rogues on what the writer describes as “a romantic comedy involving child slave labor” (that’s a joke). These two cosmic confederates get news of child kidnappings to supply an underground workforce, and they’re on the hunt for the secret and the salvation of these children — while trying to keep things professional between each other. Robot 6 ran a preview of the book last fall, and the writer & artist did a back-and-forth with us back in January.
The sci-fi webcomic Free Mars is getting a print collection this week, in time for a debut at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. Free Mars is set in the far-flung 24th century and features a garage band that gets caught up in a grass roots revolution on Mars. Described by the authors as a “space rock opera,” Free Mars mixes sci-fi with six strings and has some great art to boot. This slimline compilation collects the first two chapters of this online story, as well as extras including a foreword by cosmic comics vet Dan Abnett.
Jim McLaughlin at The Hero Initiative let us know about a unique new addition to the nonprofit organization’s upcoming “100 New Avengers” project: a custom New Avengers bottle, graced with a bevy of original art from the talented hands of some of comics’ biggest talent. The bottle, seen at right, will debut next week at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo — along with all 100 of the New Avengers covers created for the project.
At current count there are six artists’ contributions on the bottle, with more planned by the time of its official premiere. Admission into the debut event at C2E2 not only gets you in the event — duh! — but also a free raffle ticket for a chance to win the bottle.
Head over to The Hero Intiative’s blog for more information and to see more shots of the bottle.
As a huge fan of artist Cliff Chiang, here’s something I’d be all over — if I were attending next week’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo and if I weren’t, y’know, deathly terrified of needles. It’s an eBay auction for a custom tattoo by Chang and tattoo artist Brian Stringer. Proceeds benefit The Hero Initiative, so it’s win-win!
The above art, which accompanies the auction listing, would make a fantastic tattoo. But here’s the thing: The winner can have Chang draw the character or subject of his or her choice (with a few caveats, I imagine) in advance of the show. The tattoo will be in black and gray; any color is at the tattooer’s discretion. Oh, and no face or neck tattoos. Visit the eBay listing for more details — and to bid, of course. The auction ends on March 16.