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Comics A.M. | Bring your ID to SDCC; artist turned away at border

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Heidi MacDonald reports that the organizers of San Diego Comic Con are tightening up on badges with measures that include matching the name on the badge to the user’s ID to prevent counterfeiting and illegal resale. Amusingly, you don’t have to go too far down the comment thread to see someone blaming Twilight fans. [The Beat]

Legal | Canadian artist Craig Wilson didn’t make it to this weekend’s Phoenix Comicon because U.S. Customs and Border Protection turned him away, saying he needed a work permit to sell comics at his Artist Alley table. Not only that, Wilson was also thumb printed and his car was searched. He said the customs agents even sent a notice to the other border crossings in case he tried to enter the country somewhere else. “I’m paying my own table at the con, hotel, meals, drinks …” Wilson said. “I was going to inject close to $2000.00 dollars into the very economy I was supposedly threatening.” [boardguy]

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Comics A.M. | Phoenix Comicon kicks off; Daniel Clowes talks digital

Phoenix Comicon

Conventions | Phoenix Comicon kicks off today, drawing an anticipated 35,000 to 40,000 attendees to the Phoenix (Arizona) Convention Center. Comics guests include Brett Booth, Jim Cheung, Garth Ennis, David Finch, Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen, Andy Kuhn, Francis Manapul, David Lapham, Bob Layton, Dan Parent, George Perez, Billy Tucci and Ethan Van Sciver. [Modern Times Magazine, Fox 10 News]

Publishing | What does it mean to be an imprint of a larger publisher? For those who are interested in how the sausages are made, Gina Gagliano explains the relationship between First Second Books and parent company Macmillan. [First Second Books]

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Check out a preview of Chip Kidd’s new Batman graphic novel

The sci-fi site io9.com has a sneak peek at Chip Kidd’s new graphic novel Batman: Death by Design, which focuses on Batman’s relationship to the physical structures of Gotham City. 2000AD artist Dave Taylor illustrates the story, which involves a series of construction-site mishaps that occur during Gotham City’s building boom. Says Kidd:

I started thinking about living and working in New York, and one of the great tragedies was the destruction of the original Pennsylvania Station in 1963, because it was a beautiful building needlessly torn down. As somebody who has to use the modern Penn Station, it’s a horrible, stifling thing, after they threw it in the basement of Madison Square Garden. And there were these Manhattan crane collapses in the spring of 2008. I thought, “How could these two things possibly be related?” Batman is very much about architecture, as he uses the buildings as transportation and defense. Great Batman stories always incorporate architecture in some way, but I hadn’t seen a story that particularly dealt with that.

I can’t agree more about Penn Station, and it’s interesting that Kidd picks up on something we are all aware of and makes it explicit. Check out one of the pages below, and more at i09. The book is due out May 30.

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Food or Comics? | Dark Horse preserves

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

West Coast Avengers: Lost in Space-Time

Graeme McMillan

It’s not even a fifth week, but I find myself curiously distanced from this week’s releases for some reason. Outside of some books I’ve been reading for awhile, there’s little to really catch my eye, so if I had $15, I’d likely find myself buying Dark Horse Presents #10 (Dark Horse, $7.99) and Memorial #4 (IDW, $3.99), and being quite happy with those two books.

If I had $30, I might go back to Justice League with #7 (DC, $3.99); I wasn’t entirely convinced by the opening arc, but I found myself enjoying the Pandora back-up in #6 enough that I found myself more curious about sticking around than I would’ve expected. I’d also grab Legion of Super-Heroes #7 (DC, $2.99), another book I’ve found myself liking more than I initially thought, as well as Thunderbolts #171 (Marvel, $2.99) for one of the few, final times before it becomes a part of the Avengers family.

Splurging, oddly, is a much easier choice for me than what I’d get in single issues: Avengers: West Coast Avengers – Lost In Space-Time (Marvel, $34.99) collects some of the first issues of West Coast Avengers that I read way back when, launching a love affair with Steve Englehart’s writing that continues to this day. Those original issues are long since lost to history (Somewhat fittingly, considering the time travel subject matter), so this will be a welcome nostalgia trip for me.

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Previews: What Looks Good for March

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.

One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.

Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Abrams Comicarts

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]

Abstract Studios

Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]

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Grumpy Old Fan | A full bracket for DC’s March solicits

OMAC #7

Since the March solicitations kick off the back half of the New 52’s first year, it’s probably worth noting that the whole line remains unchanged: no “midseason replacements” like Justice Society, but no cancellations either. If I hear relieved sighs from OMAC and Men of War, certainly Dan DiDio and Jim Lee have to be pleased generally that they’ve gotten this far with the 52 intact.

Well, pleased or stubborn, I suppose. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Ahem.  Away we go…!

HISTORY LESSONS

One of my pet peeves about the New-52 is the sense that it lacks a meaningful “history.” For at least the last few decades, a reader might not have known exactly what had happened or when, but s/he could tell that these characters hadn’t just fallen off the turnip truck. I say this because the solicits for Justice League #7 and Flash #7 both allude to their books’ untold backstories. With Justice League, we’ll learn about membership turnover and other details of the five years between the League’s debut and today. (To be sure, some of that has already been alluded to in the League’s previous present-day appearances, like JL Dark #1.)

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Jack Davis, Phoebe Gloeckner, David Mazzucchelli, Chip Kidd headline BCGF

The featured guests for the third annual Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival have been announced, and whoo boy, it’s quite a line-up. And it runs the gamut, too: MAD Magazine legend Jack Davis, book-design kingpin Chip Kidd, The Diary of a Teenage Girl author Phoebe Gloeckner, Asterios Polyp/Batman Year One artist David Mazzucchelli, Providence artcomix vets CF and Brian Ralph, grossout-humor queen Lisa Hanawalt, and minicomics patriarch John Porcellino. An opportunity to encounter Gloeckner live and in person is not to be squandered, folks, and that’s just for starters.

Organized by publisher PictureBox Inc., retailer Desert Island, and scholar Bill Kartalopoulos, this year’s BCGF will take place on Saturday, December 3 from noon to nine at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with programming hosted at the nearby Union Pool. If the last two years are any indication, it’s the alternative comics show to beat.

(via Tom Spurgeon)

NYCC hangover | A round-up of additional news from the show

Age of Apocalypse

News and reports from the New York Comic Con rolled out even after the lights were turned off on Sunday; here are a few of them, as well as some tidbits we missed the first time around:

• Marvel announced an ongoing Age of Apocalypse series by David Lapham and Roberto De La Torre, spinning out of the current “Dark Angel Saga” storyline in Uncanny X-Force. [CBR]

• Designer Chip Kidd is writing a Batman book called Batman: Death by Design with art by Dave Taylor. It’s due out next summer. [ComicsAlliance]

• USA Today spotlighted Captain Brooklyn, due next May from Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Tieri and Amanda Conner. The three-issue miniseries will be published by Image Comics. [USA Today]

• Following the convention, Marvel has released pages from the Prep & Landing story that will appear in a few of their upcoming November comics. [CBR]

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SDCC Wishlist | Skullkickers, panties and more

Skullkickers

The San Diego Comic-Con runs kicks off with a preview night on July 20, then runs July 21-24. If you are a comics creator or publisher, and you’re planning to bring something new to the con — a sketchbook, a print, a graphic novel debut, anything! — then we want to hear from you. Drop me an email and let me know if you’ll have something cool on hand that attendees should know about. Feel free to send any artwork as well.

This time around we have panties from Pantheon (seriously), more Mimoco, word of an announcement by Dark Horse, plans for Viz and Arcana, several Hasbro exclusives and more. So let’s get to it …

Skullkickers creators Jim Zubkavich and Edwin Huang will be at the Image Comics booth #2729, selling hardcovers of the first volume of Skullkickers with an SDCC-exclusive cover. You can find more details here.

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Bat-mystery solved! Bruce Wayne is a Yale graduate!

From Batman #93, "Batman's College Days"

Apparently unsatisfied with such alumni as Presidents Ford, Bush, Clinton and Bush, Secretary of State Clinton, several Supreme Court justices and senators, and holographic doctor Robert Picardo, Yale University has laid claim to one more distinguished graduate: billionaire playboy-philanthropist Bruce Wayne.

To make the case for the (secretly) Dark Knight as a Yalie, the Yale Alumni Magazine turned to author, designer and Batman devotee Chip Kidd, who turned to … the 1960s Batman television series. Specifically Episode 33, in which Aunt Harriet reveals that Bruce’s grandfather actually founded the secret society Skull and Bones.

“This is a rather neat conceit when you think about it,” Kidd writes in the magazine’s March/April issue. “The implication is that it’s in the nature of the Wayne men to create a unique identity for themselves that is both public and yet fiercely private. For what is ‘Batman and Robin’ but the ultimate secret society, with only two members?”

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What Are You Reading?

Saturn Apartments

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. Our special guest today is Faith Erin Hicks, creator of the graphic novels Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere and the upcoming Friends with Boys. She also drew the recent First Second release Brain Camp and has a comic strip in her local weekly newspaper The Coast called The Adventures of Superhero Girl.

To see what Faith and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Rocketship

Rocketship

Retailing | Well-regarded Brooklyn retailer Rocketship, whose owners confirmed just last week had closed after five years, apparently has reopened. However, it’s unclear whether that’s only temporary.

An update posted yesterday on the store’s blog reads: “Rocketship is currently open again for business. We apologize for any inconvenience over the past few weeks.” C0-owner Alex Cox had attributed the closing primarily to the end of the store’s five-year lease: “Five years went by fast, and my partner and I are suddenly making some large life decisions about what comes next. We love the shop, and as fun as it is, we have to figure out what makes sense for us on a practical level.” Cox posted yesterday on Twitter that, “Rocketship is back open for a bit; vacation is over, time to sell some books!.” [Rocketship]

Retailing | Gary Warth spotlights local comic-store owners about Comic-Con International, from the first-time exhibitors to the veterans — some of whom don’t view the event as a moneymaker. “All I ever did was just make enough to pay for next year,” said former retailer Tom Piper. [...] At the ‘Con,’ there was so much competition. I did the best I could.” [North County Times]

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

I’m filling in for Kevin on our daily roundup of news items, so my apologies for the lateness and any dip in quality in today’s edition. –JK

Angouleme

Angouleme

Conventions | The 36th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival starts today in France, running through Jan. 31. NBM’s Terry Nantier is on the ground and blogging from it, while Bart Beaty has kicked off his usual thorough coverage at the Comics Reporter. [Angoulême International Comics Festival]

Legal | An Australian man has pleaded guilty to downloading “graphic cartoon porn images” featuring child characters from The Simpsons, The Powerpuff Girls and The Incredibles. Kurt James Milner, 28, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, but it was “wholly suspended” for five years.

“The 28-year-old is now a registered sex offender and will have to report to police after pleading guilty in Ipswich District Court to having the bizarre images on his computer,” the Queensland Times reports. [Queensland Times]

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SDCC ’09 | Don’t miss limited-edition promo prints for Rough Justice

Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

Designer, author and editor Chip Kidd writes that although he doesn’t have any official panels or signings, he will be at Comic-Con — specifically, at the Random House/Del Rey booth at noon on Thursday and Friday, and the Alex Ross Art booth at noon on Saturday.

If you’re lucky, you may snag one of the “extremely limited number” of promotional prints for Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross, edited by Kidd. “Supplies are very limited and once they’re gone, they’re gone,” Kidd cautions.

The 256-page hardcover will be released in March 2010 by Pantheon.


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