Publishing | Four months in, the DC Comics relaunch seems to be a success. The most recent sales figures show Justice League #1 selling more than 360,000 copies since August, and Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 selling more than 250,000. By contrast, Marvel’s strongest seller was Ultimate Spider-Man #160, which was in the 160,000-copy neighborhood. These figures seem to reflect sales in the direct market only; it would be interesting to see how many digital copies have been sold. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Awards | Nominations are open for this year’s Eagle Awards. [Eagle Awards]
Retailing | San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs shares the top-selling graphic novels in his store for 2011, by units and by dollars. [Savage Critics]
Retailing | Christopher Butcher looks back on the events of the past year in the comics store he manages, Toronto’s The Beguiling. [The Beguiling blog]
A couple of weeks ago, I got to thinking about the holidays and comics. More exactly, I started wondering what some creators might say if i asked them for their favorite comics-related memory. As I got into contact with some creators, they did not have a favorite story per se, but those recollections were definitely memorable. Bottom line, these storytellers not surprisingly had some great stories to share. My holiday memory is an odd one, as a kid in the 1970s reading the Doonesbury comic strip where Rev. Scott Sloan had opening remarks before the Christmas pageant, where he noted that the part of the Baby Jesus would be played by a 40-watt light bulb. A lifelong Doonesbury fan, there are few strips that have made me laugh longer than that one. Told you it was an odd one. Now on to the storytellers with far better tales. My thanks to everyone that responded. Once you’ve read them all, please be sure to chime in with your most memorable comics-related holiday recollection in the comments section.
Every Christmas, comics would show up in my stocking. They’d be rolled up, which I’m sure breaks the heart of every collector out there, but it didn’t bother me much. Comics were for reading. For some reason, my mother thought I liked Thor. I wasn’t a Thor guy, except when he was hanging out in the Avengers. I was, and still am, a Captain America super-fan. How could my Mom not know this? But every year I’d get a couple more Thor comics.
Fast-forward 35 years. I’m the official stocking-stuffer in the household. My wife is the queen of holiday organization, but the stocking assignment has always been mine, primarily because it’s the kind of job you can give to a procrastinator. I can run out on Christmas Eve and grab everything I need: gum, iTunes gift cards, candy bars, extra batteries… and comics. See, my son is 15, and he IS a Thor guy, so I usually try to round up something Asgardian for him, as well as a something with Atomic Robo or Axe Cop. I don’t understand the clothing my daughter is asking for (an “infinity scarf” sounds like something Dr. Who would wear), but by gum, I do know my son’s taste in comics.
Retailing | The inventory Arizona retail chain Atomic Comics, which abruptly closed its four locations in late August amid the bankruptcy of owner Michael Malve, will be sold at auction
Jan. 3 Jan. 10 in Phoenix, both live and online. Known nationally for its in-store signings, innovative marketing and sheer size, the 23-year-old chain gained international exposure last year when its name and logo were featured prominently in Kick-Ass, the film adaptation of the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Photos of the inventory to be liquidated can be found on the website of the auction company. Update: The date of the auction has changed to Jan. 10. [Sierra Auction Management]
Publishing | Tim Stroup, co-founder of the Grand Comics Database, recently dug up some old comics sales figures from the 1940s; John Jackson Miller analyzes them and reaches an interesting conclusion: “comics may be reaching far fewer eyeballs, but it’s a more profitable business to be in today.” [The Comichron]
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
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.
It’s a slow week, this week; if I had $15, I’d use it to catch up on some recent enjoyments like Action Comics #3 (DC, $3.99) and OMAC #3 (DC, $2.99), two of my favorite titles from the New 52 relaunch–OMAC in particular has been a really weird and wonderful joy–as well as the final issue of Marvel’s great and sadly underrated Mystic revival (#4, $2.99). I’d also see if the parody-tastic Shame Itself #1 (Marvel, $3.99) lives up to its potential, because “Wyatt Cenac + Colleen Coover” sounds pretty promising to these ears.
The good folks at Portland’s Periscope Studios are holding a fundraiser for Sparkplug publisher Dylan Williams, who is dealing with a serious illness. Several of the artists who work out of Periscope, including Jonathan Case (who painted the showdown between Thor and Galactus you see above), Steve Lieber and Colleen Coover, have contributed artwork to an auction to benefit Williams.
You can find all the available pieces on Periscope’s eBay page.
Nate Cosby has posted some artwork by Jennifer Meyer, Colleen Coover, Tom Fowler, and Roger Langridge from Archaia’s upcoming Jim Henson Storyteller anthology. (That’s the Langridge piece, above.) For a bit more on the project, check out Cosby’s Wondercon interview with our own Tim O’Shea.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Emily Stackhouse, creator of the award-winning minicomic Brazilianoir and her latest, Miner’s Mutiny.
To see what Emily and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
MoCCA on the East Coast, Stumptown on the West Coast—the past two weeks have been busy ones for comics creators and fans alike. I made it to MoCCA, but the grass is always greener on the other side of the country, and it looks like there was a lot to see—and buy—at Stumptown. Here’s a sample of the offerings, starting with Dylan Meconis’s slew of tiny watercolor paintings, above.
Apparently at Taco Bell you don’t have to decide between food or comics (insert your own beefy lawsuit joke here). The fast food chain has teamed up with Marvel to provide four different comics with its kids meals.
According to Marvel, each book includes an 11-page story with a one-page Mini-Marvels backup story. Each cover is a reprint from an existing Marvel title. Looking at who’s doing the comics, it may be worth a run to the border; I’d brave a burrito for the team behind Atomic Robo‘s take on Iron Man vs. MODOK alone. (Speaking of which, colorist Chad Fidler posted some pages from the Iron Man comic online).
Here are the details:
· Writer: Alex Zalben
· Artist: Tom Grummett
1-page backup by Colleen Coover
Cover by Roger Cruz, a reprint from Uncanny X-Men First Class #5
Gingerbread Girl, the upcoming graphic novel by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, will debut today in serialized form on Top Shelf 2.0, leading up to its hardcover release in May. New installments will appear each Monday and Friday.
Announced in July at Comic-Con International, Gingerbread Girl follows the night in the life of 26-year-old Annah Billips, who may or may not have a missing sister named Ginger. “At heart,” Tobin told Robot 6 in August, “it’s a strange bird of a character study focused on the main character, Annah, with a changing group of narrators (including a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a magician, a pigeon, a thug, a store clerk, a doctor, an English bulldog, and many more) searching for the truth behind our ‘Gingerbread Girl,’ who believes that her mad scientist father extracted a part of her brain (the Penfield Homunculus) and used it to create a sister for Annah.”
The 112-page graphic novel is already available for pre-order for $12.95 at the Top Shelf Productions website.
Mark your calendar and start saving your pennies: Top Shelf has announced its entire 2011 lineup, in chronological order, and it’s going to be quite a year. In addition to a varied line of adult graphic novels, the indy publisher is greatly expanding its children’s line and inaugurating a “Kids Club” website just for those books. Some highlights:
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #2 – 1969, by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill: The latest chapter of Moore’s epic moves to 1960s London, the epicenter of psychedelic cool. Due out in July.
Any Empire, by Nate Powell: Powell won an Eisner Award two years ago for Swallow Me Whole, and now he’s back with another book about the secrets of childhood, this one focusing on violence in suburbia. Also due out in July.
Incredible Change-Bots Two, by Jeffrey Brown: The catalog text describes this as “a nostalgic tribute not only to Saturday morning cartoons but also to Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots One,” which is as good a reason as any for fans of the first book to pick up the second. Watch for it in March.
Gingerbread Girl, by Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin (who we interviewed last summer about it): This sounds like a pileup of wackiness, with multiple narrators following a young woman, trying to see if her mad-scientist father used part of her brain to make her a sister. Due out in May.
Okie Dokie Donuts (Story 1): Open for Business, by Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos: Trouble in the donut shop! Chris Eliopoulos is an animator for the children’s television show Yo Gabba Gabba, and you can see his webcomic The Bravest Nino at the Top Shelf site. Due out in June.
And, for those who can’t get enough alternative manga, another volume of AX! There’s a lot more in their catalog, so go, read, and plan!
Sometimes you just have to tell a Batman story. Over at Unauthorized Comics, Ulises Alfonso Farinas has done just that, in a tale called “Batman Loses.” Check out more of his art here. (Via Super Punch)
And second, over on her blog, Colleen Coover shares a two-page Batman and Robin tale of her own. “Unofficial, unsolicited, unsanctioned,” she writes. “Done for fun, because comics.”
During their panel at Comic-Con International last month, Top Shelf Productions highlighted several projects they’ll publish next year, including Gingerbread Girl, a new graphic novel by the husband-and-wife team of writer Paul Tobin and artist Colleen Coover.
The duo, probably best known for their respective work at Marvel right now, took the time to answer a few of my questions about the new project, how they collaborate and what else they’re working on.
JK: What’s Gingerbread Girl about?
Paul: At heart, it’s a strange bird of a character study focused on the main character, Annah, with a changing group of narrators (including a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a magician, a pigeon, a thug, a store clerk, a doctor, an English bulldog, and many more) searching for the truth behind our “Gingerbread Girl,” who believes that her mad scientist father extracted a part of her brain (the Penfield Homunculus) and used it to create a sister for Annah.
In 2004 I was fortunate enough to interview Colleen Coover–during her Small Favors days/on the eve of the creation of her and husband Paul Tobin’s all-ages Banana Sunday. I enjoyed her art then, but never hoped for how effectively Marvel would tap her fantastic style for many of its books and characters. Much to my delight, it seems like Coover’s reputation and fanbase is growing larger every day. Last week saw the release of Girl Comics No. 2, which featured a two-page opening piece by Coover as well as a Shamrock eight-page adventure drawn by her (and written by Kathryn Immonen). We briefly discussed it, as well as her other current Marvel work (such as the Hercules back-up tale in Thor and the Warriors Four) for this brief email interview. I look forward to down the road when Coover flexes her “writer muscles” (as she calls them).
Tim O’Shea: Marvel’s keeping you busy at present. How did the Hercules the Olympian Babysitter story land on your table?
Colleen Coover: The book’s editor Jordan White asked me to come up with a Power Pack backup story for a four-issue mini series. I was flipping through Bullfinch’s Mythology one evening, and I came up with the Hercules story when I woke up the next morning. At the time I didn’t know that the Alex Zalben’s main story was a team-up with Thor, titled Thor & The Warriors Four, so it was a happy coincidence that I used one of Marvel’s other mythological characters!