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Comics A.M. | Bidding for Superman check pushes past $31,000

Action Comics #1

Auctions | Bids for the $412 check from Detective Comics to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that includes a $130 line item for the rights to Superman have already surpassed $31,000 in less than three days at auction on ComicConnect.com. The auction ends April 16. [ABC News, The New York Times]

Creators | Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo is working on a new series that will run in a Japanese shonen (boys’) magazine. [Anime News Network]

Comic strips | Richard Thompson is back on the job at Cul de Sac, with some help from Stacy Curtis, who will be inking the strip. [Cul de Sac]

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Food or Comics? | Sharknife shish kebab

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.

Sharknife, Volume 2: Double Z

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d skip lunch and dig in to the overdue Choker #6 (Image, $3.99). I almost considered waiting for the trade on this one, but I know once I see the shiny object in front of me in stores I’ll want to find out the ending to Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith’s story. After that I’d get Uncanny X-Force #23 (Marvel, $3.99), which still holds the crown for my favorite current Marvel book. I was hesitant of Remender & co. going off into Otherworld despite my fascination with the realm going back to my Excalibur days, but I’m being rewarded with good story for my allegiance. The only thing it’s missing is an appendix reminding me of older stories that he references here. Last up would be a two-fer with Spaceman #5 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Walking Dead #95 (Image, $2.99). I’ve talked about both at length here, and they continue to buffet me with greatness.

If I had $30, I’d first snag Daredevil #10 (Marvel, $2.99) to see more of Paolo Rivera’s work over the solid storytelling by Mark Waid. Then, I’d rub my eyes to make sure I’m not seeing things and pick-up the 5+ year delayed book Sharknife, Vol. 2 (Oni, $11.99). I’ve been a big fan of Corey’s work back when he was doing inspired Mega Man rip-offs, and the chance that I’ll finally see this sequel is exciting and heartbreaking. I hope the quality of the book inside is enough to stave off my feelings about the severe delay the book had.

And for splurging, I’d spend my CBR paycheck on Gone To Amerikay (DC/Vertigo, $24.99). This book is at the intersection of three reasons I’d buy it: Colleen Doran, Derek McCulloch and historical Irish narratives. I’d hold McCulloch’s Stagger Lee up to any graphic novel of the past decade in terms of skill and potency, so to see him pair that with Colleen Doran’s crafty linework bears my immediate attention.

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Artist line-up for Ashes takes shape

After the falling out between Ashes writer Alex de Campi and artist Jimmie Broxton, de Campi decided to pursue having multiple artists draw the sequel to the 2005 series Smoke. This week in an update to the project’s backers on Kickstarter, de Campi said the line-up of artists is now complete.

Joining A Distant Soil creator Colleen Doran and Smoke artist Igor Kordey are:

De Campi said she plans to begin serializing it digitally in June and publish the graphic novel in December.

Alex de Campi recruits Igor Kordey, Colleen Doran to help draw Ashes

Last month writer Alex de Campi’s Ashes, the sequel to the 2005 IDW series Smoke, hit a major pothole on the road to publication when de Campi and artist Jimmy Broxton split “over creative differences.” The writer offered refunds to anyone who contributed to the well-funded Kickstarter project and said she would look for a replacement artist.

Today de Campi posted an update that should make fans of Smoke happy–Smoke artist Igor Kordey “is coming back to do a 20-page flashback sequence that literally I know he will draw better than anyone else in the world (sorry, everyone else, but it’s true),” de Campi said on Kickstarter. She also said that A Distant Soil creator and Orbiter artist Colleen Doran has agreed to draw a sequence for the graphic novel as well.

De Campi said she decided to pursue multiple artists for the project while on a road trip from New York City to Mexico City. “I did a lot of thinking on I-81 about how to proceed with the book, and decided to go back to my original plan of having different artists draw different sections of the book,” she said. “Ashes breaks down really nicely into 20-50 page chunks (and a couple really small sections, 3 or 4 pages) based on location, time and secondary characters.”

She said she has reached out to “a ton” of other artists and will develop a new production and printing timeline once she’s nailed down artists for the entire book.

Comics A.M. | Batmobile covered by copyright; more on Archie feud

A Batmobile replica from Gotham Garage

Legal | A judge refused to dismiss DC Comics’ lawsuit against Gotham Garage, a manufacturer of custom-made Batmobiles, ruling that the design of Batman’s vehicle is indeed copyrightable. DC sued the California company in May for copyright and trademark infringement, claiming Gotham Garage is confusing the public into thinking the cars are authorized products. The manufacturer asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the U.S. Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles.” The judge disagreed, ruling that Gotham Garage “ignores the exception to the ‘useful article’ rule, which grants copyright protection to nonfunctional, artistic elements of an automobile design that can be physically or conceptually separated from the automobile.” [The Hollywood Reporter]

Legal | Nancy Hass provides a broad overview of the legal battle at Archie Comics that pits Co-CEOs Jon Goldwater and Nancy Silberkleit against each other for control of the 73-year-old company. Silberkleit, who spoke briefly to Hass before a New York judge issued a temporary restraining order last month, called claims that she’s threatened and harassed the publisher’s employees and vendors “completely untrue.” [The Daily Beast]

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Comics A.M. | Drunken Incredible Hulk arrested for dealing drugs

Drunk Hulk

Crime | A drunken Coventry, England, man was arrested for selling drugs outside a nightclub while dressed as the Incredible Hulk. According to the article, “Police were alerted by his costume which was based on the TV and film character who becomes green and superhuman when angry.” [Coventry Telegraph]

Creators | Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North discusses his work on BOOM!’s upcoming Adventure Time comic. [ComicsAlliance]

Creators | Colleen Doran posts some character designs she worked up years ago for a never-completed animation project written by Warren Ellis; she admits to using Star Trek actor George Takei as the model for the main character. [A Distant Soil]

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Colleen Doran on the joys of manga

A detail from Mangaman

Colleen Doran and Barry Lyga’s Mangaman is a fascinating crossover in which a manga character arrives in an American high school, with the twist being that the high school students don’t realize that they are also characters in a comic book until the outsider points it out to them. It’s fascinatingly meta and at the same time a fun read—Lyga and Doran have a lot of fun importing manga tropes, such as speedlines, going chibi, and talking to oneself, into the more literal world of western-style comics. I interviewed the two of them for the SLJ Teen newsletter, but I saved one bit for Robot 6 readers: Doran’s account of how she became interested in manga in the first place. It’s an interesting bit of comics history, and she kindly supplied some of her original art to go along with it.

Here’s Colleen, who went on to write the well-received Girl to Grrrl: How to Draw the Hottest Shoujo Manga, on how she discovered manga:

When I was a kid I saw anime on television and had no idea it was from Japan. I used to watch Star Blazers and Battle of the Planets every day. I did a comic strip called B-Force for my band nerd friends. The heros flew around in a giant bass clarinet. It was nutty.

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Comics A.M. | Alvin Schwartz passes away; Martin leaves Daredevil

Alvin Schwartz

Passings | Alvin Schwartz, the prolific writer who penned Batman comics and the Batman and Superman comic strips for DC Comics in the 1940s, passed away Oct. 28 after a long illness. He was 95. Before leaving comics in 1958, Schwartz wrote for most of DC’s titles, including Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash. [News from ME]

Creators | Tucker Stone talks to Mark Waid about his work on Daredevil, and Waid confirms that Marcos Martin, originally announced as the artist on every other arc, won’t be working on the book after issue #6: “Unfortunately, it was something that came up while we were working. He’s doing 4, 5 and 6. When he came on, I don’t think things were firmed up with his next project and now they have. I salute him, and I think it’s going to be great and I want to see him go off and do creator owned stuff. But my heart breaks.” [comiXology]

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What Are You Reading? with Brian Ralph

Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics, graphic novels, books and what-have-you we’ve been reading lately. This week our special guest is Brian Ralph, creator of Daybreak, Cave-In and Reggie 12.

To see what Brian and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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Comics A.M. | The once and future Extreme Studios; Colleen Doran’s digital success

Youngblood

Creators | With the announcement that Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios is back in business, former Extreme Studios employee and current Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson reflects on his time with the studio. “From 1992-1998, Extreme Studios was more or less my life. Youngblood, Supreme, Brigade, Bloodstrike, Team Youngblood, New Men, Prophet, Youngblood: Strikefile, Bloodpool, Glory… We put out a lot of comics, and for the most part everyone involved was incredibly young. Rob and I were amongst the oldest at 25. So many of the artists involved in various aspects of production were just out of their teens, and that made the work as frustrating as it was fun. But looking back, the main thing I remember about that time is Rob wanted to share his success with people who loved comics and wanted to make a living in the business as much as he had.” [It Sparkles!]

Webcomics | A Distant Soil creator Colleen Doran, who began serializing the comic online in 2009, notes “my bottom line is up significantly, and my online audience is ten times higher than when I started the five day a week online serialization of A Distant Soil 2.5 years ago.” She also shares advice she received when she started the endeavor that hasn’t worked for her. [A Distant Soil]

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Digital comics lead pirate to call it quits

Could we be coming to the end of an era?

iFanboy has a fascinating interview with a recently retired comics pirate who says that same-day print and digital releases make comics piracy pointless:

As to why I quit, the “Scene” has become petty and incestuous. No one cared about “preserving” comic books in a digital form anymore. It was all about getting YOUR copy out FIRST so that you could flood the fileshares before someone else could get their version out just to acquire digital kudos from those around you. I grew wary of the “Race” and took a hard look at the current digital space. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and even Archie have been pushing more and more digital initiatives. If digital archiving was really my goal, and not piracy, then wasn’t I fooling myself by continuing to scan and edit comics that the publishers were offering in a pure digital form? DC’s push for “day and date” releasing of all their mainline titles cemented it for me and I stepped away.

He also comments on the addictive nature of scanning and the group dynamics of the pirates. This sounds like an expensive hobby, as he bought a lot of books to scan them — and sometimes bought hard copies of books he had read online. Underlying all this is the odd notion that making a book digital “preserves” it, although he contradicts that by buying the print editions. Anyway, interesting stuff and well worth reading; I’m looking forward to the rest of these interviews.

Meanwhile, Colleen Doran has put together an interesting roundup of links for freelancers at her website, and among them is one that finishes the story of HTMLcomics.com. As we reported in May 2010, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida had filed a suit in federal court asking that Gregory Hart forfeit six web domains that hosted scans of copyrighted material (actually, Hart got to keep one because it turned out to be just a blank web page). Earlier this year, Hart agreed to forfeit the web addresses; Copyhype has the details. The domains, including the infamous htmlcomics.com, now belong to the U.S. government, but nobody seems to be doing anything with them at the moment. Doran comments that her take has gone up since the sites were shut down, but that is probably due to other factors. In the end, Hart was not charged with any crimes or sued by any publisher.

Colleen Doran draws Betty and Veronica

Colleen Doran isn’t the first artist who springs to mind when I think of Archie Comics, but she signed a contract with them to do a Betty and Veronica project a few years ago. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out, but she posts a few sketches of the characters, whom she was to draw in her own style rather than Archie’s house style (which varies a bit, but not this much). Unfortunately, there’s no Archie, whom she said was “very hot,” but hopefully she’ll find those drawings and put them up as well.

Doran sees the drawing on the left as a good start for a Lois Lane character as well, and by happy coincidence she’s planning to pitch a Lois Lane miniseries to DC Comics: “I see Lois as a super-smart, Kathryn Hepburn/Rosalind Russell type. At a serious newspaper, instead of a yukky on-air correspondent.” Yes, please!

Colleen Doran returns to comics

OK, she was never really gone … but lately there has been a rush of news regarding her work. At Comic-Con International last week DC Comic highlighted her next major project for Vertigo Gone to Amerikay, with writer Derek McCulloch, and over the weekend she posted some sketches she did for the ill-fated JMS reboot of Wonder Woman. To cap it all off, she’s now on Twitter!

Described by Doran as a story of Irish immigration to the United States, her writer Derek McCulloch spoke at length about the book at Comic-Con. “It’s a story about people emigrating to America from Ireland over the course of 140 years,” said the writer. “It’s a great big historical epic with a crime story and a ghost story and a couple of love stories and all kinds of things in it.”

Doran is best known for her long-running independent series A Distant Soil, but her work has been on my mind recently because of her graphic novel Orbiter with Warren Ellis and the final voyage of the U.S. space shuttle. Plans to do a second graphic novel with Ellis, titled Stealth Tribes, seemed to go on the backburner due to Ellis’ workload, freeing her up for Gone To Amerikay as well as Mangaman with novelist Barry Lyga.

Colleen Doran’s JMS Wonder Woman that you didn’t see

Collen Doran's Wonder Woman

When J. Michael Straczynski was still the writer of Wonder Woman, he approached Colleen Doran about developing a new, “fantasy-oriented” look for her. He’s given Doran permission to share what she came up with, which she’s done on her blog.

She clarifies a couple of things in the comments section of her post. First, that she wasn’t hired to draw the actual comic; just to design the look. But more importantly, that this look would’ve been for a story after the one in which Wonder Woman wore Jim Lee’s controversial redesign.

Female comic creators unite for a cause in Womanthology

There’s anthologies. Then there’s Womanthology.

Designed to showcase the works of female comic creators “of every age and experience level,” the short stories in Womanthology center around the theme “Heroic.” In addition to comics, the book will also have interviews and “how-to” tutorials by female creators to encourage the next generation of talent. All proceeds from the book will be donated to the charity Global Giving Foundation.

To bring this all together, the women behind Womanthology are turning to Kickstarter.com to raise money to print the book. With a release date tentatively set for December 2011, the Kickstarter campaign has already generated $18,000 of its $25,000 goal with just under a month to go.

The list of contributors reads like a who’s who of comic creators, including the  likes of Ann Nocenti, Camille d’Errico, Ming Doyle, Colleen Doran, June Brigman, Fiona Staples, Barbara Kesel, Gail Simone, Trina Robbins and more.


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