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Forbes has named Stan Lee among its most influential celebrities of 2014, a list led by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and George Lucas. The 91-year-old comics legend came in at No. 9 (of just 10), between Bono and Rush Limbaugh.
“Maybe it’s all those cameos in Marvel movies,” the business magazine explains. “Lee doesn’t usually show up on this list but the comic creator is responsible for the characters in some of the biggest movies in recent years.”
It seems like it was just the other day — it was Monday, to be exact — that Jerry Seinfeld was offering his assessment of director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and already he back, talking more about one of his favorite subjects: Superman.
This time it’s in the latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which he and actor (and occasional comics writer) Patton Oswalt climb into a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 … only to have it break down. Fortunately, that gives them time to talk about DC Comics’ 1992 storyline “The Death of Superman,” and how Oswalt would kill the Man of Steel.
“Superman gets his powers from our yellow sun, but he’s here every day, soaking up that energy,” Oswalt explains. “So make it a thing where it’s like, the longer he stays here, now it’s starting to kill him — and then there’s a massive disaster looming: ‘Do I stay and stop this thing happening and die in the process, or do I leave and save myself?’
I have to agree with Seinfeld: That’s a solid premise. However, Oswalt has a far more difficult time coming up with his favorite superhero. Watch the video below.
Auctions | The Leicestershire (England) Police are auctioning about 1,200 comics — most of them are post-2000 DC Comics titles, described as in mint condition — seized as criminal assets in Dorset (the police force doesn’t have its own eBay account). “Some are signed by the artists and they are mainly Superman and Spider Man, that sort of thing,” said Dave Hargrave, proceeds of crime asset realization manager. “[...] The person who had the comics was obviously a collector.” About 400 comics have been sold, bringing in £600 (about $985 U.S.). [Leicester Mercury]
Publishing | Avatar Press has returned to Diamond Book Distributors as its distributor to bookstores, the mass market, library services, and other markets. Avatar left DBD in 2011 to sign on with BOOM! Studios to distribute its books through Simon & Schuster in the United States and HarperCollins in Canada. [ICv2]
Time once again to revisit some thoughts about the year just ended, and offer some thoughts on the year to come.
First, let’s see how I did with 2013:
1. Man of Steel. Last year I asked “a) how well will it do with critics and moviegoers; and b) yes, of course, will it help set up Justice League?” It got a 55 percent (i.e., Rotten) ranking from Rotten Tomatoes (although 76 percent of RT visitors who cared to vote said they liked it). Financially, Box Office Mojo called it a “toss-up,” putting it in the same category as Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Wolverine, The Hangover Part III, Pacific Rim and, uh, The Smurfs 2. I liked it well enough — I seem to like a lot of things “well enough” — but perhaps Super-fan Jerry Seinfeld’s musings about missed opportunities speak best to the film’s reception. MOS itself didn’t help set up a Justice League movie, at least not as expressly as, say, Nick Fury talking about the Avengers; but I think it’s safe to say that the sequel will go a long way in that regard.
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Tentative categories — they may be altered at the discretion of the judges — are: best short story, best single issue, best continuing comic book series, best limited series, best new series, best publication for kids, best publication for teens, best humor publication, best anthology, best digital comic, best graphic album–new material, best graphic album–reprint, best reality-based work, best archival collection, best U.S. edition of foreign material, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best comics-related book, best scholarly/academic work, best comics journalism periodical or website and best publication design.
Publishers who wish to submit entries must send one copy each of the comics or graphic novels, along with a cover letter that includes what’s being nominated, and in what categories, and the names of the creators. Creators may submit works for consideration if their publisher is no longer in business or is unlikely to submit nominations itself.
Entries should be mailed to: Jackie Estrada, Eisner Awards Administrator, Comic-Con International, P.O. Box 128458, San Diego, CA 92112. Submissions for the best digital comic category can be emailed to Estrada. The full list of nominees will be announced in April.
Additional details can be found on the Eisner Awards website.
Crime | A man in Augusta, Georgia, told police someone stole his collection of nearly 30,000 comics from a storage building at his friend’s home sometime between Nov. 13 and Dec. 30. Although the 85 boxes allegedly included signed issues, police valued the comics at just $1 each. [The Augusta Chronicle]
Publishing | ICv2 concludes its three-part interview with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley with questions about variant covers, Marvel NOW!, and staying in New York City. [ICv2]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald profiles new graphic novel publisher Magnetic Press, which is spearheaded by former Archaia and BOOM! Studios executives Mike Kennedy and Wes Harris. Magnetic will launch in April with a varied line that will focus strongly, but not exclusively, on translations of French comics. [Publishers Weekly]
After about five years of slowly building momentum, the crowd-funding sector of comics may be nearly 2 percent the size of the direct market. Based on analysis of the past three months of campaigns, funds generated through Kickstarter and Indiegogo would be roughly the equivalent of the sixth- or seventh-largest publisher distributing to specialty shops in North America.
While crowd-funded comics haven’t seen as brisk of an increase as digital comics, it’s a sector of the industry that’s undeniably growing. As more established creators and publishers experiment with running campaigns, they have pulled in their readers, increasing the awareness, and even the legitimacy, of the platforms. I’ve found this area to be under-studied, and I was curious to see just how economically significant crowd-funding is becoming to the comics industry. So I have collected data on every campaign that successfully raised funds through Kickstarter and Indiegogo from October 2013 to December 2013. I’m actually going further back than that, but that data isn’t ready yet; I’m still digging through the numbers, as data collecting, sorting and number-crunching can be challenging due to the different platforms and currencies. But I wanted to make public what I have so far because as we head into 2014, following Fantagraphics’ amazing Kickstarter campaign (as just one example), I believe we’re going to be seeing the industry embrace crowd-funding more and more, and there’s a lot we can still learn about how it works and how it affects comics.
“I’m just jumping on this one because I find it ludicrous. First of all, that’s what we should be doing. In order to help the print business we need to get as many people as possible excited about the content we’re delivering them, and the less confusing it is for them to engage in our product, the more success we’re going to have. That’s one part. We should be communicating with each other. [...] At the same, we allowed Ed Brubaker to kill Captain America and have another guy run around in that costume for over 18 months to two years when we were making a Captain America movie. We stopped making Thor the comic book for over a year and then we re-launched it with JMS and Oliver Coipel telling his story. Does Marvel give editorial direction on what you can and cannot do with our characters? Yes. We did that before we made movies and before we went to Disney. That’s what the editorial group does here for a living.”
– Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, responding to the suggestion that companies like his “with a big media operation” are “controlling the print content to a greater degree in order to make it align more successfully with the other media”
Years before this whole Internet thing, there was scrapbooking, and while for many this method of collecting and organizing has fallen by the wayside, Ron Murphy has kept at it, focusing on his favorite moments from comics, cataloged by theme. The above example of kissing from various comics showcase just one page from the 1,200 he’s collected. Crazy? Maybe. But cool? Definitely.
Spotlighted by Mitch O’Connell, Murphy has amassed 12 volumes of scrapbooks similar to the page above, with each volume containing 100 pages. You can see scans of Murphy’s collage pages, as well as other unique artwork he’s collected, on his Flickr page.
If you didn’t already have a reason to visit Montreal, now you do: Mount Royal Avenue now boasts amazing comic book-inspired street lamps, courtesy of design firm Turn Me On, which won a citywide competition to create “a unique winter atmosphere and conversation on the Avenue.” And these speech bubble lights, featuring art by Astro and Jean-François Poliquin, are nothing if not unique.
According to The Verge, the installations will appear through February, but they’re expected to appear over the next two winters. So make your travel plans accordingly.
We’ve been hearing about what comics various industry folks enjoyed in 2013 in our Looking Forward, Looking Back series, and now it’s our turn: ROBOT 6 contributors share their favorites from 2013, which include Hawkeye, Marble Season, East of West and Batman.
Image Comics has provided ROBOT 6 with a preview of Deadly Class #1, which is kind of like a John Hughes movie if The Breakfast Club kids were highly trained assassins. Set in the 1980s, Deadly Class tells the story of Marcus Lopez, who attends King’s Dominion High School, “the most brutal high school on Earth, where the world’s top crime families send the next generation of assassins to be trained.” At their heart, though, they’re still teenagers.
“These kids are ’80s kids, but the story of being a teenager is always the same,” said artist Wes Craig. “I mean, the styles change, but there’s always someone being picked on, someone who just got dumped, some girl spreading rumors about another girl, someone who’s having a party and someone who’s got a plan to get booze with a fake I.D. That’s where I can relate to the teenage stuff, because I went through that just like everyone else, and no matter how many years pass, it’s still easy for us to flash back to those experiences.”
Deadly Class is the second creator-owned series written by Rick Remender to debut from Image over the past couple months, following the fun Black Science. Craig is joined on art by colorist Lee Loughridge, and as you can see below the results are pretty phenomenal.
Deadly Class #1 hits stores Jan. 22.
From high seas adventure to the mean streets of crime-ridden New York, writer Frank Barbiere is getting around. I already spoke to him about the future of Five Ghosts, his supernatural adventure series with artist Chris Mooneyham, and now he shares details on The White Suits, featuring the dazzling artwork of Toby Cypress. The four-issue miniseries kicks off in February from Dark Horse.
Here’s another public service announcement for the Wednesday crowd: Comic books will go on sale Tuesday in the United States because Wednesday is New Year’s Day. The same thing occurred last week because of Christmas.
Unlike last week, when the shipping list was light, Tuesday will see a pretty full lineup of new releases, including Star Wars Omnibus: Dark Times, Vol. 1, Talon #14 (the final issue), Dead Boy Detectives #1, the new printing of Walt Simonson’s Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition, Rocket Girl #3, Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus, Savage Wolverine #13, Rachel Rising #22 and X-O Manowar, Vol. 4.
You can see the complete list of titles shipping this week on the Diamond Comic Distributors website.
Creators | Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki remained silent over the past year while hundreds of threatening letters were sent out to retail stores that sold the manga and anime, venues that hosted doujinshi (fan comics) events connected with it, and even his alma mater, but now that police have arrested a suspect in the case, he has made an official statement. Fujimaki expressed relief that the suspect had been caught, thanked the police who were involved in the investigation, and promised that more chapters of Kuroko’s Basketball are on the way. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con producer Dan Farr is voicing his support for the construction of a “mega hotel” near the Salt Palace convention center. The Utah state Legislature ended its legislative session without passing a $100 million bill to fund such a hotel, but backers hope to see it revived in the next session. Ticket sales for the 2013 convention topped 50,000, and Farr told the local news station, “A convention center hotel would be a big help for us.” [Fox News 13]