Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Creators | Saying his job has become “too much to bear,” cartoonist Renald Luzier (Luz) is leaving the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He said he worked too hard in the aftermath of the January attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in which 12 people, most of them his co-workers, were killed, and he did not give himself time to grieve. “I needed time but I carried on for solidarity and not to let anyone down,” he said. However, the loss is taking its toll: “Each issue is torture because the others are gone.” He had previously announced he would no longer draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying it no longer interested him, and he is tired of the media attention. “We are not heroes, we have never been, we never meant to be,” he said. “Everyone evokes the spirit of Charlie for anything and everything now.” [The Independent]
As promised, the online floodgates opened this morning to get tickets to Comic-Con International in San Diego. And while the past several years have often seen anger-inducing hoops to winning a chance at attending America’s biggest pop culture event pop up, the show seems to be locked in to a workable — if still flooded — system for its 2015 outing.
With the show’s Open Online Registration window being the chief way to gain access to Comic-Con one day at a time, hopeful attendees are refreshing browser windows loaded to the EPIC Registration page and checking both the SDCC Twitter account and the #SDCCOOR hashtag.
But amidst the typical outcry over frustrating load times and missed opportunities, many have also picked up the banner of the positive accentuating hashtag #BeTheCheerio. Seemingly originating from SDCC blogger An Englishman In San Diego, the phrase is meant to keep hopeful attendees’ eyes focused on the prize. As you wait to see if you made it in, check out some of our favorite Twitter responses to this year’s madness below the jump.
[Update: As we note below, the show sold out of badges in one hour, besting the previous year’s record by nearly 30 minutes.]
Publishing | The British independent publisher Great Beast, which has released the work of Dan Berry, Marc Ellerby and Isabel Greenberg, among others, will close on Jan. 7. Founded in 2012 by Ellerby and Adam Cadwell, the publisher was something of a victim of its own success, as Cadwell explains: “As the group got bigger, as the books became more successful and as we widened the range of shops we sold to there became more of a need for the management and promotion to come from one or two people and Marc Ellerby and I (Adam Cadwell) happily took up that role. However, as time went on we found that the time spent working for the benefit of the group was getting in the way of us actually making our own comics, which is why we started the group in the first place… We looked at many ways of monetising the group so we could pay someone to run things whilst still giving the creators the bulk of the profits but we just couldn’t find a fair way to make it work.” [Great Beast Blog]
Legal | The Japanese publisher Square Enix has filed a counterclaim against SNK Playmore, asking Osaka District Court to rule that its manga Hi Score Girl doesn’t infringe on copyrights held by the video game company. Earlier this year, SNK brought criminal copyright violation charges against Square Enix after learning Hi Score Girl contains more than 100 unauthorized images of characters from SNK Playmore games. The manga has been put on hold because of the dispute. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Who’s buying, and how much are they spending, at conventions? Rob Salkowitz mines the numbers from a recent Eventbrite poll of convention-goers to get some answers: Most people spend between $100 and $500 per person; cosplayers actually spend a bit more than average; and women shell out more money at conventions, while men spend more online. [ICv2]
“My perspective is a little different than most because I take so much time in between conventions and when I’m there I’m working… but watching from behind by signing table and seeing people becoming friends online or just having a great time expressing themselves through costume and just sharing their love of whatever they love is amazing. My feeling is if you are a creator and your book or art or whatever isn’t selling that is on you. And I’m talking about myself here as well. If something didn’t connect with an audience, that’s my problem, that’s not the culture’s problem.
“The culture shifts very quickly. Quicker than it ever has before. Most of the time I think for the better. But I think if you are trying to sell something to someone at a convention or anywhere you better take a good look at yourself and what you’re selling and how much you are selling it for. You can’t just show up at your table and drop your portfolio and sit back and wish of the sea to part. (which I see a lot of people doing) You have to have work out there, that is vital. You have to let people know what you have that is special and worth their time.”
– Brian Michael Bendis, responding to a question about the effect of cosplay on comic conventions
Banned Books Week | National Public Radio’s Lynn Neary covers Banned Books Week, with interviews with frequently banned creators Jeff Smith (Bone) and Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants). Although Smith acknowledges he was initially shocked to see his acclaimed fantasy adventure among the 10 most challenged books of 2013, he soon came to terms with the distinction. “I mean my heroes are on this list,” he says. “People like Mark Twain and Steinbeck and Melville and Vonnegut, so part of me also kind of says, ‘OK, fine I can be on this list.'” [NPR]
Banned Books Week | Michael Dooley runs a brief excerpt from Fun Home, and Keith Knight does a show-and-tell of his comics that were too controversial for some newspapers. [Print Magazine]
After first responding with press releases and a webpage, Salt Lake Comic Con organizers have now formally denied claims that their use of the term “Comic Con” infringes upon Comic-Con International’s trademark.
Comic-Con International sued the Utah event last month, insisting organizers were attempting to “confuse and deceive” fans and exhibitors with their use of “Comic Con.” The lawsuit specifically cited a customized Audi sent to San Diego during Comic-Con International to promote the Sept. 4-6 Salt Lake City convention.
In documents filed Monday in federal court in San Diego, Salt Lake producers Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg argue Comic-Con International’s asserted trademarks are invalid, and that “comic-con” and “comic con” are generic terms applied to comic conventions. They point to 10 other conventions that use some variation of the term, and note that SDCC has never taken action against them. The defendants ask for Comic-Con International’s trademarks to be ruled invalid and canceled.
For its final day, Comic-Con International is keeping the focus on the kids. Today, the biggest con on the calendar revealed its Sunday programming slate, and the traditional kids day of the show lived up to its name.
Publishers will roll out their best all-ages offerings in panels like Oni Press’ Monsterpalooza and IDW’s Kids Comics spotlight. But so much of the action of the day centers around the creators who will be appearing on a multitude of kid-centric programming including Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Dave Roman, Sonny Liew and Gene Luen Yang. Even the media portion of the con is getting in on the action with a special presentation on the documentary about San Francisco’s famed Batkid.
On the traditional convention front, fans can pop in for the annual Jack Kirby Tribute panel or check the latest offerings form publishers like Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and more
Creator-wise there are spotlights on the likes of Chuck Dixon, Jim Rugg, Jim Lee, Graham Nolan, Marc Guggenheim, Kelley Jones and more.
Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.
Though the show has stretched far beyond the traditional weekend confines, Comic-Con International’s biggest day remains Saturday. And that was proven true today with the release of Saturday programming for the impending pop culture monolith.
The day comes crammed with every conceivable kind of panel. On the traditional comics publishing front, DC and Marvel both continue their weekend rollouts with a Batman: 75th Anniversary assembly, the traditional Cup O’ Joe Q&A and more. Meanwhile, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get their own anniversary panel to celebrate 30 years while current Turtles publisher IDW keep in step with three panels including a spotlight on Locke & Key creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. BOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Lion Forge round out the more pop culture oriented indies with their own panels while the alt comics world is well covered with spotlights on Drawn And Quarterly, Fantagraphics and Abrams ComicArts.
On the media side, Marvel Studios captures its traditional Saturday night spot in Hall H (where we’d wager and Avengers reunion is on tap) while earlier in the day, Warner Bros. brings a look at Mad Max, The Hobbit and the latest Wachowskis film (though curiously absent from the official list is any presentation on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). The media offerings also have a particular “Saturday Morning Cartoons” feel with spotlights on kids fare like Phineas & Ferb,Regular Show and Steven Universe.
Creator-wise, there’s a broad selection of comics talents on hand including Don Rosa, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Drew Friedman, Berkeley Breathed, Jim Steranko, Lucy Knisley, Mimi Pond, J. Micahel Straczynski and Saga creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.
In documents filed this morning with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company attributes that growth to holding four conventions in the first quarter of 2014, versus just two last year, better marketing and advertising, and increased admission prices. Each of those events — in Portland, Oregon, New Orleans, Sacramento, California, and Louisville, Kentucky — averaged about $1.3 million in revenues, up from $896,737 in 2013.
However, gross profit in that same period decreased from 46 percent to 37 percent, which Wizard World chalks up to the cost of increased advertising for each convention. The company reported a net profit for the quarter of $692,041.
Publishing | In the wake of the ban in Saudi Arabia of the animated adaptation of The 99 comic, creator Naif Al-Mutawa writes about what he had to go through in the first place to get approval in that country for the Islamic superheroes (one of the steps was the sale of Cracked magazine at a loss so his company would be sharia-compliant to the satisfaction of an Islamic bank). He looks at what led to the fatwa, and concludes by seeking one of his own, posing questions for the clerics who issued the decree. [The National]
Publishing | As part of its five-year anniversary celebration, Multiversity Comics surveys such industry figures as Eric Stephenson, Rachel Deering, Tom Spurgeon and Gina Gagliano about the biggest changes that have taken place during that time, and where comics are headed. [Multiversity Comics]
Fans attending this weekend’s SPACE, the long-running small press show in Columbus, Ohio, will have the first opportunity to see some of artist Nate Powell’s work on the forthcoming March Book Two.
March Book Two, as you can probably guess, is the followup to March Book One, and is written by Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. The well-received graphic novel, published by Top Shelf, is Lewis’ memoir of the civil rights movement. According to the creator, “Original pages from the forthcoming March: Book Two will be unveiled for the first time ever, and will be on exhibit near my table all weekend.”
Powell will also give a presentation about his upcoming projects on Saturay at 3 p.m., which include Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero, a collection of comics called You Don’t Say, a new printing of Swallow Me Whole, an early look at his next solo book and “collaborations with acclaimed writers Scott Snyder and Van Jensen.”
In addition to Powell, SPACE will also host a ton of creators from the Midwest and beyond, including Matt Feazell, Ryan Claytor, Jimmy Gownley, John Porcellino, Carol Tyler and many more. Find the complete list here.
If you’re out East and attending Awesome Con, you can find a variant cover for the Adventure Time 2014 Annual #1, which sports a cover by Ian McGinty. At Wonder Con, you can find several variant covers, including Bravest Warriors 2014 Annual #1 by Sam Lavagnino (he’s the voice of CatBug on the Bravest Warriors show), Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1 by Mike Kunkel, Lumberjanes #1 by Jess Fink and Translucid #1 by Dan Duncan.
Check them out below, along with BOOM!’s signing and panel schedules for each con. Both conventions are scheduled for April 18-20.
Conventions | This Japan Times article about Comiket provides a fascinating look behind the scenes of the dojinshi (self-published manga) fair, which each August and December new draws between 560,000 to 590,000 visitors to Tokyo Big Sight. However, even that massive convention center is becoming too small for the event; of the 51,000 booth applications for August’s Comiket 84, only 35,000 were granted because of space limitations. Incredibly, the organizing Comic Market Committee has just eight full-time employees (but more than 3,000 volunteers). [The Japan Times]
Creators | MariNaomi discusses her experience of being sexually harassed by another creator while participating in a panel at a comics convention. That’s right, she was sexually harassed onstage. [xojane]
Last weekend I went to Comic Arts Brooklyn. I bought a lot of comics. Here are six that I think are really good, and I think you should try to find as well.