SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have called off their search and recovery mission for missing comic book inker Norman Lee.
The 44-year-old Lee, a resident of Weymouth, MA, and a frequent contributor to Marvel comics such as Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and Wolverine & The X-Men, went missing the morning of Thursday, March 5th while snorkeling with his wife near their hotel, the Reef Resort East End. About 250 yards from shore, the couple became separated, and Lee’s wife immediately filed a report upon returning to shore.
Though we initially reported a rescue operation was underway into Saturday based on a story from Boston’s WCVB, Cayman 27 (via Comicbook.com) reports that search and recovery operations began and ended late Friday afternoon.
Frequent Marvel Comics inker, artist Norman Lee has gone missing while on vacation in the Cayman Islands.
Boston-area ABC affiliate WCVB filed a report this afternoon about the status of Lee, a resident of nearby town Weymouth. Apparently, Lee and his wife set out on a snorkeling trip this morning from the Reef Resort East End, but about 250 yards from shore the pair became separated. Lee’s wife returned to land and filed a report late this morning. As yet, rescue workers have found no sign of the artist.
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.
Chris Reilly, the Harvey- and Ignatz-nominated writer of such comics as Punch and Judy and The Trouble With Igor, passed away June 9 at his home in Rhode Island, according to USA Today’s Whitney Matheson. He was 46.
Reilly had a long relationship with SLG Publishing, where he contributed to its Haunted Mansion anthology series, and wrote for and edited Strange Eggs, working with Steve Ahlquist, Ben Towle, Derf, Jhonen Vasquez and other creators. He also penned a Gumby one-shot for Gumby Comics, and contributed to The Tick 20th Anniversary Special published by New England Comics Press.
“Chris’s writing was as manic and unpredictable as he was,” Towle wrote in remembrance of his friend. “’Madcap’ is an overused term, but his writing was indeed madcap: sometimes dark, always funny – in a way that used to be a lot more commonplace during the ‘black and white boom’ than what followed. Beyond his actual comics storytelling, though, Chris was a consummate storyteller of all varieties. Answering a call from Chris entailed an hour-long commitment at a minimum. Get a few beers into Chris at a con hotel bar and he’d regale you with stories about being bitten by a rabid raccoon (he thought it was a cat and tried to pet it), playing in a band with Cheetah Chrome (‘Gothic Snowtire’) or trying Flaming Carrot-style to read every single submitted single issue comic in one sitting the year he was an Eisner Awards judge.”
As online voting opens for the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame, the judges have selected late Golden Age artist Mort Meskin (Vigilante, Wildcat) and late underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez (Trashman) for automatic induction.
In addition, they’ve named 13 nominees, from which voters will select four to be inducted in July during Comic-Con International. The nominees are:
To vote, you must be a professional working gin the comics or related industries as a creator, a publisher, an editor, a comics store owner or manager, a graphic novels librarian, or a comics historian/educator. Eligible voters can visit EisnerVote.com to select up to four names for the Hall of Fame. The voting deadline is March 4.
Creators | For Slate’s “Doers” feature — “People who accomplish great things, and how they do it” — David Wiegel spotlights Rob Liefeld’s decision to revive his Extreme Studios line by handing over the properties to creators like Brandon Graham, Joe Keatinge and Tim Seeley. Acknowledging his critics prefer these new versions of Glory, Prophet and Bloodstrike to his originals, Liefeld tells the website, ““The internet snark has zero effect on me. I was there 20 years ago, I’m out there on the convention circuit, I experience the real and tangible enthusiasm for me and my work. You can’t rewrite the history books, you can’t eliminate the impact of my work and my characters. […] Rob Liefeld is to today as Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan are to my kids.” [Slate.com]
Passings | Paul Gravett pays tribute to the late British writer and critic Les Coleman. [Paul Gravett]
DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee will appear with a half-dozen DC creators on the Jan. 22 episode of Face Off, the Syfy competition series that pits special-effects makeup artists against each other.
The episode, shot in July at Comic-Con International, challenges the competitors to create their own superheroes with assistance and advice from Lee, Mark Buckingham, Cliff Chiang, Tony S. Daniel, David Finch, Nicola Scott and J.H. Williams III. The winning design will be featured in Justice League Dark #16, which goes on sale Jan. 30.
“Seeing lots of ‘that’s how it is in this business,’ stuff in regards to the day’s news. It really isn’t, and it certainly shouldn’t be. To be a little more direct: the way DC treats a lot of their freelancers is absolutely abhorrent. When it happened to me on SUPERGIRL, I didn’t say much, because I didn’t want to dwell on the negative. But when you see it happen to so many good people, and the damage it does to their careers, their incomes, etc… it’s just not okay. I don’t understand the need for it, & I wish it were otherwise. I love DC, love the characters, & I know I did some of my best work there. And I’m VERY happy for my friends who have been successful there. But I would tell any creator — especially newer, younger ones — to be extremely careful in doing business there.”
– Nick Spencer, who was abruptly removed from Supergirl in 2010, reacting to Monday’s news that DC Comics had replaced newly announced writers Robert Venditti and Jim Zubkavich on Constantine and Birds of Prey, respectively, before their first issues had debuted
Demon Knights artist Bernard Chang is so excited about the release of Issue 16 on Wednesday that he’s going to give away all 20 pages of original art to fans who buy the DC Comics series.
Breaking down the process this morning on Twitter, Chang explained his plan: He wants readers to buy six copies of Demon Knights #16, keeping one for themselves and the rest to their friends who aren’t following the series (or ask your retailer to distribute them in pull boxes). But first, take one photo of yourself holding all six copies (like so) and another with a close-up of the receipt and the name of the store. Then tweet or email those photos to Chang, who will call the store to verify the purchase.
The first 20 people to do so will receive a page of original art signed by Chang. Those six comics will run you in the neighborhood of $18 (not accounting for sales tax or discounts); a page of original art by Bernard Chang sells for anywhere from $45 to $175, so you’ll be coming out well ahead of the game. The giveaway begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT.
With the launch of Comic Book Resources’ new monthly feature with DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase arrives announcements of a slew of creative changes, including confirmation that Jim Starlin is the new writer of Stormwatch.
Best known for his work on Marvel’s cosmic titles, Starlin has been teasing since early December that he would take the reins on an existing DC series beginning in April. Yvel Guichet joins him as artist. Other creative shifts in April include:
• Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes will write the newly launching Constantine, taking over Robert Venditti with Issue 2. “Robert came to us with a fantastic pitch for Constantine,” Harras told CBR. “We really loved what Robert’s doing — he’s working on Demon Knights now, and he’s also working on another project for us that I really can’t go into which is a big deal for us. But at the end of the day, Robert and Dan [DiDio] and I spoke, and Constantine was, for him, one book too many. It was the one thing that we had to go, “If we want you to focus on this one project, maybe we should make a change on Constantine.”
On Dec. 31, James Kochalka ended his 14-year run on his diary comic American Elf, but others have taken up the baton, at least temporarily: A number of webcomics artists have created homages to the strip, and Kochalka is re-posting them on his Tumblr.
They include comics more or less in the style of American Elf by Lewis Trondheim, Superf*ckers director Fran Krause and a host of others, expressing a range of emotions from grief to gratitude. Also included in the tributes is a giant picture of every American Elf strip and another that averages the 14 years’ worth of the strips to produce an “eigencomic.”
It’s really interesting to look through them and see how a single (albeit long) comic inspired such a range of responses — and how much people seem to enjoy drawing themselves in Kochalka’s unmistakable style. And, as Kochalka remarks on one of the posts, “Quitting American Elf has kind of been like being able to die and go to my own wake!”
Less than two weeks after suffering a stroke, writer Peter David is able to walk forward and backward, with assistance, at the rehabilitation center in
New York Florida.
“He is working on balance and trying to get the right leg to cooperate with what he wants it to do,” his wife Kathleen wrote today. “There was a minor set back with the arm that is being worked on. He does have a better range of motion than he has had since all this started so we are cautiously happy about it but he has a long way to go.”
Kathleen David, who last week asked those interested in helping to cover insurance co-pays to purchase some of Peter’s books from Crazy 8 Press, today said she will add a donate button to his website on Monday, and plans to organize online auctions. She also encouraged fans to send him cards and assorted well wishes:
c/o Second Age, Inc.,
P.O. Box 239,
Bayport, NY 11705
On a related note, EW.com has published an essay Peter wrote in early December to mark the 50th anniversary of the Incredible Hulk. In the piece, the writer recounts being offered the reins of the title in 1986, his approach to Bruce Banner and, 12 years later, the circumstances that led to his departure.
“Out of fifty years of his existence, I took up twelve straight years (plus annuals and such) covering the concerns and chaos that the Hulk had to face daily,” he wrote. “If I’d known that I’d be leaving the book the issue afterward, I’d never have killed off Betty (although since then she was brought back to life and is now the red She-Hulk, so that made a lot of difference.) I had up periods and down periods. Times where I had the book fully under control and times where I was roughing it and had no clue what I was doing. In retrospect, if I had to draw one conclusion from my time on the series, it was this: Hunh. Nope. I still got nothin’.”
“I’ve seen more than a few well known comics professionals pitch projects on Kickstarter or Indiegogo have their campaigns fail. They either didn’t do any promotion and just expected their “celebrity” to carry them. Others just threw a random concept up and didn’t talk about why they thought it should be made, why they felt it was important. Kickstarter, to me, is almost like a barn raising where the community gets together to help one another. I pledge to a lot of projects because of that as well.”
– Jamal Igle, discussing his Kickstarter-funded comic Molly Danger
Totally agree! I review a lot of Kickstarter pitches for my biweekly Kickstand column on Comic Book Resources, and I have seen plenty of half-baked pitches. Often the idea seems very good, but there is no indication of what the comic looks like or how the creator plans to publish and promote it. When you’re asking people to part with their money, you have to give them a good reason. I also like Igle’s comment about pledging to a lot of projects; I suspect that beyond just being a good citizen, this offers creators the opportunity to see a Kickstarter drive from the consumer side, which would offer valuable perspective.
Censorship | At least one comic, alas unnamed, was among the thousands of books removed this week from a Turkish government restricted list. Most of the bans were widely ignored anyway, but Metin Celal Zeynioglu, the head of Turkey’s publishers’ union, pointed out one important effect of lifting them: “Many of the students arrested in demonstrations are kept in prison because they’re carrying banned books. From now on, we won’t be able to use that as an excuse.” [The Australian]
Publishing | Tom Spurgeon’s latest holiday interview is with Shannon Watters, the editor of BOOM! Studios’ children’s comics line, which includes Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors and Peanuts. [The Comics Reporter]