Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Publishing | Portland, Oregon, will be the home base for Heavy Metal’s new line of comics, which was announced in October, following the company’s sale to David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz. “I think it’s being closer to the talent,” Krelitz said. “If you wanted to be a painter in the early 20th century, you went to Paris. The comics line launches in March with the second season of Michael Moreci and Steve Seely’s Hoax Hunters. The company plans to be publishing eight original series by the end of this year and another 12 next year, building up to 50 in five years. “We’re positioning to be a premier publisher,” Krelitz said. [The Oregonian]
Passings | Editorial cartoonist R.K. Laxman, who maintained a running commentary on Indian politics for almost 60 years, has died at age 93. The younger brother of novelist R. K. Narayan, Laxman got his start illustrating his brother’s work as well as doing drawings for local newspapers. He became an editorial cartoonist for the Times of India around 1947, about the time India became an independent country, and stayed there until 2010. Laxman’s most famous creation was the Common Man, a character that stood in for the average Indian. As the official obituary in the Times of India said, “His Common Man, created in 1957, was the symbol of India’s ordinary people, their trials and tribulations, their little joys and sorrows, and the mess they found themselves in thanks to the political class and bureaucracy. But despite the sobering reality of this, there was never any rancour in Laxman’s cartoons. His humour was always delightful, and no one could hold a candle to his brushstrokes.” [Times of India]
ComiXology has announced the 25 bestselling comiXology Submit titles of 2014.
Launched in 2013, the self-publishing portal allows independent creators to upload their comics and graphic novels for sale worldwide, with profits split evenly between comiXology and the creator.
Although comiXology doesn’t provide any details about number of downloads, the list still makes for interesting reading, as it’s a mix of titles you might expect — Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore, Testament by Douglas Rushkoff & Co. — and some that don’t have that level of creator name recognition, like Benjamin Rivers’ Snow and Beto Skubs and Rafael de Latorre’s Fade Out: Painless Suicide.
While Leaving Megalopolis and Testament: Omnibus top the chart, Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika claims three spots. It’s also an incredibly diverse list, where the mystery Watson and Holmes is found alongside the “world’s sexiest anthology” Smut Peddler, and the gay superhero title The Pride is nestled between the Western Moth City Preludes: The Reservoir and the pirate adventure Annie Bonnie.
A romantic comedy by Jamie S. Rich and Megan Levens, the Oni Press graphic novel is being serialized digitally in six weekly chapters, concluding on Feb. 10, before being collected in print form in April. Each installment costs $1.99.
Priya’s Shakti is a comic that aims to change the world, or at least, one part of it.
The creation of writer Ram Devenini and artist Dan Goldman, Priya’s Shakti uses elements of Indian religion and mythology to take on the difficult topic of rape and send a strong message that it’s a crime and the victim is not to be blamed for it. The comic tells the story of a rape survivor who’s cast out by her family, a situation that angers the gods; the resolution comes with a call to action.
The comic is available for free on comiXology and debuts in print this week at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention. However, it’s not limited by the usual distribution structures: As Devenini explains to ROBOT 6, the creators have partnered with the Indian charitable trust Apne Aap Women Worldwide to get the title out to girls in classrooms and communities far from comics shops. They also painted street murals in Mumbai that include an augmented reality feature; when viewed with a smart phone, parts of the murals are animated.
I spoke with Devenini and Goldman about making the comic, the special features, and how they plan to spread the word.
ComiXology is back this year with its own take on an Advent calendar, the third annual “12 Days of Free Comics.”
Each day through Dec. 22, the company will offer a digital comic for free, beginning today with The Wake #1 by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (it may be a holiday tradition for Snyder as well, as last year’s event kicked off with Batman #13).
What’s more, each comic can be gifted to friends, family members or co-workers. However, each day’s selection is available for download only until 11 p.m. ET (a slight change from last year, when you had 24 hours).
“It’s been an outstanding year for us at comiXology, and we want every comic fan to help us celebrate with our third annual 12 Days of Free Comics,” CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “It’s you, the comics fan, that push us every day to create an even brighter future for comics, graphic novels and manga worldwide. These comics are for you!”
Priya’s Shakti is the first comic released in India to use augmented reality, a digital effect that animates some of the panels when they are viewed with a smart phone.
That’s impressive, but it’s not the most remarkable thing about the comic. What sets Priya’s Shakti apart is the subject matter: It’s a story about rape. In the comic, a rape survivor and the goddess Parvati travel around the country and the world, fighting sexual violence and the attitudes that underlie it.
Producer and writer Ram Devineni and artist Dan Goldman (Red Light Properties) created the comic, which has been awarded a 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grant, and they partnered with the NGO Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which works for social and policy changes to improve the standing of women throughout the world, to help get it into as many hands as possible.
For comics fans, Black Friday was only the warm-up, as a number of companies are also holding sales today for Cyber Monday. From graphic novels and digital comics to art books and superhero-themed apparel, there’s likely something to be found for the fan in your life (even if that means picking up a little something for yourself).
Most of the deals end at midnight tonight, so don’t procrastinate. And if you’re aware of a a Cyber Monday sale we missed, let us know in the comments.
• Marvel has undertaken its own roundup, highlighting deals from its partners. In addition, this week a subscription to Marvel Unlimited is just 75 cents for the first month for new or former subscribers (it’s usually $9.99).
• You have until 11:59 p.m. PT to take advantage of Image Comics’ big Cyber Monday sale: 50 percent off all digital titles on the publisher’s online storefront.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
ComiXology has a “Leading Ladies” sale this weekend that features some great titles from Oni Press with strong female leads: Anthony Johnson’s The Coldest City, a thriller set in Berlin at the end of the Cold War; Spell Checkers, a comedy by Jamie Rich, Nicholas Hitori De, and Joelle Jones, about three teenage witches with attitude; and Ross Campbell’s Wet Moon. There’s a lot to like but there are two titles in the mix that are real standouts, and you can get them both for less than $10 if you grab them before the sale ends at 11 p.m. Eastern today.
Both are stories that are about teenagers but aren’t really for teenagers, because the main action in each of them is the sort of thing that is clearer in retrospect than when you are going through it.
Ivy, by Sarah Oleksyk, describes one of the great disappointments of youth, finding out that someone you care about is not all you imagined him to be. Ivy is a high school student who is chafing at the confines of her small Maine town and her strict single mother, who is determined that Ivy will have a better life than she had. Ivy wants to be an artist, and on a trip to Boston she meets a guy who introduces her to a whole new way of looking at things. Continue Reading »
Manga | Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto comes to an end in next week’s issue of Shonen Jump, but it’s not going away. Already side projects are popping up, including a miniseries that will launch in the spring, marking the 15th anniversary of the manga, and a series of novels about the different characters in the franchise. It all seems to be part of something bigger, the “Naruto Shin Jidai Kaimaku Project” (Naruto‘s New Era Opening Project), and the official Naruto website has a countdown to an announcement on Monday. [Anime News Network]
Digital comics | Tom Spurgeon talks to comiXology’s Chip Mosher about the comiXology Submit program, which is tailored for small publishers and self-published work. To prepare for the interview, Spurgeon gathered questions from creators at the Small Press Expo (which comiXology co-sponsored), and he talks to Mosher about the nuts and bolts of the Submit program, including payments, processing and the willingness to handle unusual formats. “We’ve had people sell thousands of copies and we’ve had people sell one or two copies,” Mosher says. “People have told me they’ve paid their rent with money from Submit. Or they were able to work on more comics with the money they made from Submit. It’s great to offer our customers such diverse comics from the program and at the same time be able to support the creation of more diverse work.” [The Comics Reporter]
Creators | A U.K. researcher argues that Marie Duval was the real creative force behind the wildly popular 19th-century British comic Ally Sloper, which is largely credited to her husband Charles Ross. Duval, the pen name of French cartoonist Emilie de Tessier, drew the character at the height of his popularity in the 1860s and ’70s, but historian David Kunzle now questions what role Ross actually played in his creation. [The Guardian]
Commentary | Chase Magnett pushes back on Chris Suellentrop’s statement, made in a column about GamerGate, that comics are “a medium that has never outgrown its reputation for power fantasies and is only very occasionally marked by transcendent work (Maus, or the books of Chris Ware) that demands that the rest of the culture pay attention to it.” [Comicbook.com]
Beginning today, writer Jim Gibbons and artist Caleb Goellner‘s Birch Squatch: The Last Bigfoot #1 (which premiered digitally in mid-September on Gumroad) is available on comiXology for 99 cents. To mark the occasion, Goellner shared with ROBOT 6 a glimpse into the creative process through a series of images.
The comic, about a legendary figure driven out of the woods by rampant development, is definitely worth a read.
Publishing | DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee talk about the state of the comics market, DC’s upcoming move from New York City to Burbank, the growing female audience and more. “There’s also a diversification within the audience itself the past couple of years,” Lee observed. “You’ve seen more women, more female readers, in general. When we launched Batgirl and Gotham Academy, those books struck a different note, different tonality, and that was in large part due to editor Mark Doyle bringing these projects together with different kinds of creators. It was our way of broadening the base of the Batman family of books but doing it in a different way to attract a different audience. I think it speaks well to the future that we’re not just going to strike the same note looking for the same customer. […] You can’t necessarily rely on the same continuity, the same core hardcore comics-driven material; you have to diversify, broaden your net and bring in different voices to the company.” [ICv2]
To celebrate the Season 5 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, comiXology is holding an apocalypse-scale sale on the comic series created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.
Through Oct. 13, digital editions of the first 126 issues are available for just 99 cents each — the three specials focusing on the Governor, Michonne and Tyrese, too. If you prefer to devour the series in larger chunks, the collections are also discounted, with the majority of the volumes priced at $5.99.
This past Friday, Pat Quinn, SCAD Atlanta Associate Chair of Sequential Art, invited me to observe GENERATE, the school’s version of 24-hour comic day. (SCAD calls it GENERATE to allow any other of the school’s departments that wants to participate can do their own 24-hour challenge). The event kicked off at 10 AM on Friday. Students participating in GENERATE are challenged to create a 24 page black and white print ready comic in 24 hours from a blank slate. This year, they introduced an option for students to form a team to produce the book, those who chose that option had to also color the comic.
Because readers have undoubtedly been counting down the days on their calendars, it’s probably unnecessary to say what today is — but we’ll do so anyway: It’s Sept. 25, National Comic Book Day!
No, not Free Comic Book Day; that’s in May. National Comic Book Day, the unofficial holiday whose origins are as mysterious as its observers are scarce. As we noted last year, no one takes credit for its founding — heck, no one seems to know when it began — it receives little to no industry support, and there are no traditions tied to it (however, you can always try asking your local retailer for a free comic).