Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
The hours are ticking down not just on 2014, but also on Dark Horse’s Star Wars license. However, before the publisher says goodbye to a galaxy far, far away, it’s having one epic final sale, dubbed the “Star Wars Farewell Megabundle.”
How epic? How about digital versions of every Star Wars comic published by Dark Horse over the past two decades, for $300? That amounts to about 50 percent off the entire digital library. That’s everything from 1991’s Star Wars: Dark Empire to 2014’s The Star Wars, and everything in between – Legacy, The Clone Wars, The Old Republic. All of them.
Dark Horse has revealed the previously announced Art of He-Man and Masters of the Universe will also be released in a limited edition of just 4,000 copies.
Produced in partnership with Mattel, it’s the first official art book devoted to the enduring multimedia franchise. Packaged in a die-cut, two-piece Castle Grayskull slipcase, with a foil-embossed cover and portfolio print, the nearly 400-page limited edition includes rarely seen concept sketches and prototypes from the Mattel archives, restored art from Earl Norem, and interviews with the likes of Dolph Lundgren, Paul Dini and Erika Scheimer. In addition, there’s commentary written by Tim and Steve Seeley.
Manga | The top-selling manga in Japan this year was One Piece, with nearly 11.9 million volumes sold; Attack on Titan came in a close second, with 11.7 million. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Jim Zubkavich updates his post from last year about the long-term sales and profitability of his series Skullkickers. There are some interesting angles to this, including the cost of his deluxe collected editions, the boost he got from his “reboot,” and the importance of digital sales in the long term: “Since there’s no print run or storage limit with digital they continue to build profitability over the long haul (particularly with the early issues as new readers sample the series during comiXology sales). Many issues that lost money in their initial print release have been able to make back their losses thanks to digital.” [Zub Tales]
POP, writer Curt Pires‘ collaboration with artist Jason Copland and colorist Pete Toms, wraps up this week with the release of Issue 4 from Dark Horse. One thing I consistently enjoy about Pires’ storytelling is how it works on two levels: You have a plot replete with action that always keeps the reader engaged, along with with a layer of subtext that invites deeper consideration.
In an interview with ROBOT 6, Pires allowed me to poke around both layers. Suicidal ideation, drug use and poetic terrorism are just a few of the concepts considered in POP, and in this interview.
Longtime readers of writer Fred Van Lente know well how much of a history buff he is. So it did not surprise me that his new ongoing series with artists Maurizio Rosenzweig and Moreno Dinisio, Resurrectionists, draws upon the past as a major fuel for the present day narrative. The creator-owned project builds upon the concept that certain people can utilize the knowledge and experience of their past lives.
Dark Horse will celebrate the 200th issue of Dark Horse Presents in February with an 80-page installment that includes the first U.S. publication of “Masks,” a short story by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and veteran artist Dave Gibbons.
The story, about a mother turned masked vigilante, originally appeared in April as part of The Guardian’s celebration of the opening of the “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.” exhibition at the British Museum. “Masks” marks Flynn’s comics debut.
Announced in June, the 296-page trade paperback collects The New York Four, the 2008 DC Comics/Minx graphic novel about four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University, and its 2010 sequel miniseries The New York Five.
Dark Horse will also collect the 12-issue Demo and its six-issue sequel, by Wood and Becky Cloonan, for release in April.
Creators | Hajime Isayama’s hometown of Hita City has named him “Tourism Friendship Ambassador to the ‘Beautiful Riverside Location of Hita.'” Isayama, the creator of Attack on Titan (which describes a city under siege by man-eating giants and defended by teenagers), came to town over the weekend for a cultural event titled “Shingeki no Satogaeri” (“Attack on Returning Home”), and he mentioned in a speech that the area was his inspiration for the scenery in the manga. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Dark Horse announced there are 500,000 copies of its Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon graphic novel in print; this presumably means that sales are in that range as well. The key here may may be that the book is available at Scholastic book fairs, where the numbers really add up. [Dark Horse]
Hitting shelves today, Captain Midnight #16 is a special Halloween-themed issue by writer Joshua Williamson, artist Fernando Dagnino and colorist Javier Mena. To mark its release, editor Jim Gibbons provided ROBOT 6 with a glimpse into Dustin Nguyen‘s cover process, as well as the evolution of some of the interior pages.
Digital comics | The digital comics publisher Thrillbent has launched its own iPad app, which allows users to read Thrillbent comics and also load in their own comics in PDF, CBR and CBZ formats via Dropbox. [iTunes]
Publishing | Diamond Comic Distributors is dropping the price of its monthly Previews catalog from $4.50 to $3.99 with the January issue (in stores Dec. 24). That, as the company notes, is “the average price of a standard monthly comic book.” [PreviewsWorld]
Publishing | Dark Horse plans to publish the historical graphic novel Nanjing: The Burning City, by Ethan Young (Tails). [The Beat]
The Star Wars license is passing to Marvel at the end of the year, but before that happens, does Dark Horse have a deal for you.
The publisher has partnered with Humble Bundle to let fans to get up to $190 worth of Star Wars digital comics for … well, a heck of a lot less than that. Humble Bundle allows customers to purchase DRM-free downloads for as little as a penny, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity (in this case, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund).
Jeremy Atkins, Dark Horse’s director of public relations, announced today that after a decade with the publisher, he’s accepted a job with Portland, Oregon-based brewery Rogue Ales.
“After ten years at Dark Horse Comics, where I have learned so much, made lifelong friends and been lucky enough to see the world preaching the four color gospel, I am moving on to the craft brewing industry,” he wrote on Facebook. “After this weekend’s Rose City Comic Con, I will join the marketing team at Rogue Ales! Their legendary Dead Guy Ale was one of the first to awaken my tastebuds to the glory of PacNW brews, and remains a favorite to this day. I am sad to say goodbye to my friends and family in comics, but excited for a new adventure and the chance to get back to writing. Look for Alex Cox and I’s comics creation to make it’s online debut in the coming months, and hopefully more to follow.”
Retailing | Books-A-Million had a good second quarter, and CEO Terry Finley gives at least part of the credit to graphic novels: “We also saw strong growth in the graphic novel category, with continued success with titles related to AMC’s The Walking Dead series and a renewed interest in several manga series [that] drove sales increases.” And to boost that, the retail chain, which operates more than 250 stores nationwide, is planning Marvel promotions throughout September. [ICv2]
Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Dan Farr is trying to measure how much money attendees are spending. In terms of hotel beds, at least, the convention seems to be dwarfed by trade shows, but with people coming to Salt Lake City from 48 states for the recent spinoff event FanXperience, that may be changing. Still, even in San Diego, attendees spend only about $600 per person; if Salt Lake attendees are similarly thrifty, the convention may not be a significant player in the Salt Lake City convention scene. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
[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.]
It’s intriguing to see writer Curt Pires reach the third leg of his music trilogy, Pop (the first two legs were LP and Theremin). When I interviewed Pires about LP nearly two years ago, it was a project he self-published. So I was immensely pleased to see that the recognition of Pires’ talent had grown since that first leg to the point Dark Horse is publishing this new four-issue limited series.
Awards | Mimi Pond’s Over Easy has been recognized with a PEN Center USA Literary Award for Graphic Novel Outstanding Body of Work. Previous category winners are Gilbert Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco and Matt Fraction. [PEN Center USA]
Publishing | Dark Horse is planning to beef up its lineup of children’s graphic novels, which already includes such successful titles as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Plants vs. Zombies and Itty Bitty Hellboy. Four new titles are slated for 2015: Rexodus, a story about dinosaurs from outer space, and three older properties, Rod Espinosa’s Courageous Princess, Samuel Teer and Hyeondo Park’s Veda: Assembly Required, and an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Return of the Gremlins. [Publishers Weekly]