Publishing | Comics sales were up 22 percent in the direct market over January 2012, and graphic novels increased by nearly 38 percent. This good news is tempered a bit by the fact there were five Wednesdays in this January (or 25 percent more Wednesdays, if you want to look at it that way), but that fifth week is usually a quiet one for new releases, so I think we can call this a win. The retail news and analysis site ICv2 credits Marvel NOW! and a strong backlist for the boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | Dark Horse’s video-game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia last week was the No. 1 book in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan — not merely in the graphic novel category, but in any category. The initial print run was 400,000 copies. (Comic Book Resources interviewed the book’s editor Patrick Thorpe last month.) [ICv2]
Writer Neil Gaiman and artist David Mack have teamed up to create a new piece of art that features a poem written by Gaiman. The CBLDF are selling a print of it to raise funds for their cause, limited to 90 copies, but the rarest version is on the back of Burton Olivier:
“He’s the person who wrote to me and asked if I’d write a comic for his back … and I said yes, if it could also do some good for the CBLDF,” Gaiman said on his Tumblr. “And then I asked who he’d want to draw it, and he said, David Mack. So I asked David, who also said yes.”
The CBLDF is selling the “variant blue test run” versions of the print, which were created in very limited quantities prior to the standard edition grey run. Check out the print, which is on a French paper called Madero Beach rather than, um, human flesh, after the jump.
To benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Etnies donated 20 blank sneakers that were customized by comic book artists. And courtesy of the CBLDF, we’re happy to give you a look at the pair of shoes designed by David Mack.
The shoes will be auctioned off at Comic-Con International later this month. Check out more pictures of Mack’s shoes after the jump …
Joey Weiser is giving readers a variety of choices in order to read his latest work. In catching up on Weiser’s work, you currently have three choices: Cavemen in Space (distributed by AdHouse [PDF preview here]), Mermin (his mini-comic series with two issues released so far about an adorable fish-boy); or Monster Isle (his weekly webcomic, which he told me, was “inspired by Japanese Kaiju monsters, and it’s a lot of fun to make”). The bulk of our interview focuses upon Cavemen in Space (“A caveman named Washington and his prehistoric tribe have been torn from their era and placed aboard ‘The Wheel,’ a futuristic space laboratory…”)–but we also touch briefly upon the initial response to Mermin. My thanks to Weiser for taking the time to discuss his work.
Tim O’Shea: The main appeal to Cavemen in Space (for me) is that many of the Cavemen–transported to a future time, become accustomed to the new world/dynamics to varying degrees. Had you always intended to have that juxtaposition–or was that a nuance to the characters that evolved as the story developed? I was really pleased with the character arcs for Madison and Jefferson.
Joey Weiser: In this case, I came up with the characters first, and the story just formed around them. I wanted to work with a large cast and give them all stories that intertwined. The goofy concept of Cavemen in Space is obviously playing with opposites, so that was a core part of the characters and from that I realized how they would interact with each other and what developments I would want them to have by the end of the book.
Passings | John Hicklenton, the comic artist best known for his work on 2000AD, Judge Dredd Megazine and Nemesis the Warlock, passed away last week after a long fight with Multiple Sclerosis. He was 42. Hicklenton was an advocate for better treatment of MS sufferers, becoming the subject of the award-winning 2008 documentary Here’s Johnny that detailed his struggle with the disabling neurological disease. [Forbidden Planet International Blog]
Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced the expansion of its management team: Cheyenne Allott has been hired as development manager, overseeing fund-raising and outreach initiatives; and Brady Bonne has joined as operations manager, coordinating the organization’s office and fund-raising logistics. [press release]
Very busy writer Brian Michael Bendis became an even busier writer this weekend. With little fanfare — it “happened by accident” — Bendis spent over an hour on Saturday answering reader questions via his Twitter account.
The 125-message micro-interview cost him some followers, irritated Warren Ellis (not really), and was eventually cut off by Twitter, but by the time all was said and done some interesting info had hit the Internet courtesy of his tweets.
First up, Bendis spilled the beans on a trio of upcoming projects with familiar collaborators:
* Bendis and his Daredevil: Wake Up partner David Mack will reunite for a new Hornhead project, Daredevil: End of Days, next summer. The project was first announced in February 2007, with Bendis and Mack as co-writers and art from Alex Maleev, Bill Sienkewicz, and Klaus Janson. (Daredevil will also appear in New Avengers #60.)
* Look for a creator-owned crime project from Bendis and his Daredevil and Spider-Woman collaborator Alex Maleev next summer.