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Legal | Anime and manga fans in Japan are raising concerns that a proposed provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership would threaten the existence of doujinshi, fan-made comics that are often parodies of commercial manga. Many established manga creators cut their teeth on doujinshi (and some return to it even after their series hit the big time), and the biggest comics expo in the world, Comiket, is devoted to doujinshi. The works are self-published and made in small batches, sold to fellow enthusiasts at large and small conventions, and Japanese publishers generally ignore them. Under current Japanese law, only the rights holder can bring a copyright complaint, but the TPP would allow complaints from third parties, including the creator of a rival doujinshi. “If creators can be prosecuted without complaints from rights holders, it could lead to some kind of snitching battle between fans,” said Negima creator Ken Akamatsu, himself a former doujinshi-ka. “Places for people to share their work will also disappear.” [The Japan News]
Skelton Crew Studio, which produced the Chog plush from Chew, will begin taking preorders Wednesday for the first two items in a new line of plush toys based on David Petersen’s acclaimed Mouse Guard series.
“Israel Skelton of Skelton Crew Studios and I were chatting after the release of his Chog plush from the comic Chew,” Petersen writes on his blog. “I mentioned how I really liked how that piece turned out and lamented that the plush of Lieam that was released in 2007 from Diamond Select toys was the only one they made before dropping the license. We decided to add new Plush Mouse Guard items to the Skelton Crew line!”
The artist teamed with Luke Crane (The Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game) to develop a two-player strategy game based on the one from the comics. And now that it’s been play-tested, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to make Mouse Guard: Swords & Strongholds a reality.
“The game is played on a board with a grid,” Petersen explains on his blog. “Mouse pawns reside on the grid intersections (mostly) and are moved in conjunction with cards: Swords, Diplomacy, and Strongholds. Each card allows the mouse you are moving an ability beyond it’s normal movement. We came up with something that is a 2 player light strategy game that is pretty easy to learn and can scale in difficulty with the skill levels of the players.”
The Kickstarter set will feature a wooden board, eight plastic pawns, 30 cards (drawn by Petersen) and illustrated rules sheet, in a cardboard box. A deluxe set, produced by Skelton Crew Studios, will include an oversized board and box, both made of cherry wood, and eight plated pewter mouse pawns.A day into the campaign, and it’s already raised more than $7,900 of its $18,000 goal, which likely means the June Alley Inn will be filled with the sounds Swords & Strongholds before long. Pledge incentives include signed games, original card art, original box-cover art (already gone), and the deluxe version of the game.
For those who didn’t get a chance to pick up Archaia’s Free Comic Book Day offering, Mouse Guard creator David Petersen has posted his contribution to the hardcover special, “Black Axe: The Tale of the Axe Trio.”
“This is the 5th year I’ve done a FCBD story and the 4th in a row of this type,” he writes on his blog. After my first offering, I started the tradition of opening each story with a younger version of a Mouse Guard character being told a morality tale which shows the audience a bit of insight into how that character became who they are as an adult mouse. This year’s story is being told to Rand, and it deals with some mythic lore about the history of the Black Axe: The Tale of the Axe Trio.”
Check out some of the story below, and visit Petersen’s blog for the entire tale.
Mouse Guard creator David Petersen is no stranger to Rocket Raccoon, having drawn him a couple of years ago for the online Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe REDUXE Edition; he’ll do so again for the variant cover of Marvel’s Rocket Raccoon #1, arriving in July. However, he also tackled the fan-favorite character in a pair of commissions for Emerald City Comicon, to predictably fantastic results.
He shares his process for both pieces on his blog, alongside Mouse Guard and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles illustrations.
Digital comics | Google was granted a patent this week for “Self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications,” which means the Internet giant apparently has patented a mechanism for creating comics about your status updates and chats and sharing them via social media. This sounds a lot like the wildly popular, but widely reviled, Bistrips. [Geekwire]
Best of the year | Brian Truitt takes a look back at the year in comics, picking out some significant events and offering his nominations for best creator, best comic book movie, and best comic in a variety of genres and formats. [USA Today]
Best of the year | Writing for The Advocate, cartoonist Brian Andersen reflects on the year’s 10 greatest LGBT moments in mainstream comics. [Advocate.com]
As we reported in July, West Philadelphia retailer turned indie publisher Locust Moon is putting together an impressive-sounding (and -looking) anthology called Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream that pays tribute to Winsor McCay’s pioneering comic strip. The talent roster includes such names as John Cassaday, Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Pope, Becky Cloonan, Mark Buckingham and David Petersen — and it’s the Mouse Guard creator who brings us to this post.
Locust Moon has debuted Petersen’s contribution to the book, a strip that — fittingly enough — features helpful mice (“royal field mice,” we’re told), an aggravated goose and a gramophone-carrying locust. As you can see, it’s beautiful.
Three years ago, the folks at Act-i-vate kicked off Panels for Primates, a webcomic anthology in which various writers and artists created comics about monkeys, apes and other primates. The comic was free, but readers were encouraged to donate to the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholsville, Kentucky. The roster of contributors to the comic is impressive, with such creators as David Petersen, Rick Geary and Fred Van Lente involved.
Now the comics have been collected into a digital anthology on comiXology, published, appropriately, by Monkeybrain. Actually, two anthologies: Panels for Primates Junior is suitable for all ages, while Panels for Primates is rated 15+. The kids’ version looks very cute and has some good creators on board, including Rich Clabaugh, Mike Maihack, and J. Bone, but the lineup for the 15+ version is irresistible: Stan Lee, Paul Kupperberg (writer of Life with Archie and a former writer for the tabloid Weekly World News), Faith Erin Hicks, Colleen Coover, Molly Crabapple and ROBOT 6 contributor Michael May — just imagine what these people can do with monkeys!
The kids’ book is $8.99 and the adult anthology is $9.99, and once again, proceeds from both will go to the Primate Rescue Center.
(via Pop Candy)
With the debut this morning of the first animal variants to mark Marvel’s All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, Mouse Guard creator David Petersen offers a look at how he drew a cover for Avengers #20.NOW, sporting an elk Thor, an eagle Captain America and a grizzly Hulk.
“I’d already decided on Cap being a bald eagle (patriotic symbolism and all) when Steve [Wacker] emailed me back (about some deadline detail stuff) offering up ‘Thor as an elk?” Petersen writes on his blog. “Once I saw that, I couldn’t un-think of Elk-Thor. And the last was Hulk who I decided would be like a massive angry grizzly bear. I sketched each of the animals as avengers out on separate pieces of paper and modified their costumes (except Bear-Hulk) to fit the animal frames.”
As usual, the Eisner Award-winning writer/artist delves into the process, and offers a look at the different stages of the cover. Take a peek below, and read the full post on Petersen’s blog.
History | Michael Dooley celebrates Banned Books Week with a look at the comics singled out by Dr. Fredric Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent as particularly corrupting of our youth; Dooley juxtaposes scans of the pages with Werthem’s commentary. [Print]
Creators | Lynda Barry is now an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) as well as the UW-Madison Department of Art; she was an artist in residence at the university last year. [University of Wisconsin-Madison News]
Creators | Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell talk about their involvement in the graphic novel March. [Free Comic Book Day]
Awards | Gilbert Hernandez is the recipient of the 2013 PEN Center USA award for outstanding body of work in graphic literature. Drawn and Quarterly announced the honor along with news that it will publish Hernandez’s next graphic novel, Bumperhead. [The Comics Reporter]
Conventions | “SPX is all about the hugs,” says Heidi MacDonald, who relegates her business piece on the Small Press Expo to Publishers Weekly and turns to her blog to discuss not only her impressions but what folks were saying on social media. [The Beat]
Archaia has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive look at David Petersen’s cover for the second volume of the anthology Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard. The book will be solicited in the new Previews catalog (out Friday), but this is the first time anyone who wasn’t at the Mouse Guard panel at Comic-Con will get to see the cover.
The first volume of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard was nominated for an Eisner Award, and this volume is just as strong, with short stories set in the Mouse Guard universe by an impressive array of creators, including Stan Sakai, Bill Willingham, Rick Geary and Christian Slade, all told around the fireplace at the June Alley Inn. It’s due out in November.
Click below for a larger look at the cover.
With the announcement at Comic-Con International of Mouse Guard: The Weasel War of 1149, Archaia gave the panel attendees an exclusive print that creator David Petersen now reveals was “technically” the first artwork he produced for the acclaimed fantasy series.
“The Weasel War of 1149 is the earliest story I had ever thought of for Mouse Guard,” he explains on his blog. “In fact, at that time, the title of the project was 1149 and the Mouse Guard was simply the name of the group of heroic mice in the story. The three characters I wanted to focus on were Kenzie (leader, blue cloak, name means wise), Saxon (aggressive, red cloak, name means sword), and Rand (defensive, yellow cloak, name means shield) in the heat of an unevenly matched war against the weasels of Darkheather. […] A lot of what I wrote down back in 1996 for that story is now junk. But the idea of it, some character interactions, and the way it resolves, are still alive and well in the mental draft I have going for the next Mouse Guard book. Plus after having three other Mouse Guard books of mine published since then, I have to incorporate what Mouse Guard has become into this forthcoming volume.”
Although the prequel is forthcoming, Petersen says he doesn’t have a start date or a completion date yet. “I have a few side projects I want to take some time to work on and publish before I dive into another Mouse Guard hardcover,” he writes. “I’ll update on all of that through Twitter and this blog, when I’m ready to share more info. And do not worry about my return to Mouse Guard, this is simply a short vacation. … Mouse Guard will be the project I work on for the rest of my life.”
Comics | Could the competition to become the 2017 U.K. City of Culture hinge on … Desperate Dan, the pie-eating Wild West strongman from the long-running children’s comic The Dandy? Hull Daily Mail columnist Angus Young thinks the character could give Dundee the edge over fellow finalists Leicester, Swansea Bay and, yes, Hull. Dundee, Scotland, is home to The Dandy and The Beano publisher DC Thomson, and features statues of Desperate Dan and Beano character Minnie the Minx in its city center. “Having your picture taken next to the barrel-chested grizzly-chinned hero is apparently one of the top-ten things to do when visiting Dundee,” Young writes. “[…] This a bloke who thinks nothing of eating several cow pies in one sitting. A cowboy so tough he shaves his chin with a blowtorch and sleeps in a reinforced bed filled with building rubble.” The winner will be announced in November. [Hull Daily Mail, The Evening Telegraph]
I love when Mouse Guard creator David Petersen writes process posts, particularly when they involve the construction of models to help him draw mouse-sized rooms (or entire towns), and sewer tunnels ideal for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. His latest, for the cover of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 #3, doesn’t feature any little papercraft houses, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
From reference material and initial sketches to inks and the finished illustration, the artist walks us through the creation of the cover, which features a trio of musicians “that could play so well, they’d call back the dead.” However, the execution proved a little complicated.
“The inks were a bit tricky because of the ghost effects,” he writes, “and at several times while inking I worried this cover wouldn’t work the way I was proceeding with it, but I just pushed through figuring I’d make sense of it all in color.” And it did, as you can see from the finished cover above.
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 #3 arrives Aug. 28.