Although the Muppets and the gang at Sesame Street might be puppets, they’ve made their way into comics on multiple occasions, and with the 10th anniversary of the Jim Henson-centric fansite Tough Pigs coming around this year, a number of artists have chipped in to celebrate the occasion.
For this event, Tough Pigs reached out to a variety of artists, including those from the Muppets and Fraggle Rock comics, the Sesame Street storybook illustrators and even fan artists to celebrate the event and the impact of Henson’s creations. One of the standouts of the bunch is the illustration at right by Mouse Guard creator David Petersen, who also contributed covers to to both BOOM! Studios Muppets titles and Archaia’s Fraggle Rock series.
Head over to the Tough Pigs site to see all of the artwork they’ve assembled, and look into the archives for other original art collected related to Jim Henson.
Graphic.ly is a late entry to the iPad digital comics race, but they are doing their best to catch up. This week, they are offering the first issue of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 for free, which is pretty sweet. It’s not a new comic — it came out in 2007 — but the single issues are hard to find now, and it’s a very nice read.
While it works a bit differently than comiXology and Comics+, Graphic.ly is an interesting choice if you’re interested in alternative comics. They carry Marvel and Archie, sure, but their publisher list also includes a lot of little-known indy and self-published comics. This makes for a lot of variation in quality, frankly, but there are also some gems: If you want to read Caryn A. Tate‘s Red Plains: Range War (illustrated by Noel Tuazon, the artist for Tumor and The Broadcast), it’s there for free. And Graphic.ly seems to be the only iPad app that carries comics by Archaia, the publisher of Mouse Guard and the Fraggle Rock comics. If you’re interested in the long tail of comics, Graphic.ly is not a bad place to start.
Like most comics apps, Graphic.ly is not restricted to the iPhone and iPad; they have versions available for Adobe Air and Windows 7. (I talked to CEO Micah Baldwin about the app last September.)
We’ve all seen the limitless press announcements from every comics publisher there is about sold out books. After a while, they lose meaning. Did the publisher not print very many? Did retailers under-order? Do people just really love the book? Seldom do we get answers to those questions.
So when Archaia recently sold out of both Return of the Dapper Men and the Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard collection at the same time, there seemed to be an opportunity to dig into this phenomenon a bit. At C2E2 last year, I learned that Archaia is remarkably forthcoming about their business strategies, so their double sell out seemed like a great time to find out not only what that event means to a small publisher, but also to learn about the work that went into creating the situation in the first place. I asked Archaia’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy, Mouse Guard’s creator David Petersen, and Return of the Dapper Men’s Jim McCann and Janet Lee to help me understand. They not only did that; they also gave me a unique look at how Archaia perceives itself and what sets the company apart from other publishers.
Michael May: Stephen, can you talk about the print runs of Return of the Dapper Men and Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard? How do they compare to Archaia’s typical numbers?
Stephen Christy: They were both larger than a standard Archaia print run. Mouse Guard is our bestselling title, so we knew we had to print heavy and Dapper Men had enough preorders to justify a run of 10,000 copies. It wasn’t until preorders jumped on both titles a week or two before release that we started to get a feeling that we could get hit with a sell out.
It’s been 20 years since The Muppet Show creator Jim Henson passed away, and ToughPigs.com paid tribute to him by asking several artists — including David Petersen (above), Amy Mebberson, and Roger Langridge, among others — to contribute original illustrations honoring the visionary creator. Go take a look.
I apologize for not having this up earlier, but we left Chicago right after the show and didn’t arrive home until the wee hours of this morning. I was too pooped to post, but I’m sufficiently awake now to give it a shot.
My intention for Sunday was to see some more panels and do some shopping, but it ended up being lower key than that. I skipped the panels, which is usual behavior from me on convention Sundays after being overloaded on Saturday. Attendance was down from Saturday and that also helped make it more laid back, but there was still a nice crowd, many of whom had come out just for the day. And there were tons of kids.
I babysat Grant Gould’s table while he and Katie Cook conducted a panel for kids on drawing Star Wars characters. I’m sorry I missed it because Grant said it went really well. There were kids sitting on the floor in front of the stage and drawing as he and Katie instructed and cracked jokes.
Kids vs Grown-Ups, shopping, and I meet my own heroes after the break.
David Peterson was signing copies of his Mouse Guard hardbacks—and giving away the floppies for free, as promotional attractions. The Mouse Guard anthology series launches in May, with single issues out each month through August, followed by a hardcover colection.
Mouse Guard creator David Petersen shares two pieces of art he traded to artist Craig Rousseau, featuring Harry Potter‘s Dumbledore and Voldemort fighting. Click on over to his site to see his Voldemort.