Comics | With the release today of Marvel’s heavily publicized Astonishing X-Men #51, which features the wedding of Northstar and Kyle, writer Marjorie Liu and associate editor Daniel Ketchum reiterate that “their story is just beginning.” When asked whether he’d be interested in a Northstar solo series, Ketchum replied, “Is that even a question? I can have a pitch ready by the end of the day. Spoiler alert: Storm and Dazzler will be recurring guest stars.” The New York Times, meanwhile, spotlights Ohio couple Scott Everhart and Jason Welker, who were set to be married this morning in a ceremony at Midtown Comics in Manhattan. Unlike Northstar and Kyle, however, Scott and Jason can’t count Mayor Michael Bloomberg among their wedding guests. [The Advocate]
Publishing | Todd Allen turns an analytical eye on Marvel’s twice-a-month releases as well as the cover prices of the publisher’s comics. Overall, prices are down a bit and frequency is up, but Allen isn’t sure if that’s an actual trend. [The Beat]
Publishing | May was a huge month for comics sales in the direct market, and John Jackson Miller quantifies just how huge: It was the biggest month for dollar sales in the “Diamond Exclusive Era” (i.e. since 2003): “Diamond’s Top 300 comics had orders totaling $25.72 million, an increase of 44% over last May and the highest total since Diamond became the sole distributor in 1997. It beats the total of $25.37 million set in December 2008.” [The Comics Chronicles]
Comics | Art Spiegelman is contributing a prescient New Yorker cover from 2001 to the Occupy Comics anthology; other creators who are contributing work include Alan Moore, Jimmy Palmiotti and Dean Haspiel. [Underwire]
History | Joe Sergi takes a look at the comics burnings of 1948, a series of disturbing events in which children, no doubt goaded on by well-meaning adults, collected comics door to door and then burned them in a public bonfire. [CBLDF]
Creators | Ahead of the premiere of the documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, the 89-year-old Lee discusses the big-screen success of his co-creations, the fairy-tale appeal of superheroes, his favorite character (he doesn’t have one), and a time when he was embarrassed to admit he wrote comic books: “Oh well, in the beginning, comics were the lowest rung on the cultural totem pole. I’d go to a party and people would say ‘What do you do?’ ‘Um, uh, I’m a writer’ and I’d try to walk away. And the guy would follow. ‘What do you write?’ ‘Oh, er, stories for kids.’ Well finally he’d pin me down and I’d say, ‘Okay, I write comic books’ — and boy, he couldn’t get away fast enough. Now, though, I walk into a party and someone sees me and they say, ‘Sorry, excuse me a minute, President Obama, I have to go over and say hello to Stan Lee.’ Well, okay. Slight exaggeration on my part.” [The Star-Ledger]
Conventions | The Calgary Sun previews this weekend’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. [Calgary Sun]
Conventions | Jimmy Jay wonders whether Comic-Con International in San Diego could expand to two weekends, like the Coachella Music Fest. [ComicConMen]
Creators | Dean Haspiel discusses his frustration with creating stories for franchise characters, even working with regular artists and writers for the series, and never hearing back from the editors: “I have a deluge of sad short stories and a bunch of outstanding pitches sitting atop [or buried underneath] comic book editorial desks that will continue to prove that it is nearly impossible to pitch solicited, much less, unsolicited stories. The hurtful part? Editors woo me into thinking I have a chance. I don’t have a chance. Maybe I shot my wad at Vertigo where I pitched and delivered three, critically acclaimed graphic novels? Maybe I’m considered the odd memoir artist who dabbles in digital genre. And, so I’m stuck between too mainstream for the indie crowd and too indie for the mainstream crowd. That used to bother me but now I’m okay with it because, frankly, that’s a cool place to be if you can make ends meet.” [Welcome to Trip City]
Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat talks about his decision to shift from portraying generic characters in his cartoons to zeroing in on a real person, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the consequences of that choice. Farzat’s drawings started showing up on protest signs, and then he was attacked and savagely beaten by three men: “”I could hear them saying ‘break his hands so they never dare challenge his masters again.’” Farzat is now living in Kuwait but hopes to return to Syria some day. [Reuters]
The second day of WonderCon in Anaheim, California, featured announcements ranging from Marvel’s new Captain Marvel series to Dark Horse’s new motion-comics venture to IDW Publishing’s Womanthology miniseries:
• In his “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed that Carol Danvers, long known as Ms. Marvel, will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy. He also announced that, spinning out of his Astonishing X-Men run, Greg Pak will team with Stephen Segovia for X-Treme X-Men, which includes Dazzler in its lineup. “You have no idea how hard I’ve fallen for this woman,” Pak told Newsarama. “She’s so much fun to write — she’s funny and real and wry; she’s a survivor who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale; and she will save your life with rock and roll.”
• Dark Horse will bring motion comics featuring such characters as Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy to Felicia Day’s new YouTube Channel Geek & Sundry, beginning April 2.
• IDW Publishing will follow Womanthology: Heroic, the Kickstarter-funded graphic novel anthology showcase for female creators, with a five-issue miniseries titled Womanthology: Space.
The Quitter artist Dean Haspiel and NerdyShirts have teamed up to “slam” Juvenile Diabetes with a new shirt featuring Haspiel’s Bill Dogma.
Haspiel has a personal connection to Juvenile Diabetes, as his brother passed away due to complications from the disease.
“At the age of nine, my brother, Michael Haspiel, discovered he had Juvenile Diabetes,” Haspiel told the site. “Having to instantly become strictly aware of his diet and take insulin injections 2-3 times per day greatly altered the quality of his life and our family. Suddenly desserts were a thing of the past and candy was a sin. However, changing what you eat when you eat and how you eat was only the tip of the iceberg. Having any disease challenges your attitude about life and every decision you make and it’s not easy to control no matter how disciplined you are. Hell, people can get Diabetes by sitting around and gaining weight.”
The shirt costs $35. Profits from this shirt will be split evenly between NerdyShirts, Haspiel and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
[Note: this post was assembled by both Tim O'Shea and JK Parkin]
This is our final post for our big birthday bash, and what a post it is. No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they are excited about for 2012 in comics–something they aren’t working on and something they are.
There’s a lot of great stuff here–hints at new projects and even some downright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded!
I’m most anticipating the 30th Anniversary of HEROES CON (June 22-24, Charlotte, NC) . For any convention 30 years is an amazing run, but the fact that Shelton Drum and his extended family have put this show together every year with nothing but blood, sweat and tears is flat out super heroic.
On the personal front, the challenging and exhilarating ride that’s been Loose Ends will come to a close with issue 4. It’ll be bittersweet to send our child off to into the real world but I can’t wait for you guys to see the work Brunner & Renzi are doing.
I’m also super excited to dip my own toes into the Mignola-verse with the BPRD: The Pickens County Horror [March 28, 2012] and to read the end of Jason Aaron & RM Guera’s Scalped, which is my favorite series in years.
This sounds politic, but it’s genuine: what excites me about comics in 2012 is what’s exciting every year, the work of the talent. Seeing what the best are up to and how the up-n-comers have grown as artists and writers. In the new year, I’m also excited about illustrating several books and covers that feature my favorite Avengers.
It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re winding down here at Robot 6 to go spend time with family and friends. Before heading off to celebrate, though, you’ll find a collection of holiday-themed links after the jump, along with this year’s collection of holiday cards we received.
On behalf of all of Robot 6, have a great holiday and stay safe. We’ll see you next week.
(Above: a Christmas showdown by Matthew Petz)
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
Ho-ho-hopefully you’ve gotten the chance to check out the previous three installments. If not, it isn’t too late:
Part 1: Jim McCann, Matt Kindt, Daryl Gregory, Jim “Zub” Zubkavich, Jamie S. Rich, Ryan Cody
Part 2: Jeff Parker, Tim Seeley, Ross Campbell, Kody Chamberlain, Ian Brill, Jamaica Dyer
Part 3: Mike Carey, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kagan McLeod, Kevin Colden, Thom Zahler, Van Jensen
And here is today’s round-up …
1. For the kids (or kids-at-heart): Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos – One of my favorite books of the year. Each page is crammed to the brim with kinetic artwork and fun comics!
For the art lover: “Behold! The Dinosaurs!” print by Dustin Harbin – Absolutely gorgeous print featuring one of my favorite subjects: Dinosaurs!
For the comic strip enthusiast: Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson – Super engaging strips that are full of life and very funny. I’m very glad that Fantagraphics is publishing these.
For the manga reader: Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi – A recent series that I’ve been infatuated with after having it recommended to me by several friends. A manga with a very welcoming atmosphere and tons of heart.
For the indie-minded: A few comics from Blank Slate Books: Dinopopolous by Nick Edwards and The Survivalist by Box Brown – Two great-looking books from a publisher that might be off some folks’ radars at the moment. I haven’t even read these yet, and I feel confident recommending them!
2. Well, my dad has a long-standing tradition of giving me a volume of the Complete Peanuts collections for birthdays and holidays, so I’ve got that covered. Let’s see…
I suppose there are a few Japanese imported books that would make the top of my list of things I’ve had my eye on, but haven’t had the chance/extra cash to buy for myself. These fall under the category of “Things That I’m Not Likely to Stumble Across In-Person and Say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to get that!’” Two that come to mind are One Piece Green, a “databook” which contains a treasure-trove of sketches and notes from Eiichiro Oda from the years leading up to and during his epic manga series One Piece. I’ve also been eyeing some Shigeru Mizuki (Gegege No Kitaro, Onward Towards Our Noble Death) yokai encyclopedias that pop up on eBay. Those look Beautiful with a capital B!
Several Brooklyn, N.Y. creators launched Trip City, a new “literary arts salon” website, this week, featuring free content by the likes of Dean Haspiel, Seth Kushner, Joe Infurnari, Kevin Colden, Chris Miskiewicz, Jef UK and many more.
“TRIP CITY reinvents the online arts collective with a virtual playground for a diverse set of accomplished and highly individualistic creators,” said Trip City founder Dean Haspiel, “spanning every borough of artistic endeavor from the visual arts to literature, music, video and beyond.”
Comis wise, there’s already a bunch of stuff to check out, including Dean Haspiel’s Bring Me The Heart Of Billy Dogma, Chris Miskiewicz and Kate McElroy’s Adrift, Joe Infurnari’s Memoirs of the Kid Immortal, Nick Bertozzi’s Lad Zeppelin, Kevin Colden’s Baby With A Mohawk and more. In addition to comics, the site will also feature profiles, interviews and podcasts with everyone from Moby to Henry Rollins to Michael Moore, who is interviewed by Dan Goldman in the site’s first podcast.
The release Haspiel sent out says that the group has future plans to take some of the content and perform it live on the road. “Working with so many Brooklyn locals, we have this great sense of community right out of the gate,” said Jef UK. “Then, when we take the next step and turn Trip City into a live event—which is in the works—our tribe is already gathered, so to speak.”
Halloween seemed like the perfect time to run my email interview with writer Tim Hall regarding The Last Mortician, his first-time collaboration with his longtime friend, Dean Haspiel. The story, which explores death and love plus a great deal in between, launched earlier this month at Tor.com. Hall and Haspiel are storytellers that clearly relish challenging each other through their work. I appreciate Hall’s eagerness to discuss his craft, as well as Haspiel’s willingness to share some of the pencils for two panels. I really hope the creators’ Frankenstein reboot (mentioned in our interview) breaks out of the lab soon to terrorize the masses.
Tim O’Shea: As a novelist and screenwriter who also works periodically in comics (and who is seemingly always busy with multiple creative efforts), what attracted you to working with Dean on The Last Mortician?
Tim Hall: Dean and I have known each other for almost 15 years, and have supported each other’s work unconditionally and seen each other through some serious personal ups and downs. I have always had the greatest respect for Dean’s work and he is without question the best reader and biggest supporter of my writing. So why hadn’t we worked together before? First, we’re idiots, but also because we were each in our own worlds. Dean approached me seriously about working together nearly two years ago now, and we’ve since worked on a lot of stories and pitches; this is just the first that’s been published.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes–it really is just like “When Harry Met Sally.”
Artist Dean Haspiel already has an Emmy, so it’s no surprise that the television world has taken note of his talents. He shared on his blog that he was hired to do lead character design, lead props and two comic book covers for a 10-part motion comics web series called “Of Monsters and Men” for SyFy’s Warehouse 13. The series can be viewed on the SyFy website for free, and will be added to the season 3 DVD set.
Head over to his blog to view pitch and concept art for the series.
Broadway | Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the retooled $75 million Broadway musical, took in $1.7 million for the week ending this past Sunday, which is above the $1.2 million the producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable. The amount made it the No. 3 musical for the week, after Wicked and The Lion King. [Associated Press]
Legal | Robert Corn-Revere, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s general counsel, discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. EMA, which sought to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. He notes that the court drew upon the history of comic book censorship in reaching its conclusion to reject the ban: “Citing the amicus brief filed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, it noted the crusade against comics led by Dr. Frederic Wertham and observed that it was inconsistent with our constitutional traditions. The Court traced the history of censorship that targeted various media directed toward the young and held that restricting depictions of violence could not be justified under established principles of First Amendment law.” [CBLDF]
The soon-to-be-launched cartooning school Sequential Artists Workshop has announced a special night of readings and theatre by a host of comic artists this weekend in New York City.
Scheduled for this Sunday at 7 p.m., SAW’s Easter Fundraiser at the KGB Bar will have cartoonists such as Dean Haspiel, Sam Henderson, John Keerschbaum and others reading from their works for the live audience. The festivities will be hosted by SAW co-founder Tom Hart.
If you haven’t heard of Sequential Artists Workshop, it’s a new school for cartooning scheduled to open this year in Gainesville, Fla. The proceeds from SAW’s Easter Fundraiser will go toward filing fees, space rental and marketing. They’re also looking for the donation of books, art supplies and virtually anything else you think a cartooning school would need. More more information, visit SAW’s website.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s guest is Alex Segura, executive director of publicity and marketing at Archie Comics. But we’ll always know him as the guy who founded The Great Curve, the blog that would one day morph into Robot 6.
To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …