SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Graphic novels | Once again, Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? leads the BookScan list of the top-selling graphic novels in bookstores. Volumes one and two of March also did well on the February chart, placing third and fourth, respectively. All four volumes of Saga made the list, along with three volumes of The Walking Dead and, shockingly, just one of Attack on Titan. [ICv2]
Creators | Jeff Lemire began getting calls from Hollywood even before the first issue of his new series Descender, a collaboration with artist Dustin Nguyen, came out. But while they sold the film rights to Sony Pictures, Lemire is determined the comic will come first: “I think one of the biggest things that went into us choosing Sony [was], we made it very clear — and they were very receptive — that we were going to tell the comic book the way we wanted to tell the comic. Meaning, if in the comic we wanted to veer left and they wanted to go right with the movie, we could do that.” [Comic Riffs]
Auctions | A restored copy of Detective Comics #27, which marks the first appearance of Batman, is expected to bring in more than $100,000 in a Feb. 20 sale held by Heritage Auctions. According to the company, this would be only the second restored copy of that issue reach that milestone (several restored copies of Action Comics #1 have broken $100,000). A CGC-graded 4.5 copy of Batman #1 is expected to fetch more than $65,000 in the same auction. [Antique Trader]
Passings | Cartoonist Joseph Farris, whose work appeared in The New Yorker and other publications for almost 60 years, died last week at his home in Bethel, Connecticut. He was 90. Farris served in the Army during World War II, and he later wrote a memoir, A Soldier’s Sketchbook, that included drawings he did while on the front lines in France and Germany. He recently completed another memoir, Elm Street, about growing up in Danbury, Connecticut. Farris once described his work as “subtly political,” adding that his goal was to make the reader laugh, then stop and think “Wait a minute. What did he say?” [The News-Times]
Acclaimed illustrator Yuko Shimizu, perhaps best known to comics readers for her Eisner-nominated work on Vertigo’s The Unwritten, is branching out into the DC Universe with a cover for an upcoming issue of Detective Comics. And for the past few weeks, she’s been offering her Facebook followers a glimpse into the cover process, from reference material and initial sketch to inking details and finally, last night, a taste of colors. Alas, that may be all we see until DC releases the solicitations for that issue.
“Alright, this may be the last share,” Shimizu writes. “For the final result, please see it on an upcoming cover of DC Universe’s Detective Comics. My editor is on vacation, so I am not certain which month this is going to be.”
See some of Shimizu’s process below, and more on her Facebook page.
The pieces, some of which can be found in the “Comic Bricks!” gallery, range from classics like Detective Comics #27 and Adventure Comics #445 to modern issues like The Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Invincible #63. Ewoks, from Marvel’s old Star Comics imprint, even makes an appearance.
Fans of Batman, and of Jock, take note: The acclaimed artists of such series as The Losers and the upcoming Wytches has donated a page from Detective Comics #871 for an eBay auction to benefit a 2-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Although Nathaniel’s prognosis is said to be good, he faces a few years of treatment, during which time his parents will have to make regular trips to the hospital.
Fans with a little extra cash in their pockets — OK, a lot of cash — have a chance to acquire pieces of Dark Knight history, as ComicConnect and Metropolis Collectibles are auctioning Batman co-creator Bob Kane’s own file copies of the character’s earliest appearances.
Those searching for pristine editions of Detective Comics #27 or Batman #1 will have to look elsewhere. These are copies of Detective Comics #27-45 and Batman #1-3 that were bound by DC Comics for editorial reference — as you can see, there’s a row of holes down the left — and later given to Kane. Still, the colors remain vibrant.
“Treasures like this only surface once in a blue moon,” ComicConnect/Metropolis Collectibles CEO Stephen Fishler said in a statement. “I was lucky enough to know Bob Kane. He told me, along with others, that he was just 17 when he sold the Batman character to an unwitting DC. Once the franchise took off, he leveraged that to renegotiate his contract with DC, and the file copies were part of the deal.”
Amazing X-Men, Vol. 1: The Quest For Nightcrawler (Marvel): Writer Jason Aaron transitions quite seamlessly from his 42-issue (or eight-trade paperback) run on Wolverine & The X-Men to this new series, which maintained the same setting and much of the same cast, only a switch of focus. Rather than the student body of the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, the stars of this series are the superhero teaching staff, with a few additions not seen in Wolverine & The X-Men (Firestar coming in to replace Kitty Pryde, who was spirited away from the cast by Brian Michael Bendis to appear in his X-Men books, plus Northstar and the guy whose name is in the subtitle and is front and center on the cover).
Aaron’s main partner for this first volume is penciler Ed McGuinness (inked by Dexter Vines and colored by Marte Gracia), an artist whose big, muscular, cartoony style fits perfectly with the slightly zany tone of the story, and Aaron’s X-Men comics in general. Cameron Stewart draws the sixth issue in this collection, a sort of epilogue in which most of the other characters you would want to see reunite with Nightcrawler do so.
“Speaking specifically of that particular cover, we always list the writers’ credits on the cover, and he scripted that issue. No one is denying Bill’s massive contributions to the DC mythology — not just Batman. It’s never been our take that it was only Bob Kane. But the credit by Bob Kane, that’s a very specific thing, and has been around since the creation of Batman, over 75 years ago. It’s hard to talk about this publicly other than, we love what Bill Finger has contributed to the mythology, and we’ve always acknowledged and compensated him and his estate for that work.”
– DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, addressing Bill Finger’s credit on the cover of the upcoming Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, and renewed discussion of the late writer’s role as the co-creator of Batman
It may not seem like much — or enough, to be frank — but it’s noteworthy that when DC Comics releases a new, free version of the original Detective Comics #27 on “Batman Day” July 23, it’ll include a cover credit for “the uncredited, unrecognized and unsung creative force” behind Batman, Bill Finger.
A former investigator for the Harris County (Texas) District Attorney’s Office pleaded guilty today in federal court to stealing thousands of dollars worth of comic books seized as evidence in a criminal case.
According to the Beaumont Enterprise, 39-year-old Lonnie Blevins admitted he took more than $5,000 worth of vintage comics and sold them at a convention in Chicago. He could face a maximum of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 1, but his attorney is hopeful he’ll instead receive probation for his cooperation.
The case stems from the January 2013 arrest of Anthony Chiofalo, a disbarred New York attorney who somehow landed a job as head of legal affairs at Texas-based Tadano America, where he’s said to have embezzled more than $9 million. He spent a sizable portion of that money on sports memorabilia and vintage comics, including a copy of Detective Comics #27 worth about $900,000.
Blevins was charged in February 2013, about two months after he left the D.A.’s office, following a federal investigation into the disappearance of items, including dozens of comics, seized from Chiofalo’s home and storage units. Blevins’ partner at the office was suspended, and later resigned; however, he hasn’t been charged with any crimes.
Chiofalo was sentenced last week to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to the theft of more than $200,000.
An attorney charged with embezzling more than $9 million from his former employer, only to spend much of it on high-priced collectibles like a copy of Detective Comics #27, was sentenced today in Houston to more than 40 years in prison.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Anthony Chiofalo, who landed a job in 2009 as head of legal affairs for Tadano America despite being disbarred in New York, pleaded guilty to the theft of more than $200,000, a first-degree felony. Prosecutors say within a year of being hired, Chiofalo began setting up dummy law firms that charged his employer for litigation work — to the tune of $9.3 million.
They say he used a sizable chunk of the money to purchase sports memorabilia and vintage comic books: When his home and storage units were raided, authorities found a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, a first-edition Playboy, and a copy of Detective Comics #27 worth about $900,000.
The case didn’t stop with Chiofalo, however, as Lonnie Blevins, an investigator with the Harris County’s District Attorney’s office, was later arrested and charged with taking some of those comic books following the raid and selling them to collectors. His case is pending in federal court. According to the newspaper, Blevins’ partner was suspended from the D.A.’s office, and then resigned; he hasn’t been charged.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So hop in your time bubble and join us as we look back at the last seven days …
Crime | Police in St. Charles, Missouri, are looking for a man who accosted an employee of the Fantasy Shop outside the comic store Monday morning and demanded she hand over a bank bag. The suspect, who indicated he had a gun, then fled with an undisclosed amount of money, leading to five local schools being put on lockdown for about 90 minutes. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Creators | Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato discuss taking over as the creative team of Detective Comics with Issue 30. “We just want to carve out a small space in the Bat-world and craft stories that resonate with the legions of fans out there,” Buccalleto says. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this legacy.” [USA Today]
On his blog, Francis Manapul pulls back the curtain on his process for the cover of Detective Comics #32, from initial concept sketches to finished piece.
“I had a lot of fun coloring this piece, specially since I got to play around with the logo,” he wrote. “Its placement was integral to the composition and selling the idea of Batman getting pulled under water.”
Not that I’d forgotten, but CSBG’s new 75 Greatest Batman Covers poll was just the latest reminder that this is Batman’s 75th anniversary year. According to Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics, Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #27 hit newsstands on or about April 18, 1939, which means the celebrations don’t have to start right away.
Still, so far Batman’s 75th seems to be a rather low-key affair, at least as compared to Superman’s 75th last year. That anniversary included a special logo, a new movie, a few new ongoing series, a couple of celebratory collections (including one for Lois Lane, who shares the anniversary) and an animated tribute. Batman’s already gotten a giant-sized Detective (Vol. 2) #27, and the final Arkham Asylum video game is coming out. Additionally, before 2014 ends, we’ll probably see Ben Affleck in the new Batsuit, plus whatever Batman Eternal has in store. Beyond that, however, it seems like business as usual for the Dark Knight.
Fortunately, business has been pretty good for a while now, such that slapping an anniversary tag on the various Bat-offerings almost seems superfluous. By this point Batman practically is eternal — but what does that really mean?